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I love Instagram because there truly is a beautiful side of the platform that is empowering women to reach their highest potential and live out their dreams. Instagram is allowing women to start their own businesses and build a career out of doing what they love.
I'm a mom, and I have started following some accounts that have given me tools, resources, information, laughs, and hugs when I needed them the most in motherhood. Follow these women today!
1. For Sleep
For all things baby and toddler sleep, follow TakingCaraBabies. Cara is amazing! She has a gentle and soothing voice that feels as if she is enveloping you in a warm embrace.
At times, I swear she is speaking directly to me. But most importantly, her advice works wonders, and we all got so much more sleep because of her!
2. For Tantrums and Feelings
Toddler experts of BigLittleFeelings, Kristin and Deena whose tagline is tame those tantrums, are here for you when you feel like you are in a nuthouse with your toddler. They are funny, relatable, and full of a wealth of knowledge.
I love their non-judgmental advice and definitely feel as if their tips are working as I enter into the toddler years with my son.
3. For Speech and Communication
Speech therapists and sisters, Brooke and Bridget, of SpeechSisters, are two women you want to follow today. They give you the confidence you need to help build communication and speech with your child.
I love that they support sign language, make fun videos, and give fun activities to try at home with your kiddos.
4. For Potty Training and Feelings
Dr. Jazmine McCoy of TheMomPsychologist is someone you want to follow if you want to feel empowered. She's smart. She's cool. And she knows what she is talking about.
I recently bought her potty training book, and I'm looing forward to reading it. Follow her today!
5. For Food and Eating
Jennifer Anderson of Kids.eat.in.color is your go-to girl for getting your children to eat their veggies and turning mealtime meltdowns into a more pleasurable experience for all involved.
So much of her advice worked for our family, and I still go to her page routinely when I want positive advice that doesn't shame at all. Check her out!
6. Car Seat Safety
Michelle of safeintheseat is a nationally certified car seat expert. Her account is very informative but promises to be a judgment free zone. She gives you much to think about when it comes to all things related to car safety for our little ones. Making sure our kids are safe in the car can be one of the most important things we do as moms.
7. Being a mom
Bryce Reddy of mombrain.therapist is perfect for all things and feelings related to motherhood. Her cute infographs that she posts are relatable and informative. She is there for you if you are feeling overwhelmed and is all about self-care.
After every post, I find myself saying, "This is so me." It's nice to know that you are not alone, and her account will definitely make you feel space and like you have a community of moms all around you.
Dr. Helen of the.dentistmom runs an account for all things related to teeth. Sometimes I feel as if kids dental care gets overlooked in my day-to-day, and it's nice to have this site to have as a quick guide when I need an answer.
She's adorable. She's smart, and she's someone you need to check out.
9. Toddler Play
Susie Allison of Busy Toddler has got you covered on activities and playing for toddlers. She has affordable ideas to get your kids playing. Lots of her suggestions can be found with everyday items around the house.
She's perfect if you need to occupy your child for a few minutes because you need to get some things done. Each of her ideas spark the imagination or help foster creativity and fine/gross motor skills. Check her out if you need some sanity back into your life.
10. Raising race conscious kids
Shanicia Boswell of blackmomsblog is a great site to visit for not just Black moms but all moms. She talks about motherhood, raising racial sensitive kids, and pregnancy. She keeps it real.
I'm so glad I found this woman on Instagram, and you should too!
There you have it! 10 wonderful accounts run by women that you should follow today! I love women empowering women!
2020 wasn't a normal year. That's the biggest understatement of the year. Maybe some of you really thrived and maybe some of you really struggled to just survive. And both of that is ok.
There is no need to feel guilt if 2020 was full of many blessings, and there is no need to feel shame and embarrassment if 2020 was downright hard, and you got nothing you wanted to accomplishment. Instead, let's look to lift each other up this upcoming year.
If you are looking to set goals for the new year, I would like to share how I set my goals for the year in a few easy steps. You can also sign up to take the Add One-A-Day 30 Day Challenge to help you stay on track with your goals.
Step 1: Get a planner
I'm still old school and need to write things down. A good planner helps me stay organized and on track with my goals. My husband purchased Christy Wright's planner for me for 2021. I highly recommend this planner if you are a lover of all things organizing and planning.
Step 2: Break down the different areas in your life.
