Unfiltered Mommy

An honest view of parenting in today's world

The reason I haven’t been blogging

It’s true that being a stay-at-home mom is a full-time job. I work from from 6am until 10pm and I rarely get unsupervised bathroom breaks or a chance to collect my thoughts. Things that I used to take for granted, like showering or shaving my legs, have become special treats, which often occur late at night. But in general, I’m ok with that. Yes, I am tired all the time. And yes, having two strong-willed girls ages 4 years and 2 years (25 months apart), is very challenging. But after reading so many negative blog articles about parenting, I started to worry that my blog was turning into a public bitch session, which I don’t want. I don’t feel the need to constantly bitch about every little thing but after reading other articles I started to feel negative about my our parenting journey. Of course there are times that I call my best friend, my sister or my mom and vent, but all-in-all, I am pretty happy with my life and my decision to stay home.

After reading so many things I wondered why so many parents feel like victims of the parenting process. Did they ever babysit or care for small children before they decided to have children? Did they think it was going to be all rainbows, ponies and Pinterest-inspired parties? Surely they had some idea that raising another human being was not going to be a cakewalk right?

We all get it. Parenting is hard. We all do it everyday. Fostering the cognitive and emotional development of a child takes work. No one ever said that parenting was easy but they probably never told you exactly how hard it is either. There are just some things that you have to experience to know. There are days when I count down the hours until bedtime and days that by noon, I have had it! When I hear things like “Our parents had it easier raising us because they didn’t have to use carseats” or other similar comments I want to smack these people with the reality stick. Really, just because your mom was able to let you “roll around in the back of the station wagon” doesn’t mean her parenting experience was any less challenging than yours. Each generation of parents has their own struggles to cope with. Get over yourself, put your big girl panties on and deal with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy reading other blogs. Some of them make me feel like I’m not alone in whatever challenge I am  currently facing. I get a sense of peace knowing that someone else out there feels the same way I do, but if you feel the need to publicly vent over and over again, maybe you need a more supportive and healing type of outlet. There are professionals out there who can assist with stress relief, anger management and help those who are constantly struggling to raise their children. It is not easy, but it doesn’t have to be so hard either. There is no shame in needing help to get through the tough times or to learn new ways of coping.


Once Upon a Nap Time

Today my two year old decided that she wasn’t taking a nap. Unlike other “no nap days”, I decided not to fight this one. I realize that arguing with her about not taking a nap for two hours makes me more angry and tired, so today I let her skip it. Mistake #1. Now, it is 7pm and I am paying the price.

The only thing I really wanted to do today was take a nap myself. Our 7 month old is teething again  and she woke me up at 4:30 this morning. She nursed for the next two hours, but never really did settle down before our toddler came bounding into our room announcing “I’m AWAKE!!” and joyfully jumped into our bed and snuggled up on the other side of me. There I was, sandwiched in between the two sweetest girls, wishing I could just get a few more winks.

Despite it being Sunday, and the day we were supposed to go on a day trip to celebrate my birthday, my husband was heading into work, which meant that I was on baby duty…again. As nap time came and went, my daughters and I played and cleaned and cleaned and played. Around 3pm, I thought it might be nice to go somewhere. My oldest chose Barnes and Noble. Mistake #2.

My husband was planning to pick up some takeout on the way home. As I sat in the B&N parking lot looking up the menu for the BBQ place, I didn’t notice that my daughter had fallen asleep. I woke her up to see if she still wanted to go in the store. Yup. Mistake #3. She did pretty good in the store, all things considered. That is until it came time to check out and then she was gone.

Yes, I was partially being selfish because we have two baby birthday parties coming up and I needed to get the gifts. I should have just backed out of the parking spot and drove home. Why oh why do we do these things to ourselves against our better judgement? Getting the two gifts was not worth all the screaming and frustration of tonight’s bedtime saga but it sure does feel good to know that it is done.

