Six Tips to Help You Fight Postpartum Insomnia

I’m thinking I must have Pregnantsomnia because much of what I faced with postpartum insomnia I am now facing as a pregnant mama with my toddler running around. Nonetheless, these six tips to fight postpartum insomnia apply to me now too and I think they can help many a mamas, but especially those new moms.

I am by no means a professional and I am only sharing what worked for me. If you are battling insomnia then I would encourage you to seek guidance from your physician.

I remember when Bubby started to sleep longer stretches at night as a new baby. He’d sleep four, five maybe six or even seven hours of sleep. Not me. I’d roll over and look at the clock and it’s 2:00AM. I’d start thinking “I’ve got a couple more hours, maybe even one, before he’s awake again. Go back to sleep. Go back to sleep.” Nothing. No sleep at all.

Some women it hits right away. For some, it takes its time, showing its ugly face right when you start to feel “normal” again. Insomnia. Unfortunately, for most women who suffer postpartum insomnia, depression may be lurking around the corner. According to the National Sleep Foundation, insomnia and depression tend to go hand in hand. We already know that those who suffer with sleep disorders need to be wary of the onset of depression. So why does postpartum insomnia get so easily overlooked for moms who experience postpartum depression?

Most women are told it’s normal to run on no sleep during those early newborn months. We laugh about the 30 minute power naps we take a few times a day to get through a 24 hour period. Women are made to believe that sleepless nights are normal and will pass. You know, maybe in a year or two when the kid starts sleeping through the night. Most women need the tools now to curb their sleepless nights which may dial down postpartum depression. Here are a few strategies that you can try right right now in an effort to get a better night’s sleep.

Postpartum insomnia is tough. Here are six tips to help you fight postpartum insomnia.

Quit trying to nap when the baby naps.
Some women just don’t nap well or can’t pull off the power nap.  If anything, you lie there, agonizing over the fact that you’re not sleeping while the baby is sleeping. Instead of trying to nap every time the baby does, use those times as rest time but only pick a nap during the day when you know you just might actually fall back to sleep.

Get some exercise and get outside.
Many moms groan at this one but don’t underestimate the power of stimulating your body. Let’s define exercise real quick for the new mom. It is NOT jumping right back into your old workout routine. It is NOT pushing your body too soon physically.  Sometimes a simple walk around the block will do wonders for your morale and your body. Maybe it’s doing that annoying 10 minute total body workout video you bought from WalMart. Whatever is, give it a simple try. We think we should be able to sleep because we haven’t had very much sleep to begin with, but studies show that a short time of physical exertion helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Quit surfing Facebook before bed.
If you’re like most of us smartphone-loving moms, you check your Facebook during that middle of the night bottle feed or nursing session.  Studies upon studies tell us we need to put our electronics down at night. For this strategy to be effective, we should put them down about an hour before we turn out the lights. This definitely eliminates checking your Instagram while you’re nursing at 2:00A.M. The simplest way to explain this reasoning:
the lighting on your electronic devices makes it hard for your brain to shut down to fall asleep and to stay asleep.

Try to not look at the clock when you wake in the night.
This strategy alone helps some individuals reduce anxiety with mid-night wakings because they aren’t aware of how long they’ve been awake. Keep yourself from running in a vicious circle, agonizing over how you’ve been awake for the last hour. Turn off the stress, and you may fall back to sleep sooner than if you were aware of the time on your clock. Plus, looking at the lighting on your clock may be too stimulating for your brain.

Try turning the baby monitor down a notch.
This doesn’t mean turn it off. We already know that women are more sensitive to their baby’s noises than men are. But sometimes we hear every little move the baby makes and wake when we don’t need to. Try different volumes during the day to gage what you’re comfortable with. Maybe move the monitor in your room so it’s not so close to your bedside. Find an option you’re comfortable with so you won’t worry about it.

Just get up and do what you can’t stop thinking about.
This might sound counterproductive, but if you’re laying there thinking about laundry, the grocery list or something else you want to get done, then it might serve you better to get up and do it quickly so you can quit thinking about it. Don’t make this a habit but it could be a valuable option if it will help you go back to sleep.

