When your child is sick…

Edvard_Munch_-_The_sick_child_(1907)_-_Tate_Modern

When you child is sick, all urgency disappears. Everything that just couldn’t wait before, suddenly loses all importance. The dishes piled high in the sink isn’t pressing anymore. The piles of laundry become insignificant. The business deadline loses all meaning and time seems like its standing still.

When your child is sick, you can’t help but regret. The scolding they got for dropping milk all over the kitchen floor. The way you lost your temper when you had to break up yet another fight over the Legos. The way you felt so relieved when they finally went to bed. You will regret it all. Every minute spent being what you perceive as a ‘less than perfect’ mom, will fill you with a deep dark regret.

When your child is sick, you notice everything with fresh eyes. That curl that keeps getting in her eyes, the one that annoys you on most days as you search under the couch for a hairclip to hold it back… that very same curl becomes the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.  The dimple on her left cheek will bring tears to your eyes and her tiny hands might just be the most perfect little hands ever created.

When your child is sick, you make promises. You promise you’ll scream less and have more patience. You promise to laugh, and re-laugh at their silly antics even if you’ve seen it for the 100th time. You promise to join in when they sing and dance to Barney next time. You promise to say “I Love you” at every opportunity, and that kisses and cuddles will outweigh reprimands and discipline. You vow to be better and do better.

When your child is sick, you find yourself bargaining. With your God, the higher powers, the Universe. You make little pleas, and gigantic deals. You’d sell your very own soul for their recovery.

When your child is sick, you become angry. You question ‘Why”??? Why my child? What did she do to deserve this? You get angry because you’re so helpless. Your only job is to take care of them and ease their pain, and yet you find yourself unable to do anything to make it better.

When your child is sick, you voluntarily become unimportant. You’re unconcerned with sleeping, and eating becomes an afterthought. You’d rather sit by your little one, than take a long hot shower, and you don’t care if you look like the walking dead.

When your child is sick, you become a warrior. You track down doctors in the middle of the night. You ensure your child is not just another number on their already too long list. You research and advocate for your child. You find donors, your raise awareness, you fight. And then you fight some more.

There is nothing like seeing your child sick and in pain to bring a parent to their knees. So with this post, I acknowledge all the warrior moms out there who, in this moment may be going through the darkest times of their lives. Love and Light to you, and all your precious little ones.

 

 

 

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10 Best responses to the ‘Are they Twins?’ Question

Parents of multiples are asked many annoying, inappropriate questions.

From, were they conceived naturally, to whether your boy/girl twins are identical…like seriously???

But there is one particular question I find the most annoying of all: ARE THEY TWINS?

Do people actually think that 2 babies (who are very clearly around the same age) are siblings born months/years apart?

Here are some of the best responses you can practice giving these nosy people:

(PS: I’ve used the last 1 about half a dozen times which results is incredulous looks)

  1. What? There was only 1 when left the hospital!
  2. No, they’re brothers who were born 3 minutes apart
  3. The hospital had a buy 1 get 1 free offer
  4. No, there are actually 3, but we keep the third one for spare parts
  5. No, one is a stunt double
  6. No, the first one was so wonderful we decided to have him cloned.
  7. Hmmm, I don’t know, they have 2 different dads.
  8. No, I found the other 1 in the parking lot and thought, why not?
  9. No, one is a clever forgery
  10. No, they’re triplets. I leave the ugly 1 at home.

Finding Strength on the “I Can’t Do It Anymore” days

I can’t do this anymore”. It’s a phrase I find myself muttering at least a hundred times a day.

 

At 3:15am, when I’m standing alone in the darkness, patting, patting, patting the warm back of my tiny human. Exhausted and in desperate need of sleep because it’s the 4th time I’ve been awakened by her cries… I find myself holding back my own tears that threaten to spill their dam as I plead silently with God “Help me, I can’t do this anymore”.

 

At lunchtimes when we engage in yet another battle of wills, and I find myself bribing, negotiating and finally, pleading with my child to eat just one more mouthful … I mutter – defeated – under my breath “I can’t do this anymore”.

 

In the evenings when my already high maintenance child turns into the worst form of herself, throwing her head back screaming in yet another tantrum for no apparent good reason, I choke back hot tears as I contemplate running away and think “I just can’t do this anymore”.

 

On Sunday afternoons, after a long weekend of not having even a single minute to myself, still in pajamas because I haven’t found the time to shower, expired from the endless cycles of feeding, playing, singing, reading to the kids… all the while building a wall of guilt around myself for not doing enough, I find myself feeling drained and inadequate with only one thought:  “I can’t. I can’t do this anymore”.