Divide your life into all the different areas of your life that give you purpose and meaning. For me it might look like this:
Step 3: Decide which area to do a Dedicated Year.
Each year have picked one area of my life that I feel as if could use some extra attention and focus, then I set a bigger goal for that one particular area than all the other areas of my life, and I use the most of the year or the whole area to dedicate my time to working on that goal. Hence, the title "Dedicated Year."
In the past, I have done a dedicated year for being a runner. I signed up, trained for, and ran a half marathon.
Last year, I did a dedicated year as a writer and reader. I started a running, updated website, blogged consistently, submitted my work for publication, and wrote a book. I read 50+ books, many related to parenting and race.
The year before, I focused on being a mom by slowing down, clearing my schedule, and letting go. I struggled a bit with this. I had to tell myself that it was okay that I wasn't focusing as much attention on my career as I was in the past. That's why I wanted to dedicate the year to that area of my life.
This year, I think as of this moment, I am committing to the Wife area!
Step 4: Set your big goal for that area of your life.
Since this is an area you want to work on for the whole year, you can set one big goal for the year or many micro goals throughout the year. For example, it might look like this:
Dedicated Year Area: Wife
Goal: James and I will go on 12 dates (inside or outside of the house) in one year without any friends and without our son.
To help me reach this goal and focus on being a better wife this year, I would also read books related to marriage or perhaps sign up for a class.
Whatever I do, this is the area where I will be paying the most attention to.
Step 5: Set smaller goals for the other areas of your life.
Here is where you can set smaller goals for the other areas of your life. You can choose all of the areas or just a few. Up to you. I recommend setting no more than 2 goals for each area because otherwise it's overwhelming.
Here are mine:
Step 6: Write it down.
Write your goals down and, this is important, put them where you can see them, so they are on your mind. Christy Wright's planner is useful in helping you break down your goals setting a plan for how to reach them. You can also read more on how I do this here.
Good luck with all your goals! May 2021 be a happy and healthy year. One where we all emerge from the darkness.
See you out there!
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
Recently, we took our 1 1/2 years old toddler on his first flight. Before, the trip we backed his little suitcase full of activities: a water coloring book, finger puppets, books, stickers, and toy cars. My husband loaded up some YouTube videos we knew he would like.
But, we didn't need those things. With some positive parenting tips, including, preparing him for the flight, and this one last-minute buy, we were all set!
What is the one thing?
A couple days before the flight, I was scrolling Instagram and saw one mom post about window gel clings and how her toddlers kept busy for hours playing window grab at home.
I even did an Instagram story Q & A, and my cousin suggested window gel clings. I thought that they would be perfect for the plane.
I hurried to Target, and there were a ton of Halloween themed ones for only $1.
Did they work?
They worked better than expected. My son played with them, and only them, for almost all four plane rides.
He loved putting them on and taking them off. Plus, the Halloween themed gel clings were a hit because we had been talking about Halloween and seeing Halloween decorations out and about.
Granted these were only $1, so we had to throw them out when we got home because they had fallen apart and were dirty, but well worth it.
How else can you use them
With the holidays coming up, you can use them on road trips or to entertain toddlers at family gatherings.
They are great if you have to cook dinner and need something to keep your toddler occupied.
You can do storyboards with them, practice the ABCs or numbers, and teach about holidays, animals, transportation, etc.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
We all know the toddler years can be full of fits, frustration, and total meltdowns. We even have terms coined terms for these years - The Terrible Twos and Threenanger.
But despair not, parents, not every day has to be a temper tantrum nightmare. I have 5 positive parenting tips to make your AND your toddler's day a little bit easier
1. Prepare for what's coming
Recently, we had to give our son some iron drops. The first time we did it, it was awful. It ended in a lot of tears. We had to force the drops down his throat, and I felt so bad.
The second time we did it, we snuck it into his milk, but he wasn't born yesterday. He knew the milk tasted funky, and he refused to drink milk for a couple of days.
The third day, I realized what we did wrong. We didn't prepare him for what was to come. So, I sat him down and showed him a video with kids taking medicine.
I let him hold the medicine bottle and dropper. I talked in simple to understand language about taking medicine.
Guess what? It worked wonderfully! In fact, now he loves taking his medicine. I still cheer every time he does it because it makes him so happy.
Prepare your toddler for what is to come. Doctor visits, dentist appointments, an airplane flight, Sunday church, etc.
Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Michelle Tangeman, agrees.
Setting clear expectations in any given situation. Before walking into a situation that might possibly trigger behaviors in your toddler, do your best to set very clear expectations on what they can and cannot do, and follow it up with some reward if they follow your instructions! (Wilde, Koegel, & Koegel, 1992)
2. Gossip about Your toddler within earshot
While getting our son to take his medicine, I would gossip to his stuffed animal, Prayer Bear, every night before bed.
I would say, "Guess what Henry did today, Prayer Bear? He took his medicine! He is such a big boy! I was so proud!"
I would exaggeratedly whisper this loudly to his little bear making sure Henry heard me. He would beam and get excited!
Toddlers love this when they "catch" their parents gossiping about how good they have been.
3. Set a timer
Toddler's have no concept of time, so they need a visual or auditory cue for when something is about to start or end.
Either use the timer on your phone and give it a fun name like Mr. Dinger or buy a sand one and then set it to go off to let your toddler know when an activity is finished.
Use a timer for
4. Play the fool
Toddlers don't get a lot of wins in their day. Mom and Dad are constantly telling them what they can and cannot do. Toddlers need a win. It builds confidence and improves their self esteem.
What to do? Play the fool. Or, as Dr. Harvey Karp calls it, play the boob.
How do you do this? It's simple. Make a silly mistake over and over and then let your toddler be the one to correct you.
"Does your shoe go on your head? No? Silly, Mommy!"
"Where's Henry? Is he under the block? No! Is he behind the pillow? No! Where could he be?"
Your toddler will be grinning in no time at how much smarter he is than Mommy or Daddy.
5. Practice patience
Toddlers have no concept of what it means to be patient or wait. To set them up for success and prevent fewer tantrums, start practicing building up their patience in this practice of patience stretching.
When they want something, act like you are going to give it to them, but then at the last second slap your forehead and say, "Oh wait, Mommy forgot something. She will be right back. Wait. Wait Wait." Usually, I throw the sign language in for "wait" too.
Then, I turn my back on my son and count to 5. After counting, I turn back around and give my son what he wants and applaud him for his "good waiting." Gradually, I work up to 10 seconds of waiting.
This might sound cruel to you, but this is actually teaching your toddler how to be patient for those times when you really can't be at his or her beck and call. If she gets frustrated during this time, teach her how to take "Magic Breaths" to make the waiting easier.
Hope these tips help! Leave some of your positive parenting strategies in the comments. And subscribe to get more positive parenting and sleep strategies.
Buy Dr. Karp's book to get more positive parenting strategies.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
What is the Hatch?
The Hatch is a sound machine controlled through your smart phone.
It has eleven different sounds to choose from and ten different colors to chose from.
Parents can program when sounds can come on and turn off.
The product guarantees better sleep with its soft light and white noise. It also grows with your child.
Should I Get One?
I originally opted for a cheaper sound machine, but my mom recommended the Hatch to me after someone recommended it to her. I'm so glad that I made the switch.
The Hatch has been amazing. According to Harvey Karp's 5's, babies need loud shushing in the first 3 months and even beyond to replicate the sounds of the womb.
Inside the uterus is loud. There is noise 24/7.
Then, one day, your cute little baby is plucked from its comfortable, cozy home and expected to sleep in utter silence in the picture-perfect, gigantic nursery you created . No way! Imagine how terrifying.
Get a sound machine and turn it on for bedtime and naps.
When nighttime feedings were decreasing and we were aiming for that all-night stretch, we would feel dismayed when our son would start to wake and whine.
Then, we learned to try pausing first, followed by turning up the sound machine without even leaving our bed (phone-controlled sound machine for the win).
Worked. Like. A. Charm. Our son was back to sleep in no time, and we could breathe a sigh of relief.
The Hatch also plays an important role with bedtime and daytime routine. We have a getting ready for bed sound (water) and color (pink) and a naptime sound (lullaby) and color (pink) and then a bedtime and naptime sound (wind) and color (orange).
Our son has been conditioned when he hears those sounds that he knows it's time to get ready for nap or bed and soon go to sleep.
We are still using our Hatch at 21 months and plan to even use it longer.
When our son gets older, we will use our Hatch for quiet time. The controlled lights will let him know when quiet time is finished (perhaps a green light) and when he has to stay quietly in his room (perhaps a green light).
