Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Social media and motherhood

This morning, I took my kids to a park. Sal calls it "mama's park" (there's also one he refers to as dad's park). 

Let me tell you the main reason why I love "my" park. 

Nobody knows about it. 

That's right. Sometimes I  take my kids to a park where nobody else goes. So much for socialization, right? 

Why do I do this?

Because sometimes I want my kids to be free to play and climb and fall without fear of persecution from judgey mcjudgersons. Sometimes I just want to enjoy watching my kids run amok without having to carry on polite conversations with other parents about how full my hands are, or better yet, try to maintain a neutral stance on a controversial parenting topic like immunizations or sleep training. 

Don't get me wrong, we socialize. I do like other moms. We totally hit the popular parks a couple times a week-but every so often, I just don't want to talk to anyone or have anyone judge my family from afar. I parent to the best of my abilities and I'm confident in most of my decisions. 

But here's the thing... Social media takes judgement to a whole new level.  Heaven forbid someone not agree with something my kid (or myself) is doing and post it on social media for all to see.

I'm part of a local Facebook group comprised of moms in our area. The group started out small, and now numbers over 6,000 members. I love to scroll through posts during nap time. Most moms post questions, items for sale, and  share funny stories of parenthood....Then you've got the know it alls, with harsh words and argument seeking comments. They write posts like "can you believe this mother did....?!" and all of the judgements come flooding in.  I avoid engaging in those posts by scrolling past, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried that one day I'll be reading one of those "can you believe this mother at park xyz does / did this?!" along with a picture of me in some unflattering contortion trying to fight one of my kids into a car seat or (gasp!) feeding them fruit snacks with food dye in them. 

 I know I'm not alone. A few of my friends and I have discussed our concerns of judgement in something so small as allowing our kids to ride bikes to a friend's house when they are of a mature enough age. Riding bikes and exercising freedom and trust is a right of passage. However, what if someone disagrees with our desire to have somewhat free range kids and calls child protective services or the police? While I'm certain we wouldn't get in trouble by either entity, it's not anything I ever want my kids to experience. You know?

I'm rambling a bit here. But I guess what I'm getting at is that while social media could be a great outlet for support, it's often not. It's people feeling mighty powerful behind their keyboard and in turn bullying/ shaming another mother who is trying her best. 

I wonder what it was like to be a mother before social media. I imagine women had a select group of confidants that they bounced questions off of, and deferred all other questions to their pediatricians. Maybe people minded their own business more often and spent more time worrying about their own kids and less time worrying about others. 

I wonder what it will be like when my kids are old enough to be parents themselves? What kind of pressures will they have that we do not have? 

I can only imagine. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


We just returned from a week at my dad's new place. If you haven't guessed from the post title, we were out in the boondocks.

It felt so good to unplug for a week and watch my family enjoy all things country. We even celebrated my sister's birthday since she joined us on the trip (she may never accept another invite to drive with us after the scream fest that was our drive home).  

As with anytime we visit them, papa Jet & meme were great hosts. Nick got to shoot, fish and drink beer with my dad, while Meme and auntie Steph showered my kids with attention and love.  

The kids had fun just being kids-which meant baths that turned the water gray at night. They played hard. Every inch of their body was covered with dirt stuck on dirt stuck on dirt. Good times were definitely had. 

Carla fell in love with the "horse" that my dad uses for target practice and was even more blown away when she had the opportunity to ride Meme's real live horse, Maggie. 

Sal also rode Maggie-- but he really loved picking tomatoes, quad rides and learning how to excavate...


...but the highlight for him was his s'more making dream coming to fruition...he'd been talking about making s'mores for a few weeks, and was determined he was going to make them when he visited his papa Jet...My dad made roasting forks (complete with antler handles!) for Carla and Sal to roast with and he was in heaven. Marshmallow waaaaaasted.

My favorite part of the trip was hanging out with my family. I enjoyed kicking back when the kids slept and waking up to the most beautiful sunrises. Nick and I cut away for an afternoon and got lunch together in a nearby town. On our way home we made an impromptu stop at a casino to play blackjack amongst the Noon on a Monday crowd. Good times.

But now we are back, and we're all fighting off colds. Nobody is sleeping well, and laundry is still piled up waiting to be folded.

 Back to reality.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Gino is 5 months

This smiley little guy just turned five months old.

At five months, G is now mobile by way of rolling and stink bug scooting. He gets frustrated (and stuck) easily and often, but that's par for the course in this whole becoming independent gig.

Per pediatrician's advice, Gino started on a few solids this past month, and seems to like all three. He started with avocado, then zucchini and most recently, banana. Unfortunately, he isn't past the dairy sensitivities, as I found out after I indulged on a candy bar last weekend and  his poor little face broke out just 24 hours later. This kid is keeping me honest with what I eat! 

I've got a stockpile of pumped milk in the freezer for a baby that has, until now, been anti bottle. This means that I am no more than 2-3 hours away from him at any time. I love my kids, but sometimes a mama just wants a break! Sal has shown interest in feeding Gino lately, so I let him try with an ounce of pumped milk. It's been a learning curve, but Gino will take it from him. I thought that maybe he's just ready for a bottle now, so I tried on my own, and wouldn't you know--he refused the whole thing. 


Gino responds well to his older siblings and our new kitty, Earl. Both Gino and the new kitty love his jungle gym, and I play referee all morning trying to keep the cat (and Carla) from playing with the gym when G is under it. Carla has gotten much softer with Gino, and her favorite thing is giving him raspberries on his belly. 

Sleep is still nothing to complain about. He naps from about 8:30-10 , 1-3 and then through the night from 7:30-7:00. He still wakes occassionally around 4:30a, but he sleeps through more often than not. 

I love this little guy so much! Bring on month six!