My Baby is an Asshole

I’m evil, I really am.  I’m a terrible mother.  I’m the kind of mother that calls my baby an asshole, I often say,”fucking A” to my four year old.  Luckily I say these things in my head (or very, very quietly under my breath!), but still- who thinks these things?!  Being a mom is no joke and being a full time mom to two little kids is trying.  My mouth (or my mind) didn’t automatically clean up when I popped these babies out, nor did my sense of humor so when I recently joked with my daughter that if she didn’t stop her tantrum, I would sell her to a homeless person, I understandably got some looks.

So, what’s wrong with me? Should I not be allowed to have children around me?  Should someone put a muzzle on this woman?!  I’m sick and I know it, but the thing is, my family knows me too.  We’re a close family and we get each other.  We know there is love behind every blow up and that even when we get mad, we always come back together.  Our love never stops no matter what we say.  When I told her I was selling her to a homeless person, she slyly looked at me and said “you’re kidding me…”  By four years old, she knows me.  We are strong in our bond together and she knows that if I sold her, it would be for a lot of money- homeless people don’t have money!  I’m probably warping her, but who’s not warped?  My therapist recently recanted stories of her mom always yelling “I’m going to kill you!” but they knew she didn’t mean it and no one died.  In fact, they grew up to counsel other people!

We all make mistakes in motherhood- no one enters this role perfectly and I certainly have not entered it gracefully.  I lose my cool, I’m “on my last nerve” a lot, I’m not always the best example for my kids.  Hell, have temper tantrums sometimes!  I often say I may look like an adult, but I’m really an adolescent in a big body- adulting is not my thing!  But I do the best I can, I retain a sense of humor and I teach my children it’s ok to have faults, to learn from our mistakes. When I blow up, I talk to them- tell them that it’s ok to feel all our feelings but it’s not ok to lash out or be hurtful because of our emotions.  We talk about ways to do it better and we move on.  And then I go to my car, close the door and scream profanity where no one can hear me until my sick, black heart is content.


This is how special my girl feels despite her mother’s flaws!

I’m learning as I go and that’s the best I can do. And hey, I might be an asshole parent, but my kids are assholes too sometimes!    And my kids are happy- they are positively joyful.  They know I love them beyond words and they love themselves.  So fuck ya, we must be doing something right- a lot wrong for sure, but at least a little tiny bit right.  Happy Mother’s Day all you fucked up mothers- good job, I love all your imperfections!  Give yourself a break today and every day- your good will outweigh your bad, your kids will be fucked up, but who’s not!

For a good laugh, check out the Asshole Parents blog- Hilarious! 

 

 

Why Can’t I Afford to be Healthier?!

In my quest for a healthier, greener, eco-friendly, whatever you want to call it, lifestyle, I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately.  Our family is by no means well off.  We make ends meet, but with not much extra to spare, so shelling out extra green to go “green” is often hard to justify.  Why should I have to choose between a healthy lifestyle and a healthy bank account?  Why do things that are ultimately better for me cost so much more up front?  I was talking with another mama this week and she was telling me how she was super health conscious with her first child- no wheat, no chemicals, all organic, all whole foods all the time, while with her second child, she just can’t afford to make those choices.  So unfair!  Our family has spent time on food stamps and the WIC (Women, Infant and Children) program in California and I am appalled that they shell out hundreds of dollars a month for products full of nutritionally deprived, government subsidized corn, wheat and soy but give you literally $8 a month for fresh fruits and veggies- WHAT?!  Why does our government subsidize corn, wheat and soy and not nutritionally dense, eco-friendly organic, locally grown fruits and veggies?  If our society ate more nutritionally dense foods, our health care costs would be better and our environment would be better taken care of.  Pisses me off!

