Archive for Motherhood

Friday Funnies

Anya said something to us last week that stopped us in our tracks because it sounded like something she definitely should not have said….you HAVE to watch this video!

 

Breastfeeding in Public?

I was prompted by a recent FB post in which someone on my friend’s list posted a photo of a beautiful image of Mary breastfeeding baby Jesus. Someone else commented that, while he was definitely supportive of breastfeeding, women really need to cover up anytime they do it in public, because breastfeeding should be a private thing. Of course, I couldn’t hold back so I politely let him know my thoughts, which also prompted this post.

Several years ago, I felt similarly about the issue of women covering up while breastfeeding but I am convinced it was my lack of knowledge in the subject. Years later and two babies later, I have a whole different point of view. I have always been 100% supportive of breastfeeding and successfully breastfed my daughter to 15 months. My son (who is currently 15 months) is still going strong and still nurses five to six times a day.

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My little chunky monkey

When people make negative comments about women breastfeeding in public, there are two things I always want to point out to them:

1. A newborn baby typically eats every two to three hours, and sometimes the feedings are even closer together than that. Not to mention that feedings could take 45 minutes (or more). Does this mean a mother should have to run off to her hot car to nurse her baby, feed her baby in a disgusting public restroom, or stay at home just because her baby might have to eat? It is isolating enough to be a mother, and expecting a new mom to do those sorts of things in order to simply feed her baby is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion.

2. Nursing while covering yourself is not always possible. Simply insisting that a mother cover up when nursing sounds like a simple solution but I think that most of the people who make this suggestion are people who have never tried to nurse a baby under a cover. When a baby is first learning to nurse, adding a cover to that process only makes it even more difficult than it already is. And believe it or not, some babies don’t like to eat with a cover over their faces. Weird, I know, but I can’t say I blame them! I typically prefer to cover up in many public situation (it doesn’t bother me when other women nurse without covering up, but I feel more comfortable doing so in many public situations), but it doesn’t always work because my son likes to rip the cover right off. I can’t say I blame him. Then, what am I supposed to do? Cart him off to the nasty bathroom?

Of course, these two points are in addition to all of the research and recommendations out there regarding breastfeeding. I breastfed both of our children exclusively until they were at least six months old (as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics) and then while we slowly added solid foods to their diets between six and twelve months. After twelve months the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends continuing to breastfeed for as long as both mother and baby choose. The World Health Organization actually recommends breastfeeding for two years or longer, and I’ve seen some current research about the benefits of toddler nursing that actually make me feel really good about still nursing Felix. Several years ago, I would have said it was weird or strange but now, after educating myself on the topic, I know that I am giving my son yet another benefit by continuing to allow him to nurse as long as he chooses to do so.

And to all those people out there who claim that breastfeeding in public is indecent and/or say that no one wants to see that, here’s a thought – no one’s asking you to look! We aren’t trying to show anything off (believe me, I don’t feel like there’s much to show off about after having two children!) and we aren’t trying to get out of public indecency laws so we can do whatever we want. In fact, most moms are pretty discreet when nursing their little ones in public. What it all really comes down to is that we’re really just trying to feed our babies in the way that we believe is best for them.

Felix Breastfeeding

 

Friday Funnies

While on vacation, we met a lot of people and for some reason, Anya would always ask how the people knew our names. She would often ask “How does he know your name, Daddy? Is it because you’re on Spacebook?” Even now that we’re home, she calls Facebook “Spacebook” and it’s hilarious!

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Did your kid do or say anything funny this week? What was it?

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener!

It’s been about a year and a half since I became a part time stay-at-home mom. At first glance, I really thought it would be the perfect solution, and if you really think about it, it should be the perfect solution. I thought it would mean that I could still spend time with my kids while keeping one foot in my career! While I wouldn’t be making as much money, I would be able to save money by cleaning my own house (I had been having someone come twice a month to help me with that when I worked full time) and not sending Anya to daycare every day, plus I would have time to do more couponing and cut our spending in other ways.

