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

Why Parents Need to Stop Judging Each Other (but probably won’t)

Why Parents Need to Stop Judging Each Other (but probably won’t)

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Becoming a parent has made me eat my words.  A lot of them.  Before I had my son, I had plenty of opinions about the best way to raise kids.  If a mom mentioned in passing a TV show that their 18-month old enjoyed, I’d think to myself “that kid shouldn’t be watching television! Pediatricians recommend no screen time before age 2!”  At social functions, I’d silently judge parents who would let their little ones just eat junk food.  From discipline techniques to bedtimes, I had endless opinions about what parents could be doing better.

Dealing with the struggles of real-world parenting has been a major wake-up call.  At a recent Super Bowl party, my son basically ate hamburger rolls and cookies for dinner… I see now that getting your kid to eat apple sauce when everyone around them is eating junk food is essentially impossible.  His normal diet is pretty darn good, and we’ll all survive some unhealthy snacking during the occasional party.  And yes, my son (now 20 months old) watches TV.  What started 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

Baby Registry Checklist: A Real Mom’s Guide to What you Actually Need

Baby Registry Checklist: A Real Mom’s Guide to What you Actually Need

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I don’t know about everyone else, but during my pregnancy I was completely overwhelmed by the prospect of all the STUFF I had to buy for my little one!  My baby book had an entire chapter dedicated to all the items baby would need.  I saw registry checklists online, but got lost in the terminology – what the heck were footmuffs and “baby bodies”? (For the record, my son is now 19-months and I still don’t know what those things are).  It also seemed like a lot of the suggested items were overkill – did I really need a device to tell me if the bathwater was too hot?   I wanted to be prepared, but didn’t want to end up with a house full of baby stuff that would never really get used.

So here is a Moderate Mama’s take on what you really need.   Read more

Welcome to A Moderate Mama!

Welcome to A Moderate Mama!

In the early days and weeks after I gave birth to my son, like many other first-time parents I felt overwhelming joy and love, punctuated by feelings of total self-doubt.  I knew parenting would be hard, but I never expected how completely lost I would feel at times, unsure of the best thing to do for my child.  Everyone had told me to “trust my instincts,” but those instincts felt insufficient for the specific challenges I encountered, in particular my baby’s sleep struggles.  The internet became both a blessing and a curse.  It was helpful to have so much information at my fingertips, but the parenting advice I found would often leave me feeling inadequate and defeated.  Website after website insisted that babies needed to be put to bed sleepy but not asleep in order to learn to fall asleep on their own.  This made sense in theory, but impossible to implement when I watched my baby screaming and frantic when I tried to lay him in the crib.  Claims about the “right” way to do things felt completely disconnected from my reality, and I kept thinking “is it just me?”  I read advice at opposite extremes that left me more confused than when I’d started; co-sleeping was either critical to your baby’s happiness and well-being according to the attachment parenting crowd, or extremely dangerous and to be avoided at all costs.

My son never turned into a champion sleeper, but slowly, by fits and starts, we fell into a sleep routine that worked better for everyone.  A year and half later, that period of self-doubt feels like a lifetime ago.  I certainly still have my moments of uncertainty, but I’ve learned to balance “expert” advice with my own experience and my knowledge of what works for my little one.  I’ve read about different parenting philosophies, and concluded that no single approach has all the answers.  I’ve found a place in between the extremes that works for me and my family.  Now I want to share my parenting journey, and the wisdom I’ve picked up along the way.  I will aim to be a voice of moderation in the parenting blogosphere.  I care deeply about my child’s nutrition, but I didn’t make all his baby food from scratch.  I was fully committed to the importance of breastfeeding, but I supplemented with formula when it was necessary.  I slept with my little one in my arms during those early days when it was the only place he’d sleep, but by 4 months he’d transitioned to sleeping in the crib in his own room.  Like most moms and dads I’ve had everything from flashes of pure genius to moments of total failure; on this blog I promise to share both with honesty and candor.