Mother’s Day

To all the mothers out there I want to wish you a Happy Mother’s Day! Sometimes being a mother is the toughest job out there but also the most rewarding. I hope that each of you are taking a couple of moments to pat yourselves on the back and recognize all the good work you’ve done so far. And keep in mind my rules for being a great mom:

Show up everyday

Love your children

Try to make the best decisions you can with the information you have

Never give up and be tough when needed

Sometimes You Gotta Be Sneaky

My oldest son is very thin. This isn’t a bad thing. My husband and I were both really thin growing up. So there isn’t a worry about his weight itself. But I do worry about his nutritional intake. Left up to him he would subsist on Chick-fil-a sandwiches (which are delicious). So, over the last few months I have been attempting to inject more nutrition into his diet. Here is my approach.

Approach 1 – Keep more stuff in the freezer for him to eat instead of running to the fast food joint

I made burritos with his favorite fillings. I wrapped each one individually and placed in the freezer. Now all he has to do is just heat it up in the microwave. This way I know he has eaten something that is lower in sodium than the burritos you buy in the grocery store. Next time I make them I will post details on how I did it.

I made individual sloppy joe pies. I have a post on Pinterest with all the details. You can find it here:

The key is all homemade ingredients and trying to inject vegetables. I try to sneak in puréed spinach whenever possible. Using fresh ingredients also helps keep him away from processed foods and higher sodium foods.

Approach 2 – Smoothies

I am trying to get up in time to make a smoothie for the boy in the morning that he can drink on his drive to school. Right now he seems to like one with frozen bananas, frozen strawberries and orange juice. This morning I tried a monster green smoothie and modified it by adding some strawberries and a little agave syrup. He drank it but prefers the one above. Maybe I will sneak in a little spinach in the regular one. Here is the link to the monster green smoothie:

http://iowagirleats.com/2012/01/04/my-top-secret-diet-weapon/

Approach 3 – Healthy Snacks

This past couple of weekends I have made Banana Nut Bread. I try to up the nutrition by using wheat flour. I slice the loaf up and wrap individual slices. This way he can grab a slice and head off to school. Here is the recipe I use:

http://www.food.com/recipe/starbucks-banana-walnut-bread-384181

This morning I made chocolate covered banana slices. I plan on keeping these in the freezer so either of the boys can grab as a snack.

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Overall I think I am making progress. I am nowhere near where I would like to be but I keep trying. My youngest has even worse eating habits and is picky. We do make dinner at home most every night and keep trying to get him to eat new things.

Wish me luck and let me know what you do to try and inject more nutrition into your lives.

Why the Judgment?

Have you read any of the press about Guiliana Rancic’s comment that she puts her marriage before her baby? More importantly, have you read the comments section of the articles? The comments are cruel, unfair, judgmental.

If you like, you can read one of the many articles and comments here:
http://moms.today.com/_news/2013/03/02/17163522-giuliana-rancic-puts-marriage-first-child-second?d=1

Unfortunately this is a sad part of parenting. Fellow parents are so quick to judge and criticize kver silly things. I see it everywhere. In the media, in the comments sections of news articles and blogs and in my own hometown. I know I personally have been whispered about at my sons’ elementary school as “oh, his mom works.” As if it explains every minor transgression my child has ever made. I have had a perfect stranger shout at me when my youngest was 2 and bolted away from me and ran into a busy parking lot before I could catch him. The stranger didn’t know that my son had never done that before and doesn’t know that he never did it again. Unfortunately, children don’t come out of the womb knowing that you shouldn’t run into a busy parking lot and lots of other things.

I understand the criticism when children are being neglected or mentally, physically, sexually or verbally abused. Those children need us to be their voices. To cry loudly when they have been treated unfairly. To ensure that we intervene on their behalves by calling the authorities or reporting abuse through hotlines. This is where we need to focus our attention and our voices.

