Mamitas: Part 1

Goodness gracious its been a long time!  But, I will make no apologies for it, because holy cow! Pregnancy sucked the life out of me, and adjusting to having another little one in the house these first few months have been a juggling process!

My GOAL is to do a few posts talking about my pregnancy, labor and delivery, post partum, and adjusting to two littles.  No promise on all those being written or being written in a timely manner.  Writing is a hobby, but the kids are a full time job.

So! Without further ado!

Getting the BFP (That’s Big Fat Positive)

With my first pregnancy I was in denial so I didn’t get really excited or my hopes up for fear of something going wrong.  This time was a little more dramatic, but same on the lack of a joyous response. (Poor Milkman, he is waiting for the day when we can pop the apple cider and throw a party when I get a BFP, but for now, we laugh over my less than jubilant responses, considering I am baby obsessed).

On the last Monday night in November, I was nursing Captain to sleep after night time bath, book and prayers.  Nursing had been very painful for a couple of weeks and we assumed it was due to Captain teething, however, I had a feeling something was off.  Nursing, while painful as your body adjusts the first 2 or 3 weeks of a baby’s life, should not hurt as bad as it did nursing my 9 month old.  I popped down the hall after Captain was asleep and told my husband, Milk Man, that I was going to take a shower before I came out to unwind on the couch with him.  I was just about to step in the shower and thought, “I should take a pregnancy test.  Something is off.” (this may be a good time to mention for dinner that night I had made a casserole that Milkman choked down and I was raving about, out of sweet potatoes, carrots, beef, raw tomatoes, olives and broccoli… I ate half the pan!) So, I found a test in the back of the medicine cabinet and waited 2 minutes, and there it was.  The plus sign. Calm. Breathing. Calm. Breathing. PANIC.

I ran down the hall and Milk Man could see by my face something was wrong.  I proceeded to cry.  HYSTERICALLY. And then, like they do in the movies when something bad happens, I melted to the floor and wept and wailed and MM kept asking what was wrong and I couldn’t even form words.  Finally he said, “Baby! WHO DIED?!” And I responded with, “I’M NOT READY TO WEAN!!!!” Poor Milk Man looked completely flabbergasted.

“Um, babe, I didn’t say you should, why do you think you have to wean Captain?”

“Be… cause… ::GASP FOR AIR:: I’M PREGNANT!”

Oh, to capture Milk Man’s face in that moment.  He got a big smile and assured me it was okay and we’d be fine and that he was happy, and couldn’t we be happy this time?  I ranted about how we couldn’t have another baby, because Captain was still up 10 times a night and I heard you have to wean when pregnant, and could we afford another, and I only want one baby (lies, I want 15), and how guilty I felt and how we weren’t supposed to be ABLE to get pregnant (the doc told us after Captain that due to a gene mutation I have, we would most likely not have anymore).

Once I stopped my list of reasons why we couldn’t have another baby, and Milk Man was stifling his laughter from my hysteria, he assured me that we were going to have a baby and it was a good thing, and God would work out the rest.  We prayed and then ordered a special supplement from amazon to help mamas with my gene mutation have a better chance of having a whole child and a full term pregnancy.

We got into bed and I held Captain a little tighter that night when he got in our bed to nurse. Somehow, it would be okay.

Second time around

On Caring for Families With a New Addition

My big little sister told me I needed to write another blog because she wants something to read, but this one will probably be boring to her anyway.  So!  Sorry, Peeky.

This one we can file under “Advice”.

When my oldest sister, “…”, Hey, I just realized I don’t have a nickname for her.  We’ll call her, “Hortense”, just kidding.  We’ll call her, “Maggie”, had her oldest daughter, there were a slew of us in the waiting room at the hospital as she labored.  We drank coffee from Ruby’s and ate cinnamon rolls and talked and laughed nervously waiting for her to deliver our first niece, blissfully unaware of the trauma happening to her body.  At 19, I knew child birth hurt in theory, but I thought once you pushed the baby out, everything is all clean and happy and lovely.  When she asked us not to come to the hospital til after Daughter #2 was born, I was bummed that we didn’t get to wait in the waiting room, but respected her wishes.  By Daughters #3 and #4, we were basically told, “You can meet the baby once we are home.”  I didn’t understand because I hadn’t gone through childbirth, but when I was preparing to have Captain, I remember Maggie telling me that the exhaustion and mess that comes after childbirth is simply not conducive to having a room full of visitors.

So, I broke the news to Milk Man a couple months before Captain came that I would not be receiving visitors in the hospital, because I thought I’d be too exhausted.  Granted, Milk Man was disappointed as his family has always been present at each birth of their 10 nieces and nephews, but he respected my wishes.  Captain came and OH. MY. GOSH.  I got it.  BOY, did I ever get what my sister was talking about.  It wasn’t just exhaustion from a 34 hour back labor and not having slept in 3 days.  It was pain, and things leaking out of your body (that’s putting it in a gentle way), and stitches and pain.  It was learning to nurse, which is virtually impossible to do modestly when you are first starting out, and feeling so emotionally whacked out that you cry at everything and make a fool of yourself.  We made a concession and allowed our parents to come visit us in the hospital, but even that was hard for me.  I felt like I was not myself and it was difficult for me to have anyone in the room and then worse yet, LEAVE.  Because I was such an emotional wreck, when my parents left I cried for even longer.

The day we left the hospital, 31 hours after Captain was born, I was itching to get back home.  We got home, and I immediately scrubbed the bathroom, top to bottom, changed Captain’s diaper, during which he choked and stopped breathing, and then I had a giant meltdown.  Thankfully both my sisters Peeky and Maggie came, bearing groceries, Vitamin B, and a giant iced, blended coffee.  My sisters were my solace.  Peeky is my ultimate calming force.  She didn’t tell me not to cry or that its okay, she simply loved on me, prayed for me, and washed my dishes.  Maggie was the same, and since she has 4 of her own, she was non-assuming and understanding.  She told me what I was feeling was normal, and didn’t try to fix anything.  They both listened as I recounted my very long and intense labor.  No judgement, no unsolicited advice, just caring and listening ears.  Consequently, they were the only people besides my mother and Milk Man that I felt comfortable holding my new baby for at least the first 2 months.

