Me Time Monday-Birthday Edition

Over the weekend I celebrated my 36th birthday. Of course, it’s difficult to really celebrate on so little sleep (little Bean decided for the second night in a row he needed a 3 hour break from sleeping in the middle of the night) but we tried. We went to breakfast, we went to the farmer’s market, and we went to dinner. In addition, we went to the new LUSH store that opened near us. I’d tried Lush body washes (my DH bought me a couple last year for my birthday) and really liked the one (the other didn’t smell as good to me b/c of my pregnancy nose) and used it frequently. I wanted to go because I’d never been and it would be nice to actually smell the products rather than relying on online descriptions. Plus it was my birthday.

We went in and the first thing I will say is that I like the layout of the store, it was open and easy to navigate, which now that I have an infant in tow is a major plus. Also, we were not bombarded with scents- refreshing for a place that sells body washes, lotions and such. My husband is really scent sensitive and it didn’t bother him.  I was next overwhelmed by one of the pushiest salespeople ever. You’d think I was on a used car lot. One thing I will say is that pushy salespeople push me (and my money) out the door. Letting me know you’re available if I have questions = good. Invading my personal space and talking my ear off every time I look at a product = bad. Thankfully some young, skinny childless girls walked in and I was freed to explore.

I didn’t get a chance to explore the whole shop, but what I did look at was great. I was really impressed  with the variety, but also worried about how all these different scents would work together. I’m used to using body wash and lotion that are similar scents and wondered why they didn’t seem to offer several items in the same scents.

I ended up getting a nice present of 4 items: A small (3.3 oz) It’s Raining Men body wash (I have the medium size of Happy Hippy and it will take me 5 years to finish it off, so the smaller size is much nicer) a small Ocean Salt face & body scrub, a jar of Lemony Flutter cuticle butter and the major splurge-a jar of Creme Anglaise body lotion.

I have to say that I am exceedingly impressed with everything I got. The body wash smelled good in the store, but after lathering it up in the shower I know I made a great choice. The scent was so divine I look forward to taking showers just to use it. It also left my skin very clean, yet soft feeling. I used the Ocean Salt scrub on my face in the shower. It gently exfoliated and deeply moisturized my skin so well that after my shower my skin felt so nourished I could have foregone a separate moisturizer. The Creme Anglaise is worth every penny of its price tag. First, there is a boatload of it in the tub and it smooths skin excellently. When I first applied it I was worried about the scent, it was very spicy-sweet but it softens down to a uniquely sensual scent. Finally there is the Lemony Flutter cuticle butter-a thick butter that left my skin and cuticles better than they have ever been before. It’s also a very lemony scent, as if you’re inside a lemon. I didn’t have to worry about the scents conflicting. It seems that all the products (at least everything I purchased) layer well together rather than having clashing scent notes.

I have to admit, I’m really sold on LUSH stuff. After my hit and miss body washes last year I thought I’d like the stuff well enough, but I never thought I’d love it as much as I do. I plan to return soon for more lovelies to pamper myself with. I’d really like to try their face moisturizer and cosmetics (especially their new mascara) next. I only hope that the shop girl is distracted the next time I go to shop.

What do you think? Have you tried LUSH products? Do you love them? Hate them? What is your favorite product?

Stand Back-I’m going to try SCIENCE!

Or, how I made my own laundry soap. I’ve been wanting to make my own cleaning products for some time because I want to reduce the chemical footprint in my home and to reduce my environmental impact. I researched a lot of DIY recipes: laundry soap, dish soap, dishwasher detergent, bathroom scrub, floor cleaner, etc and recorded the recipes that seemed the easiest or readily available ingredients, which is basically all of them. I’ve been waiting for my laundry soap to run out so that I could get to making some of my own.

The recipe I used came from a documentary called Chemerical. They also have an e-book of DIY cleaning recipes.

The recipe is as follows:

  • 34 Cups of water
  • 2 Cups of Washing Soda
  • 2 Cups Borax
  • 2 Cups natural soap flakes (or 1 bar of soap grated)

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add soap flakes and melt over low heat. Pour into large container. Add 2 cups washing soda and 2 cups borax, mixing thoroughly. Add remaining 30 cups of water, mix well. Use 1/4 cup per load.

