Pictures

Most of you on Facebook may have noticed the retro thing going on with people’s profile pictures. Well considering how many dozens photo albums and picture boxes I have stocked full of millions of pictures, I thought it would be fun to pull out some old pictures, scan them and then tag all my old school friends. But instead I ended up spending an entire evening pouring through every single photo album and photo box I own.

I have pictures that of course begin with me as a baby, my childhood, teen years and into the years my husband and I were dating, our wedding and of course there were tons of both pregnancies and the kids all the way through now. My mind is kind of racing full of all the memories. It’s so weird to look back and see how much I’ve grown and changed. And even weirder to see how much the kids have grown and changed. I swear it was just yesterday that they were born. Then again I would’ve sworn that it was only yesterday that I got married or graduated high school…

There were so many pictures that just took me back. Friends and family that have long since passed away, friends that are still in my life today. So many people and so many memories.

Nothing puts your life into a sharper focus then looking back over your life in pictures. It reminds you of where you come from and who you are. It also reminded me of just how fast my babies are growing and that I should take time to slow down and smell the roses with them more often.

My dad took this picture when I was in elementary school. He told me to picture the woman I’d be when I was 30 and to say hi to that woman. And now here I am, 32, looking at that same picture, saying hi back to that girl I once was.

I never did scan any pictures and upload them to Facebook. Maybe tomorrow…

Your Parenting Style and How You’re Doing it Wrong

You're Doing It Wrong.Some of you may have already read the recent article in Time Magazine regarding “Helicopter Parenting” and the many blog posts and articles that have since been written in support and to dispute the piece. Well I couldn’t help myself and had to chime in with my own question regarding the many different types of parenting that are constantly being praised and disputed these days, which is what about just plain old parenting?

Does everything we do, as parents have to have a label? It seems that as parents we can’t catch a break. No matter what we do we’re faced with someone telling us why we are wrong for doing it.

Helicopter/Overparenting

Take the whole “Helicopter Parenting” thing. So what if we hover more than previous generations? We are the same 30-year-old kids raised in the first generation of  “stranger danger.” We had key words and watched some of the most high profile kidnappings in America unfold right in front of us on television. Michaela Garrett, Adam Walsh, Amber Swartz, Ilene Misheloff (I’ll take extra overprotective credit for THREE of those high profile cases being near my own community and around my own age). Of course we are careful about where our kids go and what they do.

I’m not going to apologize for being overprotective in this world. According to the World Health Organization Global cancer rates will increase by 50% by 2020. So YES, of course I’m going to be aware of what kind of chemicals are in products I’m buying and feeding my kids on. And YES I’m going to be uptight about car seats and BPA plastic filled bottles.

But is there a line? Articles like the one in Time got me thinking. OF COURSE there is a line between being protective and being extreme (doing your kids homework and stalking their coaches). I try to avoid judging other people’s parenting choices. It’s important to me that all moms, especially new moms, feel strong and secure in the choices they make that make sense for their family.

Fads in Parenting

Now I of course don’t condone moms wrapping their kids in bubble wrap and keeping them safely protected until after college graduation (though I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the idea hadn’t crossed my mind) but I urge moms to trust their instincts and ignore the fads in parenting choices.

Don’t skip out on Vaccines just because you heard someone say those vaccines are going to give your child autism. Read up first. Read about the increase in childhood diseases, read about the research that has debunked the autism studies and decide THAT WAY.  Don’t decide to breastfeed or not to breastfeed based on what all your girlfriends from high school did with their kids. Make that decision based on what works for you and your baby. And unless the advice is coming from someone who actually sleeps in your house every night, ignore anyone who tells you where you and your kids should be sleeping. It’s your house, your bed, and your sleep.

And to mom’s who judge, shut up. Just because a mom chooses not to fill every waking moment with extra curricular activities doesn’t make her less of a mom than you. And hey homebody moms, just because a mom DOES take part in every volunteer event and extracurricular team sport in your city doesn’t make her an overbearing judgmental mom. So bite your lip.

Stop judging ladies and please stop making your parenting decisions based on what’s cool at the time. My God, we are the generation of feathered hair and acid wash jeans. We put Vanilla Ice at the top of the charts for God’s sake. We cannot be trusted as a group when it comes to what’s in and what’s not. So decide for yourself. Skip the biased blogs and websites, read a few medical journals. And I don’t know… ask your pediatrician maybe…

We will all have bad days as moms. We will all momentarily lose our child in a crowd and have an instant of dread. We will all yell at our child over something stupid once in a while. We all make wrong choices. So, don’t judge. Just do the best you can. And don’t be ashamed when you grab your older child’s hand in a crowd. Forgive yourself when you lose it and offer your child an extra mile of patience next time. And when you make a bad choice, learn from it and move on.

What kind of parenting style do I follow in my house? The Best–I-Can Parenting. And that’s all there really is.

Reflections On My Baby’s 4th Birthday

Originally written on Tuesday, March 20, 2007

So here I go with my first “blog”.

On Thursday my little boy turns 4. I guess I am just so filled with emotion that I figured it would be a good time to reflect on my little man. Some of you may or may not know how hard we tried to have a baby. After a number of miscarriages, in the deepest part of my soul the seed of fear had been planted that we may never be able to have children.

So when we got pregnant with Patrick we just couldn’t find it in ourselves to be happy. We were scared to death, that the moment we let ourselves be happy, we would lose him. Then we got through the first part of our pregnancy, and eagerly awaited results from all of our pre-natal testing to know for sure this pregnancy was going to be ok. I’ll never forget the day I got that phone call. I can still hear her voice on the phone, instead of telling me everything was ok, she simply said, “it’s when I get to make calls like this, that makes my job worth while”. I held back my tears and asked her if she meant everything was ok. and she said “yes…HE’S fine.’ My whole world changed with those exact words. “HE”S fine”. HE. HE, meaning my beautiful boy. My son. My dream, finally come true. Our dream.

I’ll skip ahead a few months to March 22, 2003. Giving birth was one of the most absolutley spiritual things I ever was a part of. 30 hours of labor with no epidural. I don’t think anything in my life will ever be as empowering as that. Nothing even comes close.

I am listening to In your Eyes right now. (It’s the song on my profile right now). The reason is because this song is exactly how I felt the first moment I looked into the blue eyes of my son. And how I felt in those very scary & intimidating first 2 weeks of motherhood. But as scary as those first 2 weeks were, it was amazing because everytime I looked into that boys’ eyes, I knew that my entire life had been leading to that moment. I knew that I wasn’t going to need to “learn” how to be a mother, because deep inside I already knew how. I already knew how to love him, how to care for him, and how to raise him to be the man I know he will someday be. I knew all that then, and know it still today, because everytime he looks up at me, with those eyes twinkling, his soul is telling mine, that he loves me, and trusts me to guide him where he needs to go.

Now he is about to turn 4, and I truly see glimpses of the man he’s going to become. He’s smart, funny, kind, compassionate, loving, and loyal. He is us, Allen and I. The best of both of us. He is what we waited for, hoped for, and dreamed of. He has made us love each other even more than we ever thought possible. Patrick truly came from love, and brought so more love into our life then we ever dreamed existed.

Thanks for reading.