Ideal Parent….What Does that Mean?

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If you are anything like me you have dreamed of being a mother for a very long time.  You thought about what it would be like to raise your children and what you will and will not tolerate.  You some how in your mind created this ideal of the perfect parent.  What you aspire to be.

For me that was my mother.  I wanted to be the type of mother that she was.  She created the best childhood.  She was the mother that created craft projects and got down on the floor and played with us.  She created the best forts and always put our needs above hers.  No matter how hard it was she pushed forward knowing that in her eyes she was doing the best for her children.

I mean she hosted, put together, help decorate and facilitated Fourth of July parades for all the kids on the block for many years.  Usually this was only for the parents of said kids, but we all had a blast, putting red, white and blue cray paper, and sparkles.  Even before my sister could ride a bike, she decorated a metal red wagon for her to sit in.

One year during the Olympics she put together our own Olympics for all the neighborhood kids.  Complete with some sort of medal and ceremony for the best of the best.

These are just a few examples of things that she did for us.  Totally the Pinterest Mom before Pinterest was even around.  She would have home cooked meals most nights a week.

I had some big shoes to fill when I became a mom.  I found though very quickly that I was not my mom and I was actually completely the opposite of her.  It has taken me many years to learn that even though I am not the ideal mom I thought I wanted to be I am still a great mom.

So this is where I say that it is great to have a role model of the type of parent that you want to be, but it is also okay to find what works for you and your family.

Thank You!

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I know that I have left this blog for a little while, but I am back to working at it and moving forward with new material.  I truly thank you for your patience this year, as it has been a difficult one to go through.  I will explain more in another post.  Expect to see more content with this blog.

Once again Thank you for continuing to support this blog and everything we have to offer.

 

Ashley

Moms Need to Support Moms

I know from time to time I have talked about the Mommy Wars and how they can affect mothers.  Here is another post about how we as mothers need to support each other more.  We really don’t know the other side of it.  As much as we want to think we have been through it, we really don’t know.  We only know what people want us to know.

Influences for motherhood are all around, from the store, to our home and even with people we have never met. With technology being so readily available it leaves mothers open to get a lot of opinions about the “correct” way to parent. Instead of supporting each other’s opinions, ways and ideas, we have created more ways for mothers to bully other mothers.

Between community websites like TheBump, Facebook, Blogs and many other social media avenues, women are bombarded with a vast amount of information on the “right” way to parent. Before the technology craze, mothers would gather face to face for play dates, where respect and courtesy would be more appropriate. With technology mothers sit behind a computer and state their opinion without any regards to who is on the other side of the conversation. Mothers fighting with each other on the “best” way to parent, are called the mommy wars. The fights range anywhere from vaginal birth vs. C-section, to homeschool vs. institutional school. “According to a Parents poll of more than 500 mothers nationwide by Quester, a research company in Des Moines, 63 percent of mothers believe that a mommy war exists.” (O’Connor) This is something that new mothers, or mothers dealing with postpartum depression, PPD, have a hard time with. Mother’s that may be insecure with their parenting styles can be very influenced by these mothers.

A new mother maybe having a hard time learning to breast feed her child, she has been told by many people, including nurses and doctors that breast is best, so she continues to try to breast feed her child. All the while she knows that it is causing her baby blues to get worse and turn into full blown PPD. During a very hard time, about ready to quit, she turns to her internet friends for support in her decision. What she gets instead are comments like “It’s a fact that formula is poisoning babies, researching it instead of being so ignorant” (Personal Communication, August 24, 2014), or “I do have a problem with mums who choose straight off the bat, 2 formula feed without trying breastfeeding first or giving it up 2 easily because they want 2 b able 2 drink or have their partners feed baby 2 give them a break ect. That annoys me.” (Personal Communication, August 24, 2014). These are just a few comments out of the hundreds that were written. Yes there were some supportive comments, but the majority of the comments were either demeaning to the original mother, or demeaning to the mothers of the mean comments.

These arguments and judgments are centered on the “right” way to raise children and do nothing to support or encourage one another. “Waging full on attacks against each other, mothers verbally assault other mothers for their parenting going for each other’s throats in this made up crusade nobody can ever win. “ (Martin Weber, 2014) These types of accusations and judgments given by other mothers can send one desperate mother’s over the edge without even trying. Instead of chastising other mothers or fathers for how they parent, it would be better to give a supportive opinion even if you disagree. All parents understand how hard it is and the struggles that parents face. It truly goes back to what adults are taught as a child, if you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all.

