Three Ways to be a Better Parent

It’s a fact: parenting is hard work.  Whether you’ve been doing it for decades or days you’ve probably already been turned on to the fact that this is one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, jobs you’ve ever had to do.  The long hours, the demands, the pressure of making the right decisions for your precious little humans - it’s a lot!  If you’re like the rest of us, your patience can wear thin, your voice can raise and there’s a great chance you are tired.  While the grand reward - the happiness of your little one - is an amazing gift, some days you feel like things could be better.  You’re right!  Here are three things you can do that will make you feel better and make you a better parent.

1. Take a break away from your little one!  I don’t just mean when you go into the bathroom and hope they don’t find you right away (they will though).  I mean go out of the house without them.  Take a yoga class, hike up a mountain or go through the drive through all by yourself.  Whatever it is, do it for you.  Give yourself a chance to recharge and miss them.  Filling yourself up is essential because you can’t give (forever) from an empty cup.

2. Give yourself credit for the small wins.  I get that you might have had big hopes and dreams for the afternoon, day or week.  I get that you might have had small hopes and dreams.  I am also well aware that some days none of those hopes or dreams are realized.  But acknowledge what did happen: is your child dressed?  (Pajamas count!)  Did your child eat something?  (Hopefully food...) Did you and your little one have a big cry and release some stress?  Good for you!  Congratulate yourself for getting things done on the most challenging days.

3. Find your tribe.  I learned early on that I’m not the only one struggling and feeling like I’m failing or just getting by in the parenting department.  I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all felt that way at some point.  I also think it’s safe to say that many of us feel like that often.  Find these people!  It won’t take long.  Whether it’s joking with the person pushing their kid on the swing next to you, sharing a knowing glance with a stranger as your child (or theirs) throws a tantrum at the store or actually finding a group designed to speak your mind and listen to others - seek it out!  You can even text your friends or spread the word online.  However you do it, seek solace in knowing that you’re not the only one trying to pretend that you’re in charge of the small people taking over your home.

We’re in this together!  We’re losing to those little cuties most of the time but at least we’re on the same losing team.  Stand strong mamas and papas, you’ve got this.


The Trick to Letting Things Go

 If you're like most of us, you have something you're worried about, something that weighs on your mind, something that keeps you up at night - maybe many things that keep you from that mysterious place of calm and relaxation that you've heard about.  We hear ya, mama, but how can you let those things go? 

Maybe when the new year rolled in you had a few new year's resolutions or some big plans to find more peace in your day starting bright and early on January 1st.  How's that going?  Hopefully great but maybe not so great.  Why?  Because it can be really hard to make big changes!  We are constantly asking so much of ourselves which leads to stress, exhaustion and unhappiness.  If you're growing a baby, have a baby on the outside or both you should give yourself a break.  

The trick to letting things go is to do it in baby steps (pun intended!).  While going cold turkey or making huge changes all at once can work occasionally, no one should be expected to make changes so rapidly.  When it doesn't work it can lead to self blame, shame and disappointment and those are the last things you need.  So try releasing those worries gradually.  Choose one thing at a time and go slowly.  You may have setbacks but they'll be easier to recover from when you work in small increments.

If you're trying to find more calm in your day, try deep breathing or meditating for one minute.  If you're trying to burn a few more calories, try parking a little farther away from the store.  If you're trying to get more things done in a day (and still rest at the same time), bring your laundry or computer to the couch with you.

You've got this, mama.  You're already doing a lot of hard work and I know you may want to make improvements but take your time and take care of yourself. 

The Pregnancy Card and How to Use it (November 22, 2016)

You are in a special place in your life - you are either pregnant or have a newborn baby.  You deserve to be treated like royalty in my opinion.  However, some people may not realize this yet and may actually expect you to do things the "normal way" but I highly discourage this.  You should do things your way for at least the nine months in and the nine months out.  There's no job greater than growing or taking care of a human and you shouldn't have to waste your precious time or energy on anything else.

