Mothering http://www.mothering.com/articles The Home for Natural Family Living Fri, 24 Jun 2016 00:17:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Home for Natural Family Living no The Home for Natural Family Living Mothering http://www.mothering.com/articles/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://www.mothering.com/articles 30 Real Reasons Moms Are Often Late http://www.mothering.com/articles/30-real-reasons-moms-often-late/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/30-real-reasons-moms-often-late/#comments Thu, 23 Jun 2016 23:15:46 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=142866 These are real stories from real moms. Maybe you can relate, but if not, maybe this will give you a reason to show some compassion if you find yourself waiting on a mom. 1. The four-year-old can’t find his other shoe. 2. I couldn’t find the pacifier. Locked all the doors to the house, buckled … Continue reading 30 Real Reasons Moms Are Often Late

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These are real stories from real moms. Maybe you can relate, but if not, maybe this will give you a reason to show some compassion if you find yourself waiting on a mom.

1. The four-year-old can’t find his other shoe.

2. I couldn’t find the pacifier. Locked all the doors to the house, buckled the baby and everything, started the car and then couldn’t find the paci. Ripped through the diaper bag and car, then I had to turn the car off to unlock the house (keys are on the same ring of course) and then try and find it inside. Not a quick affair. So much effort, but not worth risking a trip without the paci!

3. One child gave the other a bloody nose.

4. As we were walking out the front door, the potty-trainee declared, “I have to poop!”

5. I got everyone else ready but forgot I was still wearing pajamas.

6. Baby was nursing and will not be rushed.

7. Preschooler put shoes on the wrong feet and had a 15 minute meltdown when told to switch them (happens almost daily.)

8. The dog got out.

9. The chickens got out.

10. My toddler discovered the pies I just made and now the kitchen looks like a crime scene.

11. We couldn’t find the keys, so a long game of musical car seats ensued while switching over to the other car.

12. I forgot where we were going.

13. Five minutes down the road, I got scared I left the oven on. We turned back. The oven was off.

14. Milk leaked all down the outfit I planned to wear.

15. Because the car seats were taken out of the van. And we forgot about it. Again.

16. Infant projectile spit-up on me so I change, nurse again because he cries in the car otherwise, then he has a blowout on me of course. Change again. Nurse again.

17. I can’t find my phone. Again.

18. My toddler somehow changed the alarm on my phone to PM.

19. I can’t find ONE package of wipes. Even though I just bought a box full.

20. Because I kid myself about how long it takes us to get ready. I always think 30 minutes is enough time. We all know it takes 3 hours.

21. The baby’s nap is running long and who wakes up a sleeping baby??

22. The kids I thought were playing quietly while I got ready were actually rummaging through the kitchen trash can.

23. I forgot my coffee. We had to turn back.

24. I was up most of the night with a painful clogged milk duct.

25. Toddlers do not know the meaning of the word, “Hurry.”

26. A child hid the keys between the sideboard and mattress of the top bunk.

27. Baby had a huge blowout diaper right as I buckled him into his seat.

28. The 3-year-old is determined to buckle his own buckle.

29. One or both or all 3 of the boys have on the wrong size pants and/or shoes.

30. Just because. On days where everything is perfect and we are happily loading into the car, we realize we are somehow 30 minutes late and we have no idea how 30 minutes vanished even though we checked our clocks multiple times.

Bonus: Any and all combinations of the above.

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Consumer Reports Reveals the Worst Hospitals by C-Section Rate http://www.mothering.com/articles/consumer-reports-reveals-worst-hospitals-c-section-rate/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/consumer-reports-reveals-worst-hospitals-c-section-rate/#comments Thu, 23 Jun 2016 23:03:09 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=143130 When you walk up to the doors, they glide open magically, shutting behind you with a woosh of air and a gentle “wumpf.” The marble flooring beneath your feet gleams and it is obvious that care is taken to keep this entire structure immaculate. You walk to the elevator, which admits you with a soft … Continue reading Consumer Reports Reveals the Worst Hospitals by C-Section Rate

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Beautiful Hospitals With High C-Section RatesWhen you walk up to the doors, they glide open magically, shutting behind you with a woosh of air and a gentle “wumpf.” The marble flooring beneath your feet gleams and it is obvious that care is taken to keep this entire structure immaculate.

You walk to the elevator, which admits you with a soft ping. The elevator is spacious and sparkles with a fresh shine. When you are delivered to your desired floor, it is quiet, though well kept nurses and doctors scurry through the hallways.

You feel almost reverent as you proceed.

The halls are wide, the decorations tasteful, the artwork attractive, and the overall feeling is one of sterile safety.

As you enter the “birthing rooms” on this tour, you are impressed by the latest amenities in hospital care cloaked in a welcoming, “home birth in the hospital” setting. Polished wood paneling dominates.

