Category: health

Interview With A Parent of A Child With Autism- Meet Kaitlin and Parker

rd autism

As we close out Autism Awareness month I want to share with you one more story. Meet Parker. His mom Kaitlin lives in my area and we are part of the same mom’s group on Facebook. I am grateful she is allowing me to share their story. It may sound familiar to you, or you may know someone who is currently going through a similar journey to find a diagnosis. Feel free to share this story with them: a real mom with a real struggle just like theirs.

Autism Awareness

How old was Parker when he was diagnosed?

Parker was 18 months old when he was diagnosed on the spectrum of Autism. I knew in my heart prior to the diagnosis. I think with knowing something was going on prior it was easier for me to accept. Two developmental pediatricians and a neurologist confirmed the diagnosis and still follow him.

 

What has life been like after diagnosis?

Everything I read about was so different than actually experiencing it. We began our journey receiving services through Early Intervention (OT, PT, Speech, Special Ed) and working with a licensed social work therapist (LCSW). All our services were in home so it was like a revolving door sometimes. It would be three services a day. We would make strides with speech and have some new words for a little while and then they would just disappear, like he forgets he learned them. One day they were here and the next they just disappeared. He had a lot of sensory needs. He would love being rocked, squeezed tight and disliked certain textures and loud noises scared him. Every day I learned some new.

IMG_20160319_085645

As Parker got older he became very aggressive towards others. He was hitting, biting, pulling hair and he would even bite himself when things would get overwhelming for him. It was hard to watch and accept. His activity level was extremely active and very dangerous. Parker has no fear whatsoever so, safety became a huge concern. He is also a runner/bolter. We recently became enrolled with Project Lifesaver with our local sheriff’s department. Parker wears a radio transmitter device that can aid in the location of finding him if he ever takes off.

 

How important is it to have support?

I am a single parent and having support is HUGE! I am thankful for my family who helps when anything is needed. My parents are our greatest support system and I would be lost without them!

 

What advice could you give to outsiders not familiar with autism?

Never judge a book by its cover. Prior to kids I told myself I would never use a backpack leash. But with his safety concerns I have too.

Kaitlin also recommends the following articles to help others understand more about what it’s like to be a parent with Autism.

The Mighty: 12 Things Not To Say to Parents of Kids With Autism

Today Parent: 11 Things Never to Say to Parents of A Child With Autism (and 11 Things You Should)

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy. 

Sharing is Caring:

Friday Favorites- Earth Day Roundup

Happy Earth Day!

Yes, today is the day we celebrate the earth and all the fabulous wonder it brings. Hug a tree, recycle a container or go out and plant something. Here are my Top 3 favorite earth friendly (and human friendly) products I have shared so far in my Friday Favorites series!

NORWEX

Norwex

My absolute top favorite is Norwex. We use the Envirocloth every day and need only water to clean with! This has cut down my household dependence on paper towels, cleaning chemicals that wash into our water supply and I let my kids help out more often too! That saves my energy resources. 😉 I started using the crazy mesh dish cloth I thought would never work and now I am hooked! It cleans better than a sponge and food doesn’t get stuck inside. I no longer have to buy pesticide soaked sponges! That saves me money, our water supply and adds way less waste into our landfill. You can find my original post about Norwex products here.

 

RUME

MyRuMe

I still love my RuMe reusable bag! I carry this tote inside my mom purse where ever I go. It has saved me from using countless plastic bags when shopping for only a handful of items. I can skip the plastic bag at the library too when out with the kids. And I can even use it to carry home a wet pair of pants (don’t ask). It is a great size and rolls up small so I can carry in my purse. It is washable and very sturdy! You can read my original post about my favorite RuMe products here.

 

POOFY ORGANICS

Poofy Organics

Last but not least, Poofy Organics has become our bath time favorite! My girls are still using and loving the Young Wild and Free shampoo and conditioner. I am loving the organic ingredients (entire product is not organic certified) and that it is cruelty free. The products clean really well and smell wonderful! We also use the lice prevention spray in the morning before leaving for school. This also smells really good without being over powering! All products that are good to our earth from start to finish! You can read my original post about Poofy Organics here.

There ya have it! A round up of my Top 3 favorite eco-friendly products I can count on! For me being kind to our earth is necessary to leave behind a healthy world for my children and my children’s children. What earth friendly products do you love the most?

