Memoirs Of A Modern Housewife

My life is nothing like the Bravo Housewives!

Archive for the tag “Family”

That Moment When: Pressured to Parent (A Certain Way)


The beginning of summer my family and my brother’s family drove over 1,800 miles in a surprisingly uncomfortable 12 passenger van with 4 adults, 2 teenagers, 2 school-age kids and a one year old. My five-year old, who absolutely hates being in a car for any amount of time threw us off guard as she pleasantly road in a booster seat from Minnesota to Memphis overnight. No whining or complaining to be heard.

This trip was one we were all excited about as we were seeing family who we hadn’t seen for as long as she was born, so over five years. I thought she would have some shyness, some apprehension but she welcomed her aunts, uncles and cousins with open arms. She laughed, played, and tried new things without a moan.

Day three, among the loud laughter and conversations, I could hear my child crying hysterically. I stopped what I was doing and ran out to find her with one of my aunts who was patiently trying to comfort her.  She was hysterical and I couldn’t figure out what had taken place because I couldn’t even understand her through the sobs.

That Moment When: Pressured to Parent

Apparently all the children received silly spray and she’d used all of hers as they were still running around playing with theirs. Everyone was trying to reason with her, tell her they would get her a new one, offered her drinks and other toys, etc. but I knew that the silly spray wasn’t the problem.

I was surrounded by family and some of their friends. People who have not been around my little one longer than a few minutes or days and I can tell by the looks on their faces that they assumed I was raising a spoiled, undisciplined child. You know the look. The look that says, “What are you going to do about the way she is acting…you’re the mom, show her (and us).”

I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit to the heat rising on the back of my neck; the feeling like I had to do something was becoming more and more intense with her wails. But I did something in that moment that I didn’t think I would under the pressure.

I waited to respond.

I thought about the day and realized that she’d been in the sun all day and played hard, harder than she ever had in all of her five years. We live in the frozen tundra and Memphis was 90 degrees by 9 am. She was flushed, sticky and I am sure everyone’s efforts were overwhelming her.  I was too busy interacting with my family that I didn’t notice that she hadn’t been drinking enough water and didn’t take a moment of rest, which for this child is a must.

I’d missed it.

This melt down could have been avoided and this super embarrassing moment was brought by me. Now I know she is responsible for her emotions (as much as she can be for 5) and we work on that daily. I also know that kids have to let off steam sometimes. However, if you have a high needs/sensitive child…you know that emotions are always overflowing.

I thought about how she must be feeling; physically and emotionally and began to ignore the spectators. I asked my daughter to come to me. She came and I pulled her on my lap. I wiped her forehead and started fanning her as she started to calm down and relax. I asked her to tell me what was going on.

She began to go on about the silly spray. I let her tell her story and when she was done I calmly validated that it sucked that she used all of her silly spray and was missing the “fight” with the other kids but that she chose to use hers before the planned fight. I also told her that she was tired, probably dehydrated and needed a bath and some quiet time. She protested but I assured her that it wasn’t a suggestion.

We packed up the family and headed to where we were staying. I put her in the bath with her little brother where I can hear them laughing and splashing. I had her take sips of water, lay on the couch and watch a show in the air-conditioned house. She slowly returned to the kid I know.

I had to remember that I know her and that no matter where I am and who is around me I am her mother and I know what’s best for her.

Have you ever had a moment where you felt pressure to respond or parent a certain way? Share your experience below in the comments, would love to hear from you!

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MOMH Update April 12-23, 2012


Seed, Time and Harvest

I have a desire to garden but I have been trying to deny the urge. I really enjoyed my square foot gardening a few years back, I called it “Garden Therapy”. It was a lot of work but I enjoyed the labor of getting on my knees, playing in the dirt, watering and even weeding. Every morning when the sun would rise I would jump out of bed (sometimes still in my pajamas) and look at what had grown. I was like a little kid checking on it every few hours. It helped me appreciate being outside no matter what the temperature or weather conditions were because I knew the sun, rain and even wind was purposeful.  Read more…

Sleep Issues And An Overlooked Cause – Post-Operation Update

Deciding to have surgery on your kids is never easy, you’re always questioning if it’s the right thing to do. Today is day five for Beaner’s recovery from his surgery. It has been a long week as you can imagine and I thought I would show in picture how the day went.

