Monthly Archives: May 2013

2013MothersDay

Mother’s Day 2013

Happy Mother’s Day!!  This is a wonderful day for most mothers in the United States.  We are showered with love, congratulatory greetings, phone calls, texts, emails, gifts…all in honor of the fact that we are mothers.

I love being a mother, and I love that there is one day when our families take the time to recognize that ours is a 24/7 commitment.  On the other hand, the older I get, the more aware I am that this holiday can be the holiday from H.E.double-hockey-sticks for other people.

People who recently lost a loved mother, grandmother, or other female relative who was like a mother.  People who lost a kindred spirit who was like a mother to them.  Women who just lost their life partner, the ones with whom they shared the journey of parenthood.  Parents and children who are estranged from each other, no matter whose “fault” it is.  Women who tried desperately to conceive and whose time never came.  Women who recently suffered a miscarriage.  Women who have suffered the loss of a child, at whatever age in their lives.  How do they ever answer the question, “How many children do you have?”  Transgender people who are born with the desire to bear children and without the anatomical equipment to be gestational parents.  All of them are suffering in silence most days.  Today is especially difficult for all these people who are watching and expected to participate in the “greeting card” version of a holiday on steroids.

So in the midst of all the joy, congratulations and celebration of the work of our wombs, I also want to send special love to the people who fall outside of “the circle” today.  I wish I could give you a hug in person and support you the way you need to be supported.  I feel you and wish you love.

Our family suffered the loss of a beloved mother and grandmother figure this March.  The realization I came to after her passing has been incredibly freeing and empowering.  I am no longer trying to compete with past constructs of motherhood in my life.  I am simply looking forward and looking for my children to guide me.

These are the introspections I make that are guiding my mother-journey today:

    • What is my mothering philosophy?  
    • Am I following my philosophy and leading our children, or am I simply reacting?
    • Can I use humor to diffuse the situation?
    • How do I want our children to remember me?
    • As individuals, what kind of mother does that child need me to be?  (i.e., which Love Language do they speak?)
    • How can I best help them grow into their full potential?
    • How can I help them discover their gifts so that they can enjoy them for their lifetime?

Taking the pressure off of having to “be better than”, and looking at the future helps me to deal with the little daily frustrations.  On a daily basis we deal with bickering amongst the siblings, the endless duties around the home, the kitchen that always needs cleaning, the laundry that doesn’t quit, a schoolroom that needs to be straightened – again.  I look at my motherhood as a path, a journey I am on with our children.  I can take on today – it is only a day in what I wish and pray will be our long journey together.

At the end of the day, I want us all to be happy, whole, fulfilled individuals who love each other because we value one another for who we are.  I don’t ever want them to make a choice because they want to please me – I want them to make a choice because they know it is the right one for them.

We are still walking that path together.  I look forward to another 365 days of meandering along that path joyfully with our family.  Please take a minute today to celebrate the mothers in your life.  Take it a step further and hug someone who is suffering in silence today.  Let them know that while you can’t take away their pain, you care and you love them.

Hello, SPB families!!

A day in the life of a family of six…have you ever wondered how all the moving parts work?

Cassandra, our guest blogger, was so excited to hear that we were going to expand our platform because she is a new mama of just over a year.  She remembers being a first-time mama in the social media internet age, devouring all the information related to pregnancy and birth.  Everything else was just a distraction to her.  So here we are, with more information for you when you are ready to explore life beyond the Birth-Day.

We are two working-from-home parents with four children.  As of today, our children are 8, 5, 3 and 1 year(s) old.  I homeschool, teach Bradley Method® classes, blog and offer 24/7 support to our Bradley™ families.  Bruss works at his asset management company from a home office and co-teaches almost every Bradley Method® class with me.  We are definitely co-parents in our family’s journey.

For future reference…here are the names I use out on the internet for our children: Puma (8), Night Owl (5), Charger (3), and Otter (1).  In real life, their initials form the acronym BABY…a happy coincidence since babies and their births are turning out to be a passion of mine.

We credit a lot of the choices we have made as parents to our time as students of The Bradley Method®.  We took the classes with our first two children.  We learned about how to have a healthy, low-risk pregnancy.  We learned strategies to have an epidural-free natural labor.  We learned about breastfeeding and how it is an extension of seeking out the natural processes.  We also heard about co-sleeping, babywearing, and circumcision.  The information that was shared by our teachers opened our eyes to choices we hadn’t really considered yet – we were so focused on the birth of our baby.

After we had our first child, we wanted to keep following our instincts.  It didn’t make sense to put her in the bedroom down the hall when all we wanted to do was hold her and marvel at this miracle of life that we had worked so hard to bring into the world.  Although the thought of co-sleeping creeped us out when we first heard about it in class, once she was born, there was no other way.  Thus the start of our family bed.

I struggled to breastfeed Puma, so much so that I made Bruss take all the formula samples out of the house.  Now I have learned that “No pain, no gain” does not apply to breastfeeding.  I have also evolved from thinking I was only ever going to breastfeed a child until they were a year old.  Puma and I were not ready to stop nursing when she hit her first birthday.  That breastfeeding relationship continued until she self-weaned at 22 months.  I am currently nursing Charger and Otter.  There will definitely by some posts dedicated to extended breastfeeding as time allows.

I knew that I wanted Puma to be a whole, emotionally intact adult, so I chose to operate from a place of love, not domination.  I wanted to honor and respect her as a human being, even if she did not have words yet and she did not look like an adult.  Attachment parenting and babywearing have been our choices to reach that goal.  These days, I strive to remember her as a tiny infant who just wants to be loved: now she is a very independent 8-year old who gives me attitude and pushes my “crazy” button just because she thinks it’s funny.

We did not really address circumcision until our second pregnancy.  Since we had a girl first, we figured the odds were that we better do better homework this time.  Although it’s common in the US, we do not have any religious or cultural beliefs that teach circumcision as a precondition to belong to the community.  I was not crazy about cutting a child a few days after they were born, but i also figured since I was not the father who was going to be different, that choice should be up to Bruss.  We decided to have him watch a circumcision video on nocirc.org.  He didn’t even last 10 seconds.  So there we are – it was not a choice for our family.  The more I learn about it, the more grateful I am for our choice.  I won’t write any more about that because there are enough impassioned voices out there…and I have the belief that our boys private parts are just that – private.  If they want to blog about it when they are older, that is up to them.

As parents, we continue to use the communication skills we learned in class.  We make every effort to honor each other when we speak to each other and our children.  We have also used the informed consent questions when our children have had hospital stays.  If it fits as the site evolves, we may share those experiences with you, too.

Here are some of the things she and I will be writing about in future posts:

  • Breastfeeding toddlers
  • Potty training
  • Elimination communication
  • The family bed
  • Babywearing
  • Gentle parenting
  • Homeschooling
  • Home gardening
  • Organic living
  • Siblings
  • Family dynamics

We invite you to share other ideas with us.  What do you wonder about when you think about growing your family?