The bathroom has a spacious tub!

There is even a mini refrigerator and a full length bed for your partner to sleep in, should he want to stay with you after the birth.

Nearby is a well equipped NICU that is highly rated and can handle nearly any situation.

Judging by appearances alone, this is a wonderful choice for your birth, made even better by its close proximity to your home.

Consumer Reports has recently done some amazing work highlighting some of the issues in modern American maternity care. From the too high cesarean rates, to the procedures you may want to reject during pregnancy, it is becoming more and more clear that having a cesarean section or not has more to do with where you birth than your risk factors.

Beautiful Hospitals With High C-Section Rates
How much does it matter what the recovery rooms look like if most of their birthing mothers deliver in an operating room?

I can’t tell you how exciting it is to see some of the concerns that birth activists have long held being covered by mainstream media in a factual manner.

What about our opening paragraphs though? What about that absolutely gorgeous hospital with the tubs and the birthing suites and the nice beds for your partner and the carefully hidden hospital equipment?

In reality, some of those hospitals are simply wolves in sheep’s clothing – beautiful but with very high intervention rates.

I was reminded of this sad fact by a friend and fellow childbirth educator I know, Caryn. Caryn, a childbirth educator in Carrollton, TX, had three unnecessary cesareans in a hospital currently sporting some really awesome looking birth rooms. She says,

“When I became pregnant with my first child, I chose my OB and Medical City Dallas Hospital because it was top notch, state of the art from what I had heard. You want the best of the best? You need to have your baby at Medical City! This is what I thought, due to slick marketing and recommendations from others. All I knew was that I would be well taken care of with only the best of the best available to me.

What I didn’t know was that this hospital had one of the highest, if not the highest cesarean rate out of any hospital in the Dallas Fort Worth area. I ended up with three very unnecessary cesareans. Was this the fault of the hospital or my OB? Maybe not completely. But it says a lot when a hospital boasts about its state of the art facility and luxury suites while all the while holding a cesarean rate that is higher than the national average.

How are those luxury suites funded, one might ask? It’s not by vaginal births, that’s for sure! This is a business and one that is run quite well. It’s interesting to note that the hospitals with the lowest cesarean rates in the area do not have luxury suites or fancy foods.

If you want an elective cesarean, by all means, Medical City will take good care of you and make the best Key Lime pie you will ever taste while you stay in their luxury suite! But if your desire is to have a vaginal birth as long as no serious complications arise, your best bet is to run in the opposite direction! This is the birth of your baby, not a vacation!”

The hospital where she had her three cesareans is on the top 10 cesarean list put out by Consumer Reports. Caryn had two VBACs with the right care provider and the right hospital.

Birthing in the hospital with the luxury rooms and the awesome food sounds like a really great idea. In fact, it IS a great idea – as long as all you want from your birth experience is a nice room and a big tub.

However, if you want more from your birth experience then you might want to look beyond the lipstick and rouge, and consider what is under the good looks.

Some other factors to consider when choosing a hospital include:

  • Their c-section rate.
  • How often are first time moms induced into labor?
  • At what point in pregnancy are women regularly encouraged to induce labor? 40 weeks? 41? 42?
  • Can your children attend the birth of their sibling?
  • Is the staff comfortable with doulas attending the birth?
  • What is their breastfeeding rate?
  • Do they have high quality lactation support on staff?
  • Is the staff comfortable with and accommodating to natural birth?
  • What is their VBAC rate?
  • Is waterbirth allowed in their tubs?

The good news is that hospitals respond to customer demand. Many are revamping, remarketing, and remodeling in order to meet the needs of their customers.

Hospitals rely on you coming there in order to stay open.

The bad news is that sometimes the response is shining floors and slick marketing and sky-high c-section rates and beautiful tubs…that nobody is actually allowed to use.

Beautiful Hospitals With High C-Section Rates
Shiny!

The consumer MUST beware. Sometimes the hospital with the prettiest rooms and the hospital with the most natural birth friendly and baby friendly policies are NOT the same hospital. Sometimes we have to choose between the two. Sometimes hospitals look real pretty because they make a lot more money delivering women than they would make stepping back and letting women birth.

We all have to decide for ourselves what is most important to us and select accordingly.

What do you want from your birthplace?

Tell me in the comments!

Curious about how your hospital rates? While not all hospitals report their cesarean section rates, those that do have been compiled by Consumer Reports and can be found here.

