Guest Bloggers

It's All About the Potty

I have been known to take the stance of "ignore it and maybe it will fix itself." For some reason, I feel like this has worked, but the two instances that come to mind where I applied this technique did not turn out as planned. Those would be when the dishwasher started retaining water with each cycle and when we potty trained.

Or rather, when we didn't potty train. I kept hoping some magical spell would occur overnight and poof our 3 year old would suddenly be diaper free. It didn't happen that way. In fact, it took our wonderful and kind preschool teacher giving a gentle nudge during parent teacher conferences to finally go cold turkey on the nappies.

As you well know we parents spend a lot of time dealing with poopy in one way or another.  Without being crass, I feel like we all share common memories of our children's poopy life. There's the one that squirts all the way across the room when they're infants. There's the one that blows out the leg of the diaper. This is how it goes. And it's so important that our kids are able to comfortably and effectively poop, especially when they're suddenly sitting on the potty themselves waiting for something to happen. Enter our wonderful friend, fiber.

We know we need to get enough fiber through a variety of healthy foods and supplements. Try explaining that to a 3 year old who only wants to eat foods that are white to beige in hue. One day it may be all you can do to serve up a popsicle and call it a fruit. We do the best we can. Right?

I do have two suggestions for kid-friendly healthy fiber: crispy kale chips and fiber gummies.

Crispy Kale Chips

  • Rinse a head of curly kale.
  • Remove the leaves from the stalk and tear them into bite-sized pieces.
  • Arrange in a single layer on a cookie sheet and blot dry with paper towel or clean tea towel.
  • Douse with olive oil and mix to coat with your hands. (Moisturizing!)
  • Sprinkle liberally with kosher or sea salt.
  • Pop in a 350 degree oven for 15-25 minutes.
  • Stir around a bit, turn the oven off and leave in the oven for an additional 20-60 minutes (this extra time crisps it up even more, but keeps it from over cooking).

The ideal is crisp, deep jade green, extremely munchable chips. My daughter loves these… on some days. You know how it is. But, she's always ready for a gummy.

I'm happy to say we've successfully left the diapers behind us and have made friends with the potty. And we did get the dishwasher fixed, but it took a while.

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Looking Into the Lunchbox

Let me be perfectly clear on this one topic: I am not a lover of change. I get nervous, worried, twitchy, even when my rational mind knows everything will be okay. Case in point: making lunch for my preschooler. In the grand scheme of things, this is not a big deal. But now near the end of the school year looking back on the beginning of the school year, I will tell you this particular topic caused me considerable angst.

The daycare where Hazel happily played and grew from the tender age of 3 months to the big girl age of 3 years provided breakfast, lunch, and snacks -- amazing! When it came time for Hazel's switch over to preschool I had lots of concerns for her: about how she would handle the new teachers and classmates, new routines, and new settings. But she is a resilient and brave girl and she did just fine.

My main worry for myself, I admit to you now, was what in the world I would pack in her lunch box every day. I was baffled. As a full time working mom, I just barely have the time and energy to get family dinner together every night. Now I would have to add another meal prep after that? Was this humanly possible?

I'm thrilled to say it was. For me the absolute key to this process was to break lunch down into groups with options for each. At the start of the year I'd consult a written list and even jot down lunches in a notebook to make sure I was keeping things varied.

If your child's lunch box is looking cavernous or you just need some new options, here's how I do it:

Pick one from each category:

Main:

  • Leftovers from last night's dinner
  • Half a PB&J or other sandwich


Dairy (I sometimes double up here and forgo the main):

  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cheese stick


Fruit or veg:

  • Apple Slices
  • Edamame
  • 1/2 banana
  • Broccoli spears


Grain:


Drink:

As all moms know, providing healthy, wholesome, varied, and well-received food for our kids ranks way up there on the list of essential parenting. From the day we brought baby Hazel home from the hospital, I have been awed by how big a role nutrition plays in the whole parenting experience. It's in my top three along with keeping her safe and showing her love. I'm proud to have cracked the code on the lunch box mystery. I'm intimidated no longer.

Next stop? PreK, here we come!

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Be anything you want to be, except that

Since confessing your membership in the bad mother club is all the rage, I guess I'll risk the wrath of the perfect parents by admitting my badness.  It's not a harmless and cute "I hide Nutty Bars in my closet" type of confession either.  Okay, I hide Nutty Bars in my closet, but this is more of a "I really and truly feel like a bad mother" kind of admission.  It's the kind of thing that good mothers don't think and those who do, won't admit.  I'm writing it anyway. 