I’m well aware that that all sounds wonderful and it paints a really nice picture of what things should look like. And honestly, it worked out fairly well for awhile. When I just had one child to worry about and when Felix was young enough that I could count on him to sleep often, I had time to do other things around the house and still hang out with Anya. Now that I have two little rugrats and Felix is up and running (literally!), all that has changed, and this is the current reality:

Work Days

Basically, I work a full two days a week (Tuesday and Thursday) and then another partial day but I work that day while the kids are home with me (this is usually Wednesday), so you can only imagine how well that goes! There are other random things that I do here and there but that’s my typical schedule that is mostly the same every week. Maybe it’s the way that I have my week set up, but it’s so hard to go from being “mommy” to working to being “mommy” AND working, working, and then being “mommy” again. It’s like I’m always switching gears.

Another issue is that since I only have childcare certain days of the week, I’m trying to cram as much as possible in my work days, which usually means no lunch break and that I have to pump breastmilk as I’m driving. (Don’t worry, I have a hands-free set-up!) I usually end each work day feeling like I didn’t get everything finished that needed to be finished and I start the next day stressed out because I feel behind. My work days are super long and since I own my own business, I am typically answering emails and returning phone calls on my days “off” (otherwise known as being home with my kids).

Mommy Days

And let’s talk a little about the days I am home with the kids. Can I say how much I hate cleaning my house with two small children at my heels? Things take twice as long as they should (this includes all meals, cleaning, going to the bathroom, or just about anything else you might need to do in a day) so I end up feeling like I spend all the time I do have at home with them trying to get housework done, prep for meals, and get all the couponing together. To be honest, I’m kind of over it. And there are definitely no leisurely lunches or fun lunch dates with friends, unless you count dragging two little ones along who actually enjoy making huge messes everywhere they go. There is very little time to myself and when I do get a little bit of time, I usually spend it trying to clean up the messes they make or doing laundry or dishes. I also feel like it’s a constant struggle to find some adult interaction in my day.

Since we have been back from Europe, I have done pretty much no couponing and the cleaning was becoming too much to keep up with. I ended up finding someone to clean our house once or twice a month and have decided that it is worth the money if we have it so that the kids and I can actually do fun things when we are home together. Since that happened a couple weeks ago, I feel much more at peace with just hanging out with the kids instead of trying to get everything done, but I am still struggling with (at times) feeling like I shouldn’t spend the money.

So I guess my point is that any way you look at it, being a mom is hard work. There is so much animosity between moms who work, moms who stay at home, and moms who do a little bit of both, and it’s all for no reason because there are hard things about motherhood all around. I used to think that doing the part time thing was the perfect scenario, but there really is no perfect scenario. I love that I get to be home with the kids (especially now that I have worked out the cleaning issue!) and still work, but it’s definitely not a piece of cake. Some days I wish I didn’t work at all, and some days I wish I worked full time, but I know that neither one of those options would be any easier than what I’m currently doing. It would just be hard in different ways. That being said, it’s a good thing my little ones are so sweet (most of the time, anyway!), because that makes it worth all the effort!

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Friday Funnies!

It has been way too long since I have posted a Friday Funnies post. I think the next several weeks will be dedicated to all the funny things our kids did and said while on vacation. When we are home, I usually insist that Anya take “quiet time,” which is really a nap, but the word “nap” is kind of a bad word in our house, so we use “quiet time.” I don’t really remember where exactly we were in Europe when Anya said this, but the kids had been asleep in the stroller for a couple of hours when Anya woke up suddenly, sat up in the back of the stroller, looked around to find us, and said excitedly “We don’t have time for quiet time today!” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she’d already had quiet time!

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Music Therapy?

If you know me in real life, you know that I am a music therapist. If you don’t know me in real life, this may be news to you. If you’re interested in hearing why I became a music therapist, you can read my story here. I don’t come from a musical family (other than a great aunt who is one heck of an organist and an aunt who is a vocalist and married into our family), so it’s an interesting read.

But for now, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about music therapy, since the next writing prompt for the 2014 Blogger Challenge is about music.

