4 Ways to Be a Better Mom

Image Source “Microsoft Clip Art”

I don’t claim to have the “Mother of the Year Award” or even the “Mother of the Month” for that matter.  To be honest, many times I feel like an all around failure as a mom.  I just birthed my third child nearly 10 weeks ago and I feel like my life has been chaos since several months before little precious #3 was born.  Don’t get me wrong I love my children and I am extra thankful for every single day that they are on this planet with me, but that doesn’t mean that there are times that I’ve wanted to tear my hair out.  Now I know why everyone looks at you like you are crazy when you have three kids under four.  Sometimes I feel like a freak show the way people look at us. And, now I know what some of those other moms feel like that have the big families.

Now, let’s get a little raw here.  I’ve struggled tremendously at yelling at my children, even though I said I would never do it.  There, I’m outed, I’m a closet yeller, ok?  But, over the past several weeks and months I feel like God has really been working on my heart.  I grew up where my mom yelled often and she feels so guilty about it to this day.  Before I came a mother I had no idea that it might be that easy.  I’ve struggled with guilt, heartache, and just being down right angry at myself.

As I’ve been praying about this pattern about myself that I just don’t like I feel like there have been a few things that have surfaced.  God has spoken to me and I’ve tried them on my children, so I know that they work.  I hope that as you walk down your own road as a mother that these things will be helpful for you as well.  You may not struggle with raising your patience and your voice with your children that I do, but if you struggle with it or not I hope that these 4 ways to be a better mom speak to you.

  • Don’t Put Your Child in a Mold – Over the years I have prided myself in being keen on noticing the uniqueness of each individual person.  However, I’ve miserably failed to do with it with my children.  Each child learns uniquely and I’m sure you know has a personality unique to them.  They need to be disciplined uniquely, loved uniquely and have met needs that are completely unique to them.  I would caution against parenting the same way to each child.  And, even though parenting books can be completely helpful when you are lost, don’t take them for a blanket statement for each child you have.
  • Be a Student of Your Child – As I mentioned above each child in uniquely their own.  As a mother each of us need to be a student of our children so that we understand their uniqueness. We need to understand why they do what they do and what their needs really are.  After all, if we birthed them from our body they are very much part of us.  They have not only some of our DNA, but also our cells.  And, if you spend more time with your child than anyone, no one will know them better than you.  So sit back and watch them, know they tendencies, know their strengths, and their weaknesses, know how they love and need to receive love. And, be sure to give them love that way.  You will be so happy that you did.
  • Go Easy On Yourself – No one is perfect mama.  Even though you will know your child best it takes time to know them.  If you are like me and work from home make sure you carve out time from your day to play with them and observe them.  If you work outside the home it may take some extra intentional regular “date nights” with your child to get to know their ends and outs.  For moms who simply stay at home and manage their household be careful of the time you spend on facebook or other social media accounts.  Chances are it drives your kids crazy.  Don’t be hard on yourself when you mess up.  You can be forgiven by God, yourself, and your child for any mistakes.  This mothering thing is a learning journey.
  • Join a Moms Group – All moms need the support of each other.  Don’t do this moms thing alone.  Join a group like MOPS or get connected with the High Country Mommies.  We can learn so much from each other and other moms who have been moms longer.

I wish you the best in the parenting of the young mind that you are entrusted to.  It is a big responsibility, but it is also a privilege.  God has given you a child to shape and mold your life.  You may not feel like you deserve it, but God knows that he has designed you for this purpose.  I hope that you will enjoy all of it.

A Tested Method of Getting Healthy Foods into the Diet of Your Kid

All of us parents, well I’m sure that most parents anyway are always trying to get our kids to eat a healthy well rounded diet.  My two solid eaters at home, 2 and nearly 4 years old, can be quite picky when it comes to food.  My almost 4 year old is the worst of the two.  He has always been at war with the textures of most foods.  If I’d let him he would eat bread and cheese at every single meal.  Since he began eating solids at right around 8 months of age he was a picky eater.  Then, his sister came  long and I was presently surprised that she did desire to at least try most foods.

Since I have a hobby and passion for in depth study of health and nutrition it has pained me to watch my kids eat an unhealthy diet.  I guess that sometimes ignorance is bliss to not know exactly what (insert name of famous American fast food restaurant here) does to one’s body.  Praise the Lord that our body is designed to recover for much of our bad food choices.

So, as a parent who not only wants to have healthy children, but also by nature reads everything she can get her hands on when it comes to health and nutrition I can’t sit back and feed my kids bread and cheese until they decide they want something else.  Nope, I just can’t do it.  Instead I developed my own method of helping my kids make good choices when it comes to their food so that I can only hope that someday they will want to take after their mama and make healthy choices.