So how do you use The Pregnancy (or New Mama and Baby) Card?  It's easy!  Anytime you want something, you should get it. If it isn't handed to you automatically then you should simply tell or show whomever you need to that you are pregnant or have a wee little one and should indeed receive whatever it is you want.  For example, you get pulled over for speeding.  Simply explain to the officer that you were preoccupied growing a human and accidentally went a tiny bit over the speed limit.  The officer should then, if following The Pregnancy Card protocol, apologize for interrupting your human-growing, clear your record of any previous offenses and escort you with lights and sirens to wherever it is you were trying to get to.  Easy!

Mama, Your Ears Are So Big!

All of sudden, after the birth of your first baby, you are a parent.  The day before you weren’t and now here you are with the greatest, most challenging job that exists.  You’ve been warned about all the things that will happen, good and bad, from friends, family and especially strangers.  You’ve been told strange and daunting tales of never sleeping again, committing to years without time alone (including bathroom time) and what can and will come out of every opening of your child.

What you may not have heard about, though, is the subtle but incredible intuition you develop.  Your gut instinct most likely kicked into high gear during your pregnancy but now you are on and yes, mama, your ears are so big!  You will wake from your slumber at the sound of your baby’s sweetest sleep peep.  You will see the smallest imperfection in the just right light on her delicate skin.  You will feel that he has gained an ounce just by holding him.  You will taste her skin with each kiss you place on her face.  And you will, of course, smell all the smells.  Your five senses combine with your sixth sense and without warning you have accepted these superhero powers of mamahood.  

Whether you like it or not, you’re on and will be for many years.  Challenging?  Absolutely.  But accept this gift with an open mind and an open heart.  Even though these supersenses may keep you up at night and have you at the doctor’s office a few extra times “just to make sure” they will undoubtedly help you to take care of your child with attention and intention.  So in your first day, month, year of being a parent, listen to your instinct with those big ears mama and settle in to the greatest job that exists.


5 Things You Didn't Know About Doulas

A birth doula is an educated and experienced woman (usually) that supports a woman and her partner (if there is one) prenatally, during labor and birth and postnatally.  She offers the mama support physically, mentally and emotionally in various ways.  Maybe you knew all that but here are five things you might not know about doulas.

  1. Not all doulas are hippies and you don’t need to be one either.  There are all kinds of doulas just like there are all kinds of pregnant mamas.  We may have a certain philosophy we favor or something that we’re especially good at but there is definitely a doula out there for you.

  2. Doulas are interview.  Doulas often offer a free consultation to meet and answer your questions.  It’s a great way to see if you’re a good fit for each other.  This is important!  Your doula will be with you for one of the most significant experiences of your life - you should like her.  If you don’t already have a doula you know and love, shop around!

  3. Doulas services are in your price range. Some of you have no problem with the fee of doulas while others feel like they are out of your budget.  We understand!  But if you want a doula, you deserve a doula!  It may be that the posted fees are out of your range but many doulas offer free or low fees (usually certifying doulas), sliding scales or payment plans, just ask!  Also, ask your mama friends and you’ll almost always hear that “doulas are well worth their fees!”

  4. Doulas don’t get offended.  Go ahead laboring mama, snap at us, curse, tell us to stop doing what we’re doing, you can even tell us to leave the room - we won’t bat an eye.  We understand!  We know that labor can bring out all of your most colorful sides and we are ready.  Nothing you say or do will upset us.  In fact, some of those harsh things will make us secretly smile because we’ll know it means baby is on the way out soon.

  5. Doulas love what they do.  We love this work.  Why else would we drop what we’re doing, shuffle our kids other places, skip meals and sleep, and be with you for as long as you need us?  We want to support you and we’ll do whatever we can to see that you have the best birth experience you can.  

Still not sure you want to hire a doula?  Set up a meet and greet to ask questions, be heard and see what you think.  Your birth experience is something you’ll never forget and a doula can be there to support you and what you want...whether she’s a hippie or not.