The lights will also tell him when it is time to get up and get Mommy and Daddy.
The Hatch is easily one of my favorite products as a mom. I give it 10/10 stars.
Buy a portable sound machine for traveling.
What is the Snoo?
The Snoo is a smart sleeper bassinet designed by Harvey Karp's Happiest Baby company. It combines three of the 5 S's - safe swaddling, gentle swinging, and a white noise shushing sound - to replicate the calming sensations of the womb. It guarantees a good night's sleep for you and your baby.
I first read about the Snoo in Harvey Karp's book, "Happiest Baby on the Block," and instantly was intrigued and in awe of such a product.
However, to shop and buy a Snoo it will run you $1, 395. To rent it costs $129 a month. Is there a price on sleep?
Should I Get One?
I hemmed and hawed over whether I should get one, but I decided to wait to see how my son slept with the 5 S's on their own. The Snoo was too costly for me to justify splurging on a sleeping device if my son already slept well.
My son ended up sleeping well with the 5 S's and advice from sleep expert Cara Dumaplin of TakingCaraBabies. Although in a moment of weakness, I almost purchased the rent option in the middle of the night after two sleepless nights with my son. He ended up sleeping well the next night and pretty much from there on out.
What Other People Say?
I ended up having a friend find one for half price on Facebook Market Place, and she purchased it for her baby.
She loves it and says it definitely provides her family with the extra sleep they need.
Her son LOVES the gentle rocking motion!
The swaddles have holes for the arms if your baby doesn't want his arms pinned down in the swaddle, and the swaddles keep the babies on their backs, for a good night of safe sleeping.
She definitely recommends this product to all parents. The science behind it is proven, and when a baby and the parents get sleep, everyone is happier.
She gives it 8/10 stars.
A month ago, dinners were full of fits, frustration, and forcing food down our toddler’s mouth. Mealtimes turned into meltdowns and tabletime turned into tears.
Toddler eating wasn’t going well for us. So like anything that doesn’t go well in my life, I turned to the experts and read books and scoured Instagrams. If this is you, and you want a change, keep reading. If you rather laugh at the craziness that is toddlertum, read how we used to get a toddler to eat instead.
In my search for some answers, I found one book and one Instagram page that I really liked, "What to Feed Your Baby” and Kids Eat In Color. I put some of their methods to the test, and here are six strategies that worked for us.
1. Establish roles for the parents and children.
Our baby used to everything. He ate veggies, fruit, yogurt, meat, and grains.
Then, one day he did not eat all that. It was frustrating as a parent. We made up games and tricks to shovel bite after bite into his unassuming mouth.
He soon grew accustomed to our ploys and would whip his head to the side at the last moment leaving food to fly everywhere. Meals ended in one big mess and little food actually having been eaten.
As a mother, I always assumed that it was my duty to make sure my child ate a well-balanced meal no matter the cost. I assumed wrong.
In her book, author and pediatrician, Tanya Altmann, outlines the roles for the parents and children when it comes to eating. The parents’ role is to provide their child with a well-balanced meal. The child’s role is to eat. That’s it. The child doesn’t control what is for dinner. The parent doesn’t control how much and what the child eats. The food is simply served to the child, and the parents has to let go.
After reading this, our stress levels dipped and mealtime became more relaxed. We offered a variety of food at dinner, usually what we were eating, and sat back.
We didn’t stare wide-eyed at our son willing him to eat. We didn’t force feed spoonfuls into his mouth. We didn’t play tricks and do a song and a dance to get him to take one measly bite.
No, instead we gave him his plate and let him do his job once our job was finished. If he ate two bites, ok. If he ate ten bites, good. If he finished the whole plate, great. When he announced he was done, he was done.
Meals are much more enjoyable now that we have established roles. When we stay in our lane and do our job, we usually have a happier, well-fed baby than when we tried to do his job. Set up roles, rules, and boundaries, and you’ll get your serene suppers back in no time.
2. Serve a variety of foods.
This strategy has helped a lot. We used to serve our son exactly what we were having. We still do, but now that he is developing a dislike for some textures and mixtures (Why is this dish all mixed together, Mommy?!), we have been making sure he has veggies, meat, and a starch at dinner with fruit and cheese as an option if he is showing a disdain for the main meal.
Having options does not mean that you, the parent, should make a whole other meal if the first one goes untouched.
