For a WEGO Health Activist Award. Please consider supporting my nomination by entering your email here:
Welcome to Moms’ Month on Dr. Stephanie! This month I will be featuring guest posts from some awesome moms around the country. They will be sharing tips, tricks, and funny stories about motherhood. This will be a fun celebration – thanks for joining us! Today’s author is Chara Ramer. Welcome, Chara!
Hi! I’m Chara and I am the mama of two fabulous boys, ages 3 and almost 6. I work as a bookkeeper, but my passion is being with my kids as well as writing. I hope to write in such a way that opens dialogue where it is most needed but seldom happens. I hope to create a safe space for Moms to support each other in this journey.
To that end, I am getting my blog up and running: jesusdiapersandchardonnay.com.
So I gotta be honest…sometimes I really don’t like my kids. Take this moment to judge me all you want, but please keep reading. I love my kids. They are brilliant, adorable, fabulous, inspiring…and often exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, I really do usually like them, and I always love them. But being a mom is hard, and being nice to my kiddos day in day out is even harder.
I think the problem is that our society doesn’t give us space, or license to talk in such terms. We are all walking around pretending that we feel that raising children is this continuously fabulous and joyous experience that we are privileged to be a part of. And that is very true, some of the time. But the rest of the time, Mothering is hard work. Mothering requires great effort, endless sacrifice, and constant innovation. We are always on call, we never really have a day off, and our job description changes by the hour.
As moms we spend a lot of time feeling guilty, and this guilt keeps us from expressing what is really going on inside. But as with any difficult situation (and ladies, let’s face it, raising children is difficult), we can find comfort in knowing we are not alone. We can find refreshment in ideas from other like minded equally honest “colleagues.” We can find rest for our weary spirits sometimes if we just pause long enough to admit that this is really a struggle, and its okay not to love it every minute of every day.
So if you are reading this, and you do not struggle, then I applaud you, and even envy you. If you are struggling, but feel too scared to tell anyone, then think about taking a risk. Chances are, moms around you are feeling the same way.
Just go for total disclosure, and trust that other Mamas will feel relieved and empowered by your honesty. I mean don’t we all wonder who we can talk to when all you want to say is “I can’t stand being around my kid right now, I feel like I am a crappy mom, and all I really want to do is take a nap for 3 days.” If only each of us had another mom to call when we feel such things…
For instance, lately my 3 year old has been making me totally nuts. Literally “Bouncing off the walls” is an understatement of his behavior the past few weeks. Last week at my older son’s kindergarten graduation party, I had to run out to the car to grab something. I found a couple of my “Mommy friends” and said to them: “Could you keep an eye on him real quick? Because if I have to take him all the way out to the car and back, I might just give him away to someone.” They laughed, a bit awkwardly in that way we moms do when we don’t know how to respond to another mom. Then I smiled a big smile saying: “Of course I wouldn’t give him away, that would be crazy…I would sell him for money.” Their awkward smiles just got bigger. But beneath the somewhat strained smiles, was an element of relief that they weren’t the only ones having a tough time with their kids. As I walked out of the room I said with a big smile, “Clearly I’m just kidding…well, mostly kidding.”
Of course I would never actually put my 3 year old up for sale (does EBay even have a category for that?). But sometimes, just in joking about it (when the kids are clearly out of earshot and can’t be emotionally damaged by what I’m saying!), I find I can breathe a little easier.
Bottom line; let’s be a little more honest about the tough stuff. Let’s support each other a bit more by admitting that we all have our moments of extreme joy, and also extreme anguish when it comes to this journey called motherhood. And if all else fails, pour yourself a glass of wine or sparkling water with lime, sit down for a minute no matter how crazy the kids are, and remind yourself that you are fabulous, and your kids are so fortunate to have you as their Mama.
Welcome to Moms’ Month on Dr. Stephanie! This month I will be featuring guest posts from some awesome moms around the country. They will be sharing tips, tricks, and funny stories about motherhood. This will be a fun celebration – thanks for joining us! Today’s author is Melony Bishop. Welcome, Melony!
“temporarily retired” Occupational Therapist
Stay-at-home mom to Savannah – 16, Tyler – 10, Haley – 8, and Lexi – 5
Long Valley, NJ
As a mom, I’m a firm believer that “rules without relationship = rebellion”.
When I became a mom, my husband and I vowed that our relationships with our kids would remain paramount no matter what! I hope and pray that as my kids continue to mature, that I will be able to keep that promise.
