Monday, May 22, 2017

I'm a Mommy Blogger but I'm Not a Sanctimommy

A "sanctimommy" is a sanctimonious mommy. Basically a mom who is super opinionated about parenting and isn't afraid to tell people that her way is the best way.

Well, crap, maybe I am a sanctimommy...

Parenting is a huge passion of mine. Has been since I was little and practicing on my dolls. I even started reading parenting magazines at eighteen and got funny looks from my college friends when I said, "I just want to get married and be a mom. Like right now." And now I blog about parenting and motherhood.

I share some pretty controversial stuff on Facebook. I openly talk about being an ex vaxxer, anti-spanking (anti-any-punishment, actually), pro-bed-sharing, firm believer in "breast is best," and I don't believe traditional schooling will help kids thrive and actually learn.

I absolutely 100% believe these things are the best way. That's why I live these out and love to share information about them.

But it's not like I just spew my opinions and that's the end because I'm right and everyone with opposing views and beliefs is wrong. I also love to discuss and listen to other viewpoints. I don't know everything and have no problem admitting that. You don't know what you don't know, which is why you should always be open to learning and understanding.

Every mom is different. Every parent unit is different. Every child is different. And we all come from different backgrounds full of different experiences and have different priorities and goals. So how much sense does it make that every mom will agree on everything? None.

You want to know a secret, though? Something people have forgotten?

It's okay to disagree. *Gasp* Yes, it's true. And guess what else? You can share your opinion. *Double gasp* Yup. You can share your opinion and it doesn't mean you're a judgmental, mommy-shaming sanctimommy.

I swear we live in a society where I could go to a tree convention and say something as simple as, "Trees grow out of the ground," and three people would pop out of nowhere to say, "That's not true. Some trees grow in pots. Educate yourself and stop being judgemental about trees. You're shaming the small trees that grow in pots by pretending the don't exist." And I would be thinking, "What the heck, dude? I thought we were all here because we love trees. All you had to do was remind me about small trees in pots."

I'm passionate about bed-sharing, but I don't think less of a mom whose baby sleeps in a crib. I don't know why she's chosen a crib. Maybe she's a heavy sleeper and bed-sharing doesn't feel safe. Maybe she and her husband need the bed to themselves for the sake of their marriage. I have no idea. It's none of my business. Regardless, I'll be over here in my corner of the momiverse saying, "Bed-sharing is the best because it helps regulate breathing and makes children feel secure!" Just because I'm passionate about that doesn't diminish the other mom's passion for the crib.

I totally believe my way is the best way. I'll even shout it from the rooftops. But the great thing about the world is that there's more than one rooftop. So you can stand on one and proclaim your passions too. And the thing that separates this passionate momma from the sanctimommies is that I won't throw tomatoes at your roof. I'll listen, respect you, disagree, and wave because you're my neighbor. You're not the enemy. A different opinion doesn't mean we're at war. It means we're human. And we're all doing our best.

Tell me what you're passionate about when it comes to parenting!

Friday, May 19, 2017

I Could Have Taught My Son Manners but I Started a Food Fight Instead

For lunch today, M and I were having peas. I always let him play with his food because play is just as important as eating. But then he wanted to play with my peas, and I told him, "You can play with your peas if you want to, but I'm eating mine." He got angry and chucked a pea at me!

From here, I could have told him not to throw his food at me, but that wasn't going solve anything because he was already frustrated and bored, and the rest of the meal would have been a struggle for both of us. So instead of trying teach manners and how to handle feelings better, I chose fun. I threw a pea back him and said, "Oh yeah? Take that!" And just like that, he was all giggles. 😁 We spent the rest of lunch in a furiously fun food fight.

There will be plenty of times, I'll have no choice but to teach him how to handle emotions better, like when he inevitably hits someone. But a thrown pea? Well, that's just a recipe for a food fight. 😉 That's what they mean when they say "choose your battles," right?

M will learn manners. He'll learn by the examples we set and the gentle guidance we offer. But when he looks back on his childhood, I want him to remember so much more than me harping and teaching. I want him to remember the food fights, the joy, the laughter.

Now I challenge you to surprise your kids with a food fight! Bonus points if you do it to lighten the mood and change the atmosphere of your home into something silly and positive. Just imagine the shock on your kids' faces. The smiles. The laughter. The forever memory of "that one time mom started a food fight." Then comment here or find me on Facebook to tell me about it!

Related post: This What Gentle Parenting Shows My Child

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Childism: Can We Please Stop Referring to Babies as Half People?

