Category: Parenting

Getting Over The Embarrassment About Speech Therapy

I have four kids who have basically been on track developmentally their entire lives. They all had to do some time in the NICU when they were born due to being premature, but it was never anything life threatening. There were differences in the ages of when they rolled over, crawled, and took their first steps, but nothing outside the norm.

Then our youngest daughter Alexis still wasn’t talking at 2 years old. And I don’t mean not putting words together, I mean she had a handful of words she used and everything else she said was unintelligible, even for me, who was home with her all day. She understood everything we said to her, but she couldn’t talk to us beyond ma, da, up, and that.

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Our pediatrician originally brought up Alexis’s lack of talking at her 18 month check up. It wasn’t a concern yet, just as something to watch for as she got closer to turning 2. When we went in for her 2 year check up I wasn’t surprised when the recommendation came to have her tested for speech delays, but I wasn’t ready to say she needed help. My older two kids had a big verbal breakthrough at just over 2 years old, and so I waited to see if the same might happen with Alexis, even though I knew she wasn’t picking up on everything like my other kids did.

By December, Alexis was almost 2.5 and still hadn’t made much progress. Her and I were getting into serious meltdowns because I couldn’t figure out what she wanted, and she couldn’t figure out how to tell me what she wanted besides just pointing, babbling, and then crying and screaming when I had no idea what she meant. Luckily we came across Zia Therapy, and got her tested. She qualified for services, and although I went back and forth a lot on actually signing her up, I ended up enrolling her.

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I know there are plenty of kids that need help learning to do things. That’s why they go to school, and parents teach their kids things constantly, but I was stuck on the fact that Alexis needed outside help. She was going to be in speech therapy. Therapy. For some reason that word just lodged in my brain and I couldn’t shake all the negative associations I had with it.

Intellectually I know there’s nothing wrong with therapy. It’s there to help people until they don’t need it anymore, not a sign she’ll wear for the rest of her life. Everyone I told reacted positively and was excited that it was going to help her, and one friend even said she had been thinking of testing her daughter because she wasn’t talking either.

So what was my deal?

I’m a little embarrassed I’m even saying this, but I was embarrassed she was in therapy. It’s 100% all in my head, but I was embarrassed she needed help. I didn’t want to admit to anyone that everything wasn’t just going along perfectly in our little idyllic life. I also think part of it came form her being a twin. Her brother is off the charts verbal, and I was so worried someone would compare them and she would be the dumb twin because she was in therapy and he was telling me about the purple umbrella in the picture he’s coloring.

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But once I opened up a little, I was rewarded with so much support from all our friends and family. They have all checked in with us periodically to ask how it’s going with her, and how she’s doing. The friends we see regularly have commented on how much clearer she’s talking and how well she’s doing. There’s no backlash on her for needing this, and I’m 100% convinced it was the right choice for her.

I’ve gotten over everything now, and she’s made amazing progress. 4-5 word sentences, dozens of words, and most importantly to me, she can communicate what she wants. She’s still stubborn as a mule when she wants to be but I think that’s just the personality of our little spitfire. No amount of speech therapy will change her saying ‘No, I do it!’ into something else 🙂

Jennifer at Sweet Discord Jennifer is a stay at home mom with two sets of twins. She copes with having four kids ages 5 and 3 with wine, desserts and cooking. But at the end of the day she wouldn’t trade her crazy life for anything. You can read more from Jennifer at Sweet Discord.

Friday Favorite- Lose That Mommy Guilt {Giveaway}

WELCOME TO

Happy Friday All!

