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.
As a family who strives to be minimal waste and plant based, as well as gluten free and sugar free thanks to allergies, it can be such a challenge to find tasty snacks! However, this challenge has made me a very creative cook. I’ve learned to make pretty much anything I want from scratch with alternative ingredients to meet my families needs and wanted to share with other families who face similar challenges!
This recipe was stumbled upon when the other day my toddler woke up from her nap and was dead set on having muffins. We decided to get creative a try too make something! We typically use chickpea flour and quinoa flour for baking since we can get it organic and it’s high in protein, so we busted those out! I found a recipe online for lemon blueberry muffins and used it as my inspiration and as an estimate of how much of each thing to add. Of course, I altered the recipe a ton to fit my families needs.
Typically, we use organic almond or cashew milk, but I had extra soy on hand since I need it for a recipe for Thanksgiving, so, in it went! I think it made the muffins a little more creamy tasting but I think cashew milk would have worked great as well.
The recipe is so simple my toddler helped me with all of it. Measure, mix, bake and enjoy! I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!
There is so much “how to” parenting information out there. Unfortunately, it’s focused on controlling children and getting them to behave however is easiest for us as the adults, but not focused on the child’s, parents’, and family’s overall well being. Even though I have a master’s degree in child development and years of experience as an early childhood teacher, I found myself struggling to find my identity as a mother. I knew pretty much all the research, the approaches, and what a child needs for healthy development, but I had no idea how to just be a mother. These books, along with experience and my daughter’s guidance, I am finally feeling at peace with my role as a mother and I hope you too find more peace in your role as a parent.
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I really enjoyed this book. Although it’s a little extra on the advice and judgement, I found so much of the content helpful in being a well rounded supportive mother. I changed my approach to big emotions and their expression (hello toddler tantrums) and it’s really lifted a weight off myself and my toddler. I hate to admit it, but the book may have been right about my over-parenting tendencies, but I was able to stop back with this book’s simple approach to both supporting positive behaviors while also allowing the expression of all emotions.
This book is awesome for any parents hoping to raise a nature-loving human. It really gives you more understanding by digging into the research but also teaches how to be a nature mentor for your family. It pushed me even further to get my toddler outside daily.
This book is much more approach focused and I actually read this one in one of my child development classes, so not necessarily about your role as a parent. However, I enjoy the simple, child-focused approach and have used a lot of ideas from this book as guidance in my own parenting. I even was a substitute teacher for this center for a while when I lived in Santa Cruz. I think this is a great book to read if you’re really just trying to figure out how to approach toddlerhood and get some real and good advice on how to parent.
This book is a must read for all moms. It’s totally focused on the motherhood experience and the modern problem of mommy burnout. This book truly changed my life and is probably the reason this blog even exists. This book will awaken you to the issues you don’t know exist with your own wellness and start you on your journey to repair.
I think all my fellow crunchy mamas will know why this is on the list. I love this book. I learned so much about the statistics about learning outside of schooling even though I have a degree in education! This book was the last push for my family to fully jump on board with unschooling.
This book made me cry in the first few minutes because it hits hard at the truth of why our kids act up and spoiler alert- it’s us. It dives into the need to disconnect from all the “shoulds” and parent from a deeper place. A truly life changing book.
What are your favorite alternative parenting books?
Car seats are extremely important and have saved many little ones lives. It’s important to use a car seat when in a car, however, because they’re intended for the sole purpose of keeping baby safe from an impact, they do absolutely nothing in terms of supporting the baby’s development and actually hinder development. Because they actually impede baby’s development by confining and limiting movement, it’s important for baby’s well being to only be left in the car seat when in the car.
Please note this article is not intended to shame parents but rather to inform and empower them to make the best decision for their family.
Switching from one container to the next reduces the amount of time and ability for a baby to kick, turn their head side-to-side, wiggle and move as a baby is supposed to do in order to develop the needed strength and coordination to learn new skills such as rolling over, sitting up, crawling and walking.Nation Wide Childrens
Over use of a car seat (along with other container devices such as a baby swing, rockers, strollers, etc.), can result in issues such as delayed development, flathead syndrome (plagiocephaly), maldevelopment of the neck muscles (torticollis), ADHD, and maldevelopment of reflexes.
Time in containers should be limited to no more than 30 minutes maximum per dayhttps://azopt.net/container-baby-syndrome
Although a baby carrier is still considered a “baby container,” it is a much better option that leaving baby in a car seat. A carrier allows baby to be close to you, regulating their breathing, heart rate, and . It allows baby to feel safe and also involved with whatever you are doing. Baby can learn by watching and listening to you, while babies are often left out of whatever is going on when left in a car seat. It also prevents head deformation as baby has different positions for head support, if any, when in the carrier.
Wearing babies allows you to carry them in a position that’s beneficial to their physical health and development. It helps prevent flat head syndrome and can promote digestion (helping with colic and refluxes). Babywearing also increases the amount of time spent doing skin-to-skin with your baby, which research has connected to decreased rates of postpartum depression.