Nope, your job is to serve one meal with variety, and if your child doesn’t eat during the designated meal time (more on that later), he doesn’t eat until the next meal time.
That doesn’t mean you should starve your child. It just means use your best judgment and don’t feel like you have to overturn your cabinets and raid your refrigerator to concoct a meal your child will eat.
This simple strategy has saved our sanity when it comes to cooking and meal planning.
3. Set up toddler time zones.
Dr. Altmann uses the term “toddler time zones” in her book, and I think it is genius. The idea is to have a time zone for each meal and snack instead of one long trail of nibbling and grazing on food.
Before, it seemed as if our child was mostly snacking instead of eating his meals. Now, our child has a balance of both.
A time zone is a stretch of time in which the meal or snack is offered.
For example, if our child wakes up at 7:00 AM, breakfast is served anywhere from 7:30 AM - 8:30 AM. Snack would be offered anywhere from 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM. Lunch 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM. Snack 1:30 PM-2:30 PM or later depending on the nap schedule. Then, dinner 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM followed by a before bedtime snack if applicable.
You can adjust the times to best fit to your lifestyle. Just remember to allow a break between time zones.
And like anything with toddlers, remember flexibility, not rigidness, is your friend. If your child doesn’t eat right away at 7:30 AM, try again at a later time in the time zone.
Also, if your child is begging and pleading for food outside the range of the timezone, it doesn’t mean you have to deny and starve him.
The time zones are put in place to prevent all day snacking and full stomachs at mealtimes. At each meal, our child is more likely to be ready to eat, and so far, we have seen success.
4. Make mealtimes at the table.
We really strive to do both mealtimes and snack times at the table while we are eating too. Experts agree that sitting down together as a family encourages toddlers to eat.
Of course things come up, and sometimes snacks have to be on the go. That’s okay!
However, aim to have those larger meals sitting down at the table. Snacks aren’t always the same thing I eat, but breakfasts, lunch, and dinner are roughly the same; otherwise, our son grasps at what we are eating the whole time, and we end up just feeding that to him anyway.
This is really a simple step that has changed the way our toddler eats.
5. Keep it short.
KISS. Keep it short, stupid. That’s for sure. Meals, especially dinners, seemed to drag on forever as we kept persuading and begging our toddler to eat more even after he was long finished and had enough.
Now, after 10 minutes or so, and he’s announced he’s done, we let him get down while Mommy and Daddy finish eating. Anything under 10, and we do our best to encourage him to continue eating or at least sit and join us for a meal.
Toddlers are active creatures. 10 minutes is an ample amount of time to eat at the table. You can buy fun timers from Amazon to let your child know how long he has to remain at the table.
Nevertheless, if our son does decide to get down from the table, it doesn’t mean he has free reign to disrupt Mommy and Daddy’s dinnertime.
You should set rules and boundaries surrounding mealtimes. Once we did, we all enjoyed a nice, peaceful dinner.
6. Buy fun utensils.
Jennifer Anderson, founder of Kids Eat in Color, advertises fun utensils and plates on her Instagram page. She advises that buying fun and creative silverware will make mealtime more enjoyable and playful for toddlers.
We searched Amazon and found a construction set that our son absolutely loves These utensils make good toddler gift ideas that aren't another plastic toy.
Instead of simply eating his meal, he is now shoveling, dumping, and pushing food around and into his mouth on his construction plate with his dump truck and bulldozer fork and spoon.
Mealtime is now a blast, and we have a blast watching him.
SHOP some of my favorites from Amazon now.
I really hope these strategies help you and your family make mealtime more mundane and less memorable for its mess and mayhem. These are 6 simple steps that you can start changing today. Bon appétit!
I have been a teacher for the deaf and hard-of-hearing for 9 years now. A common question I got was if I would teach my child sign language. I always replied with a hearty, “Of course.” I wanted to pass my love for the visual language down to my offspring.
Nevertheless, I didn’t want to just teach my kids sign language because I happened to make a career out of it. There are many benefits to teaching children to sign from a young age. Hopefully, after reading these reasons, you’ll want to reap the same rewards from American Sign Language (ASL) as well.
1. Sign language is another way to make connections
Babies and toddlers are growing up in a very stimulating world. They have a lot coming at them every day. Bright lights. Loud sounds. Fast-paced action. Sign language is another way for them to make connections to language.
When my son and I read a book, I point to a picture, say the word, and sign it.
