Yet Another Woman’s Perspective

When I was little, my older brother and I argued a lot. When my dad would get fed up with our bickering, he would mock us in a shrill voice, whining, “I hate you. You hate me. I hate you more. Waah, waah, waah.” It made us realize how annoying we were and usually got us to stop.

I can’t help but think of this as I see what is currently happening in our nation. We have become so incredibly selfish on both sides. It is so sad. As I review coverage of the Women’s March on Saturday that took place in several cities worldwide, I have such mixed feelings. On one hand I think, “Yeah! Women are making history right now!” On the other hand I can’t believe how much vulgarity has been embraced to get a point across.

I get it. It’s protest art. Expression comes in many forms and sometimes vulgarity is the one guaranteed way to be heard, to get noticed, to (seemingly) be taken seriously. But I personally, have a very difficult time understanding those who diminish the purpose of such an important movement by dousing it in tasteless expletives and crude images. I kept thinking about how amazing it would have been to take my daughter to witness a women’s movement first hand. It would have been incredible to show her what the suffragists did to earn us the right to vote.

There were so many things represented at Saturday’s march that are invaluably important to me, and that I hope are important to her when she is old enough to understand. Things like pay equality, access to healthcare, environmental preservation, protection from human trafficking, and abolishing rape culture in our society. However, we didn’t go because my 5-year-old daughter doesn’t need to be exposed to illustrations of bloody vaginas. My little fashionista doesn’t need to know that the pink hats everyone was donning (and that she probably would have wanted for herself) are referred to as “pussyhats,” and no, not because those ladies like cats. My young reader doesn’t need to add abortion or c-u-n-t to her vocabulary. She’s too smart to see something on a sign and not ask what it means. She’s too innocent to understand any of it. And she, even at 5, is too deserving of respect and honesty for me to lie to her if she did ask. So, we didn’t go.

I came to find out, afterward, that we probably wouldn’t have been welcomed anyway. In fact, we may have even been turned away. You see, access to healthcare for women is something that I mentioned is very important to me. WARNING: Unpopular opinion! To me that doesn’t mean abortion specifically. I, personally, am pro-life. You will never convince me otherwise. That does NOT make me anti-woman. It is so much more complex than that.

I believe women should have affordable access to healthcare. I believe women should have a safe place to receive medical services. I believe women should have affordable access to contraceptives, Paps, mammograms, and breast ultrasounds. I believe women facing unplanned pregnancy should be informed of ALL the possible choices they could make, and the long-term consequences of those choices. I believe women in these situations should have access to counseling, prenatal care, and adoption coordination services. Healthcare for women shouldn’t be more expensive just because our anatomy is different or because we carry a greater reproductive responsibility than men. I learned that my less-popular opinion about one component of women’s healthcare may have invalidated my presence and opinion on every other issue that was covered on Saturday. Ridiculous, if you ask me. Ridiculous if you ask the women who were turned away too.

The other thing that bothered me about Saturday’s march was its trigger. The march was organized after Trump was elected to be POTUS. Sorry to break it to you ladies, but Trump is not the source of our problems. Yes, he may perpetuate traits that we hate, and yes, he has been elected into a huge position of power, but quite frankly, we should have been marching decades ago. Pay inequality is nothing new. Sadly, rape culture may as well be referred to as the status quo. And we’ve been burning our planet into oblivion for a long time now. I understand that women are worried about what this administration is capable of doing. However, we needed to paint signs and get riled up a long time ago. And we need to be motivated by more than just our current government to stand up for what we believe is right. It starts in our homes. It begins with how we raise our sons and daughters. It is affected by how we work and who we choose to work for. It is built on how we treat other women, how we treat others in general, and how we treat ourselves.

Again, my feelings about Saturday’s march are very jumbled up right now. I am proud to be a woman. I am delighted to live in a country where so many women were able to stand up and march for their cause. I do wish that it would have been more inclusive of every woman who wanted to be there, and I wish that it could have been more appropriate for women of all ages.  With that said, I do think the 2017 Women’s March opened some eyes and started some conversations. So now, ladies, the world is watching. What are we going to let them see? What are we going to stand for? How are we going to present ourselves?

What To Pack for School Lunches

If you checked out my last blog about How to Become a Meal Planning Master, you’re probably wondering what our family eats when there aren’t leftovers for lunch without having to buy extra groceries. This post will mostly show you what my kid’s lunches look like during the school week. Don’t worry, this isn’t a crazy long list of a million different packed lunches like you may have seen floating around online. Honestly, what working mom has the time or money to do a completely different packed lunch for their kiddo every single day? I know I don’t. Plus, seriously, my kids are 5 & 8…they like eating the same sorts of things. They don’t need a new gourmet dish for every lunch. Kudos to you if you are a bento lunch expert. Maybe I’m just slightly jealous of your capabilities, but these lunches are a little more practical for our family.