1. Music therapy is an actual degree program. Music therapists aren’t just therapists who like to use music or people who call themselves therapist who like to use music. They are certainly not people who think they can just use the CD player or play music for people and the music magically helps them. They are people who are qualified and educated in how to therapeutically use music to help others in lots of different ways.

2. As a music therapist, I have to also be a musician. Yes, I auditioned to be accepted into the school of music. I was expected to have a major instrument that I studied in my undergrad and I was expected to learn numerous other instruments besides the one I am most proficient at playing. Technically, I can pick up any instrument and figure out how to play basic tunes in a short time.

3. Music therapy isn’t easy because I don’t just “play” all day. It’s actually pretty exhausting and requires a lot of energy, just like any other job. I’ve worked in some really high-stress and emotionally charged environments like hospice, inpatient child and adolescent psych, and inpatient mental health and substance abuse recovery facilities. I have also been in some dangerous situations but haven’t had any major issues yet, thankfully. My work can be extremely emotionally draining and I have to be physically and mentally present to be able to provide quality therapy. Imagine how anyone feels to listen to a friend vent about their problems and how exhausting that can be. It’s kind of like that only for 8+ hours a day and most of the time, these problems are a lot more troubling!

4. Music therapy isn’t just about playing live or recorded music for people. I’m well aware that that may be what it looks like, but there is a reason for every single thing I do in a session. I’m forever assessing whether or not what I’m doing is working, and I’m always altering what I’m doing to meet people’s needs. Someone not trained in music therapy is usually not as equipped to do this, which is why facilities should always hire a music therapist to provide music therapy instead of relying on volunteer musicians or entertainers to provide this.

5. Music is not magic. This is important, so I’m going to say it again. Music is not magic. Yes, listening to music can be therapeutic and in some cases, can help all on its own, but it doesn’t always. For it to be music therapy, there has to be a client, a therapist, and music. The music is, of course, a vital role in music therapy, but so is the therapist. Music brings up a lot of stuff and if you’re working through some serious issues, having a music therapist equipped to help you deal with those issues is key. Don’t believe me when I say music brings up stuff? Try listening to a song played at a funeral of someone close to you or listen to a song you danced to with your first boyfriend or girlfriend.

6. Music can help people of all ages. We work from the “womb to the tomb,” as some music therapists say. Music therapy is used in the NICU for even the tiniest babies and is a wonderful way to help someone move on from this life to the next in a hospice setting. And we work everywhere in between.

7. It can actually be dangerous for a non-music therapist to practice “music therapy.” You wouldn’t let someone other than a nurse give your child a vaccine, you wouldn’t let someone other than a doctor diagnose you, and you wouldn’t let someone other than a physical therapist provide physical therapy, so there really is no reason why you would allow anyone other than a music therapist to provide music therapy. You never know what music will bring up for people (See #5!) and it can be difficult to manage if the person isn’t trained in how to deal with this. When we’re not taking all our music classes and practicing, we were learning just this kind of thing.

8. Music therapy doesn’t always make people happy. People sometimes have this misconception about music therapy. Sometimes, yes, music therapy can leave someone feeling happier. But therapy is hard work. It’s not always meant to be fun and if you have ever been in therapy, sometimes you leave a session in turmoil. But that’s what has to happen for a person to grow and learn. You have to be given things to think about so that you can make a decision that is right for you, and these decisions are not always easy and can’t be made lightly. And they’re definitely not always fun. Music therapy can be like any other therapy when it comes to this stuff.

I graduated around second or third in my high school class (I don’t know if I ever got the final number) so I think a lot of people were really surprised I chose music instead of something “smart.” But I can honestly tell you that music degrees are no joke. They are just as hard as any other degree program, if not harder than some of them. It’s a lot of hours, a lot of work, and a ton of stress. Not to mention that I am constantly (every day) defending my choice and explaining to people what it is I do as a music therapist. And unfortunately, none of us have a lot of money to show for it. But what we do have is a lot of passion for our work and a true love and commitment to what we do, and that’s really why we do it.