Our small group at church was AMAZING.  They brought dinner for a full week after we had Captain.  Our group leaders told people to bring food, say hi, and leave.  That was amazing.  We felt loved and cared for, and frankly, I was not in any state to be cooking.

Other people who I am very close with visited and were helpful as well.  My best friend Nanner came over and brought us a bag of bold roasted coffee, breakfast foods and tortellini soup, along with popcorn and chocolate (which turned out to be my favorite snacks those first few weeks!)  Perhaps one of the most eye opening visits came from my dear friend Ashley, who came a few weeks after we had Captain.  By this point, ready made meals from visitors had stopped, but she came with EASY PREPARE INGREDIENTS.  This was AMAZING.  She brought us healthy frozen ingredients, dry goods, and all the ingredients to make SEVERAL meals worth of easy, healthy meals without having to go to the store, and with only using one pan or pot each, along with the recipes on how to assemble.  This was one of the most invaluable gifts we received, because it was great to be able to thaw out some frozen brown rice in the microwave along with orange chicken and frozen stir fry, all in 15 minutes and have a meal ready that I didn’t have to be creative with or go to the store for.  She has 2 kids of her own, (and another due any day!) and I was really touched and helped by that generosity.

So, there’s my experience, here is my advice:

On Visiting:

A lot of people thought I was odd for not wanting visitors in the hospital.  Out of the 90 or so women on my current birth group, a SUBSTANTIAL amount of them have expressed that they don’t want a bunch of people interrupting that first week of bonding with long visits.  Many women are afraid to express this for fear of sounding rude, so I’ll be blunt for them: Don’t expect that you are welcome to visit in the hospital or in the home for at least a week, unless you have been told otherwise.  It doesn’t mean you aren’t loved or that the new mom is evil, it means she is probably sore, tired, weak, and not wanting you to be present while she spends a week on the couch in a nursing bra and pajama pants with a new baby.

-Come visit when you are invited to visit, and be sensitive.  If mom seems tired and baby seems fussy, cut your visit short.

-When you enter the house, IMMEDIATELY wash hands.  Do not hold baby with dirty hands, it will drive the new mama insane, even if she doesn’t say it, she’s thinking about germs non-stop!

-Follow mom’s cues.  If she looks antsy or nervous while you are holding baby, she may feel the need to hold her baby, offer to give the baby back to her.

-Tell the family you do not need to be entertained, and once again, be sensitive to the family.  If it seems like they are weary, it’s probably time to leave!  Newborn babies often nurse every hour!  New mom may not be comfortable nursing in front of you and baby may be hungry!

-Leave something useful and inexpensive for mom or baby (some fruit, a bag of bagels, box of cereal diapers, Starbucks gift card, some onesies, etc.)

On Helping:

Some moms want help, and others don’t.  I was in the latter category.  When people did want to help, some thought that “helping” meant holding the baby.  No, no, no, give me my baby.  Especially if the new mom is breastfeeding, she will want to be close to the baby.  Better ways to help:

-Offer to wash dishes

-Offer to throw in a load of laundry

-Offer to run an errand or 2 for mom

-Offer to fix lunch

-Offer to scrub the bathroom

In fact, when it comes to the dishes, don’t even offer, just go wash them. haha!

On Food:

-If you are bringing a meal, bring the meal, say hello, and leave if you aren’t really close with the family.  We were SO appreciative of people respecting our privacy that first week.  When you stay, the family thinks they have to entertain you, rather than what you are actually there to do: serve them.

-Bring paper plates, disposable forks, etc.  Bring the meal in something that doesn’t need to be washed or returned.

-Bring enough to last for dinner and some leftovers!

-Bring fruit or something that can also be eaten with another meal.  Comfort food is amazing, but so is a little something fresh!

-If mom is breastfeeding, err on the side of caution and don’t bring spicy or gassy foods in case baby has a sensitivity to it.

-If you aren’t assigned to bring the family a meal, take the cue from my friend, and bring some easy prepare meals that are easy to throw together!  SUCH A LIFESAVER.

-Check out!  I found this via pinterest.  Really good way to organize meals between church/friends for the new family.

Overall, the big thing is to not presume that every new family wants company or a lot of people around.  I liked having my closest friends and family visit, because they were always helpful, but never presumptuous.  Be a blessing, not a burden and try not to get offended if new mama is a little crazy.  It’s the hormones, and she’ll be back to her old self soon enough, but those first few weeks are really difficult emotionally!


ADDENDUM: Not  all moms feel the same way I do about visiting right after baby, some love a houseful!  The important thing is to not assume EITHER way and to ask before, so that its clear for all parties involved! 🙂

Regret Less

I recently read a very sad story on a blog called Sparkling Adventures of a mother whose 7 month old son died tragically and suddenly.  I, of course was moved to tears, and cried for a good while as my sweet baby boy slept alongside me for a nap in our queen sized bed.  One of the things that the author said when speaking about the day she buried her baby boy really stuck out to me was that because of her style of parenting (Attachment Parenting) she didn’t seem to have regrets about the time she spent with her boy, Elijah.  She said, “…I am confident I held him enough, cuddled him when he desired closeness, listened to his breathing next to me at night and responded to his simple demands.”

I continued to weep as I read through her grief and loss, trying hard not to cry so hard as to wake my sweet boy.  I looked at my own sweet boy’s sleeping face and kissed the top of his head, breathed in his pungent, sweaty baby boy smell and thought about how I would deal with the loss of a child.  Obviously, there is no way to tell what you will go through and feel when losing a child. I have not, and hope never to, so I cannot say for sure, but I thought about how much we hold, cuddle, respond to, talk to, wear, explain, and try to be a comforting presence to our son, and I all of the sudden felt a little better about my life raising a high needs child.

