Category: Uncategorized

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!

What Is a ‘Real’ Single Mom Anyway?

 You’re Not a Real Single Mom

Originally posted at Mommy My Way and again on Huffington Post.

circle nikkiby Nikki Stephens, blog owner and writer at Mommy My Way  is a 25 year old single working mom to baby boy Zaylen. She believes that just because her way is a little hard it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Find Nikki on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

I was recently “mansplained” how there are real single moms and then there are single moms who claim the title. Ya know the type of single mom I’m referring to? No, you don’t? That’s OK because I didn’t either. I am a single mom. I have never been married and my son’s father is not in the picture at all. I don’t receive child support and I do it all on my own. I bare all of the financial responsibility and am the sole provider for my family. I am a real single mom, at least that’s what I’m told.

What Is A “Real” Single Mom?

Apparently women who:
1. Are not currently in a relationship with the father of their child, but who have an involved and supportive baby daddy, are not allowed to call themselves single mothers.
2. Are not in a relationship with the father of their child and receive child support are not allowed to call themselves single mothers.
3. Have a positive relationship with the father of their child, regardless of his level of involvement, are not allowed to call themselves single mothers.
4. Chose to conceive without a father or significant other are not allowed to call themselves single mothers.

nikki guest pic

I guess I wasn’t aware that ‘single mother’ was synonymous with ‘struggling alone.’ I didn’t realize that being a single mom meant I had to be struggling at all.

This explains quite a bit though really. I was wondering why the first thing out of people’s mouths is, “I’m so sorry to hear that” after they find out I’m a solo parent. I was wondering why I received the sad, pity-filled looks as I spoke about my life. I now understand that this is all because I’m a real single mom and being a single mom equals pain.

nikki guest pic 2

Newsflash! I’m pretty freaking happy with my life. I didn’t think I needed to shout it from the roof tops, but I guess I should at least once for people to truly see I’m good with my circumstances.

But what’s most concerning is not that I’m looked at with pity, no the real concern is that all of these single mothers out here are being treated like trash for claiming a title that other people don’t think they have the right to hold.

nikkie guest pic 3

I’m sorry but when did being a single mother become some medal of honor that women are jumping at the opportunity to call themselves such? If a woman is single and also a mother, then I truly hate to break it to you, but she is a really real single mom and she doesn’t need your approval to say so.

I don’t care if she splits her parenting time right down the middle and shares all of the responsibility: financial, emotional or otherwise. If she is single and raising a child she can refer to herself as a single mom.

I don’t care if she gets $2,000 or more a month in child support and treats herself to a pedicure every other week. If she is single and raising a child, she is a single mom.

I am so incredibly tired of the stereotypes women are placed into relating to the type of mother they are. You are not HER so stop judging her.

And if you need anymore proof that being a real single mom comes in all forms and fashions… here are just a few real life, real single moms:

OTHER REAL SINGLE MOMS

ROSE is a single mom to a 16 month old. She has a great friendly relationship with her daughter’s father and he helps out financially whenever he can.

12809679_1731774543707393_4791019578178548548_n
Photo submitted by Rose Evans

 

STACY is a single mom. She is a widow of Correctional Officer Joel Ramos.  They have three beautiful children Joel Jr. 10, Natalie 8, and Alexis 2.

Photo submitted by Nicole Diele with permission by Stacy Ramos. Photo taken by Kayla Tapley of Merced, CA.
Photo submitted by Nicole Diele with permission by Stacy Ramos. Photo taken by Kayla Tapley of Merced, CA.

 

JENNIFER is a single mom. Her son’s father is on active duty in Korea and has never met his son nor does he wish to.

Photo submitted by Jennifer North
Photo submitted by Jennifer North

Are you convinced yet? We are all real single moms and no man (or woman) is going to tell me we aren’t. All moms rule whether they have a good man helping them raise their children or not.

 

 

 

 

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!

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!

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!

 

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!

 

April 2nd is World Autism Day

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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!

 

 

Friday Favorites- Relax Body Oil by HelloMellow

Friday Favorites

This has to be one of my most favorite products right now! During the winter months the air in my house gets so dry and ultimately so does my skin. Even though it is officially spring I am not giving this product up! I was given a travel sized bottle of Relax body oil by HelloMellow as a gift from a friend. I could not wait to try it and once I saw the results I couldn’t wait to share it!

Clearly my gifting friend picked just the right product for me because relaxing isn’t something that comes easy to me. Even before I had the ‘twinadoes’ take over my life, I was never one to sit still. Now as a mom I rely on stolen moments of deep breaths with essential oils to keep my sanity. Hiding in a closet with a chocolate bar is delicious, but it’s not as relaxing as it sounds.

Relax

The directions say you can use this on wet skin right after the shower. Do not dry off! Using immediately after a shower leaves my skin super soft and amazingly hydrated. You can use on dry skin as well, which I often do before bedtime to ya know…relax! The scent is very subtle which is great for anyone with asthma, allergies or breathing issues. And, it won’t over power your partner sleeping next to you who always complains about too many flowers at bedtime makes him sneeze. *wink*

tracy feldstein

HellowMellow products were created by Tracy Feldstein, a massage therapist with extensive experience and education on bodywork therapies. Tracy wanted the most nourishing products for her clients. That’s why all of HellowMellow’s products are vegan, paraben free and without chemical preservatives which makes them perfect for nearly everyone! What’s in it you wonder? SPOILER ALERT: It’s NOT coconut oil! I know it’s hard to imagine a luxurious body oil company not using the most popular oil on the planet to make their products. Ingredients for each individual item is listed right online.

Relax 2

My new favorite Relax blend is made of cold pressed extra virgin sesame and olive oils, avocado butter, mango butter and essential oils of clary sage and grapefruit. (Smells great by the way!).

b4bc-survivorship-logo

By now you may all know I am always excited to share a product that does some good too! For every purchase of any item in the Balance line, 5% is donated to Boarding for Cancer Survivorship Fund. Established in 2009, the B4BC  Survivorship Fund connects breast cancer survivors with nature-based health & wellness retreats in order to enhance their path of healing and long-term survivorship. Since its inception, B4BC has connected 14 survivors to a retreat.

You can find additional products safe for expectant moms, nursing moms, the man in your life and even someone undergoing chemotherapy. The shop has convenient subcategories for weddings, baby showers, for the baby, for the home and in treatment and has pre-bundled gift packs for each occasion.

There are no affiliate links contained in this post. No financial compensation exchanged for review. Opinions expressed belong solely to The Whatever Mom.

 

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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