I’m A Different Mom

I’ve been hashing this out with my sister and wanted to get my thoughts down. I kinda feel bad for my big kids because I’m a much better mom now with #4 than I was with them. You’re thinking “duh” I’m sure, but it’s something that has slowly dawned on me.

For instance, Seester and I met some friends for coffee one afternoon and when we headed back around 6:30 Birdie lost it in the van (like we knew she probably would). I didn’t hesitate to pull over, wrap her and walk along a strip mall until she fell asleep in hopes that when I did put her back in the van we would have a few more minutes before she freaked out again. I don’t think I would have done that with my bigs. I was so focused on getting home, doing what need to be done that I don’t think I really stopped to give them what they needed in moments like that. I am not feeling any mommy guilt, really, I did the best I knew and the fact that my girls are 22 months apart made things hard. Have I mentioned how much I’m loving this 5.5 year age gap? ;) Having big kids when you have a baby is just pure awesomesauce.

I know part of it is being older now (I was 23 when I had my first) and part is that I know she very well may be our last and I am savoring all of it (yes, even the screaming fits and night nursings) because I DO know that time truly does fly.

With my first I remember being so excited for every milestone… but now I am dreading them. New moms, relish it. Enjoy it. ALL of it. Even though it’s hard. I wish I had with all of them. There are so many little things I don’t remember.

Hindsight

Reading posts of first-and-second-time moms trying to sleep (and otherwise) train their children has left me with the following thoughts:

It’s true, there is no one “right” way to parent. But as a mom of 3 (soon to be 4) I can honestly say that there is a right way for each child. Some babies won’t STTN until they are 4 and some will do it at 6 weeks and it’s not our job to force them to be someone they are not. It’s our job to see them as the people God created them to be and respond accordingly. Each of my children is so different and needed different things from me. It can be hard because of societal norms and the way we were raised and the endless sea of voices all around us saying otherwise but it is IMPERATIVE that we see and treat our children as PEOPLE. People deserving of respect and consideration. We are not raising children, we are raising adults and the way we raise them determines who they are, how they treat others… how they treat us. If we can’t be bothered to set aside our needs in order to meet theirs, we can’t expect them to ever set aside their needs to meet the needs of others — something that, to me, is so incredibly important to know how to do. Jesus compels us to do so.

Looking back, I see that as a first time mom I felt the need to control my son, to make sure I did things “right” and as a result I lost the notion that I was supposed to have a relationship with him. There are SO.MANY things I will do differently this time. The biggest one is to remember that this time is SO SHORT. As a mom of a 10, 7 and 5yo I have hindsight. It REALLY is a short, short time that is full of so much to be savored and embraced. I won’t fight so hard this time.

Someone once gave me this illustration and I find it helpful. If you think of your child’s life, 80 years, as 80 inches… it’s easy to see that the time we have with them in our homes is incredibly short, though it may feel like it drags on forever. Those older moms who tell us to “cherish it” while we’re complaining of how hard it is? They’re the ones who also have hindsight, who look back and wish they could have known then how short that time really is.

Being a mom is hard, there’s no doubt about that. But I find that we, as the mom, often make it MUCH harder than it has to be. Why not take the easy route? The one that allows both mom AND baby to meet their needs? Whether that be comfort nursing, co-sleeping – whatever, we need to let go of the notion that meeting our baby’s needs now will cause issues later – because, REALLY, meeting someone’s needs NEVER results in a problem. We don’t NEED to know WHY they need it, all we need to know is that they need it and we can give it to them.

We need to utilize our resources, admit when we need help and reach out to each other. This, IMO, is one of the BIGGEST causes of distress for moms. That we feel we need to make everyone think we have it all together – sometimes I think God made motherhood difficult so we would HAVE to lean on each other.

Prenatal Vitamin Tea (Good for women, regardless)

My midwives always prescribe this in place (or in addition to) prenatal vitamins.

