Thursday, May 26, 2016

Say NO to Martyrdom and YES to Modeling a Healthy, Happy Life

This meme, and many others that are similar, spreads a small nugget of truth about the deep love parents have for their children, but also imbues several unhealthy scripts.

Do me a favour. Do yourself a favour. Do your children, and really our society overall, a favour.

Stop spreading this codependent, covert narcissistic, faux martyr crap.

Your children need you to model a healthy ego, strong boundaries, and respect for your body/mind/soul. They rely on you to show them how to live a balanced life. They look up to you to show them their inherent worth and value, and what it means to give to others, and how to do that in a loving and healthy way.

In situations of severe circumstances, in moments of sheer survival will we give our lives? Absolutely. Will we sacrifice when we have no other choice? Unquestioningly.

But, that's very different from overlaying your entire life with the unproductive anxiety of surviving as a theme. This is a disservice to developing children, who are creating life long scripts that teach them how relationships work and what is expected of them in society.

We want our children to thrive, not merely survive. We want our children to give, and to help, and to be a part of society in a healthy and productive way, not in a codependent or passively controlling way.

So today, I challenge you. Turn away from these small societal scripts that encourage mothers harm themselves as a form of love. And instead, commit to doing something for yourself. With a smile. Openly talk about it with your children.

Show your children that practicing self-care skills leads to a balanced life, giving you more opportunities to care for others and to make this world a better place. Point out your self-care today as an example that critical thinking and problem solving can create a family atmosphere where all family members are valued and have their needs met.

Emphasize an abundance principle. When we choose martrydom, we are sending a non-verbal message that our families don't have enough. Enough resources, enough food, enough love, enough time, enough energy. We are communicating to our children that someone has to lose for others to have basic human needs fulfilled. And we are communicating that the person who must consistently lose is the one who carries the least value.

Stop. And think about this. Especially if you have a daughter and you dream of a future where your daughter becomes a mother. You are specifically telling your daughters that the least valued person in a family and society is a mother. While simultaneously hoping she gets to experience motherhood in her future if she so chooses.

Today, break the motherwound. Cast off the artificial guilt game. Open up the windows to the family emotional home. Show your children that all people can be valued, loved, and fulfilled in a family. Sit down, brainstorm. Think positively about each person and how needs and dreams can be matched together or organized so that it works in your individual family.

Don't forget to include your partner/spouse in this transformation. All of these concepts I'm writing about have always applied to marriage. In fact, as you spend time thinking about these concepts, you might start to realize that this dynamic begins in your romantic relationship and slowly seeped into your motherhood with your children. Don't shy away from that, you can make conscious change in that area, too.

When you start to hear those cycling scripts of motherwounding and martyrdom, look at them straight in the face. When you are cleaning the dishes and muttering about how no one else cares and you're the only one who cleans. Stop. Stop doing the dishes. Step back. And ask yourself, "What do I need?" Pay attention. Close your eyes. Listen to your emotional temperature. Think back through the day (or other recent events in the past weeks and months) and start to see the connections between your human needs and your feeling of martyrdom.

Once you see it, you can't unsee it. Now it's up to you to choose to value yourself and to meet your needs. Yes, the dishes will still need to be washed. But, somehow when you've taken care of the basics and even spent a little time on the big dreams, doing those dishes goes back to feeling like a mother's privilege and a service of joy.

Take the challenge today. You have nothing to lose but negativity, resentment, sadness, guilt, and unhappiness.

Here are some ideas if you are in a harder stage of motherhood, such as post-partum, special needs, single/solo parenting. I know from experience that some days are so hard, and so dreary, that even the smallest and most trivial things seem as if they are 100 miles away from your reality.