All links to giveaways are now closed. Winners have been chosen and prizes distributed. No financial compensation given for reviews all opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom. No affiliate links contained within individual posts. 

 

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia and The Novice Mommy. 

Sharing is Caring:

Picky Eaters Party of Two – My Hidden Nutrition Mac and Cheese

Hello mamas! I have shared before how difficult it is to find foods for my super picky eaters. These girls of mine simply will NOT take even one bite if they don’t want to. So, I end up wasting a lot of food. I try not to make food a struggle at our house, but I think sometimes it just is. Other times I find myself doctoring up their most favorite food on the planet: Mac and Cheese. But, hell hath no fury like a child who does not get the right shaped pasta in her mac and cheese. It MUST be shells NOT elbows. Lesson learned.

Here is how I sneak in a little extra nutrition into their favorite boxed mac and cheese. (Yes, boxed because they won’t eat my super amazing from scratch recipe).

Picky mac and cheese

Ingredients:

Favorite Box of Mac and Cheese

Nutritional Yeast

Winter squash, pureed (can also use sweet potato, cauliflower to go unnoticed)

Avocado mayo (optional)

Why avocado mayo? Well, it’s adding in some extra healthy fats which little developing brains need.

Why nutritional yeast? The nutritional yeast is rich with B-vitamins which my kids may not get enough of because of their limited food choices. Helps sneak in a little extra fiber and minerals too.

Why veggie puree? The hidden veggies gives an extra boost of fiber and vitamins.

Here’s how I make it.

Boil macaroni according to package directions.

picky mac and cheese 2

While the pasta is draining, I put in the amount of butter specified on the package and get it melting.

picky mac and cheese 3

Once it is melted I add in the veggie puree and mayo. Once it is all mixed I add in the cheese packet and the nutritional yeast (which I have been able to convince my kids it is a “cheese booster”) and milk. Once all of that is mixed well I add the pasta back into the pot and stir.

picky mac and cheese 4

My kids will eat the entire box together. Some nights this is all they will eat despite me serving their favorite veggies and fish sticks, or chicken nuggets along side of it. Having all that extra stuff mixed inside the mac and cheese is like a little nutritional insurance policy. I don’t worry about what they aren’t eating because I know what little they are eating is still packed with good stuff.

picky mac and cheese 5

I have to admit, some of these ingredients do not seem appetizing on their own. I thought nutritional yeast just sounded so gross until I actually tried it for myself. Also, who puts mayo in their mac and cheese, right? But, none of these ingredients are even detectable when masked behind the cheese. It also helps to NEVER let your kids see what you add into the sauce! Afterall, the secret is in the sauce. 😉

If you have a picky eater making you jump through a lot of hoops to get them to eat, hang in there! Despite my kids desire to subsist on macaroni and cheese alone, they are thriving and hovering in that 80th percentile.

Got a sure fire, tried and true way to get your picky eater to eat their veggies? Please share in the comments below!

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

Sharing is Caring:

Friday Favorites – Fitbit HR Charge Fitness Tracker

Friday Favorites (6)

My husband bought me a Fitbit for my birthday last year. Not because he thinks I’m out of shape but he knows how much I want one. I find myself in need of something to keep track of my bad habits so I can start to create new ones (sounds logical right?). Self care is such a struggle for me and I need all the help I can get!

The step counter is not 100% accurate. Somehow I can walk several hundred steps while driving my car; and I can just wave my hand (because who can talk without moving their hands?) and it will count as a step. Kind of a bummer right? But, that is because I am too focused on the numbers and not on how much fun I can have with my Fitbit!

Here is how I’m loving using my Fitbit HR Charge:

ADDING FRIENDS

Connecting my Fitbit app through Facebook has connected me to other friends using a Fitbit too! It’s like having a virtual support group. Knowing other people can see my activity level helps with accountability.

fitbit app screens

RACES

This has got to be my most favorite feature. I’m not one to compete for the biggest car, or the biggest house or the best of any material goods. But, we set a goal together and I will take you down! I got my first invite to a Work Week Hustle challenge and I was making it a point to go get every little request my family had. “You need a napkin, I’ll get it!” “You need me to pick up that tiny piece of lint all the way on the other side of the house? I’ll get it!” After all more movement means more steps which means I win!