When I talk, I sign key words (MORE, PLEASE, MILK, WATER, etc).
When we spell out words with his little magnet letters, I say and sign the word as well.
When we are out and about and see everyday things, I point, say, and sign what it is.
In all, he’s getting the spoken, written, picture or real-life representation, and ASL version of a word. Sometimes all at once.
Sometimes not, but either way it’s one more way for a young child to begin forming word recognition and connections. Low-hanging fruit.
2. Sign language helps with communication
Research has shown that too much screen time can cause speech delays in children, but sometimes screen time can be unavoidable in a technology driven world.
Sign Language can help. Studies have found that sign language taught at an early age can help progress speech development faster. In addition, sign language aids in easing frustrations.
Oftentimes, toddlers don’t have the words to produce what they want, but they are able to sign what they want.
Does it eliminate all whining and tantrums? No, but sign language prevents unnecessary prolonged crying.
For example, instead of whining and leaving my guessing what he wants, my son can sign when he wants to drink milk, eat food, go to sleep, get more to eat, and be all done eating. He brings me a toy he wants opened or turned on by signing please.
On the other hand, we can sign when something is “hot, no touch,” and he can repeat back by saying, “hot” and backing away.
He also can find his toy animals when we sign what they are. We can see that he is reasoning in his mind that he understands what we just signed, and he is trying to put the pieces again. Then, the lightbulb goes off, and he finds the object.
Overall, ASL combined with speech touches upon visual, auditory, and kinesthetic processing and helps store more pathways in the brain; therefore, memory becomes stronger. Again, another easy way to help in your children’s development.
3. Sign language can be discreet.
All parents have had those moments where we are out in public and our child is causing a disturbance. We hiss under our breaths, “Stop it,” but our child can’t hear us. We want more than anything for the earth to swallow us whole.
However, with sign language, I can sign STOP, NO, WAIT, HOLD without raising my voice and attracting all kinds of unwanted attention. It doesn’t work every time, but it is setting my son up for success in that I am teaching my son another way to control his behavior.
On other occasions, I can sign something to my son without causing a break in the conversation. At dinner, and I notice my son needs to take a drink? I sign WATER. My son wants me to do something? I can casually rub my upper chest for PLEASE to let him know that he needs to say that first.
Hopefully, in the future he can let me know when he has to go to the bathroom without shouting, “Poo poo or pee pee,” in a setting like church (although that would be funny). However, sign language lets you have those conversations you don’t want the world knowing.
4. Sign language is fun.
Lastly, sign language is just fun. Little kids love hand movements and gestures, and sign language is exactly that.
With it, parents and children can sign songs, nursery rhymes, and books. ASL is another fun element added on top of learning experiences. YouTube has tons of videos parents can search and what better way to spend some time with the kids.
Sign language is another resource to have in a parent’s toolkit. I can see the light in my son’s eyes when he makes a connection. I can see his frustrations melt away when I quickly recognize what he is trying to communicate. I can see my shoulders visibly relax when I avoid a public meltdown with just one sign. I see the joy he gets when I make silly faces and songs. I can see him learning and growing. And that’s why I am teaching him sign language.
Resources for Parents
Elise Tate, Mommy Influencer, creator of SignMeUp, and wife of NFL player Golden Tate, has a great starter sign resource for all parents, teachers, and caregivers wishing to teach their children or students sign language.
Her love of sign language started out as a necessity and soon turned into a passion project. After hearing the statistics that 90% of deaf children are born to parents who can hear, but up to 88% of those parents will never learn how to sign, Elise knew that she had to get her book and resources into homes and classrooms.
SignMeUp is a book/resources designed for parents to teach their children sign language. She has plans to publish a whole series of sign language books and posters as well. Her dream is to expand the books to be in all schools, doctor offices, and hospitals.
So why SignMeUp?
1. SignMeUp is easy to use.
2. SignMeUp is great for non-signers.
3. SignMeUp is a great resource.
4. SignMeUp is aesthetically pleasing and durable.
5. SignMeUp is diverse.
I’ll be honest. I thoroughly enjoyed breastfeeding, but I never expected to one day be sitting on the grimy floor of a supermarket bathroom squirting milk out of my overly full breasts.
That would have been a hard pass for me in the Places To Pump Department, and I had already found myself pumping on the sweaty seats of a high school bus at a cross country meet as the bus driver blocked teenagers from climbing aboard.