It all starts when you hold your newborn and stare at them endlessly as you say all the right things.  You know they're the right things to say because you have just finished reading every parenting book ever published and you are now an expert.  On everything.  Remember when you soothingly told your baby that they could be anything they want to be?  You promised to make their dreams come true and be proud of whatever they decided to do?  When my daughter began high school and started mumbling about going to an art school after graduation, I found those words of support and encouragement hard to swallow.  I love that my daughter is artistic.  She is also athletic, bright and funny.  I am very proud of her dedication to art.  I just want her to have the education and skills to get a j-o-b. 

When I see my daughter's classmate and teacher honored on page 7 of our community paper for winning an American Vision medal and their trip to New York to accept it, I understand my daughter's dream to make that same walk across Carnegie Hall's stage.  I want that for her.  She deserves to have a happily ever after.  I just wish her dreams were a little safer.  I can't force a smile when she talks about applying to art schools.  I open my big fat mouth and tell her that I want her to go to a liberal arts college to have a more rounded education.  I suggest that when she starts exploring all the things that are out there, she may decide to change her major.  I say it, even though I know voicing those words will make her dig her heels in and become more determined to prove me wrong.  Secretly, I wish she would decide to study graphic design or advertising or anything less painful than trying to be an artist.  She is too amazing and talented to scrape by selling paintings at a starving artists' sale in the meeting room of the local Holiday Inn.  I don't want to be unsupportive.  I want to be over-protective.  No, I don't mean that.  Maybe I do mean that.  I know I am not supposed to think this way.  Good mothers encourage children to dream and reach for the stars.  Bad mothers interfere and tell children what to do.  I don't want to be a bad mother.  Maybe I can just be an okay mother.

 Silver Key Award
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When Grammy Comes to Visit

We are smack in the middle of a visit from Grammy, my wonderful mother who comes from several states away to enjoy her only two grandchildren, bestowing on them such wonderful gifts as snakes that grow to 100 times their size in the bathtub and their very own rolls of double-sided tape!  She also bestows on them the most wonderful gift of all--the gift of time.  She will take them to the playground for three whole hours, never saying "We have to go home now to check those pesky pepper plants and water those thirsty chickens!"  She pushes my youngest on the swing for half an hour, never glancing even once at the tomato plants still in pots that need to be put in the ground.  She lets them eat marshmallows.  More than one.  Obviously, my children adore her and we love having her visit.

The only problem is....my kids do tend to get a bit wild when she is here.  My mother puts it graciously, saying simply, "They do seem to have a lot of energy!  And, my, the things they can do on that playground!"  When I ask her if they seem to be more active than me, my sister or my brother were, she does not even pause for a fraction of a millisecond before saying, "Yes!"  Though, she does smile when she says it.  They are very active girls.  I attribute it to the fact that we live on a farm, therefore they have gained a lot of physical independence doing things like climbing over fences and onto sheds while we have our backs turned trying to rake the barn.  But my girls do take their activity level up several notches when Grammy is here.  They are excited and they love her, so it is a compliment really.

But still, it is exhausting!  I cannot relax for even a second.  If I turn my head to turn off the tea kettle, I will turn back around to find one of the girls walking along the back of the couch as though it were a tightrope while Grammy looks nervously on, justifiably afraid they will fall on her head.   If I run out to the car, I will return to find them standing on the windowsills showing her how they can leap onto the floor without touching the couch or coffee table.  And if I leave to put in the animals at night, the girls will almost certainly use that time to show Grammy how they can descend the stairs together on top of a boogie board (and, yes, they do hit their heads together when they hit the bottom).

By the time 7:30pm rolls around, Grammy is yawning and can barely drag herself upstairs to  bed.  And this is a woman who routinely walks 5 miles for fun and carries large rocks around her yard for hours in the heat for the sake of good landscaping.  Grammy always mentions casually how well she sleeps while she is here.

We have 5 more days to go.  I hope my poor mother does not collapse in a heap before then.  The one time she watched them for a whole week for us while we went on our belated honeymoon, she needed an additional full week off of work to recover from the experience!

