At Peace with Screens…

This we are joined by Michelle Thompson, P.h.D, JD who writes about what screen time has meant to her only son.  And how she is at peace with it, at least for the moment.

 

I remember when Angry Birds was released as a game you could play on your device of choice. My sister’s partner let my son James play it at a restaurant. He LOVED it. He was five.

I downloaded the game on my laptop. That worked well because I wrote my dissertation on it, so he only had access to it when I wasn’t writing . . . and I was writing all of the time.

Fast forward to 2012, and I bought an iPad. I had games on it (Angry Birds and all its iterations), but it was MY iPad that I used to deliver college lectures and . . . edit chapters of my dissertation. That’s right, while James was hooked, he had limited access to that device.

Then James earned and was given rather large chunks of money as gifts. Do you know what he did with that money?

Buy an iPad.

I gave him an old smartphone of mine that didn’t work well. He wanted a new one. He bought an old model iPhone. With money he earned.

 

While Angry Birds no longer capture his imagination, YouTube, apps with endless memes, and Clash of Clans absolutely do. It’s not infrequent that you say something to him and get silence. I’ve been known to FaceTime with him – in the same house! It’s often the only way I can get his attention. My partner often gets nothing because he isn’t listening and she doesn’t use FaceTime (I think it’s fair to say that electronically, she’s the EXACT OPPOSITE of my son and I. She doesn’t use apps!).

However, he is the child who comes home and does his homework well. He participates in soccer and track. He’s actually really good at them. He twitches all the time if he doesn’t get enough exercise. He’s a great traveler and loves to cook. He spends time with our dog and practices the piano. His friends’ younger siblings LOVE him. He babysits.

He’s an only child, so I know that he’s easily bored. I know that boredom is often necessary to create.

But the screens get in the way.

Yes, I want this to change. I won’t give up the fight for figuring out how to separate him from screens without becoming entertainer-in-chief.

I don’t want this to be a never-ending fight. I want his mind in this with me. I want him to understand why this doesn’t work well for him. I know that much more connection with him is needed.

So for now, I’m at peace with his screens. For now.

Michelle Dionne Thompson, Ph.D., JD is the Founder and CEO of Michelle Dionne Thompson Coaching and Consulting, a primarily coaching business that works with women in law and academia to set and meet aligned goals sanely in the midst of insane industries. A recovering lawyer and a historian, she also teaches college and is writing her first book, Jamaica’s Accompong Maroons (1838 – 1905): Retooled Resistance for Continued Existence.

Visibility

What does it mean to be visible as a parent?  Am I ever going to be able to go to the bathroom alone or put my makeup on in silence?

 

Visibility.

It is something I think we all struggle with.  Because we are women because we are mothers because we live in a society that cares so much about what we look like.  We are immediately judged and are judging everyone on how we look.

It is written in our DNA, we are supposed to find the people who look like us so that we can be protected as babies.  So we can be cared for and nurtured.  So that we can belong and therefore be loved.

Yet if you have any small part of you that is an introvert, if you have ever told a secret in confidence and had that confidence spread like wildfire, then you have met up with issues around visibility.

It is not always safe to be visible, as women we inherently know this, even if we fight against it, we have been oppressed in so many different ways for so long, that we know this.  We know this. We have been oppressed in so many different ways for so long, that we know this.  We know this.

It isn’t always safe to be visible as moms.  I remember having my young daughters point out the truth of things.  My butt was getting big because I was pregnant and they told me about it repeatedly.

They watch my every move, all the time, from the moment they wake up until the moment they go to sleep and they have been doing this since the moment they were born, and they will always be doing this.  This was the burden I picked up when my first daughter was born.  This constant watching, and being the model for everything.  Because that is what our role is as mothers, there is no real getting around it.  We can deny it and pretend it doesn’t exist, but it is still there.

Because that is what our role is as mothers, there is no real getting around it.  We can deny it and pretend it doesn’t exist, but it is still there.

Lately, I have been noticing more gray hair.  It could just be that I inherited the early gray hair gene that runs in my maternal line.  Or maybe life has been stressful lately and this is the way my body is choosing to express it.  As a redhead, it is not as obvious as it would be if my hair was darker.

