This Morning My Son Taught Me One of Life’s Greatest Lessons. And it Broke My Heart.

This morning was one of those warm, rainy, drizzly days where you think you can walk through it without getting wet, but before you know it you’re drenched.  I was going through my normal morning routine with my three children, just trying to get them out the door to take my son to school so I could make my way to the grocery store.  With the normal hiccups of the morning (getting my daughter into her stroller, getting the stroller down the stairs, etc) I asked my son for help per usual.  He’s a bit of a daydreamer which I actually love, but on mornings like this, it just served as an irritant for me.  I had to ask him repeatedly to put down his umbrella to help me bring the stroller down the stairs which at the time seemed like an unachievable task to him.  He finally did it, but there was a quiver of the lip after my not so gentle requests for him to “hurry up” and “get it together”.

After that small hiccup, we were on our way in the rain to school.  No more than 20 steps into our walk, I hear whimpering.  My son had begun having issues with his umbrella and couldn’t keep up with me.  The whimpering turned into whines, and the whines into “I JUST CAN’T DO IT!!” followed by sniffles and crying.  *sigh*  I’m not one who’s against crying, but nothing irritates me more than whining and crying over EVERYTHING.  I’m one of those people that bulldozes through every frustration and I unrealistically expect the same of my son.  However, what I said was, “You CAN do this.  Now, get it together and follow me.  You’re going to be late if we don’t stop this nonsense.”  I just called my son’s feelings nonsense.  Shit.

My son’s face clearly showed not just frustration now, but the beginnings of defeat.  His head hung low, and his little feet rushing to catch up to my long and speedy stride, I just hoped that he would shake it off and make it to school.  But could I leave it alone?  Nope.  I kept trying to give him advice.  I mentioned how he was a big boy now.  How he couldn’t act like this when he begins his taekwan-do lessons next week.  And THIS and THAT and THIS and THAT.  I was THAT mother.  The nagging, irritating, commanding mother.  What happened next broke my heart.

He just stopped and started sobbing.  And really sobbing from his heart.  Not the whiney, whimpers that I heard earlier.  True sadness pouring from his little body.  I stopped in my tracks.  I no longer cared if we were going to be late.  Locking the stroller, and slowly crouching down, I opened my arms and just held him.  Feeling his tears trickle down my neck I knew I needed to listen to the small, gentle boy that I call my son.  So, I asked him, “What’s wrong?  Why are you crying?”  He said, “I’m crying because I’m hurting.  That’s what you do when you hurt.  You cry.  I’m just trying to be 6.  And…I feel really bad about myself.”  He broke down crying again and I about started crying myself as I held him.

I looked into his ocean colored eyes and really looked at him.  He’s still a baby.  He’s my baby.  With the other two babies that I have, I’ve forgotten that he’s still one himself.  Studying his little face, I began to say the words to him that I should’ve said a long time ago.  I said:

“I want you to listen to me…and listen to me closely.  You are stronger than you know.  Do you know why?  Because you’re you.  I know you feel weak sometimes.  That is ok.  But you need to remember that you aren’t weak.  You are strong.  And you are beautiful.  Do you know why you are strong?  Because I am strong.  Because you’re my boy.  You will always be my boy.  I want you to know something else.  When I was little, I cried too.  I cried a lot but was told not to cry.  That’s why I said those words to you.  And you know what?  I was wrong.  You were right.  When it hurts inside, you do cry.  And that’s okay.  I love you little man.”

This was one of the first times my son listened to me with his eyes locked with mine in a very long time.  He took every word I said and let it soak in just like he did all the other times I used those rushed words of hurry, worry and anxiety.  In fact, what I fail to realize on a daily basis is that he listens to EVERYTHING I say.  And he takes it to heart.  And what I was saying was making him hurt.  After a hug, a kiss, and another ‘I love you’, we began making our way to school again.  About a block away from where we last stopped, I hear, “mama?”  to which I said, “Yes little man?”  “I’m still sad.”  I figured he would be a little sad, but the reason why is what blew me away.  I stopped again to face my little guy and asked “Why?”  He looked at me with his wide innocent eyes, and said, “Because I didn’t know I was special.  I thought I couldn’t be special until I was a big person.”  *heart breaking again*

To this I replied:

“You are especially special because you AREN’T a big person.  You’ve been special from the very day you were born and will continue to be special everyday from there forward.  Do you know why you are special to me?   You were my first baby.  Before you, I wasn’t a mama.  That means you are forever special to me in my heart.  You will always be my first baby.  My special baby boy.”

