I am not sure why this does not go without saying, but please, keep your hands off my baby. This little human is new here, she doesn’t know you have germs, or really, who you even are. She spent nearly ten months in my body, where I could protect her, and I might just lose it if you touch her. I am new to motherhood, and we are busy trying to figure out this thing that is parenting and how to protect this little baby in this world. Please don’t make it harder for me. I already have thousands of anxieties running through my head. Please don’t make me panic about whether or not that sniffle noise you just made was just allergies or if my baby could be in the hospital next week.
I know she is cute. I know you love little baby toes and fingers and faces. You are welcome to say hi. From a distance. It was already so hard to leave the house. Figuring out what to bring, how I will feed her, if she’ll be happy or cry at all the newness. Please don’t add to all this chaos that you probably can’t see.
If i am not handing her to you, don’t reach for her. If I didn’t say for you to touch her or even get close, please give us space. Admire from a distance. She is a human too, even if you swear up and down you have no germs and you washed your hands, she has a right to space as well. A right to know the people touching her.
I am so happy you like my baby. I am so happy you are offering kindness and compassion, but please offer in other ways. You may not hold my baby. You may not touch my baby. What may be a small cold for you could mean the end of the line for her.
Ease my worried mama mind. Take a few steps back. Offer kindness, admire us in our state of newness, but please give us our space to figure it all out.
I remember when I was the perfect mom, you know before I had kids. It is so easy to say what kind of mom you will be before you have kids, but the truth is you have no idea and, honestly, it really hurts our experience as a mother when we have unrealistic expectations. Having unrealistic expectations brews resentment, disappointment, and self hate, while we could just being living in the truth of motherhood, the dirty, difficult, but absolutely beautiful in it’s own right, motherhood. I wrote this to share my experience as well as hopefully prepare future mamas for the reality that is motherhood so they don’t experience the unfortunate shift in reality a lot of us go through.
I think the most important point that we often do not consider before becoming mothers is that we cannot control who are child is. You can do everything the way you think is perfect, but each child has their own personality, tendencies, ways of doing things, and own struggles. We forget that babies and toddlers are just little humans with their own personalities and ways of seeing the world. Regardless of what you do and how you parent, you may have a very “difficult” baby or you may have a very “easy” go with the flow baby. This is their personality (or temperament) and we don’t really have a say in it.
Along with their own different personalities comes different ways of dealing with things. While it helps to be knowledgeable about child development and behavior management, some kids are going to have tantrums. Some children have sensory processing disorders and get overwhelmed. Most toddlers will develop separation anxiety and stranger anxiety and to a certain extent this is completely normal. You can’t parent to prevent this. You can however parent to be supportive and consistent parent, but that’s another conversation.
The other thing is the expectation that we will be super moms before we ever even become a parent. I think this creates terrible disappointment and mom burnout. Parenting is EXHAUSTING. It is the most mentally exhausting thing I have ever done, and I taught a room full of toddler for five years. Parenting is different. It is constant. There really is no break, even if someone gives you a break, you think of your child pretty much constantly. Becoming a mom changes everything. Do not expect to be the same productive person who does it all when you become a parent. Actually, don’t expect to be the same person at all. Your child will be your biggest teacher in life and you absolutely will change and that is okay, embrace it. While you eventually will get into your own groove as a parent, there is a huge adjustment. I thought I was going to be able to build my business, keep the house spotless, take care of my young crazy dogs, maintain a healthy marriage and build my business. Oh boy was I wrong. It took me about eighteen months to really settle into myself as a mother and figure out exactly how to be myself and a mother as well as a part of society and that is also okay. We don’t have to figure anything out right away and I just wish someone would have told me that.
We all know consumerism is a huge issue in Western Society. Advertisements and the constant pushes to buy more are everywhere, so it of course effects our children and how they think. From commercials to conversations with friends, acquiring more things is encouraged. For us parents who want our kids to want less and live more, I created a list of tips on teaching our children less is really more.
Decide as a family a good number of toys, clothes, and other items such as movies or books that will be a cap for the amount in your home. For example, you can say 5 stuffed animals and 10 other toys then maintain that number by donating anytime you choose to add a toy.
Teach your child to value experiences over stuff. This will mostly be learned through role modeling as well as discussion as they get older. A great way too teach this is to go hiking rather than shopping. Only go shopping when necessary and discuss what you will be getting and why with you child.