You see, our boy, the Captain, is a happy boy.  He is funny, and laughs a lot (though only at home, this child is a stoic statue outside our 4 walls).  But our Captain does not like to be left on the other side of the same room as us, loves to be held (only by one of us or my mama), wakes up more than 5 times a night (EVERY night), nurses hourly most days, and has to share that little queen bed with us if anyone is to be sane with enough sleep to meet each day.  I spent the first few months of his life researching and reading, doing everything in my power to find out what was wrong with him.  Really, what child wakes up 20 times in a night and isn’t tired during the day?!  But something changed in my husband (The Milkman) and I during this time.  Instead of “successfully” changing him, we began to change.  We didn’t set out to be attachment parents because we read about it in a book.  I didn’t nurse on demand because it was told to me by an expert.  I didn’t begin babywearing because it is a popular thing to do.  We just went on survival mode and on intuition.

Last night, Captain let me off easy with only 6 quiet wake-ups, but before I went to bed, I thought about that sweet boy Elijah, and his mama who would never again nurse her baby, have him wake her in the night, scream to be held, or pull her hair when she slept, and how fortunate I am to have my baby right next to me.

I can say that while many have quietly (and NOT so quietly) had their opinions about the way Milkman and I have chosen to parent our son, I do not regret it. When I am old, I do not want to say, “I wish I’d held him more.” or “Why didn’t I cherish those moments we spent cuddling instead of putting him aside to get some more housework done?”  My house will always be here.  Errands, grocery shopping, laundry, dusting, and dirty dishes will plague me til the end of my days.  But I have a soul, a little human, who needs and loves me and wants to spend time with me!  How blessed I am to have the opportunity to respond to him in love, just like God responds to me!

I will have many regrets in parenting when I look back on my children some day, I know this because I had the two most nearly perfect parents on this earth and they have regrets!  However, though it is impossible to be “regretless” I would like to regret less things when my children are grown, and so, this is why I parent the way I do, responding in love and  compassion to someone who is in need and cannot meet those needs by himself.

And on that note, Captain is awake and calling for me.  That’s all for now.

Captain, Me, and Milkman
Captain, Me, and Milkman


Settling in to our new home, new job for Milkman, and new routine (wait, no routine here…) with Captain has taken up much of my time.  That and a lot of productivity around the house lately has kept me from writing much… but here’s a little something!


Captain is asleep, and though I know I SHOULD be cleaning, preparing for Thanksgiving, stuffing diapers, and filling that dresser I just re-did (that’s a story unto itself) with clothing that is all around our little home, I am sitting in mine and Captain’s nursing chair and reflecting on the things I am thankful for, as folks typically do during Thanksgiving.  I have so much to be thankful for, as we are rich in faith, love, and God’s grace in our home.  But, here is a list of things that come to mind right now.

I am thankful for…

Sticky, fat hands that pull my face in for bites… er, kisses, and that sweet teething smile.

The neighbors above us who walk loudly, because it makes me feel better about Captain crying in the night.

The hands marred by dish water, dull knives, and paper cuts that cared for me from birth, and now comfort my own little one.  My mother is my hero.

The long strong arms that wrap around Captain and I in the middle of the night while we nurse, that squeeze us to gently, and make us feel so safe. I love you, Milkman, 99, infinity.

The preaching that I hear every Sunday spoken with passion, fire, and love.  My papa’s preaching is the only preaching where I cannot fall asleep no matter how tired I am.

Feet that rarely don shoes.  This could be the best thing about being a homemaker.


The intense eyebrows, cleft chin, and disgustingly long lashes that I have fought with, loved, disagreed, and mean my big sister is in the room.  I admire you sister.

Grant’s Christmas Album

Being able to afford cheese again.

Delicate cold fingers with nails trimmed to perfection, thick soft hair, and smelling like candy, encouraging me, lifting me up, and always pulling me into her educational journeys whether I asked or not… haha!  My sweet middle sister.  The strongest, little lady I know.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving tomorrow.  I know I am looking forward to dinner with my entire immediate family, my tia and uncle, and my cowsin Larry!  Let the eating commence!

The infamous Headless Bobble Headed Butterball from my mom’s house.


On Choosing Childcare…

Being that I have a young child, I tend to hang with other mom’s of young children (and by “hang with” I mean refresh my facebook a million times a day waiting for new posts in the secret mom’s groups I am apart of! SPECIAL SHOUT OUT TO MY BLUE HOMIES!)    Yes, it is pathetic, but true, I have very few friends these days.  The single ones are all busy having fun and slaying the corporate giant, the older ones have older kids and are busy homeschooling or being PTA goddesses, and the new moms are just as frazzled as I am, stuck on a couch with a nursing baby and cannot commit to anything!  Anyways, where was I?  Oh! Yes, my computer friends.  So, lately, there are a lot of mamas looking for recommendations on childcare.  They often ask other women what local daycares or nannies they like best and go from there.  While I think this is a good starting point, I would say it is not THE best way to find your childcare.  Why?  Because those parents are probably just as much in the dark on what goes on at their kid’s daycare as you are.

I am no expert on childcare, I was never placed in daycare.  My mama homeschooled my sisters and my experience with being cared for in a childcare situation was in Sunday School and Kid’s Klub at church growing up.  My knowledge comes from having worked in childcare.  I don’t claim to have all the answers or the BEST advice, but I have spent my working years babysitting, working in elementary aged school camps and after school care, 3 preschools, and my last outside the home job as a nanny, so I have a little bit of the inside scoop.   Now, being a mom, I kind of get the parenting side of things, as well as the worker side of things.