I guess the lesson here is:  never underestimate the power of what two preschoolers can do it you.  Especially if they are mine.

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Do you hide the guns for playdates?

toy gun I live in Seattle. Which, as you may or may not know, is one of the most liberal cities in the country. People here (statistically speaking) are well-educated, well-off financially, and highly opinionated. I love our city. I love the people who live here. Only sometimes, they scare me just a little. 

Take the “Gun issue,” for instance. 

I am definitely opposed to guns. I do NOT believe that every home needs one, and I’m not such a fan of hunting either (Why do you have to KILL the cute little deer to make it fun? Can’t you just dress up in all the cool camo, rub yourself with deer urine, and then LOOK at it?). 

The truth is, guns scare me. I've never held one, let alone shot one (ack!) and I'm secretly afraid that if I did (hold one) it would go off in my hands and shoot my ear off. That's just the kind of luck I have.

But the thing about little boys is that they like guns. They really, really like guns.

It was with horror that I first watched my darling three year old CJ pick up a toy gun at the toy store and hold it out to me with glowing eyes.  He wanted it. Oh, how he wanted it.

But I hate guns. I abhor violence. So I drew a hard line. NO TOY GUNS! EVER!! became the rule in our house. 

My in-laws made fun of me. “Oh just you wait.” they said, “you can’t keep little boys from playing guns. If you don’t give them a toy gun, they’ll use a stick.” 

“I DON’T CARE!” I responded, “there will be NO TOY GUNS in my house!” And, bless my little heart, I really meant it. 

It’s true that little boys love to play guns and shooting. It’s also true that you can keep toy guns out of your house if you feel strongly enough. 

For me, though, I went through a change of heart upon getting some actual information on the issue (information- it’s an amazing thing!). The information came in the form of this article in Mothering magazine. 8 pages long and filled with footnotes and references to research and studies, the article was the best source of information that I’d seen. And the conclusion was surprising- according to the author, toy guns are NOT the root of all evil. I won’t bore you with the details. If you’re interested, I recommend looking up the article. 

So, after much painstaking deliberation, I decided that toy guns in moderation were ok… and not something to completely freak out about. 

I still don't like them.  I cringe when I ask CJ what he loves and he responds with "GUNS!" 

To make myself feel better I implement strict rules about how to play-- and how NOT to play-- with the toy guns. You never, ever point it at a person. Pretend bad-guy? Ok. Mommy? Gun goes in a time-out. 

I hope beyond hope that guns are something that CJ will grow out of. I worry because he's almost six and his affection for the vile weapons only seems to grow. Where can it end, I wonder.  It can't end well.

But then...

toy guns for sale We spend a weekend at a YMCA family camp on Orcas Island, which in addition to hiking, swimming and canoing, offers an archery and shooting range with real-live bb guns. When he learns about the bb guns, CJ is ecstatic. There is just one thing that he really wants to do, and that is SHOOT THE GUNS.

We enter the range, the pop pop! of shooting echoing around us. I feel nervous, but resolved. I've decided that if the YMCA thinks shooting is a family activity, I'm going to try it.  

Jay takes CJ to a booth and gets him situated and I clear my throat, pick up my own rifle and put on a pair of safety glasses.  Nervously, I prop the butt of the gun against my shoulder and point the end at the target.

I hope I don't shoot my ear off.

I squeeeeze the trigger and POP!  hit the target!

A wave of adrenalin surges through me and I think, I could get into this.

Maybe there's more to guns than death and mayhem. Maybe there's a place for them in a peaceable society.

Hmm.

Which brings us to today.  

We are a household that bears arms. Toy arms. In Seattle. And 99% of the parents in this city do NOT (fanatically). Or if they do, they definitely don’t admit it. 

My approach thus far has been to hide the guns when other kids come over for play dates. But they inevitably find them. BANG! BANG! The uninitiated child points the gun at his mother (he doesn’t know the rules) and her eyes widen in horror. 

ACK! I shout, I PUT THOSE AWAY FOR A REASON!! I grab the toy guns and stow them away, mumbling something about people who give toy guns as presents. But it’s too late… in 95.2% of instances I have already been judged and found wanting. 

This frustrates me because I do believe I’m a good parent. I have made this decision based on reasoning and information. I don’t wildly throw about rules or rash judgments. I respect other parents’ right to their opinions, even when they’re different from mine. Don’t believe in letting your kid play with toy guns? I can respect that. I can understand why. But why is it ok for you to judge ME? 

