Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Personal vs Professional Mom

I am still reeling from BlogHer '12.

This is a personal blog. I talk about things relevant to my life, and relevant to the lives of people that aren't near to me and want to keep in contact. I don't have a facebook (though I do tweet more than I'd like to), and this is a way to check in on what my parenting journey has been like. I like parenting, I like taking the advice of others and though I don't have many parent readers, maybe something I have said will pop out to anyone passing by.

This is my space, raw, uncensored, sarcastic, and real. This is not a place for consumerism.

At BlogHer '12, I got an opportunity to network and understand my role in the blogging world.

Anecdotes and my point of view drive this blog, and any parenting tips and tricks are from all sorts of sources. I read books, blogs and pick what is best for my family. It may not be the way every parent decides, but I do respect the different views.

So, I'm not a professional blog so far. I might have to start a new blog that is more friendly. I already have another opportunity to go back to the professional side of blogging with BlogHer. I'll update more as I find out about it.

Oh well. Can't say I didn't try. I'll work on it in the future.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Baby-ed Out

I have hit my limit on being a stay at home mom.

I have an interview in Indianapolis, and I had one phone interview already for a bank job. I just hope to find some work so I can really start to be ready to pay bills. I have money saved, but that's for if something really bad happens.

Being in between jobs counts as really bad off, right?

My reason for being sick of staying at home is I just don't get out much. Gas is expensive, and the only place that Z and I can really get to is the pool at our complex - but the sun is super dangerous still. Z is still not sleeping through the night so day by day is just a hassle. I'm constantly tired, I can't manage to stick to the sleep solution. Blah.

Time to move on with my life. Time to get out of where I am and get somewhere I am happy.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Nine Months!

Since my last few posts have been kind of mad/angry. Here are some happy things.

My Zelda is nine months old. She walks (almost runs), can say 'Elda' and 'dada,' and is the light of my life. Size 2 or 3 diaper, depending on the brand, 6-9 month clothing, and no shoes. She refuses to walk with shoes on, so I just let her run around barefoot. She is a food thief, and only eats the baby pears and apples. Anything else she rejects. But oh well, I wanted to do baby-led weaning anyway, so that's good.

I can't explain how much she has grown, so I figured I'd post up a picture of what she looked at at four days old, and now. Just to compare.

Four Days.

Nine Months.
I forgot to post up any video from BlogHer12, so here is Z and Daddy playing hide and seek in the hotel room.

Friday, August 17, 2012

How Far is Rock Bottom?

When will I hit rock bottom?

Is it getting fired from a job because someone lied about me? Is it losing my apartment because I can't find a new job? Is it having to move in with in-common-laws? Is it having to move back to Midland? Is it getting Z taken because I can't pay my bills?

I don't think I've hit rock bottom yet, but I feel like it is impending, and I keep falling. I was so close to being in the clear, being back at my job, and moving on. But now? Work can't make up their minds, I've already gotten a punishment, slapped with a violation for doing what any male staff would have done. I played the game and I jumped through all the hoops this time around.

No more.

Don't play me, don't decide to switch sides because of 'new information.' When there is a claim against me, if you never interview me there is bound to be new information - you haven't heard my side of the story!

Now I just wait and see. I can't go back there, I refuse to go back. I deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and not have to drag my child to interviews. I don't deserve to have my coworkers spreading lies and slandering me while I am not there. I have a family to provide for, and an internal drive to go to work.

I am not garbage. I am a human being.

So I ask the public - where is rock bottom? Is it in a halfway house? Is it welfare?

How am I going to make it through this?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Banning Formula will Promote Breastfeeding - FALSE

I am furious.


Why? I'll tell you why - Mayor Bloomberg has an initiative to ban formula (or hide it, or something) to force mothers to breastfeed their babies.

I am a lactivist, I have said this before, I love breastfeeding, I advocate for it, I support all mother's that choose to give that to their kids.

Key word in there: choose.

You want to promote breastfeeding, I have a few ways to do that.