What’s more, you cannot even buy milk from cows not treated with RBST, free range eggs, antibiotic infant meats or organic, non-GMO whole grains with your WIC checks and health food stores, even the big ones, don’t accept WIC.  I understand that the government is providing these benefits and when we have had to use them, I am thankful for what I get, but I’ve been left feeling guilty about filling my family’s stomachs with junk.  And when I have used food stamps to buy organic products or to shop at stores like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, I feel the stares from the more affluent people in line judging me for using “their” tax dollars on such expensive items (ahem- I pay taxes too, so it’s my money as well, but we’ll save that argument).  What, should I be buying the incredibly cheap cheetos and coke instead?  If our country did not subsidize the crops that go into our junk foods, they would better reflect the true costs of them.  If fresh, naturally grown, fruits and vegetables were more affordable, poor people would buy them!  And if I feed my family healthier foods, if I keep toxic chemicals out of our home, I am saving all of us on health care costs down the road.

Teaching Emma to make fresh orange juice from homegrown oranges- love that there are cokes in the background here! :p (These are ornamental but sometimes I enjoy a coke!)

So wake up, America.  Support EVERYONE buying healthier- not just those with money.  If you see a family in front of you using food stamps to buy organic, applaud them. Don’t shame them into buying junk food.  Raise them up and thank them for raising healthy kids and for helping lower the costs for us all.   A big reason fresh fruits and vegetables, green, local and organic products are more expensive is due to supply and demand.  There is a lot of demand for junk food, so it’s cheap and it’s cheap so we buy more and round and round.  It’s time we use the buying power not just of the rich, but of the multitudes of the middle and lower classes to lower the costs of the products that are good for us.  Among people who have a little extra change in their pockets, these changes are taking hold.  We have seen the rise of Whole Paycheck, excuse me Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s in recent years, green products are on the rise, and awareness of the importance of supporting organic and local farming is huge.  Education and empowerment of the poor is crucial to this change taking hold.

**I would like to highlight that the certified Farmer’s Markets accept WIC checks for fruits and vegetables and WIC even offers a once a year additional Farmer’s Market check to be used for fruits and veggies (check what your state offers here: https://www.fns.usda.gov/fmnp/wic-farmers-market-nutrition-program-fmnp).  

Also, for anyone who doesn’t know, there is also a grant from the state of California for CalFresh recipients- if you spend at least $10 of your food stamps at the Farmer’s Market, they will give you an additional $10 per day in free fruit and veggie tokens to use there.  Ask about the Market Match program at your local Farmer’s Market! 

And most farm stands and even CSA programs (we use The Abundant Table in our area) now accept CalFresh as forms of payment- please comment below on any resources you are aware of for affordable healthy choices.  I’d love to keep the discussion going!

My Placenta Turned Me Crunchy

That sounds gross, right?!  It’s really not that gorrey though- hang with me here.  I’ve become much more crunchy granola lately and I’ve been thinking a lot about how I got here.  It’s actually been a pretty short ride.  Until recently, I honestly felt very overwhelmed by how much I wanted to change in order to become more eco and health conscious- I felt like I had to change everything all at once, so why even try because it was too much.  As I mentioned before, with our daughter (now 4), I was so overwhelmed by just becoming a mother that I really couldn’t consider ideas on parenthood and health that were any different than what i was raised with.  I just went along with what I knew and didn’t question it.  For some reason, when I was pregnant with my son (now 10 months), I started to really care about what I put in and on my body and those of my family.  I think this started when I decided to have my placenta encapsulated.  It got the ball rolling for me to make more healthy, crunchy changes in my life.

I suffered badly from postpartum depression with my daughter and peri-partum depression with my son and so placenta encapsulation was suggested as a possible solution to help after the birth of my son.  My wonderful friend and doula, Jayme Payan in Ventura encapsulated for me and it was a wonderful, easy, not gross process (if you’re looking for a doula and/or placenta encapsulation, go to her- she’s AWESOME! https://doulamatch.net/profile/10168/jaymee-payan).  Basically, she cooked up my placenta and made it into odor free, taste-free pills that I took daily for a few weeks.  It was super simple for me and it worked!  My postpartum was virtually non-existent this time around.  I was sold.  People thought it was weird, but I didn’t care.  I think it made me more confident to try other things outside my family norm.  And I think something was in it that me turn crunchy-granola!