Where do you stand on the toy gun issue?  Do you let your children play with toy guns? If so, what rules do you have? And how do you explain it to your anti-gun friends?

1st photo by woodleywonderworks. 2nd photo by Joe Shlabotnik.

**
Jen lives in Seattle with her son CJ, her husband Jay, and their dog Bella.  Read more of their wacky adventures at Absolutely Bananas.
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"Let's go to the book store."

The 13-year-old and 4-year-old bounced out of bed before the sun was all the way over the horizon.  The 7-year-old groggily stumbled out of her room shortly after her early bird brothers.  "Is it time to go yet?"  We still had to wait for the 15 and 18-year-olds to emerge from their hibernation.  I took a bath, got dressed and piddled about the house for a bit.  "Is it time to go yet?"  Finally, I gave the three youngest permission to torture the two oldest siblings.  Grumbling voices rumbled from the caves where the sleeping bears attempted to avoid the daylight hours.  Eventually, well past lunch, I loaded up four out of five children and it was time to go to the used books store.  No, the youngest child wasn't left home alone.  Dad was tasked with entertaining the feral child whose last visit to the book store resulted in every single shelf label below twenty-four inches being removed.  I have no doubt that there is a wanted poster in the offices of the bookstore with a picture of the child who I will not take to the bookstore again for a very, very long time.

books before bedAs soon as we entered the store, the children scattered to different areas of the warehouse sized building.  I didn't have to follow to know where they were headed.  The 18-year-old went directly to the long aisle packed with row after row of science fiction books.  Without me there to help him focus, he quickly retreated to the comfortable section of sci-fi series books that I consider the harlequin romance of science fiction.  He happily picked up book after book to flip through and reminisce about reading it in the past or pull aside to consider for today's purchases.  Sometimes I nudge him back to the overstimulating science fiction books that are less formulaic, but this visit I just let him make his own book choices.  I wasn't in the mood for any Aspie drama.

The 15-year-old went straight to the manga section despite my request that she look at the art history section to make progress on her summer portfolio.  From the manga section, she looked at the old posters and records.  I cringe at the records she buys just to melt and mold into odd sculptures.

The 13-year-old went directly to the Redwall section just in case there was something he hadn't already ready a dozen times.  After that, I directed him to the Newbery section.  In the past few months, he has joined his older siblings in resisting my suggestions for books, clothing and pretty much anything.  I still try with him, even though it would be easier if the reading level was clearly printed on all children's and young adult books.  Eventually he settled on the sequel to some book he had already read.

The almost 7-year-old wandered to the colorfully illustrated books that are best read out loud.  I understand her love of the funny and beautiful illustrations, but I nudged her to the chapter books anyway.  She carefully picked up one book at a time and read a full page of each before deciding if it was a possible purchase today. 

While the youngest shopper was carefully contemplating her choices, I searched for anything by Rosemary Wells to bring home to the 4-year-old.  He loves her books the way my oldest children loved Dr. Seuss.  I scored a Felix book and sat down to wait for the children to make their book choices.  After a short wait, they all converged in a mob that might have been intimidating to the childless couples leisurely browsing the books.  We checked out with a credit from our lst purchase and left the store with two new books for each child and no actual money spent.  I hope we don't lose our beloved used book store to an over-zealous Congress.  It was a good outing that we will repeat again in a few weeks.  With or without the feral child. 

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Just. Do it!

It's Friday morning and almost time for me to leave for soccer, but I can think of a hundred reasons not to go.

Like for example there's reason #1: "I DON'T PLAY SOCCER!"

...and then there's reason #2 "I'm too busy!"

...also reason #3 "I really can't afford to get injured right now!"

...and reason #4 "I don't have anything to wear!"

The problem is I'm going on week three of reasons why I can't go to soccer and I have a feeling it's starting to look like a bad case of "she's just chicken". And I might be a lot of things but I AM NOT CHICKEN.

When Leah mentioned Friday soccer to me the first time, I was fresh off a kickball high and thinking crazy thoughts like, "I can do anything! Soccer would be fun!" A group of women getting together to have fun and get a good workout playing soccer... it sounds great, right?

But now... what can I say? The high from a successful evening's kickball has vanished and left in its place a familiar complacency. Playing soccer just sounds... Hard. Embarrassing. Painful.

