Category Archives: Parenting

Recipe for Love

For those of you who are married, I bet you’ve heard the advice “Don’t go to sleep angry” a million times. I am going on the record as saying that I think this particular piece of advice is really stupid.

Based on my own experience, Nateanite and I are more likely to fight when we are tired. Things that seem huge, like our marriage might end over this, seem small and insignificant after a night of decent sleep.  Based on the peer-reviewed literature, sleep deprivation can have a seriously negative impact on our relationships.

I think this is why so many folx say that the years when your children are little are the most challenging. You are both chronically sleep deprived. Babies waking in the night because they’re hungry, getting teeth, or were startled and need to be soothed are common place. A side effect of toddlers’ improved cognitive ability are night terrors.

I have felt the effects of these in recent weeks as A has been cutting some new teeth. Nateanite will tell you, and I will grudgingly confirm, that I have been on edge recently. Several mornings ago, after a particularly challenging night, when he timidly suggested that I treat him with a little respect (not such a tall order for your best friend and love of your life, right?) I angrily said that it was asking “too effing* much.”

 

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash
Sometimes you just have to sleep in random places Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Take a deep breath and cue to the next day. Yes, I am tired. So is he. Trying to rise above this I decided to listen in as Nateanite joined me in our efforts to convince E that the cup we gave her to bring to bed had juice in it (it was really water). It was during this time that I developed a recipe for falling back in love during these challenging times.

**Disclaimer: Your relationship needs to be founded on mutual respect, but you’re just experiencing a hiccup. If there is no respect there, please find someone safe to talk to and give you the support you need and deserve.**

Falling in Love With Your Partner

  • 1 effort to back up the other person
  • 1 promise that Batman will protect you over night
  • Multiple expressions of love (as many as you want!)
  • Blowing kisses on your way out the door
  • Wish sweet dreams to your child

Have this conversation with your child or listen to your partner have this conversation with your child as often as you need.

*Maybe this goes without saying, but I am censoring myself here. Not one of my proudest moments.

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The Mommy Tax

There is a podcast I’ve been aware of for some time, Stuff Mom Never Told You, that is fabulous but I’ve never been what you might call a religious listener. The amount of fabulous content created by the creators of the podcast was so immense that I felt overwhelmed and never really dove in. But, the show has two new hosts so I thought this would be a good time to start tuning in.

The Mommy Tax, which “aired” on May 19, 2017, was just excellent and I wanted to respond at length so I felt that my weekly post would be the best way to do that. Emilie and Bridget  do a really excellent job of giving the perspective we need to understand that women have been penalized professionally for having children for a really long time. Either we couldn’t have careers because we had to care for the children, or we can have careers but it’s not “a good move.” But, having children is a really solid career move for men, who enjoy higher rates of promotions and more raises particularly when they are working hard to be involved dads.

I will stop for a second here to say that I am a white, cis-gendered woman pursuing a M.A.. My husband already has a graduate level degree. We both have really good jobs (him in county administration, me in higher education) and our children reap the benefits associated with having college educated parents. I am not down on anyone for getting a promotion or a raise. Nor am I particularly concerned about my financial well-being as a result of my lower societal status as a woman. This is a very privileged place to be.

This is a very privileged place to be.

More than anything, and why I think it’s important to advocate for equal pay for equal work, flexible work schedules, subsidized quality child care, and a whole host of other things is for my sisters who are single parents or parenting in a same-sex relationship.

quote-paul-wellstone-we-all-do-better-when-we-all-217666

In the course of the podcast, and what I really wanted to talk about, is something Emilie asked. She asks, at one point, what would make the working day easier for working moms. I want to extend that to working parents, because increasingly we see new parents being more equal partners when it comes to parenting.

What would make my time as a working parent a whole lot easier in the short term would be a flexible working day. My dream day is six hours in the office, two hours at home. I bet you have some kind of combo that would make your day, or week, a lot easier. Something else that would make a ton of difference to me would be on-site daycare. I work at a university with an early childhood education program and it makes a whole lot of sense to me that we would capitalize (for lack of a better word) on that program to provide parents with child care and students with a required practicum experience. Heck, how awesome would it be if it was an option for parents who work there to pay for it through a payroll deduction? One less bill to have to worry about paying! Finally, what would help so much is if women who are already in those C-level positions and higher could let go of the mentality that because they got to where they were the hard way the rest of us have to as well. Women, support each other!

I just have to end by encouraging you to listen to Stuff Mom Never Told You. There is a lot of phenomenal content, you’ll learn something new and feel inspired with every episode.

Vacation Time

Shortly after this post comes up, Nateanite and I will be flying with our girls to Salt Lake City to visit my extended family. I have been looking forward to this trip for months! We haven’t been to Utah in about seven years and I haven’t seen my grandparents for two years. It is time for a visit.

It is with this visit in mind that I share this quote with you. I know that not all of us are blessed to have parents or grandparents who are healthy to be around, but if you are please do what you can to spend time with them.

April 28 Quote

Comfort and Strength

In the Bible, Adam and Eve are described as naked and unaware of their nakedness. They are as little children, not understanding their “shame.”

I have been considering this recently, as I spend a significant amount of time with my own little children. While these aren’t the pictures that make it onto Facebook (usually) they are often pants-less at home. They’re so dang cute, we photograph them in their environment and there is no shame in their nakedness.

By extension, there is no shame in my (relative) nakedness.

Nakedness is comforting. When E got her two-month shots she cried and cried and cried. Nothing soothed her until we got skin-to-skin.

A is currently getting her first teeth – truly a terrible endeavor for all involved – and that skin-to-skin contact soothes her in a way that my milk or acetaminophen does not.

Nakedness is honest. If I am feeling too lazy to give both girls a bath (and it’s really just E that needs cleaning up anyway) she and I will just have a shower. It saves me time – I’m getting cleaned up too – and it teaches my little daughter what she’ll look like when she grows up.

I’m not saying we should be running around in a state of undress all the time. There is also power in covering yourself. What I am saying is that there is a place and a time for both.

 

November 16 Love.jpg

Feeding your baby is a radical act

I am a warrior.

I am afraid.

I am angry.

I am tired.

I am working in a falsely supportive work environment where I, like Hollie McNish, am tired of being polite. I am tired of advocating for myself over

and over

and over

again.

I am a woman who has chosen to breastfeed her babies. I am also a woman who has to work outside her home. I am a woman who produces better while pumping if I can work while I pump – none of this sniffing A’s clothes, looking at her photos, or watching videos for me.

And yet, because the law requires that my employer provide “adequate unpaid break time” my employer requires me to take my break time when I would prefer to work.

Can we please

please

please

support parents in doing what works for their families as long as their babies are being fed?