"Two and a half?" the waitress asked, after my husband, our baby, and I entered the restaurant.

I chuckled. Because she meant it as a joke and I was being polite. I don't want to be one of "those people" the world is rolling their eyes at because I'm too sensitive or take things the wrong way. But after a year of hearing this joke, I don't think I'm overreacting. I get that this is "just" a joke. Many family and friends and strangers have made this joke, and I'm not angry with any of you. You don't mean to play into childism, but you do. So here's my gentle plea to stop referring to babies as less than a whole people.

What is childism? 

First of all, let's define childism since it's a relatively new concept. Childism is a prejudice or discrimination against a young person based on their age. (Just like sexism is prejudice/discrimation based on sex, racism is prejudice/discrimination based on race, and ageism is prejudice/discrimination based on mature age.)

What does childism look like? 

Childism looks like adults ignoring a child's attempt at adding to a conversation "because the adults are talking."

Childism looks like hitting a child in the name of discipline even though it's never okay to hit any other person.

Childism looks like making a child sit at the kids table during Thanksgiving even though the child feels more comfortable eating and talking with the adults.

Childism is forcing affection (hugs, kisses, etc.) even though it's never okay to force affection or touch on an adult.

There are endless examples, but at it's basic root, childism looks like treating a child with less respect than we would give an adult.

What if we treated other people the same way we treat children? 

Imagine you're talking with a group of friends, and another adult approaches and has something to add. Would you stop them and say, "Not right now. Go do something else. We're talking." No, right? Because it's dismissive, rude, and shows you don't value that person's thoughts. If you were that person being turned away, how would you feel?

Picture you're having a bad day. Maybe you're tired and hungry, so you snap at someone or forget to take your coffee mug into the kitchen. So, to show that you need to be kinder or more responsible, someone hits you. Not okay. Never okay.

Your Uncle Harvey comes over and, for whatever reason (any reason at all), you don't want to hug him. You tell him no, but he wraps his arms around you anyway to hold you against your will. When he lets you go, you're upset, but everyone else in the room tells you not to be so rude. That's so messed up.

Now let's go back to the restaurant scenario. Let's call a woman half a person. Let's call a black person only half a person. Let's call Great Grandpa half a person. "Two and a half of you?" No one would chuckle. We'd be outraged. We'd talk to the manager and take our business elsewhere because sexism, racism, and ageism are unacceptable.

Yet it's okay and even funny to do this to young people? I do get the joke. Babies are small and cute. They can't talk yet. They'll throw more food than they eat, and they think fart noises are funny. But...none of these things make babies less than a whole person. This joke is a tiny tip of a giant iceberg called childism.

So just like I did in the restaurant yesterday, if someone asks me, "Two and a half?" I'll say, "No, three of us."

More on Childism

If you're interested in furthering your understanding, some other bloggers I love talk about childism too. Check out their posts!

"Childism: Not a Call to Action, Just a Beginning" by Our Muddy Boots

"We Need to Talk about Childism" by Happiness is Here

Thanks for reading! Share your thoughts in the comments and check out my Facebook page for more on crunchy momming with faith, gentleness, and boobs!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

I'm a Mom, so I'm Going to be Late. To Everything.

This is a public service announcement.

I'm going to be late. To everything.

And, yeah, I get that it's rude to be late, and timeliness is important. But...maybe it's not the most important thing.

See, I used to get embarrassed when I was late to something because it showed the other person, "Your time isn't important to me." Pretty rude, right? And it showed, "I'm not responsible enough to manage my time well." Like, hey, I'm bad at adulting!

But something has changed in my life recently. A new little person with curiosity in his eyes and wonder in his heart has come into my world and shaken up a few things: pace, priorities, and pride. (Three Ps because I'm a nerd for alliteration.)

If you have children, you understand how time changes. All at once, you experience the fastest year of your life that was filled with the s_l_o_w_e_s_t days of your life. Right from the start, everything slows down because all your new baby does is eat and sleep, and while those things sometimes happen on the move, most of this takes place while you're on your bottom. You've never sat around so much before while also doing something so important. And then before you even finish alternating between staring at your baby and binge-watching Lost again, you're chasing a crawler or a toddler. Right before you're supposed to leave the house, they poop, or ninja past the bib to smash banana in their shirt, or bump their head and need cuddles. Everything is moving, but the clock isn't yours anymore. Your kiddo holds the clock.

