Monthly Archives: May 2014

This and That

Very exciting news to share…I had the honor of being invited to an event in Southern CA.  Wow!  It’s official…I will be at the Club MomMe Spring Family Fest next Saturday!! I am so excited…I get to “walk the red carpet” for the first time.  (Mad scramble through the closet happening later today all week!)  Puma asked if she could go – bless her heart.  I am confident that in a couple more years, she will absolutely be going with me to help with pictures and interviews.  That will be a day to look forward to!

I also wanted to share a link to a post I did over on Sweet Pea Births today.  We started our journey to a greener life when we were Bradley Method® students nine years ago.  It made us aware that we needed to read labels and avoid harmful substances.  I got complacent and figured that if a product was labeled “green”, “safe”, “natural”, “-free”, then it was safe enough to be brought into our home.

I have learned the hard way that corporations can put pretty much anything they want on the label.  It is up to us as the consumers to educate ourselves on the toxic ingredients and read every.single.label before we put it on our shopping cart.

If you are interested in seeing the breakdown of ingredients in baby wipes, click HERE.  As I did the research for this post, I was so grateful for the friends in our lives who aren’t afraid to get on their soapboxes and make us open our eyes and hearts to new ways of living.  We have used diaper wipes as often as ten times a day when our Sweet Peas are little, and many of us are used to keeping them in our bags long after a Sweet Pea is out of diapers because they are just so useful!

Now that we know better, and we want to teach our children to be good stewards of the environment, we are happily entrenched in our cloth wipes and cleaning spray solution.  So consider me the friend on the soapbox, and please take a look so that you and your Sweet Pea can eliminate another set of toxins from your everyday exposure.

*Steps off SoapBox*

Once it’s up, I will post a link to the interview with the wonderful MomMe’s organizing the Club MomMe Spring Fest.  Be sure to check in on the SPB blog tomorrow to see what kind of family fun can be had in the Valley of the Sun, aka Phoenix, AZ.


WW: The REAL American Idols

In honor of Armed Forces Day (5/17), we want to feature the men and women who serve in our nation’s military. These images that capture family time for the Real American Idols: the people who are willing to put their live on the line to protect our Constitution and our freedoms, and the spouses and children who love them and live life without them while they are out on duty.  See more Sweet Peas over on the SPB blog.

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Navy wife and daughter from our Fall 2010 class

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Navy dad and daughter from our Fall 2010 series – welcoming daddy home after his first underway away

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USMC Veteran+Daddy and his family – Winter 2013-14 SPB students

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USMC Veteran+Daddy and his family – Winter 2013-14 SPB Students

Limits – Yes, No, Maybe?

Here we grow again! Night Owl and I are adapting to a “new normal” right now as he expresses his desire for I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.C.E.

Most-used phrases:

“Why can’t I live by myself?”
“Why do you get to tell me what to do?”
“Why is there a rule about that?”
HATE that you get to tell me what to do!”

Which is kind of funny, because it may mean I have to start to communicate with him the way I do with his father.  Things go a lot more smoothly if I ask instead of tell my DH to do anything.  And then I have to ask without manipulating…the trials of living with creative minds.

Seriously, though, I would not have it any other way.  I love that Night Owl is imaginative, that he wants to explore, and that he wants to push boundaries.  In an adult, those qualities can lead to great and amazing things.

In children, they lead to experiences like this:

We had just come back to the heat from our summer cabin in the mountains.  Night Owl decided to cool things off by having a snowstorm and making an ice skating rink...out of baby powder.

We had just come back to the heat from our summer cabin in the mountains. Night Owl decided to cool things off by having a snowstorm and making an ice skating rink…out of baby powder.

You have to understand that I am all about safety and security.  My husband and first-born son are not.  It makes for an interesting conflict – I want them to be safe.  They see no problem with rappelling up the trunk of a tall tree with a parachute cord to see if they can.  Or spraying baby powder to make a snowstorm.  Or filling a playpen full of ice and water to play “Ice Ship” and go exploring to the North Pole.  Or climbing to the tallest shelf in the house (10 feet high) to sniff out legos in boxes that haven’t been opened yet. How about making a zip-line out of masking tape to “swashbuckle” from the desk in his room to his dresser? (Yes, these have all happened – Night Owl is six. Can you imagine what else is in store for us?) 