WATER INTAKE

Now, I can easily track how much water I drink each day. I found a 16 oz. cup that I really enjoy using and every time I empty it I just add to the tracker before filling up again. This has actually helped me set a better habit to increase my water intake! (See bad habit identified, new habit created. My system works!).

CALORIE TRACKER 

Using this tracker has been super helpful in making healthier choices. I am a stress eater and I graze all day. All of that adds up and I have no idea why my jeans suddenly have a little less room in them. I know, simple math – calories in, calories out. Since I am horrible with numbers and I don’t have room to carry around a bulky notebook to write everything down this is a handy feature! What makes it even easier to use is the scanning option. I can scan the bar code on the package of my snacks or food items, and if it is in the database it will register the calories for a serving size. If a code is not in the system you can snap pics of the code and the packaging to help add it to the database.

SLEEP TRACKER

This is such a huge help for me! My kids actually sleep through the night but I don’t. I typically sleep between 3 and 6 hours per night. You’d think I’d get more done with those extra hours. But… I’m TIRED! Knowing where my sleep deceits are helps me know when I need to kick my self care into high gear and really stick to routines.

Even though I was disappointed at first because I felt like it wasn’t 100% accurate, I realize now our bodies are not an exact science anyway. Finding a truly 100% way to track what’s happening may not exist for the home user. But, that’s OK. I sure am having fun and enjoying how my Fitbit keeps me connected to my goals!

Got a Fibit? Wanna race? *wink*

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

 

Sharing is Caring:

April 2nd is World Autism Day

rd autism

 

Happy Saturday!

I know, I typically do not post on a Saturday. But, today is an important day to share. April 2nd is now celebrated as World Autism Day and it kicks off a month long celebration of difference and spreading awareness about Autism. Not only are the statistics alarming (1 in 68 are diagnosed), but it is more alarming how difficult it is for autistic individuals and their families to find acceptance and understanding. This boggles my mind because we are so much more alike than we are different.

Years ago, I worked as an assistant in a school for autistic children. I worked in the preschool classroom during the morning and then in the afternoon I worked in the older classrooms. I have witnessed miracles happen and I have witnessed heart breaking sadness for children working so hard to cope. That experience changed me forever. In fact, after two weeks on the job I said one day I would write a book titled, “Everything I Needed to Know about Life, I Learned from Autism.” Later, I found a deeper passion linking parents to therapeutic services for their children. My wish would be that everyone could see autism the way I do- through love, compassion and understanding.

I found this post when I logged onto Facebook this morning. It is written by my friend Erin who is an amazing mom, a “Coastie wife” the owner/designer at Rose Door Designs; and now mother of an autistic son. I agree with her message and I simply love how beautifully she has shared her and her son’s story.

Erin and Liam

erin d

“Today is World Autism Awareness Day. And while I think it’s great (really!) if you want to change your profile pic, Light It Up Blue, or even share my cover photo, those things won’t necessarily make you or anyone else more “aware” of autism. But knowing someone who is autistic might.

My Liam was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in June 2013, just before his fifth birthday. He doesn’t “look autistic;” for many people he “seems normal.” But the more time you spend with him, the more pronounced his differences become…and the more amazing you realize he is. Liam struggles every day in a world that often overwhelms and doesn’t make sense to him. He shows up and he does his best and he fights his way through. He’s brilliant and funny and talented and sweet as can be. He’s my hero.

So today, you can say you know a person with autism. One person. Because every person with autism is unique. There are no cookie cutter signs or symptoms; you can’t spot it from across the room. Autism doesn’t come wrapped in a blue puzzle piece ribbon.

For anybody out there facing an ASD diagnosis–whether it be your kid, a friend’s kid, a family member–IT’S GOING TO BE OK. I promise. You will find your way. There are helpers. Liam has been able to make remarkable progress since his initial diagnosis thanks in large part to the incredible work of some really amazing special educators, regular classroom teachers, therapists, school psychologists, aides, and paraprofessionals. So, to those of you doing that really difficult, really important work: THANK YOU. I know it doesn’t always feel like it, but you make a huge difference in the lives of kids like mine every single day.

If you have any questions about Liam, what autism looks like at our house, or about ASD in general, I’d be happy to try and answer them. It is, after all, World Autism Awareness Day.