So, how did it work out for me?  First, trying to make laundry soap with an infant to amuse is a little difficult, although Bean did seem quite entertained that we were doing science-y stuff (and my upbeat, yet off-key singing.) It takes a lot longer than you’d think to melt down the soap. Low and slow is the method and you can’t rush it. Likewise,  the container I chose was not conducive to mixing in the washing soda and borax. A container with a larger opening would have been a better choice so I could really stir and mix the ingredients well. Counting out 30 cups of water may also be daunting for some, but I have a 5 cup liquid measure that made the task easier.
I used Dr. Bronner’s Castille Soap in Baby Mild and added my own scent (Lemongrass.) You can also use pre-scented soap.

So, how did the DIY soap work? Remarkably well. I was a little worried since there were some clumps in the soap (most likely because I wasn’t able to mix everything as well. I’d even say the soap worked better than purchased stuff. I’d been using Dreft for my clothes and the Bean’s and I’ll admit I loved the smell of it. I did a load of my clothes in the homemade soap and I was amazed at how soft my clothes came out of the dryer without using a dryer sheet. Also no static. My clothes felt wonderful, smelled good (unfortunately the lemongrass scent didn’t transfer but they smelled clean) and were nice and clean. I also washed some afghans and pillows from the living room in the new soap and they also came out beautifully. I’m converted. I will be making my own soap from now on (though when daddy is home to watch Bean!)

The AAP Circumcision Decision

If anyone keeps up on such info, the American Academy of Pediatrics released their “official” opinion regarding newborn male circumcision today. Their basic position is that “the benefits outweigh the risks” when it comes to circumcision. I’ve heard that phrasing before, in many other arguments regarding medications that were later removed from the market, from government agencies regarding genetically modified foods and the practices in conventional cattle, chicken and other meat production (and these practices that were deemed safe led to bovine spongiform encephaly-so called “mad cow” disease and Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease in humans) and it is theorized that the routine practice of prophylatically dosing chickens and cattle with antibiotics is partially the cause of the  antibiotic resistance we are seeing in many disorders like MRSA. At the time, these practices were all under the auspices of “the benefits outweigh the risks.”

I am not suggesting in any way that newborn male circumcision will lead to similar issues that I’ve detailed above. I’m saying that whenever I hear the phrase “the benefits outweigh the risks” it’s a cue to me to do further research to actually know the so-called benefits and risks. And because I’ve heard it so many times before and seen the outcomes, and later learned that actual research wasn’t fully conducted or the benefits & risks weren’t accurately publicized for people to make informed decisions.

I’m also confused as to how an organization that supports and recommends extended breastfeeding (which for the US is considered semi-radical and forward thinking) and yet supports a backwards (and some would say barbaric) position of genital mutilation.
As you can probably tell from my terminology, I am not a supporter of forced circumcision. When discussing the issue with my husband, we decided (before we even knew the gender of our child) not to circumcise. I actually left the decision to my husband and supported him. The more I looked into circumcision, the less supportive of circumcision I became.

The AAP ‘s stance is such:
” Specific benefits identified included prevention of urinary tract infections, penile cancer, and transmission of some sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.”
Except that UTIs in infants is less than 1% and the prevention of HIV is not statistically significant. Circumcision was used in Africa to prevent the transmission of HIV and it had so little effect on transmission rates that they discontinued the practice. I am not current on the literature regarding penile cancer. In effect, the AAP is recommending genital mutilation (which can result in infections and permanent disfigurement) as a solution to issues that education and proper hygiene could eliminate. Even the AAP admits that the benefits to circumcision are not great enough to warrant that it be mandatory, however in their providing a pro-circumcision policy they are issuing a recommendation that many parents will accept as proper and beneficial practice without doing any research on their own.

The more I learn about circumcision, the more I think “I’m glad we decided against it.”  I’m not saying no one should circumcise their son. I’m not going to try to make that decision for another’s family. But I will say that I know it wasn’t the right choice for mine. I will say to anyone who has to make this decision to research it thoroughly, don’t just take it as inevitable-read the pros & cons and don’t let the AAP make the decision for you.

