Relax, You’re On Vacation

My family and I are currently on vacation. We are halfway through and it is only until today that we have much down time. We have flown across country, driven to the South for a wedding, driven back North, visited friends in different states and are staying with family. Luckily the house is just a few yards away from the beach so we don’t have to trav far to get to the sun and salt.

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I have found that it is incredibly hard to relax, especially while on vacation. I think I am more relaxed when I am at home and our girl is asleep, even though I know she will soon wake up.

With all the traveling it has taken my daughter four days to pass a bowel movement. Just like we get clogged up during travel, she got clogged up. We have been in the car and on an airplane for over 24 hours at the point. Though we are visiting family and I do feel that this is home, I can’t quite relax when my daughter hasn’t pooped in days. (And yes, I have tried it all.) Today, she decided to find some rocks and lick them, then attempt to hide them in her mouth along with some blunt seashells. I did not relax. Chasing after a one year old while pregnant and still having that sickness that is not limited to the morning, does not  allow me to relax.

What it does allow me to do is be happy. For the first time in a while, my husband and I are able to parent together. We are able to spend time together as a family. Our schedules limit that when we are back in LA. Aha, but I said I relax at home, right? Raising children doesn’t quite allow you to relax. I laugh at the term. At least the one imposed on me when told, “Take this time and relax” or better yet, “smile, you’re on vacation”.

I I smile a lot. But sometimes it’s hard to smile when you’re clenching your teeth to calm the nausea and momentary wave of lightheadedness from moving too quickly. I know I’m on vacation, but that doesn’t mean parenting or motherhood gets put on hold.

I may not be “relaxing”, but I love this chaos. I love the time I have with my family which includes chasing my half naked daughter so I can scoop out the rocks she has mischievously tucked into her mouth. As a mother, as a parent, I have learned to love the day to day that does not include relaxation. That term that most people use does not resonate with me in the same way. I am at peace and happy watching my daughter play with my grandmother as they whisper to each other as I sit at the edge of my seat in case I need to catch one of them from falling. I would drive outside the city through idiots driving in traffic to sit at a park with my childhood friend and her dog just to watch my daughter play and get to know one of he most important people in my life.

It may not be a relaxing time. It may not be your lifestyle choice, but it is mine.

So just relax, okay?

Raffaella

 

 

 

Both Hands On The Wheel, Ima-Noa’s Freestyle Fridays

This morning I was driving our toddler, who was siting beside his new baby girl sister,to his daycare , and as I was driving I reached back with my right hand, held his foot and said “I love you”. In response he caressed my hand and immediately guided it back to me and said “both hands on the wheel, ima” (mommy). I smiled and said “you are right, my sweet boy, both hands on the wheel”. We all need to be reminded to drive carefully, to pay attention on the road, to put our phone in our bag while we drive, to be alert, even though we are sleep deprived from nursing or a baby teething all night, to ignore the text, to not take that call from work and not text “on my way” while we are actually on our way. trailers-12370373_l-e1437588216163.jpg

Maybe if they’ll start running an ad about a toddler telling his mom to drive with both hands on the wheel we, as parents, will connect more  and remind ourselves how dangerous it is to text and drive or even take your eyes of the road, just for a second. well…a second is all that it takes.

please drive carefully. Our lives and the lives of our little ones sure mean A LOT more than a stupid text…even if for just a second.

Drive safe and be safe,beautiful families

Shabbat Shalom,

Noa

I will be his ninja.

I used to wonder about parents with a strong grip on their kids. Too protective. Too anxious. Too careful. Over-bearing, and overly everything. I have a two year-old now, and I take it all back. There’s no such thing as too protective for me anymore. I look at that little face and innocent spirit, and the thought of him being hurt, or lost, or anything else that I can’t even bring myself to put into words, my chest tightens, and my heart beats so fast I swear I can hear it pulsating through my head. The other day I watched a video of a toddler climbing outside the window of a three story building like a spider monkey. Yes, I said outside! Where were his parents, you ask? I have no freak’n idea. I saw a hand pull him back in after what seemed like forever. But I tell you, that child was climbing like he’d experienced this before. Holy magnolia, what in the whats! I can’t watch this stuff anymore. Kids getting hurt, or almost getting hurt… it’s not something my soul can take. 