I must preface this with the following:  If you can cut down to 1 income or even 1.5 incomes, ANY POSSIBLE WAY, just do it.  Get a financial adviser to help you break down the money in your household, learn to live on the bare minimum, and stay home with your kiddo.  No one is better equipped to care for your little one than you.  Maybe you don’t know much about CHILDREN, but I can tell you right now you know more about YOUR child than someone who took 4 child development classes at community college.

Okay, some tips, in no particular order, on choosing childcare:

1. If you can find a family member to watch them, do that instead! Offer to pay 50-75% of what the day care charges. Grandma, an aunt, cousin, niece, or sibling is going to be one of your best options.  Your child will probably feel safer, and you may feel more at ease (unless everyone you are related to is a crazy, then, not so much.)

2. If you have a friend who is a SAHM (Stay at home mom), ask if she’d consider watching your lovey.  Offer to pay 50-75% of daycare fees and bring her brownies.  (I say this, because if I was watching your kid, I’d want me some free brownies sometimes.  Mmmm.  Fat moment over.)  She will most likely be caring for her own children, so what is one more to add to the mix?  Easy peasy.  You can rest assured that your child will probably get similar care in her home as you would offer to her kids if they were in your home.  As with the other options, your lovey will be able to stay on their own schedule, rather than on the center’s schedule.  Sweet deal!  And you would be helping give that mama a small income so she can continue to stay home! (and happy, if the brownies are still involved.  SHOUT OUT TO my online mama friend B.G. and those world famous brownies! Come to Cali and make me some!)

3.  Get a nanny or a sitter.  My last job outside the home was nannying for the best family on the planet.  NO, REALLY.  I cannot think of a time when I have enjoyed a job more.  I fell in love with my little charge, and adored the parents.  They made me feel so special and though it was still a professional relationship, I was able to integrate into the home and the little one was able to feel safe and secure in his domain.  Is it more expensive?  Yes.  But if you are working full time, your care provider will be spending more waking hours with your child than you will during the week.  How are you going to say your child doesn’t deserve second best care?  (I say second best, because you are the best!)

4. Look into home daycare for kiddos under 2.  I will say it again and again.  Yes, you have to really do your research for an in-home because they won’t be as heavily regulated as a center, but your child will feel better about the home-y feel and environment and you probably will too.  More than likely, your child can stay on his/her schedule better than in a center.  Also, you will have less people in and out of your little one’s day, and therefore, in theory, more stability.

5. If you are putting the wee one in a center, look up state ratios for teacher to in. In Cali its 4 to 1. When I worked at Kiddie Korral, many of the rooms were out of state ratio and had way too many kids for each teacher.  You try to take care of 28 kids all the same age with one other teacher!  Not so great for your little one. Talk to the director or report them to the state if they are out of ratio.

6. Stop in unannounced occasionally to see how things are running.  When they are infants, go into the room and pay the teachers and your little one a visit.  (I don’t recommend dropping into the ROOM past infancy, as it often ruins your kid’s day to see you and think they are going home, only to have a second meltdown goodbye for the day when you have to go back to work.)

7. Be nice to the teachers. They make very little money (probably a quarter of what you are making), work long hours, and have many screaming children to attend to. If you treat them badly, 9 times out of 10 they WILL treat your child differently… not in a good way.  Not all teachers are this way, but some are.

8. Get to know them! Without being creepy, find out about their personal lives, try to be genuinely interested in them. If you are interested in them, they are interested in you, and therefore invest more in your child.  Know their likes and dislikes, know what things you have in common.  It’ll help them to bond with your family.

9. If your kid has a lousy teacher, unless they pose a danger to children in the room, don’t confront them or yell at them. Talk to the director calmly and try to schedule a meeting. If nothing is done, follow up! They work for you, and it is your child’s wellbeing in question.

10. Christmas, birthday, teacher appreciation week… spoil them a little. They probably make barely above min wage to tend to tons of kids. Starbucks gift cards, gas cards, Target, etc. will always be much appreciated. Yes a drawing by your kid is sweet, but not as sweet as being able to use that target gift card to buy much needed toiletries they can’t afford or a coffee they rarely have the money to splurge on.  I loved getting sweet little homemade gifts from my kids, and kept all their drawings, but it was always much appreciated when parent’s sent a little something extra with it to help with life costs!

11. Ask questions. It’s your right to know what your kid is up to all day!

12. Don’t ask too many questions!  😉  They can’t always remember the consistency, smell, and flavor of your kids poop. (Not joking, I have been interviewed on BMs more times than I care to remember) And if they aren’t parents, those questions will peg you as a weirdo at the school.

13.  Be aware. If you wanna have an extended talk with the teacher, and kids are going crazy and lots of parents are dropping off and picking up, realize that an unfortunate side effect of daycare is that they have other kids that need attention other than yours. Make an appointment to talk with them! If the director tries to brush you off, it is because they are probably understaffed and cannot pull a teacher out of a room for a conference.  Oh well!  Push them, get your time with the teacher.  Once again, this is your child.

14.  Don’t be the stealth parent that drops off in a rush and picks up in a rush. You will be pegged as a parent who is too busy for their child and doesn’t care about him/her. Every now and then, it happens, but don’t make it a habit.  I have seen more kids than I care to remember dragged in and dragged out with nary a nod to the teachers or a hello for their child.  Always made me sad for that child.

15. It’s ok to cry! Don’t ever feel bad about crying. It shows them you care about your baby! I always cried with my moms who cried!  I remember one mom telling me how awful she felt dropping her 2 year old off, and that her husband made her work and she felt so guilty, she could barely live with herself.  I held her as she bawled and we both needed the tissue.  It showed me she was real, cared about her kid, and that she was comfortable enough with me to show her weak moments.

16.  Don’t judge teachers for stereotyping … they deal with some good moms, like you, but a ton more who are rude and have jaded them. Win them over, and you will have made a good investment for you and your family.