Why We Went Disposable

I’ve often been asked that since I view myself as fairly eco-friendly and crunchy why didn’t I opt for using cloth diapers with my Bean (this is especially asked more since our new endeavor of trying to be even more eco-friendly as a family). I’d mentioned earlier, in my reviews of gDiapers that I chose that brand because I felt they were a nice hybrid between cloth and disposable options, but that they just weren’t working for us as much as I’d hoped. Yes, part of the decision was based on convenience, but it was also based on practicality. For as hippie, dancing naked in the woods under the full moon that I am, I am also a practical, sensible person as well.

The major factors in why we went disposable are as follows:

  • Convenience-due to familiarity and no need for washing, etc, disposables are far more convenient for us. Plus I just wasn’t up to training my DH on cloth diapering. Also, time is a factor. I barely get time to wash our clothes nowadays let alone trying to find time to wash a load of nappies. Basically, I’d probably run out of diapers before I got a chance to wash, which was a problem I was having with the gDiapers as well.
  • Practicality-see above. Also, the cost of the eco-friendly disposables we use is on par (or less) than other disposables and cloth diapers when you account for all the upkeep and start-up for cloth diapering.
  • Ick factor- I’m a Virgo, we naturally don’t like messy things. All my experience (my experience mind you, not others’) is that cloth diapers are more prone to leaks and thus have higher ick factor
  • Environmental impact-Now before people jump on me about how cloth diapering is a billion kajillion times more eco-friendly than disposables and landfills and such, let me remind you-I live in the desert. I live in a state whose annual rainfall for the past 5 years hasn’t gotten above about 2 inches. Washing laundry takes up a lot of water that my environment doesn’t have. And if I were to use a diaper service I run the risk of even more environmental impact with trucks, chemicals, etc. Using a eco-friendly diaper (such as the Honest diapers we use) just seems to have less environmental impact to me. I’m not against using cloth diapers per se, but at this point in my life the environmental impact between the eco-conscious disposables we use and cloth diapers is neutral at best.

So, some people say I’m not as crunchy as I think I am. Well, that’s their opinion, and they can have it. I do what I can to be eco-friendly to the best of my ability. And we’re working to be even more eco-friendly now by removing the chemicals from our home and making our own cleaning products. In addition, I have been using reusable wipes lately, and I really like them. While I still believe that going all cloth would be a major drain on water, the disposable wipes don’t take as much resources to use (because they are far less soiled and I can incorporate them into a normal wash cycle) as going full cloth diaper.

Going Green

There’s something about having a child that makes you want to do the best for them and make their lives and the world a better place. Most anyone with children will say “well, duh” to that statement, but really I wasn’t prepared by how strongly it would hit me.
It first happened in pregnancy when I realized that the schools where we live were decidedly substandard. I personally feel schools across the country are substandard, but I’m not going to step onto that soapbox today. I realized that where we live, the only way our child would get a decent (decent, mind you, not quality) education would be if we could afford private school, which is just about impossible for us to afford. Where we are the private schools are about at the level of good public schools in other states (not all other states, but there are some options.) That’s sad. Until I got pregnant I was happy to live where we are and never leave. There are a lot of assets to where we live, but I don’t see the place as particularly family friendly. Even our neighborhood became suspect to me. All areas have crime, but suddenly a neighborhood I was perfectly fine to live in for however long we did felt less safe. Things I was secure with as an adult I was no longer secure with when it came to my child.

Since I’m really in no position to change where we live at present (though Hip Papa assures me he is looking into where we can move with his career path) I began to think about what I could do to improve my child’s quality of life. I’m not going to homeschool, I know I’m just not that mom. So until we get a miraculous job offer in a better place (and one I’m willing to live in, I refuse to go East and back to snow) what can I do?

I’ve always been more nature-crunchy than not. When I was single and living on my own, I ate organic and local. My primary grocery was the Co-Op and the farmer’s market. I walked to the grocery several times a week rather than stocking up on food. I shopped and ate at local businesses. I walked to work everyday. Heck, I walked everywhere. The only time I actually used a car was to get cat litter and cat food (these were just a little too heavy to throw into my backpack.) I’d realized that since getting married I hadn’t been as committed to these values as I’d been in the past. We’d moved to a neighborhood that was decidedly less walkable and shops just weren’t very close (despite our trying to find a place in a more walkable, etc we just could find something in our price range that was a good size for us.) Eating organic and local was not very cost effective when I realized that my husband didn’t understand the concept of portion size and frequently left us without leftovers. Buying natural cleaning products was difficult due to finances as well. (A little history: only 6 months after we bought our house my husband’s company folded and he was laid off. He found a job within 6 months, but that time with him unemployed took us over 3 years to recover, so for some time we’ve been really focused on finances.)  With the new addition to our family I wanted to get back to those values I had years ago.