Something I’ve learned recently is the reality that my kids need to be able to trust my responses to them. I have always thought that trust was kind of a one-way street between parents and kids…… parents needed to be able to trust their kids, not the other way around. What I have come to learn is that my kids need to be able to trust ME! They need to be able to trust that I will respect them, to trust that they can confide in me, to trust that I will not overreact to various situations, to trust that my love is unconditional, to trust that my yes means yes and my no means no, to trust that I will keep my word, to trust that I have their best interest in mind no matter what.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not consider my children equals to me, nor do I consider myself their “friend” before being their parent…… BUT my relationship with them needs to be a trustworthy one if I am to expect the highest level of fruit to be beared.
Kids are up against a lot of obstacles these days….. just as we were when we were young. I want my kids to trust that they can come to me with anything! In order for this to happen, I am finding that I must be diligent in my day-to-day responses to them so that I can remain a character in their lives that they can trust with all the nitty gritty of life. The old adage, “don’t cry over split milk” applies here. As a fairly reactionary type of person, I am likely to squeal and possibly rant and huff over an overturned glass at the dinner table……. to what result though? I must purpose to keep control over my responses and reactions in all the dailies of life if I’m going to lay a solid foundation on which my kids can firmly plant their feet, in order to be sure that they’ll bring me the bigger “spills” in life as they grow up.
Welcome to Moms’ Month on Dr. Stephanie! This month I will be featuring guest posts from some awesome moms around the country. They will be sharing tips, tricks, and funny stories about motherhood. This will be a fun celebration – thanks for joining us! Today’s author is Amy Greenamyer, PhD. Welcome, Dr. Greenamyer!
I’m a wife and mother of two who works as a psychologist in Louisville, KY. I specialize in infertility and pregnancy related adjustment, along with other women’s issues. I love napping, running, reading and snuggling with my family and the dog on a lazy Saturday morning.
Much of motherhood to me is about laughter– Laughter through tears, laughter that makes your sides hurt, laughter that you must stifle while hiding behind a magazine.
I have two kids, both of whom were born 10 weeks early. We have a combined 3 months experience with the NICU. Half-way into my son’s stay it was
Halloween time. Turns out that Build-A-Bear clothes fit preemies perfectly, and the company gives gift certificates to the NICU so parents can come pick a costume. Though tearful that we couldn’t trick-or-treat like a “normal” family, it was delightful to see these tiny babies dressed as turkeys, Santas and in Hawaiian garb.
My kids are healthy, happy typical 3 and 6 year olds now and bottomless pits of goofiness. Yesterday I actually had a debate with my son that he couldn’t use his ukulele as a pogo stick. They have picked up on my husband’s frustration while driving as noted by my son yelling “you dumb broad!” to a car who cut me off. It was all I could do to discipline him thru my inner laughter. My daughter dresses herself in the most unusual combinations of clothes and is proud to be unique.
Parenting is hard. I frankly don’t like the chronic nature of motherhood. There aren’t any vacations from the constant worry about their well-being. However, the absolute hilarity of what comes out of their mouths at any given time makes it all worth it for me. Take time to laugh with (and at) your kids. The endorphins released while laughing is good for you and it teaches your kids not to take life so seriously.
This year the process is particularly special. We just rebuilt our backyard and put in several new garden beds; we have been watching workmen transform a bit of the open mountain behind our house into a home for all our delicious dreams. We’re putting in fruits, vegetables and herbs, hopefully enough to substitute for the farm share we used to get weekly. Right now our garden is all anticipation, and for me is the fruition of many years of “halfway” gardening in various combinations of limited space, poor soil, pots only, unfavorable climates, or limited time. This year, we are fully committed.
Gardening for me is an invaluable asset to my mental health for several reasons. First and foremost, I love good food. Fresh, flavorful produce is one of my greatest passions in life, and the best way to get it is to grow it myself. I love to cook and to feed healthy, delicious meals to my family, and gardening helps me do just that. Secondly, I love plants. As a Naturopathic doctor and herbalist, I use plants as medicine, but even more than that, there is something amazing about getting to know the intricacies of how mother nature works. Each plant has its own ideal soil conditions, watering needs, and interactions with other living beings from soil microbes to the animals who consume it. For me to learn about and understand plants helps me feel more connected to the planet and to my spirit because it helps me understand how interconnected every living being on the planet is. Finally, gardening gets me outside, breathing fresh air, moving my body and getting my mind off of things. Somehow, fiddling around with the vegetables helps me lose track of time and lets the stress melt away.
