May 28, 2010

"The 10 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make"

My post today is in response to THIS blog post.

Here is the top 10:
Here are what Lifescript calls the "10 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make"
1. Sharing a bed with baby.
2. Putting your child to bed with milk or juice.
3. Buying second-hand toys or baby furniture.
4. Showing your child "smart baby" DVDs.
5. Putting kids in the basket of a shopping cart.
6. Sharing utensils with your child.
7. Delaying or avoiding vaccines.
8. Leaving your child alone in the car "just for a minute."
9. Skipping helmets on tricycle rides.
10. Leaving your child alone in the bath or shower.


Before I delve into what I actually think about this top 10 (because it is relatively interesting to rant about it), I have to comment about the original blog post.

What a big shock that this blogger's opinion is that of a babywearing, breastfeeding, cloth diapering, co-sleeping (I could go on...) mother.

I say that because it is exactly this type of mom who ALWAYS has an opinion about how to raise children and has zero interest in listening to any other opinion. Well FINE. Good for you for breastfeeding your kid until they turned 10. YOUR CHOICE. If that is what you feel is the right thing to do well, great. Here's the deal. Whether you agree or disagree with this top 10, whether you fed your baby breast milk or oreos for supper, every parent has to do what works for them. What is right for them. For their situation. Who are we to pass judgment on someone else's opinions or choices? If you go to the Lifescript site and read the top 10, you'll see that they do provide a backup explanation for why they have chosen these particular mistakes.

So, with that said... Am I a bad parent based on this? This is based on MY parenting. Not anyone else.
1. Sharing a bed with baby.  
NEVER have done it. NEVER will. That bed is me and my husband's sanctuary.
2. Putting your child to bed with milk or juice.  
NEVER have done it. NEVER will. Nuff said.
3. Buying second-hand toys or baby furniture.  
Haven't, but not to say that I won't ever do it. Really depends on who it is coming from.
4. Showing your child "smart baby" DVDs.  
Okay, this one annoys me. I didn't show him these videos because I thought he would become fucking Einstein, but I did show him them because he was interested in them and they made him laugh. We learned new words from them as well as how to play different activities- it was totally interactive. I didn't sit him in his Bumbo chair in front of the TV and said "learn". I was right there with him the whole time.
5. Putting kids in the basket of a shopping cart.
My kid effing hates the shopping cart. Passionately. So yeah, we let him ride in that thing wherever he goddamn feels like it. Shopping with a toddler sucks as it is. You gotta do what you gotta do (just don't leave them unattended. Ever.)
6. Sharing utensils with your child.
I have no words for this one other than that it is possibly the most ridiculous on the list. My kid gets more germs at daycare than he could ever get from me eating off his spoon or his Nuk falling on the floor.
7. Delaying or avoiding vaccines.
I will agree with this one 110%. You all know how I feel about vaccines and I am a huge advocate for them.
8. Leaving your child alone in the car "just for a minute."
Never have, Never will. Filling the car with gas and pay at the pump is the longest he is ever "alone" and he's not really alone because I'm RIGHT THERE watching him.
9. Skipping helmets on tricycle rides.
He's not really old enough for a tricycle; however, if you think I'm going to make him wear a helmet to ride around on his little ride on car. You're nuts. I can't even get him to wear a winter hat when it is 30 degrees below zero before his houdini hands has wrangled the thing off his head and throws it in a pile on the floor next to his gloves.
10. Leaving your child alone in the bath or shower.
NEVER NEVER NEVER!!!! There is no excuse for doing such a thing. Period. 

Again. If you have done some of these, to each their own. I get it. I really do. You have to make the best decision that works for you REGARDLESS of what anyone else tells you to do.

May 27, 2010

Diapers, Recognition & Diet

I actually have a few random rants for this Thursday heading into the lovely, long holiday weekend. This will be a long post to make up for my lack of blogging in the past couple of weeks.