I knew that eating organic and local was a better choice, for our health, for the health of the planet, but upon doing further research I decided it wasn’t enough just to eat organic or local. Learning about how much of our food supply was genetically modified was astounding to me. I honestly didn’t know how pervasive GMOs were. Through agribusiness in the US, we’ve reduced the heterogeneity of our food supply drastically. Nearly all the corn and corn products in the US come from one supplier, Monsanto, and are of one variety of genetically modified corn. I won’t get into the specifics of the evils of Monsanto here, but suffice it to say I came away from my research with the determination that the way we were living wasn’t right and wasn’t sustainable on a local or a global level.

What this epiphany really did was make me recommit to a lifestyle that I already wanted to live. What changes were we prepared to make as a family to have this lifestyle? Several changes, and they aren’t going to be easy. These are the changes we are going to try to implement:

  • Plant and maintain an edible landscape in our back yard using heirloom and non-GMO seeds
  • Eat local, organic and seasonal produce by rejoining our local CSA
  • Use as many non-GMO items as we can in terms of other non-produce food items
  • Bake our own bread or purchase non-GMO organic alternatives
  • Keep chickens for free-range non-GMO fed eggs
  • Purchase and eat only grass-fed organic, non-GMO fed beef, chicken and wild-caught fish  (and this will lead to consuming less meat overall due to higher cost)
  • Purchase and consume only organic, non-rGBH milk and dairy
  • Begin making & using  our own natural, non-toxic cleaning products
  • Begin making & using (or purchasing) our own natural, non-toxic personal care items like soap, shampoo and body lotion

We aren’t expecting to change all of these things overnight, nor do we expect to be able to do this 100% of the time. As Kermit said, “It ain’t easy bein’ green.” This is a big commitment to change. We don’t want to go gung-ho and get overwhelmed and not be able to sustain the behaviors. This will be a process. Both Hip Papa and I are excited to start on this journey. I’m really excited to start making cleaning products and personal care products (I’d made my own moisturizer and such in the past) and I’m looking forward to having a yard full of edible goodness. I’m also looking forward to a time when I can share that garden with my son and teach him how to grow his own food.

I plan to share this journey here, our successes and our inevitable failures, as well as any resources I stumble across along the way.

Wittlebee Wednesday

Last week I received my July (my second) Wittlebee box. Wittlebee is a monthly subscription service of children’s clothes. As I mentioned in my previous post, You create a style profile for your wee one and a Wittlebee stylist creates a box for your child based on those choices and any specific style notes you entered for the stylist.
My first Wittlebee box was awesome, we chose size 3-6 months, even though our little guy was only 2 months old because he is a long baby and already wearing 6 month clothes for the length. But Bean outgrew the 2 coolest onesies (a Batman one and a Star Wars one) fairly quickly and that made me and hip papa sad pandas.

Because I wanted to have clothes last a little longer, I chose 6-12 months for month two. We received another very cool box (see pics below) and the value of the items was about double and a half the $39.99 price tag for the Wittlebee box. Unfortunately, I can’t see my using many of the items we received. Bean pretty much lives in onesies. With frequent diaper changes and such, I probably will never put him in separates like shirts and shorts, no matter how cute they are while these items would still fit him. In addition, sizing missed the mark for us again, only this time on the opposite side-most of the items are far too baggy for Bean as well. I tried putting him in a pair of the shorts and they are for a much chunkier baby, despite being perfect in length. So for month three I am sending along style notes that are more specific that Bean needs items hovering around the 6-9 size mark and onesies are most welcome of all clothing.