 

If you’re a mom, I’m pretty sure you feel this way at least once (if not many times) a day. When the fatigue overtakes you, coupled with a healthy dose of guilt for good measure, it’s not hard to feel like you’re coming up short in just about every area of Motherhood.

 

But what I need you to remember is this:

In those dark hours of the morning when you feel all alone rocking, nursing, patting, lulling your baby back to sleep for what feels like the millionth time … You are NOT alone. I can guarantee you that a few hundred other moms are walking in your shoes at that very moment.

When your child won’t eat the meal you found time to lovingly prepare, and would rather spit it down the front of her T-shirt … know this: You are NOT alone. All over the world exasperated moms are fighting that very same war.

When your toddler throws down the mother of all tantrums because you won’t let him smack you in the face with the TV remote … stand strong – you are NOT alone. Parents have lived through their children’s outbursts since the beginning of time.

When the weekend seems never-ending and you feel like you don’t have a single thing good left to give … hang in there. You are NOT alone. Monday will come and Daycare will reopen; and as you sit at your office desk surrounded by the adult company you longed for, you will find yourself daydreaming about those sticky, chubby hands around your neck.

 

My point isn’t that misery loves company… but merely a gentle reminder that you are NOT alone.

The world over, moms have faced arduous moments. Moments that threatened to break them. Moments that seemed to expend all they had inside them. Moments that made them want to scream out loud: “I can’t do this anymore!” But they got through it… by sheer will, by insurmountable love; because no other choice exists but to keep ploughing on.

And when they had climbed their respective mountains and reached the other side where the sun shines so brightly, they realised that they COULD do it. They had it in them all along.

And so do you.

Exhausted, frustrated, sleep deprived mama: on those days that seem unending, in the groundhog existence of feed, change, sleep and repeat … just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Keep ploughing on. This too shall pass.

Let Humanity Win (My thoughts on Disney Gator Attack)

I have been at a complete loss for words since hearing about the 2 year old who was dragged away from his parents by an alligator at Disney, Florida.

This, hot on the heels of the worst mass shooting the US has ever seen, and the senseless gunning down of Christina Grimme, a beautiful, talented 22 year old…all in Florida, all in the space of a few days.

And while thoughts and anger, emotion and sadness has been filling my head and mind since these horrific events have unfolded, I’ve been at a complete loss on how to put those words down on paper.

But today I woke up to the news that a little body was found, mere feet from where his helpless dad had watched him be snatched as he tried to pry open an alligator’s mouth with his bare hands. A child… loved, cherished, cared for… very much like my own two children, and my heart breaks into a million tiny pieces.

Then I see the fury that is brewing on social media…fury, blame and anger aimed at the parents of the 2 year old, and it makes me want to bury my head in my hands and weep for what we have become.

People are citing parental negligence as the cause of this heart-breaking incident. But tell me…how many visitors walk that exact park each day? Each month? Each year?

How many children get close to the water’s edge, squeal with laughter and run excitedly back to their parents? How many wander around, happily creating memories, carefree and full of life?

Now tell me, how many have been attacked by an alligator while doing do? Disney has never had an incident like this occur before. And while Florida may be rife with alligators, they rarely attack humans.

NO ONE could have seen this coming.

The child was NOT unattended. He was NOT swimming. His parents were NOT negligent, and they DO NOT deserve this. No parent does.

The internet has killed our humanity. It has emboldened us to become horrible, horrible monsters … people we would never portray in real life.

Would anyone taking a dig at these parents have the guts to walk up to them, in this moment of utter grief, point a finger to their faces and say: “It’s your fault your child is dead. You should have been a better parent”

No one would dare say it to their faces, yet we sit happily behind our screens, the keyboard our assault weapon of choice, as we pick off strangers one by one.

Gorilla mom faced the internet’s fury when her child fell into Harambe’s enclosure. I admit, I was one of the first to point my finger. But in the end, my humanity won over my need to join the internet mob.

And a ‘mob’ is precisely what we’ve become. A bunch of angry, vile people, spewing words of hate and contempt to people we have never met, and will never know. We have become a society who has taken it as our duty to blame, to judge, and to tear apart anyone who has ever made a mistake.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a grieving mom, a panicked, helpless father…

It doesn’t matter if we made that same mistake last week. No one was there to see, and there was no tragic outcome, so it’s ok.

For all those thinking they know better and would have done better. Stop. Please stop.

A child is gone, his parents will NEVER recover from this pain and anguish. They will pay a price – far worse than you could ever wish on them – for the rest of their lives. So please, I implore you: Stop.

Stop letting anonymity make you less human. Stop letting your screen and keyboard make you the judge and the jury.

Please let compassion take over. Please, let humanity win.