Pamper's Diapers With "New Dry Max Technology"

We have been using Pampers ever since my son was born. The old Swaddlers were the most cuddly soft diapers and they never leaked. They were the best! I was so sad when he outgrew the Swaddlers and we had to move to the Cruisers which just seemed like the next logical step on the diaper chain. Most recently, Pampers revealed their new Dry Max technology. I didn't think much of it. I actually thought it was a unique idea, i.e. reducing waste because holy crap, no pun intended, there is a lot of it with a baby and heck a less leakable diaper? I'm on board. Still not thinking much about it, a Facebook advocacy group popped up asking to bring the other Pampers back because the new "Dry Max Technology" was causing rashes as well as 2nd & 3rd degree burns on their poor little babies- with the pictures to prove it. After a couple weeks of using the new Pampers, Jack's diaper rash just kept getting worse and worse with the pinnacle of it coming when the rash grew across his entire bum. For the simple reason of cuteness alone, we had bought a package of the cute new Huggies Denim diapers. Within a day his rash was completely gone. Still not convinced, we sent him back to daycare on Monday where they are stocked full of the new Pampers from us. Rash back in full force. Changed back to Huggies. Back to normal. Coincidence? I think not. I'm glad that it was as simple as a rash and not a burn like some of the others.

Not to go too much on a tangent, but I guess I get it. Companies are trying to save a buck. Proctor &  Gamble is no different. What I don't understand is their fervent defense of their new Dry Max. They absolutely refuse to take any responsibility on how this change affected THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS of Pampers users. Don't you care about babies? If you cared about your business, you would care about losing so many of what used to be VERY loyal customers. I've officially changed to Huggies. I so can't wait until my kiddo is potty trained! The other company that has made scary mistakes is Johnson & Johnson. How many times have I given my kid Tylenol and Motrin over the past 21 months thinking that it was helping him when it could've been hurting him. Being a mom is so hard. You have to trust someone right? But who? Is everyone really that callous to care only about their bottom line and not about BABIES??

Job Recognition

I thought this would be a nice transition to talk a little bit about my job. All the talk about companies doing desperate things to save money is one thing that my little CU doesn't do. We REALLY care about our Members. We go the extra mile. I'm sure all CU's say something like this, but isn't that what being a CU is really all about? Yup. We would never even consider continuing to do anything that would put our Members' money in jeopardy. Anyway. I digress. We had an all-employee meeting last night and I walked away a little more renewed. See, I've been feeling pretty down about my job lately: lack of creative freedom, zero flexibility with my schedule, no chance of promotion (ever) and now no chance of getting a raise (I'm at the top of my salary range). We discussed employee engagement and it goes something like this:
Foundation:
a) I know what is expected of me at work. (Sure)
b) I have the right tools and equipment to do my job (um... nope. A laptop would be lovely. Thank you)
How I feel about the company:
1) I like our vision and direction (YES)
2) My associates do quality work (some of them yes, some of them no)
3) My opinions count (not very often)
4) I have a best friend at work (Nope- that is by choice. I have friends but not best friends. Yes there is a difference)
My development at work:
1) Someone at work encourages my development and talks about my progress (Ummm...sometimes?)
2) Someone at work cares about me as a person (sure)
3) I receive recognition weekly for doing good work (nope)
4) At work, I get to do what I do best (big no. I'm held back both creatively and technically)
Long-Term Development:
The company provides me opportunities to learn and grow (in some ways yes, but not the way I want)

So why do I want to stay here, right? I still feel like I want to hang out another year or two. 4-5 years at one place is a nice number on the resume. I hate job jumping, but I need to face facts: I need to make more money and I have the experience to make more money. Well, at the end of the evening, they were doing employee recognition awards. Being one of those background employees, I don't usually get much recognition. So, I checked my Facebook and Twitter, I texted my husband and then... my name was called! What??? The CEO had written up a recognition. For ME! He recognized me for the work I did when my boss was on maternity leave and that I did a spectacular job. I was pretty stoked about being recognized in front of my peers and by the CEO nonetheless. I did work really hard during those 9 weeks, but, I didn't do it to get attention. I did her job (AND MINE) to prove that I could do it and was capable of doing it well. I want to make sure that if my boss ever leaves that I am the next in line to get promoted. Pretty sure I did a good job of that. Overall though- it was a great night and it gave me a renewed interest in my job and what I do. Am I still keeping my nose on the job market? Yes. I can't have another baby unless we have more money coming in, so unfortunately despite my new energy, I need to keep my eye on the salary prize.