Still... I said I would do it.

I have to at least try it. Just once.

This is what I tell myself as I pull on black yoga pants and a t-shirt. I don't have shin guards. I don't have soccer shoes. I definitely don't have the right shorts or a jersey. I put on a baseball cap and grit my teeth. I can do this.

When I get to the field there are a few women standing around stretching. They ALL have shin guards, I note. And my shins hurt already.

I do a half-hearted lunge and nervously sip my water.

Before I know it I'm on the field. I'm playing a defender position, which means I stay on the side near the goalie and try and kick the ball the other way. I know this because of the five minute overview that Leah gave me two days before.

I'm running and kicking and ZWOOP! I'm flat on my back. The ball sneaks up under you, turns out... because this isn't the last time I fall to the ground in a display of overt gracelessness.

I'm sweating like I haven't sweated in YEARS and I think my lungs will explode but at the same time adrenaline races through my veins and I kick the ball out from under someone and feel like I'm on top of the world and ZWOOP! I'm on the ground again.

Strangely, the falling down doesn't hurt as much as I expected.

At the end of the hour I decide that I like soccer and I'm going to come back and also I feel a strange compulsion to exercise so that I can be BETTER at this sport that I didn't want to do in the first place.

I can do this! Why haven't I done this before? What else haven't I been doing? It takes my breath away.

Suddenly I see my life differently, and it scares me. Somewhere along the way I started focusing so much on "getting fit" and "losing weight" that I forgot about things like "having fun."

When exactly did I start believing that you had to look like a Title Nine model to play sports?

How did I become so afraid of failing?

At what point did I start saying no to everything that scared me?

I've been stifling in a cocoon of safety spun from so many no's. And while it's safe in my cocoon, the truth is, nothing happens here.

This is when I have the epiphany.

The secret to having a full, satisfying life is saying YES when you really, really want to say NO.

Say YES to the things that scare you.

Say YES to the things you think you can't do.

Every time I do it... every single time... I find myself amazed at the results.

I'm serious. Try it... The next time someone asks you to do something that makes you feel a little nervous, SAY YES.

Tonight I signed myself up for sailing lessons. I started researching a place to get my scuba diving certification. And I got up early to do yoga.

I feel strong. powerful. energized.

YES!

**
Jen lives in Seattle with her son CJ, her husband Jay, and their dog Bella.  Read more of their wacky adventures at Absolutely Bananas.

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Then and Now: How becoming a Mom has changed me

We all know that "becoming a parent changes you." Yes, but how, exactly, does it change you? Here's a look at a few ways I'm different since becoming a parent, a little "then and now" examination of my life before kids...and after.

Then: I slept in until 10:00 or later on Saturdays. Ahh.... In a perfect world, I'd read until 1 a.m. and sleep until 10 a.m. Every day.
Now: I never sleep past 7:00. My kids usually wake up around 6:30, despite my earnest efforts to convince them to sleep later. I'm sure that someday -- when I have teenagers, maybe? -- I'll once again be able to sleep in. But until then, they serve as diligent little alarm clocks.

Then:
I visited the doctor once a year. Unless I had a sinus infection -- then I'd visit twice. I didn't care what our copay was because I hardly ever needed to pay one.
Now: I am at the doctor's office all. the. time. Once you're done with the every-couple-months immunization visits that come with having a baby in the house, you move on to the constant illnesses that result from having a toddler who has no appreciation for hand sanitizer. And then you graduate directly to the School-Aged Kids Continual Plague, consisting of germs they find at school and happily share with you. I'm thinking I should start getting a volume discount on co-pays.

Then: I used to read mysteries and thrillers all the time.
Now: I read Sandra Boynton books and I Spy books to my youngest, and try to keep up with kid-lit along with my oldest. Oh, I still read those thrillers and mysteries, but my reading is much more diverse these days.

Then: I kept my chocolate stash on a shelf in the pantry.
Now: I keep my chocolate stash hidden several feet off the ground, buried under things that kids have no interest in, like napkins and place mats.

Then: I disliked housekeeping immensely.
Now: I dislike housekeeping immensely. (Okay, I guess that one hasn't changed.)

Then: I treated my cat with love and affection. She was my "baby."
Now: I treat my cat with tolerance (when she's behaving) or disdain (when she's puking on the off-white carpet). She's got two kids to compete with now. The kids are cuter and they help me clean up.