He wants to try EVERYTHING.  I want him to keep two feet on the ground at all times.  I try to be careful with how I express my limitations because the last thing I want to do is instill fear in our children.  THIS  article by Dr. Jim Taylor has been really instrumental in helping me come to grips with the fact that I have to grow in order for my son to have the best opportunity to express his personality without feeling oppressed:

The challenge for you involves determining your own natural comfort zone in allowing your children to explore. That zone is dictated by your inborn temperament and the perceptions about how secure the world is based on your own experiences growing up. Your comfort zone will be determined by where you lie on the continuum from risk taker to risk averse.

And, if you allow it to, you will send messages to your children about where that comfort zone is. If your children’s inborn comfort zone is smaller than yours, then you will likely just reinforce those limits and possibility prevent them from extending those limits through experience.

If their limits are farther than your own, then your comfort zone may act as a leash, restraining them from broadening their already more expansive comfort zone.

We definitely fall in the “parent comfort zone is smaller – child’s limits are farther” camp.  I see our way forward in three steps: I am going to talk to him about how to evaluate situations, I will offer him decision making tools (that I hope he will use!), and I will definitely be taking more deep breaths.

How do you navigate child safety and healthy exploration?

Monday Musing: What is a better place?

THIS article by Anne Josephson started quite a conversation on my facebook feed.  I “shared” it to serve as an example of why I am happy with our choice to retreat from the world of public schooling and the pressure exerted by the parents of our children’s peers.

The article speaks to parents competing using the children as pawns, not the ills of competition itself, so let’s start with some quotes to clarify that position:

“I will no longer play the game of competitive parenting.”

“I am removing myself and by proxy my four children from the race. And by doing so, I am choosing to honor them for being exactly who they are: human beings in and of their own right, not proof of my worthiness… I am comforted by what one of the great philosophers, Lily Tomlin, said, “The problem with the rat race is, even if you win, you’re still a rat.”

So let’s replace the words “rat race” with “competitive parenting”. That turns the last sentence into,

“The problem with the competitive parenting is,
even if you win, you’re still a competitive parent.”

There is no reference to the child in that sentence, and I believe the point the author is trying to make is that parenting should be directed toward the child and for the child, not to improve the status or lend credibility to a parent who needs validation.  I feel like the article validated my belief that it is not fair, nor in the long run healthy, for me to push my children “to do” or “to be” because another child in their peer group is already doing that, or because I want them to be the first to achieve a milestone whether or not they are ready.

Through the course of the conversation, I got clarity about these ideas as they relate to our family:

    • Healthy competition can be a great thing, especially when it’s self-motivated.
    • I am by nature a competitive person – it has made me who I am today.
    • If they have it within them, I want that same internal drive to motivate our children, not our pressure.
    • If they are not competitive by nature, then I will step in and provide motivation apropos to the needs that drive their personality.
    • Finding my worth as person/parent through my child for the sake of being the first – the best – the only, etc., I will do my best to ensure that is not part of our family story.

How do you see your role as a parent?

I believe that my role as a parent is to prepare them to leave my side and succeed.  I am doing my best to equip them to deal with all the kindness and unkindness in the world on their own two feet.  They will absolutely know how to deal with people because we interact with people every day. When things go well we talk about it and when there are challenges we talk about how we could have done things differently, and will do them differently in the future.

As a parent-team, my husband and I check in with each other on a regular basis to evaluate how we are growing as a family and as individuals.  A big goal is to honor our children as individuals.  We want them to be free to be who they are, and we want to help them discover their individual gifts. We want them to have the knowledge, confidence and faith in themselves because they know they are loved and children of God.

As a parent, it behooves us to watch our children, observe their strengths, and build their character.  Parents need to think about what motivates them when it comes to pushing their children in a particular direction.  We should question if our motivation is to do it for them, or if we are pushing them to grow because our child has to be #1 or else you have failed as a parent.  The part that worries me is that they will begin to think they have failed us as our child.

I also believe that God chose us to teach/learn from each other.  I am open to and I want to learn the lessons are children are teaching us.  They are individuals, they have unique needs, and they are growing me as a person.  It is an honor and it is humbling to learn from them – they truly are sages trapped in the bodies of children.

