Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Being a Mom doesn't mean being perfect.

"Why do I love you so much?" I asked my son one day. His response? "Because you have to!!! You are my Mommy!!! Duh!!" From the mouth of babes!!! I think he is a genius, or maybe I am just over-thinking things. Maybe we are all over-thinking things.

Both my kids have told me at one time or another "You are the Best Mommy EVER!!!". And I know that isn't accurate, no matter how much I would like to think so, or how much I wish for it. I also happened to ask my son not too long ago how he knew I was the "Best Mommy EVER!!!" and he slashed my fantasy down to size with his truthfulness. He told me very matter-of-factly "every Mommy is the best Mommy ever to their kids! That is how it is supposed to be!!!".

Yep, he knows something most of us Moms don't, or if we do we burry it deep in our subconscious and indulge in obsessing over how good or bad a job we are doing. 

I don't know how many times I have read articles, blogs, Facebook postings about how Pinterest has turned motherhood into a bloodsport. They all included rhetoric about how seeing how other Mom's constantly posted pins of beautiful birthday cakes, magazine like Easter dinners, the craftiest of kid crafts...that those pictures undermined how they saw themselves as mothers if they had not tried or had and failed to reach perfection level.

I also read a Parenting.com article in reference to how posting cute, smiling pictures of your kids was equivalent to a lie (not exactly in those words). The author went on to elaborate that she held off from posting such pictures on Facebook because it mislead others to think it was always about laugh and giggles at home. In my opinion, I like taking those cute pictures to remind myself of why it is all worth it, because there are PLENTY of moments when you forget. Who is so diluted to think life with kids is all about laugh and giggles?? Someone who hasn't been around kids for more than 10 minutes maybe, but everyone else has seen how quickly it can turn into a see of tears over "not letting them drink the bath water" or other such examples, like this new trending tumblr page http://reasonsmysoniscrying.tumblr.com or even this truthful website and blog about motherhood www.scarymommy.com

They aren't always happy

I am a mother of two, and a career woman, but also love trying to do "what I can" to indulge is some of the things I see posted on Pinterest. I don't see it as a competition. I don't see myself as inadequate if I don't do it all.  I don't see others as inadequate if they don't try at all. I think as Mothers, but especially as Women, we need to stop tearing each other down. We need to lift one another up. Encourage each other. 

Making Pizza at home

When life isn't perfect (which it constantly isn't) we need to remember we are doing our best, and that is good enough for our kids. They love us just the way we are, because we love them. Love is all you need....and lots and lots of humor. Feel free to laugh at yourself. Don't worry about those cupcakes that don't look exactly like those magazine microphone ones, and enjoy the moment. 

How my cupcakes were supposed to look.
They don't exactly look like the magazine or Pinterest

I do the best I can, but I am not doing it to impress anyone else. I do it because I think my kids will appreciate it. Last year I made the cupcakes above. I thought they looked dreadful. My daughter apparently didn't as she asked me if we can make them again next year. Wow!!! That made my day!!!

I know wonderful mothers all across the country and the world, and I am lucky enough to call them friends. All of them love their kids, and it shows. And when they do post a picture of their kids or their terrific craft, I let them know what a wonderful job they are doing. Maybe I can do the same craft. Maybe I can try and have an epic fail. It doesn't matter!!!! We all still have to turn around and wipe a snotty nose, pick-up toys from the floor, tuck our kids into bed, and all of that is worthy of praise. We are not perfect, but we are Moms, and we are perfect for our kids.

Do you feel like you need to be "The Perfect Mom"?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

Monday, April 8, 2013

My current shopping wish list

A good 7 months or so have gone by since I last took a look and my shopping wish list. Some of the items have been purchased, some are still on there, and some new ones have appeared. Sadly, none have made it OFF of the list due to changing my mind. 

On the top of my list is a camera. The Nikon D3200. I have always wanted to get more into photography, and it just hasn't happened yet. I am hoping by the time I finally decide to purchase this WANT I can make as much use of it as I imagine. Because I am a complete amateur at this I don't want to invest too too much in something I don't know how to use, but I do plan to dive deep into learning the ins and outs once I have it. 

Then there are these amazing exercise pants from lululemon. They are the Get Up and Glow Tight style, and they are perfect for running. They keep you visible in low light and has a little pocket in the back for your keys or maybe some ID. I have to be honest and admit that I have plenty of exercise pants (about 5) but I have seen these pants on some many different women and absolutely every last one, regardless of body type, look great. Actually almost any pair of pants from lululemon has this "age and gravity defying" attribute it appears. I say this not randomly but because I have seen some of these same women in jeans and they don;t look half as good as they look in a pair of lululemon pants. OK, ok, so I haven't tried them out myself, but I will, and I will report back. 

Still on my list is a flat iron from Chi, the TURBO 1.5". I am glad I waited because it looks like it is 65% of now, and yet I am not rushing out to buy it yet because it isn't a need, and I am also not so happy that it is digital. Maybe later.....and maybe by the time I make up my mind it is cheaper....