17.  Don’t assume that because they charge a lot and have kids of high profiled parents enrolled that they offer the best care.  Oh, the things I have seen go on behind closed doors at so-called “good” preschools.

18.  More than likely, your child will be kept safe in any care option.  More than likely, they aren’t going to be beaten or locked in a dark room.  But, the difference between just okay care and great care has to do with the amount of time the caregiver can invest in your child.  The more children under care, the less attention your child receives.

19.  No matter the care environment… Brownies are ALWAYS a good idea.

(Can you tell I am fiending for some chocolate?)

There is so much more I could say on this matter, but I’ll leave it at that for now.  Have any specific questions?  Though I am no expert, I am happy to help answer questions you may have.  Leave them in the comments or drop me an email.  Have more tips for other mamas?  Leave those in the comments!  I wish I had a giant house and 8 arms to hold babies, because I would watch lots of them and give them love and cuddles all day long!  (and you’d only occasionally have to throw me a brownie.)

The Case for a Childless Christian Marriage

Wow!  Great response on Rebecca’s guest post last week!  I am so thankful she shared with you and was excited to see conversations popping up between different groups of people on Facebook and the like in regards to her post.

Being that a good portion of my readers are Christians, I can see how you may have cringed at first and then thought, “Well, maybe I can see her point as a non-Christian.  She has no real duty to God to raise godly Children from the standpoint of the Bible.”  But my friends, it is time to throw you for another loop.

When I first met Tahlia, it was at TGIFriday’s for dinner with her and my brother-in-law, Ronald.  I was 7 or so months pregnant and Tahlia told me she didn’t care for children.  I thought to myself, “Well, certainly she wants some of her own, she just doesn’t like other people’s kids!”  And then we talked some more, and the more we talked I realized, no, this girl doesn’t want any of her own.  She is not the maternal kind!  As a Christian, I believe that Christian people who married are called by God to have children and raise them to be godly!  I might be on the extreme end of the spectrum, because I want to have as many children (biologically my own and through adoption) as the Lord blesses me and the Milk Man with, but I still cringed at the thought of someone who professes Christ to be adverse to having children.

Then I read what Tahlia had to say on the matter.  Though this is not my viewpoint, and I cannot agree with it for myself, I was surprised at how I could totally see her side of things by the time I finished reading her guest post.  So without further ado, I give you Tahlia!

Hi, Cradle-Rockers! 

I’m preparing for my wedding next spring and Rachel invited me to share my brilliant plans for motherhood…

That’s right, ellipses, I don’t have any plans for motherhood!


I really appreciated what Rebecca said in the last post because it all rang true to my own experience. If you talk to me in person, you’ll hear me cite pragmatic reasons like Rebecca’s, because that feels like safer territory to me, but since Rachel asked me to add a Christian’s perspective to this issue, I’ll do my best to focus on that angle.

I’ve always believed that it’s a choice that you and your spouse should make after a lot of prayer. Isn’t that how you choose a college, career, and the spouse who is involved in all this? 

So, Christians, let’s talk. Why do some of you freak out when I tell you I don’t want kids? Why is that not okay?

Here’s my best guess: You think child-rearing is a Christian duty?

I think most Christians have accepted that some of us are called to singleness so we can devote ourselves to God. I doubt many Christians would say that I needed to get married for the sake of being married. If I’m meant to get married, God will bring the right person into my life–that’s generally how it’s understood, right? If there’s no one I feel called to marry, then not getting married is fine as long as I’m not living in sin with a man. 

Okay, hopefully, I’m not offending anyone up to this point with my assumptions. I’m *really* trying!

So let’s continue on the premise that marriage is not something all Christians are required to participate in. And obviously, you’re not supposed to “be fruitful and multiply” outside of marriage, right? Children are only a Christian duty for those who are married. Now, what if you’re getting married, like I am? Is the whole point of marriage to raise a brood of little Christians? Is the purpose of marriage negated if we don’t have children?

I think not. My interpretation of marriage is that it’s main purpose is to serve as an illustration of God’s covenant with his people. Marriage is about experiencing a love that reflects (albeit dimly) God’s love for us. You can learn about love through other types of relationships, but marriage is special because of that bonding promise you make at the alter –two sinful people committed to loving each other (and accepting love) despite their fallenness. They are swearing an oath to find the true freedom that comes with surrendering. Of course, only God can bring us perfect freedom and we’ll never manage total selflessness since we’re only human, but that’s the ideal. 

Having children is a huge decision too, and in many ways, a much more serious and complicated one. I suppose it’s a type of covenant as well, but I think you enter into that family covenant when you get pregnant, not when you get married. I think sex inside of marriage can be an exclusive way to express your love for your spouse without necessarily having to lead to procreating. 

For me personally, I don’t feel called to have children and I think if God wanted me to be a mother, he would have given me some inner sense of calling towards that to prepare me. Personally, I’ve always felt called to be a writer. I’ve been given this gift and I feel a strong duty to use it for the glory of God and having kids would most certainly delay that mission even longer. Sure, I could try to write while raising kids, lots of authors do that, but I want to focus on the gifts God has already given me and really honor my commitment to God, my craft, and my husband. I truly feel like it was an act of God that brought me and Ronald together as a way for us to become closer to Him. And neither of us feels led towards starting a family, so unless that changes, I’m going to take my best guess that it’s okay with God if we leave that area alone.

Post Script: This is not meant as an attack on parenthood. So please don’t take it that way. I am in awe of those women (and men) who choose to be homemakers. Also, please refrain from patronizing comments about how I’ll change my mind once I’m married. Yes, you may be right, but your condescending treatment will just make it harder. 

If you have any comments for this blog or questions for my soon to be sister, please feel free to leave them below, but as stated in the previous guest post PLEASE, be kind and respectful, these are her views and she isn’t forcing them on you, simply sharing them with you!