A hint of a smile crossed his face and a flicker of the glimmer in his eye returned.

When we arrived to school I told him that I wanted him to remember two things today.

Number 1: You ARE Special

Number 2: I love you.

We repeated those two reminders a few times before parting ways this morning.  This is a morning that I will never forget.  Not because it was raining.  Not because we were going to be late.  But because today, I was forced to take a good hard look at myself and realize that I have a lot to learn about what it means to be human.  To allow myself moments to cry.  To allow myself moments to feel weak.  To allow myself to make mistakes and not yell at myself for them.  To allow myself the time to stroll instead of hurry.  But most of all…to take moments to stop and listen to my son because what he’s thinking and feeling comes directly from his heart.  And that alone in itself is something that can’t be taught.  It must be felt.  With all my heart.

Logan as a baby.  Me, as a new, first time mother.

Logan as a baby. Me, as a new, first time mother.

Thank you little man for being my greatest teacher this morning.

TODDLER BEDTIME: When Enough is Enough, When Do You Pass the Torch and Let Go?

It’s 10:15pm and my husband and I just finished managing what must be one of the biggest toddler meltdowns of history.  My 18 month old daughter is being weaned from her bottle and while the last two nights (and days for that matter) have been successful, tonight was a full on stand-off between she and us.  And man…I’ve never met a more stubborn toddler until tonight.  And I mean S-T-U-B-B-O-R-N.

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The night time ritual was as it always is after dinner.   She and I start the routine by taking our showers, brushing our teeth and getting her into her crib with a book.  Then it’s my son’s turn while I feed the baby.  It’s usually around this time that my husband steps in to help with our daughter while I finish the evening with dental duties, assigned reading and checking of homework with my eldest.  My daughter usually puts up some kind of a fuss, but is always quickly soothed with a “shh shh shh” and a bottle from daddy.  Well, since she had been so great about lying down and going to bed without one these past two nights, we thought tonight would be no different.  We were DEAD WRONG.

She went into full on meltdown mode.  After about 20 minutes of screaming at the top of her lungs, I walk out from putting the baby back down to sleep to find my husband walking toward her nursery with a full bottle in hand.  Like a traffic cop, I stopped him dead in his tracks and said “Nuh Uh.  We’re not doing this.  Not anymore.  She has to learn!”  As you can imagine a short argument ensued and I walked away to tend to our now crying newborn.  Closing the door behind me, I hear a short break in her vehement protest to a few suckles of a bottle, and then SLAM!  There goes the bottle…followed by not just screaming.  Blood curdling screaming and the sound of my husband walking away.

Okay, so we’re going to do the ignore her behavior thing.  I can do this.  I finally am able to finish soothing my newborn back to sleep while the screaming continues and I begin to hear banging sounds coming from her crib.  After each bang, shrieks ensue.  So, I come out of the bedroom yet again, to find her doing her best WWE impression, running from one end of her crib and banging her head into the other.  Seeing this, I immediately swoop her up to try to comfort her.  She throws her self around in my arms giving me more of a core workout than I’ve ever given myself causing me to have to sit down to gently lie her to the floor.  What happened next could’ve won her an academy award.  She’s now crying so hard that she’s growling and kicking the floor with both feed simultaneously.  The harder she cries, the harder she kicks.  Then she starts log rolling across the floor…Back and forth.  After this, she decides perhaps she could do the inch worm on her back across the living room.  Once she makes it to the dining room, she slowly flipped over and buried her head in her arms in child’s pose.   I think, “perhaps if I just sit here, she’ll fall asleep on the floor and I can move her to her crib?”  NOPE.

As I sit quietly sit next to her, she continues to grizzle and dramatically pull herself across the floor, slowly crawling with her head hung low, like a scorned puppy.  She crawls like this throughout the house until she makes it to the refrigerator door where she proceeds to lie down in the fetal position and look at me with the most pathetic look a child could give.  The crying stops.  And in that moment of silence, I hear the baby cry.  And I want to cry.  But I don’t.  I just look at her and ask in the cheeriest of voices, “Want to come help me with the baby?”  She immediately perks up, smiles ear to ear, and yells, “YEAH!” and tippy toe runs down the hall.  What are the odds?  I’ve been played by a toddler.

