Sunday, September 27, 2009

SAHM Triumph: Improvisation

I naively typed a to-do list last week. Why bother? The one concept that being a SAHM has taught me--improvisation is key.

I once though that not telling the exact truth, the most honest idea that I would share with adults lessened my child. I didn't want to dent his trust in me. I was afraid of providing him with a shaky future. Now, not so much. I don't lie --I create, imagine, improvise. For instance:

Q. Why is the dog downstairs?
A. That's his clubhouse, like Mickey's clubhouse. Only it's the dog's clubhouse.

Q. I want cookies/cake/candy/chips.
A. I don't think I found those at the store.

Q. Why can't I play on the computer?
A. Computers are for adults.

Of course, the bigger improvisation is the avoiding technique like when Ty is throwing a fit and I say, "Hey, look over here! The letter 'A'! Let's sing the alphabet!!" 

Before, I always reasoned with Ty. I painstakingly explained, gave examples, talked through his issues, wondered why he had that question, analyzed, and on and on. My nature won't let me stop all of that, but since being a SAHM, I do appreciate and use the art of improvisation. I'm not sure it is 100% the best manner, but I am finding I need it to get through the day.

SAHM successes are important, and their value will show in our children. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

SAHM Triumph: To Do List

I'm pretty famous for my to do lists. I incessantly make and disregard them. But, here I go...

When I pile all of my metaphorical hats on at once, I accomplish nothing. The list overwhelms me and I surf the web.

I wrote numerous lists at work every day--copies, emails, phone calls, and grading. For this week, I'll try this at my new work--I and all of my readers will see if the list improves my productivity. 

I work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday this week. That's good-I'll be up, showered, make-uped and still have most of my day left. Thats bad-lots of lesson planning.

1. Grocery shopping. (This is such a huge undertaking that it needs more than those two words beside the number one).
2. Call CILCO. Our bill is a mess.
3. Take the out-grown clothes downstairs.
4. Vacuum, dust, pick up, repeat ten times a day.
5. Laundry. (Again, this should look longer to compliment the severity of the task).

I will leave it at that. Teaching work, kids work, and all of this other stuff--I will see and report back. Maybe by having this short list I will accomplish it and feel happy. I've been getting down about the whole SAHM situation because I don't report to anyone or complete paperwork. I feel like I need to be doing more. I'm probably fine, but I'm still a little lost. Every time I think I've got it, I don't. We'll experiment with the list.

Friday, September 18, 2009

SAHM Struggle: Different Sizes

I just walked past the coat hook in my hall and saw a green flowered jacket and a navy football jacket hanging. They are both so tiny and perfect for my perfect babies. I am so lucky to have two healthy children whom I have no major worries about.

I am almost adjusted to the SAHM project. I get up in the morning, and I get going. I am not one of those moms who gets up, showers, and puts on makeup. I make too many messes cleaning or scrubbing something. Plus, I like to walk in the mornings.

My normal routine: rise at 7 (with Ty or Za waking me), brush teeth, put on comfy clothes, make coffee, feed kids, clean kids, clean me. This is where it starts to fall apart a bit. I have this struggle of being with the kids but also getting something done--writing or cleaning. I crave to check my outside statuses--Twitter, Facebook, hotmail, gmail, Red Room, etc. I don't obsess over these all day like the moms on Oprah or Dr. Phil. I just want a moment. That elusive SAHM moment.

I allow Ty two hours of TV daily; he chooses to watch Micka-Mouse in the morning and again, Micka-Mouse after his nap. With breakfast over, he settles into that and Za crawls around while I sit at the computer. This, from an outside view, is nice. I sip coffee, chase Za, check my outside connections, and the kids play. Za isn't too interested in TV, and I keep her from it. After that hour, Ty is fussy and yes, I do link this to TV. 

I enjoy this hour, but don't let myself as well as I could. I feel guilty for checking my stuff, for letting Ty get mad about his show ending, for letting Za knock over the dog's dish. This is the major obstacle with being a SAHM: guilt. I have different levels, different sizes of guilt, but it is there. I internalize it all and analyze and apply educational theories to all that they do. Do all SAHMs do that? This guilt, internalization, I must stop it. I have wonderful, darling, perfect babies. I should spend every realistic moment loving them and quit this stupid guild trip.

SAHM successes are important, and their value will show in our children. 