1) Lactation consultants: The biggest problem for hospitals in GR are the lack of lactation consultants, or the availability of consultants. Often they come after the baby has finally gotten to sleep, are on strict schedules that don't allow time to come back in and check in with women. I can't tell you how many stories I have heard from women that the consultant came at a bad time, and refused to reschedule, or where unavailable because it's a weekend. Hire more consultant because the nurses have training but aren't certified. I loved most of my nurses in the hospital, but more time with someone more knowledge is essential to successful breastfeeding.
2) Breastfeeding groups: I know of two breastfeeding groups that meet in the GR area. We have FOUR hospitals. If every hospital put out a breastfeeding group, that would leave three days out of the week when there aren't groups. In all honestly, one hospital hosts a group on two different days, so good for them. More support available, means more women will seek help. I only came to a group because I happened to be there. More groups!
3) Post-partem doulas: I think that every new mom should have a post-partem doula. Someone to come home from the hospital and continue giving support. Even just to give a new mom a damn nap. Meet with them before birth, set them up with help to pay for it, or have insurance that covers it. Too many new moms are overwhelmed and that first week (ok let's face it, the first three months) is absolute hell for new parents.
4) In home care: Nurses that visit, dietitians to weigh the baby, lactation consultants to give help in the privacy and security of the home, and someone to just come and hang out while a new mom is adjusting. There should be more people coming to visit, which is why I am so lucky that I have had all of these. Mostly because I had arranged for it all. But I shouldn't have had to. Someone at the hospital should have all these visits lined up for the new mom, come and talk about it.
5) Breastfeeding friendly culture: The thing we need to change is our culture. We need to stop with comments from people that are 'disgusted' by seeing a nursing mother in public. More protection for women that are breastfeeding and need to express milk at work, allowing them as much time as needed to express milk. We need to show nursing mothers in media, in a positive light. Stop taking down pictures of nursing mothers on facebook, why hide a beautiful thing? Sometimes there is a little nip slip. But guess what? It's not because all nursing mothers are sexual deviants and enjoy being exhibitionists. Sometimes there is a squirmy baby. Deal with it. Breastfeeding used to be the only way to feed a baby. Applaud women for their courage in changing how they are viewed by the public. Nursing moms and bottles are the same thing - don't punish women for making a good decision for their baby.

Now why do I care if women formula feed. Honestly, it's not my call. If there wasn't formula, we would have a network of wet-nurses. There is an issue of choice here. I'm not going to tell a mom she has to breastfeed. I'm going to provide my time for her to give her an atmosphere that is supportive, give her advice, and ultimately love her for her decision. I have a friend that chose to breastfeed for six months and then switched to formula. Do I chastise her for 'giving up?'

NO. A loud resounding NO. She is free to make her choice, and she knows what's best for her son. I applaud her for breastfeeding for as long as she did, I wish I was closer to provide more support for her, or that we talked more often so I could have encouraged her to stick with it. But she made a choice and I support her ability to make that choice.

You know what Mayor Bloomberg, shame on you. Taking the choice away from women? That is the lowest of the low. I am against formula 'swag bags,' but there are so many ways to support breastfeeding moms. And of course there are medical reasons not to breastfeed - HIV, AIDS, babies that are allergic to human milk, and reasons I don't know about.

I am a lactivist - but I support choice.

(This post x-posted to BlogHer)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Four More Sleeps

My second day as a single mom was really not bad. Went to the psychologist, Zelda played almost all day. She was a total sweetheart most of the day. Still clingy, but we got everything done. Tomorrow is our typically 'busy' day. 

Hopefully a few days full of friends will help pass the time. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Single Mom - Again

Sean left this morning to go camping with his program. The last time he left me in charge of everything, I had to work, do all the babysitting stuff, and getting back and forth to Midland. When he came back I told him that he couldn't leave the state anymore for work and had to have a set day when he was going to be back.

Well, since I'm on temporary leave from work, I get to stay home, there is no skating this week, so here I am just doing what I do. Sean gets back on Friday, and it's me and Zelda until then. I have a few lunch dates planned, and my things all in order.

Finally started the sleep solution, and  it took me two hours to get Z through a 'bedtime routine.' It worked alright, a bath as soon as she started to rub her eyes, and then laying in bed. She was super mean with the nursing, two sucks then bounced off and rolled away, then dived bath with her mouth open and latched back on. But she finally fell asleep, and here I am writing a blog post.

Today hasn't been that bad with the mom stuff. Z has been super clingy, since she can walk to wherever I am and scream until I pick her up. But, now I only have five sleeps until Sean gets back.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Oogieloves - First Impressions of "New" Family Media