Photo credit: norfolkdistrict via DIYlovin / CC BY, árticotropical via Foter.com / CC BYpaulhami via Source / CC BY-SA

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20 Cute and Creative Gender-Neutral Baby Names http://www.mothering.com/articles/20-cute-creative-gender-neutral-baby-names/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/20-cute-creative-gender-neutral-baby-names/#comments Wed, 22 Jun 2016 20:47:57 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=144145 Eager to begin the name hunt–but not sure if you’re having a boy or a girl yet? Or maybe you’d like to find a special name for your new little one that isn’t linked to a particular gender? Here are 20 gender-neutral names (from much-loved to barely used) that would suit a girl–or a boy–quite … Continue reading 20 Cute and Creative Gender-Neutral Baby Names

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newborn-1399193_640Eager to begin the name hunt–but not sure if you’re having a boy or a girl yet?

Or maybe you’d like to find a special name for your new little one that isn’t linked to a particular gender?

Here are 20 gender-neutral names (from much-loved to barely used) that would suit a girl–or a boy–quite nicely. (Rankings are from the Social Security Administration’s 1000 most popular baby names from 2015.)

  • Cameron – Scottish, meaning “crooked nose.” Popularity: #56 for boys, #530 for girls.
  • Mackenzie – Scottish, meaning “son of Kenneth.” Popularity: #73 for girls, last ranking for boys was in 2001, at #914.
  • Charlie – Diminutive of Charles (or Charlotte), meaning “free.” Popularity: #229 for boys, #207 for girls.
  • Parker – English, meaning “park keeper.” Popularity: #72 for boys, #227 for girls.
  • Sidney – French, meaning “Saint Denis.” Popularity: #999 for girls, last ranking for boys was in 2013, at #947.
  • Riley –  Irish, meaning “courageous.” Popularity: #35 for girls, #194 for boys.
  • Everly – English, meaning “wild boar in a woodland clearing.” Popularity: #138 for girls, has never ranked in top 1000 for boys.
  • Marley – English, meaning “pleasant seaside meadow.” Popularity: #218 for girls, #863 for boys.
  • Peyton – English, meaning “fighting-man’s estate.” Popularity: #260 for boys, #72 for girls.
  • Rowan – Scottish/Irish, meaning “little redhead.” Popularity: #219 for boys, #331 for girls.
  • Finley – Irish/Scottish, meaning “fair-haired hero.” Popularity: #204 for girls, #326 for boys.
  • Gael – Welsh, meaning “wild.” Popularity: #220 for boys, has never ranked in the top 1000 for girls.
  • Teagan – Irish, meaning “beautiful.” Popularity: #228 for girls, last ranking for boys was in 2014, at #983.
  • Nova  Latin, meaning “new.” Popularity: #215 for girls, has never ranked in the top 1000 for boys.
  • Kennedy – Irish, meaning “misshapen head.” Popularity: #57 for girls, last ranking for boys was in 2005, at #996.
  • Phoenix – Greek, meaning “dark red.” Popularity: #307 for boys, #455 for girls.
  • Logan – Scottish, meaning “little hollow.” Popularity: #14 for boys, #394 for girls.
  • Emerson – German, meaning “son of Emery.” Popularity: #301 for boys, #180 for girls.
  • Dylan – Welsh, meaning “of the sea.” Popularity: #27 for boys, #397 for girls.
  • Sawyer – English, meaning “woodcutter.” Popularity: #260 for girls, #94 for boys.

 

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14 Books That Show Kids How Critical Compassion Is http://www.mothering.com/articles/childrens-books-teach-kindness-compassion/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/childrens-books-teach-kindness-compassion/#comments Wed, 22 Jun 2016 19:35:07 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=143873 Stand in My Shoes by Bob Sorenson Ph.D. (ages 7-12) Help kids learn about what empathy means and how to apply it in their daily lives along with Emily, who discovers that empathy encourages understanding and compassion. Whoever You Are by Mem Fox (ages 6-8) This picture book is a celebration of the world’s cultures, … Continue reading 14 Books That Show Kids How Critical Compassion Is

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Stand in My Shoes by Bob Sorenson Ph.D. (ages 7-12)

Help kids learn about what empathy means and how to apply it in their daily lives along with Emily, who discovers that empathy encourages understanding and compassion.

Whoever You Are by Mem Fox (ages 6-8)

This picture book is a celebration of the world’s cultures, both our similarities and differences, with an underlying message that says: whoever we are and whoever we come from, “Joys are the same, and love is the same.”

Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace by James Proimos (ages 5-9)

Paulie Pastrami can’t whistle or tie his shoes but he plans to achieve world peace before he turns eight, teaching kids easy ways to show compassion, and the impact of one person’s kindness.

What If Everybody Did That? by Ellen Javernick (ages 3-7)

The flip side of small acts of kindness that go a long way is a story that shows the impact of careless behavior, that we are each part of a wider community, and it is up to all of us to keep it happy and safe.

The Peace Book by Todd Parr (ages 3-7)

Using simple words and bright illustrations, this story explains a big concept in an engaging, easy way. “Peace is…”

One Green Apple by Eve Bunting (ages 6-8)

Farrah is new to school and new to the country, wears a headscarf and doesn’t yet speak English. Feeling alone and overwhelmed, Farrah finds comfort in a class trip to an apple orchard and connects with her classmates when they all learn it takes many different apples to make a sweet cider.