At some point, probably while your baby is still new, you're going to realize you can't go about everyday life the same way you did before kids. Not everything happens smoothly anymore. Sorry, let me rephrase. Nothing happens smoothly anymore. It's decision time. You have to choose between getting to church on time, (which, at this point, would already take a legion of angels carrying your mini van over the slow drivers) and comforting your crying sweetie who just wants to be held (and not crammed into the car seat while you swear at the straps for being tangled). Before you decide between rushing to church or embracing lateness for the sake of cuddles, remember there are little eyes watching you. Little eyes learning what's most important to you by what you choose to prioritize. Suddenly, you look into the eyes of the person whose only need is YOU, and you know without a doubt what your priorities are.

You've already let go of most of your pride. How much of it can you hold into when you haven't showered in five days so you smell like warm milk, B.O., and spit up? How much pride is left after a friend surprises you with a visit and sees things growing in the pile of dirty dishes that have covered your entire kitchen? Or how about right from the start when you spread your naked self in front of a room full of people and pushed a human being with all the guts and glory through your vagina? So maybe after all that, it's not so hard to let yourself "look bad" because you're late.

That's where I am now. I'm pretty comfortable making this mass announcement: I WILL BE LATE. I'm letting you know upfront. If you need me to make a commitment that requires me to be on time, that'll be a no from me. You can't count on me to be on time because there's a little guy who's counting on me to take it slow. There's a small person who picks up a block and studies it with such wonder and curiosity that I don't want to interrupt his learning to rush off somewhere. There's a little boy who needs to nap after all his exploring and growing, so I'm going to let him finish his nap. There's a child learning patience and the importance of relationship and nurturing, and I won't compromise those things in order to force us to be on time.

I'm not trying to be rude or irresponsible. It's just that my family is a unit. If one of us moves at a slow pace, we all do. My priority is my family. And I'm letting go of any pride that tries to convince me otherwise. I'm putting time on the back burner to create space for the most important stuff...before it's too late.

Thanks for reading! You can find even more stuff about momming with faith, gentleness, and boobs on Her Arms Are Strong's Facebook page!

Friday, January 27, 2017

This is What Gentle Parenting Shows My Child

I had someone tell me once that I have my head in the clouds about parenting and that I would see just how much this gentle/peaceful approach doesn't work when my "easy" baby is a difficult teenager. They said gentle parenting "let's kids walk all over you."

And, yeah, okay, maybe I don't have experience to back up my belief that gentle parenting is the bomb. But here's why I basically can't stop posting and talking about it...

Is there a more beautiful way to raise a child than to show him:

I fully respect you. You don't deserve less respect because you're less grown. You deserve full respect because you're a whole person. Having a lot to learn doesn't diminish your right to respect. Every single adult I know has a lot to learn too. Just like adults don't like being talked down to, belittled, embarrased, or isolated, neither do children. I'll treat you with utmost dignity.

I will take care of you. Taking care of you means your needs are filled--your need for food, shelter, clothes, affection, understanding, and safety. Not only will I never let anyone lay a hand on you to harm you (physically or emotionally), but I'll never lay a hand on you either...unless it's a pat of encouragement on your back.

I'll always love you. I'll love you when you're smiling, when you're crying, and when you act out because an emotion feels so much bigger than you. It doesn't matter if you're having the best day or the worst day or if you tell me you hate me. I love you.

Your emotions aren't bad. Don't stuff them down. Not for me. Not for anyone. Let's look at the tough emotions together. Feel them, work through them, find a way to cope with them next time.

I will teach you. I will teach you to brush your teeth, apologize, treat people with grace, bake good food, step out of your comfort zone, forgive, write a letter, ride a bike, love yourself. The best way I'll teach you is to show you by example.

I'll set limits for your safety and the safety of others. If you don't understand the limits, I'll explain them. I have no problem with your questions. Here's another learning and connection moment. And if you disagree with the limits after you understand, I'll listen to you. Because your voice matters. To me. To this family. In the world, your voice matters. You may not get your way still, but the door is always open for conversation.

I'll give you freedom. I'll give you the space to grow, play, make mistakes, fall down. I'll give you the space to find out who you are and to work through life in your own timing. I'll give you the space to not need me. And the space between my arms for when you do...any time, any place, kiddo.

The best way to change a harsh world for peace, love, and humanity caring for one another is to gently raise a generation who respects, values, and loves people because they were raised respected, valued, and loved.

Want more encouragement about Momming with faith, gentleness, and boobs? Check out the Her Arms Are Strong Facebook page!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

My Big Trick for Avoiding Mommy Grumpies

Most of the time, momming has me all...