Music is kind of a way of life for me. I started playing the piano when I was 7 and have learned to play numerous instruments since then. That means that I have been involved with music for over 25 years. Crazy, huh? I can’t imagine my life without it, and honestly, every memory I have is somehow related to music, because it has always been a part of my life. It is also something that will always be a part of my life. Long after my body gives out and I can’t do all the physical stuff I used to do, I will still have music in some way. Anya at RecitalI hope music will somehow be at least a small part of my children’s lives, even if they choose other careers, though I will admit that when my daughter tells me she wants to be a music therapist so she can help people, it does melt my heart a little…ok, a lot! Click here to see a really cute video of her telling me about it! Also, you’ll want to see my son imitating his Mommy on the piano!

 

I’m part of the #2014 Blogger Challenge – are you?

 

 

Like an Obsession

It’s come to the point where Felix and Anya are obsessed with each other! In fact, I have never seen two kids so obsessed with each other. They both have to be doing what the other is. For example, at mealtimes, Felix wants whatever Anya has, even if he already has it on his plate, of course. And Anya usually insists that she is having “whatever Felix is having.”

For most of the last couple of weeks, Anya has also been wearing Santa “footie” pajamas (they are one of two pairs of “footie” pajamas she has that fit) because Felix wears those kind of pajamas to bed. We kept trying to get her to wear this cute nightgown we had gotten her and she refused because she wanted to wear something similar to what Felix was wearing. We had to actually explain that Felix will probably not be wearing nightgowns, but she didn’t seem to care.

Anytime, we go anywhere to eat or do anything, Anya always insists “I want to sit by Felix.” We’ve had to talk to her about why she may not always get to sit by Felix on the planes and trains in Europe, depending on the seating, but she wants to be where he is as much as possible.

I know it won’t always be this way, (he’s already starting to do some of that annoying-little-brother-stuff), but I’m enjoying it while I can!

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My OOTD?

So I will admit that I had to google this to find out what it meant when I read the writing prompt for the Blogger Challenge. I never take photos of my outfit of the day, mostly because I don’t feel like I’m particularly fashionable. Just like my skincare routine and my nail routine, I dress “Mommy style.” I like to wear cute clothes but I also like a good deal, so I tend to not buy anything “cute” until it goes on clearance at the end of the season, and then I wear it the next year. Not so fashionable to a lot of people, but I’ve got bigger things to worry about with two little ones, right? Besides, some of the time, I’m doing this:

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Yes, we like to babywear here. I wore my kids more when they were younger, just because they were easier to carry around and the baby carriers I had made it difficult when they got bigger. Someone recently let me borrow their Ergo, and I am in love! I can now carry my 20+ pound son around with little issue with it. We plan to take it to Europe with us for the places we can’t use the stroller. I wish I had known more about the Ergo when I had my first because it is so much more comfortable than the others I have, especially when the kids get a little bigger.

Babywearing is great for both moms and babies. It makes babies feel happier and closer to you and it allows you to get things done around the house without your baby crying for you to hold him. Of course, you can’t really cook over the stove or anything like that, but there are a lot of things you can still do with them when you wear them.

Do you babywear?

I’m part of the #2014BloggerChallenge! Are you?

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Friday Funnies

wpid-img_20140414_120032.jpgSurprise! Anya’s having triplets and “called” me the other day to see if I wanted to come and visit her at the hospital when she goes to “push them out.” Later, she went to “push them out” and decided there really only was one baby. Then, she brought all of her babies to lunch and told me she would hold them while she ate. I think her exact words were “they don’t usually let me eat, so I don’t want you to have to hold them so they don’t let you eat.”

After lunch, she took one of them to get her ears pierced and then to the doctor. She said her baby kept coughing and she didn’t know if she was going to “puke up or not.” After taking her into the other room to see the doctor, Anya walked back into the kitchen and sighed very heavily. I asked her what was wrong, and she said, in a very serious voice, “I just don’t know if she is going to be ok or not.” A few minutes later, she announced that her babies were going to need surgery. I said “Oh my! Why?” She explained that they were sick and broke their legs. I asked how many babies she had. She thought for a minute and then said “I don’t know.” I have no idea where she comes up with this stuff, but it sure is entertaining!

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