Quick Diet Note
Join me at: SparkPeople.com

I haven't made it a huge secret that I need to lose the baby weight and that it has been a miserable struggle for me. Working out is just one of those things I can't seem to fit into my schedule and by 7:30p when the kid goes to bed, I want nothing more than to veg. I know. They are just excuses. So, I woke up this morning after having a bad dream about being passed over for a job for a prettier (skinnier) girl and knew that I had to make a change. My subconscious is telling me something and I intend to answer. A wake up call? Maybe not fully. But this not only tells me that I have some major self-esteem issues brewing here, but it is also telling me that it is time to get back on the wagon. For real. I'm going to take baby steps- nothing drastic- getting out for a walk at night. Following the Buff Brides(maids) program. Getting a new Wii fitness game for rainy nights. Going to some classes at the gym. This NEEDS to be a priority. Period. No more excuses. This officially is serving as my re-commitment to getting healthy! (P.S. I'm planning to go back to SparkPeople for food tracking).

Phew! That was a lot of ranting. I feel better! Have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend!  

May 21, 2010

Why the Grey's Season Finale Moved Me

For potentially the first time all season, I watched Grey's Anatomy live as opposed to re-watching it back on my DVR a couple days later. As a self-proclaimed TV junkie, I've seen a lot of good TV in my day, but this finale was one of THE best moments in TV ever, at least for me.

Without spoiling it for those that have yet to watch it, I can honestly say that not only was I terrified and on the edge of my seat, but I cried like a baby nearly through the entire 2 hours. It was violent. Powerful. Scary. It was raw and tackled what was honest emotion and truly was how I'd react if I was faced with my own mortality. If someone didn't find a way to relate to the emotional element of this episode then they are obviously not human.

***SPOILER ALERT!!***

The moment that really hit home with me though was Meredith's pregnancy. In the last 20 minutes or so of the show, as she was working on Owen who was shot, she miscarried. Even crazier, she never stopped working. But the powerful moment came at the end of the show when she pulled out of her locker the pregnancy test that said so clearly "pregnant" and threw it away.

In the many moments of my life that I say I'll never forget, the day that I began to miscarry is one that I will never be able to get out of my head. There is such a defining moment during a miscarriage where you feel absolutely helpless and desperate knowing there is nothing you can do but just let it happen. I didn't throw the tests away for a good couple weeks, but I certainly remember when I did. It was like admitting defeat. It re-opened those raw emotions of my loss and I had wished that I had just disposed of the tests right away. I never forgot that loss and never will. It has been four years and not a day goes by that I don't remember that heartbreak or the heartbreaking 2.5 years of infertility that followed. I have a miracle baby now and I know that my angel baby watches over him and keeps him safe.

May 20, 2010

He Loves Me! He REALLY Loves me!

Having a baby has changed many things in my life; however, I have stubbornly refused to give up being the girl out on the town. Over the past year, I have attended a ton of concerts (Ticketmaster has made a killing off of me... it should be a crime). For past concerts, I have usually made a night out of it complete with dinner and drinks prior to the show. Last night prior to the Daughtry concert (I could write a whole other post about their awesomeness but I digress), I really wanted to see my little man after work. So as usual, I picked him up from daycare. There is NOTHING that makes my day other than walking into his classroom and have him run up to me at full throttle to give me a leg hug yelling "MOMMY!!!" Getting out of the house to get to the concert on time was a whole other story... for some reason, last night, he wanted nothing to do with daddy. Only mommy. It was a mommy night for sure. Through his heart-wrenching sobs and my heartbreak for leaving him there sobbing, I walked out the door. Around 7:45p I sent my husband a text to check in and see how things went for the short remainder of the evening and adding to my heartbreak, he said that Jack sobbed "Mommy" for a 1/2 an hour after I drove away complete with the ever heart splitting alligator tears. Now, my husband didn't tell me this information to make me feel bad on purpose (although that wouldn't be that far out of the ballpark for him to do that on occasion), but the mommy guilt swept over me in full force complete with the desire to rush him and sweep him in my arms and cuddle my little guy all night.