But in all honesty I fear that this may become our new normal sooner rather than later. I have watched the nap times dwindle on her daily reports from school and I am seeing the time she goes down for naps at home creep later and later.  I still stick to my routine and give it a try every day. Sometimes I am rewarded with a 3 hour nap and other days like today I try to roll with it. I guess it’s all part of them growing up. But damn, I am going to miss that nap!



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Soaking up that new baby smell

Every day I spend with my 7 month old is filled with joy. I get to see all the “firsts” I missed when I had to go back to work after my oldest was born. I love watching her discover her body and learn new things about the world around her. I love all the sweet, slobbery baby kisses and hearing her screech and squeal with delight.

Since we are not sure whether or not we will add any more children to our family, I am trying to capture every moment and remember that these are the the best days of my life. I already mourn the idea of never being pregnant again. Never again feeling a baby kick inside me and watching my uterus expand each week. It is a truly amazing thing to carry a child in your womb. Pregnancy was not always easy, but I guess I was on the “lucky” end of the spectrum as far as that goes. I didn’t have any major issues and all in all I feel like my body handled it very well.

The other day when I was giving my baby a little squeeze, I couldn’t help but notice how good she smelled. You hear people say it all the time but babies really do smell sweet. Especially breastfed babies. I put my nose in the crook of her neck and as I inhaled I thought about how this experience will soon be over.  I spent the first month of her life cuddling her in my bed and doing skin-to-skin because I knew that this might be the last time I got to cuddle a newborn, my newborn. As I watch her grow from the nourishment she gets from my body, I am humbled and thrilled to have a front row seat to this amazing experience. There is nothing in life that compares to being a mother. But I have to admit, it is bittersweet. As the days pass by, a part of me laments the passing of time. I do not want her to grow up. I do not want to never have another baby and not experience this all over again. I cannot  imagine not loving on an infant like this ever again. Some people bide their time and wait for the baby stage to end. But for me, I wish I could stop time and keep her small forever. Even as I write this and she pulls my hands off the keyboard to discover my wedding ring or to push random keyboard buttons for the first time I’m tearing up.

There are many things that I will miss about the infant stage but one I will surely miss is soaking up that new baby smell as she nuzzles near. She smells like a sweet little slice of heaven.

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Grown Up Tattle Tales

In early childhood we learn to resolve conflicts with our peers by speaking with them directly. We’re told “Stop being a tattle tale!” in hopes that the autonomy will teach us to think for ourselves. So why do constantly find myself wondering when this wonderful life lesson suddenly becomes unlearned?

It seems like many adults forget how to talk to people! Every time I check Facebook or see a news update, there is another post or story about someone who felt it was their civic duty to call the authorities on some unsuspecting parent or pet owner. I get it. I am a mother of two and a pet lover, but I do not feel the need to call the cops every time I see someone who left their dog in the car while they ran in a store for 5 minutes. And while I do not think that leaving young children alone in parked cars is such a great idea, I do see why parents do it in certain circumstances. When you have young kids, a 2 minute errand  can quickly turn into a 30 minute chore. Between emotional outbursts, diapers or toileting, or an umpteen other things that could occur, sometimes you contemplate whether or not unbuckling and rebuckling two carseats so you can run in and grab your pizza is worth the hassle.

And what about when you have a sleeping or sick child in the car? When I see sick kids in cars outside of pharmacies I think, “Poor kid, I am sure his mom/dad is inside getting his prescription.” Not “Hey I’m calling CPS!” Seriously, is it NEVER ok? What are you supposed to do? Is dragging your sick kids through CVS better than letting them rest in the car? I remember being left in my mom’s car once in a parking lot. We didn’t think it was a big deal but we most definitely would have been traumatized if the cops had shown up!

When I hear these stories I feel conflicted. I know that people  are acting out of the goodness of their hearts, and they are clearly concerned for the children’s safety. But I find it disheartening to think that we live in a society in which we are so paranoid  that there is a kidnapper or pedophile lurking around every corner, waiting to snatch a kid away, that we are willing to devalue parents and publicly humiliate them in front of their children. The fact is, the majority of parents out there are making decisions they feel are best for their children. Their decisions are well thought out and based on their own values and are done out of the love for their children. The last thing parents want is to endanger their children and have to live with the guilt of feeling responsible if something were to happen. Just because you may not agree with their choice, doesn’t mean it is wrong. So please, stop helicopter parenting other people’s kids and mind your own damn business.