Seek help and counsel if you feel your sleep loss is greatly impacting your mood and attitude.
While this is the last strategy, it is certainly not the least. Many women fight a silent battle against postpartum insomnia, while they’re dealing with depression. Don’t let yourself be one of them. Talk to your provider or a friend who may be able to give you some advice on how to receive help.

What about you Only a Season Mamas? Any other tips you would add to help encourage one another?
Don’t forget you can PIN THIS article to save for later or share with another mama. And if you’re interested in getting tips like this to your inbox, check out our Mom Tribe.

Peace,
Glo

To the Weary Mama

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“Give me your heart, give me your song, sing it will all your might
Come to the Fountain and you can be satisfied.
There is a peace. There is a love you can get lost inside.
Come to the Fountain and let me hear you testify.”
                       ~NEEDTOBREATH “TESTIFY”

 

Motherhood is a gift that easily gets tainted. I know I am my own worst enemy most times. So much anxiety and thoughts race through our minds.

Am I doing this right?

Am I doing enough?

Do they know I love them?

Do they feel loved enough?

To the weary Mama, I see you. I see you trying to hold it all together on the straight and narrow path of deception. A path so wide and straight that many find their way so easily to an unfulfilled thirst for acceptance. We want to know that we’re doing enough. We want to believe that the daily decisions we make will guide our children to a better path as they grow.

I see the worry. I see the masked concern when you drop a little bit of your motherhood that you have clung on to for so long, when one of the plates fall.  It’s a constant nagging when Inadequacy drowns out all the love noise of the One who is calling you to His well.

We want to be confident in who we are, but the world constantly battles for our attention and tries to fill all those voids. The world offers us a drink and we leave still feeling thirsty. When I take that cup from the world, I leave with a false sense of knowing where I am. I leave with a parched mouth.

I know that all consuming thirst all too well. It’s that thirst that can only be filled when I drop all that I am trying to carry and come to His well where His Word fills my soul.

I want to be lost. Lost in His love that I can’t see a way out. I want to wander in the deep cave of His mystery. My feet kick the rocks on the ground in His canyon of peace.

He takes my hand and shows me His Word that’s written on my heart. I gently hand Him my heart that has it all figured it out and in exchange I receive His truth.

There are times when I trip and fall as I walk through the vast valleys of victory in Him, and it’s then I am grateful for my weakness because it’s in these moments when I know really how strong I truly am in Him.

If I am always looking back, questioning my worth as a mom, then I trip and fall. When I look side to side, I lose direction. But when I look forward, towards Him, I am lost to all that is around me. I’ll never look back again.

Wont you be lost with me?

I let go. I let go of the expectations I put on myself. I let go of comparison. I let go of my anger. I let go of myself.

I sing my song of redemption. I sing it at the top of my lungs.

Let go and sing with me.

I find His well of wild love and drink deep. I am satisfied in the lostness of knowing Him.

Peace Mamas,
Glo

Do you feel overwhelmed and exhausted? Does your faith feel empty? I know the feeling because I have been there too.

How to Survive Pregnancy with a Toddler

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Figuring out how to survive pregnancy with a toddler boy running around me is not a challenge that I thought I would spend that much energy on. I knew it would be hard at times but mamas, bending over the side of the crib to pick up my toddler is incredibly harder than I anticipated. I’m talking about being 30 weeks pregnant while picking up an 18 month old boy from his crib in the middle of the night because his gums hurt from teething.

But as I have progressed throughout this pregnancy, I have realized that I do a lot to help us both get along throughout the day so our home can stay as peaceful as possible. I know there are many Mamas out there who can totally relate to what I’m talking about and I know many of you have tips of your own! If you want to add to our list, read on and then add your comment below!

Here are a few tips to help you not just survive, but thrive while pregnant with a toddler.

They post may contain affiliate links. As always, opinions are all my own. Full disclosure here.