I hit the jackpot with my kids’ school because there are no restrictions on what they can bring for lunch. It wasn’t always that way. My son was at a different school when he started kindergarten, At that school, if he even thought of bringing anything with nuts in it, he would be banished to a table with all the other exiled children who made the same mistake. My son hated it. PB&J is his absolute favorite type of sandwich, but it made him feel like he was in trouble when he had to be separated from his friends for wanting it in his lunch. Now that my kids are at their current school, I am so appreciative that they don’t segregate students based on what’s in their lunchbox. It makes it so much easier to pack lunches that my kids like and lunches they will eat.

My goal when I pack lunches for school is to pack enough food to get them through the day, but not so much that it will be wasted. I also try to pack items that will keep in their insulated lunchboxes until their scheduled lunchtime. Once the weather gets a little colder, I’ll whip out the thermoses and throw some warm entrees in the mix. We’ve had unusually warm weather this fall though, so they have just had cold lunches so far this school year. Their lunches will always have a source of protein, a fruit or veggie (or both), a complex carbohydrate, and a drink.

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Cashews, clementine, sweet peppers, homemade yellow squash muffin,banana/granola bar

 

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PB&J sandwich on whole grain seed bread, Applesauce, Celery sticks, Goldfish crackers
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Yogurt, Banana/clementine, Veggie stix, PB&J sandwich crackers
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Cheese tortilla roll-up, hummus, celery sticks, granola bar
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PB&J sandwich on whole grain seed bread, roasted almonds, clementine
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Tuna salad, Ritz crackers, Apple slices, Granola bar

These are just a few examples of what my kids usually have in their (mostly) vegetarian packed lunches. I stick with what I know my kids like and what I already have on hand. The main way to keep these simple lunches from getting old and boring is to switch up what veggies and fruits accompany them. I shop seasonally. That helps me save money and add some variety.

The most important thing to remember is that deciding what to pack shouldn’t be a complex task. It’s school lunch, not a gourmet cooking competition show. Just be sure your kiddos are getting the right nutrition and eating enough food to get them through their school day. What do you pack for your kids’ lunches? Share in the comments below!

 

You Are Still a Good Mom, Even on the Bad Days

After my son was born, I went back to work when he was just 2 weeks old. I didn’t want to, but my husband and I were in a place financially where I needed to. The things I struggled with then are the things I still struggle with today. Keeping up with family schedules, proving to be a dedicated employee, striving to be the perfect wife and mother, and maintaining the home is demanding. I am constantly trying to balance my career and my home life, which can be extremely stressful at times.

There are days when I feel like I have everything together. Everything goes according to plan and on schedule. If I’m being honest, those days are few and far between. A lot of the time I feel like I am totally underwater. The kids have their own agenda, running around the house like a couple wild hyenas trying to get all their crazies out before dinner. My husband has to finish a work project, which isn’t helped by the noise so generously provided by said hyenas so then he gets frustrated. Meanwhile I am trying to tame the hyenas while pacifying my stressed out hubby and making dinner simultaneously. That’s just within the first 15 minutes of being home!

It’s enough to make a mom lose her mind! Some nights, I have all the patience in the world, but other nights I snap. I get angry. I yell at my kids, who are admittedly just being kids, excited to be home at the end of the day with mom and dad. I turn a cold shoulder to my husband. Despite apologies, I feel horrible about all of it after the fact, which just makes it that much worse. Nights like this make me feel completely defeated. They make me feel like a bad mom and wife. They make me wonder what I am doing wrong.

It totally sucks because no one else talks about it either. No mom wants to tell anyone that she lost her temper and handled her anger in the wrong way. No wife wants to say that she got mad at her husband for no logical reason. Heaven forbid that we admit we were wrong and made a mistake when our emotions got the best of us. Stop the presses when we realize we are just human and no one person can really do it all. If you say you can, I kindly call bullsh*t. Yup. I said it.

Where did this idea even come from? Why do we think we can’t be honest about the daily struggles that accompany being a spouse or a parent? Is it mom-shaming? Is it ego? Is it lack of support? It feels like our society went from “It takes a village” to “I can do it myself and I can do it better than you!” What are we trying to prove? I think sometimes we can put ourselves in the “I can do it myself” mindset because we don’t want to admit that sometimes we do need help. I personally have a lot of pride about all the things I manage to juggle, and for the most part, juggle well.  Pride can be my own worst enemy though.