Read more…

(in)spired Review

I know from where I have come from. It is a place that is a thorn in my side keeping pride at bay. It is a past that is only seen on the likes of Lifetime Movie Network, a past that makes me cringe at the very thought of my children inquiring about, a past that can leave me awake at night, a past that threatens my future daily. But God…  Read more…

A Woman’s Design

If you are or have had a great experience with a local midwife (home and hospital), Chiropractors, Massage Therapists, Acupuncturists, Childbirth Educators, Lactation Specialists and other professionals that work directly with pregnant women, in the East-Central Metro area please send me a note at natalia@awomansdesign.com. Would love to connect with you (or them) in the next few weeks to have trusted resources for my clients.

Love, Marriage and Finding Our Way


Love, Marriage and Finding Our Way

Mr. Incredible and IThe longer I am married and a mom the more I realize that my family is unique (as all are) and that we shouldn’t try to mold our lives to fit others’. Before, when we were trying to make any decisions we would measure them against what others have done and succeeded in, and in some instances that is a necessary and valuable method. Our problems stem from always using that method. The truth is, my husband and I both bring to our marriage our individual upbringings, ideas, dreams and behaviors. Throw in the mix, three children who have their own personalities, needs, temperaments and you don’t have cookie-cut answers. They require examination from all angles sometimes, wisdom, prayer, most of the time patience and sometimes a leap of faith.

I love a comment Jessica from the Leaky Boob made about their decision to continue to have more children in spite of her horrible history with hyperemesis graviduram, “Every one of us has a different path in life, the choices may appear the same but the reality is with our various circumstances and priorities we can’t imagine making the choices someone else does and we have to just figure out what works for us in our situation.” 

I couldn’t agree more.

MOMH Update March 11- April 11, 2012


It’s been a lovely couple of weeks here in the Midwest. We were blessed with a very mild winter and temperatures that got up to 80 degrees sometimes. If you reside in Minnesota this is unheard of. We are usually still knee-high in snow until April.I love when the seasons change, preferably the spring and fall. I am anxious for something new, to enter a new season of life. As I threw open the windows of the house to release the staleness of the winter, I deeply breathe in the fresh opportunities to that are set before me.

As  you can see it’s been about a month since my last post. I really enjoy writing because it helps me to process out loud but I also like to hear from you. It’s encouraging that something I love doing may be helping someone else, whether it is with a tip, a different perspective or a laugh.

Sleep Issues And An Overlooked Cause Part 4

As we prepare for Beaner to have his adenoids removed, his lip-tie clipped, tympanostomy tubes (ear tubes) inserted my anxiety is increasing day by day. We’ve consulted with a variety of specialists to make sure we’d looked at everything from all angles and to avoid a repeat surgery because something was overlooked. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. Every once in a while I question the necessity of the surgery and every time I do something happens that tells me it’s the right thing to do for him. From his frequent waking at night, his sleep-apnea like snoring, his constant ear drum ruptures and infections and also a slight delay in his speech.

 Read more…

Love, Marriage and Finding Our Way

Mr. Incredible and IThe longer I am married and a mom the more I realize that my family is unique (as all are) and that we shouldn’t try to mold our lives to fit others’. Before, when we were trying to make any decisions we would measure them against what others have done and succeeded in, and in some instances that is a necessary and valuable method. Our problems stem from always using that method. The truth is, my husband and I both bring to our marriage our individual upbringings, ideas, dreams and behaviors. Throw in the mix, three children who have their own personalities, needs, temperaments and you don’t have cookie-cut answers. They require examination from all angles sometimes, wisdom, prayer, most of the time patience and sometimes a leap of faith.