Thursday, September 17, 2009

If We Want Preventive Health Care, Let's Talk About Breastfeeding

The health care reform talk on CNN and FOX and even my town's newspaper buy into "preventive health care." This makes sense: if Americans eat correctly, exercise, and generally behave, they will be less sick, feel better, work better, see the doctor less, and a beautiful cycle of wellness will abound. 

Not quite, but with preventive healthcare, all will save money.

Major news organizations ignore preventive healthcare overall, mainly because it isn't fun and Americans tend to be reactive rather than proactive. Spending money on new health fads has more possible news stories. So let's talk about money.

As the Peoria Journal Star reports, the annual insurance premium for a family paid by employers and workers recently rose from $7,220 to $13,397. That's an increase of nearly 86 percent. Conversely, the median earnings of Illinois workers rose just 17 percent, from $26,806 to $31,414. As an Illinois native, this bothers me. What bothers me more is that the article closes without any reference to preventive health care, which will lower doctor bills. Articles about expensive healthcare must reference that preventive health care is often the cheapest. Preventive healthcare, caring for yourself before you are sick, should start at birth with breastfeeding.

The American Academy of Pediatrics reported a study proving such a point. Thomas M. Ball and Anne L. Wright looked at three illnesses in infants: lower respiratory tract illnesses, otitis media, and gastrointestinal illnesses. Results were expected: 
There were 2033 excess office visits, 212 excess days of hospitalization, and 609 excess prescriptions for these three illnesses per 1000 never-breastfed infants compared with 1000 infants exclusively breastfed for at least 3 months. These additional health care services cost the managed care health system between $331 and $475 per never-breastfed infant during the first year of life.

Researchers concluded with the following: 

In addition to having more illnesses, formula-fed infants cost the health care system money. Health care plans will likely realize substantial savings, as well as providing improved care,by supporting and promoting exclusive breastfeeding. 

Undoubtedly, breastfeeding must be part of our nation's healthcare reform discussion. It is key in preventive health care. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasized my point: 

Small steps are as important as system overhaul. Those who initiate change, large or small, are experiencing benefits today and creating the foundation for success in the future. 

Media, mothers, and concerned citizens: let's all openly discuss breastfeeding, how it can lower our health care costs, and most importantly, help babies. 

Unless common citizens promote breastfeeding and openly demand the abolition of the atrocity that is formula, babies will suffer. Excuses and self-comforting hinder the breastfeeding movement, as does cruelty and hatred.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gardner's Eight Intelligences: Interpersonal

This is an eight-part series covering Gardner's eight multiple intelligences and applying the theory with my children in every day life. 

Interpersonal Intelligence is "people smart" or rather, when someone has an understanding of others and communicate well based on his understandings. Textbooks normally name Oprah as the greatest example of someone with interpersonal intelligence.

Both of my children are so young and I don't think it fair to judge their interpersonal intelligence at this point. They interact with other people. Za mostly slobbers on people and smiles. She doesn't yet differentiate strangers and family. Ty of course looks at people differently and has a few friends.

Ty doesn't like to share--typical of his age. Sometimes (normally when family reminds him) he will look at his counterpart with understanding. I hope he realizes that yes, my friend wants that toy as well.

Does he have a greater understanding of emotions, effects of histories and backgrounds, race relations? No, not at this age. I hope to raise him with an interpersonal understanding. I read him stories about different facial expressions and we identify with people with an extreme display (crying, mad, laughing). It is a start to building his interpersonal intelligence and one I hope pays off. People that understand and get along with other people succeed more than those who don't. 

Friday, September 11, 2009

SAHM Triumph: Nose Sucky Thing

A cold took over my little Za's nose this week. I hate when my children are sick. Helpless and sad--that's me. When she nurses, she lets go to catch her breath. This makes us both upset; she's hungry and I know it and can't help enough.

I normally try the nose sucky thing that the nurses use so expertly in the hospital. Za throws her short and rubberbanded arms out and cries. My milk lets down, I soak my shirt and we are both upset. This time, I finally heard the sucky noise and when I squirted the bulb out, success! Snot!

Finally, I got it. Poor Ty never had his nose properly sucked. I just figured the method out, and I am on baby #2. This got me thinking--I have all of this information, knowledge, ability and I am done. I just figured all the small baby stuff out, and I'm done. Nursing, rocking, swaddling, projectile-breastfed-newborn poop--all of it. Maybe I should have another baby for smooth sailing.

That can't happen with motherhood, can it?