Our children benefit when we lift each other up as parents. It’s a struggle to be a good parent on a daily basis. We all try to make good decisions and weigh the consequences of everything we say to our children and things that we let them do. I personally have benefitted from having a strong group of friends that I can rely on for solid advice. I can be honest with them about my struggles and my children’s struggles. They are always a good sounding board and helpful. And yes, sometimes they might even offer some criticism. Criticism, when it conmes from a good place, has helped me be a better parent.

Let’s focus on criticizing parents who are truly abusive and neglectful. Let’s report them and make a stronger effort to keep them safe.

Seriously with Lulu

Seriously, we have to go through this again? You seriously leave this crap under your bed? I am pretty sure we have had this conversation many times and I have taken many photos of the crap you leave under your bed. And you did it again? Seriously? How many times do we have to go through this talk? It is gross. It attracts bugs. It could damage the nice floors we put in your room. Yet, you persist. Seriously!

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Ahhhh…the lovely joys of parenting a teenager. They seriously don’t understand what gross means. Seriously. It is a good thing I love you with all my heart or I might have to kick you out. Seriously.

Here is a previous version of another mess I pulled out from under his bed:

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You can call me Frank

When it comes to discussing sex with my boys you can call me Frank. My mom did a great job of discussing sex with me and my siblings and I am trying to emulate her in my own style. You could discuss anything with my mom and she said we should consider it to be like talking about your elbow. It’s just your body and you shouldn’t be ashamed to talk about how it functions.

Having said that, I have been surprised by some of the questions that have come my way. Other children with older siblings and unlimited access to the Internet have helped my sons pose questions that I wasn’t prepared to answer. I won’t repeat the questions because they were pretty graphic. But it did lead to a discussion about healthy, normal sex between two loving partners.

Here is one tip…bookmark urbandictionary.com. It helped me with my own education.

In the end, all questions have opened a door for me to share my opinions on sex, relationships and morality. There is nothing wrong with that, no matter how the door was opened. Don’t be afraid to walk through that door.

I’m not Guilty

There is always a lot of talk in the media about work, motherhood and guilt. While I have struggled with being a good parent, I haven’t struggled with guilt over working outside of the home. Don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing anyone who may feel guilty. I feel guilty about many aspects of my parenting. Working outside of the home just isn’t one of them.

When I originally wrote this post I listed all of the reasons that I don’t feel guilty about working. However, in the end my reasons aren’t important to anyone but me. Everyone should make a decision based on their own circumstances.

What is relevant is that I made a choice with confidence in my decision. I enlisted the help of my husband and family to help me. I weighed the reasons why I was going to work outside the home and the reasons were important to me.

It doesn’t matter which choice you make. It matters that you are doing the best you can with the information you have at that time. And remember, no matter your choice you can always make a different decision if circumstances change or if it’s just not working for you.

This parenting gig is so much harder than I thought it would be

I honestly believed before I had children that I was going to be an awesome parent.  My plan was to give lots of love with firm discipline. It turns out that parenting is so much harder than I ever imagined.

Fast forward to today.  Here’s what I’ve learned about parenting:

I love my children more than I thought possible.

Both of my boys have completely different personalities and require different parenting techniques.

When either one of them are struggling, be it school work, sickness, behavior, getting along with peers, romance, you name it, my heart breaks.  It sometimes feels as if someone has stuck a knife in my belly anytime something isn’t going right in their lives.

Teenagers will take advice from a perfect stranger before they will take your advice.

First love sucks.  It is drama and angst filled and you will be drawn into it.

Sometimes you just need to hang in there with whatever difficulty they are having.

Sometimes you have to be tough.  You have to follow through on tough discipline and you have to fight for them.

People are quick to judge your parenting.

I am sure that there are things that I’ve left off the list.  But if I were to summarize all of it in a nutshell I would say that it’s really all about hanging in there, cherishing the small moments of love and laughter, loving them, fighting with them and fighting for them.

It really is so much harder than I thought it would be.  And so much more rewarding.