Read more…

(in)spired Review

I have the opportunity to review the new Redeemed Collection from DaySpring and I have to say that I was like a kid on Christmas day when the box of fun inspirational items arrived. I will be working on a review for each item and will be posting it next week.

A Woman’s Design

I mentioned that these last few weeks have been a whirlwind. I recently decided to begin taking clients on again and I am so excited about supporting women again. Because I live in a new area I will be spending a lot of time educating the community on labor support and the benefits. I am also looking into connecting with other professionals who support women during their pregnancy; ob’s, midwives, massage therapists, chiropractor’s, etc. Just this last weekend I met with another doula in the next town over. We share the same heart for women, birth philosophies and we just really clicked so we have decided to become each other’s back-ups. I also have a display at a Baby Expo this weekend that I have diligently been preparing for.

I have also started my certification process with Childbirth International to become a Postpartun Doula. I am excited about this process and looking forward to being able to support my birth doula clients during their postpartum period and also other mothers and families who decide support during the “fourth trimester” would help them during the new changes.

Our Family Is “Complete” and How We Came To That Decision


I’m sitting in the coffee shop, browsing through my favorite Facebook pages and blogs and I come across a random picture of a mom nursing her very new baby. I feel a lump in my throat, my stomach starts churning and my nose starts running. I choke back the tears that are accumulating.

The coffee shop is very crowded with the sounds of a live Irish band. Every one is wrapped into their own world, their own conversations, so I subtly take a napkin and softly dab the tears that escape from my efforts. All I can do is sigh within myself. When there are no words for your sadness only a deep sigh will do.

I never thought that I would be grieving a decision that Mr. Incredible and I prayerfully and thoroughly discussed. There would be no more children physically born through me.

It wasn’t a rash decision based solely on my hard pregnancy with Beaner, but it certainly was one factor.

I am one of the two percent of women who suffer from hyperemisis graviduram during pregnancy. It is a chronic, debilitating condition that strikes within weeks of a pregnancy and can last until the very end. That was my experience with all three kids. I was told by doctors and midwives alike (as well as by my own research and experience) that it gets worse with each pregnancy. There is no cure for this condition, just medication and medical support to keep the symptoms as tolerable as possible.

The good thing is babies born through mothers who have to endure HG do surprisingly well as they take absolutely everything from mom and thrive (like most pregnancies). The problem is a mom with HG is usually depleted of vital nutrients, deficient in everything afterwards.

This was a very rough pregnancy and it not only effected me but the family as a whole. The heart of the home was out of commission for the majority of the pregnancy, our finances took a hit as Mr. Incredible had to take time off to take care of the girls and I, and a year later my health is still recovering.

During my pregnancy I was asked by relatives and close friends to please not get pregnant again. Seems like a very personal and harsh request, and it wasn’t put in exactly those words, but I knew what they meant. Their hearts are in the right place as it is hard to see your loved one suffer, even if it is for a good reason.

Three Great Reasons

Our sweet children that we are absolutely crazy about bring us such great joy. We love teaching them about life, relationships, Jesus and how the world works. And they just love us unconditionally. You can’t beat that!

Eating daddy's hair

It’s not a burden to raise them. It’s challenging and exhausting sometimes but we grow as they are growing. We really are grateful to be able to have them in our lives so naturally we would want to keep adding them to our life. Plus we just love, love, love babies.

Mr. Incredible and Baby Beaner

It’s a tough decision to decide to be done with growing our family, especially when the decision is based on things beyond our control.

In short, our final decision came down to:

  • My ability to endure another pregnancy (including the long recovery),
  • Financially; because of the cost of medication and home health care that is required,
  • and the guilt I felt while my other children had to sit on the sidelines and wait for their mother to be well enough to continue to parent them.

Poots is still having a hard time adjusting and has gotten more and more clingy even though Beaner is a year old now. When I think about the fact that she basically lost me for 7-8 months (while I was pregnant) it just doesn’t seem fair to do that to her, Riggity and now Beaner again.

