The word divorce has gone from taboo to mainstream, all in our lifetime. Experts debate the exact divorce rate in the U.S., but they agree that the number of marriages ending in divorce today falls in the range of 35 percent to potentially higher than 50 percent. The effect on the adults involved is immense, but the toll it takes on their children is the real heartbreaker.
Findings of a recent study completed in the U.K. show that the difference in parents’ opinions versus those of their children is remarkable, and parents underestimated the effect of their divorce on their kids across the board. You may not believe what some of the numbers revealed.
First, over 75 percent of parents who were polled stated that their kids had “coped well” with the divorce. Meanwhile, just 18 percent of the kids echoed that sentiment. Sadly, 20 percent of these children, ages 8-18 felt they couldn’t talk to their parents about their feelings because their moms and dads were “too wrapped up in themselves.” In a trend that sounds like role reversal, almost 40 percent said that they hid their true feelings from their parents because they didn’t want to upset them.
The emotional implications of divorce on the kids who are involved has long been documented both in the U.S. and around the world. Perhaps what’s most alarming is the extremes to which the surveyed children have gone in response to their parents’ divorces. About 5 percent of the children had turned to alcohol, while one in nine of the children intentionally wounded themselves. Six percent had considered suicide, and two percent had even attempted it.
So what can we take away from the information uncovered in this study? Divorce is an inevitable part of many lives, and the outcome of two parents separating is often better than if they had stayed together in an unhappy marriage and home. However, the adults going through this difficult process need to stop thinking about themselves so much. If it’s hard on you, imagine how it feels to your kids. Quit posting updates on Facebook, enough with the selfies, and no more planning a “newly single celebration” with your friends (yes, apparently that’s a growing trend). Whether you and your partner are in a happy marriage or one that’s on the brink of divorce, your kids need to know that you love them and that they can trust and share their feelings with you.
Posted in Family Life
My baby just turned six months old yesterday. Six months old. It’s amazing to look back at all the changes we have both made in that short, yet incredibly long amount of time. When my daughter came home from the hospital, she was a tiny premature infant, left alone in the care of a woman who had never once changed a diaper. I poured through books and websites, searching for “how to wash/feed/care for a newborn.” Neither of us had any idea what we were doing.
Today, we are pros. In six months, these are the things that I have learned.
1. They Are Just Little Humans
Seriously, relax. When my daughter came home, I was terrified to do anything wrong. Not sure of how much to hold her, I applied the instructions you give a child with a new hamster: “Don’t take them out of the cage too much in the beginning until they are used to their new surroundings.” But really, babies are like really tiny, emotional drunks. They scream and cry about nothing until they drink their bottle and go back to sleep. It’s as simple as that.
2. Nobody Knows Anything
It’s true. There are basic guidelines to caring for a baby, but honestly, nobody really knows what they’re doing. Some babies like to watch tv, some will go to sleep easily, some sleep through the night, while others don’t. It doesn’t matter. So long as your baby is healthy and seems happy, don’t worry about it. I had my “ah-ha” moment about raising kids after talking to my mother about “tummy time.” I was distraught about making sure my daughter was doing enough physical exercises, particularly a concept where you lay the baby on their stomach in order to strengthen their back muscles. I asked my mom how much of this she did with me and my siblings. She responded with a shrug, “I don’t know. You all just crawled eventually, I guess.” I never worried about it again.
It’s ok to be tired. There is a golden zone between the newborn and the infant. Newborn babies never sleep, they always cry, and your hormones are so out of control that it really doesn’t make a difference. Then there is a period of relative calm. Around three months, baby sleeps a good portion of the day, and you are able to have some time to yourself to work or do housework, or even (imagine!) sit down and watch some TV. And then teething happens. Nap time disappears. You feel yourself sliding back into the Twilight Zone of Orajel and Tylenol, gas drops and Gripe Water. But this is your second time into the trenches, so don’t let it get you down. Take some time to relax when you get the chance. Trust me, the laundry will wait.
Posted in Babies, Family Life, Motherhood
I read an interesting article the other day. According to a study commissioned by Bridgestone Americas, the majority of parents are in complete denial about the behavior of their teenage children behind the wheel. This survey showed that only “39 percent of parents think their teen driver talks on the phone while driving, yet half of all young drivers admit to doing so.”