Pros of Wittlebee:

  • convenience-especially if you don’t like to shop
  • designer clothes for non-designer price tag
  • variety
  • you get new clothes as your child continually outgrows them
  • can suspend a month if necessary
  • fun/surprise element
  • giftable in one-three-six etc month packages

Cons of Wittlebee:

  • sizing can be tricky if your child is not average size for age
  • no discrete choices-what you get is up to your stylist
  • no ability to choose all of one type of item (i.e. all onesies, all tees etc)
  • they are currently implementing a new system, so shipping was slow for July
  • you may not get stuff you like/can use
  • no gender neutral option for boxes, they are standard boy or girl only
  • only 6-8 items per box will probably not be all the clothes you’ll need, you will probably need to supplement with other clothes

Will I stick with Wittlebee? Yes. I enjoy getting the surprise package each month and I’m hoping I can get the sizing issues worked out. Wittlebee boxes are $39.99 a month.

All items purchased by me. All opinions my own.

Me Time Monday

My husband and I have worked out a pretty good system of taking care of our newborn with relatively few meltdowns. Not that he is prone to them, it’s mainly me.  I am with Ben 24 hours a day pretty much. I have to be, since I’m breastfeeding and my supply isn’t enough to nurse AND pump. Now some people may be fine being tied to their babies all the time and not being away from them at all. I love Bean, I love being with him, but mommy needs a break. Just a little each day where she’s not beholden to the baby or the household chores. And taking a shower and using the bathroom doesn’t cut it.

So in the early morning, after nursing (somewhere between 5 and 7 AM) when Bean falls back asleep, I go downstairs and leave him with daddy. I come down, I make coffee and drink a cup, and check email, play online and such. I usually get an hour in the morning. When daddy comes home, he’s on duty while I make dinner and I get to eat a meal with out having to tend to the baby mid-bite. Then after the evening nursing session I go upstairs and read a bit,  do my nails, journal, or sometimes just pass out and get a jump on rest before the next nursing session. My husband does some floor time and playtime with Bean, and gets him to sleep. I’m a morning person, hubby is a night owl, so staying up is normal for him. He & Bean usually stay up (or at least downstairs) a little longer than I naturally would, so this works out. They come up in time for the first night nursing session. Mommy gets about 1-3 hours of sleep depending, and some me-time. Overnight we share the duties-I nurse, he changes and gets Bean back to sleep.

This schedule helps me to not get overwhelmed, and to not be resentful that he goes away for 10 hours a day and I’m alone with Bean and trying to juggle him and doing things like laundry, dishes, etc. I’m extremely lucky that my DH helps with the baby. I know not all women are as lucky.

Being able to have this little time to myself has helped me immensely. I think it’s important for me physically and mentally. It gives me a little time to myself to get in touch with me, the me I was (and still am) before I was mommy. I need to nurture this part of me since it’s been pushed to the back burner most of the time now.

Each Monday I’m going to try to post something that is about me, and not the baby or parenting. It may just be pictures of my manicure, or if I actually did my makeup, maybe I’ll post an eye of the day (EOTD.) It may be fitness related. But something that is relevant to the me I was, and still am, before I had a baby.

For today, it’s nails. I am no manicurist. I don’t know anything about how to treat my cuticles or such, I just like wearing pretty colors.
The mani below was done using Mari Moon Hits “Trendy” which is a multi-chrome polish. It changes color depending on light or angle from green to gold and sometimes a teal/aqua sheen. Pictures don’t do it justice. Metallic and duo/multichrome colors are unforgiving in application, they show brush strokes and any imperfections that may occur.

Review: The Miracle Blanket

When they first handed my son to me in the hospital he was tightly wrapped like a sardine in a can.  Of course the first thing I did was dismantle the swaddle and laid the babe skin to skin. Despite how much I wanted to hold my little Bean, there were times that this just wasn’t practical or possible and back into the swaddle he’d go. I’d learned how to swaddle from an expert years ago (she’d worked in the nursery at the hospital most of her life and was now my assistant at the childcare center for which we worked.) My husband had not. He kept watching the nurses, asking for guidance as he tried to swaddle this little guy. I even tried a few times only to find that swaddling is not like riding a bicycle-you can lose your touch.

The nurses were able to swaddle Bean so effectively you practically needed the jaws of life to extract him, but whenever my husband or I tried, Bean became the baby Houdini and escaped the blanket. Why is it so difficult? First, the hospital blankets (and basically all other receiving blankets) are rectangular. Swaddling is best done with a square blanket (in my opinion) which can be nicely folded into a triangle. Second, babies squirm and it makes it far more difficult to swaddle a baby, especially when you start with inadequate materials.

