You May Not Be a Pediatrcian, But You Are a Good Parent

I have a confession to make, I am a member of a lot of mommy groups on Facebook. I have probably exceeded the recommended number of groups one should be a member of and I won’t tell you just how many I belong to — trust me, it’s a lot. As you imagine a bunch of moms in groups on Facebook talk about their kids a lot. I like this part of the groups because I value the input other mothers bring to my questions. I prefer to talk to typically like-minded moms who may have already had the same question, experience, concern or issue I have had. It is part of my village. In today’s world the village that once existed in our neighborhoods now exists online, but that’s another post entirely.

In little mommy enclaves all over Facebook there is one statement that drives me insane. One antiquated mindset that just will not die. Day after day, post after post women are driven to anxiety and sometimes tears by these three words, “My pediatrician said…”.

It has to be said that I like my pediatrician just fine. This isn’t some I know more than my doctor about ear infections or chicken pox post. I like doctors, I am not trying to say we don’t need doctors, because at one point or another we all do.

But when it comes to breastfeeding, baby food and sleep I don’t think my pediatrician has all the answers. Maybe yours does. Maybe your pediatrician has done a lot of continuing education and is not afraid of not night weaning or you trying baby led weaning. But they probably have not read up on these things and would like you to give your baby rice cereal at four months or just feed them pureed foods have you introduce cow milk early or they think your baby is small. Regardless of their sometimes out of date advice moms are running to Facebook groups desperate for input from others who have been there. Someone to tell them they haven’t scarred their kid for life or worse.

So my real issue lies in the fact that in 2015 with the abundance of information, the village of parents available at your fingertips and the simple fact that no one knows your baby like you do, we are still so reliant on the word of someone who got a degree some thing like thirty years ago!

When did we become our parents? When did we go back in time and begin to think that only doctors and other medical professionals know what our children need more than we do? Or that their ‘expertise’ should go unquestioned because there is a diploma on the wall? I am so frustrated by recent articles like a few from the NY Times dishing out terrible parenting advice on the backs of, “my pediatrician said”. From the question of sleep training to what to feed baby and when, we are reduced back to our childhood selves as we sit in those brightly colored rooms waiting for the man (or woman) with the coat to come in with their diagnosis or expert opinion on the little human we have been caring for 24/7 since birth.

Help me think here people!  How do we help each other build back our confidence as parents? How can we help one another understand that we actually know our children better than the staff that sees them once every few months at well visits? We have to be able to get to a place where the words, “my pediatrician says” no longer strike fear and a sense of inadequacy into the depths of our souls.

Can we look at each other compassionately and understand that our choices are made from a good place? We don’t all take the same route or use the same methods but we should know we are all we have in this club of parenting. If we continue to let ourselves be divided by the experts around us and labeled by the following or not following of their advice we are only separating ourselves from the people who can truly empathize and help us.

I get it, information comes at us from all directions and it is hard, at times, to decipher good advice from bad. But that is no reason to take advice from the guy in the coat just because he’s wearing a coat.

I Double Dare You

A meme for good measure

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Knocked Up and I’m Just Not Feelin’ It

Congrats, you’re knocked up! Now that you know your missed period is not just a fluke have fun navigating the utterly endless, contradictory and mostly non-factual information about you and your new wombmate.

Don’t get me wrong, I am totally stoked about meeting our little person and was relieved as hell when my midwife said I could continue doing any and all activities I had already been doing. I was really looking forward to keeping the regular workout regimen I had build for myself. But at almost half way through I feel like pregnancy has been another tale of, things people don’t tell you because if they did you’d never go through with it.

Take the first trimester for example. All you ever hear people complain or sigh in relief about is morning sickness. But they grossly (and I suspect, purposely) failed to mention the resemblance of the first trimester of pregnancy to PMS. Yes, you read correctly, PMS. I swore in those first few weeks I was giving life to the worlds largest cheeseburger because that’s all I wanted to eat. Pair that with a certain all around whiny and complaininess about me and yea, pretty much sounds like PMS to me.

At about 14 or so weeks I started to feel like myself again. Phew! I’ll start working out now, I said. Not so fast. I read on a list somewhere that pregnant women are lazy, but never in my life have I been so compelled to do nothing but make a dent in my couch for hours on end. Don’t get me wrong, there has been some working out. Walking, a couple pre-natal yoga classes and some weights because I know it will make for a better labor and recovery. I try to rationalize with myself and find balance between carbs and cardio, but man, it would be easier to get a nun to go to a bar!

I thought for sure I’d feel more like Heidi Powell given my recently found ‘fit chick’ status, but sadly I feel more like Honey Boo Boo. It’s kind of motivating at this point, I am making a real effort to just move more and try not to define my workouts so much. Just find things that feel good, that will help me sleep, (I may write a whole other post about pregnancy sleep) and that make me feel normal.