Let family and friends know your plans for minimalism! You can tell everyone your happy to accept gifted experiences (season passes to a theme park, state park passes, movie gift cards etc.), but will not be accepting any items.
Read books with your child(ren) focused on minimalism and the importance of experiences over stuff.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Designate a few times of year to donate anything no longer being used such as outgrown clothes, toys, or books. A great time is before yearly school shopping, holidays, and birthdays. Let children know when donation days are approaching so they can prepare.
The best way to really raise a minimalist is to be a minimalist!
“It is always the simple that produces the marvelous.” —Amelia Barr
As a mama who wanted an unmedicated birth herself, I was curious why other moms took a similar path, whether a home birth or hospital birth. I surveyed the moms of Green Mama Life and here are the REAL answers!
Fast labor, also known as precipitous labor, is defined as labor that last two or three hours. Many women noted they had planned to have an epidural, but we’re unable to due to quick labor. When quick labor occurs, women may jump into the end phase of labor quickly or arrive at the hospital too close to delivery to receive an epidural.
The hospital being understaffed was definitely my least favorite answer. The epidural is a choice so I find it upsetting, as I’m sure many women do, that hospital staffing is a factor in women’s birth choices. Although women noted they were usually happy with the overall experience of not receiving an epidural, I do believe we need to do better to support women in birth.
Some women mentioned their desire to really just see what their body was capable of. A few women who skipped the drugs found they felt more empowered after experiencing natural childbirth as they really saw how amazing and capable their bodies’ are.
Along with owning the power of the female body, women noted they wanted the whole experience. Women were curious about what birth felt like without numbing and wanted full control over their pushing and movement.
Some women mentioned their previous experiences made them want to skip the epidural. A few women noted bad experiences with the epidural leaving them with no desire to do it again while others noted experiencing an epidural with one birth and not with the second and preferred the birth and recovery experience without the epidural.
Many women, including myself, noted our fear of the epidural. Their fears ranged from a literal fear of needles, fear of it leading to a c-section, to fear of it harming the baby. All of these fears are valid. As mentioned in the Previous Experience section bad experiences with epidurals do happen.
Common symptoms from an epidural include itching, nausea and vomiting, fever, soreness, and a drop in blood pressure, while more uncommon, yet still prevalent, symptoms include difficulty breathing, severe headache, infection, seizure, and nerve damage.Healthline
Did you skip or plan to skip the epidural? What was your reason? Have you had an experience with an epidural?
You may also be interested in Natural Home Birth Plan
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Check out our birth and postpartum recommendations!
For those of who love the great outdoors, we want to pass that love down to our children. One way to start is to give your little one a nature name!
As parents who are Eco Friendly it can feel like an uphill battle trying to get everything your little one needs and make parenting a little easier, while also minimizing the amount of waste we create and the amount of non- natural products we use. Being a mom focused on creating minimal waste and providing my daughter with a non-toxic environment, I wanted to share tips and products I use so you don’t have to spend hours researching all the different options like I did!
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I knew from the start I wanted to limit our use of plastic because it’s bad for the environment and leaches toxic chemicals over time (even BPA free), so also bad for our babies! I know what I DIDN’T want to use but had no idea what could be a kid friendly alternative. After lots of research I decided bamboo was the best option! Not only is bamboo sustainable, but it’s also a natural, sustainable, and non-toxic material.
Not only is it more Eco friendly to avoid plastic and electronic toys, it’s actually better for your little one’s development! (Check out Growing A Creative Child for more information). These are my Toddlers favorite simple and eco friendly toys. These toys are also great because your little one won’t grow out of them quickly!
Ok, so this is the one plastic toy I will suggest because my daughter is obsessed with the song “Wheels On The Bus” and this company is great and their products are made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic milk containers that save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also great to have some toys with wheels to help children explore cause and effect.
We love cloth diapering and use them most of the time. They’re great because nothing goes to the landfill and no harsh chemicals on my little, however I know it’s not for everyone, so bamboo disposable diapers are a great second option and we’ve used these a lot as a backup option, especially when traveling!
For the little ones who are ready to start potty training, we found this awesome BPA free potty. Our little one loves it and it’s super easy to clean.
I hope you find these products are helpful in your search for being an eco friendly parent!
Comment below any other eco friendly items you may be looking for or your favorite products you’ve found!