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Raising a Nation of Spoiled Brats

Undoubtedly there are many benefits to waiting until your 30s or 40s to start your family. Being more mature gives us a different perspective on life than younger parents. For me, having had more time to enjoy my freedom and youth allows me to be more present and focused on my children’s needs rather than daydreaming about that summer backpacking tour through Europe or South America that I never got to experience. In fact, I did that, as well as many other things on my bucket list before deciding to start a family.

Another benefit is that when you are more established in your career, you are typically more financially secure and can afford to buy your children things and give them experiences that many children will never have the luxury of knowing. But even having enough disposable income to make their wildest dreams come true, does not mean that we have to give in to every wish and desire.

We all know that parent who just cannot say “no”. Their children have more toys than the average indoor play place, their birthday parties looks like they are pulled straight from Pinterest and their kids are spoiled brats. That’s right. I said it. They are spoiled. While it seems to solve an immediate issue or prevents an uncomfortable situation now, I can assure you that in 10 years, your lax parenting style is going to come back with a vengeance. You have to look at the big picture and ask yourself “What is this going to teach my child?”. If it is going to teach them to whine and cry and pitch a fit until they get their way, and this is not a behavior that you want to reinforce, then do not give in.

Also, it’s ok to discipline your kids and to say “no”. I give you permission to set limits and follow through with consequences. Maybe it is a fear of looking too strict to the other diners in a restaurant, or the other moms in the mommy group but it seems like people are too afraid to actually “parent” nowadays. And I understand why. There is a fear that some passerby will think you are too harsh and threaten to call Child Protective Services or maybe you have sworn to yourself that you will not make the same mistakes your parents made raising you. But do yourself and the rest of society a favor and teach your kids that life is not always fair. Teach them that they are not going to get everything and anything their heart desires and that’s ok. Teach them how to appropriately cope with feelings of disappointment.Teach them about delayed gratification and how earning something means more than getting it “just because”. These lessons will help them later in life.

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For the love of God, please stop telling me what is wrong with the food I eat!

Recently our society has become obsessed with what companies like Monsato are putting into our food supply. While I do like to be informed about things that effect my and my family’s health, I really have to say “ENOUGH ALREADY!!!” Every time I see another post on Facebook about GMOs, GEIs, High Fructose Corn Syrup, or how feeding my kid Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is going to give them ADD, I seriously want to throw my phone through the window. You can’t turn on the TV or look at the internet without someone trying to tell you what is wrong with the food you are eating. Seriously, if I listened to all this nonsense, what would I eat? I’ve already stopped going to Subway because of the yoga mat/tennis shoe rubber in the bread. Can’t eat Taco Bell because of the fact that the meat isn’t really beef. McDonald’s is out of the question for multiple reasons. So I wonder, just what am I supposed to eat on a road trip through Yuma, Arizona?

As if meal planning isn’t difficult enough, I find myself running out of options for food that is socially acceptable to consume. If I have a birthday party for my daughter, I have to cater to all of these neurotic parents who don’t want their kids eating hotdogs, sugar, or processed foods. Now, I’m not talking about people with legitimate allergies or those with religious beliefs. I always have vegetarian options and ask about allergies or other food restrictions when planning a menu. I understand wanting to feed your child healthy food and I agree that teaching them good habits is very important but I this has gotten way out of control. What the outcome of teaching Generation Z to have this type of relationship with food be? Children who are raised with such restrictive diets are more prone to having eating disorders later in life, and I myself will not feed into it. The truth of the matter is this: once kids get old enough to make their own choices, everything you have done up until that point will magically be undone. So why stress so much?