In my case, I believe that if I strive to know them, love them, and guide them in their strengths while teaching them to love and respect their fellow man and leave the world better than they found it, I have succeeded. It has nothing to do with comparing them to their peers. It has to do with instilling the knowledge that they are loved, valued, and that they have something unique to contribute to the world.  In order to do that within a circle of love, I remove our children to protect them from the competition, the hatred and the bitterness in the world.

I also include our children to have them grow: through social interactions with people we trust and respect, classes that are of interest to them, attendance to a church that fits our beliefs and our values, and community service. As they grow and find their interests, we will also branch out and explore in the areas that are of their choosing.

What is the meaning of “service”?  To find that answer for my parenting philosophy, I turn to my faith: Jesus came to serve. In that sense, there will always be service in our family – whether it’s to our immediate family, our neighbor, to those less fortunate, or even service to the world we were gifted by taking care of it.

How do I define the world as better? By leaving it with more love – when I look at the New Testament, that’s what I get – LOVE. Simple. Love God; love one another. If I have shared love and others have grown because of that love, and if I teach our children to love and be better at loving than I am, then the world is better. In my little corner of the world, love is always the answer. Always.

Baby Turns One: You Are Now Breastfeeding a Toddler

IMG_5949 By Cassandra Okamoto, Blog Contributor

It does not feel like I have a toddler. While my son is not actually toddling around quite yet, his first birthday has come & gone and left us staring the unchartered waters of toddlerhood in the face. We both don’t quite know what to expect.

We did pass that first birthday mark without a consideration of weaning from the breast though, which I almost always forget is “unconventional”. Like I said, he still very much seems like a baby in many senses and babies want mama’s milk, same as toddlers do to it seems 🙂

Our choice to continue nursing past the one-year mark involves many factors, below are three of the bigger ones:

1) We have not received any vaccines *yet* and I am most comfortable with this path as long as we are still nursing and do so until at least 2 years of age. This is also the recommendation from Dr. Sears if you are choosing not to vaccinate. Source: The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child, By Dr. Sears

2) Nutritionally there is still a requirement for “milk” until age 2. The majority of children start receiving cow’s milk at one year, the AAP recommends 16 oz of whole milk until the age of 2. Source Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics) Logically, if my child still requires milk why would I take him off of my milk and switch him to milk from a cow?


3) It isn’t time. Motherhood has taught me WAY too many things to be honest, but the biggest ones are to trust myself, and go with the flow (no pun intended!). I will know when it is time for both of us. It might not happen at the same time, maybe it will, but right now neither of us are there. We both are in fact ready to night wean though, more on this in a little bit.

So we have decided to continue on in our breastfeeding journey, but feeding a little baby at the breast is NOT the same as feeding a toddler at the breast. Personally, it has been a very hard transition for me. Breastfeeding actually did NOT come easy to us after birth, once my son was finally feeding at the breast we dealt with horrific reactions to proteins from many different foods in my milk and crazy elimination diets for me that lasted until he was 4 ½ months old.

Then it was the snacking. My son has always been a “snacker” at the breast and I was filled with constant worry and anxiety that he was not getting enough because he never fed longer than a couple of minutes, if that. Then it was distracted nursing, then it was only nursing at night, then it was the other nipple twiddling that would NOT STOP, and then we went through this period where he would lay calmly and take his time and nursing was oh my gosh BLISSFUL!

It was what everyone had been talking about this whole time and I felt relaxed and full of love, and then, it ended. And we entered into toddler breastfeeding, which although may not be the hardest of them all is definitely very difficult, especially when it seems more of a longer-term reality as opposed to “just a phase” like the other frustrations I mentioned. After a little bit of research, some trial and error, talking with other mamas, and attending a La Leche League meeting I put together some things that I think will make breastfeeding a toddler a little easier.

Boundaries: Discipline has such a negative connotation, especially when gentle parenting is involved. But I have learned that productive, respectful boundaries and discipline are really going to be essential for us. My doula says that “nursing a tiny baby on demand is entirely different than nursing a demanding toddler” and it is something I find myself repeating daily!