I’m hoping to feel more like this picture as my pregnancy progresses, if for no other reason than I know I will feel like Wonder Woman when I can catch my little bean in my arms at birth.

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Did you ever feel like no one ever told you something about pregnancy, kids, marriage or anything? I feel like it happens a lot! Share your horror stories and giggles alike!

The Difference a Year Makes

I’m having a hard time deciding which cliche to lead with on this post… Was it a light bulb that went off in my head? Was it a click like when you fall in love? Was it the idea of my own mortality? I’m not sure which fits this story, my story.

I was on vacation of all places. Isn’t vacation the last place where you’d stop and think about your weight or health? I was indulging in all-inclusive gluttony, drinking and eating, making new friends and trying new things. But that’s when it happened — like the elastic in your underwear breaking, I snapped.

It wasn’t a crazy snap where I was crying my eyes out or an angry snap that involved me throwing items from my hotel room at the wall. It was a quiet snap. A feeling of calm washed over me and I was just done being who I had been for the past two or so years. Gaining and gaining without remorse – really without even noticing. I was going to do something, I said to myself. I was going to be stronger.

Why not right? I was (still am) approaching 30 and I knew it would only get harder to lose and keep weight off as I got older so why not start the minute I landed back in the States?

Now, you’re probably wondering what I did. You may be thinking that I just went back to my terrible lifestyle when I got home, absentmindedly eating myself to morbid obesity. I didn’t! I made the first step to a change, I made better food choices starting  on day one! Second step, I joined a gym and yes, I even purchased a personal training package. It wasn’t much but my once a week sessions were building a base of stretching and strengthening exercises that my body needed in order to avoid injury and potential discouragement from working out.  I found a gym buddy and got active at home even when I was not “working out”.

Looking back at those first few months, it was hard! I was in terrible shape and had the worst case of gym anxiety this side of the pan handle! Despite all my excuses I managed to go to the gym about 3-4 times a week and bike ride at least 10 miles on the weekends. I ate better, moved better and almost immediately started to feel better.

The months went on and my discipline only grew. I was determined to do this. I was going slow but I always knew that slow and steady wins the race. I ate badly sometimes, but I was always accountable to myself in the gym. I had months where I saw ZERO progress (kill yourself, I know!) and I had months where the progress was unbelievable. I had times where I could not work out due to injury but I learned to keep my diet extra clean to keep the balance.

Balance has to be the thing I learned over and over again throughout this past year. I learned to balance home and workout life, I learned to balance what was on my plate and the activity that would complement it. I learned to balance social activities and clean eating. Balance has been the key to my success.

As I write this, I am just 2 pounds shy of my one year goal; I’m still calling it a win!

I’ve dropped 58 pounds in 12 months.

I’ve gained so much more!

August 2012 vs August 2013

Same bathing suit!
August 2012 vs August 2013

The support of my friends and family has been vital to all my success! I am the luckiest girl in the world, people!

So what’s next for me? I still have to run a 5k, I’d like to see a thigh gap in the near future, I want some more definition in my muscles and I’d like to take a whack at Crossfit!

We are our own works in progress… I am just open to what else awaits me!

It’s Not all New Jeans and Muscle Definition: Check in on Your Change

You may or may not have noticed but for about a year now I’ve been making some major life changes. A little alarm went off in my head while on vacation last year and I came home determined to make myself better. I won’t go too far into it (not for this post at least), but that change has been going really well; that was until I decided to go to the dentist.

You see, my change is not just about my pant size or fitting into a bikini. My change is about being a better me overall. So my mental to do list includes things like doing more of what makes me happy, but it also involves being a better grown up. By that I mean I’m getting regular checkups and yes, that includes dental checkups – UGH!

I have a similar story as most people who don’t like the dentist, I had a bad experience and it made me never want to go back. But at nearly 30 I realized there is no use in looking great if I don’t feel totally great. While the biggest part of feeling great has come from watching my body do what I, for so long, convinced myself it couldn’t the other part is all the superficial stuff no one likes to talk about.

Having found myself covering my mouth when I laughed and self consciously trying to pick food out of my teeth because I just could not suck-it-out, I decided to suck it up and head to a dentist!.

I’m half way through repairing the cavities I accumulated over 5 years of neglecting my teeth and I’m excited! Not just for conquering this childhood/childish fear but for being able to check off one more thing on my journeys to do list!

The moral of the story is this: If you’re on this journey for yourself, take some time to check your to do list. Check something off a different column every once in a while. You’ll feel just as good about accomplishing this goal as any of your fitness or weight goals!

Love for the Canoe Project

I catch a lot of flack from friends and family for my love of Twitter. I take it all with a grain of salt because I really do feel there is something to love about Twitter. What that something is has been hard to illustrate, until today.