So, I follow her to my bedroom and pick the baby up.  I invite her to sit with us on the bed and after a moment ask, “Would you like to sleep in mommy’s bed?”  She sweetly smiles and nods her little head ‘yes’.  So I pull the covers back, and she snuggles in and curls up.  Then she starts playing with the zipper on the pillow.  Then she tries to take the pillow apart.  Then she wants to hug and kiss the baby.  And it goes on…I look at the clock.  It’s 8:30.  We started this an hour ago.  AND WHERE THE HELL IS MY HUSBAND??

Next, I try turning off the night lamp thinking perhaps it’s distracting her from sleeping.  No such luck.  She starts log rolling again only this time, giggling all the way.  One log roll away from falling off the bed, I catch her by the ankle and say to myself.  THAT’S IT!  So, I put the newborn to bed (he somehow slept through this) and coaxed her into the idea of reading a book.  I choose a Dr. Suess book, and carry her to her crib.  Reading every last page of ABC’S with Dr Suess, I say, “Ok, all done!  Would you like me to scratch your back to sleep?”  She whimpers but then says ‘yes’ with a nod and lies on her tummy.  “Relief at last!” I think to myself.  Just when I think she’s dozed off, I start to tip toe away.  I make it 1/4 step before I hear those blood curdling shrieks again.  The baby has started to cry again too.  W…T…F.

I bet you’re wondering what I did.  Here’s what I did.

I WALKED AWAY…

I MARCHED DOWN TO THE BASEMENT…

PULLED MY HUSBAND BACK UPSTAIRS TO HELP…

STRAPPED THE BABY IN THE ERGO AND STARTED TO MAKE MY SON’S LUNCH AND SNACK.

Within the next 15 minutes my husband had no luck either so when I heard him approaching the kitchen, I figured he was calling it quits.  What he actually did was walk in, place her bottle in the fridge, sit calmly at the table for a moment, stand back up, go to the fridge, take out the bottle and say, “I’m going to try something”.  Then, he walks back to her nursery, and just like that…there’s silence.  I hear a few “shh shh’s” and that’s it.  After 5 minutes I hear him walking back to the kitchen, bottle in hand and place the bottle back in the fridge.  Then he just walks away like nothing happened.  I immediately think, “WTF JUST HAPPENED…AND WHAT DID YOU JUST DO?”

At this point, I’m not asking questions.  All I’m saying is that the next time this happens, I’m passing the torch 2 hours earlier and letting go of the situation.  Ridiculousness.  Pure ridiculousness.

OPAL Mom™ Favorite: Green Kid Crafts: Creativity and STEM Science Kits for Kids!

Green Kid Crafts

Green Kid Crafts: Creativity and STEM Science Kits for Kids!

Green Kid designs and delivers hands-on, award winning, and eco-friendly Discovery Boxes, Creativity Kits, and STEM Science Kits (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Here you’ll find information about our kid’s subscription program, our best gifts for preschoolers and kids ages 3-10, our favorite kid’s science experiments, plus craft ideas for kids.
 

Give the gift of creativity with Green Kid Crafts!

What to Expect Each Month

  • 3-4 award winning Creativity and STEM Science Kits (science, technology, engineering, and math) designed by experts to build confidence, flex creativity, and make kids smarter. Look Inside a box to learn more.
  • All materials and instructions, along with some fun extras!
  • An exciting new theme, think Outer Space, Kitchen Science, Nocturnal Animals, Backyard Science, Ocean, and Mad Scientist.
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  • Get Ready for October’s Legends & Folktales Box! This box is full of activities that will promote the emotional and imaginative development of kids. Your kings, queens, knights, and princesses will create their own Storytelling Kit, Design wearable Crowns, and have a blast hurling projectiles around the room after making their own Catapult. Can’t wait until October? Order one of our single purchase Discovery Boxes, too!