How to Survive Pregnancy With a Toddler. Tips for being pregnant while having a toddler.

1) Start incorporating Independent Play with your Toddler NOW.
I could probably write a whole post about the power of independent play (IP), and if you haven’t looked into this yet, now is the time. You want to start this trait now, no matter the age of your toddler. And if you aren’t sure how your toddler will respond to this, then start now so you can slowly work towards increasing time your toddler will play by himself.

Independent play is simply you letting him explore a few toys on his own, without interaction from you, allowing him to be totally creative on his own in a safe setting. You’re going to want this time to catch your breath or to feed your new baby once she gets here or whatever you need to do. My 18 month old can play by himself for an hour and 15 mins (we use a timer!). We do this almost every day. It is a lifesaver.

2) Don’t be afraid to put everyone to bed earlier than normal so you can go to bed early too.
I think majority of moms are extremely exhausted that first trimester. I know I am! When I was pregnant with Bubby, I could nap or go to bed whenever I wanted. Now that I am chasing Bubby around all day, I am wiped out by the time my husband gets home and he is usually pretty tired himself from a long day at work, so early to bed we all go.

And this can include nap time too. There are some days when I put my toddler down earlier so I could take a nap myself or I just plain needed to lay down for just a little bit. Putting him down 30ish minutes early is not going to hurt anything and I use this opportunity to teach him he needs to quietly lay/rest in the crib until mommy comes to get him. Getting your toddler used to a flexible sleep time with a window of 30 minutes is a tool you’ll want in your belt when your new one arrives!


3) Allow the extra help!
We have fantastic grandparents and relatives who will gladly take our son for a few hours or even for overnight! I have found I used to struggle with this the most when I kept holding on to control too much over my son’s routine. I realized I needed to prioritize what was important to his routine, communicate that to whoever is helping and let the rest go. Plus, I want Bubby to be used to being around those folks so when our new little one comes home, we can all have a little break from time to time.

4) Try to keep up some sort of exercise routine.
I know this can be REALLY hard the first and third trimesters but I’m not saying you need to pop in P90X and listen to Tony Romo blair out your TV. I have found that variety works best for me when I’m battling prego fatigue. A 10 minute pregnancy pilates DVD here, a 30 minute walk outside with my toddler there. Whatever I do, I try to do something 4 days a week. What might that look like for you?

5) Take a risk with intimacy and your spouse!
Each woman has her own experiences during pregnancy and when it comes to sex, this can be especially varying. Some women are raring to go and some women are still searching for their libido. When I say take a risk, I mean take a risk on being intimate with your spouse and forget about the rest. Most men are sensitive to your needs (and comfortable positions!) during this phase. Try not to let tiredness rule out intimacy every time. I know this can be incredibly hard and a sensitive topic for some but take a look and see if intimacy has faded since being pregnant again. I know it did for us and we decided to change things up so we could each stay satisfied and satisfy each other too.

Use this time to try new things or to be more open with your spouse about what works for you right now as your body is changing. I can personally say that when my husband wants to be intimate with me and I have no desire to be sexual, I tend to give him the benefit of the doubt and things almost always turn out better than I thought. Just something to think about! 😉 Feeling sexually fulfilled while you feel like a giant walking watermelon can give you an amazing boost during this tiring time, especially knowing your spouse feels good too!

6) Start planning now instead of wondering and worrying about what it will be like when baby arrives!
I tend to ask myself a lot of questions about what will I do if this situation arises with our new baby and how will I handle Bubby in the process. I am a planner by heart so coming up with possible ideas incase the need arises down the road reduces a lot of stress for me. The balance of all this is realizing that things may not go at all how you expected and that’s OK! Learning to adapt to a change of plans is such a vital tool, and I imagine this is ESPECIALLY TRUE when planning for your new baby’s arrival.

