Zen and the Art of Toddler Discipline

Last week Lil’ Miss E decided to test out some new limits in her quest for independence. I knew a re-evaluation of my discipline tactics were in order and I got to thinking about my own methods as well as my favorite go-to article on the subject. Read more in this week’s Greeley Tribune blog…

http://www.greeleytribune.com/news/feature3/12960178-113/techniques-toddler-discipline-tantrums

 

I see you, Working Mom. Because I am you.

Dear Working Mom,

I see you.

I see you sitting at your desk with the faraway look in your eye.

You sit behind the disguise of your computer trying so very hard to concentrate on your work. But I know work is the furthest thing from your mind.

I know you are thinking of that one job you saw last night in your endless job search, wondering if, just maybe, it is the one that could provide you that perfect balance for work and motherhood.

I see you calculating numbers – the numbers that make up daycare costs, salaries, and insurance expenses – trying to figure out if there is any way possible you might be able to stay at home or at least cut down to part-time.

Then I see the disappointment cross your face as yet another scenario fails to meet the financial needs of your family.

I see you thinking about flexible hours. How flexible can you make yourself and still be a good employee, a good mom, and a good wife.

I see the glassy look in your eyes as you recover from another interrupted night of sleep because your little one had a bad dream and cried for only you.

I know you woke up early to try to get some time to yourself, maybe to exercise.

And I see the guilt cross your face because you didn’t exercise this morning and you’re now wondering if you’ll be able to fit it in after work; you don’t want to skip it, because your favorite dress pants still won’t fit over your hips.

I see your ongoing list of things that never get done around the house right next to your list of should-do projects for work.

I see you blink your eyes and come back to reality as someone walks in your office asking for “just a minute” of your time and you try to clear your head of personal business so you can be present for your co-worker and their concerns.

Working mom, I want you to know that I see you.

I see you because I am you.

I, too, struggle daily with the demands of work and a family and how to keep all the balls in the air.

I, too, sit at my desk tirelessly running the numbers in my head in order to find a perfect solution for making money, spending time with my daughter, and finding time for me.

I want you to know that I appreciate you. And that the sacrifices you make for your family do not go unnoticed.

Maybe someday you will find the perfect job with the perfect salary that allows you more time for your kids, yourself, and that to-do list.

That is my hope for us both.

A Tale of a Breastfeeding Failure

A few weeks ago I committed the cardinal sin of motherhood: I gave unsolicited advice.

I have a friend who is about to have a baby and she was asking my advice on the necessities I left for my daycare provider to care for Miss E, including milk. Selfishly, I saw an opportunity to give my friend advice on breastfeeding.

Feeling guilty, and after removing my foot from my mouth, I apologized to my friend and tried to explain where I was coming from.

You see, whenever I attend a baby shower and am asked to give the mom-to-be advice for her newborn, I want to shout out to her “do not make yourself miserable with breastfeeding!”

Because that is what I wish someone would have told me.

Breastfeeding didn’t work for Miss E and me.

When the subject comes up and I tell other mothers it didn’t work for me, I have an internal struggle in that I know a big part was due to a rough labor and delivery resulting in Miss E unable to be with me for the first 24-hours, therefore making it difficult to get started.

But sometimes I still wonder if I didn’t try hard enough. Should I have worked through the pain and tears more?

Breastfeeding made me nervous from the very beginning. I had the lactation specialists help me while in the hospital, I read the manual they sent home, and Miss E and I went daily to the lactation clinic offered at the hospital. We did great with the help of the lactation specialists; but when we got home, I just couldn’t replicate the proper positioning and it ended in frustration for us both.

I ended up only nursing my baby for three weeks before I decided I just couldn’t do it.

I remember the exact night I gave up. We were up for another painful midnight feeding, I was crying, Miss E was crying, and it was at that moment I decided this just wasn’t working any longer. Neither of us were getting what we needed; therefore causing disappointment and sadness for both of us.

I decided from then on I would exclusively pump milk for my daughter, which I did for four months before it became too difficult after going back to work.

I was never set on breastfeeding; while still pregnant, I decided I would give it a try, but not push it. However, I was not prepared for the enormous guilt that came with not providing (what I thought be) a natural experience to my newborn daughter.

The beauty of nursing, the nutrients, the immunity, the help with coordination, the bonding; all of it is constantly preached to pregnant women from so many different sources.

And not nursing made me incredibly fearful that I was depriving my daughter. Would she not be as healthy? Would she not gain proper eye-hand coordination?

Would we not bond the way we should?

My daughter was supplemented with formula in my milk until she switched to cow’s milk and she has done fabulous. She is a healthy, growing girl with no negative effects of my nursing choice.

And the bond with her is as perfect as a mother-daughter bond should be.

Looking back, I really appreciate the way our situation worked out; while I was up in the middle of the night pumping, my husband got to be a part of the feedings because he gave her a bottle. That only solidified their father-daughter bond.

Maybe my approach to my friend was not the best, but all I wanted her to know was that breastfeeding is emotionally and physically trying. It does not come natural to everyone. It. Is. Hard.

Mothers should not feel like failures if we aren’t able to naturally nurse our children. And we shouldn’t feel like we need to make excuses. Sometimes it just does not work and that is OK.

I ask you to join me in supporting those mama’s who couldn’t breastfeed but wanted to do so with all of their hearts. Reach out to others with support and encouragement. Help them find resources.

Most of all do what is best for your baby and for you. As long as you are a loving, happy mama. That is what your baby will notice.