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Finding Balance When Pregnant and Caring for Multiple Children

This past week, I’ve been caring for my two children with the help of my in-laws while my kitchen is renovated in the city.  Being in my third trimester, I’ve had to strategize the day accordingly in order to reserve my energy and still be able to parent effectively while my husband remains in the city to oversee the project and continue to work.  So, how do I do it and continue to work as well?  I always refer back to OPAL. Organize, Prioritize, Act and Let Go.

There are always going to be days where I seem to have way to much on my plate despite my best intentions to plan ahead.  These are the days that include endless demands from my children, seemingly endless work emails and deadlines, and of course, making sure to take time to address my own needs as a mother and this time around, a pregnant woman.

So, this week, this is how I’ve utilized O.P.A.L. to set myself up for success:

ORGANIZE:

WORK

  • I reserve time in my schedule for my work obligations and other appointments.

KIDS

  • FOOD: Snacks and quick breakfast foods are placed in a bin where they know to go if they happen to wake up early or get hungry before meal times.  At the beginning of each week, we talk about what these foods will include. Usually, it comes down to 3 choices of Lara Bars, dried berries, and roasted plantain chips.
  • ACTIVITIES: In the morning, the kids have the choice of either drawing or reading while I blog, email and make work phone calls.
  • NAP TIME: Scheduled for the same time each day
  • QUALITY TIME: Every afternoon, I’ve set aside time to bond with my son with a quiet activity, and the morning, with my daughter.

adelie park logan park

PRIORITIZE:

This varies between WORK and KIDS.

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However, the kids always come first so what I do to prepare them for my workday is I fill them in on how the day is planned.  My son and daughter both are familiar with how my workday unfolds with regard to blogging and training clientele, so what we do, is we plan activities for them during that time.  Perhaps one day it will be reading quietly, another working on an art project or spending time with their grandparents.  This planning together helps them understand that their well-being is my first priority.  Of course, if things come up, work takes a back seat, but at the same time, my children know that in order to live, I need to work.  So, we work together always.

 

ACT:

In order to make some of my most well thought-out plans work at least 50% of the time, I need to act upon them.  This not only includes following through with work, but following through with my children.  This means honoring promises made and also holding them accountable for their activities so that I can honor my work appointments.  I find it important for my children to know that while they are my first priority, they need to learn patience as well.  As a mother, it is always on my mind to jump to their every request, but taking these moments to pause are important for me as well to be able to follow through in teaching them to wait when the time calls for it.

 

LET GO:

*Sigh* This is my biggest challenge.  I’m one of those people who sets out to conquer the world on a daily basis and expects just that.  Letting go for me doesn’t mean letting go of my goals and aspirations for the day.  It means trying my best and letting go of the result.  Sometimes this means letting go of the fact that all of the items on my list my not be finished, but that the ones I do finish are done to the best of my ability.  It may mean that I need to let go of my best intention to stay patient with my children and not carry the guilt of borderline losing it during a very packed day.  Sometimes, it means that I just say, “My best today may be my worst tomorrow and that is ok.”

 

 

This Stay At Home Mom Sh*t is No Joke

Today, was one of the first days in a long while where I had no personal training appointments booked (either in studio or on site), no obligation to be anywhere, no grocery shopping to do, and can simply experience what the fall season will bring as a stay-at-home mom.  Now, mind you, I’ve done this before, however it has been 4.5 years since my last stay-at-home mom experience in the summer time with a child under the age of 18 months.  Sure, I’ve experienced maternity leave, holiday vacation time, and the occasional sick day home with my children and the like, but today, was the first day where I experienced my life to come as a full time stay-at-home mom in full throttle.  And…to put it lightly, it was no f*cking joke.

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A Day in the Life of This Stay-At-Home-Mom

3:00 am: I woke to my daughter, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed  as she was ready to play and have a full on conversation with my tired, pregnant self.  My husband was sweet enough to fetch her from her crib and bring her to me along with a fresh bottle and a fresh diaper so I could simply change her, feed her and fall back asleep in my own bed.  (Yes, I’m a co-sleeping parent).  It took a little while, but luckily, my daughter fell back asleep.