 

 

 

25 Daily Thoughts a Mom of a Toddler might have.

  1. So much to do, so little time

 

  1. Why won’t she eat her cereal? She loved it yesterday! Why? Why? WHY?

 

  1. Her laugh makes my heart sing.

 

  1. Why is she being a little monster today?

 

  1. My kid is SO smart. Smarter than most kids I know.

 

  1. Got her to nap for more than 45 minutes! Score! I’m really good at mommying!

 

  1. Why can’t she just play quietly by herself for a few minutes? I just need 5 minutes. Is that so much to ask for?

 

  1. Orange juice counts as a serving of fruit. Right?

 

  1. Her smile could stop traffic.

 

  1. Being a mom is SO hard. I can’t do this. I just can’t.

 

  1. My coffee is cold. Again.

Toddler Mom thoughts

 

  1. She won’t eat her lunch, but wants more Flings. Typical.

 

  1. I love her SO MUCH.

 

  1. Why won’t she stop crying?

 

  1. She’s getting so big. It’s going too fast.

 

  1. How can a tiny human create so much laundry!?

 

  1. I need to get her to eat more veggies.

 

  1. And I thought the new-born stage was hard!

 

  1. When last did I eat something?

 

  1. I can’t wait until she’s older and I’ll be her best friend.

 

  1. If I have to sing the Barney tune one more time, I might die.

 

  1. Who knew that strawberries and chicken could be eaten together?

 

  1. I hope I get more than 4 hours of sleep tonight.

 

  1. Is it too early for wine?

 

  1. How did I get this lucky?

Open Letter to Father of Brock Turner

There is nothing like a heart-breaking case of sexual assault to make me immediately want to hold my daughters close and never let them go. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t a single case of violence against women that isn’t heartbreaking, but a detailed letter recently published by the young woman who was sexually assaulted  by Brock Turner just over a year and a half ago, has left me in absolute ruins. She describes so vividly the pain and anguish she has had to bear, it really brings to light the torture that rape victims endure in their everyday battle to overcome.

And I’ve learned something so important from this story: while I may teach my girls to run from the weird guy, to stay away from the suspicious men, the ‘pervert-looking’ guys, and ones that make the hairs on their neck stand up in fear… the golden boy, star-of-the-swim-team-boy might just be the most dangerous of them all.

I’m struggling with how to teach them to listen to their instincts and to trust their gut when Brock Turner probably never set off anyone’s danger radar. I’m torn between protecting them and instilling a deep mistrust for just about every man on this planet.

And while Brock Turner will forever be lumped with the special kind of scum that is reversed for rapists, I think his father has a lot to answer for.

 

Dear Mr Dan Turner,

I recently read a letter you had written. You certainly have a flair for words. Your letter taught me about entitlement and privilege. It also gave me a little English lesson when I learned the synonym for ‘sexual assault’ is “action”.

So forgive me if my letter doesn’t measure up to your linguistic talents, and that I may not be very eloquent when I say this: You are a first class a-hole.

YOU are everything that is wrong with society today. Your son may have been the twisted little douchebag behind that heinous crime, but you and your kind fuel the Brock Turners of this world.

You are the reason young men continue to rape women. You are the reason why ‘privileged’ offenders get negligible sentences. You and your kind are the accountable for the fact that many women will never report crimes committed against them.

I don’t have a son Mr Turner, but rest assured, if I did, he would know that sexual assault and rape are wrong. He would know that a lack of consent (or consciousness – in this case), means ‘NO’.

He’d know that women deserve to be valued and treated with respect. He’d know how to communicate and listen. He’d know that his achievements doesn’t make him superior than anyone else. He’d know that he wasn’t entitled to everything he wants, especially if what he wanted was another human being. He’d know that his privilege wouldn’t set him above the law.

You see Mr Turner, these are values that a loving parent instils in their child. I do not doubt for second that you love your child. You standing by his side through this ugly ordeal only cements the fact that you love him deeply. And you should.

But you have failed as a father. You have failed to help him see a difference between ‘wanting’ and ‘having’. You have failed to teach him that while the world may be your oyster as a young Stanford undergrad, that doesn’t mean you can simply take something of great value with ease.

And you failed miserably this week when your letter to the Judge referred to his unlawful deed as “20 minutes of action”. Because which young man doesn’t like a bit of ‘action’, right?

That there Mr Turner, was your teachable moment. An opportunity to love your child, but condemn his actions. An opportunity to be the father he is obviously sorely lacking. And you botched it up pretty royally didn’t you?

We understand you didn’t want to see your boy rotting away in a prison cell for years of his life, but to excuse his behavior on the ‘culture of alcoholism and partying’ is pretty pathetic. I know many men who drink, even occasionally to the point of excess, who don’t end up raping women in their drunken stupor.