When I attended BlogHer 2012, I went to a session called 'The Power of Mom.' It was run by the creator of Teletubbies and Thomas the Tank Engine, Kenn Viselman and his team of PR reps, the director, and company. 
As I started to read the flyer that had been put out, I was struck by a few things. 1) It sounded a whole ton like 'One Million Moms.' If you haven't heard of them, they are dedicated to 'cleaning up the media.' I put that in quotes because they call out JC Penny for having Ellen Degeneres as their spokeswoman, and heaven forbid - she's a lesbian! What's next, a generation being raised by these heathens?! 
Well, yup. Because JCP put out an ad for father's day that had two men. Oh the horror.
The reason I don't like OMM is because they are bigots. And when I thought I was sitting in a new version of them with Oogieloves, I started planning my escape route. The session was super small, maybe fifteen people total, but I was near the front and within arms reach of the creator, and if I left what if he stopped me. And I was horrified that I might need to run away, and it was partly rude, but I didn't want to get caught up in a shitstorm of hate. 
But I stayed, and I'm kinda glad I did. 
The message of 'the Power of Mom' is this - there is no real G rating anymore. Even Disney which is 'kid friendly' has messaged that mom isn't important and truly adult themes. I started to look at my own collection at home that I had retrieved from my parents and saw all the missing moms. Aladin - no parents, Hunchback - no parents (crazy religious father figure though super scary), Lion King - surviving mom (Mufasa dies, so at least Sarabi makes the cut), Little Mermaid - no mom, only crazy strict dad, Pocahontas - dad, with spirit-y mom, but in general the parents are not represented well. 
My favorite by far was Mulan - transvestite with both parents that survive. Win. 
Basically I want to see this movie because it says there are no bad guy, no loss, it is teaching love and treating the movie as a stage play where the audience participates. It kind of reminds me of Bear in the Big Blue House, but I just want to see why this could be possible.
Part of me says, fuck it. Children have to grow up, learn that the world isn't sparkles and rainbows, it is los and hurt and frustration and bad situations. Parents don't always stay together, and there is adversity. No job or college or internship takes a kid that had a perfect home life, who lived an easy life. Our society treasures those that flourish in pain and hardship. No matter how smart you are, if you are white, upper-middle class, straight man - you will always lose to someone that had to struggle in life. 
'Family friendly media' can mean a lot of things, and perhaps I need to start writing guides to questions that may arise when Z really starts to watch movies and take in media that way. She can't sit still for a movie, and only watches when there is singing (and again, the AAP says no screen time before age 2, but I can already tell you that Z doesn't fit that criteria). 
Should I be sheltering Z? At what point to I tell her princesses and santa aren't real and its time to grow up? 

X-Posted to BlogHer here

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

There And Back Again - My First BlogHer

We got back from NYC to GR yesterday with a little pit stop in Midland. Apart from the crazy driving, BlogHer was a few things:

1) Overwhelming- There was so much to see, so much to do, and it was in NYC. Besides just conference stuff, there was the city to see, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, 9/11 Memorial, Central Park, etc. I didn't get to see everything, but I had been to NYC before. No way could I have made enough time to do everything I wanted (but I did get to see a really good friend a few times in my short stay, which was awesome).
2) Overstimulating- With all the sponsors and people all packed into a hotel there was just too much going on. There were smells and lights and talking and noise, and I needed to pace myself when it came to the expo hall. Also, I needed to pace Z since I had her with me for parts of the conference. She was a doll, but I could tell when she started to shred, and it was time for us to go back to the hotel room. I wish I dealt better with large groups, and it's something I need to work on
3) Challenging- Talking to other (successful) women bloggers made me challenge what I do. What do I blog about, who do I blog to, what should I blog about, who should I blog to? This is a personal blog, and I'm going to try and keep that separate from any revenue making blog I might start in the future. Because I'll be honest, working from home might be a nice little change from getting punched in the face part-time.
4) Inspiring- The sessions have given me a lot to thing about, and inspired me to try writing from my perspective and parenting style. It also has given me the tools to think about working from home as a writer (in fact I have already started applying to the BlogHer Publishing and the Book Club).

There's my new life plan - what do I want to be when I grow up? I want to write. I want to stay at home and do my work during naps and in the wee hours of the morning when everyone is asleep. I want to be there for my baby and give her all my time and still provide for her. It's going to be a rough start, but I think it can be done.

Friday, August 3, 2012

To NYC and Day 1 of BlogHer 2012

I have learned so much about blogging in the past thirty-six hours. But more than that, I got a chance to drive for a long time with Zelda in the car.

The drive from MI wasn't too bad. Z slept most of the time and had someone in the back of the car to entertain her the entire time. I pumped so we didn't have to pull off to nurse all the time, and as long as she couldn't see me, bottles were just fine.

We stayed in NJ with my mom's friend Pam. Wednesday then came into NYC on Thursday morning.

I got to see one of my close friends from Midland last night, and big news I ran/walked by first 5k this morning! The route was through Central Park, and I made a personal goal of doing it in under an hour. Well, bitches ain't shit, we did it in 42 minutes. I am so happy, and I feel so good about myself today. And it's my birthday, I am twenty-three today. It's a good age so far, and I dunno, even with all the drama (which I will write about at a later date once it's all worked out) I'm so happy.

Blogging conferences are so difficult though, trying to network, talking about products, and essentially feeling like a consumer whore.

I'm not really a consumer whore, I like capitalism, but I don't buy things ever. And since this is more of a personal blog rather than a tips blog, or a recipe blog, or a journalism blog or whatever. It's my thoughts, not really something that I use for selling ad space, or getting readers. I blog about my life for my friends and family and whoever manages to find my life entertaining.

Besides being a whore on twitter for the past few days, that's definitely going to stop. I know I just posted about how I don't have any time for that, but when its all tweet us and win things or tweet us and we'll sell you our first born children, I tweet. And everyone here is on their phones tweeting, and when I don't have Zelda, I have plenty of time for tweeting. Once I return to the real world, I am going to quit tweeting for a while. And instagram-ing.

BlogHer is hard for me personally because I don't do well with big groups of people. I don't like the noise, I like my privacy. It's hard.