I am not going to stop eating candy or buying Mrs Butterworth’s. I am not going to become a raw vegan, grow all of my own food to avoid pesticides or boycott ConAgra. I find this type of lifestyle to be very paranoid and restrictive. And more than anything else, a huge pain in the ass! I refuse to succumb to the pressure of buying all organic all the time and most importantly, I will not allow my daughters to grow up in a world where they are afraid to eat something because it may not be good for them.

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5 reasons why going to work is easier than staying home

We’ve all heard it. The comment that being a stay-at-home-mom is not a job. And when I  heard it come out of the mouth of a very good, long time friend of mine, I was livid.  It was right around the time that a mutual friend of ours had announced that she was going to quit her j-o-b to be a full-time mom. After knowing her for more than 10 years I had a pretty good idea what kind of mother she was going to be and I was very happy for her. I knew that she would fill her children’s lives with love and invaluable experiences. Her children will grow up polite and cultured, and I am sure that they too will become caring, thoughtful adults just as their parents are.

Our friend, who has chosen not to have children, had a different reaction. His comment really struck a chord with me and rather than argue about it and ruin our friendship, I bit my tongue and artfully changed the topic to a more neutral one.

How could he say that motherhood is not a job? Did he not know how much work goes into raising children and managing a household? Clearly he did not.

I must admit that I have replayed this conversation in my head more than I would like to admit. If you consider a job as being something that you do to earn an income, then I suppose there is some truth to this statement. However there is no doubt that mother’s do an insurmountable amount of work. So I started thinking, what makes my job of being a stay-at-home-mom different from my paid profession as a social worker. What I am doing now is not earning an income, but in all honesty, since resigning from my position, our lives really haven’t changed that much financially speaking. I came up with the following list of reasons why being at home full-time is harder than going to work:


1. Set hours. Working a regular 8-5 is predictable. When the shift is done it’s done. You can leave work at work. When you stay home, you are on 24/7. A typical day for me starts at 6:30am and does not end until 8:00pm when the kids are in bed and I am on-call all night.

2. You get breaks. By law here in California we get two 15 minute breaks and a 30 minute (albeit unpaid)  lunch. At home there is no break, you are “on” all the time and I rarely get to use the bathroom without one of two kids watching me.

3. Someone else cooks your lunch and cleans it up. I worked in  a hospital so we had a cafeteria which had surprisingly good food and a very well stocked salad bar. I loved that! Even if you don’t work at a place with a cafeteria, you go out to lunch so there is no planning or clean up. Now I have to dream up delicious, nutritious lunches for myself and my kids each day and clean it up at some point. While this doesn’t seem like it would be difficult, trust me, it can be pretty daunting day after day.

4. You can take a sick day. When you are a stay at home parent, no one cares if you don’t feel good. There is no back up person to call, you just have to suck it up and get through the day.

5. If you get overwhelmed you can ask a coworker for help. At home, you’re alone. There is no one to assist with your workload, you just do the best you can.

Despite all of these things, I still feel that being home with my girls is the best “job” in the world and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Of course, I would love to be able to squeeze in some “me time” every now and again but right now I am trying to drink in every last moment of their innocence and enjoy each stage as I know that it will all be over way too soon.

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Conscious Unscheduling

The other night, when my husband was headed to bed, he asked if I was heading up too. I looked around and saw four loads of laundry that needed to be folded, and despite being overly tired, I just could not let it go one more day. It had already been sitting there for far too long. “Nah.” I said smiling. “This is when the magic happens.” The words flowed out of my mouth so naturally. It was one of the “A-ha moments” for me.  I realized that I was actually excited to watch the latest episode of Mad Men and fold laundry.

The fact is that I get more done in one hour after every one is in bed than I do at any other time of day. One glorious hour of uninterrupted time to buckle down and get shit done.

So thinking about this phenomenon of The Golden Hour got me thinking. Why is it that I always feel like I’m playing catch up? Is there really that much to do, that even being home full-time and having my toddler in preschool two days a week, that I still cannot get everything done? Life in the USA is so busy. There are infinite possibilities of things to do, see and experience. It is truly the place where if you can dream it up, you can find it. While I think this is wonderful, I also think that it complicates things so much that we lose sight of what is really important. We spend our days running errands, researching the coolest new attractions or events to whisk our kids off to rather than staying home, soaking in each precious moment of our children’s formative years.