One Smile by Cindy McKinley (ages 4-7)

A tale of how one simple act of kindness can make a very powerful difference.

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry (ages 4-7)

When Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation the lonely pair become fast friends, but when Stick is in trouble can Stone return the favor? A sweet, easy-to-understand story about bullying for young readers.

Good People Everywhere by Lynea Gillen (ages 3-7)

It can sometimes feel as if we only ever hear about the terrible things that happen, but Good People Everywhere shows people all over the world being kind and doing good work, reminding us that there is so much more good than terrible in the world.

Something Beautiful by Sharon Dennis Wyeth (ages 6-8)

A little girl goes on a quest to find the beauty all around her, even when it’s difficult to see it.

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes (ages 6-9)

Wanda Petronski is ridiculed mercilessly by her classmates for wearing the same faded dress everyday, and claims to have one hundred dresses at home. The class feels terrible when Wanda is pulled from school, especially Maddie who decides she will “never stand by and say nothing again,” but it’s too late. A poignant, difficult story about bullying, regret, and the importance of standing up for what’s right.

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman (ages 4-8)

Join in an exuberant reflection of the LGBT community that welcomes readers to experience a pride celebration and remember a day when we are all united. This Day In June is an excellent tool for teaching respect, acceptance, and understanding.

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match / Marisol McDonald no combina by Monica Brown (ages 3-5)

Marisol McDonald has nut-brown skin and flaming red hair, likes to bring peanut butter and jelly burritos to lunch, and be a soccer-playing pirate princess at recess. Everyone says Marisol doesn’t match, and that’s just fine with her. A celebration of embracing that which makes us unique.

One Love by Cedella Marley (ages 3-6)

An adaptation of Bob Marley’s joyful song, One Love reminds us of the amazing things that can happen when we all join together with love in our hearts.

image via: Hachette Book Group

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Are You Having a Girl or a Boy? These “Old Wives’ Tales” May Tell You http://www.mothering.com/articles/girl-boy-old-wives-tales-may-tell/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/girl-boy-old-wives-tales-may-tell/#comments Wed, 22 Jun 2016 18:06:17 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=143274 If you’re pregnant now, or have been in the past, it’s likely you have heard plenty of Old Wives’ Tales about the sex of your baby. While I am not convinced that any of these tales are more than 50% accurate, they are certainly fun to think about (and would make a great baby shower game … Continue reading Are You Having a Girl or a Boy? These “Old Wives’ Tales” May Tell You

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If you’re pregnant now, or have been in the past, it’s likely you have heard plenty of Old Wives’ Tales about the sex of your baby. While I am not convinced that any of these tales are more than 50% accurate, they are certainly fun to think about (and would make a great baby shower game if the sex of the expected arrival is unknown.)

According to tales that have been passed around for generations…

You May be Having a Boy If:

  • You are more clumsy
  • Your nose grows (not quite like Pinocchio, but wider)
  • You experience cold feet more often
  • You are more sensitive to garlic (it may seep out of your pores)
  • You do not have morning sickness
  • Your urine is bright yellow
  • Your urine will fizz when mixed with baking soda
  • You are carrying your baby low
  • Your right breast is larger
  • Your hands are extra dry
  • Your skin breaks out (note this is also below!)
  • You dream about having a baby girl
  • You are hungry ALL of the time

You May be Having a Girl If:

  • Your linea nigra stops at your belly button
  • You are unusually moody
  • You crave sweet foods
  • Your babies heart rate is over 140 beats per minute
  • Your partner gains weight
  • You prefer to sleep on your right side
  • You crave citrus fruits
  • You stop enjoying your pre-pregnancy favorite foods
  • Your skin breaks out
  • You lose your beauty (they say a baby girl steals it from you!)
  • Your baby is breech past 32 weeks of pregnancy
  • Your previous child’s first word was “Dada”
  • If when asked to show someone your hands, you choose to show your palms first

For further investigation you may wish to conduct a test. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Place your wedding ring on a piece of thread and dangle it over your belly. If the ring swings back and forth, you just might be having a little girl. If the ring moves in a circular motion, you should start rooting for team blue.
  • If you are around a toddler and they have a lot of interest in you and your growing belly, your baby will be the opposite sex.
  • Set a key on the table. If you pick up the key by the long end (not the round end) get ready to paint the nursery pink.
  • Whip out the Chinese or Mayan Birth Calendar (or more likely Google it) and predict the sex based on your age and the month your baby was conceived.
  • Take a peek in the mirror. If your pupils dilate you may be having a boy.
  • Examine your baby name list. If you can’t decide on many boys names there may be a reason!
  • Pull out your ultrasound photographs. A sloping forehead and a square jaw may indicate a baby boy is on the way.