I didn't rush home. I knew he was peacefully sleeping. He will likely never remember my driving off and leaving him in sobbing shambles. I know he loves me. My child loves me in the most powerful, unconditional way and it is like nothing I have ever known before. I'm aware that as he grows older, there will be times he will likely not love me so much but for now, I won't take a single moment of my time with him for granted.

May 15, 2010

Forever and a Day (Always)

As I sit here relaxing on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, I am also watching my son nap peacefully on his little cot here in the living room. I have his lullabies cranking through iTunes and probably my most favorite lullaby, ever, came on.

One thing about being a mommy that will never get old is that swelling in my heart that I get when I think about Jack, see him or when I hear Jewel's version of this song:

Forever And A Day (Always)

Verse 1:
The other day you asked me to
Tell you how much I love you.
Oh but words so often fail,
To describe the depth and scale,
and even though it may sound cliche,
I'll tell you know it my simple way.

chorus:
My love is as true as the oceans are blue,
and I always feel this way.
Just listen to the beating that keeps repeating.
My heart wants to say
Like Gala and Dali, it's you and me,
Forever and a day.
Forever and a day,
Always

Verse 2:
You watch me turn out the light,
Wrap my arms around you, say good night.
Trace our shadows on the wall.
Thank God for the miracle of it all.

Repeat chorus

Bridge:
The road of life winds
With the passing of time.
I can hear you say,
"How can hearts know
where love will go
beyond today?"

May 10, 2010

The Best Mother's Day

There is one thing as a Mom I will never do: take a single moment for granted.

Last year was my first Mother's Day with my new little boy. What Mother's Day was for me last year was indeed a celebration. Some relaxation at the spa. A little me time. Some time with my family. It certainly had its own place of wonder in my life.

This year, was also a celebration; however, I didn't celebrate alone. I spent it with my husband. His sister came up to spend the weekend hanging out with Jack and we got to spend some very critical, necessary time together. It was a blast. Saturday night we had dinner and drinks. Lots of drinks. He also took me to the Twins game- while going to the game wasn't a surprise, the seats were! They were awesome. Here is a taste:

Joe Mauer. Nuff Said

Me & The Hubs- Target Field
I really had an amazing weekend. Of course spending some much needed alone time with my husband is definitely my idea of a great Mother's Day, but sorry honey, the pinnacle of my weekend came when I walked in the door after coming home from the game and my little boy yelled "MOMMY" and ran up to me a gave me a huge hug. It was, quite simply, the most amazing gift I will ever receive. I will never forget the first Mother's Day that I got to hear my son call me Mommy.

May 04, 2010

The Evolution of My Friendships

A friend posed the question out of Facebook: What does friendship mean to you?

Even though I know her status update was triggered by frustrations with a friend of hers, it really got me to start thinking about how my friendships have evolved over my 34 years of life.

Grade School: I often wonder if my experience at Catholic School was the same experience that the other kids had in Public School. Even in 5th grade, the girls were horrible and mean. I wasn't asked to be in the Fluorescent Club (i.e. girls that painted their nails in fluorescent pink, wore pink scarves and pink shoes...pink pink pink).

Middle School: I begged my parents to let me go to Public School. I knew all the kids- most of them I had played softball or went to Girl Scouts with so it wasn't going to be a horrible transition. I remember my BFF in 6th grade. Her name was Carrie and we did EVERYthing together. Her older brother played hockey. Thus began my fascination with  boys and hockey. This fascination led me all the way into high school. I seemed to make one close friend at a time with a few sprinkled friendships on the side. Middle school was awful and confusing- I followed my older sister around like a puppy and thought her burnout friends were the coolest. After getting into some trouble from these said friends, I began to get involved more in school-related activities- softball and music.

