Thanks Feminism

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I would like to start by saying this post is in no way about men vs. women. There are lots of dads out there that are amazing and equal partners in parenting.  Dads offer different needs and perspectives that a child needs throughout their life. So again this is in no way about dads. Dads are great!

What it is about is “feminism”. The so called word is suppose to offer women equal opportunities to pursue their dreams and to have just as many options as men have. (Again… not men vs. women) This idea sounds great, right? Since becoming a mother it has become apparent to me that feminism is just another way of saying “women need to do it all”.

The definition of feminism is:

noun: feminism
  1. the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

The reason why my opinion has changed since becoming a mother is because I woke up one day a few weeks after my daughter was born for our usual night time feeding and thought to myself “feminism sucks”.  What was my train of thought? I had many…. but to start with I was watching my husband fast asleep as I take our crying daughter our of the room and thought to myself “How can he sleep through this?”.  I started to realize that as much as we want to evolve into a society where everyone is equals in the workforce, politics, parenting etc. biologically we are still very different. My husband cant breastfeed our daughter in the middle of the night, or birth our child. He isn’t biologically wired to react differently to her cries or deal with the hormones of just having had a baby. I could go on and on about how each provide different essential for their child but I think we have all heard that discussion. Here is where my frustration comes… its not from a father vs. mother point of view but instead from a mother vs. mother view.

Women now days have so much pressure to be the perfect mothers, employees and member of society. Are where do we get this pressure from. Other mothers!!

I sat there thinking that in order to be the “perfect mother” I had to breastfeed if I wanted my baby to have optimal brain development, carry her in a swing if I wanted her to feel loved and secure, cook all organic food if I wanted to provide my body and in essence my baby with the optimal nutrition, care for the house to provide a clean environment for my family, provide my husband with the attention and admiration in order to nurture my marriage and on top of that all I have to be working full time. And looking ahead over the next few years throw elaborately crafted birthday parties, make all organic baby food and encourage my daughters development with the best and of course all natural baby toys.  It all seemed very overwhelming.  The thought of having to take on all this at once and do it with a smile on my face had me completely in tears.  Why do we put so much pressure on mothers??

I have to admit…. I may have been one of those judging women who had no sympathy for mothers in the workplace, who silently judged women who didn’t breastfeed wondering why they didn’t realize how great it was for their baby, who wondered why some women let their babies play with ridiculous toys,  or let their toddlers watch TV … the list goes on and on and on.

And it hit me… when did feminism change from “women have options” to “women need to do it all”.  Women now need to be the perfect mother, perfect wives, perfect housekeepers and perfect employees.

So I want to take the time to say. I’m sorry to the mother I judged in the grocery store for buying baby formula, the mother at the fair carting her baby around in the stroller instead of a sling, the mother in line at target who’s child is playing games with her phone, the mother who has made the difficult decision to become a stay-at-home mom and most of all I’m sorry to myself for already being so hard on myself.

I had to continue to remind myself that it’s OK to not be perfect. Its OK to struggle sometimes and its OK to give yourself a break. Women don’t have to do it all, and it they want to, all the power to them.  But lets focus back on what feminism is really all about. Its about giving women options. Options to decide on what career path to take, to decide when they want to get married and to whom, when they want to have children, if they want to continue with their career once they start a family, if they want to breastfeed and most importantly its about allowing women to do what makes them happy and what is best for their family. Whether that’s a high power career, a part time job or no job at all. Whether they want to breastfeed, formula feed or pump. If they want to cart their kid around in a sling, stroller or buggy. If they want to raise their family on a farm, in the city or in the suburbs.  You have options, and you don’t need to feel bad about embracing them. Let your choices empower you. Isn’t that what feminism is all about?

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Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something… Pink

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I felt extremely prepared for motherhood. I had read all the books, I had the nursery perfectly organized and had my bag packed months ahead of time. What I wasn’t prepared for was that the  old saying “Nothing prepares you for being a parent” was completely true. I say this because even though I had purchased all the right things and researched the most baby friendly product I was still way over my head.

First of all my little baby girl that I welcomed into the world two weeks early just wasn’t ready to be nursed right away. So I had to pump and feed her with a bottle…. but because I was so convinced that I would breastfeed with no problems I had no bottles.  I also found that although I had purchased the perfect nursing pillow I found that since she was so petite the breastfriend pillow was way better for her size.

At 6lbs 5 ounces, she was smaller then the average baby. I had always been told to not purchase tons of newborn items because most babies rarely use any newborn clothing and some babies never even fit into newborn clothing from the beginning… my baby at 7 weeks was just growing out of her newborn clothing. So we had to a few extra purchases of newborn outfits and newborn diapers. This is where I discovered that although I had stocked up on the fancy eco-friendly diapers, the generic target brand was our favorite.