As for my own experience, I craved lemons and limes AND salty foods, had incredible mood swings, yet little morning sickness, and dreamed about my little boy on a nearly nightly basis (while most likely sleeping on my preferred right side).

I had a boy.

Photo Credit: Kristen Ausk via Flickr.com

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Cooking With Kids: Is Your Fear Holding Them Back? http://www.mothering.com/articles/cooking-kids-fear-holding-back/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/cooking-kids-fear-holding-back/#comments Mon, 20 Jun 2016 23:24:07 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=142674 I love to help on Thursday morning in my daughter’s kindergarten class because Thursday is soup day. And soup day means 20 five- and six-year-olds with knives, cutting boards, and vegetables all sitting at their table cutting away. I have had three children go through this kindergarten and so I am pretty used to soup … Continue reading Cooking With Kids: Is Your Fear Holding Them Back?

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I love to help on Thursday morning in my daughter’s kindergarten class because Thursday is soup day. And soup day means 20 five- and six-year-olds with knives, cutting boards, and vegetables all sitting at their table cutting away.

I have had three children go through this kindergarten and so I am pretty used to soup day and children wielding knives first thing in the morning. It doesn’t bother me at all.

But the first day for most parents is excruciating.

I kind of want to send all of them out the door as they hover and take over for their children, who they seem convinced have no business cutting vegetables with anything, much less a knife. The fears translate to lack of confidence in the children’s ability.

Cooking with children and making “stone soup” is a traditional Waldorf activity, done for many years by thousands of children across many countries. My kids go to a “Steiner Inspired” public school and thus the constant knife wielding.

I love it though.

And I’m not the only one. My friend and awesome fitness coach and nutrition guru, Katie Dudley, often talks about how important it is to build good eating habits when our kids are young. She says,

“Cooking with your children is an excellent quality time activity that provides the opportunity to educate them on a lifelong skill. It empowers children in the creative and decision making process of meal planning. Participating in cooking allows children to feel a part of something bigger…That they are contributing to the family’s well being. Children are also more likely to eat a wider variety of foods when included in the planning and preparation process.”

There are a few things that are special when you let go of your obvious fear (chopped fingers rather than carrots) and allow children to cook with you:

  • The children enjoy cooking!
  • Children, even very young ones, are far more capable than you would think and can easily cut with a little instruction.
  • Freedom to do a “dangerous” activity helps the children gain confidence. Self esteem isn’t handed over with a compliment – it is earned by pushing one’s boundaries and discovering what one can accomplish.
  • Children who learn to cook learn a life skill- and one that is quickly being lost in our fast-food, microwaved, pre-packaged generation.
  • Children like vegetables more! And they eat freaking vegetable soup! For real!
  • They are PROUD of what they have done.
  • They are invested in, more grateful for, and less likely to waste their food.

Oh, but you must be thinking,

“But what about children cutting themselves?!”

Yes, on occasion, children do cut themselves.

While cutting off one’s finger would be quite unfortunate, I have never seen a severe cut. They are always minor – very minor! The thing about small childhood wounds is that they are great teachers. In fact, life experience is usually a better teacher than a lecture- even for grown-ups.

Cooking with kids- is your fear holding them back?

Admit it, how many important things did your parents or teachers tell you that you simply didn’t understand until you experienced it for yourself? Probably lots.

We are pretty averse to pain or danger in our culture, which is basically a good, life-preserving, thing. Yay for surviving!

However, when we don’t let children learn by using small knives for their intended purpose, even if that involves the occasional nic, then we disable them as they get older.

A five-year-old who doesn’t know how to use a knife can be quickly taught. A 12-year-old who doesn’t know how to use a knife and doesn’t respect its power, is scary.

I have visited the kindergarten a lot and can tell you that my four-year-old has been cutting with confidence for a year. A year!

Our focus has shifted so much to standardized testing, reading young, and preparing children intellectually for the world, we have forgotten some basic life skills.

Cooking is a life skill for boys and girls.

I heard a popular song on the radio in which a girl bragged about how she didn’t cook. I’m baffled that this would be something you would brag about. I wasn’t born knowing how to cook, but it is probably the most useful skill I have attained, and not because it got me a man, but because I can use it every day to be healthier and more self reliant. And yes, my son knows how to cook!

But don’t just let your kids cut some veggies, let them cook!

My children love helping me cook, particularly the younger ones who are four and six years old. They can mix a salad, stir a pot, grate cheese, chop veggies or fruit, measure rice, knead dough, and so much more.

cooking with children- is your fear holding them back?

Why spend so much time setting brightly colored play-doh in front of children when we can teach them a skill like bread making, and help them accomplish something beautiful–a toastie loaf of bread that they can proudly claim they made at the end of the day. (This is my favorite bread recipe. Spelt molasses…try it.)