High School: By 9th grade, I had a very core group of girlfriends. We all lived in about the same neighborhood and were all involved in pretty much the same activities. We had our smattering of boys mixed in but up through 11th grade, had a great time together. 11th grade marked the beginning of my high school sweetheart days. A sweetheart that went to another school. A sweetheart whom I adored. My core group of girls didn't like my spending time with this guy all the time. My core group of girls dumped me. Shunned me. Left me to fend for myself IN MY SENIOR YEAR. A year when friends usually get together and desperately try and put together their lasting memories. My memory was my girls turning to walk the other way when I came down the hall. Girls who blatantly left me out of plans. Girls who ruined just about everything great that high school was turning out to be. I'd love to give you a storybook ending with me and my high school sweetheart riding off into the sunset giving everyone who might be watching the finger as we proved everyone wrong. That definitely did not happen.

College: College is where I found my lifelong friends. I switched schools in the midst of my freshman year, but heading to Concordia-St. Paul was one of the best decisions I ever made as I met some of the best, most talented people I will ever know in my lifetime. By the end of freshman year, high school sweetheart and I parted ways as he headed off to Chi-town to attend Northwestern on scholarship. I didn't bother with boyfriends much in college, sure, I dated, but I really just wanted to have fun. I am still as good as friends today with a couple of my college girlfriends.

Post-College: Post-college is crazy. It is scary. It is exciting. This is where all the life changes start to happen. The first of us met a guy. She was no longer interested in club hopping. We of course threw at her the "You met a guy and now you've changed" deal. We lost our friend. It was down to just the two of us and any new stray friends that we picked up along the way from work, hobbies and what not.

After that, I wasted two years dating a guy who didn't know his head from his ass and I finally kicked him to the curb to find the real love of my life and my now husband.

There are a few of us who remained- who were my bridesmaids. We swore to remain friends no matter what life changes were thrown our way. I've found that pact to be harder and harder to keep the older I get and the more my family evolves. The four of us couldn't be at more different places in our lives and sometimes I wonder if those bonds are strong enough to hold together. Having a child, I experienced the biggest life change ever. I knew my friends cared about me and were happy for me; however, have had more than a slight disinterest in being a part of my son's life. They haven't seen him since last July. They missed his 1st birthday. Outside of YouTube, they have never seen him walk or talk. He has no idea who these women are. For some reason, it bothers me. I feel like I'm expected to be a part of all of their big moments, but the biggest moment of my life is walking and talking and they seem to care less. No matter how many times I invite them over to my house, there are always convenient excuses.

While these three women are all magnificent people, the differences in our lifestyles is becoming painfully obvious. Over the past 20 months since giving birth to my son, I've used these friends as my outlet. A window into the world of adults. However, it is no longer the same. I want to talk about my kiddo but nobody wants to hear about it. Things just feel different.

There is still the one friend. The first of the pack to go off and get married. The one we shunned. Her and I actually made up and we are good friends again. We get each other. Even though I got married several years after her, our lives have been strangely parallel. We both had to deal with miscarriages and infertility. We got pregnant just 4 months apart, we both now have healthy baby boys very close in age and we both deal with the same crap from our husbands! Why don't I spend more time with her you ask? Unfortunately, after she got married, she moved about 2 hours outside of the Twin Cities. Now that we have kids, it is even harder to get together. Despite the distance, we still e-mail and comment on each others' posts on Facebook. We're not really phone people, so we don't talk on the phone much, but somehow, we're still there for each other as needed. We both wished that we lived closer, but are going to do the best we can to support each other- even if just electronically or, a couple visits a year. I really have grown to appreciate our friendship despite the setbacks we had way back in our mid-20's.

I am slowly easing into the world of mommy blogging in hopes of finding other moms out there with babes my son's age. I ache and long to have adult interaction from those who actually understand what it is like. Having a baby is awesome, but it is also challenging. It is a complete 180 from the life I knew before, and I am searching high and low for people who understand what that is like. I second guess trying to make new friends because at 34, doesn't everyone already have their friends? Why would they want a new one! I need to get over that as I am sure there are many women who feel exactly like I do.

Overall, the older I get, the more my priorities change. I would far rather spend time with my husband and little boy over anyone else at any time. At the end of the day, and essentially, until the end of time, he has become and will always be my one and only best friend. And now, I get to include my son into that package. Life is good!
 
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