Love and light,
One Lucky Mom”

When I asked Erin for permission to share her post she asked me to really emphasize the value of the hard work special educators put into helping kids like Liam, “Special educators are absolutely saints and deserve millions of dollars and their own velvet roped VIP area in heaven. We are so, so thankful and forever indebted to his teachers and aides. They have loved him like their own and have made it possible for us to be better parents.”

I also asked Erin if she could offer any advice about what kind of support she needs as a parent, “I guess the best support anyone could offer me would be to try to understand. Ask questions, be observant, and offer to help maybe (though I’m not big on accepting help! LOL). It drives me nuts when people say things like, “Oh, he’ll be fine,” or “He looks so normal,” or “He doesn’t seem so bad.” It may be true in that moment, but they haven’t seen the day to day struggles.”

I would like to add to Erin’s advice by saying don’t judge a parent by their child’s behaviors. A child struggling to cope in public can often look like they are “misbehaving” and believe me EVERYONE has an opinion on how to handle THAT child. None of that advice is helpful. Instead, ask, “What can I do to help?” “Is there anything I can do to help you right now?” Sometimes just offering help with compassion offers enough room for a parent to take a breath and face that struggle. Sometimes knowing you are not alone in the struggle is all it takes for families living with autism to feel accepted.

autism ribbon

To learn more about Autism and how it affects families visit http://www.autism-society.org/

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

 

 

Sharing is Caring:

Friday Favorites – Leslie Sansone Walking Work Outs

FridayFavorites (1)

This post does not contain any affiliate links and no financial compensation given. All opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom.

After taking that really fun Aerial Yoga class a couple of weeks ago, I feel like I need to get back in the game with taking better care of myself through exercise. As a busy mom working from home and managing the household I tend to prioritize myself last. I keep trying to fit exercise in but then I find a reason to let life get ahead of me. Life has been a little crazy with twins and working from home by myself. Now, it is just time to say I’m worth all the time it takes to keep me healthy.

My mom sent me this walking DVD years ago when I complained about how hard it was to get my daily walks in, in between feeding two babies and their nap time schedules. Even though there is day care available at my gym, I wasn’t feeling very confident about leaving two little babies in someone else’s care just so I could spend 30 minutes on myself. But, this walk at home program did the trick during nap times and rainy days!

Walking With Leslie Sansone

 

I can’t find this awesome DVD anywhere in my house. Who knows where it is. Just when I gave up searching for it, I remembered there is YouTube! (Duh) I did a quick search and there she is! My faithful friend Leslie! Her walks are mixed in with some added aerobic movements so it feels like an actual work out and not just walking in place.

The last few weeks I have pulled up Leslie’s walking videos first thing in the morning. It isn’t the same as the walks I enjoyed outside in the morning before kids. I do have a treadmill, but that gets super boring for me. I miss taking classes at the gym, so for me these videos motivate me with the music and energy early in the morning! Plus, I get my 30 minutes of me time checked off before my kids wake up!

Walking With Leslie Sansone

My goal is to get back to feeling healthy again and finding more energy to keep up with my super active kids. If the happy side effect is weight loss that’s great! I just really miss that feeling of an aerobic rush. Before I was addicted to coffee, I was addicted to aerobics! I like being active and I am not a big fan of feeling like a slug.

Now that my girls are old enough for the kid’s room at the gym I can finally get there each week! They really love it because they have friends there. My plan now is to keep up with my morning “walks” and get to the gym as often as I can. If I miss a day at the gym I won’t feel so guilty because I already have a work out in!

Leslie’s videos are less than $15 per DVD, or free on YouTube. Her work outs are supported by the American Heart Association which recommends at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day for heart health.

What are you favorite ways to get exercise outside of the gym?

 

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again!

Sharing is Caring:

Kids Get Sick – Get Over It

The Whatever Mom (7)

 

I am on day 10 of this crappy sickness with my kids. Is it a cold virus? Is it strep throat? There’s no fever or vomiting. They have tons of energy. But, I keep them home for their comfort. Thankfully, I work from home and can afford to keep my kids home as long as they need. By afford I mean not paying a baby sitter; I didn’t mention the cost to my sanity.