After that, one day seemingly out of the blue, II decided to start cloth diapering.  I was out shopping and I decided I wanted to give it a try.  I watched a bunch of YouTube videos, I talked to a few friends and I jumped right in. That was easy enough, so next came making my own baby wipes and diaper creams, and then I had all the stuff so I might as well make my own lotions, chapstick and deodorant, right?!  And then of course came my fear of plastics and the creation of our wooden teething toys.  My husband thinks I’m nuts most of the time and often asks what’s next, but he goes along with it.  And the teether thing has turned into his hobby, so now he’s in!  It’s been kind of a snowball effect and it’s still rolling.

Little Fluff Butts are the Cutest!

Now that I’ve started, I see I do have an all or nothing sort of approach to this whole thing and now I want to change everything.  And it feels good.  I know what I’m putting in and on us and it feels simple and pure.  My food choices have changed, my family eats more fruits and veggies and we buy them locally as much as we can or grow our own, we reuse our grey water and recycle our containers.  We use essential oils to heal what ails us.  And hey, coconut oil and breastmilk are magic right?! I am starting small with dreams for big changes.  There’s a lot more down the rabbit hole for sure, but it’s kind of a fun ride.  So, eat your placenta, eat your veggies, make your own shit, grow out your armpit hair and do what you feel is right for your family- you might be surprised how good it feels!

Here are some links I love that you might find helpful too:

Crunchy Moms

Natural as Possible Mom

Natural Homemade Baby Care Products

Homemade Baby Wipes

DIY Lavender Sugar Scrub that Rocks

Coconut Oil Uses

 

Going to Hell in an Easter Basket…

Easter was yesterday and I realized I’m probably going to Hell.  We are not religious in any way and I kind of felt bad that I had no idea how to explain this holy holiday to my children.  My dad’s family is Catholic, my mom is a Buddhist of sorts and my in-laws are nothing that I know of.  My husband went to a Catholic High School, but only to get to go to school outside of the small town he grew up in.  So that leaves us bereft of any real religious upbringing.  I remember being read the story of Easter by a family friend one year and being shocked that that was what we were celebrating.  How did the crucifixion and rebirth of this Jesus guy have anything to do with the Easter Bunny, the colored eggs and all that candy?  This year, I found myself asking those same questions as an adult trying to explain them to my four year old.

They look to me explain this shit!

A few nights before Easter, my four year old started asking questions about Easter.  This was the first year she really understood anything about holidays so it is also the first year I’ve found myself having to explain them.  Before bed one night, I found myself telling her in 4 year old terms about Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection being a part of this day filled with candy and bunnies.  “Well, he wasn’t really dead then- he was asleep,” she told me.  Uncomfortable with discussing death, I replied with a super smart, “Um, ya, sure kid- go to sleep”.  So hard to explain all the symbolism that I honestly don’t get myself!  The next night I told her Easter was a religious holiday and since we are not religious, we don’t really understand about all of the parts people celebrate.  “Well, why aren’t we religious?” she replied, “Because we don’t believe in any one set God or way of worship, (we do believe and teach her that there is a God, we just don’t describe him in traditional religious terms), and we don’t go to church,” I said, feeling totally uneducated about what religion really even is.  “Well, I want to go to church,” she told me ( we go inside a really cool church during a monthly summer car show in town and she really likes exploring it).  “Well, Shit,” I thought.  Again- “Um, ya sure kid- just go to sleep.”  Feeling totally inadequate to explain the importance of religious holidays to myself, let alone my kids, I rested my own head and gave up trying to understand the religious significance of the day.

With kids this cute, I just have to put their pictures in here :p

Then came trying to figure out the traditions of Easter that my family did traditionally practice.  I was stumped there too!  Where was I all of my childhood Easter years?!  On Easter Eve, I put all of the candies, books and toys into my children’s Easter baskets and promptly started to panic because I realized I didn’t actually know what the Hell the Easter bunny was supposed to do– did I hide the basket, did we do a scavenger hunt, how did I explain how he got into our house to do these things?  Did he or she hide the eggs too or would that look weird since she knew we had dyed those ourselves?  I started googling for answers only to be redirected to the historical and religious meanings for these damn traditions- I had already given up on those associations, I was SOL for sure!  I posted quickly on Facebook to try to get some input from like minded mothers and got a good laugh and a few suggestions- but most importantly, I found out I’m not alone.  No one really knows what this shit is about and we all just make it up as we go along.  The lesson in motherhood I keep learning is we’re all doing the best we can with what we have.