7:00am:  I woke to both of my children in bed with me at the same time as my daughter who was ready as ever to jump off the bed.  So, I got up with her and let my son sleep for another delightful 30 minutes.  Those 30 minutes are rare but oh-so-scrumptious when I’m donning my best aboriginal hair-do and waddling clumsily about the kitchen trying to clean up/organize whatever mess was left either that morning by my husband or the night before by the rest of us.

 7:30am: after I’ve successfully brewed a pot of coffee, fed my daughter dried blueberries, and started cooking for myself, my son comes tip toeing into the kitchen for his morning hug.  I love these hugs.  I know these hugs won’t always be initiated by him so I take them in as much as I can.  I continue to cook breakfast knowing that the morning is about to wind up about 10 notches the minute my son comes to.  But, I’m ready.  But before that happens, I decide to leave the room for a moment to use the restroom  (thank you pregnancy bladder).

7:31am: This is when it begins.  All hell breaks loose.  “MAMA!!! MAMA!!!MAMA!!!” is what I hear coming from my daughter in her high chair with a “MAMA! MAMA! MAMA!!” coming from my son in a mocking tone.  I bury my head in my hands just trying to finish peeing before I say anything.  But before I do, I hear a cluster of giggles coming from my daughter and I think…phew!  I have a moment to wipe.  My son has successfully made her laugh and this has bought me an extra minute.  I wash my hands, return to the kitchen, and am able to pick up where I left off and get the morning started with breakfast.

8:00am:  I hear my son banging on the windows and yelling to the neighborhood kids who are on their bikes getting ready to ride to school.  As we live in a condo complex this is something EVERYONE hears.  I go on my daily repeat of “Logan, please don’t yell out the windows.  We have neighbors you know!”  However, today, my son had a genius idea.  He suggested that I make a sticker chart for him to earn a sticker for every time that he doesn’t bang on the windows.  This kid is smart.  He knows sticker charts are for gaining something bigger.  I have a feeling he’s going to be a great business man someday.

8:30am:  I step out of the door to realize that I left the stroller out all night, in the rain.  (*tear)  Luckily I have a backup, but up the stairs I go, with my kicking toddler in my arms to fetch the spare stroller.  While I do this, my son, the social butterfly of the family decides to sing at the top of his lungs and say hi to every passerby that happens to make eye contact with him. I’ve really gotta make that sticker chart.

8:35am: We finally walk the 3/4 mile length to school.   I don’t even care what I look like as I leave in a pair of yoga pants, two layered tank tops with out a bra (bras+pregnancy=major heartburn) and a pair of bamboo flip flops.  At least the kids look cute.

8:50am:  I look forward to my morning walk with Adelie to the park.  But first STARBUCKS.

9:15am:  I begin to look forward to the nice quiet environment, dew covered grass, and the usual morning meditation that I spend with my daughter when we go to this park.  As we approach the usually serene park, I hear a lot of giggles and shouts coming from the park.  Oh boy…it’s field day for the local kindergarten class.  No biggie for me, but as I turn around to find another park, my daughter loses it wanting to go to the park that she adores.  I push my way as fast as I can to the next park and luckily, within 5 minutes (with the help of one madeline cookie), I make it to the neighboring park where she and I sit happily in the grass and enjoy our Starbucks.

11:15am: NAP TIME.   The dilemna: Do I nap too?  Or do I tackle my list?  THE LIST.  Starting with cleaning the bathroom, the kitchen, and my son’s room.

1:30pm: The baby wakes up and I continue working down the list: 1 load of laundry washing, 1 load laundry dried, 1 load laundry folded, 3 rooms swiffered and mopped, all the rugs vacuumed, online work for a dance studio from my hometown completed, phone calls and appointments set for the kids, and dishes rinsed and loaded into the dishwasher.

2:30pm: LUNCH.  Baby screams “MAMA!” for everything from water, to wild blueberries, to apples and finally to cucumbers.  The floor is covered in all of the above mentioned lunch items.  I still need to shower and now…so does Adelie.  A wipe down with a baby wipe will suffice for the moment.

3:00pm: WORKOUT. TODDLER RUN. FOLD LAUNDRY.  This is the mom version of GTL only it’s called WTF.

4:00pm: SHOWER.  This is done very creatively as Adelie needs to bathe too.  So first, I make a shallow bath with all of her toys while I attempt to shower and shave my legs without cutting myself while I try my damnedest to keep her from repeatedly  standing and falling.  Success.  I didn’t cut myself and my daughter had a ball standing and falling repeatedly anyway.