But if you are like me, you’ve had to or will be away from your breastfed child because of travel for work or pleasure.
And also like me, the idea of pumping and traveling might be daunting to you, but I have lived and survived pumping on the go, even when I was pumping on the floor of a bathroom, and I am here to tell you what you need to know.
1. Know Before You Go
Even before the plane takes off, there is a lot of work to be done to ensure that things go smoothly once you arrive at your destination.
First, make sure that whoever is watching your child has enough of a milk supply to feed your baby.
If your little one is like my son and you have a diva on your hands, then you know your bougie baby spits out anything other than breastmilk. My son did this until he was about 9 months.
This means that you have to have a well-stocked freezer with a supply of breastfeed, which means that you have to do double duty for a few weeks leading up to it if you don’t already have an ample amount. You should have 25-30 ounces per day for your baby. Probably more.
Of course, you can always ship your milk back home, but when I looked into it, I found it was way too expensive for me. In addition, you can have the childcare provider mix breastmilk with a little bit of formula to make the supply last longer.
Or finally, you can buy breast milk from someone, which is what I had to do for one trip because I just couldn’t find the extra time to pump on top of my normal pumping and breastfeeding.
I found a trusted person and bought her breast milk. It worked, and I wasn’t so stressed!
Second, pack your supplies. You want to make sure you have everything you need before you jet out of town. What you should take with you is the following:
My encounters with the employees have been all pleasant. Most people want to be accommodating and helpful.
Also, call or check your airlines rules and regulations regarding traveling with breastmilk. Again, my experiences were easy and non-stressful.
I simply informed the TSA agent that I had breastmilk. They took it aside and looked in it without tampering with it too much, and I was good to go. Some restaurants inside the airport were also willing to give me extra ice to keep my cooler staying well, cool.
Finally, see if the places you are going to have a place for you to pump. Airports and baseball stadiums all have lactation rooms from my experiences. Look on their websites to see where they are ahead of time in order to plan accordingly. If there are no places to pump, find out if there is at least a quiet, secluded room for you to utilize.
I know all the prepping can be overwhelming, but when done, it makes the trip a lot less stressful when you are prepared.
2. Manage Expectations
Whether you are traveling alone or in a group, you need to let yourself know and everyone with you what the expectations are. Be clear and firm that you have to pump when you have to pump.
When traveling in San Francisco, I had to excuse myself from a wedding to pump and also while we were in the middle of sightseeing.
On another occasion, we had to delay going to dinner because I had to pump. You do not have to feel guilty about this. You do not have to feel rushed. You do not have to apologize.
If you are upfront about your need to excuse yourself to pump with all parties involved in your travel, then that is the best you can do, and if someone gets annoyed or irritated, that is on them, not you, because you laid out your expectations.
Also, go easy on yourself. Pumping isn’t going to be like it is when you are following your normal routine. You might go a little longer between pumping sessions because you got caught up in the travel. You might have to pump more since you don’t have a child hungrily draining your whole milk supply. You might have to pump in strange places. You might even have to, God forbid - don’t say it, gasp, throw away some milk because you underestimated how much storage containers you needed. Take a deep breath. It’s okay. Give yourself grace.
3. Have a sense of humor
Things will go wrong. Sometimes disastrously wrong. Like you might find yourself and your engorged breasts squatting over a toilet in a stall at Starbucks with a line out the door furiously trying to squeeze milk out of your tendered breasts. It happens.
All you can do is laugh and learn for next time. Pumping while traveling wasn’t easy, but it’s not impossible. Know before you go, manage expectations, and have a sense of humor even if you find yourself on the dirty floor of a supermarket.
You got this, Mama!
Originally posted on The Mighty.
Hello there, Moms.
I see you out there, doing your thing and being all confident and owning motherhood like a straight up b-o-double-s BOSS.
Then, it comes along and steals your joy. It creeps up on you, slaps you on the face, and leaves you wretched with remorse, shame, and despair. That’s right. I am talking about “Mom Guilt.”
There is already a laundry list of things for you to feel guilty about. I am not here to tack on a few more. I am here, instead, to remove some.These are five feelings that you should absolutely not let “Mom Guilt” rule over anymore.
1. Parental decisions.
This is a given, but it doesn’t hurt to restate it. Moms, you should not feel guilty about a parental decision if it works for you and your family.