If you’re a member of the Twitterverse than you may have noticed the WLRN Canoe Project going on this week. If not, here’s a break down of what the canoe project is all about. WLRN contributor Terence Cantarella is making his way through Miami via the canals and waterways of the city. You may be asking yourself why someone would take on such a project? He’s  doing it for the sake of the adventure which I think is pretty effin’ cool!

Terence is reminding us to look around and see the adventure that awaits us right in our own back yard. He’s seeing parts of the city most of us only pass over on the highways while we curse the traffic. He’s also reminding us that Twitter really is about having conversations and connecting with people. How do we connect on Twitter? You can go meet Terence as his adventure comes to an end at Scotty’s Landing on Thursday afternoon.

You see, on Twitter there are no privacy settings – you’re tweets are either public or they’re not. The great thing about not having that grey area of “privacy” on Twitter is that it puts you out there for people to approach, most of the time it works out great! You talk to people, you compare views, and you can even make friends in the process.

Terence has awakened a bit more adventure in me and he has solidified the love affair I have with Twitter. The friends I’ve made, the conversations I’ve engaged in and the cool stories like this one have been too good to pass up

An image captured by Terence while canoeing through Miami

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I will keep on taking flack for tweeting to my heart’s content and will find a new adventure of my own. Thanks Terence, you’ve inspired me just a little bit more this morning.

Love and the Lobotomy

“There’s nothin’ in the face. Just like one of those store dummies.” Chief Bromden in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest… 

Relationships vary, I think we all know that. Friendships, marriages, acquaintances, we’ve all had one or a few of these growing up. Some relationships though, look like the quote above – I call these, Store Dummy Relationships.

Store Dummies are people in relationships who forget. They forget where they are, who they are, what they want out of life, and mostly they forget how to do what’s best for themselves. They become, for the purposes of this post, store dummies.

Store dummies are walking among us on a daily basis, they are those people in relationships who say one thing but want another, they have total disregard for their well-being, and they do everything in their power to keep their significant other as close to subliminal happiness as possible.

They make me question the definition of love…

Is the definition of love subjective? Relationships are all different in dynamic and look, so is it the same with the word and sentiment behind love? Isn’t love typically two compatible people building a life together where they are free to grow and better themselves whilst still being supportive, committed, and dedicated to their relationship?

That’s what love is to me (the short version, at least)  and it pains me to see so many people in these relationships hurting themselves. I’m talking about the people who turn a blind eye to abuses, physical or emotional, about the people who have completely abandoned their own beliefs, and mostly the people who have zero regard for how they feel and think that making their partner happy is going to some how fulfill them for eternity. Newsflash folks, it doesn’t work that way!

Shame on these people! They tarnish what a good relationship is all about! How can youngsters, lost souls, or hopeless romantics recognize and hold on to the belief of thriving, loving relationships if all these store dummies are walking around doing it wrong?!

I know I technically could sit idly by and wait for the rose colored glasses to lose their effects but it’s not in my nature to idle. I want to grab all of these store dummies and show them their worth, show them that some mistakes are not worth making, mostly I want to show them that when you value yourself a valuable love will come.

No amount of maneuvering can make a relationship between two store dummies work, in the end, they cannot move freely so they cannot find a way to fit together.

They just don't fit...

Decisions, revisited.

From the time we wake up each morning until we lay our heads down at night our days are filled with decisions. Some of them are seemingly meaningless — what to have for breakfast, what to wear, etc. Some of them though are more lasting decisions like — what to major in, what job to take or even where to live.

Last year I made two big decisions and on the cusp of the busiest time of the year I got to revisit them. The first of these heavy decisions was the decision to leave Miami, the second was the decision to come back.

I made the decision to come back to Miami a year ago last month after being away for about six months. I went back to the scene of the decision last week and got to see up close what i had left behind. I got to remember how I felt there, what I was missing, and mostly it reminded me to be grateful for what I have now.

Walking around, I miss New Jersey. I miss the lush side of the highway where deer can be seen grazing, I miss having such tightly knit family around and I miss the access to the rest of the country I felt I had while being there. It’s funny to miss a place so much I barely got to live in, but I do and I know that visiting will never be the same.

Watching friends now, and going through some of my own stuff as well got me thinking that I don’t think we as a people reflect enough on these heavy decisions. How many people really take the time to analyze their lives as they are living it? I’m not talking about sitting down and “what if-ing” yourself to death, I’m suggesting a mere glimpse at the path that has gotten you to your current state. Think of it as smelling the roses or something — I mean, aren’t we supposed to learn for our future based on where we’ve been?

I am grateful for the chance to reflect on where the year as taken me, it’s like a mini birthday or milestone right smack in the time of year meant for gratitude and feelings of the like. I mostly like knowing that today I still stand by all of my decisions, they still feel right, and I still have the confidence to know that I really do know what’s best for me. Even faced with life’s current adversities I am excited about ending 2011 and welcoming of the changes, challenges and experiences 2012 will bring.

Be observant people, it is the only way to really become wise.