SAHM successes are important, and their value will show in our children. 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Breastfeeding Moms Hold Nurse-In

Common sense and the law protect women and babies who breastfeed in public. Of course they breastfeed in public! The baby is hungry and the mom is building her milk supply.

Anyone who thinks differently is ignorant. Simply ignorant.

America is overwhelmingly obese and dumb. Bottlefeeding is the root of this. Look at research and you will not find anything else.

This argument (breastfeeding in public) is over. The law proves that. Caring and intelligent citizens must move on to teaching and helping new mothers breastfeed.

Society has changed in the past and it needs to change again. Bottlefeeding your baby is dangerous, and these women are just trying to accustom the public to the best and natural way to feed your baby.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Breastfeeding Misconceptions

As I head off to bed, I must jot down a few misconceptions I always hear concerning breastfeeding. If you truly understand how breastfeeding works, these may seem silly. For mothers with little breastfeeding knowledge, these excuses must seem very real.

My milk dried up because...
1. I took Benadryl.
2. I had the flu.
3. I got a vaccine. 

I didn't make enough milk because...
1. I nursed the baby and then had to pump because the baby wanted to keep nursing.
2. the baby wanted to nurse every three hours.
3. I never saw milk.

I needed to give the baby formula because...
1. his dad needed to feel close to him and feed him.
2. she would wake up hungry and wanted to nurse for hours.
3. I had a cesarean section.

As usual, I reiterate my belief that knowledge is key in understanding why women stop or never start breastfeeding. When women lie, they hurt others who may believe them. These excuses need explained away. 

Unless common citizens promote breastfeeding and openly demand the abolition of the atrocity that is formula, babies will suffer. Excuses and self-comforting hinder the breastfeeding movement, as does cruelty and hatred.

Gardner's Eight Intelligences: Intrapersonal

This is an eight-part series covering Gardner's eight multiple intelligences and applying the theory with my children in every day life.

Intrapersonal intelligence is "self smart." This means the intrapersonal person knows his or her boundaries and understands what he or she needs to be happy. 

I know very few intrapersonal people. Most of my friends, like myself, question themselves, fear not knowing anyone, fail, and succeed. My husband knows his limits. He sets high goals for himself and meets them. If he isn't invited to play in a basketball game, he doesn't care because he's pretty short and can't jump. He doesn't put on a "I don't care show" for his basketball playing buddies. This truly doesn't bother him.

Figuring out Za's intelligence is futile, as she just turned 7 months old. She chews on objects and is learning to crawl. She's right on target; applying the eight intelligences to her is premature.

Ty asks questions continuously all day. He pauses mid-question to ask a different question concerning a different topic. He likes working alone on his cars and drawings, as many two year olds do. Intrapersonal intelligence is hard to apply to small kids. He's trying to figure out his world and naturally questions everything and everyone. Does he understand his limits? He tests his father and me. He falls down and trips, but I can't imagine that means he doesn't understand his running limits--he's figuring out how to run. This is a fun intelligence, as intrapersonal intelligent people find happiness easier than others.

The scary part, of course, is that I desire not to shape my children in the way I see them develop. We all do, to an extent, but I try not to say, "just like so and so" to my kids. If this is their intelligence, I will think it is like their father and I will be pleased. I will also think it is just like they developed, and I will be so happy for them.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SAHM Struggle: Going to Bed

I don't know why I thought when I was a SAHM working only quarter time I would have more time. I don't and I don't know what I was thinking.

Ty destroys everything in his path. Yes, that is a cliche and overused, but he does. His entire room is unwalkable. He dumped out all of his toys off his shelves. I can't get into my bedroom from all the clean laundry I washed. I am still trying to get all the tiny baby stuff up to the attic. I am so frustrated and tired and lost. I think my house was this messy when I worked, only I wasn't at home enough to realize it.

I am lost with this SAHM thing and talking to a two year old all day. He repeats everything. I love him to bits, but he will say the same thing over and over and over and over and I want to cry. I talk to him and then he says something and I don't know what he means! I could cry.

Then I feel like I neglect Za. She's so little and well behaved. She's a girl and I worry that she will feel neglect and misbehave. My mind plays an entire awful scenario, all because I am tired and stressed about a messy house. It is ridiculous, I know, but listening patiently to Ty and paying enough attention to Za weigh on my mind.

I'm tired and am now going to bed.

SAHM successes are important, and their value will show in our children.