Then again, they could be completely unavailable, like these grey flats from TOMS. I had said I wanted them back in June of 2012, and now they are all gone. So now I am looking all over to find a pair just as cute and just as comfortable in grey. No luck yet.

I need to be quicker about some of these decisions. But hey, sometimes swim classes for my kiddos at the local YMCA take priority. 

What is on your shopping wish list currently?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Going Green for a Healthier Scalp

I have to admit, sometimes my green efforts sound outrageous even to me, but I have been surprised by how well most of them end up working. I already use a homemade laundry soap (sort of- mixing washing soda and good old fashioned ZOTE soap) and my clothes are doing great. I have been using green deodorant for years and love how that has turned out. Now, my scalp has made me jump into something I thought I would never do, do green with no-poo (without shampoo)

I have been reading about all the harm we cause ourselves with shampoo, starting with the harshness of the chemicals like parabens and sulfates. Then I find out maybe my shampoo is making my itchy scalp worse. I happen to have somewhat sensitive skin, and I can’t use just any moisturizer, so why would my scalp be any different.

I was considering going “no-poo” for about 2 years but keep getting deterred by the idea of having icky feeling hair, let alone the smell, but I kept reading on different blogs how many women had maybe just a week or two of the ick factor and none of the smell issues. So I decided to give it a whirl. But I could not do this cold turkey! No sir. I needed to ease into it. So first I decided to start by washing my hair less often to begin with, by doing it every other day, then just twice a week. Man was that hard!!! I kept wanting to wash it, but I held strong.

Then I thought “I’m nuts! How can my hair get cleaned without some sort of soap if not a shampoo??” So I looked into it and decided to try out a castile soap with tea tree oil to help my scalp issues. I went for the Dr. Brooner’s brand. It is a soap, not a shampoo, and it uses all natural ingredients. That worked out rather well, and the tea tree oil started helping with my itchy scalp. I went about 2 weeks with that (maybe 3 washes so far). 

So I took the leap. I had prepared the baking soda and water mix (1 tbsp. baking soda to 1 cup of water) to clean my scalp, and also prepared the apple cider vinegar and water mix (2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar to 1 cup of water) to condition it, and left them in my bathroom, but couldn’t make myself use them. Then one night I just did it. I had gone 3 days without washing my hair and thought, “if it doesn’t feel clean I can always go back to the castile soap”. 

I poured slowly the baking soda mix from the clear squeeze bottle and worked it into my scalp, rubbing every inch, making sure not to miss anything. I kept picturing a corner of greasy hair if I didn’t make sure every strand was covered. I followed the instructions on the many blogs and did only the roots and not the ends. Washed it out after about 2 minutes of rubbing, and my scalp and the hair felt almost squeaky-clean. How could this be?? It isn’t soap!!! But wait…this does feel a bit….dry?!?! So how the heck is apple cider vinegar supposed to make this feel better??

So there I went. I poured slowly the apple cider vinegar mix from the clear squeeze bottle and worked it into the ends, rubbing every inch. The smell was strong at first. It wasn’t feeling very different, but it did say to leave it in a few minutes. I also made sure not to go all the way into the roots since they said it would make my hair greasy…yeah, vinegar makes hair greasy, go figure!!!

5 minutes went by while I kept showering, and the smell wasn’t so strong. Time to wash it out. I kept picturing myself walking through the halls at work and people craving a salad for lunch al because of my hair, so I washed and washed.

I was tempted to pour a bit of conditioner, but I didn’t. I could always pull my hair back the next day. I wrapped my hair in a towel and let it dry a bit while I put on my moisturizer and pjs. By the time I took off my towel and started to brush it out it was amazingly manageable. If you have ever used conditioner you know there is this creamy feel to your hair, and if you go without you feel it dry and hard to comb through. Well this was sooooo not the case for me. My hair felt clean, really clean. Not creamy like with conditioner, yet completely comb-able (if that makes any sense). I have a bloodhound nose, so I could tell a scent of vinegar was still there, but an hour later is was almost completely gone (like I said, I am part dog).

Ok, so let’s see how it feels in the morning. I’m sure this can’t last long. Nope…morning came and my hair was still feeling pretty good. Brushed it with my boar bristle brush and stilled it as usual (I don’t use product because I have never liked how it feels), and off I went. It is close to noon for me and my hair still looks and feels good. It isn’t a miracle treatment by any means, and it has only been one day so far, but I expected much worse. 

If you are interested in a bit more information about the harms of shampoos (and deodorants and fragrances) here is a link that may interest you http://www.mnn.com/communityblogs/oddlyocean/the-harm-of-shampoos-deodorants-and-fragrances

I’ll do an update as the time passes to see how my scalp is doing, but I was planning on keeping a schedule of Sunday night baking soda and vinegar, and Thursday night castile/tea tree oil soap and vinegar (I liked the tea tree oil part). I may also look into some essential oils to help add some “oomph” to how my hair smells because right now it doesn’t smell like anything at all, and there is something to be said about nice smelling hair.