But back to February. One of the most satisfying parts of gardening is that if you follow the process, you reap great rewards at the end. In February, I buy my seeds and starting medium, resurrect the seedling trays from the garage, and start counting down the days to planting. Mid-March, seeds go in, trays go under the grow light, and the watering and watching begins. 5 or 6 days later, we have sprouts, a couple weeks after that I transplant sprouts, a few weeks later transplant again, and a couple weeks after that we start hardening off so our baby tomatoes get used to living in the outdoors. Mid-May my tomatoes finally get to go to their home in the ground, and from there it’s just pruning, watering, and finally in August my BLT dreams come true! I’m excited about all the food we’re growing, but there’s just something about tomatoes that feeds the soul.
CREATE Mental Health Week is coming!
Next week Dr Stephanie will be hosting crafters, artists, and other creative folks from around the country! Check back for simple, creative tutorials as well as information about how CREATING helps maintain mental health.
Want to promote the event on your blog or site? Thanks! Feel free to grab the button on the right! Thanks and look forward to seeing you next week!
Making the decision that it’s time to see a psychologist can be a tough one. Deciding who to see can be even more difficult. I have written previously on both of these topics. Last week I blogged about the next step – your first appointment. Specifically, I made some suggestions about what to bring.
Over the weekend I did some more thinking about that topic. In addition to the items I have already mentioned (insurance card, form of payment, pen and paper, water, etc) another important thing to bring to your first session are questions for your psychologist. Specifically:
1. Do you have experience treating people similar to me?
2. How often do you typically see people (i.e. once per week, twice per week, every month?)
3. Can you estimate about how long I might be in treatment? (This can be a tough question to answer but worth asking nonetheless)
4. Is there anything I can do to help make treatment more effective? Books I might read, movies I might watch (I recommend movies all the time!), TV shows that might help me (Hoarders is an example of a past recommendation).
5. How can I most easily contact you if necessary? (I like email for business-type questions and appointment changes. I prefer phone calls for anything clinical in nature.)
Any good questions I missed? Or other things to bring to a first appointment that you can think of?
As the new school year begins, many families have discussions about new rules, curfews, chores – and often – technology. In my office I hear a lot of kids start conversations like:
“Mom, don’t you know that ALL 6th graders have a Facebook accounts!!”
“Dad, how am I going to know what is going on with my friends if I’m not on Facebook?!?”
As parents we are challenged to keep up with technology and its significance in our children’s lives. And before we answer “NO WAY!” or “Sure” to our kids’ requests for a Facebook (or other social networking site) account, I think it is important that we think carefully and talk thoughtfully about the question at hand.
The On-Line Mom (one of my favorite sites for parents) recently wrote a blog article about the pros and cons of Facebook for kids. They outlined some great points about the importance of technology in kids’ lives, as well as the dangers. With their points in mind, and understanding that each family needs to make their own decisions about the role of social media, here are some guidelines to help determine if your child is ready to enter the world of social networking:
- Computer literacy. While most tweens and teens I know have far more knowledge about computers than I do – not all are tech savvy – and Facebook is not the place to learn. Make sure your child knows their way around a computer and the internet before opening an account.
- Open communication. Parents should feel confident that their relationship with their child is on solid ground before an account is opened. Why is a good relationship important? Because open, honest, and frequent communication between you and your child is critical during their use of Facebook. Parents should be assured that their child will feel comfortable coming to them with problems or questions if they arise.
- No pressure. Most of us parents are guilty, at one time or another, of giving in to our child’s wishes to look cool, make up for a slight, or get them to like us better. This might be ok in some situations (making their favorite cookies, taking them to yet another vampire movie) but it is definitely not OK in this situation. As noted above, each family has to come to this decision on their own – coercion should not be a factor.
- Right vs. wrong. Before opening a Facebook account, children should be able to discuss with their parents appropriate (and destructive) on-line behavior. Kids (and parents) should understand the impact of bullying, friending, and talking to strangers on-line. Facebook and internet etiquette should be understood by everyone involved.
- Set guidelines. One of the last steps that parents and children should take before setting up a Facebook account, is to set up guidelines or rules for use. Will there be set times for Facebook use? Will mom or dad have to approve friends along with their child? How often will parents monitor their child’s use? What types of things are appropriate to include on a status update? At what point will Facebook use be suspended?
Stay tuned for my upcoming post: Am I Ready to Have a Child on Facebook?