I grew up in the Mid-West in the 80’s. My mom stayed home and we had one car which my dad took to work everyday. My mom wasn’t constantly running to Kmart or the grocery store. We stayed home and played and explored our environment. We ate every meal at home and we didn’t do things like go to dance class or swimming. We didn’t have weekly playdates or outings to the zoo, the museum or library. Life was simple and beautiful.

Over the past week, I have tried to stay home as much as possible with my girls. It started Wednesday morning when I made a conscious decision to stop stressing about getting my oldest to gymnastics. It was one of those moorings when she just was not cooperating and I found myself getting so stressed just to go have fun. I “leaned out” and decided that it wasn’t worth it. We stayed at the house and played out in her kiddie pool all day and had a wonderful time.  Over the next few days we ventured out only for the essentials like groceries and gas. I pulled things out of the freezer sand got creative with dinner rather than running back out to the store. It felt good. Real good. I have definitely noticed that I am less stressed and my days have been very productive. I plan to keep up this conscious unscheduling so I can be more present and accomplish more things here at home.

What have you done to simplify your schedule/life?

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It’s a boob! Get over it!

I’ve never understood, nor will I ever understand why some people have a problem with seeing a mother nurse her infant. Can it really be true that breasts have been so over sexualized here in the good ol’ US of A that people forget that humans are mammals? Or maybe they forgot that one of the things that make mammals, mammals, is the ability to lactate. Or perhaps it’s the fact that breasts are the mechanism in which said milk reaches a young nursling that eludes them. What ever the reason, it infuriates me.

Some say that they are trying to protect their kids. Protect them from what? Finding out that our amazing bodies were designed not only to create a life to but to provide all the necessary nourishment it requires to grow? I find this excuse extremely absurd. If a child sees a nursing mother it is an opportunity to teach them this as well as for them to see that we too are members of the Wild Kingdom. I love how people try so hard to convince themselves that we are so “civilized”. Like breastfeeding is so beneath them. I say get over yourself. Would you really rather teach our youth that feeding an infant a chemical concoction that is chock full of fat and sugar and made in a laboratory somewhere is better than mother’s milk?

Now I can see people requesting that nursing mother’s cover-up. While I personally don’t agree with this either, I can comply with this request. And for my own personal modesty, I chose to cover myself while I am nursing. But it is my own personal preference to do so. There are occasions when I either forget my nursing cover, don’t use it because it is inconvenient or too hot for my baby under there, but these instances are few and far between. And more often than not, if I have qualms about nursing in public without my cover or prefer not to use it, I usually make my way to a more private place where I can let it all hang out like a dressing room or my car. But again this is because this is my choice and not because I am ashamed of breastfeeding or because I don’t want to offend anyone. If I need to whip out my boob and feed my baby “RIGHT NOW!” believe me I will. And watch out for the angry mama bear if you chose to say something to me because I will not try to spare your feelings just as you have not held back when you decided to share your opinion with me. And really, it’s a boob. Get over it!

I know that some moms don’t use covers for various reasons and I support them in that. It helps pave the way for all of us when these women are so open and comfortable with their bodies.  It empowers me to be a little bit more bold the next time I am questioning myself, and gives me hope that someday our society will once again support breastfeeding just as it previous generations did.

I remember about three years ago when a friend of mine in Germany had a baby and I sent her a gift. One of the things I got her was a nursing cover. She didn’t even know what it was so my husband explained it to her and she said “Why would you need that?” Silly me. I should have known better. In Germany, breastfeeding is the cultural norm. Nursing mothers are not shamed, escorted out of buildings or told to feed their children in bathrooms. But of course this is what you would expect from a country that gives working mothers the first full year off of work to care for their child and a second year if they so desire, where sidewalks accommodate strollers, and every citizen has health insurance.