Please pay Tahlia a visit in her neck of the interwebs.  She writes for both her personal blog Miss Mystra, and is a writer for Diamonds and Toads.

Kids? Not for everyone…

Hello Friends!

I am happy to share the floor with my next two guest bloggers.  Though this blog is about raising children, both your own and in childcare, I thought something a little different might interest you.

I had a conversation with a friend a while back who claimed that she didn’t think a woman could be truly against having children.  She said that there was something ingrained in every woman that made her want her own family.  Though I had held this viewpoint to be true, thinking some women just suppressed the “urge” to have children and raise a family, I had been set straight by a particularly interesting friend of mine named Rebecca several years ago.  Some women, though not the majority, truly are not interested in having their own families.  Not just because their partner doesn’t want children, or because they are physically incapable, or were called to singleness, and simply say they don’t want children to deal with the pain of not being able to have their dream come true.

Because I love  kids, and because I have my own and hope to have many more, I didn’t feel I would be the best person to write this one, so, without further ado, a bit from my friend Rebecca!

Hi.  My name is Rebecca, and I don’t want to have children.

“But… but… you’re a girl!”

Sure am.  Still don’t want any.

“You’ll change your mind when you’re older.”

I’m in my mid-thirties.  How old do I have to be before people stop saying that?

“Maybe you just haven’t met the right man.”

Well golly, don’t tell my boyfriend that he’s not the right man for me.  The last eight years will seem like a total waste!

As you might have guessed, most times someone finds out I don’t want to have children, they argue with me.  I used to get really angry about it, enraged that someone would question my convictions about my own body and my own mind.  Now that I’m older, I still don’t want children, but I’m less hostile about the question.

I believe that you (that’s the universal you) really believe that I just don’t know what I want.  In the same spirit of understanding, can’t you believe that I might just know myself better than you do, total stranger?

“Okay, so, let’s say I do believe you.  For heaven’s sake WHY?  Why don’t you want kids?  Kids are awesome!”

You’re right.  Some kids are awesome.  But a lot of them aren’t.  In my years working as a substitute, I worked with multiple hundreds of children grades K – 8 and I learned that the kids I like are vastly outnumbered by kids I genuinely can’t stand to be around.

“But it’s different when it’s your kid.”

Is it?  Tell that to all of my friends, family, and ex-boyfriends who were either given up for adoption or put in foster care.  My boyfriend could tell you a lovely story about his mother putting his two older brothers in placement because she simply didn’t want to deal with them anymore.

“Well, they are just terrible people.”

You don’t know that.  I can tell you, however, they all did what they thought they had to.  I’m just saying that blood does not guarantee bond.

“But you even said you like kids.”

I do.  I’d go so far as to say that there are some kids I really love.  You know what else I love?  Going to bed whenever I feel like it.  Having popcorn for dinner.  Saying to my boyfriend on a friday evening “let’s have breakfast in San Francisco,” and leaving.

You know what I don’t love?  Loud noises.  Sticky hands.  Endless questions.  High-pitched voices.

Strangers laugh when I tell them I have no maternal instinct.  I don’t just lack the skills to  care for someone, I actually just plain don’t like it.  Nothing about parenting appeals to me.  I’m not afraid of kids (as so many people have suggested when having this conversation), nor is it sour grapes.  I just don’t need them to feel complete.

“But being pregnant is awesome!”

To you, maybe.  To me, it sounds like having a small animal kick you from the inside for a few months, and then kick you from the outside for a few years.  No thanks.

“But babies smell delicious!”

Okay, seriously, what is this?  Every time I see someone sniffing a baby’s head I get creeped out, and SO MANY PEOPLE DO IT!  Look, if you think they smell good, fine.  But on their best days I think babies smell like rotten milk, and like white-hot garbage on their worst.

“Nothing feels as good as hearing a child call you ‘mom.’”

When you work in elementary schools, the kids occasionally slip up and call you mom.  And every time it happened, I cringed.

“What about leaving a legacy?”

Sorry.  If you need that for your ego, that’s your issue.  I personally don’t feel that way.  I don’t need to carry on in this world.  I’m given one life to live – my own.  And I’m going to live it.

“Who will take care of you when you are old?”

I will.  I don’t need kids to pay for assisted living.  I can use the money I didn’t spend on kids to pay for my own assisted living.

What I try to get people to understand is that we have different ideas of rewarding experiences.  You might find the child-rearing process rewarding.  I wouldn’t.

When it comes to being a parent, my personal belief is that you should only do it because you really want to.  Not because you can, or because you think you’re supposed to, or because you just have to capture a slice of immortality and live on through someone else.  I feel that you should just really, really want to be a parent.

And me?  I don’t want to.

You don’t have to agree with that.  You might think the only way I can be a real woman is to be a mother.  That’s fine, you can think that.  Just know that if you do, I’ll think you’re clinging to an archaic value system that has no bearing in my life and I will probably not be interested in any of your other opinions about me.  To be fair, though, I’m not generally concerned with or interested in anyone’s opinions about me.  At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters (other than my own) is that of the person with whom I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my life.  And lucky for me, he doesn’t want kids, either.

I love my life.

Do you?

If you have any comments for this blog or questions for my friend, please feel free to leave them below, but PLEASE, be kind and respectful, these are her views and she isn’t forcing them on you, simply sharing them with you.

Tune in for a couple days for a guest post by Tahlia!

Guest Bloggers


Just a little update that I am EVER so excited to share with you.  In the next couple of weeks I will be sharing the work of two guest bloggers. Neither of them have children, nor do they work with children.  So, why would they be my guest writers, when this blog is primarily catered towards those who have or work with little ones?

That’s for us to know, and you to find out.  Time to dispel some assumptions that people have about women in regards to children.