Lille Baby Carrier
Organic Boba Baby Wrap
In terms of supporting development, a Playmat is your best option. It allows baby to move freely and develop his or her own movements. Although a great option, I know it is not always a realistic option when in public spaces. However, if you’re in a safe environment with baby, always have a Playmat on hand to let them develop their skills!
Organic Explore Playmat
Organic Cotton Round Playmat
A great safe option to let babies play and grow is a portable Play Yard. It keeps baby from any accidents while still being them safe. While it’s best to use a play mat in a safe environment so baby can feel more involved with the surrounding world, play yards are a good option for when that may not be safe or realistic.
Lotus Portable Crib and Play Yard is the safest play yard as it the only playard with non-toxic certification (low voc & no lead, phthalates, pvc, heavy metals, etc).
Of course there’s always the great option of just holding your baby!
If you’re engaged in something important or unsafe enlist others to hold or watch your little one. Almost everyone will say yes to holding your baby!
A great solution to limiting time in a car seat out of the car is eliminating the option! Get a convertible car seat that will grow with baby that stays in the car. This way if the temptation arises, it’s not an option because you definitely won’t lug around a huge convertible car seat. You’ll happily strap on the baby carrier or grab the play mat and head on your way.
The Maxi Cosi is my favorite because it has great safety ratings, it’s easy to use, and they don’t use toxic flame retardants on their seats.
How do you avoid or limit container parenting? Any tips?
Unfortunately, a lot of the toys that are in homes today or are largely popular are toxic and leaking BPA, phthalates, and even lead into our children and homes. I won’t even go into the environmental impact because we all know plastic waste = bad for the environment. Thankfully more and more companies are offering safe and eco-friendly options.
A few favorite companies that you’ll see a lot of below is Haba and PlanToys. Along with these companies, organic cotton toys are always a great sustainable option.
Haba is a fantastic eco-friendly and non-toxic company with high quality toys. The wood is all from sustainable forests and the paint is all water based free of solvents. When any plastic is used, they use the safest plastics, polypropylene or ABS. All of it’s toys are safety certified in Europe which has much higher standards than the U.S.
PlanToys uses sustainable practices and sustainable materials. PlanToys uses non-formaldehyde glue, organic color pigment, water based dyes, soy ink and recycled paper. They even use solar energy in their manufacturing.
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Organic Cotton Activity Bear
Organic Cotton Cuddle Bunny
PlanToys Push Car
Haba Color Pyramid
Haba Rattle & Bouncing Toy
Haba Play Gym
PlanToys Push Walker
PlanToys Pull Along Rabbit
Organic Belle Cow
Organic Cotton Tunnel
PlanToys Forest Animal Playset
Haba Garden Peg Stacker
Haba Take Along Farm Play Set
Haba Snug Up Doll
PlanToys Ride On Bike
PlanToys Dinosaur Play Set
PlanToys Kitchen Set
PlanToys My First Doll House
Fantasy Block Set
PlanToys Trimono Bugs Game and Puzzle
PlanToys Balancing Monkeys
You may also find Best Eco Friendly Toddler Products helpful!
Comment below about your favorite ways to stay Eco friendly around gift giving!
Grab the planner, calendar, and sticky notes! If you try to do it all, you realistically just won’t remember it all. Use any tools at your disposal. I fill out a monthly calendar and a weekly calendar hanging for everyone to see. I also use a planer daily to keep track of all the little to-dos that may arise as well as track goals and check off accomplishments.
While more organization tools and scheduling is always helpful, doing and having less is always the best route to succeed. Make clear what your goals are and stick to what needs to get done to achieve them. Minimize all the extras that don’t really help you achieve your goal or bring you what you need (note: relationships, happiness, self care, and fulfillment are all needs).
This also applies to belongings. Old toys, clothes, useless extras around the house? Donate them! Or even better, sell them and make a little extra cash. The more things in your space, the more time you will spend trying to manage it all. Clean out anything that does not bring joy, provide a purpose, or is of importance to your family.
Let everyone know what time will be used to work and focus on working during that time. This may mean agreeing with a partner that you leave the house to work two or three times a week while they’re home or letting children know when a set time is for them to have quiet solo play. For example, I get some work done during nap time, but it is often not enough time, so I take two evenings a week to head to the coffee shop to focus on work.
As a work at home mom, it’s hard to not get caught up in the constant demands of the home. It’s necessary to decide set times to clean so it does not interfere with work time. As soon as my little is down for a nap, I give myself 10 minutes to speed clean and pick up anything that could distract me from my work. This way I’m not overwhelmed with a mess while working, but also not losing valuable work time.
Of course, this a no-brainer if you have a little one who still naps. If they’re really young, you still may need to rest as they nap, but when you’re able to, take the time to get work done because getting work done while littles need your attention is not likely.
Stop trying to do it all. I learned this the hard way, but it’s true, no one can do it all. You can’t keep the house spotless, work full time from home, and parent while maintaining some sanity. Call on those around you and use what support you can. As I started working more, I asked my husband to take on more of the chores. We keep a chore chart of who does what on what days to keep things fair and organized, which I suggest everyone do. Every family functions differently but make sure to talk to those around you and explain that even though you’re home, you have more than the home to focus on.
Any tips you’d share? Drop them in the comments!
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!