My son pulls down my shirt whenever/wherever, throws himself backwards or kicks when he wants milk NOW, will point and cry whenever I am changing clothes, throws huge fits because he wants to go back and forth nursing off of each breast (I still don’t know why this is?) and all of these things have put a huge strain on our nursing relationship. It makes me resentful, frustrated, consider weaning completely, and overall just feel very out of control. After I recognized it was time for us to set boundaries I turned again to Dr. Sears and ordered The Discipline Book: How to Have a Better-Behaved Child From Birth to Age Ten. I have not started reading it yet and am not sure exactly how I am going to go about setting boundaries as it relates to nursing but I know for us there will be no more “self serving”, or hitting and kicking mama for milk, nursing during meal times while simultaneously wanting to eat solid food, and no more pacifying at the breast throughout the entire night. I mentioned it earlier, and it is my next main point…

Night Weaning: I am not suggesting that as soon as your baby turns one he/she needs to be night weaned, not at all. Here are some other reasons why a mom might wean: mom is pregnant, Mom wants to increase fertility & become pregnant, Mom goes back to work outside the home and needs more sleep, etc.

In addition to the strains on our nursing relationship I mentioned above, my son wakes every 45 to 60 minutes throughout the entire night to nurse. He spends a lot of his time “sleeping” while still sucking at the breast and no matter how deep of a sleep I think he may be in, protests whenever I try to unlatch him. Teething has made this even worse and because he is half (or more) asleep while using his breast pacifier his latch becomes shallow and he bites with his top teeth so the nipple won’t sneak out, I am often half sleeping too and it will often go on for hours. This has caused a huge injury to my left nipple that is taking weeks to heal and is making all feedings very painful! Recently I have gone through long periods where I “hate” nursing and when I stop to really think about it and consider what not nursing my son at all anymore looks like I realize it isn’t nursing that I dislike, it is nursing all throughout the night.

I have considered night weaning in the past because of just plain sleep deprivation but it never felt right, after a year I had a complete shift in my heart. I just felt it was time. My son needs his own space, he has made that very clear to me and he also needs more sleep. Nursing throughout the night is just as distracting to him as it is comforting.  More and more, he is waking up cranky in the mornings. It took me awhile to come to peace with this transition, but a nursing relationship is just that – a relationship involving two parties, both of which need to be happy in order for the relationship to continue harmoniously. Not only will night weaning hopefully afford me more sleep and subsequently more energy and patience but it will bring more peace into our nursing relationship that will allow it to continue much longer.

Nursing Space: Having a single dedicated place to nurse is not that practical with an active toddler that is probably breastfeeding at home, in the car, in public, in bed, etc. but I have found for us that going into a more quiet, dimly lit room with less distractions does help. I plan on creating a little “nursing corner” in my son’s room, where we sit down, get comfortable, relax and always nurse in while at home.  When we are out and about if it is possible I will go into another less crowded or empty room, if that isn’t an option I like snuggling into the back seat of the car before we arrive or before we leave. My hope is that having to stop whatever activity my son is currently engaged with and leave it behind to go nurse will possibly change to having more nursing “sessions” than drive-by-just-a-couple-sips between ball throwing and block building.

 Babywear: My Ergobaby has been my single most used piece of “baby” equipment and I still use it at least once every day. I can unbuckle the back, loosen one shoulder strap and nurse my son comfortably, discreetly, hands free and ultra conveniently.  He nurses his longest stretches while being worn, and being outside and often walking allows for enough simulation that he relaxes in his pack and takes his time feeding. I see our baby wearing/breastfeeding time continuing well into the second year.

I will continue to share about our breastfeeding journey through year two as I put more of these into practice in our daily lives and look forward to hearing about how your breastfeeding relationships change and evolve over time too.

What all have you experienced with an older nursling? Do you have any other tips to continue the breastfeeding relationship successfully into the second year and beyond?


WW: May Days

What a fun theme to tie in our Mother’s Day Tea Party. It was so much fun to pull this event together. We got to spend the afternoon visiting with one of our alumni families.

The theme here was supposed to be breastfeeding today – moved everything over to  the SPB Blog so we could showcase the Tea Party here.  Head over there to see beautiful mamas and babies normalizing breastfeeding.

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Otter and Charger doing some reading together – not tea party, just something we did in May 🙂

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Step 1: Set out the Tea Party for the Sweet Peas – metal cups and saucers to really drink out of, and play cupcakes to do imaginative play with between courses.

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Favors for all the mamas – bud vases with a red rose, personalized with their names in the theme of pink and green.