Some things to start planning ahead now:

  • Bulk freezing meals and/or snacks for your household, especially your toddler.
  • Create a general menu of a week or two of meals so whoever may help you take care of your toddler can have a reference point (I am doing this for my husband too!).
  • Checklist of new items you’ll need to get for new baby that can’t be reused from your first baby.
  • Independent Play (mentioned above) for your toddler.
  • Consider having help come by once or twice a week to help with some household chores the first couple of months. I plan on having our teenage babysitter come once a week to sweep, do laundry, dust, vacuum, etc. (Teenage girl is cheaper than maid service I would imagine!)
  • Bulk buy items that are a pain in the butt to run to the store for when you run out. I did this recently with a huge pack of a TWO MONTH SUPPLY of diapers! Whoot! We also bought bulk deodorant, toothpaste, trash bags, etc. Household items like this give me a peace of mind, knowing I wont need to worry about buying them while I’m sleep deprived.
  • Start creating busy bags or simple daily activities you can easily do with your toddler when baby is sleeping or feeding.

7) You might want to start changing up your daily routine with your toddler.
When I first found out I was pregnant, Bubby was taking two naps still. I never got too sick during that first trimester but boy I would get so exhausted mid-morning. There were mornings I would put him down a little earlier than he probably needed so I could rest for a few extra minutes. We also normally had a mid-morning snack that I slowly moved up so we could just eat lunch earlier together because it helped me fight fatigue. Having an earlier lunch helped me a lot that first trimester!

Also, before I found out I was pregnant, we would get out pretty much every day and do an errand or two or go on a playdate. As I have progressed in my pregnancy, I can’t quite keep up with that every day business. I have started more at home activities with him so we can get used to being home more which will be the case when Sissy arrives (at least in the beginning). It helps me feel more rested now and will help us adjust to being homebodies when she is born!

I know we could add so much more to our list! What would Mamas like to add? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’d like to get tips like this straight to your inbox, click here and join our Mom Tribe.
Peace,
Glo

Our Gender Reveal Party for Baby #2!

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Bubby’s little sister is to arrive in March 2017. We have been super excited over the fact that we’ll have a boy and a girl and the fun (and challenges!) that come with raising both genders. I have so many cute pictures and activities that I’ve already recorded and written down about my son, that I want my daughter to have some of those same experiences.

BUT, if you know anything about having subsequent children, you know that the pictures and crafts get fewer and fewer the more kids you have. Trust me. I know. I’m the youngest of six!

To start off on a proactive note for our little girl, I decided to have a gender reveal party. I knew she wouldn’t get all the showers and games and fun that Bubs got as our first born, so gender reveal party we threw!

Since I have such a large number in my family, I wanted to do something that was relatively simple, but still festive and fun. I decided to keep decorations low key but have some fun activities for my family to do to celebrate the surprise gender of our baby.

Gender Party Ideas for Party. Party ideas for a Gender Reveal Party.

 

MOST IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION FOR YOUR GENDER REVEAL PARTY:
Deciding how to reveal the gender is always the big question. Husband and I knew the gender ahead of time and we decided we did not want to use food in any way to reveal the answer. My family has a few who would cheat (haha!), and I wanted it to be a complete surprise to everyone!

We decided to use balloons in a box and then have our toddler son help us open the box as the balloons floated out with the gender color!
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FOOD

In terms of food, we have a party favorite in our family and that is funfetti cake. It is my favorite by far! Since food wasn’t an integral part of the surprise, I kept it very simple and cheap. Funfetti was on sale for 99 cents a box at the store, so I bought two boxes and made over two dozen cupcakes. I simply used some food decorating icing and put “G” on half the cakes and “B” on the other half.
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I decided to make our table half of a girl side and half of a boy side. I went with simple decorations from Party America. I love anything that’s chevron print, so I kind of based it off the napkins I picked up. 🙂

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DECORATIONS and PARTY GAMES

I decided to go with simple and “traditional” blue and pink colors to decorate as you can see above. I wanted the decorations to be part of the activities so I decided to use the wall space in our kitchen as part of the activities for our guests.