Enter the Miracle Blanket. I received the Miracle Blanket from my sister, who’s best friend gave it to her for me. My sister’s friend had found the Miracle Blanket to be indespensible and it was her favorite item when he children were babies and thought I would like it. She was wrong. We LOVED it.

The Miracle Blanket claims:

  •  Stops Colic – GUARANTEED!
  • Eases Fussiness For ANY Baby!
  • Helps Baby Sleep Better/Longer!
  • Prevents Facial Scratches!
  • Stops Twitches That Wake Your Baby!
  • Makes Breast Feeding MUCH Easier!
  • Makes Your Baby Feel Warm & Secure!
  • One Size Fits All Up to Four Months
  • 100% High Quality Cotton

My Bean doesn’t have colic and I can’t think how the Miracle Blanket stops colic, but all of the other claims seem to be quite accurate for our Bean (although he is a long string bean so I’m not sure if it will last up to four months.) The Miracle Blanket is so easy to use-it’s basically idiot proof swaddling. We love this blanket so much, we don’t really use any of the other blankets we have. After using this, I wouldn’t buy an expectant mother anything else for a blanket.

I know that there has been some controversy about swaddling lately. I say go with your gut about swaddling. We don’t always swaddle Bean, it’s generally only when he is really fussy (from being tired but not falling asleep) and at night, since Bean does move a bit and wake himself easily. Bean settles down, stops crying and often smiles when we swaddle him, so I think we’re doing the right thing.

The Miracle Blanket sells for $29.99 and there are several colors from which to choose.  The one we have is no longer made, but I actually like the colors they have now better than the one we received. It is not available in stores to my knowledge.

Book Review: The Babycenter Essential Guide to Pregnancy and Birth

The Babycenter Essential Guide to Pregnancy and Birth was one of two books I picked up upon learning that I was pregnant. I purchased it because it was fairly well reviewed and appeared fairly comprehensive in scope.  The book is separated into six parts:

  • The First Trimester: 0-13 weeks
  • The Second Trimester 14-27 weeks
  • The Third Trimester 28-41 weeks
  • Labor and Birth
  • Recovering from Childbirth: the First Six Weeks
  • Special Situations

Each of the trimester parts have the following chapters:

  • Your Pregnancy Week by Week
  • Your Health
  • Your Nutrition and Fitness
  • Your Emotions
  • The Rest of Your Life

Peppered throughout the book are sections called “Babycenter Buzz” which have actual experiences of babycenter.com members and “Just the Facts” which provide just that. I enjoyed the “babycenter buzz” sections because it was nice to read personal experiences from other women who had experienced pregnancy before. These personal stories add a nice touch to the book.

Part six contains one of my favorite chapters: “Is It Safe?” This chapter runs the gamut of most of the things a pregnant woman wonders about during pregnancy. It covers Health and Medicine, Treatments and Procedures, Household Chores (wouldn’t it be great if the book said all of these were unsafe and our partners had to do all the cleaning, lol,) Other Dangers, Fitness, Beauty, Sex, and Travel. While the book certainly can’t cover every permutation of safety, it does cover most of the common areas. Each entry has information from an expert-obstetrician or certified nurse-midwife.

The book also contains checklists like what to being to the hospital and a sample birth plan.

Although I found the information in the book very helpful, I found that it wasn’t as easy to find the information I was looking for in the book. My other pregnancy book was far more accessible for quick information, so I found myself using that book much more for a reference of first resort. After locating info in my other book I would take the time to find info in this book.

Pros:

  • Comprehensive
  • Is It Safe Chapter
  • Personal anecdote features
  • Companion Website

Cons:

  • Heavy & not very portable
  • Due to comprehensiveness & layout, information is not always easily found
  • Almost everything in the book is most likely found on the website (for free)

Would I recommend this book? Probably. I can’t give it a raving yes because I feel that you can get all the info in the book from the babycenter website and the only benefit of the book is that it is all contained in one (very heavy) volume. Having the book makes it more convenient than constantly searching on the internet. Plus the book may have info you might not have even thought to look up (which could be a good or a bad thing.) It’s a good solid reference, but not what I would consider an essential one.