Keep in mind that I’m not a parenting expert and I don’t try to stay politically correct, I am just doing the best that I can here folks and it seems to be working.  I’ve tested out this method on no other kids by my own, but hey if it works it works.

We do not cook separate meals just to appease my children.  We believe that it is important that they eat with my husband and I, plus that is just way too much work when I’m already chasing around two little ones and caring for a baby.  I almost always put a food or two that my children like on their plate and then I put foods on their plate that they do not like.  Many times I hear “Mooom, I’m NOT eating that.” Although we encourage our children to eat everything on their plate, we do not force them to eat what is on their plate.  We allow them to decide to eat whatever they like.  However, if all they want that particular night is bread we don’t allow any more bread (or any other food) until they eat everything that is on their plate.  If they want to eat nothing further than that one food they are given that is fine, we really don’t make an issue out of it.

I honestly didn’t really think it was working.  And, then just out of the blue one day after I’d been putting salad on my kids plates they started eating it like champs!  Then they started eating other things like carrots, cucumbers, and other things!  Whoo hoo!  Success!  Now they aren’t perfect and still are picky at times, but putting the food in front of them seems to really be worth it.

If you want more tips on how to feed your kids healthy try this article from Holistic Kid on 4 Food Groups All Kids Should Eat, it is really about much more than fruits and veggies!

Does Colic Have a Cure?

What causes colic? The truth is experts don’t really know. Although most assume that it is a gastrointestinal problem this may or may not be so. Pediatricians also attribute colic to an underdeveloped nervous system, medication taken my mom, food allergies, environment, mom and babies emotional health and temperament. Research has shown that for 50% of babies it may be a mild acid reflux. And, for some there just is no telling. Apparently, I was a very colicky baby myself. My mom reminds me that for weeks I would scream for hours and the pediatrician attributed it all to colic. I don’t know if it was payback, but my daughter had quite a bit of colic during several hours a the day for at least the first few months of her life.

Colic is defined by uncontrolled crying in infants from about two weeks to three months old. For a baby to be considered truly colicky crying spells must last for three or more hours at least three times a week or more.

The good news is that colic appears to stop after 3 months of age. So, if you are struggling with a colicky baby there is hope!

It is important to note that smoking mothers are shown to have a 14% increase in colicky babies. Most commonly in my experience colic has been due to food allergies. Allergens that are transferred to baby in moms milk can easily upset babies stomach. Some of the more typical foods I’ve seen that bother baby are beans, onions, eggs, nuts, dairy, soy, and wheat. If your baby is having extreme colic and you suspect that it might be food related I highly recommend that you seek professional help from a lactation consultant or pediatrician. Mothers are able to continue nursing when baby is experiencing food allergies, but they may have to incorporate an exclusion diet into daily life in order to calm babies upset tummies.

Typically a pediatrician will suggest Mylicon for infant gas problems and often to try for colic. Mylicon’s active ingredient is simethicone. Although this medicine is considered relatively safe for infants, I highly recommend that you read the label carefully before administering it to your infant. There is a potential to overdose from the product so ask you pharmacist or pediatrician before administering any more than the suggested dosage.

Don’t get too distraught when I tell you that there may be no cure for your babies colic except to grow out of it especially when it may be a case of an underdeveloped nervous system or temperament. Bu,t as a student of natural health and natural remedies I highly recommend trying several natural remedies before picking up a bottle of Mylicon.

Here are a few natural suggestions, remember to always consultant your pediatrician before beginning a new remedy or medication:

  • Gripe Water– The main ingredients are ginger root, and fennel seed that are known to calm gastrointestinal upsets. Grip water is known to be a safe alternative to Mylicon drops. There are a number of brands out there.
  • Infant’s Blend Probiotic – Although most mother’s breast milk naturally contain probiotics a probiotic supplement may be helpful to cure infant colic. This is especially important to note if you have an infant that came into the world in result of a c-section. Giving birth naturally helps baby’s intestinal flora to begin functioning properly with good bacteria and in a c-section it is a little difficult to kick start this process. I highly recommend an infant blend probitoic if you have a c-section or a baby seems to been having tummy problems. I highly recommend Udo’s Choice as a reputable brand.
  • Homeopathic Remedies are also known to be helpful – Colocynthis, Cuprum metallicum, carbo vegetabilis are all known to be helpful remedies for colic. The good thing is when it comes to homeopathic remedies they are completely non-toxic so it is safe to re-administer them every 15 minutes to see if they are helpful.
  • Other herbal remedies may include chamomile and peppermint water given in low doses.