A tidbit about each writer:

Rebecca is a dear friend of mine.  I met her at Disneyland when I was 16 and we hit it off.  Though we look alike, and people who’ve seen pictures of us have mistaken her for my sister, we could not be more dissimilar in our worldviews.  She is extremely intelligent, a blast to talk to, bright, bubbly, and deliciously morbid all at once.  My father once said of her, “I just like to watch her talk.”  I do, too!

Tahlia is entering my husband’s family in the near future via marrying my brother-in-law.  She is a graduate of Westmont and is the author of her personal blog Miss Mystra, and a writer for Diamonds and Toads.  I am so excited that she is taking time out of her busy wedding schedule to write for you all.

I am so looking forward to reading what these ladies have to share!  Stay tuned!

In Praise of My Mother-In-Law

Mother… a name revered by all.  Even the most unsavory criminals love their Mothers.  Bikers tattoo the title on their bodies.  Thoughts of warm apple pie, unconditional love, trust, and devotion fill the mind.  She is the one who changed your diapers, sat up with you all night when you were sick, and listened to you when other’s judged.  She is often the most revered member of the family unit.

Mother-In-Law….  Oh the sound of that title sends many a wife (and husband!) into a terrified frenzy.  Words like meddling, nagging, crazy, or even evil may come to your mind.  If you are a wife, she may be the woman you’ll never match up to.  If you’re a husband, she may be the one reminding you that you’ll never be good enough.

I have a Mother-In-Law.  We’ll call her MILli.  When I first met Milk Man’s mom, it was a Sunday morning.  I didn’t know she was coming to church that day.  I remember I wore a retro black dress with red bows all over it.  My hair was high in a pompadour, and I was wearing my black and red chucks.  I wanted to kill Milk Man for not telling me earlier that his parents were visiting, so I could have worn something a little less “me” to church.  See, Milk Man comes from a family a bit more conservative than mine.  They are quiet, calm, and very normal.  I, however, come from a family of comedians, loud mouths, entertainers, and over-the-toppers.  I wear weird clothes.  I listen to metal, I love swing dancing, and I absolutely love dressing up.  That day, however, I wished I had worn a long jean skirt, a turtle neck, and black flats.  First impressions are so important, and I knew this one could affect me for a long time.  She was gracious and sweet, though I remember her looking at my shoes, and I wished I could hide them!

MILli and I couldn’t be more different.  We are dissimilar in nearly every way.  I have been mortified that I’ll never live up to her standards or be just like her.  Thankfully, she doesn’t require that, Milk Man doesn’t require that, and neither does God, because I am pretty sure she is the closest thing to perfect on this green and blue sphere!  She is creative, chaste, a gourmet cook, quiet, a servant, and intimidating (though not intentionally).  She is a dutiful wife, a loving mother, a doting grandmother, and she is a most giving daughter.  She is many things I am not.  I have seldom seen her sit at a family gathering.  She is always the last to eat.  Serving all, never being served herself.

I remember wondering how I ended up with MILli’s son when she and I were so completely different.  But, as time has gone on, I have figured it out.  Yes, MILli!  I got your number on this one.  Milk Man was your project.  Milk Man has so many of your traits and qualities, I began to realize that he was raised by you to be everything you felt a man should be.  How could I be intimidated or withhold friendship from the woman who made my husband who he is?

MILli is old fashioned in many of the right ways.  She has seen how the world has become a less polite, kind, and respectful place, and she worked over time to nurture a son who would go against the status quo.  I have often told Milk Man that he is a result of his mother’s rebellion against how most men treat women!  Milk Man is something out of a book or a movie most days.  Kind, loving, respectful, romantic, affectionate, giving, a servant, and a gentleman in all ways.

Now, of course, Milk Man was raised by his father as well, and MILli and FIL are in love and have raised a loving family together.  But Milk Man is especially MILli.  (Much like Milk Man’s brother is especially like my FIL!)  I think Milk Man is everything MILli wanted to see a man be in our society.  He treats women as she would like to be treated.  He serves others just as she serves everyone.

Now that I have my own son, I can’t help but think our wedding day must’ve been terribly hard for her.  Giving your son away to another woman has to be incredibly difficult.  She put so much effort into raising him right, and shaping him into the man he is today, only to send him off to marry Miss Loud Mouth McCrazykins (that’d be me!)

Every time he makes one of her expressions, gently encourages me for better, opens my door, treats me like a queen, helps me cook a meal, changes a diaper, or cuddles me after a rough day, I am reminded that he learned those things from his mama.  I can only hope to be half the mother to Captain that MILli was to my Milk Man.  (Thankfully, Captain has his daddy’s example to learn from, even if I sell him short on manners!)

So, thank you, my sweet Mother-In-Law.  We may not see eye to eye on much (though we have the thing that matter MOST in common! Our faith, our morals, and our views on family).  We may be incredibly different.  We may have very little in common.  We may disagree on some (or even many) things.  But you shaped Milk Man into the gentleman he is today.  I owe so much of my happiness to you.  I am forever in your debt!

And to those of you who don’t get along with your Mother (or Father-In-Law…) Look at your spouse, and if you love them (which I hope you do!) I can promise you that there are pieces of your In-Law’s souls, blood, sweat, and tears woven into your spouse’s personality!

Eating My Words With a Side of Humble Pie

Working with other children (and their parents!) before I had kids caused me to swear there were a lot of things I would NEVER do once I had my own.  My baby would be sleep trained at 3 months.  My baby would be nursed for 6 months if I could make it that long.  My baby would not have any baby gadgets.  My baby would not have tacky plastic toys.  My baby would cry it out if he couldn’t sleep.  My baby wouldn’t be like other babies.

I had a typical case of “know-it-all”.  You know, the kind that people without kids have?  Just like people who aren’t married know how everyone else’s marriages should be run?  Yeah.  Things are always so much clearer when you aren’t in the trenches.  I have judged how people cared for their children, how their children have turned out, and often thought how much better I would have done in their situation.