When my kids get sick I am wary about sharing on social media for fear of judgement. There is always a parent out there that has an opinion on what kind of cold medicine you give your kids- is it organic, dye free and homeopathic? “You do know you shouldn’t give kids too many antibiotics.” “There are alternatives to eye drops for treating pink eye.”  Then, there are the teachers who blame the parents for letting their kids get them sick. “Keep your kids home if they are sick.” No one intentionally sets out to spread germs. Germs are everywhere and during every season. If I post what we are sick with and show up to a party 3 days later I’ve just branded us as the source of everyone else’s illness.

So what is a mom to do?

  1. Don’t post every illness to social media. I have been guilty of posting about our second round of pink eye. I administer the drops and release my kids back to school three days later (per doctor’s permission) and suddenly another kid in the class gets pink eye. Now my kids are the target of blame. Really does it matter where the pink eye came from? A kid can get pink eye from a shopping cart, play spaces or a doctor’s office. If your kid gets pink eye identifying the source isn’t going to cure it. Following the doctor’s orders will.
  2. Use the medicine that works best for your child. If you are not one to follow homeopathic methods because you don’t feel they work for your child, then don’t waste the time or money paying into the guilt of “over medicating” your kid. It is completely OK to seek out the advice of a pharmacist or doctor on which over the counter medications you can safely use to comfort your child through illness.
  3. You don’t have to rush your child to the doctor for every sniffle. It is OK to use the wait and see approach. Most often that is the response a doctor will give you anyway. You are not neglecting your child if you wait a few more days to see how they are feeling before taking them to the doc’s office. Not only are you saving co-pays, or an extra bill but you are saving your child exposure of additional germs.
  4. It’s OK to send your kid to school with a runny nose. Every school has a different sick policy. Learn what your school’s policy is and follow it. Typically, it is the rule to be free of a fever and vomit for 24 hours before returning to school. If you have followed the rule and your child is fever and vomit free, but still has a runny nose and a cough with no other symptoms; it’s OK to give them cold medicine and send them to school. If they have the energy to make it through the day and their doc doesn’t see a reason for them to miss any more school. Always have a doctor’s note for their return to school. It won’t save you from judgement, but it will save you from some guilt.
  5. Disclose your kid’s sickness when necessary. It’s OK to cancel plans or disappoint your kids because they are too sick to attend an event. It might be tempting to send them to school or a party at friends while not recovered 100% to see if they can make it through. This runs the risk of exposing other kids to germs and setting them back a bit in their healing. I promise kids will get over the sadness of missing a birthday party, or a fun play date.

Most importantly, don’t judge another parent’s methods for dealing with their kid’s sickness. Unless you can see definitive proof of neglect there is no reason to suspect a parent isn’t doing everything they need to, to ensure their child’s health.

Instead of lashing out on Facebook about the types of meds a parent administers, or judging a parent for not keeping their kid home long enough; why not offer to help? Would you be willing to bring a meal, some cold supplies like tissues and cough drops? Can you send a get well card, or drop a note saying you are thinking of them? Taking care of a sick kid and balancing the rest of our life is stressful enough; we don’t need to hear someone else spouting their own opinions and standards.

I have the fortune of staying home with my kids on sick days. I understand not every parent has that luxury. When I drop my kid off at school and hear another kid coughing, I don’t think “man, couldn’t their mom keep them home longer?” I think, “Poor kiddo he/she must not feel well.”  Then I ask the teacher if she needs any additional supplies for the classroom and I make sure my kids wash their hands. The best way to safeguard my kids during cold season is to worry about what we are doing in our own home to stay healthy. I don’t have the time or the energy to get caught up in how everyone else is living.

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

Sharing is Caring:

Friday Favorites – Poofy Organics GIVEAWAY!

The Whatever Mom Giveaway
Poofy Organics does not offer samples of products for personal consumption, or review. They are a small family run company and unable to fulfill sample requests. No financial compensation was received for this review. All honest opinions belong solely to The Whatever Mom.

Does facing hundreds of little ghouls and goblins, princesses and pirates make you break out into a cold sweat? No worries! I’ve got you covered with this weeks Friday Favorites and a special give away!

First, let me share with you a little bit about why I love Poofy Organics. This is a very small, family run company that is dedicated to producing small batches of product made by  hand. This means significant quality control measures and higher standards for production methods. You can visit their website to meet the team and for an inside look at their production. They are also one of a few USDA Organic Certified personal care companies (but, not every single ingredient has an organic counterpart so organic ingredients are listed individually).