And so far my daughters haven’t commented on it.  But I wonder if my gray keeps coming if my youngest will remember me with red hair?  What gifts of visibility will I be handing off to her?

I constantly work with visibility in my business, in writing this weekly blog post and posting a weekly video on Facebook.  So far I am not going to lie and say it has gotten any easier.  What comes up each time changes, but easier.  Nope.

Being visible in the current world is not always easy or safe.

But the more we can be, the more we can shine our light in the darkness.  Which may help more women, daughters, mothers to shine their light as well.

How does visibility affect your parenting?

Chase Young is the founder of The Mommy Rebellion a place for judgment-free parenting.  She’s created a place to get tips, tools and support for what it is truly like to be a mother, stories from the trenches that show you you’re not alone.  Tips that real mothers use.  Tools to give to yourself and to your parenting friends to feel more focused, have more patience and energy, and feel less tired and snappy .  
You can follow Chase here on this blog, sign up for her newsletter here and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

When God Laughs: A Birth Story

Even with the best of intentions births do not always go the way we planned.  Actually, I am not sure any birth does, but sometimes they are more extremely off plans than others.

Today  Katie Gall shares what didn’t go right in her son’s birth, and her journey to motherhood.  And if you would like to hear more about her journey, check out her previous post here.

My little boy, Finn, was born on May 11 via C-Section.

He was due July 8.

The plan was thus:

  1. 1- Go into labor at home on or around July 8
  2. 2- Wait until contractions are close enough together
  3. 3- Grab our pre-packed go bag and head to the hospital
  4. 4- Do my best to deny drugs and at all costs avoid anyone sticking a needle in my spine
  5. 5- Have a vaginal birth
  6. 6- Start breastfeeding
  7. 7- Recover for 4-6 weeks at home
  8. 8- Back to work by mid/end of August

Yea, literally NONE of this happened.  

But you’ve probably heard this phrase before:

“Man plans and God laughs”

Now, I don’t love the term “God” personally.  There’s a lot inherent in that word that I don’t connect with.  But if there is an all-knowing being out there in the universe somewhere then he has been having a good old chuckle watching me try to navigate the past 4 months.

Here’s what happened instead, number by number:

1- Went into labor 2 months early on May 1.  Didn’t enter the hospital till May 3 because I was told I was just peeing myself.

2- Contractions started May 1, but then subsided until May 11 (which, in this case, was a great thing).  I ended up being in the hospital myself for one and a half weeks because leaving the hospital AT ALL meant putting Finn at risk for an infection (because apparently tons of shit just crawls up your vagina every day?!?!)

3- There was no go-bag ready.  Instead, my best friend sprang to action and packed all manner of things into a bag to be carted to Portland so that I had something besides a hospital gown to wear.

4- Right from the get-go we knew he was breech and that I didn’t have enough fluid for him to turn, so since this was my first pregnancy that meant a c-section.  Plus, during labor, they didn’t want to give me anything to help with the pain for fear of it slowing down his breathing AND they kept hoping that it was false labor so I couldn’t do any of the things to make labor more bearable (i.e. birthing ball, walking, etc.)  So I guess I sorta got half of this one?  Though since it ended in surgery, I’m not counting it.

5- …See above.

6- Once he was out he had to stay in the hospital till he could feed himself (among other things, but that took the longest.)  Which ended up being four and a half weeks.  And research has shown that babies grow best at home, not the NICU.  And it’s easier to feed out of a bottle than breast.  So we went the easier route and I pumped like crazy so that he could eventually eat out of a bottle (not exclusively). The hope was to transition him to breast exclusively when we got home but it turns out he HAAAAAAATES breastfeeding.  My child will probably be an ass man.  Or gay.  Which I guess also makes him an ass man (ba-dum ching!)

7- My recovery took place in the NICU.  Though, this was a blessing in disguise.  Because I am sure it’s hard as fuck to try to recover AND take care of a baby 4 days out from major surgery (which is what happens in the US of A.)

8- I’m close on this one.  Heading back just after Labor day.  But starting two months early makes this a lie too.

So imagine this.  There I was, pumping every 2 hours, feeding Finn every 3 through a feeding tube, then a bottle, and having to choose between my husband and my baby every night since both of us couldn’t stay in the hospital room.  At the nurse’s suggestion, I went back to where we were staying every night except 2 because they pointed out that we still had quite a road ahead of us once Finn got home.  There would be plenty of sleep deprivation in my future.