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PHOTO BOOTH
This was our photo booth for the day. The tissue pom poms hanging from the ceiling were super inexpensive. The blue ones were already in my son’s room from one of his showers and I picked up the pink plush ones from Party America. (Bonus, I can keep the pink ones for her room above her changing table!)

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I had a small table set up to the side with the boards for the guests to use. If they thought we were having a girl, they posed with the “It’s a girl sign.” Vice versa for a boy.

As I mentioned, this was pretty simple but our guests ended up having a lot of fun with it! I had my niece be in charge of taking pictures and getting folks to participate so I didn’t have to worry about it either! 🙂

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NAME GUESSING
We thought it would be fun to put up a list with five girl names and five boy names and then have our guests pick one of each that they thought we would use. I read the answers while we were eating lunch outside. It made for great conversation and then we told them our top name when we revealed the gender! You could award the correct answers right when you read all the answers, but it’s up to you!
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I just used the same table that had our photo booth accessories on it and threw some burlap on there that I had in my craft box. Simple and fun!
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BOY or GIRL Onesies: You pick!
This probably wasn’t necessary but these little paper onesies were so cute I had to figure out a way to use them! We had our guests write their name on the color of onesie they thought we were having. So if Bill thought we were having a girl, he wrote his name on the pink onesie. It was another cute decorative corner to add to our kitchen and everyone had fun with it.
img_3086My sister even wrote the name she thought we would use with the gender she picked and wore it on her clothes! Extra bonus!
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BEST WISHES FOR BABY
Have you ever gone to a shower and they had those cute little sheets that the guests write their best wishes on for the baby? They something like “I hope you ___________” and then the guest fills in the blank. Well, I had something like this for Bubby and I wanted Sissy to have a similar experience because I absolutely love the sweet things people write. So we had a small spot set up (below the onesie banner) and family members filled them out throughout the day.
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GUEST BOOK FRAME SIGNING
Lastly, I took a picture of her gender sonogram and bought one of those frames where folks can sign the outer part. We have since hung this up in her bedroom and she can easily see who was at her party and the warm wishes they had for her (regardless of her gender!). I had blue and pink pens and let the guest choose what they wanted to use!
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We ended up having a great time with our families and the party was a real hit! If you end up having a gender reveal party I would encourage you to think about your priorities for the party and focus on those instead of trying to do everything. ESPECIALLY if have more than one kid running in circles around you! For me, food was a lower priority and activities was a higher one.

What would you mamas add? Anyone else do something similar? Would love to hear from you in the comment section below!
Peace and happy Bumps to you expecting moms out there!
Glo

20 + Tips from Real Moms on What to Do when You have a Newborn and a Toddler

We are having our second child in March and will be bringing home our new little addition to the family while having a 20 month old running around. I am excited, nervous, and a little scared. Scared of the unknown of a life with two under two. Nervous about the demands of a toddler while having a new baby. Excited to hear what tips other moms might have for me.

Thankfully, I am not the first woman who will experience the life of a mom with a newborn and a toddler. If you’re like me and scouring the Internet for tips, hacks and advice on how to survive as a new mom for the SECOND time, then look no further.

While I have mixed feelings about being what some might call a “Modern Mom” or a “millennial parent,” I without a doubt and grateful for the over 11,000 moms whose support I have in an awesome online mom group. I’ve seen these women post day in and day out with questions and concerns about how to survive with a newborn and not pull your hair out with a toddler.

So when I started worry about what this chapter of my life was going to be like, I knew I needed to hear the realness of this adventure straight from the horse’s mouth. Mamas, I give you to you REAL advice from REAL moms about how to navigate the life of having a newborn and a toddler. Here are there top tips for us new moms!

 

Read more for tips on brining home baby while having a toddler. Quick tips and reminders for mom with two under two.

Erin said: “My youngest two are 16 months apart. Best advice- GRACE. give yourself lots of grace. It gets better, but it will be super rough at times. Don’t stress about little stuff, just take it a day at a time (sometimes an hour at a time.”