For example, it took a really long time for my husband and I to acknowledge that our son has ADHD. Our pediatrician just happens to specialize in neurodevelopmental disorders. He knew that, from a very young age, our son was exemplifying all of the characteristics and symptoms of an ADHD child. We, being the prideful parents we are, held off on a medical treatment plan in hopes that we could correct the problems our son was having with alternative methods. We tried things like changes to his diet, essential oils, supplements, therapy, different parenting strategies and nothing seemed to help at all.

We were pulling out our hair trying to figure out how we could have a better relationship with our child when he was literally difficult to be around. Ouch! What kind of awful parent am I to admit that?! But it was true! I love my son unconditionally but our relationship was truly strained. After exhausting all of our options, we finally agreed with the pediatrician to start a medicinal regimen. It was like sudden world peace in our home! We could have improved our entire family’s situation months in advance if our pride hadn’t gotten the best of us.

I think another thing that gets in the way of reaching out for help is the fear of judgment. Unfortunately, often times uneducated individuals can be the most judgmental. Using ADHD as an example again, anyone who has the opinion of “There ain’t no such thing as ADHD. It just bad parenting,” is obviously an idiot. Anyone who is educated and informed on the topic knows better. Don’t let someone invalidate your problem just because they know nothing about it. After all, you are reaching out for help, not to be put down.

On the other hand, if someone is reaching out to you, be mindful of how you respond. It’s easy for anyone to take a problem to the internet and try to google a solution. It takes a lot of courage to seek help from someone you know. If a person trusts you enough to come to you with their problem, listen to them. Don’t dismiss them. Don’t judge them. Assess the problem and offer your advise. Be encouraging. Be supportive. The person reaching out to you clearly admires your perspective. Be worthy of that.

To you, mom who might be reading this, don’t be discouraged. You aren’t doing anything wrong. The bad days happen. We lose our tempers. We make mistakes. It is 100% okay to admit when you are wrong. It is 100% okay to need help. It will never make you a bad mother or a bad wife to say it out loud. We are resilient. We learn. We adapt. We better ourselves.

Don’t Lose Your Spirit, Little One

My littlest started kindergarten a couple weeks ago. I was able to hold it together as my pintsized free-spirit skipped off to class in her pink princess cowgirl boots. I was a proud mom, delighted that my girl was confident enough to enthusiastically begin the school-year. It was such a happy and exciting moment for us. In the back of my mind I was thinking, “I hope she never loses that.” I hope she never loses that confidence or her enthusiasm for new experiences.

My daughter is fearless. Okay, maybe not fearless, but if there aren’t any spiders in the room, she is fearless. She has rarely ever been afraid to try something new. She will taste funny-looking foods. She will jump as high as she can on a trampoline. She will cover herself head to toe with dirt and delight in it. She will scale the side of a mountain on all fours through the tricky part of a trail. She does all of this in a way that encourages whoever is with her to be just as bold.

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Not only is she fearless, but she is strong. An eight mile hike ain’t got nothin’ on my petite beast. My husband and I used to refer to her as “Hank the Tank” because she’s so tough. If she falls, she gets right back up. If she doesn’t get something right the first time, she’ll try again. If she’s not sure about why you’re asking her to do something, she will question you. If I’m being honest, sometimes that seems like more of a curse, but trust me. It’s a blessing.

She is so compassionate too. She is always considerate of others and their feelings. She is a friend to everyone. She forgives and doesn’t hold grudges. She’s an amazing, bright sparkle of hope for a world that is growing dull and bitter.

I pray that God will guard her heart as she gets older and starts to realize how cruel people can be. I hope she never has to hear the whispers of other girls talking about her instead of to her. I hope that she never questions how beautiful she is. I hope she never values the opinion of someone else so much that it makes her deny who she is. I pray that she won’t be broken to then be remolded into an empty shell, void of the dreams and extraordinary imagination that she carries with her now.

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I think no matter how big she gets I will always see her as a bare-footed, crazy-haired blur of movement. I’ll think of her sloppy kisses and her irresistible cuddles that I know won’t always be offered. I have big hopes for this tiny soul. I hope I can encourage her, protect her, and comfort her. I hope I can build her up when she feels like others are trying to tear her down. I hope she will command respect and be respectful to others. I hope she will speak her mind. I hope she will take risks. I hope she will love. I hope she will soar.

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