1 part Nettle leaf
2 part Alfalfa leaf cut
2 part Red Raspberry leaf
1 part oatstraw
1/2 part Rosehips (or chamomile & lavendar)

It’s a good tea for any woman actually.

Rosehips

Rose hips are reported to have up to 60 percent more vitamin C than citrus fruit and are rich in bioflavonoids. Bioflavonoids are important to build and strengthen body tissue. This in turn strengthens the vascular system.

Rose hips are taken by many today as a natural way to get vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K, and help to prevent and treat various infections, especially colds and flu. Rose hips are also taken to quicken the healing process for bruises and skin irritations.
In addition to vitamins C, E, and K, rose hips contain calcium, citric acid, iron, niacin, phosphorus, tannin, vitamin A, B1, B2, and P. As a natural stimulant it gently allows movement of the bowels, as diuretic rose hips cleanse the urinary system, as a pectoral hips are a remedy for pulmonary and other lung diseases, and as a tonic the rose hips strengthen organs.

Stressed and tired? Rose hips will help. Nervousness? Try rose hips for relief. As a matter of fact, rose hips provide innumerable health benefits from skin, to the immune system, to the bladder. Studies have even shown that rose hips can help prevent the development of kidney stones and prevent diarrhea. Additional studies have proven rose hips are helpful to the circulatory system, respiratory system, the thymus gland and as a blood cleanser.

Other health benefits include lowering abnormal body heat, relieving thirst, healing of internal hemorrhaging or spitting of blood, aid for dysentery, strengthens the stomach, prevents and helps relief chest infections and coughs, cleans the kidneys and bladder, prevents fluid retention, helps with gout and rheumatic conditions and nourishes the skin.

Nettles

The known benefits of organic nettles leaf are extensive, as this plant has truly been used for centuries on end. Currently, there are several well-known, well-documented benefits of organic nettles, including:

Female tonic, especially for young women beginning menstruation and older women in menopause.
May assist the body in the detoxification of chemicals and heavy metals
Helps to reduce water retention, and is particularly helpful for PMS and menorrhagia, a condition where there is heavy menstrual flow in women.
Helps Stimulate mothers milk, and increases energy after childbirth.
Natural testosterone booster which aids in increased vitality in men.
Diuretic that increases uric acid secretion, while at the same time, resisting nighttime bathroom urges. Great for urinary problems and bed-wetting issues.4
Sterols, one component of nettles, reduce the activity of DHT, a type of testosterone, causing enlarged prostate.5
Anti-inflammatory capacities act to help many of the symptoms related to arthritis. The robust amounts of boron and silicon minerals reduce pain of osteoarthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout. The leaves can be made into a paste to be rubbed directly on painful areas of skin for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Anti-hemorrhaging qualities for internal bleeding, as well as small cuts and wounds
Anti-asthmatic for both bronchial and asthmatic difficulties, helping to clear constricted bronchial and nasal passages6
Magnesium components moderates the pain of Fibromyalgia
Contains natural antihistamines. Wonderful for hay fever and allergies
Natural kidney and adrenal-gland tonic
Powerful analgesic
Depurative agent

Alfalfa

Besides these historical uses of the plant, the known benefits of organic alfalfa leaf are considerable. Here are some of the well-documented beneficial uses of the plant 3,4,5,6

•Excellent natural laxative and diuretic
•Detoxification of the urinary tract, and urinary tract infections
•Reduces excess water retention in the bladder
•Excellent natural source of vitamin K
•Well-known blood and liver purifier of chemicals and heavy metals
•Eases joint problems, skin issues and foul breath
•Has a strong alkaline effect on the body
•Excellent neutralizer for the acids in the intestinal tract
•Eases general digestive problems, gastritis and indigestion
•Reduces migraine headaches through combined high magnesium and calcium levels
•Contains bioflavonoids that stop the inflammation of the stomach lining.
•Contains high levels of enzymes for food digestion and assimilation
•Lowers bad forms of cholesterol, and reduces the incidence of atherosclerotic plaques
•Stabilizes blood sugar levels, particularly when taken in conjunction with manganese
•Improves pituitary gland functioning
•Stimulates the immune-system
•High level of vitamin K adds to the effective healing of bleeding gums and nosebleeds
•High bioflavonoid count increases blood capillary strength
•High levels of Vitamin K2 may partially prevent bone loss due to lack of estrogen in menopausal women

Red Raspberry Leaf

They have been used in connection with the common cold, sore throats, diarrhea, pregnancy, and postpartum support.