Sarah said: “Grace. Lots of grace for yourself and for both kids. Mine are 17 months apart and here are a couple things that helped me.
-a “nursing basket” with special toys for the toddler while you nurse
-have your toddler do room time during one of the feedings
-get out of the house and don’t feel guilty about it!
-go to bed when baby does until night time sleep gets better because you can’t really rest much.
-ask for help with the toddler (wish I did more of this)
-when they’re both crying, determine the highest need and go wth that one first 😉
-let baby sleep in the swing or in the carrier the first 6 weeks!
-start “sleep training” week 6-12.
Grace. Everyone needs it. And if you cry, that’s ok!”

Kerry said: “If you’re a perfectionist like I am, lower your expectations for yourself a little. I expected to nail it, and was disappointed in myself over and over. Now I don’t pretend to have it all together, and it’s so much more freeing. And when things go bad, I’m like, whatever, that’s life. And when things go good I’m like yaaaaa!”

Claire said: “Let your older one say that he does not like his brother/sister or even horrible stuff. Do not yell at him for that. Just explain him/her that you love them both, that you are listening to his/her frustration and you will protect and love each of them the same way. Do not say that the older one will help you. He/she is not the parent.”


Kiah said: “Schedule a pedicure/massage/hair app whatever makes you happy before baby is born, have a plan and stick with it. It’s crucial to take care of yourself. Also schedule realistic date nights even if youngest baby tags along.
-Meal plan/freezer meals if possible, see if someone knows of a college girl or maid service that’s inexpensive.
-Purge the house of stuff you don’t want now and organize the rest. There are lots of videos on YouTube about how to organize on a budget.
-I used lots of positive affirmation with my boys preparing for baby #2 and #3
You’re going to be such a good big brother!
Are you going to hug and kiss baby when he’s born?
Baby loves you sooo much! Look how he smiles at you!
Anytime there was a misguided comment about how jealous they would get etc I would politely turn it around.

Ashley said: “Mine are 13 months apart with no family nearby😳😂
I really tried to make the toddler a part of the newborns care- not only did I keep my daughter busy, but I really believe that they are pretty close now because of it, it also taught her how to be kind and caring towards a baby. While I would nurse the newborn, the toddler and I would have special conversations or songs that we would only sing while I was nursing.
-And when I was caring for baby, I was constantly talking to both of them about what I was doing. ” Ok, mama’s gotta change brothers clothes…again”😜
-I pretty much lived down on the ground with them reading and playing. I would put his jungle gym down on the floor and lay some books out for her, and a lot of the time I could cook and clean with no issues! They both really enjoyed music too!
-I praised my 13 month old so much for being nice to her brother. To this day she gives him so many kisses, hugs, and brings him all of his favorite toys. Now, they are to the point where he is mobile and they chase each other and play all day – it’s great! they are 22, and 9 months- looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any other way!”

Elisha said: “Be kind to yourself. Take one day at a time and don’t try and do everything ask for help!”

Dara said: “Don’t be afraid to live completely in survival mode for the first 6 to 12 weeks or as long as you have to. And also, on the other hand, don’t be afraid to go out of the house whenever you need to keep things normal.
-The best advice I have received so far, is to use the toddler as your flex point. By this I mean if you need both kids to nap at the same time with the toddler down for their nap earlier or later based on whatever the baby schedule might be. The same thing goes for bedtime. If all hell is breaking loose and you need to tend to the baby you can put the Toddler down a little bit later and they will be just fine.”

Sarah said: “Crying has never killed anyone. If baby has to cry while you care for your toddler, they will be fine. If you have a toddler screaming at your feet while you feed baby don’t let that stress you. If you have to leave BOTH kids wailing to take care of your own needs, do it. This only lasts for such a short time. They do get the hang of sharing you! You are super woman, but you’re not God. You don’t have endless untapped energy and you can’t be everywhere at once.”