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Final table setting – serving ware, homemade yummy lemonades and orange-mint water infusion, table accents built with mama gifts, and all thing Sweet Pea safe in the front!

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Otter taking in the Tea Party table – she was beyond excited and ready to get into everything before guests arrived!!

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Favor table: trying to use pink+green theme for containers: butterfly blow-outs, rubber duckies, bubbles, finger puppets, flower rings and moustache rings.

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Sweet Pea – Table for 2

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Photo area props and picnic tables with imaginative play stations: 1) Make your own cupcake 2) Tea party cups and desserts

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First course: Tea sandwiches: Salmon-Cucumber-Dill, Egg-Mayo, and Cucumber-Dill. The fresh dill from our herb garden made these sandwiches pop with flavor!

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Second course: Scones: homemade gluten-free basic, homemade gluten-free peach, and cranberry-orange from Whole Foods. Although I tried to channel Mrs. Padmore, I felt like my scones ended up more first-season Daisy in appearance. My critics loved the flavor and they disappeared! Served with butter, clotted cream, and organic strawberry jam. I am now officially addicted to clotted cream.

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Third course: Sweets – these beauties are from Gluten-Free Creations Bakery. Oh My Yum.

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Third course: Sweets – we served a double chocolate chip cake and the GF cupcakes. Sweet finish to a sweet afternoon!

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Our guests for our first Sweet Pea Tea! On the table were a couple more crafts for our toddler guests – make your own hat and make your own jewelry. This Sweet Pea was a little young to partake – he sure did enjoy the cheese and strawberries, though!!

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Otter trying her hand at making her own cupcakes for imaginative play. We had some left over pipe cleaners with pom poms glued on the ends from the play cupcakes we made – Otter and Charger had fun playing with those.

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Picture time – Otter wanted everyone to wear hats – except her, of course!

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Puma has a turn with the hat!

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Sweet Pea and Puma

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Otter strikes a fairy pose

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Tea Party after-party – those after-parties always have their own stories!!

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Otter set her own private table – on the taller table you can see another mama-favor. Packets of Sweet Pea Seeds tied into their place setting napkin. The packet claimed these to be good container seeds…we need to plant ours – will see what happens!!

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Oh the joy of being two – everything is awesome!

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Otter has accomplished her mission – hats for everyone! We set up a little tea party on the picnic table and got to do what I had hoped – spread a little magic and marvel into the day. Otter had fun serving us tea from the carafe, clinking tea cups, and we all had a laugh as we tried to drink with our pinkies in the air!

Tuesday Tips: Change Your State

The “I hate parenting” and “parenting stinks” attitudes don’t fit me – I cannot imagine the day that they will.   Exploring links and other bloggers, I ran across another personality that tells people that you are not going to have great days – maybe just a few good moments here and there.  It has bothered me all weekend.

In the interest of full disclosure, I admit that it might be easier for me to be a parenting Pollyanna than others.  I only have to be a full-time mother, cook, chauffeur and chore-doer about two months out of the year.  The rest of the time, I have help from our nanny and a housekeeper.  They allow me to focus on homeschooling our children, keep up with our students, and do some writing instead of doing chores and KP 3 times a day. Make no mistake – I feel pressure and I have stress – I take on too much because I know I have help.  So no, I may not have mountains of laundry and piles of dishes that drag me down 365 days a year…I do have 30 hours of activities packed into 24 hour days, which is a different challenge and still requires me to breathe deeply and focus on the children as gifts and not distractions.  So that being said…

You know what? I call Scrooge.  I am the first to admit it is hard.  I will also be the first to say change your state – it’s a matter of perspective.  I know that there are mountains of work – learn how to whistle and teach your children how to whistle or hum along with you.  There are tons of lemons – add sugar, and invite your children to use their spoons as you use yours.

Attitude is everything when it comes to life – my mission is to teach my children to love it, and it starts with me and my example. If I run around complaining, what will it teach them? To complain? It’s no big surprise that those children are then called whiny whiners by the same parents that can’t stand being parents.

Those of us blessed enough to have families are the envy and the thorn in the side to those folks in the world who struggle with infertility.  I cringe every time a blogger takes to the blogosphere to say parenting is a drain, a chore, or anything else they want to call it.  Those people who could never have children would give up body parts to have a child to call their own.