I don’t care if I look like a crazy person, repeating to my kid over and over and over that when we’re in public we walk, don’t run. No running. Just walking. What do we do? Walk. Hold mommy’s hand. Stop! Walk! No run, walk. I say it before we leave the car, and after and in between and then some. I’ve been told I repeat too much sometimes. I don’t care. I will repeat until it’s absorbed. And even then I will keep repeating. And I will follow, and run after, until the distance between us doesn’t make me panic. Yet, I will continue to give him his independence and let him figure things out on his own. No one said it would be an easy mixture. 

These tiny beings, who knew they would forever have our whole hearts? I look at parents of grown kids I know well, and have so much respect. They went through so much. They know so much. They’re my inspiration. And really, a symbol of hope that I won’t die prematurely from anxiety and insanity. 

Baby steps, and copious amounts of chamomile tea,
Roxy

  

Slap A Hand Away

I would never touch someone’s face or someone’s body unless I knew them very well or had their permission for whatever reason. I think most of us realize it is an invasion of personal space.

If you’re pregnant, or you’re a baby. That unspoken decency apparently goes out the window. While pregnant with our first, I was shocked as to how many people think it was their place to comment about my size, their prediction of the sex based on my shape, my “dreaded” future, the lack of sleep, the list goes on.

I became super protective of my space while pregnant the first time around. I was thrown off guard a few times and it made my mama instincts come out real fast. I had a homeless, drunken man come up to me while at work at the restaurant I was working at. He got all in my face asking why he couldn’t get the same service as others. As he got closer he began to give me more trouble. Lucky for him, he walked into a BBQ restaurant with steak knives and approached a pregnant woman. I grabbed the knife and hid it under my wrist in case he came too close. I usually wouldn’t go to that extent so soon but I was not going to take any chance with my girl in my belly. One of the few instances where I realized motherhood began much sooner than the first time you hold your baby.
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There was another instance when my daughter was about six months where someone I thought my husband knew was playing with our daughter,  grabbed her arms and picked her up…by her arms. By her very delicate and underdeveloped joints. I didn’t speak up this time. I still kick myself for it. My gut told me to, but my husband didn’t seem concerned and the woman had children of her own, so I didn’t speak up. I didn’t want to cause a riff or make it awkward for anyone. I didn’t speak up when I should have. I didn’t have to grab a knife in case I had to shank someone but I should have spoken up and asked her to play with Kanga another way. I could have expressed my concern for her arms. I could have said it nicely.

Fast forward to this past month and I have had many attempts at my belly and even more attempts at my daughter. I had a woman follow me trying to hold my daughter, or pet her, touch, put her hand on my daughter’s head. I put my own hand over my daughter’s head to block her hand and began walking away. She didn’t catch the hint. I asked her to please stop and she decided it was an appropriate time to ask me personal questions. I removed myself and my daughter from the situation immediately.

Just the other day at Michael’s, I was carrying my sleeping daughter on my shoulder when a woman came up to her and enthusiastically exclaimed that she was a baby and she was asleep. Well yes woman, she is clearly a baby and she is clearly asleep so get out of her damn face, back the eff up and quiet your mouth. I didn’t say that. I shushed her, loudly. She got the hint. I surprised myself, honestly. I don’t know why but I didn’t expect to shush her. I was damn proud that I did. I definitely didn’t think about how to react, I just did. And no,  I don’t apologize for being rude–not one bit.