This week guest blogger (and new mom) Debra shared with you how she’s read all the latest books on baby sleep and none of them work. Guess what I’m sharing with you today? A book written by an expert. Wait, wait, wait!!  This isn’t just any expert. She is an expert at letting go of perfection. Lose That Mommy Guilt, Tales and Tips from an Imperfect Mom by Cara Maksimow. 

mommy guilt cover

I know most days it’s hard to find time to read the back of a shampoo bottle let alone an entire book. But the 150 pages is a quick read! Instead of the pretentious lecture about the exact steps you should follow to execute efficient routines, Cara gives a few options with the understanding that not everything works for everyone. 

cara maksimow

Cara is a certified therapist, writer, mother and owner of Maximize Wellness Counseling & Couching, LLC. Everything written in this book encapsulates my exact mission as The Whatever Mom. And it touches on nearly every area of motherhood where I feel guilty. From potty training, to pacifiers to dealing with kid drama Cara shares her own guilty moments and what works for her.

I love that Cara encourages us mommies to embrace our imperfections as part of this motherhood experience. We are all going to make mistakes and it isn’t worth our time to continually beat ourselves up over them. “As the baby grows the mommy guilt grows. It doesn’t matter how good of a mom  you are, you will find a way to beat yourself up over something, I am here to say that it does not have to be that way. As moms, we are amazing and we don’t recognize it enough! . . . You do not need to let “perfect” get in the way of amazing parenting.”

I literally felt myself breathe a sigh of relief after reading those words. I wish I had read them sooner! Cara delves deep into the mom psyche and pulls out the big things we stress ourselves out with and then tells us, it’s going to be OK! I don’t know about you, but for me, I need to hear that now and then. I need to hear someone tell me that I’m not the only one worrying about ruining my kids lives (don’t worry we aren’t ruining anything).

We all get caught in the big trap of anticipating judgement from bystanders. Even a woman who has degrees and is educated on human behavior gets stuck in those real moments. You know the ones where you have to make a snap judgement to let your kid pee in a parking lot?

“I admit I taught my three-year-old girl to squat in the mall parking lot once (maybe more than once) to avoid unbuckling the baby from the car seat and going all of the way back inside the mall to find the nearest bathroom. I was smart enough to know we would not make it in time. Driving home quickly would have at best lead to a urine soaked car seat, so I made my choice.

Thankfully, it was summer and she was wearing plastic jelly shoes. I was worried someone would see me and judge my parenting. My negative self talk was on high that day. What mom lets her three-year-old girl pee in the parking lot? Clearly, I was that mom. It is what it is. I am not particularly proud of it, but I have learned to let go of that particular guilt.”

That’s why I enjoy this book so much. Cara writes from an authentic place of struggle and humor. I feel like she gives us permission to be real about the crazy choices we make as parents. And isn’t that what being a Whatever Mom is all about? Letting go of the idea of perfection? Life is messy and completely imperfect. You do whatever works to get through the day even if it is just surviving from one moment to the next!

Cara has also published a few other books that you can find on Amazon. One lucky reader is going to get a copy of Loose That Mommy Guilt and a bonus planner for a Kick Ass Month! You know the drill, enter below!

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Thank you Cara for writing this book so the rest of us can realize not one single mom has it completely together and none of us is escaping motherhood without feeling guilty.

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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.

Disclosure: There are no affiliate links contained in this post. Product for giveaway provided by Cara Maksimow personally. No financial compensation was received for this review. All opinions contained herein belong solely to The Whatever Mom. 

The Ways We Appreciate Our Mothers More

Motherhood can be such a great equalizer. We spend a lot of years thinking we know more than our moms and arguing against them. In our teen angst we feel like they just doesn’t want us to live! Then one day we become mother’s ourselves and we understand. For the first time we get it. We get all the pain and upset they felt when we rejected them and when we questioned them. Then we feel all the same insecurities they felt felt.

Personally, I did not understand the sacrifices my mother made until I became a mother myself. The many times she went without new things for herself so that I didn’t have to go without. The amount of worry that filled her day, now fills my day. I never knew how much she second guessed her choices until I’ve had to make the same choices myself. It wasn’t until we stood on equal footing as mothers that I began to truly understand how difficult it was for her to watch her children grow up and away from her.