We have made the decision and taken the necessary steps. I believe the reality of it hit us both surprisingly harder than we expected.

We will grieve the end of everything that goes along with a new member of the family and gather our sweet family of five and move forward.

Anticipating this decision, we have embraced and soaked up every baby milestone that Beaner has taken. It’s been bitter-sweet of course; knowing it will be the last time we will experience “the firsts”, but very sweet because it has been as if we are experiencing everything for the first time.

What about you? How did you come to a decision that your family was complete? Was it outside factors?

The Importance of Support and Breastfeeding


***This is an article I wrote for my doula website a few months before my little guy was born. I just reread it as I was going through some archives and thought it would be helpful here. It certainly reminded me as to why I am still nursing.****

Taking a snooze after nursing

Taking a snooze after nursing

 

The other night I lay awake thinking about this little one that will be arriving in the next few months and doing so caused my to do list to continue to grow. I’m thinking about the birth, my birth team, vaccinations, breastfeeding, among other concerns and plans that expectant moms often think about.

One thing actually brought a wave of comfort and peace that helped lull me back to sleep. I was reflecting on when my now three-year was six-months old. Earlier I had taken her to her six month check up and was giving my husband the report that evening over dinner. “Petite little thing, not uncommon for breastfed babies, thriving, overall a  healthy happy baby”. As this little one sat on my lap my husband’s face changed to one of adoration and pure sweetness as if he’d gotten a beautiful revelation.

He looked at me and said, “That’s amazing. You’ve kept her alive just with breastfeeding her. I can see how much of a sacrifice it is for you but you do it without complaining and our baby is healthy and thriving because you were determined to do it.” He went on to remind me of the trials in the beginning, but how I had become a pro and baby and I became a team.

At that time I don’t think I really grasped what he was doing or what he said really meant to me. I went on to breastfeed until she was a little over two years old and in hindsight having a supportive spouse made all of the difference.

As I sit and think about what my life will be like the next few months or years (depending on how long new baby nurses), instead of thinking about what I will be missing out on; freedom of spontaneity, clothing choices, convenience and other things I can’t think of now, but will while I’m nursing, I will instead think about how short of a time it really is, the gift I am giving this little one and those kind words of encouragement my husband gave to me.

Do you have anyone who is encouraging your decision to breastfeed? Feeling supported is one major component of successful breastfeeding and how you will feel about the experience.

Seek out other moms who have had good experiences. If they can do it (minus the percentage who physically cannot breastfeed) so can you. It helps to observe and be able to ask questions.

Have an open communication with your spouse or partner about why it’s important to you and baby and how they can help. A lot of times they want to help but are unsure of how to.

There are also local La Leche League International groups that are available by phone and also meet on a weekly or monthly basis. I found this connection to be invaluable especially when I would hit a breastfeeding obstacle.

Most hospitals have on staff lactation consultants and specialists. It is important to meet with one who is actively involved with continuing education and who is not so easily ready to give up on you.

I would like to note that if you have decided not to breastfeed or are/were unable to for what ever reason that this article is not meant to be condemning but supportive to those who have chosen to do so. Truth be told, breastfeeding is one of the most beautiful, natural things in the world but it can also be one of the most challenging situations a woman may encounter. For some women knowing that they are not alone and have support is enough to help them go a few more weeks, months or year if she and baby decides.

Books to consider:

The Breastfeeding Book: Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Your Child from Birth Through Weaning by Martha Sears and William Sears

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (La Leche League International Book) by Diane Wiessinger

The Nursing Mother’s Companion: Revised Edition by Kathleen Huggins

Meeting My Kids Where They Are


My 8 month old is teething and possibly experiencing separation anxiety. I am physically and emotionally exhausted because I am “the one” who he seeks for comfort. The days and nights start to run together.