 

 

References

Martin Weber, J. (2014, May 5). Huffington Post. Retrieved August 24, 2014, from Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jessica-martinweber/the-real-mommy-wars-excha_b_5318536.html

O’Connor, G. (n.d.). Parents. Retrieved August 27, 2014, from Parents Magazine: http://www.parents.com/parenting/moms/do-mommy-wars-exist/

Unknown. (2014, August 24). Working Parent- Wikipedia. Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_parent

Mothers and Social Media

In this generation, social media is in most parent’s everyday lives.  Whether it is through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest more and more parents, especially mothers are bombarded with the way that they should parent, creating picture perfect ideas of parenting.  These ideas are both unnatural and unrealistic for the average mom to achieve on a daily basis.

 

With one click of a button a mother can open up an app that have hundreds and thousands of different ideas and ways to be the coolest, craftiest, best cook, cleanest, calmest, and any other best way to be a mother.  With all this information at their fingertips there tends to a pressure to keep up with all that is seen. According to TODAY mom survey pressure that mothers put on themselves to be perfect is the top cause of stress. (Dube, 2013)

 

The pressure is already there to achieve above and beyond the call of duty and be the best mother, but social media has taken it to another level.  We are always shown the best of motherhood, which makes us want to mimic what we see.  No one will show you the hair pulling out, mess on the floor, with the children half dress because that would show the world that you are a bad mother.

 

We enjoy seeing all the pictures and reading all the blogs or Facebook posts about how wonderful life is, painting this picture that life is perfect, even when it isn’t.  We as mothers get this false sense that those pictures, blogs and posts should be how life is all the time and when it is not, failure is what comes to mind.  This failure can lead mothers to having depression and anxiety.  Both of which can be even worse on new mothers going through the changes and needs with a new baby.  The feeling of never being able to live up to what is being portrayed on these social media avenues.  There have even been some companies that joke on the matter of what is being portrayed.

 

There is a commercial by Valspar Paint, where the mother is away and the father has the children, they are talking via the computer.  All the mother could see was a clean green background, at the end of the commercial you can see the whole picture where the kitchen is a complete mess. (Valspar, 2014)  Social media has that same affect, where we only what the person wants us to see and why would we want to show the world the bad?

 

These feelings of inadequateness can lead to depression and anxiety disorders. We all have this idea of mother we want to be and it is exacerbated by what we see other mothers do and share through social media.   Not only do we see what others mothers are doing right, we also have access for other mothers to judge us on what we do and what we say.

 

Not only are these websites a place to gather information from, but they are also a place to participate, ask questions, and give answers. Sometimes vulnerable mothers get on these websites looking for validation that what they are doing or going through is right.  They want to feel supported and instead of turning to people around them they go to complete strangers to validate what they are doing.  These other mothers are not always being truthful and always portray their best foot forward.  This inaccurate picture that is being portrayed may cause an increase in anxiety and depression because they are not living up to what the other mothers are doing.

 

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs we want to achieve self- actualization where we understand and accept our potential and strive for it. It is a mothers desire to be the best and understanding what our own individual potential is the key to being the best that we can be.

 

My mother was the typical stay at home, she was the ideal mother.  She was always there, did crafts, set up parades, help us set up lemonade stands, she would cook us home cook meals.  She was a very hands on type of mother.  Growing up I always wanted to be type of mother my mom was to me.  Fast forward a few years and now I have children, but as much as I wanted to be like my mother growing up that is not who I am.  This is something that has caused me great anxiety and sadness as I am not the type of mother I thought I would be.  Not to say that I am a bad mother, I am just a different mother.  Having the added influence of the social media did not help with the idea of the perfect mother.  It made me feel even worse because I thought to myself, if they can do it, so can I.  Which I know is not accurate because my life is completely different than theirs, but still made me feel inadequate.

With our lives on display, we sometimes are able to capture a perfect moment.  A moment that is perfect, but doesn’t give an accurate representation of how life is. A mother looking in on this perfect moment may not see that it is just a moment.  She may think that this is how life is all the time, which can cause her to put more pressure to be that perfect mom. This pressure can cause anxiety and depression when they don’t live up to the expectation.

 

 

References

Dube, R. (2013, May 9). Today Parents. Retrieved September 21, 2014, from Today: http://www.today.com/parents/pinterest-stress-afflicts-nearly-half-moms-survey-says-1C9850275

Sunstrum, K. (2014, March 14). World of Psych. Retrieved from Psych Central: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/03/14/how-social-media-affects-our-self-perception/

Unknown. (2013, May 11). Huff Post Parents. Retrieved from Huff Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/11/pinterest-stress-moms-social-media_n_3253475.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

Valspar. (2014, April 29). YouTube. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/kHw0-QaGYVs

Growing Out of a Nap

We knew something needed to change when my son, 3.5 years old, was fighting with us daily to go down for a nap.  Even the days that he didn’t go down for a nap, he wouldn’t really start to melt until almost bedtime.  The days that he would take a nap we were fighting him to go down at night, usually resulting in him not going to bed till several hours after he was suppose to.  At the time we knew he still needed downtime, and time that he is not really running around.  And let’s be truthful, Mom and Dad also still needed that time without kids.