Mother’s Day is this weekend and I hope you take a moment to tell your mom how much you appreciate her. Don’t wait for a sappy card to say it all for you. Take the time to reflect on what she has given you. And if you don’t have a good relationship with your mom, you can still send respect from a safe distance. There aren’t a lot of perks to this mom gig. But the most coveted award for any mom is hearing their child say, “I appreciate what you’ve been through.” If you are still having a hard time finding just the right words I’ve enlisted six of my friends to share how motherhood has helped them appreciate their moms even more.

 

Missy mom roundI never understood the amount of fear mother’s carry until the moment my first born was placed in my arms. Now I know why my mom was so “annoying” always telling me to “be careful!” Or why she expected to know I made it someplace safely. She still hasn’t settled into my career choice to be a police after 13 years. I understand more why my mother was so upset when my sister and I fought. I fell in love with each of my children on the day they were born, but never more than when I watched them fall in love with each other.  And I don’t ever want them to stop.  The fears that have been ticking inside of her now tick inside of me. Knowing that time is fleeting I feel moments are gone against my will and I will miss every cherished memory. I used to cringe every time she asked us about grandchildren. Now I get it. It’s that elusive wish we all have to go back in time and do it all again. She was gifted that with grandchildren. I know now that someday I’ll wish for the same. -Missy Seyfarth about her mom Tina.

 

 

molly and mom roundMy mother’s greatest gift has been to remind me that I have what it takes to be a good mother. I remember calling her and asking her advice, and she would often say in the first few weeks, “Well, dear, it sounds like this is really challenging. It’s been so long since I’ve cared for a newborn, so I want you to take a deep breath, find your calm, and call the pediatrician or nurse line. Meanwhile please know that you can handle this, and I say this with full confidence.” My mom said these things even knowing I was struggling with postpartum depression; she affirmed that no mental health challenge would remove my motherhood, my instincts and my wherewithal to handle tough situations. I carry this gift from my mother and hope to give it to my own daughter someday. What a wonderful mother to have—a mother who reminds me every time I doubt myself that I have what it takes to make it through. -Molly Wright Starkweather about her mom Deb.

 

 

Sarah mom 2For the life of me I can’t figure out how my mom kept her cool so well when I was young, and it inspires me as a mom now. There were five of us kids and she worked full time, yet I remember her as patient, calm, confident and always steady. I’m so grateful for that example and now I can fully appreciate the strength it must have taken her! It is a blessing to be able to call on her for wisdom during tough times on this motherhood journey. –Sarah Coppola about her mom Jeri.

 

 

somer mom roundMy mom and I have always been close, but my appreciation for her changed once I became a mom. Now that I am a mom to two beautiful girls ages 8 and 2, I have a better understanding of the emotional roller coaster moms live on. You may not intend to get on the ride, but it is impossible to not take things so personal and worry. I know the worry will grow bigger as my children grow. A mother’s love is never ending and neither is the worry. Thank you Mom for all your love and I’m sorry for all of the sleepless nights I have given you! –Somer Mayer about her mom Pam.

 

 

heather & mom roundMy mother was 19 and 20 years old when she had my sister and me. A few years later she became a single mom. My childhood was very unpredictable and hard at times. For many years, I had a lot of anger and resentment towards her. We have always been very close, but I felt very irritable and impatient and easily triggered around her. When I became a mom myself I was able to soften and fully appreciate her. Motherhood almost broke me the first few years of with my two boys born only 15 months apart. It was my mom who saved me. She is so much more patient and fun with my boys than I am. And she cleans my kitchen each visit without me asking and has listened to me sobbing in despair many times. Motherhood has humbled me and I mostly only feel gratitude when I am with my mother these days. -Heather Bunch about her mom Diane.