MORE POPULAR TIPS FROM THESE MOMS:
*Hire someone inexpensive to help clean or cook and if they can, be with the toddler for a little bit.
*Don’t freak out about everyone crying. Prioritize who needs attending first. Oh, and don’t be afraid to cry yourself!
*Get outside and exercise when you can! This may mean investing in a double stroller.
*Freezer meals AND snacks you know your toddler will eat without much complaint.
*Don’t be afraid to ask someone to set up a “Take Them a Meal” system.
*Have second baby’s room set up as much as you can before second baby arrives.
*Get those busy bags ready and only pull them out for the toddler during specific times. Thank God for Pinterest. Also, check out my 45 Daily Activities to do with a PreToddler for quick, free, and easy tips.
*Make sure and take care of yourself!!!
*Try to keep a date night to connect with your spouse!
*Let others help you!

WHAT ABOUT YOU MAMAS? What else would you like to add? Let us know in the comments below!
As always, cheers!,
Glo

 

Empty Grief

 

I forgot to call upon Your name.
I couldn’t see out of this bottomless pit.
My grief felt empty. I felt alone.
Blind. Numb. Empty.

I couldn’t see out of this bottomless pit.
Missing you more than I ever thought possible.
Blind. Numb. Empty.
Wishing I had spent those times with you when I said no.

Missing you more than I ever thought possible.
Wondering if you knew how much I loved you.
Wishing I had spent those times with you when I said no.
I isolated my grief.

Wondering if you knew how much I loved you.
I had cried so much my body was shaking on empty.
I isolated my grief.
I no longer wanted to hear their condolences.

I had cried so much my body was shaking on empty.
My grief felt empty. I felt alone.
I couldn’t see out of this bottomless pit.
I forgot to call upon Your name.

Words I Can Live Without: Feminine Vulgarity

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Twelve years old, I was riding my bike down our neighborhood hill as fast as I could. I remember beating my neighbor friend at the bottom of the hill and enjoying the thrill of winning against him. He was one of the “wild” kids in our little tribe and my girlfriends and I never really went over to his house to play. Unless he asked us to jump on the trampoline. That was pretty awesome. But he hated to lose and had let me know in some vulgar words what he thought about me winning. So to restore his manliness, I guess?, he wanted to race down a hill not too far from our neighborhood, but far enough on a busy enough road that I remember not being comfortable competing against him anymore. That’s when I heard this word for the first time. Pussy. I’m not gonna lie, I cringe as I write it now. I don’t remember a lot of first time-preteen worldly exposures, but I remember this one. And I remember the feeling it gave me back then. I felt like I got punched in the gut. I felt bad for being a girl. I don’t want to go into some big lecture about feminism but I can tell you this much:

I HATE all vulgarity that relates to women’s genitalia that turns around and gets used as negative and degrading. And really, I’m not a big fan of masculine genitalia that gets turned around and used vulgarly either.

I think of so many of these words and how they affect the perception of women when used. Calling someone a “pussy” instantly denotes a feminine and WEAK counter part. As if you’ve been called a girl and that’s somehow incredibly insulting. Not just a girl, but a girl’s vagina which, I don’t know about you, but our vaginas are pretty flippin amazing. I mean, my son came out of there. And for some reason, a teenage kid thought calling me a pussy was a good insult. Hmmm. Wonder where he got that idea.

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I think of these things a lot these days now that I have a son. Not too long ago my husband made a comment about “crying like a girl.” And since we’re being honest, I know I have said that before. I don’t really remember my parents running around spouting off gender degrading comments. I’m guessing most of my gender stereotypes really came from TV and friends, growing up. When my husband made that comment around my son, not saying it to him but I knew my husband said it, and I knew we weren’t going to be talking like that in this house. Not anymore.

In our house, we don’t need to tear down each other by degrading their gender and using stereotypes. Shoot, I’m pretty sure we can do that with good, old fashion curse words that don’t involve anyone’s genitalia. And if my son gets beat by a girl in a bike competition, I hope he’ll tell her congrats and not“take it like a man” but authentically respond like a child should. Tell her she cheated.

What about you? Have any memories like this? How will you approach this with your children?