Making The Decision To RV Full Time
From Santa Cruz, CA to Bend, Oregon, and to our current home Montpelier, Vermont, we have explored dozens of small towns and big cities, driven cross country, sold all our belongings and relocated (twice), and lived on opposite ends of the U.S., yet, we are wanting to go again! We’ve been considering moving to Washington as we miss the West Coast, yet want to avoid wildfires (OK maybe you can’t avoid them in Washington either), but really we just aren’t sure where to land. We are over moving, yet not content in staying still. Solution? RVing.
We’ve made the decision to become full time RVers this coming spring. We’ve decided the best thing for us is to pause the hamster wheel, jump out of the cage, and get on an adventure. A real, never experienced this and have no idea what we’re doing kind of adventure.
And we are bringing our toddler (duh), two dogs, one cat, and a fish named cookie.
Are we crazy? Maybe a little, but we manage all this craziness in a home where I stay at home by myself with all these crazies, so life will indeed be easier and more fulfilling for me when my husband quits his job and starts directing this circus with me full time.
Not only have we made the decision to find our ideal forever home by RVing and exploring all the edges of North America, but also we LOVE to travel and we LOVE road trips.
Two weeks ago, we went on a small road trip to camp for a few days by Lake Champlain in Vermont. What I realized on this trip, although I’ve thought about it occasionally previously, was I’m truly at my happiest when exploring a place I’ve never been. It also seemed this was true for our toddler and dogs (also brought along our beta fish). We all were blissfully exploring and playing, so why not live that pretty much everyday?
That is the question we have been asking ourselves over and over – why not live our happiest moments all the time – that lead us to this decision.
So here we go!
Follow along on our journey to pick our home on the road, remodel, and begin the traveling!
Five Ways to Encourage Creative Play
Creative play supports cognitive development, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking skills.
Creativity involves cognitive processes that transform one’s understanding of, or relationship to, the world.
Children explore their roles in the world and their impact on the world around them through creative play. It’s important for children to process and understand their world as well as express their emotions through creativity for emotional well-being.
Follow these easy tips to support your child’s development through creative play and building the skill of creativity!
The environment is key in encouraging creative play. It is important to create a “no” free zone that children know they can engage in without criticism or many limits. If it’s not possible to always have this space set up, you can get a large baby gate to section off an area that you can add toys or art supplies the child can engage with freely. Providing a playroom, if possible, is a great option as well.
Research actually found children engaged more and formed more cognitive connections when using simple, wooden toys rather than electronic “learning” toys. Keep simple toys that can be used for multiple purposes and imaginative play available at all times.
Always make sure there is time in the schedule for your child to engage in play without direction or a goal. See the article How Lazy Parents Win at Parenting for more information.
Simple, give children space to play on their own without direction. However, ignoring children or forcing them to have alone time will only create children to be more “needy.” A child’s emotional and attachment needs must be met before they are interested in solo and imaginative play.
Show your child how to use their imagination! Read some fantasy books together or grab a stick and pretend it’s a wand. Teach your children it’s ok and even encouraged to engage in creative play and use things in creative ways.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.” — Maya Angelou
Going From Angry Mom To Calm Mom
It can be difficult to not just shout emotionally whatever needs to change, however you and your little will be much happier if you calmly state your expectation before the crazy arises. Set both of you up to succeed by always saying what behaviors you do want rather than what you don’t want. Most children under 3 actually can’t process negative commands, so literally cannot do what you want. Try saying “please keep the marker only on the paper,” rather than “don’t color on the wall.” You’ll feel like they’re listening way more & you’ll feel like a calmer mama!
How you think about what your child is doing will reflect in how you treat your child. Therefore, we need to change when we are finding ourselves irritated. When you find yourself thinking “they’re really doing that again” or “I’m so annoyed right now,” stop yourself and think positive. For example you can think to yourself “actually I’m really not bothered” or “that actually isn’t a big deal.” Sometimes we need to choose our battles and realize what’s really worth the stress.
Post a few daily mantras to start shifting your thinking. For some encouragements you can check Encouragements For The Overwhelmed Mama. Start simple with a few like “I’m feeling calm” or “I control my inner peace” and slowly work up to more specific mantras about you and your family. It is helpful to mantra around behaviors your child does that are pet peeves or a stress trigger for you. One I use is when my little randomly screams at the top of her lungs- “I feel calm. She’s just exploring her voice.” Using a mantra around the behavior will keep you from getting worked up and reacting in an undesired way.