The tastiest bunny poop

So, I made a little scavenger hunt, hid some eggs and some baskets, scattered some chocolate “bunny poop” around the house, ate the evidence and waited for her to wake up.  In the morning, she proudly proclaimed that the bunny poop didn’t even smell and raced around after her clues to find her basket.  She didn’t ask any of the tough questions and I dodged a bullet for another year.  The sugar high that ensued definitely had me wishing I’d skipped the candy tradition and made our own with baskets full of wooden toys and baby teethers, but, the candy was the one part of Easter I was quite sure was obligatory, so candy for breakfast it is.  And maybe I’m going to Hell, but I’m gonna have a good laugh at myself on the way.

My Cutie Chickadee

The Jurassic Park Solution?

Got into a discussion with some other mommies yesterday about Clay’s amber teething necklace.  While they are the cutest little baby jewelry around and sure do look cute, do they really do anything?  Is amber the secret to a happily teething baby or just another gimmick?  Because I’m a nerd who loves to read and I hate to be fooled, I decided to see what I could find for hard evidence on the topic.

The theory behind the amber teething necklace is that when baby wears it, his body heat triggers the release of a minute amount of oil that contains succinic acid, a naturally-occurring substance in the body. When the oil is absorbed, advocates say, it has an analgesic effect on swollen, sore gums (Heidi Murkoff, What to Expect 2017).  But what evidence beyond anecdotal is there to support this claim?  Moms swear by this remedy and you can find numerous testimonials to this effect everywhere you look.  And it’s not just crunchy or new-age moms- this is a mainstream trend these days.

A review of PubMED and MEDLINE, two online medical journals, however, shows no actual scientific studies conducted on the efficacy of amber teething necklaces.  The only thing that has been studied are the dangers of them as strangulation and choking hazards.  Here’s the Wiki on Succinic acid, which does make passing reference to it’s anti-inflammatory properties, but it’s honestly kind of hard to believe that one could get a high enough dosage out of this tiny necklace to make a difference, or that absorption through the skin is an effective method of delivery for this minute dosage.  Even the Wiki on Oils of Amber has a measly one paragraph on historical medicinal uses- you’d think there would be a lot more on something that’s been encapsulating mosquitos since the dinosaur age!  One article I did read says that baltic amber degrades into acetic acids (vinegar) and I had been noticing my son smelled like vinegar since wearing his necklace- makes sense now! (John Snyder, Science-Based Medicine 2014).

I searched and searched today through my library’s online journal articles, the always informative, if not always legit, interwebs and various blogs and mommy boards and I can’t find one scholarly article showing that this super cute trend is actually treating my baby’s teething pain.  I do find a lot warning me to be careful that I don’t kill my baby with one, though.  I never tried the amber necklace with my four year old, Emma, but I thought it could be worth a try with my 9 month old, Clay, as what I thought worked well with Emma, Hyland’s teething tablets seem to be little more than powdered sugar and belladonna, but have been banned by the FDA.  And Clay looks just so adorable in his teething necklace and cloth diaper, but now I just don’t know!

Tell me, people- what are your thoughts and experiences?  Is there evidence out there I’m just not seeing and if so, why aren’t actual scientists studying it?  Is it the power of suggestion, like a placebo effect?  If I believe in it, does it make it true? Have I just ruined the magic?!  If I’m being scholarly, I have to think that amber teething necklaces are a hoax- a super cute, very fashionable, adorable hoax, but not one that is going to relieve the painful teething symptoms of my poor baby.  But, for today, I think I’ll think with my heart, remain in La-La land and continue thinking that positive thoughts and good looks really do bring happiness to my adorable jewelry clad little man!  How about you- does your baby subscribe to this fad and why?