How parenting made me better at my job (even when no one else believed it)

Aug 29, 2014 by

I spent the last three years coaching a group of high school cheerleaders. It was something I had wanted to do for years, and it was as rewarding as it was challenging.

As contradictory as it may seem for a cheerleading coach, I’m an introvert. I find large groups of loud people to be draining of my energy, so you can imagine how I felt after spending an evening every day with a group of teenage girls. And in coaching, you fight some of the same battles as you do in parenting; how to get someone to follow an instruction they may not want to, working your way through conflict amongst teammates, and handling those circumstances when their personalities might, at times, clash with yours.

When life gives you a dentist appointment, make a date day

Aug 22, 2014 by

Six months ago, my husband and I unknowingly booked dentist appointments for the same day, at the same time. We didn’t realize we had done this until I was flipping through the mail I had taken from the box and wondered why they sent me two appointment reminders.

My husband decided to take the whole day off, and it turned out to be the first date day we’d had in a very long time. It was great; we went out to lunch and did whatever we wanted to for an entire day! When we left the dentist that morning, we were sure to make our appointments at the same time at our six month follow up.

Holding on to sentiment

Aug 15, 2014 by

I’m not a sentimental person – just ask my mom. My mom saves everything and remembers everything. I didn’t get this trait from her. I don’t save much and can’t remember anything. My daughter is only three and I have a hard time remembering when she hit her milestones. My mom can remember a grade she got on a test in the third grade. Sometimes I wish I was more like her in this sense.

My mom passed along a cardboard box of news clippings, report cards and mementos from my childhood that she had lovingly kept for me; I lost them all when our basement flooded, having never gotten around to finding a better way to store them. I’m way behind on putting pictures in photo albums; I didn’t even take many photos until I got my iPhone which, in the grand scheme of things means that many years and activities went undocumented. I never kept a baby book; I knew I’d never use it. I even lost the free paper growth book our pediatrician gave me to track my daughter’s height and weight. I started a “thought a day” journal when my daughter was born and stuck with that for longer than I thought – two out of the five years it allowed for.

Choosing mindful parenting

Aug 8, 2014 by

One of my greatest mothering fears is that I’ll be a pushover parent. I don’t like conflict in general, so I try to avoid it, but that’s obviously not realistic in many situations, especially parenting. But I don’t want the fact that I don’t like disagreements to rule my parenting choices, causing me to let poor behavior slide and allowing rules to fly out the window. Actually, parenting my daughter is perhaps the one area of my life where I’m most comfortable setting and reinforcing boundaries, as difficult or unpopular with the three-year-old set as that may be.

The duality of breastfeeding

Aug 1, 2014 by

I wanted to tell you something pithy and sweet about breastfeeding; anything I put down just came across as insincere and trite. The truth is, nursing a child is not something easily done, or easily explained. I find the whole experience so contradictory, a few neatly packaged words aren’t enough.

Breastfeeding is the most foreign natural thing I’ve ever done. Women’s bodies were designed to feed their children. So how can nursing be so wrought with complications? Mastitis, over production, pumping, nipple shields, clogged ducts, overactive let down, thrush…I could go on. Any mom who has attempted it, even for a day, knows how strange feeding a child with your body can be.

And yet, something about breastfeeding made me feel connected to something – someone – outside of myself, yet an extension of myself. A selfless offering to the child I’m responsible for and love beyond all other things. I was fortunate to be able to nurse, and therefore there was no question that to do so was the right choice for me and my family.

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