I ordered a few hair care products for my girls. They have thick hair that tangles easily. So, I purchased the Raspberry Lemonade Punch Shampoo and Leave in Conditioner from the Young Wild and Free kids line.

Young Wild Free Poofy Organics

Now that my kids are in school I worry about lice so I also purchased the Organic Lice Prevention Spray (also comes in a shampoo).

Young Wild And Free Poofy Organics

All the products are toxin free and use mostly essential oils. I love that the website lists every ingredient in each product so you know what you are getting before you buy. Each product I purchased is labeled as vegan, eco friendly, cruelty free and made by hand. (Except for the lice prevention spray- it is so new they haven’t even designed a label for it yet). The only thing about the shampoo that I don’t like is that it is not tear free. So, we have to be very careful while shampooing. Otherwise, these products smell great and my kids get excited to use them. And, I like that I can pronounce every ingredient.

Now my next product of choice is the Max Deo. It’s a natural deodorant. I have been reluctant to make the switch to natural deodorants because well, in the past they’ve never worked for me. My friend Rachel and Poofy Organics Guide gave me a deodorant to try. The results are it works! I started using the Peppy Mint a few weeks ago and so far it has worked just as hard as my traditional deodorant. It absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a white, flaky residue.

Max Deo Poofy Organics

I love it so much I’m giving away one Peppy Mint Organic Max Deo for you to try!! Just follow the Rafflecopter link below to enter for your chance to win! One lucky reader will be chosen at close of the contest on Sunday at 12:00 Midnight EST. Winner announced on my Facebook page on Monday morning!! (If you aren’t following already head over there now!).

OK, so you won’t receive this in time to get you through the Halloween rush, but it will arrive in time to get you through Thanksgiving with the in-laws!

**GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED**

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here, Find her two party Body Beautiful project here and here. 

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

Sharing is Caring:

Love Me Or Leave Me

Love Me Or Leave Me

I hope you enjoyed  Part I and Part II of my Body Beautiful series. I asked moms everywhere to accept the beautiful bodies they have been given through pregnancy and child birth. During this process friends kept asking me why I wasn’t posing in front of the camera and including my own post partum body. Well, I didn’t want this project to be about my image, I wanted it to be about the journey’s. I thought I’d offer a more intimate look at my post partum body acceptance journey by sharing my story and how I got here.

Nearly five years ago I stood in my bedroom and cried. I was only a few months post partum, but this was the first time I had looked at my body. I was so big during my pregnancy with twins that I couldn’t see the stretch marks forming. Now they were bright red lines stretching out like lines on a map. I was also left with a C-section scar and what most twin moms are lucky to receive, the “twin skin.” That’s a nice roll of skin that will never snap back into place and so it just kind of hangs off of your mid section. I was feeling pretty powerless.

My husband walked in just as I was in the moment of taking it all in. I covered myself up quickly because I didn’t want him, or anyone else to see me like “this.” He asked me what was wrong and I told him, “I am hideous now.” Then he stepped closer and said, “show me.” I wasn’t prepared for what he said next. He looked me in the eye and said, “how could you ever think this isn’t beautiful? This was our babies first home. It kept them safe and healthy.” I was absolutely stunned. So stunned I stopped to really soak in what he said.

Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t just flip a switch and suddenly love my body. But, that moment is the touch stone that keeps me on this path of acceptance. I worked my body hard after having the twins. Despite five months of bed rest and a painful year of physical therapy I made myself lose the baby weight and then some. I felt accomplished. But really what did I accomplish? There wasn’t a trophy or award handed to me. No pat on the back with “atta girl.” What I accomplished was satisfying everyone else’s expectations of what I was supposed to look like after having children. I mean every mom is supposed to make it her mission to lose the baby weight, right? I started to really wonder where that pressure comes from.

People made comments about how I looked good “for having twins.” I wondered what they would say if I only had one baby at a time. Did their comment mean I didn’t look as good as my singleton mommy counter parts? Did they mean I look healthy after coming through medical complications and a major surgery? Did they mean I looked great now because I looked like a giant whale before?