 

Disclaimer: All items purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

First Issue of Fretful Mother Magazine

“If you have a problem that can be fixed, then there is no use in worrying. If you have a problem that cannot be fixed, then there is no use in worrying.” – Buddhist proverb

“If the problem has a solution, worrying is pointless, in the end the problem will be solved. If the problem has no solution, there is no reason to worry, because it can’t be solved.” – Zen saying

If you’ve watched the Simpsons as much as I have you’ll get the reference. Marge subscribes to Fretful Mother Magazine. In reality, I think all mothers actually subscribe to FMM in a virtual sense. I think it starts in pregnancy. Despite my midwife saying I was the most relaxed mom she knew I had my share of pregnancy worries. The first worry I had was that something would go wrong with the pregnancy. It wasn’t a huge worry, but knowing that my grandmother had difficulty bringing a child to term and having friends who had recently lost babies, it was a fresh worry in my mind.

I had a worry that something would go wrong in labor and delivery and I would need a cesarean section because I’ve never had any type of surgery and I didn’t want all the complications I’d read about c-sections. I worried about being able to breastfeed, because I had no clue if I would be able to do it, and despite all the worrying, we survived that ordeal.

After I delivered and things were seemingly fine (let’s not dredge up all the NICU business,) I started to worry about new things. Thoughts would cross my mind to which I pay more attention. The first, and probably the most worrisome to me currently, is SIDS (or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.) SIDS has no truly known cause and as the name implies, it’s sudden. How, as a mother, can I possibly protect my child against something with no known cause and happens suddenly? In true Hip Mama fashion, I read as much as I could, I follow all the advice (co-sleep vs having Bean in a crib in another room, no bumpers, no loose blankets/pillows/stuffed toys,) but it still doesn’t completely assuage my worry. It’s a more salient worry to me because I have a friend who lost her son to SIDS, so it’s not some thing that happens to “some one else.” It happened to someone I know. I still find myself checking to see if Bean is breathing, though it is less often than it was.

Another thing that I worry about-choking. I’m sure to check and have a bulb near everywhere Bean sleeps because spit-up happens (though it’s much less now that he’s not getting formula anymore) and I have a hefty fear of him spitting up and gagging.

Having a child brings you into a whole new arena of thinking, and by extension, worry. I try not to think too much into the future because I know that I’ll start worrying about all the things I can think of worrying about now that I have a child. It is very difficult to be zen about motherhood, especially with your first child. I’d like to think that I’m a little better than others, having experience working with infants and toddlers. There are times when I read questions posted on the babyboards and roll my eyes about how someone is worrying about something so benign, but I’m not immune to mama worry. Once you are responsible for an entity as dependent as an infant, it’s very easy to worry about things.

All new parents will have their crazy worry moments. I remember calling the doctor because my previously regular little Bean hadn’t had a bowel movement in over 24 hours and seemed to have gastrointestinal distress (you don’t need to worry about lack of BMs until it’s been 72 hours or more, by the way.) I remember both my husband and I freaking out a bit over Bean’s umbilical cord when it started to ooze a bit of pus and blood. Apparently this is common (but not something they tell you when you leave the hospital.) Just dab the area with alcohol, keep it dry/accessible to air, and don’t pull the stump off. Later that day the whole thing fell off and I had no clue where it fell off, so I spent a while looking for it, sure the dog had made a snack of the stump or the cats found a new toy. I found it safe by the bassinet. I haven’t a clue why I was so worried about that.

I really try not to worry excessively. Knowledge and experience helps a lot in this endeavor, but it’s not foolproof. Moms will always find something to worry about. Even though I try to minimize my worry, I don’t consider worry to be an altogether bad thing. Worry can make you just a little more aware of your surroundings and therefore more attune to safety and security. Excessive worry, though, can be detrimental. It’s stressful, and moms don’t need additional stress. Excessive worry can impede progress. My goal as a parent is to create a happy, healthy, well-adjusted person. One that I hope votes liberally and accepts all persons as equal. I don’t want to raise a child who is afraid of his own shadow or who can’t effectively function in the world without his parents. I don’t want to be a helicopter mom, I want Bean to explore and be independent, but also safe.

It’s a balance. In all things in life, including parenting, one should strive for balance. Sometimes I’ll err a little too much on the side of caution, and that’s OK. But overall, I aim to have balance. I’m also sure that this won’t be my only issue of Fretful Mother Magazine.


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