There are so many lessons here in measuring, math, hard work, patience, chemistry, farming, and more.

Cook with your children. Don’t let your fears hold you back.

Yes, it takes longer and yes it doesn’t always work. But the time invested gives back because you grow confident, capable children who, when they are eight (and 28), can make dinner!

Score.

Photo credits: mamaloco via Source / CC BY-NDl4anyrat via Foter.com / CC BY-NDMatteo Bagnoli via Decorators Guru / CC BY-SA

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The One Way to Make Your Next Camping Trip a Whole Lot Healthier http://www.mothering.com/articles/one-way-make-next-camping-trip-whole-lot-healthier/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/one-way-make-next-camping-trip-whole-lot-healthier/#comments Mon, 20 Jun 2016 22:32:37 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=143545 Camping. Gotta love it. It’s surely one of the best parts of summer. And while heading out on a multi-day camping trip is great for the mind and body in a million ways, “traditional” camping foods–think hot dogs, potato chips and s’mores–are not exactly good health-inducing fare. The problem with trying to eat healthy on … Continue reading The One Way to Make Your Next Camping Trip a Whole Lot Healthier

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campfire-896196_640Camping. Gotta love it. It’s surely one of the best parts of summer.

And while heading out on a multi-day camping trip is great for the mind and body in a million ways, “traditional” camping foods–think hot dogs, potato chips and s’mores–are not exactly good health-inducing fare.

The problem with trying to eat healthy on a camping trip, or any trip really, is that we need the prepping and cooking of meals to be easy. After all, it’s supposed to be relaxing, right?

But, as we know, easy and healthy don’t always (or even usually) go hand in hand. So, what is there to be done?

Thankfully, there is one simple way to infuse a level of wholesomeness into your family’s next wilderness adventure and avoid the post-camping processed food hangover.

Make your meals ahead.

It’s true, camping trips with kids require a lot of planning. From fishing gear to tents to clothing for every imaginable temperature, not to mention preparing for the never-ending bugs–there’s a ton to figure out.

Coming up with days of healthy meals (and snacks–so many snacks!) for a couple adults and a slew of kids, that can be prepped and cooked easily with methods available (fire, BBQ grill/camp stove, solar oven?) in the great outdoors is no exception.  

Why so much planning? Well, the best way to cut down on labor during the camp out is to get it out of the way ahead of time.

You can take advantage of your lovely kitchen, and of the modern amenities that go along with it to make sure that most of the food you’ll be bringing along is pretty healthy–or at the very least has ingredients you can pronounce.

Whip up some whole grain muffins or a loaf of (healthy) banana-nut bread a day in advance and you’ll have a great addition to any camp breakfast.

No time to cook? Slap together these awesome, and customizable, five ingredient granola bars for a healthy anytime snack.

For lunch time, try mixing up a tuna (or salmon) salad for sandwiches, a fresh fruit salad or this yummy (gluten-free) pasta saladthat uses a ton of fresh veggies–the day before you leave.

When it comes to planning dinners, make your (grass-fed) burger patties at home so they’re ready to simply throw on the grill. Have the kids help assemble some veggie-kabobs or shuck some sweet corn to bring along for a tasty side.

Baked beans are a camping staple, but the canned varieties are often packed with sugar and other undesirable ingredients, so try making them in advance with this super easy slow-cooker recipe, then simply reheat at camp.  

If you’re feeling adventurous, try this unique homemade, and surprisingly healthy, marshmallow recipe in place of bagged ones. And don’t forget to replace that sugary milk chocolate with dark chocolate, it’s actually good for you!

For the things that you can’t (easily) make at home, like hot dogs or graham crackers for s’mores, try looking for minimally processed varieties or replacing them with a healthier alternative.

Yes, all this prep work will add quite a bit of additional planning (like you need more of that!) in the days leading up to the trip but you’re likely to find the outcome is more than worth it.

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Study Shows How the Stress of Motherhood Impacts Sex Life http://www.mothering.com/articles/study-shows-stress-motherhood-impacts-sex-life/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/study-shows-stress-motherhood-impacts-sex-life/#comments Mon, 20 Jun 2016 21:21:01 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=143106 A recent study has shown a new mother’s stress has a negative impact on a couple’s intimacy. Penn State researchers followed 169 heterosexual couples over the first 12 months of their baby’s life. During that time, the new parents were asked to rate their level of satisfaction when it came to both parenting and sex. … Continue reading Study Shows How the Stress of Motherhood Impacts Sex Life

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A recent study has shown a new mother’s stress has a negative impact on a couple’s intimacy.

Penn State researchers followed 169 heterosexual couples over the first 12 months of their baby’s life. During that time, the new parents were asked to rate their level of satisfaction when it came to both parenting and sex.