4:30pm: My husband comes home & the dog jumps excitedly on him and proceeds to shake in excitement all of his shedding hair all over my clean hardwood floors.  Adelie is excited too and proceeds to run as fast as possible to her dad only to fall on her butt and throw up milk on another section of the clean floor.

4:45pm: I give the baby to my husband so I can sit for a moment.  Within a matter of moments, I hear the baby screaming in excitement as she runs to the back door to go outside followed by the sound of spilling liquid.  I rush to the clean kitchen to find iced coffee spilled all over the counter tops and my husband trying to pick it up with toilet paper.  *Chuckling shaking head* He then throws the wet toilet paper in the sink.  I fish it out and he asks, “Why won’t you let me help?”  I just blink and walk away.  I’m ready for bed already.

5:00pm: I finally sit down and close my eyes taking in a deep breath.  When I open my eyes, I see clumps of dog hair everywhere,  toys strewn everywhere, my daughter running by with another poopy diaper, and the dog running to drink out of the just cleaned toilet.  Tears fill my eyes and pour down my face and my husband asks what’s wrong.  All I can think to say is

“THIS STAY AT HOME MOM SH*T IS NO JOKE”

This is for all the Stay-At-Home-Moms who do this on a daily basis and hear, “WHAT DO YOU DO ALL DAY??”

 I will be joining you beginning this fall.  Wish me luck.

Why My Dad is My Hero and Why I Will Always Be a Daddy’s Girl

As Father’s Day approaches, I’m remembering all the wonderful things that my father and I did over the course of my life.  While  he was very strict and quite blunt with his words if you truly asked for his opinion, he was a single dad raising me alone, and did one hell of a job.  He taught me how to live with purpose, stand up for myself, find strength in struggle and how to go after what I want.  He was truly meant to be my father, and here are a few reasons of why I’m proud he is.

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1.  At the age of 6 months, I was kidnapped.  Against all odds, my father (at the age of 22) did everything in his power to make sure that he found me, and after a year of trying, failing, and trying again…he succeeded.

2.  Each day after that, he would comb, braid and barrette my hair.

3.  He always scratched my back until I fell asleep.

4.  When I was a little girl, he would play Native American flute music for me at bedtime.

5.  In the summer, we would sit in my grandmother’s backyard and pick fresh raspberries and chives from our little garden.

6.  On very early mornings, he would make me hot tea with honey and raisins inside each cup.

7.  On the way to the laundromat on those very early mornings (5am), he would buy me my favorite breakfast sandwich.  After I ate it, he would make me a bed on the folding table next to him so I could doze while he folded laundry.

8.  During my toddler years, we would take road trips out west in the summer, blaring classic Van Halen all the way.  I would request that my dad play this band by asking him to play the music with the man that screams (David Lee Roth).

9.  Every night before bed, my father would read Dr. Suess books to me.

10.  On the weekends, he’d give me a pen and let me draw pictures on his back.

11.  In the fall season, he would make sure to watch the Wizard of Oz with me when it came on tv.  This was the first movie to make me cry as he recalls hearing me cry while Dorothy sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow.  I still remember him asking me,  “Why are you crying baby girl?”  to which I responded, “Because it’s so pretty”.  This is still one of my favorite movies.

12.  My dad would do the best impression of Donald Duck to make me laugh when I was having a temper tantrum or meltdown.

13.  There was a time when I was 2 years old that I had a babysitter who locked me in my bedroom when I was crying while she sat in the living room and watched tv.  I told my dad about it when he got home from work, and the next day when she showed up for work, he said to her, “My daughter has something to say to you.”  to which I replied, “You’re Fi-oohed!”  I still remember him laughing when her jaw dropped and when he followed up by saying, “Now get the f*ck out!”.  I still giggle thinking about it.

14.  There was a length of time where I was being abused on a daily basis by a step-parent from the ages of 3-7 years old that my father didn’t know about.  On one particular day, I remember praying to God to send my dad home early from to see what was happening and swoop me up and carry me away.  Moments after I finished this prayer, (and in the midst of being beaten) I opened my eyes to see my dad tearing off the front door of our home rushing toward me to swoop me up and take me away.