If you choose formula over breastfeeding or breastfeeding over formula or breastfeeding and formula or whatever combination, do not feel guilty.
If you choose to work and not stay home or if you choose to stay at home and not work, do not feel guilty.
If you choose daycare, a nanny, or family to watch your child, do not feel guilty.
If you choose to keep your child on a schedule or not to keep your child on a schedule, do not feel guilty. If it is working for your family and causing nobody any harm, do not feel guilty!
I am someone who likes a schedule. I get it honestly, just ask my mom, and I am a teacher. Teachers live for schedules. I try to flexible and not rigid, but oftentimes I rearrange my day and schedule events with friends and family based upon my son’s napping. I used to feel guilty and like I was being crazy, but I don’t anymore because it works for us.
So, Moms, relax, and stop questioning your parenting decisions. No one knows more than you do about your child.
2. Missing your old life.
Ladies, it’s OK to wistfully reminisce about your old life when you could lie around watching TV, or devouring books all day one weekend and then the next going out to some bar until the crack of dawn.
Missing that freedom does not mean you love your children any less. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. It makes you normal.
I miss the carefree days of being a child and running around outside with the neighbors when social media wasn’t a distraction and I had no real responsibility. That said, I wouldn’t want to go back.
I miss the days when my friends and I would walk the hallways of high school, go to football games on Friday, and hang out on each other’s porches on lazy summer days. But, nope, don’t take me back.
I miss the days of cross country and track practices and spending hours in the cafeteria and then the nights walking arm and arm with my friends to the main street during those college years.
However, I wouldn’t trade anything to go back. Finally, I miss the days on the couch with just my husband and me and spontaneously deciding to take a trip. That’s over though.
My life with my child is so much better, but sometimes I miss what was. And that’s OK.
3. Neglecting an area of your life.
Just because you are now a mom it doesn’t mean the other parts of you disappear. There is still the Working You. Friend You. Spouse You. Domestic You. Hobbies and Exercise You. It’s all still there, but sometimes one of those areas gets neglected for a certain period of time.
Maybe you don’t spend as much time talking on the phone and texting back your friends as you used to. Don’t sweat it.
On the other hand, maybe your house is a mess and take out slowly becomes the norm. Don’t worry about it. Maybe you and your spouse skip date night for the second month in a row. Give yourself a break.
For me, I find that I don’t spend as much time on my teaching career as I used to. I often leave school the minute we can. My weekends rarely consist of lesson planning anymore. Where my students once occupied my thoughts in the evening hours, my son has replaced them.
I felt guilty that a lot of my focus shifted away from my career, and my friends would get texts back from me a whole day later, but I soon began to realize that this is just a season of my life. My other selves will get nourished again one day, and for now I am content on growing my Mom Self.
4. Not picking up your child right away.
I think we can all admit that we have done this one. Work ends or a doctor’s appointment finishes up, and instead of driving right away to fetch your child from daycare or to head home, you give yourself a few minutes (OK, more like an hour) to just do something you want to do. Linger in Target. Sit in your car and scroll through social media. Take a nap. Read a book. Squeeze in a run. Because of this, you are not a bad mom. I repeat. You are not a bad mom!
5. Letting little things bother you sometimes
In the mad house that is motherhood, little things start to bother you sometimes (key word being sometimes, not always).
You know it’s completely insane, but you can’t quite let it go. I’m here to give you permission to carry on, Mama!
It’s 10 minutes past my child’s bedtime, and we (see I) are cleaning up his toys. I can’t find Tiger in his set of five animal finger puppets. Rational me would let it go. But, in this moment, I can’t. It is my life’s mission to find Tiger, so he can be reunited with Monkey, Elephant, Giraffe, and Zebra. I scour the living room.
My son grows increasingly frustrated. I know I should let it go, but…I need to find Tiger, so he can sleep with his other pals. If I don’t rescue him now, we might forget about him, and he’ll be lost forever. I’m looking under couches, throwing pillows, tearing apart drawers until I snap back to reality (oh there goes gravity) and come crashing back to earth. I abandon my search, shake my head, grab my son to head upstairs, and question my sanity.
I should feel guilty about my momentary lapse of judgment, but I don’t. Motherhood demands a lot, and if sometimes we act a little silly, so be it.
What are some things you don’t feel guilty about anymore?
Tell us in the comments.