 

 

Amilyen az anya, olyan a lánya –loosely translated from Hungarian it means like mother like daughter. My mother was with me gizella 2when I had those words tattooed on my arm.  Many of us cringe when we hear the cliché phrase that “all women turn into their mothers.” We somehow view it as a curse and try to fight it. Once I became a mom I started to embrace the characteristics that make me in awe of my mother. Like a lightbulb turning on, I see it now. There are days I don’t know how I could do it without her. She knows what I need even before I do; call it motherly intuition. Whether it’s picking up the kids from school, helping with dishes or a quick stop at the store, these small things add up. There’s nothing I can say or do that will ever be a good enough “thank you.” But thank you mom, for protecting me, supporting me, listening to me, advising me, sympathizing with me, and allowing me to grow into the woman I am today. -Gizella Diverne about her mom Gizella.

 

 

Feel free to use the comment section below to give a shout out to your mom. What do you appreciate about her the most? Feel free to share with her so she can read your gratitude!

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. 

 

 

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

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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.

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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. 

Guest Post – A Defeated Mom’s Manifesto

Guest Post- Defeated Mom Manifesto

 

Amber by lineAmber Christensen is a mom to four boys, a blogger and author of  Memoirs of Mayhem: The Good, The Bad, and The Hilarious. She is learning to find the humor in her parenting which she shares on her blog Watch This Mom. You can also find her on InstagramFacebook and Twitter!

The Problem

You know what MY problem is? (Well, one of them.) I think everything is my fault.

The kids don’t have clean clothes for school? My fault.

The kids are whining? My fault.

The kids turned the house into a disaster zone in the five minutes I left them quietly watching a movie to make a phone call? My fault.

It’s easy to feel defeated when I blame everything that happens on myself. I’ve taught my kids to do laundry. Even the two-year-old knows how to throw clothes into the washer. If they have to wear dirty clothes to school, the least I can do is let them share the blame.

You know what OUR problem is, fellow parents?

We like to pretend we have no faults. That’s why we couldn’t possibly let one of our children go to school in a shirt they wiped their face on. Other people would know we didn’t write, “Wash your disgusting shirt,” on our Pinterest-inspired, save-the-world job chart. They’d know we’re terrible parents for not teaching our kids responsibility and letting them out in public with Cheeto powder on their clothes. (You feed your kids Cheetos? What is wrong with you?!)

My Three-Part Solution

1. Make Connections by Admitting the Realities of Life

People make connections when one of them is brave enough to tell the truth and the other says, “Me too.” I’m not talking about becoming a whiner. But if someone asks how you are, it’s okay to say, “I seriously need to get out of my house. Without my kids. Like, yesterday.”

When they respond with, “Me too!” BAM! Girls Night Out!

You have a baby with eczema who scratches the heck out of his cheeks and don’t want to put steroid cream on his face so you’ve spent a lot of money looking for something that else that works? ME TOO! At least, I did. Then a mom at the doctor’s office gave me some suggestions and we got it figured out. Let’s help each other out!

2. Find Humor

I’ve learned to find humor in parenting. I even wrote a book about it. Because reality is quite funny. Watching a two-year-old get stuck trying to take his shirt off then turn in circles until he’s both stuck and dizzy is hilarious. When I laugh instead of cry (or yell), we’re all happier people.

3. Learn From Faithful Women Who Actually Had Hard Lives

The women in the scriptures have much to teach us. First and foremost, that life is hard no matter who you are. Reading about Mary, who gave birth to the Son of God under the least ideal of circumstances and had to hide him in Egypt to keep alive, really puts my life into perspective.

Hard? Hardly.

These are faithful, courageous, stalwart women who relied on faith and pushed forward despite their trials. I want to be like them.

Are You With Me?

Are you ready to stop blaming yourself for everything, admit reality, and find humor in everyday life?

Me too!

Want to read more great articles like this one? Subscribe to this blog via email (over there in the sidebar) and never miss another great post again! Follow The Whatever Mom on Twitter, Facebook and BlogLovin. If you don’t? Whatever.

Don’t Wish Away The Years

Don't Wish Away The Years

I remember a friend telling me at my baby shower, “don’t wish away the years because you will wish away all the good stuff too.” I remember her words so clearly, it feels like just yesterday. Here it is five years later and I see how hard that advice is to follow. I can’t tell you how many times I have wished for my babies to “just go to sleep!” or wished that potty training, or this picky eating phase would “just be over already!” In those moments it was too hard to see what I was wishing away.