The same expectations were true for texting and driving, as well as being distracted by socializing with other passengers in the car. What I really liked about this article, however, is how it went on to suggest that teen drivers may be modeling their driving habits after that of their parents.
For example, the survey showed “nearly all parents claim that participating in distracted behaviors while driving is unacceptable, yet 94 percent of parents admit to driving distracted anyway.” What parents are not driving distracted? How many times have you seen your own mother drive with one knee on the wheel while bent backwards disciplining children, wiping a nose and fixing a binky at the same time? The art of mobile parenting dates back to the invention of the automobile, but maybe it’s time we as parents began to set a better example.
With the invention of smartphones, navigating the roads has become even more perilous than ever. We can’t expect our kids to ignore texts from their friends, or not view that latest Snapchat when they see us checking email and making calls in the car ourselves every day.
So what can we do? Try springing for a bluetooth set, or use the voice activation feature on your phone while on the road. Or if you have a child old enough to work a smartphone, (anyone over the age of 2 seems to understand them better than I do) have them read emails aloud to you or respond to important texts while you keep your hands on the wheel. Setting an example really is an important part of parenting; “Do what I say, not what I do,” isn’t nearly as effective a teaching tool as we might hope.
Posted in Teenagers
If you’re like most moms, making sure you and your kids eat a nutritious breakfast may be a difficult thing to manage in the chaos of an early morning. In a world of processed packaging and fast food, Pop-Tarts and McMuffins might begin to seem like effective time-savers for hungry kids on-the-go. Unfortunately, sugary treats and fatty meals will wear off quickly, leaving your child hungry and
1. Citrus Berry Smoothie
Rich with vitamins and antioxidants, this great-tasting smoothie will boost your energy throughout the day. Best of all—it’s ready in five minutes or less.
2. Power Breakfast Sandwich
Kick that egg McMuffin to the curb with this healthier alternative. Ready in just 10 minutes, this low-cal breakfast is packed with protein and easy on your waistline.
3. Yogurt and Pistachio Toast
While toast is a quickie breakfast staple, typical bread and butter can become boring. Mix things up with this unusual combo, filled will healthy fats and fiber to curb hunger and keep your kids feeling satisfied all day.
4. English Muffin Pizza
Pizza for breakfast takes on a healthy and fun twist with these English muffin treats. Prep time is 15 minutes or less.
5. Chocolate Croissants
While they might not be particularly low in calories, give your kids a treat with these great tasting chocolate croissants. Hands-on prep time takes only about five minutes, before popping them in the oven until golden brown. Overall prep time is about 20 minutes. The best part about croissants is they are delicious hot or cold, so make a larger batch for a tasty lunch-time or after school dessert.
Posted in Eating Healthy
When it comes to packing your birth bag, plan early! Babies never seem to arrive on schedule, and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. While there is no end to the list of possible items you may choose to bring, these are the top 5 survival needs no new mommy can live without.
1. Comfortable clothes
Depending on the circumstances of your child’s birth, and your insurance plan, you may likely remain in the postpartum ward for up to 4 days. During this time, you may not want to rely on someone else to choose your attire.
The day after giving birth, I asked my husband to bring me some comfortable clothes to wear around the hospital, grateful to no longer wander the Arctic halls like a nudist in a smock. He returned with a pair of oversized sweatpants and a knee-length Corona Extra t-shirt we had drunkenly purchased from a homeless man years ago. I still have no idea where he even found that shirt, bypassing dozens of cute and appropriate pajama options to leave me greeting friends and relatives dressed like a hungover fraternity boy spring breaking in Cabo.
After days of being chained to IVs and monitors, I literally begged the nurses to let me take a shower, just so I could shave my legs. Nothing makes you feel human again faster than a hot shower, so be sure and pack all the items you need to feel clean and refreshed.
3. Heavy flow pads and comfortable underwear
If I was in charge of postpartum care in hospitals, I would supply each room with a pack of Depends. The fact is, the mesh underwear and dish cloth sized maxi pads you’re given to work with only make a bad situation worse. Tampons are not allowed for at least a month after giving birth, so plan ahead and pack a box of your favorite brand of feminine pads and plenty of changes of underwear.