Maybe I don’t have the time in my day to really focus on my flaws like I did before having children. Or, maybe since turning 40 I am just tired of listening to my inner critique. I’ve gained a bit more wisdom about what’s really important in life. I don’t really care that I now weigh more than I did right after having kids. I don’t really care for people’s judgement of my body because they don’t know the story behind my body. They don’t know how fit I used to be, or how months of bed rest reversed all of that hard work. They don’t know what my body has lived through and survived. I don’t really need them to know either.

So go ahead world, judge away. What  you see on the outside isn’t a reflection of the love and care I’ve given to my body to be able to create two healthy and amazing little humans. It isn’t equal to how big my heart is, how generous I am, how much I love to laugh or how much I love my children. I’ve always had a “love me or leave me” attitude. So, if someone isn’t going to love you for the person you are (not the body you are)… just let them leave.

 

The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here, Find her two party Body Beautiful project here and here. 

Find more from Roxanne at Hudson Valley Parent and at Masshole Mommy

 

Sharing is Caring:

Keep Your Kids Safe Around Water

Be Your Own Life Guard

 

At 12:45 p.m. on Saturday July 18th I nearly lost my mind, but thankfully I did not loose my cool. I was at a birthday party with my girls at a local beach. It was a beautiful day and everyone was having a great time. Typically, I do not consider myself a helicopter parent. I feel like I allow a reasonable amount of space between me and my children for them to feel safe, confident and independent. However, that amount of space significantly decreases when water is involved. Anyone can drown in less than 2 inches of water if not carefully supervised, or respectful of water safety rules.

I am not a super strong swimmer, and I am outnumbered 2 to 1 when it’s just the girls and me at the beach. I am hyper vigilant, especially when they go in opposite directions. While we were at the beach both of my daughters were wearing life vests and only approximately 15 feet away from me. Suddenly, a rough set of waves came to shore and I saw my daughter topple over. She lost her footing and I could see very clearly she began to struggle to catch herself. She started moving her arms like she was trying to swim, but I know she does not know how to swim yet. I could tell by the look on her face she was in trouble. I immediately ran into the water and began shouting, “you’re OK! Mommy is coming!!”

I reached her in a matter of seconds. I scooped her up into my arms and sat her on my hip and began to sooth her. I was impressed at how little she panicked and she didn’t even cry. Another mom came over to chat and I told her what happened. All of this took approximately 30 seconds of time. The life guard on duty, a young teenage girl, never left her guard tower. She didn’t even come down the ladder to ask me if my daughter was OK, she leaned forward in her chair and casually called over, “Is she OK?” I was so angry I could see red. How could this life guard not identify a dangerous situation that happened literally several feet in front of her guard tower? She gets paid to keep an eye out for signs of struggle in the water. Doesn’t she know that drowning is silent?

UlsterLandingPark

I was incredibly agitated by the fact she didn’t rush down as soon as she noticed what had happened. It is her job to assess if someone is in danger. Even while I was soothing my child on my hip it was her job to confirm we were safe. That means leaving her chair to come down and speak with me directly. I was so angry I couldn’t even talk to this girl. I was terrified of how I was going to verbally rip her to pieces. Man, that mama bear instinct is STRONG!

I’ve had many friends tell me not to worry while at the beach, that’s what the life guard is there for. I have witnessed many parents lying out on the sand (sometimes napping) while their older children are in the water alone. I know I am the first one to say hey, you do whatever it takes to get through your day with kids, but water safety is one of the things where I draw the line on saying Whatever too.

Thankfully, I was very vigilant. I know that accidents happen so quickly in water. So, parents, no matter how old your children are, do not take your eyes off of them for a second. Do not leave their young lives up to teenagers who are paying way less attention. I heard from friends at the party afterward that the young guard was texting on her cell phone. Perhaps that is why she completely missed someone struggling in the water only 15 feet from her station. If you are the parent of a teenager, or parent of a young life guard, please share this story with them. Let them know their job is important as people’s lives are in their hands. It may be my child’s precious life in their hands. No text message is worth the loss of anyone’s life.

I may not have been a helicopter parent before, but I am now! Especially while at the beach!

Click here for safety tips and quick lessons from Lifeguard 101. There are options for water safety inside the home and outside of the home.

Sharing is Caring:
error

Building a community one click at a time.