Brush your hair slowly and do a simple style
Wash your face and steam with a hot washrag
Oil pull for 5 minutes with coconut oil or sesame oil
Paint your nails w/ a natural polish such as Zoya.
Bonus: sit down and paint your nails with your kids such as w/ Piggy Paint.
Spend 1 minute exercising. Do 10 jumping jacks, 10 squats, 5 pushups and 5 lunges. This will bring oxygen to your brain, release endorphins, and stimulate your lymph system which is especially helpful for those who are breastfeeding.
Read something new today. A medical study. A brief article. A short story. A poem. A comic.
Spend 15 minutes outside in high sun (10am-1pm). No sunglasses.

Why it's crucial to heal the motherwound

7 nontoxic fingernail polishes

Will I ever be good enough? Healing from narcissism in the family.

Here lies the mother with the cleanest house

What's your excuse?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Beachfront Baby Wrap Review

Babywearing is one of the enjoyable past times as a parent. Besides being functional, the versatility and style of carriers adds to the experience. You can purchase beautiful silky ring slings for a special wedding. Or a durable SCC with pockets everywhere for a long day at an amusement park.

What many parents still don't realize is that you can purchase carriers for water and sports/exercise. Or even just for easy co-showering at home!

Beachfront Baby provided their classic babywrap to me for review. I was excited to learn that it's from recycled materials! Innovative and functional always gives me goosebumps!

For parents who are unfamiliar with the reasons to babywear around and in water, these are the direct benefits you'll experience with a Beachfront Babywrap:

Safety. Small infants are slippery when wet! They are squirmy and they are quiet in water. In an instant, a small infant could be under the water, yes, including right in front of your eyes. While holding an infant in your arms, you might absentmindedly droop or lean over, and again, the baby could instantly aspirate water without you realizing it. (This can happen during water births, too! As a side note.) A waterwrap used correctly will keep your baby up higher, closer to your chest and face where you can watch carefully, and keep your baby secure even when wet.

Safety again. For parents who are watching more than one child, a waterwrap is a must. I actually consider it a necessity for safe water play. If you're busy holding onto your infant, your eyes are averted from your active children. When your baby is wrapped up high by your chest/face and secure, you have your arms and eyes free to keep your other children safe.

Sun coverage. The lightweight fabric although not UV resistant can still provide breathable and cool coverage in the sun.

Ability to regulate temperature. Especially during the earlier part of the season, little babies and cold bodies of water don't mix well! You can warm your carrier in the sun and then wrap your baby up high, allowing you to be in the water while your baby is dry and comfortable. Baby is getting hot? Just dip down into the water and you've got an instant cooling method as the material works much like sports clothes.

Nursing comfort and cover. I'm an advocate of NIP in whatever way is comfortable for you. A waterwrap can quickly provide a little coverage for breastfeeding poolside. It also lets you breastfeed hands-free while your baby is covered and sitting in comfort. And this makes napping effortless, too, as your baby can fall asleep right there after nursing and stay chest to chest for added security. This is a great bonus during busy events that can stress small babies such as going on vacation or spending all day at a loud, busy venue.

Beachfront Baby includes an adorable matching bag with their carriers. Everything is the right size to squeeze into the pocket of a diaper bag or purse. I especially love this part because it helps keep your carrier clean and preserves its life while on the go!

The only downside is one I've had to honestly note about all long woven carriers and moby wraps. When you're using a full size wrap, you'll often have a learning curve. It's not a style all parents appreciate. Some parents specifically want the flexibility and adjustability of a full size wrap. It will fit any body type and can do a variety of carries, including hip and back (and even tandem: twin carries.) If a full size wrap is not for you, Beachfront Baby also offers a ringsling with the same material. You can see all their styles and colours in their shop.

If you're looking for another versatile, stylish, and helpful carrier to add to your collection, consider a Beachfront Baby wrap. As someone who has used waterwraps with all four of my children, I definitely recommend owning one, especially if you're going to spend time in and around water during the summer. Drowning remains one of the leading causes of death for children up to age 4, and the majority of deaths occur in residential pools, with the next location being public pools and public bodies of water. You can never be too safe when it comes to infants/small children and water. The sun protection, convenience, and style are simply additional benefits!

From May 11th-20th, readers can use promo code guggie16 to receive 10% off at the Beachfront Baby store here.