In pregnancy it was traditionally used to help with nausea, ease labor and delivery, and post- partum recovery. It is also helpful for regulating menstrual period and controlling diarrhea.

Red raspberry leaf with its high content of vitamins and minerals like, vitamin A, B, C and E, potassium, phosphorus and calcium, can promote the overall health and well being of a woman during pregnancy. Therefore, red raspberry leaf tea is considered as a tonic for pregnant women, that can boost their overall health and the immune system. Apart from vitamins and minerals, the leaf contains carotenoids and alkaloids like fragrine. The alkaloid fragrine has been found to tone the muscles of the pelvic region and uterus, so that the process of delivery becomes easier, faster and less painful.

However, red raspberry leaf tea does not induce labor directly. Instead, it strengthens the muscles of the pelvic and uterus, so that they can contract more efficiently during labor which is why there is widespread use of red raspberry leaf tea to induce labor. In other words, the tea can promote uterine contractions during childbirth and also help to reduce the pain experienced during and after labor. In addition to these, red raspberry tea leaf can promote better blood circulation, ease morning sickness, prevent postpartum hemorrhage, relieve constipation, prevent miscarriages and promote lactation and bone development in the baby.
Red raspberry leaf is also known for its effect on fertility. The leaves of raspberry plant are believed to cure infertility in both men and women. Therefore, along with pregnant women, those wanting to get pregnant also take red raspberry leaf tea as a tonic. The leaf is sometimes, combined with red clover to enhance its benefits for fertility. Women, especially those having menstrual irregularities can take this leaf or the tea to regulate their menstrual cycle, and reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

Other Benefits of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Apart from the pregnant women, people with certain ailments or health problems can too benefit from the red raspberry leaf tea. Some of the most well known red raspberry leaf tea benefits are:
•The leaves of red raspberry plant has astringent properties, for which it can constrict the intestinal tissues to provide relief in diarrhea and soothe inflammation of the intestine.
•Red raspberry leaf tea can be an effective herbal remedy for sore throat, irritation of the oral cavity and gum diseases.
•It can also help to prevent dehydration, and lower the level of blood sugar in diabetic patients.
•Apart from these, red raspberry leaf tea can be used to treat flu, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, fever and rubella.

Oat straw

With its sweet, delicate flavor, it may be surprising to learn of the strengthening ability of oat straw. This herb fortifies not only the nerves, but also bones and teeth, the lungs, and the circulatory system. It supports the endocrine system, and stabilizes blood sugar levels. Oat straw nourishes the skin, hair, and nails. It is hard to turn away from the soothing promise of oat straw tea.

For any nervous disorder, oat straw tea can be used on a daily basis. It nourishes and rejuvenates the nerves, alleviating feelings of anxiety and stress, as well as emotional disturbances such as grief or exhaustion. Its nutritive content is a perfect cocktail for a weakened nervous system. Calcium, magnesium, zinc, and the B-complex vitamins all are necessary for mental well-being.

Through nerve support, oat straw actually increases sensory sensitivity. It allows both the body and the mind to reach a state of calm relaxation.

What Do You Really Need for Your Newborn?

A sweet, wonderful friend of mine is FINALLY pregnant after trying for years and I am so excited I keep squealing! So, when she asked me to tell her what I think she truly needs to get vs what’s just nice to have I figured it’d be easier to blog about it. :)

I have to say the #1 thing you need is a carrier – pouches and Moby’s are best for the first 6 months or so and then I usually switch to a Mei Tai and loved the Angel Pack for putting them on my back.

