The Universal Mom Conundrum: on daycare, stay-at-home-moms, leaning in, and stepping back

The Universal Mom Conundrum: on daycare, stay-at-home-moms, leaning in, and stepping back

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My son started daycare about 4 months ago. Every time I mention this fact, I feel compelled to immediately clarify that he’s only there part-time, for 3 half-days a week.  Can someone please tell me why this makes me so defensive?  I think subconsciously I’m convinced that the stay-at-home-moms of the world will see enrollment in daycare as a major mom-fail – abandoning my little guy and turning him over to the care of strangers.

But as much as some people might look down on the decision to put children in daycare, there is just as much derision thrown at SAHMs. In casual conversations with someone you’ve just met, one of the very first questions is “What do you do?”  When the answer is “I’m a homemaker,” the response tends to be “Oh!”, stated in an awkward high-pitch as if to overcompensate with forced enthusiasm for the initial reaction of “oh, so you don’t really have a job.”  Even many well-intentioned people  Read more

“Parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment – even the death of a partner.” REALLY?

“Parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment – even the death of a partner.” REALLY?

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A couple of months ago, the Washington Post published an article with the not-at-all-click-baiting-title “It turns out parenthood is worse than divorce, unemployment – even the death of a partner.”   This is only one of many pieces I’ve read recently indicating, basically, that parenting makes you miserable.

But here’s the thing about the study on which the article was based. Aside from the fact that it was conducted in Germany (no comment), the measurement of happiness was based on participants’ numerical rating of their overall happiness/satisfaction on a scale of 0-10, from the period of time prior to having a baby through at least 2 years after having one.  Can a single question about happiness really tell the story of what it means to become a parent?  When you just got peed on during a diaper change, are you going to rate your happiness at that moment as a 10?  Probably not.  When your toddler starts Read more

If you’re worried about whether you’re a good parent, you probably are one

If you’re worried about whether you’re a good parent, you probably are one

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A Facebook friend recently posted about an incident that happened after dropping her daughter off at school. On her way home she found a one-year-old playing in a busy street without an adult in sight. She called 911 and took the child to her home for safety, and eventually the mother was located and came to pick him up. As she said in her post, unfortunate incidents can certainly happen to anyone, but what concerned her most was that when the mom came to pick up her child, she wasn’t remotely upset, apologetic or appreciative. If anything, she acted mildly annoyed.

The incident was upsetting to be sure, and I can’t help but worry about that little guy who appears to have a mom who is pretty neglectful, or at least alarmingly clueless. But as a parent myself who tends to worry constantly about how every single parenting decision I make will affect my son, it’s weirdly comforting Read more

The Little White Lies Parents Tell

The Little White Lies Parents Tell

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I’ve written before about how my old opinions about parenting went right out the window as soon as I actually had a kid.  No screentime before age 2, all home-made baby food, never losing my temper… yeah, I didn’t stick to any of those.  But here’s another opinion from that list that I hope I can actually follow through on: not lying to my son.

I’m not making an argument for 100% candor.  There are concepts that are too mature for my almost-2-year-old son, and complexities that I put in simpler terms that he can understand.  What I’m talking about is the little white lies of convenience – the things that come out of our mouths without much thought at all Read more

10 Weird Things that Happen When You Become a Mom

10 Weird Things that Happen When You Become a Mom

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The day your first child is born, there are about a million ways in which life as you know it will never be the same.  Here are a few truths about motherhood that I never really thought about before I became a mom.

1)     We hear our babies crying all. the. time. Neighbor’s dog barking? Distant ambulance siren? Goose honking while it flies by? Somehow they all – at least momentarily – sound like our baby’s cry.

2)      We learn just how much it’s possible to accomplish with only one arm.  Who knew I could make Nutella cupcakes with buttercream frosting while holding my infant son the entire time?

3)      Things come out of our mouths that we never would have expected.  “Sweetie, don’t chew of Papa’s flip flop.” “No honey, that’s not Mama, that’s Michelle Obama.”

4)      Our kisses take on the magical power to make pain disappear.

5)      Even if we absolutely swore we’d never do baby-talk, Read more

A Message to New Moms on Baby’s First Birthday

A Message to New Moms on Baby’s First Birthday

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You made it through a year of parenthood!  Before your very eyes, your baby transformed from a tiny helpless creature who could basically only eat, poop and sleep into an active one-year-old who can laugh, crawl, play, and might even be starting to walk or talk.  Baby’s first birthday isn’t just a milestone for her – it’s also the anniversary of the day you became a parent.  The day your little one was born, your life changed forever.  You’ve probably never known such joy and love, but you’ve also probably never felt quite so exhausted.  It’s easy for mommy-hood to completely take over your life and identity for a while.  I think this is pretty normal.  Particularly in the first few months, your baby is so helpless that it takes all your time and energy just to tend to his needs.  But by the time baby has turned one, life has most likely calmed down a little, and baby is probably better able to handle being apart from you.  Once all the presents have been opened and the icing has been cleaned out from behind baby’s ears, Read more