15.  My dad didn’t let me date until I was 16…and rightfully so.

16.  Every Friday until I graduated high school, we would go grocery shopping together out of town to make it an adventure.

17.  After senior graduation, my father and I took one last trip out west before I made my first big move to Los Angeles.  We spent one week hiking in Yosemite, and afterward one week in Las Vegas.  While we waited at the airport for my flight to Los Angeles, he asked me to open my carry on luggage.  Inside, I remember two compilation CDs.  One was labeled “Baby Girl Music” and consisted of all the music that reminded him of me, and the other was “Heart Music” which was his favorite music that came straight from his heart.  I listened to those CD’s for years, remembering all the fond memories of years past as I made my way into the world on my own for the first time.  I still own those CDs.

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Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful fathers out there!

Share your memories of your dad in the OPAL Mom™ Community Forum: www.opalmom.com

Top Things to Avoid Saying to a Pregnant Woman…or at Least to Me While I’m Pregnant

When a woman is visibly pregnant, the door seems to swing wide open with an open invitation for all to comment.  Whether these comments come from well-intended family, curious friends or just very nosy strangers, there are a good handful of things that I personally don’t like to hear while pregnant.

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Here are my top things to avoid saying to a woman who is pregnant:

1.  “Are you sure you aren’t carrying twins?” This is the ultimate stab in the heart for a pregnant woman…especially if she’s already feeling bloated and uncomfortable.  You’ve basically told her she looks like a beached whale and have most likely shot her self-esteem down to her developing cankles.

2.  “You can’t do that!  You’re pregnant!  You should really slow down.”  It’s one thing if you see a pregnant woman smoking a pack of cigarettes while taking shots.  But it’s quite another if you simply see her cleaning out her garage, picking up another child, or even running a marathon (if that’s the kind of thing she likes to do).  If a pregnant woman is up and moving and feels great conquering the world, more power to her!  Don’t discourage her with cockamamie  “but you’re pregnant” nonsense.  She’ll sit down when she’s tired enough.  Trust me, she will.

3.  “That’s ok, you’re eating for two!” (After said pregnant woman complains of looking fat).  Please, just tell her she’s glowing and looks beautiful, even if you happen to agree that she’s gained a few too many extra pounds.  This is NOT the time for the cold hard truth about weight gain.

4.  “Are you sure you should be doing (lifting, touching, moving) that?”  If there were ever a time for a woman to feel empowered for accomplishing daily activities, it’s when she’s pregnant and in nesting mode.  While I don’t recommend trying the move a car with bare hands or lifting heavy boxes while pregnant, I say never ask a pregnant woman this simply for the fact that she’s about to be a very busy mother who will be standing, sitting, squatting, lifting, pushing and pulling on a daily basis and probably through her next pregnancy.  Trust her while she figures things out.

5.  “You’re finished after this one, right?” I have one thing to say to the person who asks this.  “It’s none of your f*cking business”.

6.  “You’re going to have your hands full!  You better enjoy your life now while you still have it!”  Excuse me, did you just say my life as I know it will be over?  Saying this to a pregnant woman is like telling her, “Well you made your bed, now you have to sleep in it!”  Giving birth to a child does change one’s life entirely, but it doesn’t mean that life is less enjoyable for it.  It’s full of joy, heartache, and at times, pure magic.  This experience only grows with multiple children and makes for some wonderful memories along the way.

7.  “Are you sure you’re ready?”  Perhaps you should have asked this BEFORE your friend/sibling/spouse got pregnant.  Instilling doubt in an impending mother’s psyche while she’s pregnant, hormonal and quite vulnerable is a great way to increase her anxiety and drop her self-esteem.  One thing is for certain, no one is ever quite ready or knows what to expect when having a child.  So instead, encourage her, tell her she’s going to be a wonderful mother and that you can’t wait to see her holding her little one in her arms for the first time.  Either way, she will believe you so tell her what she needs to hear.

And these are just a few…

Do you have a funny or offhand comment that was thrown your way during your pregnancy?  SHARE! If you would like to contribute to this list, please send them to me!  I’d love to see what other questions and comments are out there that you’ve heard or experienced first hand!  Send them HERE

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