Some of us blogging buddies are committed to writing more weekly on our blogs! We have a variety of topics we’ll be writing about! To check out these lovely ladies and where their writing is taking them, click on their blog links below! And as always, tip your waters.
Aimme at mamacentric.com
Abbie at grumblinggrace.com
Emily at emilyfisk.com
Harmony at mywanderingheartsong.wordpress.com

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A First Time Mom’s Guide to Surviving Baby Battles (or just eat the damn puffs!)

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I’m a first time mom (FTM) and just like any parent, veteran or not, we have the good days and the bad. The days you feel like you are the elite parent whose child slept for nine hours last night, and then the next day you’re knocked off your high horse when your child starts clinging to you and screaming for no apparent reason. No, wait. There might be a Wonder Week for that. If you haven’t heard about Wonder Weeks yet, they are the answer for every “What the heck is wrong with my baby?” Google it. You’ll feel a little more sane on those days. You’re welcome.

Whether it’s a Wonder Week or maybe just a typical day in the life of trying to figure out what the heck you’re doing, every FTM needs to have some defense moves on the days their baby declares an all-out war.

Battle Ground: Eating Foods

Baby’s main defense: Karate chopping. Mom approaches mouth with food on spoon, just like any other day. Baby ain’t having it. Mom tries to force past the karate chop. Baby begins arching back and screams. In a momentary lapse, Mom loosens grip on spoon. Baby senses weakness and knocks spoon out of mom’s hand. Better yet, Baby laughs at flying food and wants to blow mommy some smeared broccoli kisses.

FTM’s defense: Trying not to freak out because your child isn’t eating his vegetables like you dreamed, you decide to check your trendy baby-led weaning book. Screaming baby ensues because he wants some food. You drop the book and head to the fridge. Cheese. Best FTM defensive food out there. Go ahead and enjoy some too. Maybe a little glass of wine too? It’s almost lunch time, right?

Battle Ground: Diaper Changing

Baby’s main defense: Back arching and becoming stiff as a board. Putting a diaper on a baby who has stiffened their body and squeezed their legs shut in protest is like trying to move a 700lb rock on your own. It ain’t happening.

FTM’s defense: Kisses and giggles to distract baby. Reminder to FTM – this trick works for .0000007 of a second. Giggles become rip mommy’s face off since she is so close to my hands and I’m ticked about this diaper change. FTM looks around for anything that will distract baby from stiffening his legs. Your phone dings a new message and with it, a battle-saving reminder. Just give it to him. You know you will let your baby play with your phone eventually anyways.

Battle Ground: Grocery Shopping

Baby’s main defense: This one is tried and true. Screaming as loud as he can.

FTM’s defense: Letting baby play with anything crackly off the shelf. This gives you about two toMAYBE three minutes to get to the next aisle to grab some baby puffs.  The puffs you swore you’d never try. The ones you were committed to try and make homemade. And yes, you should just open it in the store and let that baby stuff his face.

Battle Ground: Errands in the Car

Baby’s defense: This can vary. However, screaming tends to be the most effective. Mom’s main goal? Keeping your hands on the steering wheel as much as possible and try not to let your head explode with all the screaming.

FTM’s defense: There are a few tactics mom can try here. Roll down baby’s window to get a 20 second reprieve. Turn up music and sing with baby for a 20 maybe 30 second reprieve. Take said puffs just throw the jar to the baby, and don’t think about what the back seat will look like by the time you arrive home after the 15 minute car ride across town. This may be the most successful tactic in making it home without swerving off the road.

Battle Ground: Nap Time

Baby’s main defense: Cuddles. The more cuddles he tries to give you, the more likely you are to fall for the rock-me-to-sleep baby tactic.

FTM’s main defense: Don’t rock baby to sleep. You want the baby to put himself to sleep. Right – that thought lasts for about two seconds.

FTM’s new defense: Rock the baby to sleep in as big of a recliner you can find in your house so you can try and sleep too. Oh yah, and keep those damn puffs near by.

This post originally appeared on thehomelovingwife.com

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