Parenting

10 Resolutions Every New Parent Should Make This New Year

10 New Year's Resolutions Every New Parent Should Make for 2017

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2016 has been a rager, y'all. We all know it. But during this crazy year, I've learned a ton about parenthood, womanhood, personhood, wholeness, and what the nebulous concept of "self care" looks like in real life and not on Instagram. I compiled a list of these gleanings I hope might help you make a totally doable plan for 2017 that will make your year and your heart shine.
I wish you a very Happy New Year!

<3 MMT

Resolve...

1. To stop feeling obligated to read parenting books.

If you happen to love reading every parenting book that hits the library shelves, that's fantastic, but I'm not really talking to you. I'm talking to the parent who reads these books like generals read tactical guides; to the mom who finds herself feeling more anxious with each conflicting approach she reads about; to the dad who has read so many books he can't quite put his finger on what he believes or values anymore. You're a great parent. Right now. In this moment, with all the knowledge you have in your head and all the love you have in your heart.

Only read books about parenting in 2017 if you expressly want to and see what comes of it.

2. To prioritize yourself.

Just do it. Schedule appointments to take care of yourself and stick to them as diligently as you would to appointments you make for your child, your pet, or your partner. If you do not fully come into the knowledge that you are just as valuable a part of your family as your children and partner, you won't be able to commit to this, and you are important. True story.

3. To prioritize your partnership and/or friendships.

Pro partnership tip: when you get away from the place where you live, alone, you have more to talk about than who fed the dogs and when daycare is having the class picture and where to allocate the tax refund. Who knew?! (Note: tons of people. Tons of people knew. I apparently just found out and it blew my mind.) Resolve to get away from all your responsibilities a few times a year and don't let anything stand in the way of doing just that. 

4. To make plans with less in mind.

Do you really want to do all the things you do? Probably not. And there are so many things that you must do regardless of whether or not you enjoy them (lookin' at you, DeKalb County DMV) So why not put major focus and intention into what you do get to pick out for your own enjoyment? You're not obligated to attend every birthday party, festival, MLM invitation, volunteer meeting, sale, rally, recital, book club, or sorority function to which you are invited. Be choosy about what gets your attention and time.

5. To let go of managing your child(ren)'s emotions.

Because you can't. You can't manage their emotions any more than you can manage your boss' or partner's or barista's. And if you let it, that notion can be really freeing. Remembering that I didn't need to manage how my kids were feeling but rather support them through whatever they were going through changed the game for me entirely, mothering-wise. Managing kids' emotions by disallowing them to problem-solve or experience sadness, disappointment, anger, etc. robs them of the skills that result from learning how to get through horrible events like a stolen graham cracker or a broken Polly Pocket. (Is that even a thing anymore? Doubtful.)

6. To nix entertaining conventions that don't resonate.

Look, I'm just going to say it, and it's really not popular so I'm going to drop this knowledge and quickly bounce: if traditions and conventions don't resonate with your family, your values, your budget, your worldview, or your beliefs, nix that shit and move right on along. And since you're also resolving to stop managing people's emotions, you'll know that people's reactions to and feelings about this are just not your business.

7. To look for the absurdity in everything.

Look for the absurdity in everything, and you will find it. If you can't recognize how utterly nuts it is that your toddler will cry hot, bitter tears and tell on you to Grandma because you cut her toast the wrong way, you're in for a world of bummer after bummer. Recognize how insane these tiny people are and you'll probably end up laughing a lot more.

8. To edit and donate hand-me-down's seasonally.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA JKJKJKJKJK

9. To read to your child(ren) every day.

No need to explain this one, science has pretty much covered that.

10. To ration your fucks.

The photo that may change your mind.

The photo that may change your mind.

Hundreds of people have contacted the family reporting that they either didn't know the facts about car seat safety, didn't care about them, or both...before the post. But now, over 200 children are sitting safer in their vehicles because of what their parents read. That is AMAZING!

I'm The Monster Who Didn't Cry.

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My younger son started preschool last week.

In the early spring months, we searched for a program we liked that fit our needs and came across a fantastic place that reminded me of my beloved CCES in Greenville, SC that had been the foundation for my love of school.

We researched the caregivers, we spoke to many parents who had children enrolled in the program. My husband and I vetted every aspect of this operation, from the food served to the music they listened to. "Yes, but how many times are you willing to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar in a row?" Eventually, we decided to move forward, all our criteria satisfied and all our questions lovingly answered.


It's important, just for the context of the story, to tell you that my very first memory that I can identify is gazing at the round, brushed nickle doorknob that was attached to the half-door that led to my own first schoolroom. My first memory is that doorknob, and wailing because my mother had left me there. My very first recollection of existence on this earth is the doorknob to the door that separated me from the most important being in existence, my mommy.


On his first day, my husband and I took him together. The little gregarious guy got involved in playground dynamics immediately and didn't notice when we slipped out.

No one cried.