4. Phone charger
Nothing is worse than being out of communication with friends and family, especially during a stay in the hospital, so keeping your phone charged is a must.
5. Extra blankets/pillows
Hospitals are freezing, and the wafer of a pillow they give you is hardly enough to get comfortable on a rock-hard gurney/bed. My husband and I were absolutely miserable until I sent him home to bring back as many pillows and blankets as he could carry. Also, keep in mind that hospital beds are not meant to sleep two comfortably, so have your partner plan ahead to be spending the night in a recliner or cot.
My husband once told me a story about a woman who had become so obese, that it was impossible for her to clean her own body. One day the woman got extremely sick, but the doctors were at a loss as to what was the issue. After countless tests and examinations, the culprit was found: part of a roasted chicken had become lodged underneath one of the woman’s fat rolls, and had begun to decompose into her skin.
Babies are like obese people.
Even a relatively slender baby has a ridiculous amount of skin rolls, which are constantly accumulating some seriously disgusting muck. It took me awhile to realize the main culprit in the problem: new babies have no neck. Because their heads basically sit directly on their shoulders, excess drool, milk, and spit up becomes trapped deep within the folds. I used to think a simple wipe down after feeding was enough to talk care of the issue—wrong! There is nothing so horrifying as having your baby tilt his or her head back far enough to stretch the skin tight, revealing a bathtub ring of encrusted crud. It’s really gross and often wraps all the way around to the back of the neck.
The same is true with armpits, fingers, and toes. Imagine the worst bellybutton lint your husband has ever had. Now imagine that snaking in between your baby’s fingers. Combine it with a little sweat and body grime underneath her tiny armpits, and you have a recipe that will undoubtedly make you feel like the world’s worst mother.
But don’t be too hard on yourself. The fact is, even with frequent bathing, babies are simply adorable little grime monsters! All you can do is be aware of the “high traffic” areas and check frequently for build up. Thankfully, wipes are always on hand for little spot checks and sponge baths between major cleanings to keep your secret safe. No one will ever know that your little angel is really a moss-covered swamp monster from the mouth of the Mississippi.
This is the sixth in a series of posts offering a candid first-person depiction of motherhood in all its wonderful/horrible glory. Check out the introduction to the “Harder Than I Thought” series and browse the archives for previous posts.
Posted in Babies, Motherhood
Have you ever wondered what causes zombie mommies? The answer is simple: reverse cycling.
This phenomenon causes your baby to become nocturnal, sleeping through the day and staying up at night. At first, this diurnal rest seems lovely—you are free to cook, clean, and have uninterrupted time to work. And then you realize, you are never going to sleep again. Before the baby, I maintained a hectic work schedule, often averaging upwards of 80 hours a week.
I can handle minimal sleep, I told myself, this isn’t so bad. However, I quickly realized the main difference; with a baby, you have to be actually nice ALL THE TIME.
Sure, getting off a 17-hour shift sucks. You are tired, cranky, and just want to go home, open up your favorite bottle and sip yourself into a blissful few hours sleep. If some jerk decides to wake you up screaming about some bullshit at 4 a.m., you could, in good conscious, punch them in the face and go back to bed. Unfortunately, with a baby, it’s always bullshit, and you’re never allowed punch them.
Reality and hallucination begin to meld together; one night I woke to my baby’s cries, pulled back the blanket and was completely sure she had removed her diaper and was lying half naked in her bed. “She got out the diaper!” I shrieked to no one in particular. “My god, I bet she’s peed everywhere!” Frantically grabbing a diaper to salvage the situation, I looked back to find her completely clothed, diaper fully intact.
Sleep deprivation is definitely one of the worst tortures, but still one that mothers everywhere suffer silently in commiseration. If you can awake from a 20 minute nap at 2 a.m. to a wriggling 10 lb human waist deep in poo, and address the situation with a smile, congratulations, you might be a supermom. My hat’s off to you all, ladies.
This is the fifth in a series of posts offering a candid first-person depiction of motherhood in all its wonderful/horrible glory. Check out the introduction to the “Harder Than I Thought” series and browse the archives for previous posts.
It’s that time of year again. No, not the holiday season. Flu season. Deciding whether or not to get a flu shot is a personal choice, and many American’s elect not to get them for themselves. However, while you have the choice to bypass getting vaccinated, you shouldn’t necessarily let your children go without it.
