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

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An Open Letter to the Dad-to-Be

An Open Letter to the Dad-to-Be

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Dear Dad-to-Be,

I know you’ve probably already been bombarded with unsolicited advice, so I’m sorry to throw some more at you.  Even though I’ve only been a parent for 2 years, it feels light-years away from that period when I was eagerly awaiting my son’s arrival.  The little bit of wisdom I’ve picked up seems worth sharing, so here’s some advice from a relatively new mom’s perspective.

First things first – do the stuff on the mama-to-be’s To-Do List.  Yes, I know there’s a list, and yes I know there are things you haven’t done yet.  But here’s some insider information about why it’s so important to her. Almost everything about the baby’s arrival and the reality thereafter feels totally out of control.  This to-do list gives her a feeling of control amidst the chaos.  Everything on the list that she can’t cross out is slowly driving her crazy. So just freakin stop putting it off and Read more

Forgetting Your Baby in the Back Seat: “It couldn’t happen to me….”

Forgetting Your Baby in the Back Seat: “It couldn’t happen to me….”

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As the days have been getting warmer, there’s been a resurgence of Facebook posts warning parents and pet owners not to leave their kids and dogs alone in hot cars.  I saw similar posts last summer, and flatly ignored them.  I had no intentions of leaving my baby alone in a car, hot or otherwise, so I assumed the warnings had nothing to do with me.  And then I read the Washington Post article “Fatal Distraction,” which recounted in heart-wrenching detail the stories of several parents whose young children died after being accidentally left in the back seat of the car.

When I started reading the article, I thought the whole thing was total BS.  HOW COULD ANYONE FORGET THAT THEIR BABY IS IN THE BACK SEAT??!!  I wasn’t buying it, not for one second. What kind of horribly negligent parent 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

The Day My Son was Called Stick Boy

The Day My Son was Called Stick Boy

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As long as he’s outside, my son is a pretty easy kid to entertain.  It’s amazing to me how long he can stay occupied just digging in the dirt, throwing rocks in a stream, or simply walking around wielding a stick.  So if the weather’s decent, you’ll probably find us wandering around the neighborhood.  On one such day I was trailing after my son while he tromped, stick in hand, down the sidewalk. We walked by a neighbor’s house, where visiting relatives’ young children were playing in the front yard.  We paused so my son could “say hello” (or his version of it) to the kids, and as we walked away an isolated phrase floated to my ears: “Stick Boy.”  I didn’t catch the context, but the little boy’s tone was unmistakable.  He was making fun of my son.

The words were like a punch to the gut.  I will readily admit 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

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