7/25/2016

Good For You, Momma!

Let's face it. Being a mom is quite possibly one of the hardest jobs on the planet. 
To ALL the Mommas out there: You're doing a great job!
Don't let your fellow Moms imply anything else. After all, we're in this thing called "Motherhood" together.
Motherhood Encouragement
To the Mommas who formula-feed their children -- Good for you! I'm sure it's nice to not have to carry equipment when we Mommas already have a heavy load! And isn't science wonderful for coming up with something that's healthy for our babies?!

To the Mommas who breastfeed their children -- Good for you! I'm sure it's great getting to bond with your baby while building up their immune system with healthy nutrients from YOU! And by the way, how awesome is it that you don't have to pay a penny to feed your sweet baby?!

To the Moms who have a sleep routine with their babies -- Good for you! How fantastic that you know what to expect each night. I'm sure your babies are benefiting from the good sleep and structure, too!

To the Moms who have no sleep routine with their babies -- Good for you! I'm sure you're getting
firsthand experience of what it's like to roll with the punches [er...cries and diaper changes and feedings]. And I bet your babies are comforted by the fact that you'll be there for them no matter what time of day or night. That bond you're forming is irreplaceable.

To the Mothers who use cloth diapers on their babes -- Good for you! I'm sure you're saving a lot of money by being so resourceful. And bet your babes look CUTE in their patterned diapers! Cloth diapers sure beat the standard, white plastic design!

To the Mothers who use disposable diapers on their babes -- Good for you! It must be nice being able to throw away your babe's diapers as soon as they're dirty. Isn't it great to be able to dispose of them so quickly?! I mean seriously -- who thinks of this stuff?!

To the consignment-shopping, garage-saling Moms -- Good for you! Way to be frugal when you
know your babies will outgrow their clothes and toys quickly. Isn't it great you can save money and invest it elsewhere?!

To the stay-at-home Mommas -- Good for you! Isn't it awesome to watch your babies hit their milestones?! I know it's hard work, but how wonderful that you have the ability to stay at home and watch them grow!

To the working Mommas -- Good for you! How great is it that you have something to look forward to coming home to every day! Isn't it great to have people out there who care for our babies as if they were their own?!

To the single Moms -- Good for you! I salute you and your tasks at hand! You are one tough Momma flying solo! How wonderful that your babies will know you as someone who can balance so many roles; you are leading by example.

To the Moms who take their children to daycare -- Good for you! I bet you find it valuable to instill social skills in your children at such a young age! Isn't it great to have a safe place for our children to grow and learn and make friends?!

To the Moms of fussy babies -- Good for you for raising babies who are already expressing themselves! Isn't it great to know they're awake and engaged in their surroundings?!

To the Birth Mommas who make adoption plans for their sweet babies -- Good for you! I'm sure it's bittersweet, but it must bring a smile to your face thinking about how happy your sweet babies are with the forever families you chose for them.

To the Foster Mommies who open their hearts and homes -- Good for you! It takes a special person to provide these kiddos with comfort and stability. Way to show them what love is by your example!

To the Adoptive Mommas -- Good for you! I'm so happy we're in this "sisterhood" together. I'm sure your perseverance and hoop-jumping was worth it all when you held your sweet babies! What a joy it is to be chosen.

To the Moms of medically fragile children -- Good for you! Your unconditional love and support for your children is clear; what an example you set for others with your patience, tolerance and compassion -- even (and especially) when it's hard.

To the Two-Mom households -- Good for you! It must give you a sense of pride that you're raising your babies in a loving environment that promotes tolerance of others. Double the moms = double the love!

To the Moms who make their own baby food -- Good for you! Doesn't it feel great to provide your kiddos with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive?

To the Moms who purchase pre-made baby food -- Good for you! Isn't it convenient and handy to know your babies can get the nutrients they need after a quick trip to the grocery store?!

To the Genetic Moms who donate their embryos and allow other women to experience pregnancy and childbirth -- Good for you! What a wonderful opportunity to provide hope for a family-in-waiting.

To the Moms who survived infertility treatments -- Good for you! Isn't science great? Isn't it amazing how technology and doctors can help you achieve the dream of pregnancy?