Fast forward to being a parent.  My baby, The Captain, doesn’t sleep, if the Lord allows it, I want to nurse til he self weans, my mother bought him a jumperoo that is plastic and makes noise, and he loves it, when my baby cries too much, he chokes, vomits and becomes inconsolable.  My baby would be labeled “high needs,” “colicky,” and maybe even “difficult.”  I have spent many nights, and continue to, awake, feeling alone, beside myself, and frustrated.  I haven’t gotten more than 90 minutes of straight sleep in Lord knows how long, and I often tell my husband, The Milkman, that the longer this goes on, the more alone I feel.  No one seems to understand.  It’s amazing how many people stop you when you have a baby to smile at them and look at their drooly, toothless little faces, and the questioning goes like this, “Oh!  How precious!  Boy or girl?”

I respond, “Boy!”

“Oh, wonderful.  He your first?”

“Mhm. Sure is!”

“Congratulations!  How old is he?”

“Thank you!  He’s four months old!”

“Oh, well isn’t he a happy little guy!  Does he sleep through the night?”

And then I get anxious.  Here we go again.  Why do they want to know?  I already know what their response is going to be. I answer with a smile, “No, no… He isn’t much for sleep at night.  It’s rough, but he’s worth it.”

And then the response I know is coming, first a furrowing of the brow, a pursed lip, and a lower tone of voice than before responds, “Oh, that’s too bad.  Are you letting him cry it out?  That’s really the best way to get them to sleep at this age.  And if you are nursing, don’t let yourself become a pacifier.  They really don’t need to eat through the night at this age.”

I smile hesitantly, and nod my head slowly.  I didn’t ask for their advice, but they sure gave it.  The don’t know me, but with my response, they began judging me, just as I would have done to another mother before I had my own.  I thank them for their concern and give a general, “Well, we are working our way through it.”  They are no longer smiling, we part ways with them giving a concerned head shake and walk away.
Alone.  No one seems to understand.  And can I blame them, when I did the same to others just months ago?

Everyone is an expert.  Everyone knows how you should rear YOUR child.  Everyone thinks that how they did it was the best and only way.

There is a fable of Aesop about a man, his son, and a donkey.  Here’s what it says:

A Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?”

So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”

Well, the Man didn’t know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said:

“Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours and your hulking son?”

The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.

“That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them:

Moral of Aesop’s Fable: Please all, and you will please none


This is a lesson I am having to learn.  I am bombarded from all sides by well meaning people.  Their voices all jumble into one voice in my head. “Put him on a schedule… stop spoiling him… let him cry it out… stop eating this… stop eating that… start him on formula… start him on rice cereal… stop tending to him every time he cries… stop spoiling him… he can’t be hungry AGAIN… toughen him up, he can handle it… he needs to conform to you, not you to him… have a consistent routine… get his daytime naps down… forget the daytime naps, get his nighttime sleep down… put him in another room…”  So, I second guess my maternal instincts that tell me that when my son is crying, he is trying to communicate with me.  I tell myself maybe I should try that.  So, I do.  And I cry, and Milkman holds my hand.  And after testing each thing out, we agree, it isn’t a good idea, and we need to trust our instincts.  We have tried to please everyone, and have pleased no one.  We have tried to do what other’s tell us, rather than doing what seems instinctive for loving parents to do, and Captain ends up exasperated, and we feel defeated.

A dear friend of mine offered me the following bit of advice (hope she doesn’t mind that I am quoting her!): “ I just keep coming back to the conviction that you can’t know ‘all about babies’ any more than you can know all about Koreans or all about autism. Babies are individual people and no one who doesn’t know my baby and love him can advise me on how to ‘handle’ him. He isn’t a Buick.” So, each time someone offers me their “expert” advice, I have to remind myself of this.  No one is better suited to read and care for Captain’s needs than Milkman and I.  But the thing that I keep coming back to is that once again, I am the student in this life lesson.  I am having to eat my words, thoughts, advice and expertise that I have used to silently judge other’s kids and parenting styles.

You wanna nurse your kid til they are 3 years old?  Go for it.  You wanna co-sleep?  Go for it.  You think your kid needs to cry it out?  Go for it.  You wanna give your kid solids before 6 months?  Why, not?  See, unless you are doing something that will harm your child, cause them emotional trauma, asking my advice, or putting them in danger’s way, it’s really none of my business.

I feel like God has had to teach me so many hard lessons since becoming a mother.  Most days, I realize that there is no better gauge for raising your own child, than following common sense and doing what you feel most comfortable with.  I told a longtime friend of mine today as we were out for a walk that I want to scream, “Okay, God, I get it. Can we stop learning this lesson now?  I won’t judge people anymore!”  But I suppose there is more to learn.

In the meantime, I still feel alone.  I still feel a bit depressed.  I still cry a lot.  I still break down after the 6th wake up every night saying that I don’t know what to do anymore.  I still second guess myself.  And Milkman and I still have many conversations about what we should do.  In the end, the answer is always the same.  We are doing what we can.  We are doing what we are most comfortable with.  Milkman reminds me all the time that the 3 of us are all that is allowed in our family’s inner circle, and that since we are the one’s getting up all hours, tending to our child’s needs, and are responsible for Captain, we oughtn’t to let other’s advice upset us or penetrate our family choices.

All that being said, I can’t change other people.  And though I know I will be tempted to be judgmental again, I hope that I can look back on this chapter of my life and remember to be charitable.  To be gracious.  To be loving.  And to remember how I have had to learn this lesson the hard way.

So if I have judged you or offered unsolicited advice, I am so sorry.  And if you have ever felt judged because of something you cannot control (like your baby not wanting to sleep, or take a bottle, or weaning early, or have become super forgetful), you aren’t alone.  I’ll listen and unless you ask for advice, I promise to do my best not to offer it and just listen.

Okay, Lord, NOW can he sleep through the night, I get it!

On second thought, maybe I don’t quite have the patience lesson down, just yet!