My babies waking up in the night was the only time I had to snuggle them one at a time while their twin was asleep in another room. Now, I miss those precious early morning moments of feeling a tiny, fuzzy head snuggled under my chin. I miss the sound the rocking chair made in the late night hours quietly shushing us back to sleep. I miss holding those tiny bundles against my chest with their arms around my neck, the scent of their hair and the tiny wisp of their breath on my neck. Here’s the part I want to wish away: my kids are growing up and I’m feeling so unprepared. Where is the restart button? How can I go back to day one knowing all that I know now? I’d be more patient. I’d be less busy. I’d throw away perfection much sooner.

Kindergarten registration has come and gone. My kids are officially on the track to elementary education. Our first visit to the school is happening tomorrow. The girls will get to tour their classrooms with out me. They get to meet some of the kids they will spend their days with for the next 13 years. I will be in another area of the school talking with other parents about how to prepare our children for their first day of school without us. And I’m not ready to let them go.

You would think staying home with them for the last five years would feel like enough, but it doesn’t. It just doesn’t. That five years went by quicker than I could imagine. When I sit down in the rocking chair in a quiet moment I can almost feel my pregnant self sitting in that chair. I waited patiently through five months of “bed rest” for my little babes to arrive. It felt like that five months was never going to end. But it did and at the end there were two incredible little gifts that belonged to me.

I thought the first year of taking care of twin infants through the night was never going to end. They would never be out of their cribs and into their own rooms without each other. I would let them decide when they were ready I thought. But then I decided on my own when they were old enough to get out of toddler beds and get into mischief together.

I thought potty training my set of very strong willed twins was going to break me. I couldn’t imagine a day where I wasn’t wiping up potty accidents all day long. Those were really hard long years (yes, years). But now that phase is over too.

I have been so fortunate to stay home with them. I have had five years of snuggles and kisses, watching them grow and learn. I have not had to share all their amazing milestones with anyone else. It was all me. And them. And I loved it.

I have been able to watch over them, protect them and keep them safe. Now, we are moving away from our own little world to enter the big wide world. I am excited to watch them learn new things and grow. But it feels like a lot is ending for us. It’s an end to lazy morning snuggles because it’s Tuesday. It’s an end to sunny morning park dates. It’s an end to trips to the ice cream shop in the middle of the day. It’s an end to slow easy mornings where the day is ours entirely.

Now, we move on to homework struggles and rushing to the bus stop, bullies and besties. My beautiful babes are on the threshold of shedding their innocent perspectives and learning to connect with the world around them.. They will learn so much more than what I can give them by myself. Some good. Some bad.

I know the next five years will be very different than the last five years. But, I can’t help wishing I didn’t have to wish for more time.

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!

 

This article also appeared on Mamapedia.com

 

 

 

Make Your Own Play Dough For Sick Days

How To Make Playdough

We were struck down hard by the flu bug for nearly two weeks. My poor kiddos have been lethargic with only spurts of energy. They waiver between lying on the couch taking small sips of water and short bursts of wanting something to do. They keep asking to take out the play dough. “Um, you’re a hacking pile of slime right now mayyyyybe we should pass on the play dough?” Nope. Must have play dough.

Kids are gross. I love ’em but ew. They sneeze into their hands and wipe them on the table. They use one small corner of a tissue to rearrange the snot on their face and go back to eating dry cereal with their fingers. They PROMISE me they’ve washed their hands, but I’m not entirely confident in their promises. Squishing all those germs into the play dough and then sealing it inside an air tight container feels more like a DIY petri dish experiment than play time fun. Ick!

So, I pulled out our favorite recipe for homemade play dough and started cooking. Most moms cook up a big batch of chicken soup for their sick kids (which by now you know my picky eaters won’t eat that anyway). But, this mom cooks up a batch of homemade play dough? Whatever. A mom has got to do what a mom has got to do to make it through the thousandth sick day! Am I right?