To the Surrogate Moms who carry babies for loving families -- Good for you! What a selfless opportunity to give the gift of motherhood to another woman.

To the Moms of multiples -- Good for you! I don't know how you do it! Way to go juggling so much at once. I am in awe that you've fine-tuned your multi-tasking skills to take such great care of your children!

To the germaphobe Moms...the anxious Moms...the take-too-many photos Moms...

To the C-section Moms, natural-birth Moms, skinny Moms, and overweight Moms...

To the Grandmas and Aunts and neighbors and strangers who show motherly love to sweet babies...

You're doing a great job! 

Good for you for parenting with your heart. For when you do so, you can't go wrong.

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A version of this post was originally shared on 9/9/2013 and 7/25/2016. 

7/18/2016

On Being Enough

Motherhood
It can be hard to keep up with expectations we set for ourselves and those the world places before us. Life is demanding and consuming and busy.

Am I right?

But as I chase around the pitter-pattering feet of two little girls running on the hardwood floors and glance over at our sweet 3-month old baby kicking her chubby feet on her play mat, I can't help but realize that to all three of my daughters -- in this moment -- I am enough JUST AS I AM.

The world hasn't tainted them with judgments and expectations and pressures.
Motherhood
They don't care what clothes I'm wearing, whether my hair is brushed or teeth are clean. It doesn't bother them if I'm running late or forget to fold the laundry or trip down the steps while taking out the recycling (not saying that's ever happened before...).

They just love.

So innocently. So purely. So genuinely.

And my love? It's somehow enough to move mountains for them. It comforts them. Protects them. And makes the world all better. 

Somehow, my imperfect self is more than enough for them.

And it makes you wonder...if we all took a minute to see things through the eyes of our children, perhaps the world would be a lot more beautiful.

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Good For You, Momma

7/11/2016

Three Things We Can Do

This post contains affiliate links.

I stepped away from the internet for a few days to focus my energy on my children who have yet to realize how heartbreaking this world can be.

And when I pulled up my email, there was a flood of messages waiting for me; like me, many of you are still grappling with where we go from here.

There are so many people hurting right now.

What can we do?

The first step is recognizing we [white people] are capable of doing something. Our skin gives us power, but we're not completely sure how to use it.

I don't have all the answers, but I do have some simple suggestions for how we can be better allies:

1. Reach out to your black friends -- even strangers.

Acknowledge their pain and grief this past week.

One of my black girlfriends said I was the only white friend who reached out to her in the wake of these incidents. THE ONLY WHITE FRIEND.

A simple hug or handshake or, "This must have been a hard week for you," can go a long way.
2. Talk to your kids about race.

Books are a great way to start a conversation with your children about our differences.

If you have young children, this book is a must-have on your book shelf.

BUY IT NOW!

It is hands down THE BEST children's book I've read. From the rhyming sentences to colorful illustrations that emphasize a message of celebrating and embracing our differences...every child should have this book. 

Get it for your kids, your nieces and nephews, your grandkids...any and every child you love.

Our family also loves this compilation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech with stunning paintings by Kadir Nelson:
3. Speak up.

If you see something on Facebook that doesn't seem quite right, say something.

If a family member makes an inappropriate comment, speak up.

If you overhear a colleague insult or judge another person based on their skin color (or any characteristic for that matter), let them know you have zero tolerance for ignorance or discrimination.

Be willing to have uncomfortable conversations. Be willing to speak up when it's not popular. Be willing to listen to others' experiences even when it's hard.

These are small things, but if we do them together we can make a difference. A little empathy and understanding can go a long way.

Related content:
I Stand With You
To The White Momma Of A Black Child

7/06/2016

I Stand With You

As of yesterday, I've seen 31 years on this earth.

It is beyond my comprehension, however, that as I celebrated another year with confetti cake and brightly lit birthday candles standing tall in the globs of rainbow chip frosting spread by my 2-year old daughter, that someone else would never see another birthday -- or another cake decorated by one of his own children -- again.