 

Adoption Books for Kids

Once again, please welcome Makisha Howell, who will be contributing to the Mom squad on the topic of Adoption!

Adoption can be hard to understand, especially if you are kid.  Below are adoption related books which can offer a better understanding for young children.

I Wished for You: An Adoption Story by Marianne Richmond

This award winning book is recommended for both parents and children affected by adoption.

I wished for you

A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza

A Mother for Choco is recommended for families that are affected by interracial adoption.

Mother For Choco

Rosie’s Family: An Adoption Story by Lori Rosove

Rosie’s Family: An Adoption story encourages children to ask questions about adoption, and discusses the issues of being different.

rosie's family

Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale by Karen Katz

A vibrant story about international adoption, Over the Moon follows the journey of becoming parents. This was the first book I purchased for my little man.

Over the Moon

Other Children’s Books About Adoption

Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis

God Gave Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergen

I Love You Like Crazy Cakes by Rose Lewis

Happy Adoption Day by John McCutheon.

Our Adoption Journey: Meeting My Little Boy

Please welcome guest columnist Makisha Howell, as she shares her experience as an adoptive parent!  She is also eager to connect with other adoptive moms for fellowship or support!

I am the proud mother of a precious, spirited three year old boy. This little boy did not grow in my belly for nine months. He grew in my heart. Becoming a mother happens in different ways and for me it was adoption. My husband and I adopted our little boy, Jordi, in November, 2006 from Bogota, Colombia.

Meeting Jordi was the greatest moment of my life. My heart was filled with joy, but truth be told I was scared to death. Our meeting took place in an old office building in downtown Bogota. After we had been escorted through security my husband and I waited to meet our little one in a small room which had been decorated with pictures of other families who had been in this same place before us. After waiting for awhile, I began to think that maybe the agency had changed their mind or forgot our appointment, but in walked a woman carrying the most beautiful little boy I had even seen.

The woman handed Jordi to me then left the room. Finally we were a family of three. Both my husband and I were crying tears of joy. Jordi however looked at us with those big, brown eyes and decided to offer some comic relief to this intense situation. He spit up all over everything. Kevin, Jordi and I were covered in spit up and were still trying to clean ourselves up when the agency workers came back in. We left with Jordi that day and went back to El Refugio, the bed and breakfast we would be staying at for the next few weeks.

So life was perfect. You would think so, but in reality it is scary to be a first time parent, much less in a foreign country. I was so happy to have Jordi, but I was also very homesick. I missed my family and friends. I wanted them to be with me and offer advice about being a new parent. The first few days I was scared to be alone with Jordi. I had been around kids my entire life, but nothing prepared me to have one of my own. What if he cried and I couldn’t help him? What if I was not feeding him enough or feeding him too much?

As the days past, we got into our routine. We started learning Jordi’s likes and dislikes and bonding as a family. I got to where I could call home without crying. And we started enjoying our surroundings. We would go for walks and play outside. Jordi was growing and each day he became stronger.

The day finally came for us to go home. I was excited, but still sad to leave my temporary “family” at El Refugio and the country of Jordi’s birth. After saying our goodbyes we headed back home to start a new journey. Our journey as a family of three…

Makisha Howell

For further information about our adoption or moral support during your adoption process, please email me at thehowellfamily3@gmail.com..

Mom Squad TV: Getting Kids to Make Healthy Choices

Enter the Family Reading Giveaway!

This week on Mom Squad TV, we discuss how to get children to make healthy choices. When it comes to eating healthy, being responsible, or being active, we’ll give you some tips.   The Mom Squad is produced by MTN channel 18, and airs at these times:

ALSO, STREAM LIVE ONLINE AT WWW.MTN18.COM

  • New show starts Wednesday, 5:30, 7:30, 9:30 PM
  • Re-Airing Friday, and Sunday Evenings at 7:30 PM
  • Also, Sunday-Friday at 1:00PM

Sarah will show you some creative ideas for getting kids to eat healthy foods. Think crazy straws and edible spiders!

spidercrackers

Dr. Zimmerman, from Blue Ridge Pediatrics shares some new parenting resources available from their office. Parenting with Love and Logic is an amazing approach, using natural consequences and other ideas, which will revolutionize how you foster responsibility in your children.

love-and-logic

Local Mom Tiffany Christian  Reviews some techniques from two popular books:

sneaky-chef

deceptively-delicious

Click here for information on past shows.

And be sure to enter our Family Reading Giveaway!