Are you going to have bad days? Of course there will be days that you want to start over.  Guess what? DO IT! Start over! Gather your children, face your family, tell them you are sorry that they day has been bumpy, and that you are hitting the restart button.  Everybody gets to say a happy thought, then tuck everybody back in for a few minutes of reflection, and then when everybody gets out of bed again – choose to have a great day!

If you have time, you can also use water as a tool to change everyone’s state.  Water is so good at diffusing tension.  Get in the bath tub, get in your pool, get a play pool for $5 over the summer months that you can store and pull out to use as needed throughout the year.  You can play fun music, blow bubbles, play mermaids and pirates – just do something that gets everyone out of their funk.

You have things to do? Places to go? People to see? Time is a construct.  Our children are vivid, real, living, breathing.  I am okay being late or skipping an event if it just causes more stress than joy.

There are days that we all have a doctor’s appointment that cannot be rescheduled, or a school to arrive at on time.  In those instances, take the re-set idea and make it fit into your day.  Play music and have a mini-dance party before you walk out the door.  Play with bubbles.  Go draw with chalk on the sidewalk. Have everyone pick their favorite book and have a reading party.  Serve breakfast/lunch/snack/dinner picnic style…do something that breaks out of your regular mold and makes your children sit up and notice that you see them and you care about creating moments of joy in their lives.

Is deciding to change your state not enough for you? Maybe you are a single parent, or like a single parent because your partner is not involved with the children due to time or circumstance.  I will share something I learned from our students – build a tribe.  Find other people who get you – and yes, it means you will have to be vulnerable and show them your scars so that they can show you theirs.  These mama-tribes are unbelievable – they have helped each other through challenges, and they will continue to face challenges as their children grow, and they will do it *together*.  A good place to start is a meet-up group with children born in a certain month/year, library storytimes, parenting groups, or putting a feeler out on social media to organize playdates – you have to start somewhere.  Little by little you will build a tribe that becomes a family built by love and shared experience.  You do not have to be alone on this journey.

We are the tapes that will play in their heads when they grow up.  We are one of the voices that they will hear when they have to face the hard moments as adults.  Instead of leaving them with a tape that they have to erase and try to forget, give them a tape that encourages them and builds them up every time.

Parenting is an awesome gig – learn it, love it, own it.  Show up BIG, because parenting matters.

Being a Doula #1

Through a convergence of circumstances, I was enlisted to sign up for a Doulas Of North America (DONA) training class last fall.  I completed the course even though the circumstances around why I was enlisted to certify as a doula changed.  Seeing as how I usually like to finish the things I start, I am going to go ahead and complete the certification, and thanks the confidence and trust of our SPB students, I will get to complete at least three births as a doula this year.

I would like to chronicle some of the things that I am learning along the way.  Although there are certainly enough organizations willing to certify that you have taken their course, and definitely lots of people who will help you promote the business for a fee, there is surprisingly little information out on the web on “how” to be a doula – what do you do once you complete your course and you are seeking work as a doula?

THIS page is a reminder for me to review before I go to a birth, and also shared as a resource for other people who are thinking about or new to doula work.  Some lessons are things I learned in class, others I learned via student experiences with doulas, and sadly, some I learned the hard way – by making the mistake, and learning from it.

Fortunately, I have a built-in source of potential clients from our childbirth classes to attend my certifying births.  Should I choose that this is the right path for me, I would also have a captive audience for my services. To be fair, I would ask them to interview at least two other people to make sure that I am the right fit for the birth they are preparing for.

Although I love birth and attending births, I cannot say right now that I feel an undeniable calling to this work.  My first birth as “the doula” was a wake-up call for me.

I went to my chiropractor for my regular adjustment, and as in previous births I have attended as labor support for students, I asked if there were any positions I could offer, or words that the mother needed to say out loud.  Imagine my surprise when his answer was that I was a hindrance to the birth…I was devastated.  I then called the student to break the news that I should not come back…it was so hard to do because their original doula had backed out on them (via text!), which is why I had offered to stand in for her.  Looking back now, I should have let them reflect on that information and ask them to be the final arbiters of the decision.  My leaving left them high and dry, because their other labor support decided not to go back either and they were left alone, whether they wanted to be or not.