My four-year old has twenty notebooks that she uses to doodle in all day, every day. Notebooks all over the house, random sheets of paper with what appears to be scribbles cluttering her room. I am tempted to dispose of them when she is not around.

My fourteen year old comes home on the third day of school. We chat about her day as I prepare dinner and out of the blue she asks, “What do you do if you don’t get asked to the prom.” This is her third day of high-school and she is worried about being asked to the prom.

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These are a few examples of the daily interactions with my children. I can often catch myself getting annoyed, not thoroughly engaging in a conversation or thinking that their activities and requests are petty compared to the big things that my husband and I have to deal with. Health, financial, relationship, and other issues that on our level the kids wouldn’t understand if we tried to explain it to them. I know they wouldn’t because some things we can barely get a grasp on.

It had become easy to break a promise of a story or a walk when something “bigger” came along. It had become easy to feign listening to a story about teenage drama. Drama that I was so glad to have survived during my own high-school years. It had become so easy to become frustrated and almost resentful because of a lack of sleep and to have someone need you constantly without a break in sight.

Hard to admit, but true. Then one evening I watched Poots (four-year old) laying on the floor, feet swinging in the air, humming a tune while she drew and it dawned on me. That is her world. For a moment, I imagined what it must be like to be four. What are your concerns, your delights, what hurts you, scares you and why. My heart began to ache because I realized that all she can see and know is what she has learned this far. I am living life as a thirty-two year old. I’ve experienced life, all that she will come across eventually but she hasn’t experienced all that I have. Everything is new and exciting to her. Every emotion exhilarating and bigger than her sometimes.

In her little eyes drawing her pictures is pretty cool and takes up a large part of her day because it is so much a part of her world. Her drawings are creative and shows her bubbly sense of humor. She wants us to look through every book, help illustrate a story for each page and then read them all. Over and over again. This is how she is experiencing life. It is up to me to meet her where she is and escort her through life. Prepare her for life; relationships, work, hurts and laughter.

I then thought about my little guy. He’s only been here for eight months. Eight months. I expect him to have it figured out. To know that there are other ways to be comforted. Some adults haven’t figured out the proper way to comfort themselves. We sometimes use food, drugs or other self destructive behavior. What’s wrong with relying on your primary caregiver when you are a baby. The one who nurtured and held you tightly for nine months previously. He loves to be around me, on me, touching me in any way. I joke with my husband about how I think sometimes he wishes he was “back in”. My frustration, when I think about it is not with his needs. It really points out that I am not taking care of myself. I am trying to be super mom. When really my kids just need a loving mom.

I often coin the phrase, “you couldn’t pay me to go back to high-school.” I mean it. It wasn’t awful. Just hard and hurtful as you navigate relationships, school and preparing to leave the nest all while finding yourself. What my fourteen year old daughter is dealing with is hands down more difficult a time than I grew up in. I think about what it was like to be her age, in high-school and I remember, this is her world. This is her life right now. A big part of her life. I am lucky that she feels she can share her day and concerns with me and I would be wise to respect it by actually listening. Turn the running water off and look her in her eyes. No more talking to the back of my head.

A friend whose daughter just started college told me something a few years back (she has a similar relationship with her daughter). She said there would be nights when she was exhausted, ready to lay her head down and would hear the soft voice of her daughter asking if they could talk. She initially thought about how tired she was and all she had to do the next day but realized that those things would always be there. The opportunity for her to walk her daughter back to her room, lay across her bed and hear about what was troubling her wouldn’t always be there.

I think of this today as I (once again) reset my priorities. I must meet my kids where they are. In the age and stage of life that they are experiencing. Not the stage of life I am experiencing.

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Fourth Trimester (Survey)


If you are an expectant mother or have had a baby in the last six months would you please consider taking the time to participate in a quick survey relating to the postpartum period.

I am working on a new project to help mothers during the postpartum period that I am very excited about and your input would be valuable to the process.

Click here to participate in the online survey. 

Thank you so much,

Natalia

Click here to take survey

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