This week I read a Facebook post where a woman was nursing her child in the locker room of a gym to calm him down. Apparently another female gym-goer was offended and reported “the incident” to the gym staff. The manager of the gym told the woman that she was not allowed to nurse her child there and explained that she could go to the restroom off of the childcare area. She was then escorted out of the locker room. She felt humiliated. This just happened here, this week. Here in liberal, progressive Southern California. I was deeply saddened and appalled by her story. This was a gym near my house. A gym that my husband and I are also members of. Being a nursing mother myself, I immediately contacted the woman and told her that I will support her in any way I can. After all, it very well could have been me in the locker room that day trying to calm my 4-month old. I can’t believe that things like this happen every day even though the State of California law 43-53 Section 43.3 clearly states:

 Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, except the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present.

Sadly, this is not the first instance of a breastfeeding mother that I know of being discriminated against here in the San Diego area. Just a few months ago, the child of another woman I know personally was excluded from group presentations after his mother was seen breastfeeding at a school event.

Hopefully, with the help of social media to help spread the word and ignite a rage in those who feel strongly enough to speak up on this issue, we will see some change in the way our society views this natural exchange between a mother and child.

For more information on California Law 43-53: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/healthyliving/childfamily/Pages/CaliforniaLawsRelatedtoBreastfeeding.aspx#breastfeedingrights

If you feel that your right to breasted in public have been violated or would like more information about your right to nurse in public, contact the San Diego Nursing In Public Task Force  at http://sdbfc.com/yourrights/




There’s a new boss in town

Tomorrow was supposed to be the day that I returned to work after my lovely five month maternity leave. About a month ago, after several discussions with my husband, l resigned from my full-time position. We decided that this is what is best for our family at this time. When we were both working our lives were very stressful. We both spent two hours a day commuting and it felt like we were always playing catch up. My husband’s job required him to travel quite a bit and when he wasn’t traveling, he was working until the wee hours of the night. After picking up our oldest from daycare, where she spent 10 hours a day on average, I found it almost impossible to cook a delicious, nutritious meal every night. We wound up eating out or getting carry out several times a week. Weekends were filled with household tasks and errands that seemed to be never-ending.  I remember how stressful it was the first year back at work after our oldest was born. Trying to juggle all the things above and the responsibilities of being a new mom was more than a little bit overwhelming. I was pumping 4 times a day at work in the beginning and became obsessed with my milk supply. The guilt I felt every night when I saw my daughter after being away from her for 10 or more hours a day was crippling. When she stopped nursing, it became a little easier, and by easier I mean more tolerable, to be away from her. She was growing and learning and although I was missing it, I knew that she was being well cared for by the daycare provider. I cannot, however,  imagine trying to do all of this now with two little ones. Just the thought of trying to get myself and the two girls ready and out the door by 7am seems completely impossible to me.

That being said, I am still getting used to the idea of being a full-time mom and not earning a paycheck. It is starting to sink in a little more each week but still remains somewhat surreal. I can’t believe that I am lucky enough to be able to stay at home with our girls.

Sure, it will be really difficult not having my “own” money. This is one of the hardest things to accept. I have always been fiercely independent and I got my first job when I was 15 years old. I have worked consistently since then with only three brief periods of not working when I was living abroad and when I was a freshman in college. Today I am being paid in smiles and love from my two girls which is worth more than any amount of monetary compensation. The day our oldest asked me not to go back to work, and I was able to say “yes” was one of the best feelings a mother can have. I am so happy to be able to make her wish come true. Being present and spending quality time with my girls is gift that only I am able to give. Witnessing my youngest meet all of her developmental milestones is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The working world will always be there, but these precious memories are only attainable for a very short period of time. I don’t want to have any regrets about choosing work over my kids so whatever corners we need to cut or sacrifices we have to make to make this work, we’ll gladly do it. I am very lucky to have a husband who supports and actually encourages this decision. We are all looking forward to a less hectic and more healthy and happy family life this time around.