Women who scored lower on the parental satisfaction questions also tended to score lower on the sexual satisfaction questions. Bad days turned into bad nights. And when women were less satisfied in the bedroom, men were, too.

Interestingly, a father’s stress levels did not seem to have any effect on either his or his partner’s sexual satisfaction. Researchers suspect this is likely because women tend to compartmentalize their lives less than men do. Everything is more interconnected, so a problem in one area can result in problems in another.

Furthermore, women still tend to shoulder most of the parenting responsibilities, particularly when children are young. This can lead more quickly to dissatisfaction and exhaustion.

Okay, let’s get real here: this study is likely not going to come as a big surprise to most new parents. For many of us, it’s comparable with research showing how water is wet. This is not news to those of us who have faced sleepless nights and screaming infants. We already know it’s hard to feel sexy when you’re covered in baby vomit.

But the evidence does validate how many new mothers report feeling: tired and touched-out.

Being able to point to studies like this one and say, “See? I’m not the only one!” has its own power. It allows us to feel more connected to others at a time when many of us feel quite alone in our emotions and our chaos.

In the study, moms and dads were asked questions about how happy they were as parents. Was parenting meeting their expectations? Were they getting as much out of having a baby as they had anticipated?

These are important questions. When we first choose to become parents, we might have ideas that simply don’t live up to reality. Then, when baby comes and that reality hits, it can be hard to feel satisfied unless we can come to terms with the way things actually are.

The study’s authors also speculate societal pressure placed on women to be “perfect mothers” is a likely contributing factor to dissatisfaction in motherhood and, in turn, reduced intimate pleasure for both couples. The strain of trying to be it all and do it all can have real consequences on the relationship.

However, an interesting shift occurs at the end of the first year: By the time the couple’s child reaches 12 months of age, mothers are reporting higher sexual satisfaction than their partners. In fact, 69% of women responded they were “somewhat to very satisfied” with their sex lives, versus 55% of men.

In the future, the researchers want to expand their focus to include more diversity. How do same-sex couples fare in the bedroom with the strains of new parenthood upon them? What about parental age?

By answering these questions, researchers hope to provide useful information to therapists and other professionals who help couples navigate one of the most challenging times in their life together.

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Teaching Patience with Impatience Doesn’t Work http://www.mothering.com/articles/teaching-patience-impatience-doesnt-work/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/teaching-patience-impatience-doesnt-work/#comments Mon, 20 Jun 2016 19:49:43 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=132513 I realized a harsh truth recently: Sometimes I don’t show my son the patience I’m constantly reminding him to show me. There are times he wants and maybe even needs my attention, but I’m busy. I’ve got an email I need to send, dishes to do, I’m trying to get out the door but I’m … Continue reading Teaching Patience with Impatience Doesn’t Work

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feet-619399_1280I realized a harsh truth recently:

Sometimes I don’t show my son the patience I’m constantly reminding him to show me.

There are times he wants and maybe even needs my attention, but I’m busy. I’ve got an email I need to send, dishes to do, I’m trying to get out the door but I’m running late again. And as he pokes, prods, whines and vies for my attention, I remind him, “Be patient, son. I’m going as fast as I can.” I may even remind him of the golden rule and ask him to consider what I’m juggling at the moment.

But a few minutes later when I turn my attention to him and I’m waiting for him to finish tying his shoes or tapping my foot as he climbs into his carseat with no sense of urgency, I forget my own words of wisdom. There he is, trying to focus and accomplish something, annoyed at my interrupting pressing, “Come on, it’s time to go.” I sometimes forget that figuring out those shoe laces is his work for the day and his humming and hopping into the car are enjoyable. Why would I take that from him?

In an ideal world, everything would happen at exactly the time I wished it to. I would conveniently schedule everything that needs my attention so that I could check each task off my list, one by one and easily give my little ones dedicated time. Nothing would get left hanging, nothing would slow me down. I’m sure they would love that, too. But things don’t always work out that way. Really, they rarely do.

And it’s frustrating. What I’ve realized, though, is that he just cannot conceive of a reason why the world won’t stop while he enjoys a task or works on something. That, I can relate to. What this teaches me, is that he’s depending on me to learn how to handle the times things don’t go our way. The message should be to practice self-control and even consideration of others rather than pouting and complaining.

Between the two of us, I’m the one who should know better. His concept of time is much more limited than mine and he has had far fewer years to practice considering others before himself.

The application of patience may look different for each of us. For him, it means not getting to eat the minute his belly grumbles, working through the fact that two lego pieces don’t fit together or waiting on me to get ready when I said we would leave 15 minutes ago.

For me, it means that my tasks may be interrupted, I may not get to do them exactly in the order I wanted to, I may give the same instruction four times before it’s understood or followed. I may choose the slowest checkout at the store (again) or my well-planned dinner may turn out to be a stressful task that yields a less than exciting result. And all the while, he’s watching to see how I’ll respond to these inconveniences and disappointments.

Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with saying, “What you do speaks so loudly, I cannot hear what you say.”  If I am easily frazzled, huffing and puffing over my obligations while also citing the same warning for him to “keep a good attitude!” he’s more likely to see my example than hear that I say.

I’d actually love to meet his needs right when he expresses, but I can’t, and maybe we both benefit from knowing that’s unrealistic. In the heat of the moment, I’ve got to see myself through his eyes. Step back, take those deep breaths I suggested and smile at him, then let him know by my cool, unhurried tone that the best things in life take up time and I’ll gladly spend mine on him. But he may have to wait just a sec.

photo provided by Donnie Ray Jones

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Support Your Partner Because the Early Years of Parenting Can Tear You Apart http://www.mothering.com/articles/lifting-fathers-early-years-parenting/ http://www.mothering.com/articles/lifting-fathers-early-years-parenting/#comments Sat, 18 Jun 2016 00:12:50 +0000 http://www.mothering.com/articles/?p=144553 The years having our four babies were some of the most stressful for my husband and me. In those early years we lived in three different states, my husband started and finished grad school, started a business, lived with family, were unemployed, had health issues, and hardly slept the entire time. We saw a lot … Continue reading Support Your Partner Because the Early Years of Parenting Can Tear You Apart

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Lifting Fathers During The Early Years Of Parenting

The years having our four babies were some of the most stressful for my husband and me. In those early years we lived in three different states, my husband started and finished grad school, started a business, lived with family, were unemployed, had health issues, and hardly slept the entire time.

We saw a lot of families fall apart under the pressures of young children and all the other things that go along with them.

My work as a childbirth educator is a gift because I am constantly meeting couples who are preparing for a baby. Because they are taking a 10 week class, they are particularly invested and working hard, together, to achieve their goal. I get to meet some really remarkable people.

These men and women remind me constantly how important and incredible good parents and good fathers are.

Lifting Fathers During The Early Years Of ParentingAs a birth worker it can be easy to only focus on the mom and her struggles and needs. She needs support and is often neglected in our culture. Mom however, is not the only person who has challenges and needs support. Fathers need support too, especially in the early years with children. They too are often neglected and forgotten about in our rushed world.

I have some ideas on this subject, but they are just that – ideas. If there is something that speaks to you, use it. If not, move on.

Remember Fun

Our years with very young children were incredibly intense. Schedules, especially for my husband, were hectic. In grad school he regularly got about four hours of sleep.

There wasn’t a lot of time for anything fun in those years -but survival and sanity require you take some down time.

My husband loves lifting weights. I complained about it once to a friend of his who reminded me, “He NEEDS to do that.”

Remembering fun doesn’t mean you need to party all the time or take a yearly cruise. Most of us can’t afford that anyway. It means keeping those important pieces of you that help you feel whole.

The partner can facilitate this by carving out a little bit of time for the other person to relax- and do it without resentment.

For us, it meant having his weight lifting set in our second bedroom.

Pretty? No.

Fun for a young dad who was sacrificing so much?

Yes.

Remember Each Other

It’s easy with a new baby to get so wrapped up in the baby that we forget that anyone else has ever existed. Babies can be so demanding and needy that by the end of the day, a loving mother may not feel like even touching anyone else.

Remembering your partner and the love you share can help dad feel supported and remembered during these early years.

The children grow older and they will, in turn, find strength from the love you share together, even if you had difficulty nurturing it when they were little.

Go on dates. Take breaks. Focus on each other. Be intimate. In the long run, this helps EVERYONE.

Remember Love

I won’t bore you with the details of every sleep deprived fight we have shared over the years or the times we forgot why we ever got together and started making babies, but the list would be long.

Lifting Fathers During The Early Years Of Parenting

Remember to love each other and forgive each other.

Sometimes the realities of having young children can literally drive you out of your mind. It’s possible I’m the only one who went a little nutty during the sleep deprived, wacky hormone state that is mothering young children, but I doubt it.

Some days it was really hard to remember why I ever liked this guy. Some days it was really hard to forgive.

But don’t forget. Remember to love. Remember to forgive. Remember that these moments of raising babies are just that: moments. Remember that you are ALL learning. Babies and children are learning how to live outside of mama. Women are learning to mother and sacrifice. Fathers are learning the same and the pressures can be very great.

A good partner wants to help, wants to provide, wants to support–but it can be very hard and very draining. The sacrifices for both you and your partner are great and it can be hard to remember when we are lost in the fog of our own problems.

Remember each other and remember why you love each other.

Photo credits: dground via Foter.com / CC BY-SA,  anieto2k via Foter.com / CC BY-SAsethstoll via DesignHunt / CC BY-SA

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