On the other hand, I attended a birth earlier this week where I was able to fulfill my role as the doula.  The birth was amazing and both the mother and her coach did amazing.  Both the mother and the grandmother who served as the main coach said they couldn’t have done it without me.  While that is a nice compliment, it also leaves me feeling like I robbed them of the experience of “I couldn’t have done it without you” for each other…this is emotional stuff and I believe that bond should stay within the family.

To add to this, I am a planner.  I like to know who, what, when, where – having two students with impending labor, worried that they might be in labor at the same time, planning but not planning our lives…I still don’t know if that is the right path for me in the future.  I know that in this season it is definitely not something I will do outside of the work I want to do to complete my certification because we still have a nursling at home. My breasts were definitely a little uncomfortable after a long time of not nursing, and I was worried about my/her milk supply dropping.  In the future, once there are no more nurslings…I just don’t know.

I love birth – I love supporting – I *love* seeing a new soul welcomed earthside – their is no denying the miracle and the beauty – it is such an honor and a privilege to be there on Birth-Days.  There is still a lot I have to learn so that I can be the kind of doula I want to be – background support without being on center stage.

WW: Spring Fever

So this is a day late for a beautiful reason…I got called away from my computer to spend time with my children and then as I was sitting down to post last night…I was called away to support a family for their daughter’s birth – WOW! Mama was a rock star!

So, without further ado, here are this week’s Wordless Wednesday images:

May 14th: Spring Fever
What are you and your Sweet Pea doing to enjoy this beautiful weather? Show us your favorite places to be with your favorite people. Also send us your Mother’s Day celebration photos – hope everyone had a beautiful day!

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Mother’s Day Flowers

Reader share: Running through sprinklers at Grandma's house in IN

Reader share: Running through sprinklers at Grandma’s house in IN

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Reader share: Out and about in the little red wagon

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Reader share: Phoenix Art Museum Sculpture Garden

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Reader Share: Phoenix Zoo water play at the Yakulla Caverns

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Reader share: Playing at the park with Daddy

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Reader Share: Sweet Pea absolutely loves riding around our neighborhood in her tricycle, which she calls a car

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Mother’s Day gift created/chosen by Puma

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Night Owl’s favorite spring spot – next to the peach tree – self-serve takes on a new meaning!!

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New snack: Chocolate-covered Kiwi Lollipops

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Baby Llama with it’s mama – area neighborhood

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Feeding the sheep at Agritopia – Gilbert, AZ

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Sheep shearing at Agritopia – GIlbert, AZ

See where we have been out and about with our crew over on our Sweet Pea Births Blog

Monday Musing: Mother’s Day

“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”

~Jill Churchill

Celebrating the day with our four children yesterday was amazing.  We are so blessed to have them in our lives.  I often marvel that I was chosen to be their mother – they are each of them teaching me lessons that I need to learn.  I thank God that he trusted me to grow them and nurture their souls, and pray that I don’t break them as I learn the lessons He sent with them!

I am also painfully aware that Mother’s Day might be hell on earth for other women: the women who have angels waiting in heaven from miscarriage, stillbirth or child loss, to those who’s hearts are heavy as they struggle with infertility, or because they never conceived and their childbearing days are over.  Maybe this is the first year without their own mother who has been called on to the next journey, or it is one of the successive years after the loss of their own mother that still carries a dull ache. 

For at least a month leading up to the event and for the whole second Sunday of May, every retailer, card company and television commercial is grinding salt into their wound.  I propose that it is up to us to mother these women – we can be the ones to love them, cherish them, listen to them, cry with them – just be with them without offering platitudes and trite words.   Make an effort and plan time with them – be available if they want to talk or share memories. Here are some places I go for word reminders when I am going to be “holding space” with them:

So how does the quote above tie-in? I am reminded once again that I have an incredible gift: four healthy, vibrant children that are very much alive.  I owe it to them to learn what makes them “tick”.  I owe it to them to put away my screens and literally face-time with them beyond doing our school-work together.  Hug them every day.  Look them in the eye every day.  Tell them they are loved, cherished and show them that they are respected every day.  Ask them what they want to do this week and make sure that the reasonable requests get planned and get done. The unreasonable requests present opportunities for creative play – something we can definitely do more. Since I am so list-driven, I lose sight of creative play – time to bring it back!

I will never be perfect – I can however, do my very best to be good to them and do good for them all throughout their day.