I cried almost every night I had to leave him.  And I cried during the days when they had to nick his heel to test his blood, or move his IV because a vein had blown, or any time he had to endure pain in any way.

And I let myself eat whatever the fuck I wanted.  This was a big deal for me, because I’m a health coach so being good about food and fitness are usually my forte.  I tried to make generally healthy choices, but I was pumping and emotional and hungry all the time and just couldn’t really get myself to give much of a shit about being perfect with my food.  And I just had surgery, so no fitness.

And as I mentioned, Finn didn’t like the boobies.  After many “fights” trying to get him to just FUCKING TAKE THE BOOB ALREADY (I never actually yelled at him… don’t worry), I broke down, did some soul searching, got some great counsel, and grieved the loss of my grand plan.  

Breastfeeding was a no-go, and I couldn’t keep pumping every 2 hours, feeding him every 3-4, and expect to stay sane.

Honestly, I’m still having a hard time with it.  I worry that I gave up too soon.  That I became too selfish about the schedule.  That a “good mom” wouldn’t choose her emotional needs over the most basic need of feeding her child.  How dare I be thinking and stressing about getting back to work when this little nugget in my arms needed my love and attention?

But the fact is, I was so unhappy.  My husband, mother, and friends all noticed.  Tears were constantly under the surface and, really, that is also not something that a “good mom” should allow.

Nothing went as planned with my birth.  I was hoping to do all the perfect mom things, to have this picture perfect moment in life, and instead I was thrown into the turmoil of imperfect solutions and constant self-doubt.

And so, with this piece, I hope to provide myself some relief.  And, hopefully, for those of you too who had a perfect “plan” for parenthood.  I give myself and you permission to release that frustration and surrender to whatever “higher power” you have.  I also give you permission to drink a glass of wine and scream into a pillow when you need.

Because ultimately, your child needs a parent.  A parent that loves them, feeds them, changes their diaper, listens when they are sad, and is always ready with a giant hug for their sorrows or a fire to light under their ass when they need to get it together.  

We aren’t here to be perfect.  We’re here to give love.  In the best way we can.

Katie Gall helps people discover the full power of their body’s ability to achieve optimal health, create a habit of self-love, and live in harmony with their body.

Katie Gall is a Health, Wellness and Empowerment Coach. She helps people discover the full power of their body’s ability to achieve optimal health, create a habit of self-love, and live in harmony with their body.

Bounce and Sway – What to do when you have no energy!

This is one of the first videos I ever did back in August of 2015.  But it is still something I do anytime my energy is low, even if I have to try and do it from a chair due to the broken ankle these days.

 

Posted by Chase Young on Saturday, April 25, 2015
Chase Young is the founder of The Mommy Rebellion a place for judgment-free parenting.  She’s created a place to get tips, tools and support for what it is truly like to be a mother, stories from the trenches that show you you’re not alone.  Tips that real mothers use.  Tools to give to yourself and to your parenting friends to feel more focused, have more patience and energy, and feel less tired and snappy .  
You can follow Chase here on this blog, sign up for her newsletter here and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

It’s Back To School Time

It is back to school season around the country and while my kids are homeschooled, my friend Kim Calichio volunteered to say some things about the adjustment period that is going on right now.

Kim runs The Connected Chef in New York and loves helping families connect to each other through the medium of food.  As a former sous chef at one of the best restaurants in NYC, Kim understands food at an intuitive level.  Instead of teaching recipes, Kim teaches techniques, because as a mother of two active little boys, she understands that sometimes reading a recipe takes more brain power than we have!

Join Kim in the video below and get some inspiration for making the adjustment to back to school.

Kim Calichio is the owner and visionary behind The Connected Chef.

The Connected Chef works with families to use food as a way to connect with one another.  Our children’s gardening and cooking classes and individual family programs both allow us to work with clients to problem solve the struggles of parenthood and food. The results: Kids who feel empowered to make independent & healthy food choices and develop a natural respect for their environment and community; Parents who are able to take a breath and connect with their kids instead of engaging in the ever present struggle of mealtime.

You can get your Quickstart Guide to Easy, Healthy Meals as a Family from Kim here.