Talking with my mother, she reminded me of what we used to do as children.  Quiet time! I remember having certain toys that we could play with only during this time. So we started to implement that with my son and will do it with my daughter when the time comes.

He doesn’t take a nap everyday and we don’t force him to sleep.  Instead he has quiet time.  Quiet time is a time where my son plays quietly in his room with his door closed.  He is able to read or color or play with his legos, but he is not able to come out of his room until my daughter wakes up, unless he has to go to bathroom.  Now we are also not talking about if there is an emergency, just more with the constant interruptions.

He actually enjoys this time by himself to play with his own toys.  On days that he is really tired, he either asks to take a nap or he will put himself in his bed and fall asleep.  This method is a great way for them to have their independence and feel in control.  We rarely require him to go down and usually the days we do, we know it is going to be a late night.

What do you do when your child is growing out of a nap?

Ashley

 

 

Preschool Chore Chart Printables

It is never too early for kids to learn how to help around the house.  It can be as little as learning to pick up their own toys, to helping set the table.  Children love to help, and what better way to help them learn to contribute to the household.

Now that my children are 2 and 3, we wanted a way to track things everyday to show our children what they have accomplished.  I have compiled a list of different chore charts for younger children.

Homeschool Creations has a Chore Chart that has pictures to help younger children know what they need to do.

Here is a Chore Chart from Chart Jungle.

 

My Frugal Adventures has this one

Here is another one from ChoreCharts

 

A Grateful life has this one

 

Coming up is how I set up our chore charts.

 

 

Mother’s with Postpartum Depression

So just recently I saw something on the news about a woman who drove herself and her 4 children off a bridge and killed everyone.  As the news anchor was talking to parents about the tragedy all the comments were the same.  How could she do that to her children?    What mother would do that?  Man she must have been on something?  I can’t believe it!  As I sat there an watched it I casually stated to my husband, “I can see it”  He then turned to me as if asking for further explanation of what I meant.  I answered him by explaining that I could totally see a mother doing that.  Mother’s when dealing with Postpartum Depression and get to that point, don’t really see their children anymore.  They more see a problem that they want to end.  We as outsiders will never know the true reason why, but I can see why a mother might do something like that.  Now I have to say that I in no way condone what these women do, but I understand it from a different level.

I know from personal experience how hard it is to get help.  I know that even someone like myself who did ask for help, was met with a lot of barriers.  I remember at one point I only needed a medication change, since my medication was no longer working and my doctor couldn’t see me, but advised me to go to the hospital.  Well the hospital would have put me in the psych ward and  striped me of everything I had that I could potentially use as a weapon against me.  Let’s not even talk about what the consequences would have been for my children and my job.  All of that for a medication change.  Something that a 15 minute doctor appointment would have taken care of.

I know what it feels like to not want to hurt my children, but to want the problem to stop.  When a mother gets to that point they no longer are looking at their children, they are no longer seeing what you and I see, they are seeing no way out.  They feel like they are in a room with no door and the walls closing in.  They just want it to end.  Whatever that last straw is, triggers all of the built up feelings.

Postpartum Depression can manifest in so many different ways and at any point in time.  Just recently the New York Times posted an article about it.  The medical world is still finding so much more information about Postpartum depression and perinatal depression and anxiety.

If you  have been through it, please share your story.  If you think you are going through it, please do not be afraid to ask for help.  If you are unsure, ask anyway.  No question or comment or thought is too small for your doctor.  Please seek help.

Mommy Wars…..

I know I have discussed the Mommy Wars here and here, but I feel once again to touch on this point.

A little history, as you may know I had severe Postpartum Depression after the birth of my daughter in April 2012.  It is now 2 years later and I can honestly look back and see that it was a lot worse than what I even thought!  During that time I know that other moms didn’t mean to say something that I took so deeply, but in some cases I couldn’t help it and in other cases it could have been said better.

Recently a friend on Facebook posted  “Me: “I used a great practice of midwives for my son’s birth.” Other mom: “oh, I couldn’t do that. I really cared about my baby.”” as her status.  I was appalled.  I know that 2 years ago and even 1 year ago a comment like that would have sent me into a spiral of self-doubt and would have been hard to get out of.

Now that comment was outright rude and judgmental, what about the comments that aren’t so outright.  The ones that are like Do YOU discipline your child? as the child is running around in a fit.  Or how about the comments like Do YOU EVER give your kids a bath because they always seem to have something all over their face.  Those questions were not meant to be hurtful, but to someone who is battling with themselves, they can be even more hurtful.

Please understand that what you say to people can have a good effect and a bad effect on that person.  You never really know what people are going through.  They only show you what they want you to see.

My suggestion is to be supportive, really try to read the situation.  Understand that not everyone does it the same way and what works for you may not work for them.  Encourage them to do their own research and not just go based off of what you said.