To justify his assault on the fact that this ‘culture’ exists in the swim team baffles me. How many other Stanford swim team members have been accused of sexual assault?

In my family, we were introduced to the concept of right and wrong from the earliest of age. If I got into a spat with anyone at school, you could be certain I was getting a spanking from my mom when I got home.

I bet your son has never had a spanking in his life. And while I don’t condone corporal punishment as valid teaching tool for children, my point is that I wasn’t coddled and made to feel like I was right at every turn.

You failed your son, and you failed that young defenseless woman when you set him loose on this world with that giant chip on his shoulder.

I hope you bear that burden for the rest of your life.

 

 

 

My Love-Hate Relationship with Online Mom Groups

I belong to a few online mom groups. When I found out I was pregnant with the Twincesses, I was overjoyed … aaaand overwhelmed.

I had a million questions and none of the answers. Google scared the crap out of me each and every time I tried to research symptoms or foods to eat during pregnancy. So before I poisoned my unborn babies with mercury, listeria or salmonella; I turned to an online community of moms and moms-to-be, for support and guidance through the daunting process.

Fast forward to a year later, and I now belong to a total of FIVE mommy groups, all existing on the wonderfully social world of Facebook.

Online mom groups CAN be a great place to ask questions and get valid, honest answers. But it’s extremely important to choose your group well, and take what you read with a grain of salt and a very thick skin.

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New-mom syndrome

There’s one group I’ve hung out with since the minute my pregnancy was confirmed. The ladies are AWESOME. I can be 100% myself without fear of judgment, and everyone’s diverse opinions are accepted and respected. There are moms who I can rely on for a much needed pick-me-up when I feel like I’m doing everything wrong, and others who tell me like it is when I need to hear the truth. I feel like part of a family and even though we’ve never really met in real life, these moms feel like my BBFs.

Then there’s the other groups. The ones where ‘Sanctimommies’ rule, and judgement and assumptions run rampant.

It’s a cesspool of know-it-alls who are under the firm belief that THEIR methods of parenting are superior to anyone else’s. They all wear Doctor Google hats and throw their ‘knowledge’ around as if they’ve accumulated degrees and diplomas on parenting.

It’s the groups filled with Anti-vaxxers who spew misguided ‘science’ and tear down the newbie mom who dared to ask a vaccine-related question.

It consists of (very) vocal opponents to ‘Sleep Training’ (said in hushed tones, because Sanctimommy hears everything) even when it doesn’t involve prolonged cry-it-out. Because of course, their babies have never, ever, cried. Sanctimommy pre-empts any wailing and picks her baby up precisely 30 seconds before that first squeal ever leaves her cherub’s lips, just as Google recommends.

It’s where mom-shamers congregate like sharks around fresh meat, to pounce on the mother who uses baby formula, who forward-faced her car seat or started solids before 6 months.

They’re filled with competitive attention seekers who just had to let everyone know that little Andy started walking at 4 months. Yep, ‘my little angel didn’t even crawl, he just stood up one day and was walking around like the champion he is’. Little Andy was also reading at 6 months and did a backflip before he turned one. Good for you and good for little Andy. Will we be seeing him on Ellen next week?

Which brings me to the next point…its overrun with liars. So many pants-on-fire mommies, you’d need a fire extinguisher attached at the hip. Whether it be their children’s milestones or their grades, these mommies lie like it’s a rite of passage. They lie about how clean their house is, and how adoring their husbands are. They lie about their cooking skills and their craft ability. Why? I’ll never understand.

Don’t get me started on trolls who join precisely for the joy of tearing other mothers down. Doesn’t matter the topic of discussion, the troll knows you’re doing it wrong. Worryingly, many of these trolls aren’t even moms themselves.

There’s nothing like online mommy groups to make you feel like you’re 5 years old again, back on the playground, dealing with the school bully.

 

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Sanctimommy has great eyebrows. Obviously.

So why are these groups so popular then?

I think it’s due to the fact that most moms are seeking interaction on days that seem to blend together, endlessly in piles of laundry, vomit and poop. Moms are reaching out to hear how others are coping and to find a friendly face (or avatar) in the midst of the numerous struggles motherhood presents.

And if you’re able to sift through the bullshit of the various types above, you’re bound to find some real, caring mothers, who actually do offer good advice. You’re guaranteed to find at least one mom who tells you you’re doing a good job no matter how badly you think you messed up.

If you can block out the Sanctimommies and the trolls, the liars and the shamers, you may even be lucky enough to find your soulmate-mom … that one mom with whom you just click and feel like you’ve been friends with your whole life.

I’m lucky I’ve found about ten of them. And before you ask: no, you can’t join my group!