Make a list, or at least a mental list, of how you’ll respond to common issues with your child for the day. For example, if you know that your child is a tantrum thrower, decide in the morning that you will keep your calm and address their feelings calmly and kindly and not take the tantrum personally.
All right, I’m sure you’ve heard this on repeat now because it’s all the rage on social media right now, but it needs to be said. You can only be the best parent when you are feeling your best. This means feeling healthy, mentally and physically. Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are linked to depression and anxiety as well as irritability. Also try getting a food sensitivity test, food sensitivities can cause irritability as well. Exercise and getting outside daily are both great ways to relieve stress and feel better.
Pay absolutely no mind to people who say you’re going to spoil your child. You literally can’t love on your child too much, research has confirmed this people. Hold those sweet babies (or jumbo kids) any chance you get. The more you touch and bond the more you will trigger the release of oxytocin in each other and the less stressed both of you will feel!
The real secret to being a calm mom is trying out the different approaches, finding what works best for you and your family then sticking to it! You got this Mamas.
For more support and tips check out 5 Tips To Be A Better Parent.
Motherhood is hard. Sometimes we feel as if it is consuming us and the “productive adult life” we once lived is slipping away. It’s normal and okay to feel this way. Here are some little encouragements to remind you that parenting is enough.
A birth plan is a list of what a mother desires for her birth. Each mother may have different desires and limits, but these were the decisions I made for my body and my child. I am providing my birth plan as an example for other mother’s to get more ideas and feel more Empowered about their own birth experience.
10 Strategies for Handling Separation Anxiety
1. You can minimize the child’s separation anxiety by maintaining a consistent routine in which the child’s anticipates the separation and the reconnection.
2. Always tell your child before separating in order to minimize the child’s fear that you may separate at any time. This way the child can rely on you being there until the anticipated separation.
3. Attempt to minimize separations.
4. Maintain consistent caregivers in order to allow the child to build an attachment to those who care for the child.
5. Ensure the caregiver knows the needs and preferences of the child. For example, you can share with the caregiver a song that you and the child like to sing together so the caregiver can do this with the child.
6. Provide the child with tangible objects that remind them of you so they can hold it when they miss you. It often helps to leave the child a photo of both of you.
7. Emphasize that you will always return to be with the child. Reassure the child before each separation.
8. Tell the child what you will do together when you reunite in order to give the child something to look forward to as well as a reminder that you will return shortly.
9. Once you reunite, tell the child how happy you are to see them again. Discuss the separation and how you returned.
10. Expect the child to show symptoms of anxiety through many forms such as a short temper and waking up through the night. Reassure the child that you are there for them.
In order for a child to be diagnosed clinically with separation anxiety they must meet three of the eight following symptoms:
(1) recurrent and excessive distress upon separation, or anticipation of separation, from home or major attachment figures; (2) persistent and excessive worry about losing, or about possible harm coming to, major attachment figures; (3) persistent and excessive worry that some event – such as getting lost or being kidnapped – will lead to being separated from a major attachment figure; (4) persistent reluctance or refusal to go to school or other places due to a fear of separation; (5) persistent and excessive fearfulness or reluctance to be alone, or without major attachment figures at home or in other settings; (6) persistent reluctance or refusal to go to sleep without a major attachment figure present, or to sleep away from home; (7) recurrent nightmares about being separated from major attachment figures; and (8) repeated complaints of physical symptoms (e.g., headaches, nausea) when separation from major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated. (Mychailyszyn, 2012)
Although it is age-appropriate for a toddler to have some distress when separating from a primary caregiver, separation anxiety “involves age-inappropriate, excessive, disabling anxiety about being away from home or from those individuals to whom the child is attached” (Scarpa, 2012). Professionals discuss how “separation anxiety is typical in toddlerhood, and so this disorder may be difficult to distinguish from anxiety that is developmentally normal,” it can usually only be distinguished by intensity of anxiety and length of time the anxiety lasts (Scarpa, 2012).
Lieberman, Alicia F. (1995). The Emotional Life of the Toddler. Free Press, Simon & Schuster, New York, New York.
Mychailyszyn, M.P., & Treadwell, K. (2012). Separation anxiety. Encyclopedia of Human Behavior, 396-402.
Scarpa, A., & Wilson, L. (2012) Childhood mental disorders. Encyclopedia of Human Behavior,467-475.