Is Your Child Ready To Stay Home Alone? Things to Consider

There have been days when Manfriend is at work and all I want is a quick run around the block, that I’ve considered just going for a quick dash around the neighborhood. Is it really that wrong? What’s the worst that can happen?

It’s when I ask myself that question the Hispanic Panic sets in and image Grizzly bears clawing their way into my girls’ rooms while I’m taking a lovely stroll by myself.

Though my girls are clearly too young to stay home alone, it is a phase I know nothing about. Here to help is a guest post from the lovely Vivian Geddes. Continue reading

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On Being a “Real” Mom and Admitting You Need a Break

Newborn Baby BW 1024x1024 On Being a Real Mom and Admitting You Need a Break

“I wasn’t a good mom tonight. I need a break.”

I sent that text to my partner tonight, and I felt horrible as the thought entered my mind, as I typed it and even worse – as I sent it.

I had two fears throughout my pregnancy

  1. Not loving the baby as much as my toddler
  2. Losing my bond with my toddler

The first was never an issue. The moment I heard my daughter cry I fell in love, and my heart is overwhelming with love for both of my girls. The second fear, however, is my current reality.

A week before I gave birth to my baby an acquaintance told me, “Your relationship with your first child will change.”

Well no shit. Next you’ll tell me that C-sections suck and the Pope is Catholic.

But that was always really my biggest fear – not having the energy to maintain my special relationship with the Child. My partner and I have been so careful to say things like “Just a minute.” versus, “I can’t help you right now because I’m doing x, y, z with the baby.”

I’ve been the mother of two for four weeks and four days, and I need a break. Admitting this makes me feel like a failure. When I say I need a break, I don’t mean anything long – three hours to myself to sleep, recharge and spend a few quiet moments alone would do the trick. If I’m being 100% honest, an entire day – sun up to sun down – would be even better.

I’ve been blessed with the company of family and close friends since the birth of my daughter, with a few days throughout to myself to learn my new routine and enjoy my family. But today, I’m run down. I’m exhausted, and overwhelmed with guilt.

After a peaceful day at home, laughing, playing and reading quietly, the evening ended with the toddler defying me (once again). I expected her to act out when the baby came home, but I expected it to happen right away. Instead, it took two weeks, and she only acts out against me – mom – not dad.

Sleep deprived and frustrated, I sent her to bed with no dinner, I made her put her jammies on herself, and I didn’t even say goodnight or tell her I loved her. Oh, and she cried herself to sleep. (I’ll collect my Mother of the Year Award later.)

I’ve reached my new low in parenting.

I know this will get easier, and I know this phase will pass between the Child and me – but knowing all of this doesn’t make right now any easier.

As I’ve said before, I’m blessed with great friends and family. One friend in particular, who we’ll call “Kay”, is one of my “real” moms. She gives it to you straight, and you never feel guilty for admitting your parenting secrets (and failures) to her.

Recently she told me -

Part of being a good mom is worrying about how to be a better one.”

Why do we (I) put so much pressure on ourselves? I feel so guilty for putting my infant in her swing so I can have two minutes to myself. “I should be holding her,” I tell myself.

This is where “Kay” steps in.

The more I speak with REAL moms – the ones who tell the truth, haven’t showered and have given their children an Oreo once or twice – the more I realize that the first weeks/months are about shear survival. Then you start to get ‘the hang of it’. It’s hard when you take being a mommy seriously.”

I know it gets better, and I know the village that’s helping me raise my children is amazing and that I’m not alone (Let me be very clear that my partner has been and is an amazing support). But just for tonight, I’m going to be “real” and tell you I need a break, and I’m terrified that I’ve ruined my relationship with my toddler because of the terrible way her night ended.

 On Being a Real Mom and Admitting You Need a Break

The Gift of Family – the Day We Donated Our Embryos

My friend Lindsay Alford and her husband Rick did a remarkable thing today – they gave another couple the gift of life. I’m honored to have Linds on the blog today sharing her fertility journey and how they came to this decision.

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I was deeply touched by last night’s episode of Private Practice. Dr. Amelia Shepherd gave birth to a brainless baby and was forced to make a heart wrenching decision to donate her baby’s organs or to let him die naturally. Her decision to donate all of her baby’s organs to families across the country strikes an ethical debate among her colleagues. She understands that what she’s asking is unimaginable. But she asks anyway because she did some research on all the children that her baby could save. She wasn’t ready to give her baby up, but heroically found the strength to allow the transplant team to proceed.

pregnant twins The Gift of Family   the Day We Donated Our Embryos

This is my favorite pregnancy picture. It was taken the days we learned we were having two girls

My story began six years ago when I gave Rick Alford my forever. During the infancy of our relationship, as with most couples, Rick and I explored each other’s hopes and dreams. Neither of us desired anything out of the ordinary, I wanted to get married and have children, Rick wanted to return to his home state of Virginia. Little did we know, these simple dreams would lead to major challenges and test the best of relationships.