Then: Bookstore-browsing was a regular occurrence.
Now: Bookstore-browsing alone is a rare treat. Bookstore-browsing with a young child often ends in embarrassment, removing a screaming kid from the stacks and hoping no one notices me.

Then: I appreciated my husband for so many reasons, including his strong work ethic, smarts, determination, and kindness.
Now: All of the above, plus I adore the wonderful father he's become.

Then: I picked restaurants based on which ones served my favorite meals or desserts.
Now: I pick restaurants based on:

  1. How likely they are to have a booth available (the better to trap my 3-year-old with)
  2. How busy they are at 4:30 p.m. (so we bother fewer people if a meltdown occurs);
  3. And whether or not their french fries are yummy enough to convince my kids to munch happily for long periods of time

Then: I knew exactly how I would structure our family and discipline our children so that they would be perfect...or close to it.
Now: I hope that I get through to my kids at least some of the time, and often feel like I'm winging it as a parent.

Then: I thought the idea of being a Mom was a nice one.
Now: I can't imagine not being a Mom. My kids -- while challenging at times, like most kids -- are awesome. They make me laugh, they make me think, and they fill my heart (as Hallmark-y as it sounds) with joy and love. The "Now" is way better than the "Then."

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controlled chaos

"The challenge is not to manage time, but to manage ourselves."  Steven Covey

Before I became a parent, my life was easily scheduled with a tiny pocket calendar.  One Hallmark freebie every December and I was good to go for a full year.  Now, it's a bit more complicated.  Our children attend five different schools on five different schedules.  I have to coordinate practices, fundraisers and meetings for Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Chess Club, Technology Students' Association, Color Guard, Art Club and Band.  Then, there are my things to keep organized.  Three different PTO's, organizing the 8th grade dance, our local Social Media Association, a little freelance work, advocating for schools and several blogs.

big family organizationWe keep one large marker board/calendar right beside the front door that lists all the children's activities.  On the other side of the door is a chalkboard/door that the adults use to write notes for the children to remember.  The children use it for doodling.  If we have anything to do the next day, I put out everyone's outfits, bags, permission slips, envelopes with fees, etc.  There is a giant binder clip on each child's bedroom door where I put their daily mail.  I carry a "mom" calendar with me everywhere so that I can easily add appointments and meetings without needing to clone myself.  My two favorite mom calendars are MomAgenda and BusyBodyBook.  They both have multiple columns for each day so that I can easily tell where and when each child needs to be somewhere.  I keep contacts, plans, lists and everything in my mom calendar.  I LIVE by this calendar system.  Our life feels busy, but not so busy that I don't look confused every time someone says, "I don't know HOW you keep up with so many children."  It's really not that difficult.  In fact, I'm always looking for a new project.  Or two.

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Baby Changes Everything

Life before having a baby was relatively simple now that I think back on it. Though it seemed highly stressful and chaotic at the time, it truly doesn't compare to what it's like now that I have my daughter.

Sure, some of the same difficulties and challenges existed, such as housework and balancing work and life. But, now they all exist with her around. Which means, that it's that much more difficult to actually get things done. Why? Because she requires attention and often wants to "help". Suffice it to say that her "help" is more often than not a hindrance. I also want to play and spend quality time with her, so my own desire to be with her gets in the way of getting things done.

There are also new challenges in my life that did not exist back then. For example, my parents are getting older and though they're still very independent, there are times where my help is needed. There's also less quality time with my husband since many times our daughter comes first. Of course, this adds to the overall stress of our lives.

All that being said, I would not change a thing. I am absolutely loving being a mother and I know my husband loves being a father. Somehow, priorities change drastically after you have a child. It doesn't matter anymore if things aren't done perfectly and exactly when you wanted them done. It seems trivial to care about the clutter on the counter top when my daughter is calling me out to play a game with her.

Things just change. And that's fine by me.

Still...there's definitely some things I miss about life before a baby.

What about you? How has your life changed since becoming a parent?

Melanie Edwards is a Modern Mami. As a latina working mother, she provides an honest depiction of the everyday humor and drama in the life of today's wife, mother and woman from a Latina perspective. She often blogs about the special concerns working mothers have in attempting to achieve a work-life balance. Melanie has been married six years and has a 3-year-old daughter.
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