You need a comfy place to nurse, whether that’s an armchair, rocking chair, glider or lazy boy. I prefered the gliders, they rocked more smoothly and were quite comfy (get one with padded arms).

A boppy – it’s just awesome and so stinkin’ helpful for nursing!

A miracle blanket. Babies need to be swaddled – they’ve spent 9 months being swaddled in the womb and it takes them to a happy place. It also makes nursing 100x easier and they sleep better because they can’t smack/scratch/poke/punch themselves in the face. :)

A convertible carseat – skip the bulky, uncomfortable, waste-of-money bucket/infant seat. When you take baby out of the car, put him/her straight into your carrier and do your back a favor!! No one should lug those bulky, heavy seats around, especially a woman who just gave birth!

Cloth diapers – safer for your baby (chemical-free), better for the earth and SO much easier on your bank account. :)

I couldn’t have lived without a swing, my babies LOVED them. But some babies don’t. I recommend getting one that plugs in AND will swing both ways (side to side, and front to back).

Nursing pads. Leaks abound when you’re nursing.

Things to skip:

diaper genie (esp not needed if you cloth diaper)
wipe warmer (if it’s really that cold, rub it between your hands first, the diaper changes are unpleasant for baby no matter the temp. of the wipe)

Optional:

nursing tops – I found that cami’s were perfect to wear under regular shirts, they stretch nicely and cover your tummy.

breast pump – unless you’re going back to work they’re really not necessary, but having at least a hand pump is a good thing.

Crib – we cosleep so cribs were just a waste of space for us. I did use a side-positioner that held the baby on their side to sleep. However, I realize most people buy a crib.

Co-sleeper – I never used one, my babies slept in our bed, between us or between me and the wall but I’m hearing from other moms that they are great to have.

GF Easy Bake Oven

R2 has one of these, we’ve used it, like, once. *hides* She’s GF like me and pulled it out today lamenting how we never use it so I got on the ‘net and found some GF recipes and even a company that sells GF mixes! I had to share:

Mixes:

www.FoodTek.com

Recipes:

http://www.gfessentials.com/product.asp?catID=7

http://www.budget101.com/frugal/easy-bake-oven-mixes-187/ – these are regular DIY recipes but you can easily sub gf flours

Valentine’s Day Plans

For the past two years we’ve attended our church’s V-day dance but this year we decided Valentine’s day is going to be a family event. We’re going to have fun food and a DANCE PARTY at home! I’m working on a cd of songs right now – and I’m sure we’ll play some Just Dance on the Kinect. :)

I plan on making Pizza Chicken and Pizza Fondue along with Chocolate SoyButter Truffles.

We’re going to have a blast! The kids have no idea and I can’t wait to see their faces!

Tattoo On My Heart

No matter what, I struggle daily with controlling my temper. I have come to discover the physical, hormonal reasons for it but I know that it’s also a heart issue. I’m trying desperately to fix this, whatever it is. Crying out to God to just reach down and snatch it out of me, but I know it doesn’t work that way. I have to get to the root of it, I have to do the work. And I’m trying.

One thing that’s really helping me is reading Grace-Based Parenting. This book is full of wonderful words about the grace of God and how we can NOT raise strong Christian children without allowing that grace to flow through us to them. But grace is something that a lot of us struggle with. We know all about the grace that leads to salvation but for so many of us it stops there. We don’t realize how much grace God bestows on us every minute of every day. It’s a little overwhelming when you really think about it.

There are so many lines in this book and I’m only 1/2-way through it – I rarely write in books but I know this is one that I will be rereading over and over as my kids grow. The thing that really got me today was this:

listen, not lecture
respond rather than react
engage rather than dismiss
pray rather than judge

I want this tattooed on my heart, maybe even my head! I think I’ll start with printing it out and putting it on my wall. I think this is a great map to showing grace to my kids… if I can just get it to become habit. As they say, ‘old habits die hard’ and man, it’s true.

Pray for me as I strive to change and die to the old habits of my flesh.