Here is what you need:

2 Cups flour

½ Cup salt

1 packet of Kool Aid

1 Cup boiling water (I ran my tap until the water was at its hottest)

3 Tablespoons oil (Sunflower, or Vegetable works best)

Instructions:

Mix the flour, salt and Kool Aid together first.  Next, add oil to the boiling water before pouring into the bowl. The fun part is watching the colors magically appear.

The dough will resemble crumbles at first. That’s when it’s time for all hands on deck! Everyone can take turns kneading the dough until it becomes a smooth ball.

play dough crumbles

After you’ve made all your play dough, store the dough in an air tight container (a plastic baggie works too). We made a few different colors.

play dough boxes2

This recipe is cheap and it makes enough play dough that I can portion out to have on hand for a few sick days. I toss it immediately after my kids sneeze into it.

You don’t have to reserve this recipe for your kids’ sick day. You can make it any time! 😉

How do you keep the kids entertained on sick days?

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!

 

Friday Favorites – Special Books by Special Kids

rd autism

As I mentioned in my post on April 2nd, April is Autism Awareness Month. No one is more aware of autism than the individuals who live with this diagnosis, and their families who love them. They are the ones who live with the challenges and differences every day. But, there are some unsung heroes out there helping them find a comfortable place of acceptance: Special Education Teachers and Therapists.

Teachers and therapists working in the world of special education truly have the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve met. They have to give enthusiastically for 6-8 or more hours a day. What makes them truly special is they can breathe the power of belief into the hearts of our special kids who don’t always believe in themselves. They can bring relief to a parent filled with worries and doubts. What an amazing super power!

I am a huge fan of this guy: Christopher Ulmer. We have never met and probably won’t. But, I want to introduce you to the important work he is doing. He is working hard to open doors of acceptance for children with autism and different abilities. His passion and his energy in the videos he posts are contagious. I hope you catch it too and pass it on to friends, family and strangers. As he says in nearly every video, “we are all more alike than we are different” and no matter what our abilities are we all need one thing to thrive. Love.

Here is a PopSugar video of “Mr. Chris” (as his students call him).

Mr. Chris tried to publish a book series written by his students. It was rejected 50 times. Instead he now travels the country interviewing individuals and their families and posting those videos online. Through sharing these stories on social media he is hoping to create a platform to educate the world and invite others to learn more about neurodiversity.

Mr. Chris uses rough 1/3 of his teacher salary toward promoting this project. I encourage you all to go check out the Special Books by Special Kids website and Facebook page. If you are inspired by his work feel free to click on the donation tab on the website and contribute to his gofundme site. Mr. Chris is using donations to fund his expenses to travel to each family and to keep SBSK operating. And, if you know a publisher who would be willing to publish his book series don’t be afraid to reach out to him directly. 😉

Please share this blog post on your social media pages. We can make Mr. Chris’s work a little easier by helping create a better understanding of what it looks like to treat others with compassion despite their diagnosis.

 

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!

Exciting News- The Whatever Mom Community Grows!

Introducing

 

I am excited to share with all of you wonderful readers some exciting news! The Whatever Mom Army continues to grow!

Starting TOMORROW you will see some new faces on my blog! You will see posts submitted by guest bloggers and contributors who are lending their voices to our incredible Whatever Mom community! Why is it important to have some new voices? Well, I know you could never get sick of hearing from me *wink* but my kids are growing and I am entering a new season of parenthood. In those really rough sleep deprived early months of life as a new mom, I never thought I’d get here. HERE I AM MAMAS!! One day you will be to!

My mission has always been to expose those struggles we all face as parents and ease the pressure to meet perfection. But, it wouldn’t be fair to my readers to only hear my struggles. There are new moms out there who need to know they are going to survive and they need to know there are other moms right there in the trenches with them. Mothering can be so hard. We put so much pressures on ourselves to make it all perfect.