Later that day, I was picking up groceries. As always, always happens to me literally everywhere I go (much to the chagrin of my more introverted friends, colleagues, and family members--sorry, Richee!) a stranger and I began chatting. Somehow in the course of the conversation, I told the woman that I had just dropped off my son for his first day of "school."

"Oh, did you cry?" she asked, expectant, waiting to comfort me.

"Nah," I said.

She recoiled. Physically. With her body. And her face. Like,

And I knew right then that I had done something wrong. I didn't say any more.

She went on to talk about how she cried off and on all day the day her child began daycare. And I listened, as I always do, and I respected her truth and I recognized all the awesome motherliness and womanliness and personliness and humanity about this story and I felt her triumph when she ended by saying her child now loves daycare.

Later, I was in still a similar situation and the same thing happened. When I mentioned that it was my son's first day away, someone looked around the water lines of my eyes and nodded. "Smart. I didn't wear mascara, either, on my kid's first day."

I didn't correct her to say that I hadn't been thinking ahead, I simply didn't wear mascara daily and that even if I had, I hadn't cried that morning.

As I worked and cooked and did whatever else I did that day, I turned this over and over in my head. Why hadn't I cried, even in light of my own first gut-churning memory of longing for my mother? Even though I loved my child more that I love breathing?

It quickly occurred to me that it didn't matter.

My feelings, and my expressions of those feelings, are valid. Every one of them. My tears (or absence thereof) don't make my experiences any more real or visceral. I'm not a monster because I experienced a milestone differently than you. My sons know I love them every nanosecond of every day without regard to my own emotional expression at any given moment.

Do you know what the flip side of that is?

The flip side is that your feelings, and your expressions of those feelings, are valid. Your tears (or absence thereof) don't make your experiences any more real or visceral. You're not a monster because you experienced a milestone differently than me. Your child(ren) knows you love them every nanosecond of every day without regard to your own emotional expression at any given moment.

No matter what you're feeling or how you're feeling it, that's your reality, and no one gets to tell you that you're wrong for it. No one gets to say you're doing parenthood wrong because you do it differently. They may try, but you don't have to let them into your head.

This is perhaps one of the most profound lessons parenthood has taught me.

I'm The Monster Who Didn't Cry, and my sons love me unconditionally anyway.

 

Why Hire A Postpartum Doula Instead of a Baby Nurse?

I hear a lot of families ask why they would be interested in postpartum doula services if they can hire a night nurse or night nanny for their baby. After all, why would they need expertise and extra help in the middle of the night? Surely postpartum doulas only work during the day, when people can really reap the benefit of the support? …right?

Well, not exactly.

First things first: what exactly is a “night nurse” (other than a Marvel comic book character), a “baby nurse,” or a “night nanny”? What are the differences and what do they all mean?

“Baby nurse” and “night nurse” are often used to describe people who care for babies, but who actually have no nursing education at all. In fact, these monikers are a bit misleading in that way. While many professionals do carry LPN or RN credentials, it is important to know that many do not, while still using the term “nurse” to describe their positions. (With that said, if medical expertise is what you are seeking, be sure to hire a licensed nurse for your family.)

“Night nannies” who take over all care of a newborn or baby at night while parents sleep can also be nice, but still do not encompass all that postpartum doulas are able to.

When you hire an Intown Doula for your family’s postpartum needs, you are receiving love care and support from a trusted professional…and so is the rest of your family.

Postpartum doulas care for what matters most to you—and we know that what matters most to you isn’t just your sleep, but your family. You want to know that everyone—from you to your new sweet baby, to your partner, to your older children and pets and plants!—is being cared for just the way you would. You want to know that everything can fall together as you acclimate to a new life in your space.

Postpartum doulas are experts in all things baby, with skill and knowledge in breastfeeding support, bottle feeding, newborn and baby sleep, bathing, bedtime routines, and more. And yes, when you hire our postpartum doulas for overnight care, you will get wonderful sleep! Butmore than that, our doulas also perform dozens of small services that add up to create your most blissful postpartum possible.

Here are just a few things that postpartum doulas do that baby/night nurses or night nannies do not:

Light meal prep
Help with meal planning
Light housekeeping
Short errands/groceries
Sibling support
Nursery stocking and upkeep
Breast or bottle feeding support
Pet care

Imagine coming home from work and enjoying every second with your baby before bed, knowing that your postpartum doula will walk through the door at bedtime and put everybody down—you, your baby, even your spouse! She soothes the baby and settles her in for some great sleep while you and your partner drift off to sleep, fully confident that your family is being care for. Your doula lets your dog out and makes sure all you plants are watered. When your baby is ready to eat again, she will either feed the baby in the way you feel is best, or bring your baby to you for nursing. After, she changes and soothes the baby back to blissful slumber. You awaken to a clean kitchen, a healthy breakfast, a cooing baby, and a rested start to the day. Best of all, you know you made the best possible decision for your family by hiring professionals whom you trust and who care for your family as if they belonged to it.

And isn't that truly what most of us want?