Young children are at a higher risk for catching influenza, and every year, many get sick and end up having life-threatening complications that require immediate medical attention. In order to protect them from this dangerous illness, make an appointment for them to receive a shot or nasal spray. The type of vaccination they receive will primarily depend on their age.
If you’re the mother of a child between 2-7, you can save them from the pain of receiving a shot by electing to have them get vaccinated with a nasal spray. In fact, it is proven to be more effective than a shot for those in this age range. According to a Slate article published on October 3, 2013, kids between the ages of 2-7 who got the spray in 2012 were 83% less likely to get the flu than those who weren’t vaccinated. That efficacy rate dropped to only 48% for kids who got the shot.
Unfortunately, if your child is under two, the nasal spray option is not available, as it hasn’t been approved for children that young. But just because they can’t be vaccinated without a needle doesn’t mean you should avoid it. In fact, influenza complications are most common in kids younger than two, so it’s even more important that you schedule an appointment for them to receive the flu shot. Additionally, those younger than 6 months cannot be vaccinated in any way. The best way to help them avoid getting sick is to ensure everyone around them is vaccinated.
To help your little one overcome their fears of getting a shot, Parents.com suggests telling them the truth about what to expect, applying anesthetic cream that numbs the skin 20 minutes before the appointment and even providing a reward as incentive for them making it through the process. In the case your child overreacts, let the physician take over.
Following the vaccination appointment, be sure to watch out for immediate side effects. While flu vaccines are intended to protect against contracting a season illness, they do pose risks. Some common symptoms included soreness in the area of the shot, headaches, and fever. In rare cases, complications like Guillain-Barre syndrome develop as well as severe allergic reactions. But the chances of these complications occurring are close to one-in-a-million.
In all, the benefits of getting your children vaccinated heavily outweigh the consequences, according to most experts. It is important that those children six months to five years old be vaccinated every flu season, which runs from October through January. Children with asthma, diabetes, and brain or nervous system disorders are especially at high risk to endure complications if they contract the flu, so getting them vaccinated early on each flu season should be a high priority.
Posted in Babies
Tagged This is Harder Than I Thought
Here are our Top Five Pins of the Week!
1) Celebrate “MOvember” with this cute little DIY baby ‘stache.
2) Make your Harry Potter fan this delicious frozen butter beer!
3) Fun Fall-themed crafts that you can do with your kids—Leaf Sun Catchers.
4) Speaking of Fall, these November fireplace mantel ideas are great!
5) They make this DIY mosaic picture frame look soooo easy.
For more great craft ideas, recipes, and exercise tips, be sure to follow us on Pinterest!
Posted in Top Five Pins of the Week
Have you ever felt a little loopy or seemed out of it while pregnant? Or found yourself forgetting things you normally wouldn’t? This isn’t uncommon, and many women have frequently reported that they struggle with their memory both during and shortly after pregnancy. But is this a pregnancy symptom? Studies have been inconclusive, showing that their may or may not be a correlation between the two.
A few research studies have shown that being pregnant can impair a woman’s memory because of the hormonal changes, lack of sleep, and added stress on their body. Some other reports have shown that there is no relation, and that pregnancy doesn’t harm a mother’s ability to think or remember. So what is the truth?
Well, one theory is that pregnant women are more aware that they are having slips in memory, either by being reminded by others or their own realization they forgot to do something. And, as a result, they are believing that this is related to their pregnancy because it is something that didn’t happen before. But since there is no real evidence that supports the relation between pregnancy and “baby brain,” it’s important for new mothers or mothers-to-be not to jump to the conclusion that their pregnancy has caused a decline in their cognitive abilities.
In reality, the real solution to dealing this mystery is much simpler: Just give yourself a break!
Your body is going through a rather complex transition, and your emotions are constantly going in every which direction. It’s understandable that you might not be as quick to come up with answers to questions you once knew, or that you don’t have an elephant-like memory at the moment. So, don’t concern yourself too much with any issues you’re experiencing, and try focusing on the more enjoyable things associated with pregnancy and motherhood. You’ll find that these minor lapses in your thinking and memory aren’t too much to worry about when you’re spending quality time with your little one anyway.
Posted in Pregnancy