Well, moms I am happy to share none of us are perfect. I want this site to be a place of comfort and understanding. Any parent in any stage of the game will find something they need. Whether it is connecting with someone else’s story, or a craft you need to keep the kids happy, or a recipe to hopefully get that picky eater to finally eat something (fingers crossed). Or, just simply a place to know you are not alone. We all struggle and that’s OK. *Breathe*

Thank you to everyone who reads each week. Truly, from the bottom of my heart I mean that! It is a dream come true to be able to write my thoughts down and send out to the masses. It amazes me each week that there are a couple thousand of you who look forward to what I have to say (my husband and two children do not count in that number, ha!). Someone once told me I couldn’t be a writer and I believed them. I also told myself I couldn’t be a good mom, and I believed that too. Thankfully, I was wrong on both accounts.

Guess what? You can find more really great moms to connect with right here in the very near future. Please check back often, or even better subscribe via email so you won’t miss a post again! You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Bloglovin’. Just check out the sidebar for all those links. I love getting the chance to connect!

Happy reading!

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!

Gift Guide for New Moms

Good morning everyone! I’m so excited to introduce you to my new niece, Juliet!

Baby J

Isn’t she beautiful? And, so tiny! I haven’t held a baby this small since my girls were born. There were two to hold at the same time, so it felt different to hold one sleeping, tiny little baby. I swear my babies only slept like this a short amount of time before it was all crying all day. I think that’s just par for the course with twins.

Once Juliet arrived I wanted to get her something cute. After all, it has also been a long time since I got to shop for a cute little girly baby outfit. As much as I wanted to buy a baby gift, I really wanted to buy a gift for my sister in-law. This is child #2 for her. I feel like the more children we have the more effort we have to put into taking care of ourselves. By effort I don’t mean make up and expertly coordinated outfits. I mean managing stress and being able to feel refreshed. That’s hard to do with a newborn who doesn’t sleep through the night. Her son just turned six and I teased her that she was finally free from the sleep deprivation, but now she’s going right back in! So my gifts were inspired by those early days when self care is critical care.

Inside the gift bag for my little peanut Juliet I included some things I knew my sister in-law would enjoy. I didn’t want to just get her stuff she needed. I wanted to get stuff just for her to enjoy. Moms deserve a little something JUST for themselves to celebrate that giant feat of birthing another human being!  Here is my list of gift ideas for new moms:

Really Good Tea

Harney tea

A good cup of chamomile herbal tea (no caffeine) will help soothe those frazzled nerves from not getting enough sleep at night. You don’t have to break the budget to get good tea. Most grocery stores now carry some really great choices for around $5.00. Many of which look very fancy.

Chocolate

Taza Chocolate

If she doesn’t like chocolate then add in a different special little treat just for her. If you don’t know if she likes chocolate you can still put it in the basket. Worst case scenario she can always share the chocolate with hubby, or friends who stop by to see the baby.

Luxurious Lotions

HelloMellow Body Butter

A nice mild lotion with minimal fragrance so as not to irritate her skin or her baby’s skin. It’s just nice to have a soothing lotion on hand to feel pampered.

Lip Balm

Kiss My Face Lip Balm

New moms can dehydrate quickly so a lip balm will help keep lips kissable soft for baby’s tender skin.

Essential Oils

 

Essential Oil Roller Ball

A roller ball gives mom the chance to apply a mood changing, or uplifting sent when she needs to. Or, if she has a diffuser she can easily use to fill her room with a calming scent. Lavender is great for calming and soothing, and orange mixed with peppermint is great for an energy lift.

Gift Bag

RuMe organizer

You can easily put all of these lovely gifts into a paper gift bag, or even a basket. But, why not put them in a cute little accessories bag she can reuse later. Moms NEVER run of out uses for extra bags! Adding a monogram truly makes this gift personal.

What else would you add to this list of gifts for new moms?

 

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!

 

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