Today my heart is beating fast and my emotions are raw. Like Dr. Amelia Shepherds in Private Practice, my husband and I were faced with a life changing decision. Six intrauterine inseminations (IUI), a laparoscopic surgery, heavy fertility drugs, one in vitro fertilization (IVF) and four years later, we were blessed with two beautiful baby girls, Olivia Rose (Liv) and Amelia Hall (Mia).

So what’s the dilemma?

After we transferred two fresh embryos, we froze our three remaining embryos. We had lengthy discussions as to how it would be financially irresponsible of us to have more children and we owe it to Liv and Mia to give them the best life possible. We were given three choices: keep the embryos frozen, destroy them, or give them up for adoption. When I laid my head on my pillow at night, I knew I couldn’t destroy them. Even though I’m prochoice, for me, it felt like an abortion. Rick pictured the embryos in the petri dish screaming for a fighting chance. All of our embryos were high quality so it was pure luck Liv and Mia were chosen. So we ruled out the first two choices and that left us with adoption.

twin embryo ultrasound The Gift of Family   the Day We Donated Our Embryos

I had two embryos transferred and so did Lara. Cheers to hoping she has twins!

Our clinic only offered closed adoptions. We weren’t cool with that either. We want these children to know their full medical history, where they came from, what they may look like and most importantly, that they’ve always been wanted.

After several months of paperwork and doctor appointments, we ended up going with an open adoption through Snowflake. In December 2011, we feel in love with a couple from Kansas City. Brian, 44, and Lara, 43, have an amazing love story but there’s something missing. They want to be parents and have tried for ten years. Today, her doctor thawed the three remaining embryos, one didn’t make it, but the other two looked great and were transferred.

Tears are running down my face as I type. I feel a rollercoaster of emotions. I feel a sense of guilt and loss. I’m not sure if that’s because I think that’s the way I am supposed to feel as a mother or what. The greater part of me feels like a hero. I feel selfless, amazing and strong.

Today Rick and I may have made a difference in the lives of two incredible people who deserve to be parents. This wasn’t a decision we took lightly. The entire process took nearly a year, and we had many lengthy conversations. We have no regrets. From the beginning, I knew I could handle giving them up and giving them a shot at life more than I could handle destroying them.

18 month twin girls The Gift of Family   the Day We Donated Our Embryos

Our girls truly are a gift. I am so grateful to be their mom.

Our decision isn’t right for everyone. I respect the choices others make but for us, this was absolutely the right one. I won’t lie. There may be emotional adjustments along the way but we (Rick, Lara, Brian and I) will talk openly. If I have to cry, I will cry.

The journey of fertility is tough, emotional and life changing. It opens your mind and presents decisions and hard challenges you didn’t know you were equipped to deal with. From the bottom of our hearts, we truly hope and pray Lara and Brian receive their gift of family.

Guest Post – Being a Mompreneur: How to Balance Motherhood and Work

Skye Garman Family Guest Post   Being a Mompreneur: How to Balance Motherhood and Work

Skye with her two darling kiddos.

Happy Wednesday! On Monday we met Skye, an awesome mama fitness trainer here in Reno. Today, Skye is back to talk about how she balances owning and running her business and being a full-time mama and wife.

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I’m not gonna lie, it’s challenging at times.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to go to work sans kids, and come home, leaving my work behind at the office. As I write this, I am simultaneously helping my first grader do his homework. He keeps saying, “Mom, Mom, Mom” as I politely ignore him to finish up this sentence.

It’s all one big juggling act. I try to do most of my business and social marketing stuff after the kids go to bed. My kids come first, so I arrange my work schedule around my oldest child’s elementary school schedule. My youngest goes to preschool very part-time, so she comes to the gym with me frequently.

Mom Business Owner Guest Post   Being a Mompreneur: How to Balance Motherhood and Work

I have always had a business and my children have always come to work with me. They don’t know any different. Going to work with kids in tow is just part of life for them and for me.  I don’t get a whole lot of complaining, which is nice. My family is tremendously supportive as well, not only my husband but my sister-in-law and father-in-law help fill in gaps when needed too.

I love my work and I would love to work more, but I love my kids the most and I know how fast the time will fly by.

The website and blog I so badly want to get going will just take a little longer to get up and running. Getting my masters in nutrition will have to wait. Because, I know that taking the time to roll around on the rug and giggle with my 3-year-old or play battleship with my 6-year-old is not going to be an option forever. Work will always be there.

Balance is key.

Mamas and dads reading this, how do you balance your work/passion with your family?

 Guest Post   Being a Mompreneur: How to Balance Motherhood and Work