But sometimes, I have moments when I'm more like...

This should come as no surprise because:
1. I'm human.
2. If you're a human mom (as opposed to a robot mom), you're the same way. We all have our triggers.
3. I already told you I have to do these 4 things to enjoy being a SAHM. Even though being a stay-at-home-mom is my dream.

Aside from those four things, I have this trick. And it might sound kind of sad at first because when I told my husband about it, he said, "Well, that's the saddest thing ever." But it's really not!

My trick is...

to push my own wants to the side.

The first time I started implementing this trick was in the summer of '16, when Pokemon Go was the big thing. My husband (Gary), our baby (M), and I went out to the park to enjoy the sun and catch some Pokemon. Only, as soon as I started playing, M got the crankies because he needed my full attention. At first, I got irritated, and my thought was, "I can never do anything I want to do." Now that is sad. Because it's not true.

What I want to do more than anything is raise my son/have a family. So already, every day I'm alive, I'm doing a great big thing I want to do.

That day in the park, I had a choice. I could either wallow in the fact that my baby needed all my attention, or I could embrace and enjoy that my baby needed all my attention.

I embraced it. And found out that my Grumpy Mommy Trigger is M's whining while I'm trying to do something else. Since he can't self-regulate yet, he's going to whine for me when I'm not paying attention to him. That means I can keep getting irritated every time I try to do stuff, or...I can push my own wants to the side.

Since implementing this trick, I've happily sat on the sidelines during a family mini golf outing, set aside DIY projects, and "missed out" on small chunks of things like family Christmas. Keyword: happily. It's not always an automatic happy, but it's an intentional happy. I have the privilege and honor of raising a child. I don't want to take it for granted or miss out on all the little moments that matter because I was distracted or gritting my teeth, wishing I could be doing something else.

Now, I'm not saying you should never take time for yourself! Get your husband/parents/sibling to hang out with your cutie while you nap/read/shop. Do it, do it, do it. But this trick is meant to be applied when your baby needs YOU. Which is a lot because, honestly, no one is quite like Mommy.

And, yeah, it does help to know there's a light at the end of the tunnel. M won't always need or want my full attention all the time. As he gains more independence, I'll have more time and space to do other things I want to do.

For now, I can set aside projects and games and whatever else so Mommy Grumpies don't take away from our fleeting time together.

Want more content about crunchy momming with faith, gentleness, and boobs? Check out the Facebook page for Her Arms Are Strong!

Friday, December 30, 2016

I Actually Loved 2016

2016 has a rap for being the worst year. Like, ever. But I actually loved 2016. This might not be a popular view considering the world lost a lot of beloved celebrities, violence and injustice ravaged our country, and we had a polarizing, brutal presidential election.

It's important to give these things their place in the spotlight. To honor and remember those we've lost. To show compassion to the hurting. To speak up for what's right, even when people don't like what we have to say.

But I don't want to say goodbye to 2016 on that note because I actually loved the heck out of this year. This is the year my baby boy, M, was born. 2016 is the year my husband and I, and our families, welcomed a fuzzy, wrinkled little baby into our arms. Our hearts stretched as we loved more deeply than we ever knew was possible. We watched him grow chunky and healthy on breastmilk. We delighted in his squeals of laughter and cheered him through each milestone. I've memorized M's smiles and the smiles he's caused in his dad, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. This was a year of joy.

This is the year I found out who I really am. In becoming a mom, I've learned I can face confrontation, set boundaries, do whatever it takes to protect my cub. Because 2016 is the year I became Momma Bear. I stepped outside of my comfort zone and joined mom groups. I learned to trust my instincts, question the status quo, and advocate for my child's health and for breastfeeding. I've learned that to be strong means to ask for help when my own strength runs out. To give myself grace, let my husband and family play with M when I need a nap, and rest in my Savior for replenishment.

I've watched my husband grow from a loving husband to a loving dad. I've seen his tears of joy, shared in his frustrations, and counted on his daily sacrifice to provide for our family of three. Our marriage has felt both stronger and weaker than ever as we've tried to navigate our new family dynamic. But in the easy, fun days, and the days we don't even recognize each other, we've still honored our sacred words...I do.

So, God, I pray for the broken world and broken hearts of 2016. But for all the ways you've blessed our family this year, thank you. This year will always be a favorite of mine. Goodbye, 2016. May 2017 be full of joy, peace, and hope for everyone reading this. Amen.

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momming with faith, gentleness, and boobs? Check out the Facebook page for Her Arms Are Strong!