We also had no idea what we were having. We left it to be a complete surprise.  I accepted baby girl and boy clothes from friends and coworkers which put my over organizing self at ease.  when she was finally here I was so grateful to have those items, and it didn’t matter one bit that they weren’t new.  Infants grow out of their clothing so fast that finding clothes are garage sales, borrow clothing from friends, shopping at consignment shops and on sale at my favorite stores was totally worth it. She has an amazing closet full of adorable clothing.

And lastly for the first 5 weeks she refused to be put down for more than 20 minutes… anywhere. She did not like her ergobaby and the swing engulfed her since I am large chested.  It wasn’t until a friend borrowed me her side swing that I was finally able to give my arms a 30 minute break to oh.. lets say … shower :). It was a lifesaver.

My point here is that every baby is different, every baby has their own likes and dislikes. And you wont know what those are until they are here and it wont necessarily be what you like. I’m sure I will discover in a few months that although I have done all the research and purchased the best infant toys she may end up liking the loudest cheapest plastic toy from a garage sale.  And you know what… Ill be ok with that. Because when I look at my little baby and she is smiling back at me because she is content and happy I wont care.

So embrace experienced mothers advice, appreciate your friend’s gifts of their own lifesaving products, accept each others baby products because when you find something that works for your baby you will be so incredibly grateful.

Pregnancy Must Haves 

First

Peppermints and Ginger Ale  – lots of people hear that ginger is the perfect cure for morning sickness and although ginger ale worked great, peppermint was my life saver!

Sea Bands – A lot of people get morning sickness but did you know you can also get night sickness? I was one of those lucky people. So I would feel nauseous right after dinner all through the night. An easy fix was to wear Sea Bands while I slept.

Notebook – You like to think that you will remember your pregnancy experience but your memories fade. Its a good idea to keep a journal to spark those special memories.

Protein Bars – When your nauseous nothing really sounds good. An easy fix for me was to stock up on protein bars. Also very helpful for after the baby is born for those quick meals or snacks.

CinaMama App – A quick and easy way to snap your monthly, weekly or even daily photos for a fun video montage.

Insulated Water Cup – Its important to stay hydrated when pregnant, the easiest way was to keep an insulated cup with me at all times.

secondBody Pillow – Sleeping when pregnant is so uncomfortable. Not to mention the fact that you get up all throughout the night to use the bathroom. So getting optimum comfort is key.

Maternity Leggings/maternity jeans – Comfort!  Nothing more frustrating then the day you try to get dressed only to find that your clothes no longer fit. This is where the maternity pants are your best friend.

Maternity Undershirt – When you have an ever expanding belly… boobs… love handles… pretty much everything. You will find that things that fit yesterday no longer work for today. That’s where throwing on a white tank and cardigan is the fastest way to a successful outfit. The undershirt was the perfect touch to rounding out the belly and hiding any bulges.

Flats – Your feet will start to swell and you will start to feel the extra weight. Flats. Are. Your.Friend.

Lotion – During my pregnancy I had exceptionally dry skin, especially at night. I would lather on lotion before bed and throughout the night if needed.

Stretch mark cream – Stretch marks with sneak up on you.  If your me you will find them hidden after your pregnancy when everything starts to settle back to normal. So start creaming early and often.

Coconut water lemonade – Coconut water is an excellent source of hydration which is extra important when pregnant. The lemon also acts as a natural diuretic to keep everything on track.

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Tums – I hate horrible heartburn during my third trimester. I woke up one night chocking from acid reflex. From that day forward I would take tums before going to bed every night.

Fan – It helped create white noise to keep me a sleep as well as keep me cool. I was lucky to have a majority of my pregnancy in the winter time but even then I was still hot at night.

Belly Wedge – Helps keep your back aligned when sleeping. Side sleeping is the best for you and baby during your third trimester so this helps keep you comfortable.

Bra Extender – Your chest just keeps getting bigger all throughout your pregnancy. But to save on having to buy additional bra’s invest in some bra extenders to give yourself some extra room.

Cooling sleep mask – It was not until the end of my pregnancy that I started to notice my face getting a little puffy as well as some added bags under my eyes from getting up about every hour. The cooling mask felt wonderful as well as reduced some of the swelling.

Ice packs – I had horrible cramping and restless legs all throughout my pregnancy. I would keep ice packs on my calves to combat the aches.  Worked like a charm!

Exercise ball – It can start to get really uncomfortable to sit no a couch or chair , especially the last month of pregnancy. The exercise ball is a great alternative.