Have your tried going green for your scalp?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

Monday, April 1, 2013

I take issue with your news story NYT

I struggled greatly with the idea my daughter could be diagnosed with ADHD as early as age 4, and it took me close to 3 more years to agree to get her diagnosed, and a few extra months to agree to use prescription drugs. I read as much as I could about it and when I finally did take that step with her I still felt some hesitation. No amount of drug company propaganda or doctor reassurances made me feel any better until I saw with my own eyes how she reacted to it. As I have mentioned before in this blog, it wasn’t an easy road, but what did make me feel a bit better about taking that first step was reading other parents’ experiences with their children, and still and proceeded with caution.

If I had any long lasting proven alternative to prescription drugs I would go that route in a heartbeat, because I know the cons to prescription drugs as well as I know the pros, and at this point in time the pros outweigh the cons. As a parent I feel it is my job to safeguard my children by being informed, and I happen to think my physician’s office is not the end-all-be-all for information. That may not be the case with other parents.

I take issue with reporting that “Several doctors mentioned that advertising from the pharmaceutical industry that played off parents’ fears” such as Shire’s Vyvanse showing a parent looking at her son and saying, “I want to do all I can to help him succeed.” I saw that ad and I still didn’t want my child on medication, but those exacts words came from me months afterward when she finally was on medication and succeeding. If anything, that ad is SPOT ON. Whoever thinks otherwise has obviously not gone through the angst of deciding to medicate their child with a stimulant.

The below is their current ad campaign for Vyvanse, and I think very accurate about the work still needed regardless of the medication.

Other drug companies may have similar ads, but I am greatly familiar with this one as we use it in our family.

I also take issue with physicians and other healthcare providers making less of our parental concerns. I heard Dr. Hallowell refer to stimulants as being “safer than aspirin,” and I knew that wasn’t accurate. Aspirin actually has several risks, but we live with them anyway because we weigh the options. Yet, most people aren’t given those options to weigh up-front and in the open. The information is there for the taking, but in fine print, in libraries, in medical publications, in places you need to go out and look for. It isn’t the first thing they give you when diagnosed. It is actually one of the lasts things they give you, and usually after they have given you a prescription.

I know many people are still reluctant to take their children to get evaluated because of all the negative media surrounding ADHD and medication. I have personally spoken to several parents who had concerns about their children and getting an ADHD diagnosis, and their chief complaint was exactly that. I don’t make less of their worry, I relate, but I also share my experiences with both my children. I also advocate for them to get informed and show them the way to several publications.

I don’t doubt there are plenty of children being misdiagnosed, and I know there are some teachers out there not helping matters by pressuring parents into getting their children medicated as if that was the one and only solution. There could be a happy medium. Healthcare providers could be more careful in their diagnosis, and provide parents with additional reading resources so they can make informed decisions.

Scare tactics by the media, and the New York Times in particular with yet another article blowing out of proportion ADHD diagnosis and treatment, is not the way to go. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/01/health/more-diagnoses-of-hyperactivity-causing-concern.html?pagewanted=all I have read this article published yesterday several times now, and I understand there is some very accurate information in it (although two corrections have been made from yesterday to today, so maybe they were too quick to the punch), but it also has very alarming language that can make a hesitant parent steer completely away from even getting their child diagnosed fearing the worst. Several other people I spoke to who read it had the same first reaction I did, which was that of an “alarming” story. It wasn’t till I pointed out other facts in it and some of my own that they realized they walked away with only the negatives and none of the positives, such as the wording changes expected from the American Psychiatric Association to the criteria for ADHD diagnosis to allow that symptoms merely “impact” daily activities, rather than cause “impairment.” This is actually a good thing, which they attempted to point out, and yet I still find their choice of words didn't help when saying:
 merely “impact” daily activities
It make it feel unimportant, small, insignificant. This “merely” has some heavy repercussions when the symptoms show up every day several times a day. A leaky pipe can have some permanent damage on the rest of your house.

My kids have shown great improvement through medication, but also through patterns and structure in their routines and some diet modification. We are doing so well that we can have our weekends OFF of medication. Their symptoms are still there, but less prevalent and a bit more manageable during days that don't require so much focus on detail and where their impulsivity can be curtailed by their parents (i.e. me and Hubby).

I am just tired of people who don’t know what it is to live with ADHD to pass judgment. It is a daily struggle, and you are not making it any easier. If only one child gets better options simply because of the diagnosis alone it will make their life that much better, even if they choose not to use medication. Don’t scare them off. Medication is one small part of treating ADHD, but this sort of publicity makes people stay away from the rest when it can make all the difference in the world to simply KNOW.

Do you think some news stories get exaggerated?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.