It is hard to believe...hours after I scraped my birthday cake plate clean, loaded up our dishwasher and hit the "clean" cycle, a man selling CDs hundreds of miles away would soon take his last breath by no choice of his own.

It is infuriating...as I held my 3-month old baby girl and rocked her back to sleep last night, there was a man -- a father -- cradled in a fetal position on hard concrete after police pinned his body on the ground and killed him in cold blood.

I am sick. I am tired. And I'm sick and tired of watching people justify the murders of black bodies in the hands of individuals who are sworn to serve and protect us.

There are those who may say, "He deserved it," or, "He wasn't listening to police," or, "He had a criminal record. A gun..."

To you I say this:

More than 120 black Americans have died in the hands of police officers this year. Approximately 10 percent of those individuals were unarmed
 (Source: Washington Post database). 

It is high time for something to change. For us to hold officials with knee-jerk reactions responsible. For us to decriminalize black people. For the media to evaluate its reporting practices. For us TO LISTEN TO THE EXPERIENCES OF THOSE WHO ARE DIFFERENT THAN US.

I am terrified for my children to grow up in this world littered with hate and prejudice and violence; I am worried about their birth families who are part of OUR family and whether they'll be around to share in another milestone...

I am embarrassed, outraged and saddened that we allow this to continue to happen...

Trayvon Martin
Tamir Rice
Sandra Bland
Eric Garner
Mike Brown
Freddie Gray...

I am infuriated that a white man who rapes an unconscious woman gets three months in jail while a black man selling CDs gets shot and killed in cold blood by police.

What will it take for this racial profiling to STOP?

Please.

What will it take for us to value the lives of black men and women?

People are DYING, and if you're able to sit back and act like this is no big deal or somehow continue to justify or explain this away, then you are precisely part of the problem.
Alton Sterling Black Lives Matter
To the family and loved ones of Mr. Alton Sterling -- a man who unfairly died as I celebrated another year of life: I stand with you.

Rest in peace.

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7/04/2016

Dear Disney Junior...

#RenewDocMcStuffins
Photo: DisneyJunior.Disney.com/
Dear Disney Junior...

I'm not the kind of person who pleads for a TV show to stay on air. In fact, I've never done it before. And for all you know, I'm just another mom up in arms about some cartoon on the chopping block.

And maybe I am...

But I'm also a mother who cares about what her children watch on TV.

I'm a mother who understands how critically important it is for her daughters to see representations of themselves in characters on screen.

And I'm a mother who sees so much more than an adorable 30-minute kid's cartoon when the "Doc is in" for the day.

Look. With my knowledge of the TV biz, I understand what it takes off-air to keep a show on-air. There are advertisers and writers, creative directors, artists, negotiations and all sorts of people responsible for deciding whether a show is worth keeping.

And I want you to know this show is worth keeping. 

Doc McStuffins is more than a lovable stuffed animal doctor. So much more.

While the darling 6-year old stuffed animal doctor compassionately fixes her toys with low batteries or stitches 'em up to help them feel better in her backyard clinic, she also helps me feel better when my kids are plopped down in front of the TV.

Because the truth is, the magnitude of the messages sent across the airwaves during this show are impactful. They're important. And as a mother, they are significant.

With this show, you've managed to successfully break through stereotypes and push the boundaries of countless societal and familial norms with an animated cartoon character and her family.

You've shown my daughters there is more to their imagination than princesses and unicorns. That black girls like them can aim high and succeed. That dads can stay home, families can adopt and mothers can balance a professional medical career and still be present for their children.

With this show, you've encouraged my children to use their imagination through a character who eludes compassion and confidence; who comforts and reassures them at check-ups and doctor's visits -- even when she's not there. You've inspired my children to dream big because when they see a girl who resembles them on TV -- that's big in and of itself.

Your representation of black girls and non-traditional families matters to me and many, many others.

With this show, you are building up a generation of young children -- young girls like my daughters -- and teaching them to aim for the stars. You're teaching them acceptance and kindness and compassion.

Don't stop now.

The world needs more Doc. After all, she "really knows her stuff..."

#RenewDocMcStuffins

Sincerely,

An Iowa Mom

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