I don’t understand the lack of respect of boundaries especially when you’re pregnant or holding a baby. I know it’s uncomfortable to speak up in situations where you don’t feel comfortable. I missed an opportunity to do so which could have led to my daughter’s arms being pulled out of their sockets. But from the minute you know you’re pregnant, it’s your job to speak up and protect yourself and your unborn child. Learn how to speak up for yourself and your child in the nine months of gestation because you will need to advocate for your child for the rest of their life. You will need to speak up for yourself and your loved ones for as long as you live. It’s a great responsibility that we shy away from because it’s uncomfortable.

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But if not you, who?

If you need help, ask. If you want to be left alone, tell that person. If you need a hug, ask. For the first few years of childhood, our children don’t have words to express themselves. For some children they will never have the words to express themselves. That, is our responsibility.

Speak up, don’t let people touch your babies or your bellies if your gut feeling says no or you don’t know them. Go ahead and slap a hand away; and don’t feel guilty for doing so.

Cheers strong women,

Raffaella

 

Food coloring be gone!

They are in everything, those food coloring monsters. Baked goods, candy, drinks, frozen food, ice cream, cereal, moisturizers, shampoo, spices. And a whole lot more. If you ever see Yellow #5, Blue #1, and Red #40 (three of the most popular FDA permitted ones), then you could be consuming what is potentially hazardous to your health, and your child’s health. I’ve always felt strongly about food dyes, but when I was pregnant with Little, I went on a rampage, getting rid of anything with artificial coloring. In the end, I threw out and donated a good portion of moisturizers, shampoos, makeup, and a large amount of food. I was shocked seeing Red#40, in so many items I used on the daily. 

Artificial food coloring has been a big debate over the past several decades, linking them to hyperactivity in children, cancer, and other illnesses, yet there’s seven legal artificial food dyes on the market. According to this Forbes article, After “Halloween in 1950, the government banned Orange #1 when many children became ill after consumption. In the 1970s, scientific testing pointed to Red #2’s potential carcinogenic properties (caused intestinal tumors in rats), and it too was banned. Yellows #1, #2, #3, and #4 are among the others that have since been made illegal, and Yellow #5 is currently undergoing further testing for links to hyperactivity, anxiety, migraines and cancer (the color has already been banned in many European countries).”

While this subject is still being studied in the U. S., I’m not taking any chances. Yellow #5 banned in many European countries? That means something. Why mess around, when there’s so many natural alternatives? 

I realize there are so many things that are potentially hazardous to our health, and we could go crazy trying to avoid all of them. But if we can just be more aware of what we’re putting into our bodies, and think about how that could affect us, I’d say we’re taking one step towards a more conscious and healthy lifestyle. 

Baby steps, and turmeric-colored lollipops,

Roxy

  

I’m UP!-Noa’s Freestyle Friday

It’s 2am and I’m UP! Being alone in the house with 2 kids is no fun. My love had to leave town for a few days for his nephew’s graduation and I was left home alone with our toddler, our newborn and a senior German shepherd. I can’t sleep. The baby is not crying, our toddler is sound asleep next to me and yet I sit at the edge of our bed and start meditating. I feel like something weird is happening, but what???

This morning I heard on the radio that there was an earthquake around 2am. WTF? was it my intuition? My mommy’s instincts? Crazy!

What’s even crazier is that before having kids (I call is “the all about me me me time”) I knew I could kick some serious ass with my weekly visits to the shooting range and daily boxing classes, but being a mom changed me. Even though I don’t get to go to the shooting range or take boxing classes as much  as I’d like to, I became a warrior. A mom warrior and I will do anything for our kids. So I’m happy it was only a small earthquake because I was ready to whoop some serious butt 😉warrior_queen_mother_redux_by_samax-d8rfq39

 

Shabbat Shalom & namaste

Noa

Props To You, Mother

For a while I felt the greatest honor for being a mother but at the same time there was this nagging feeling that it wasn’t enough. For whatever reason, society, my own insecurities, having children young, mostly society, I felt like I had to do more. I felt that if I wasn’t bringing home a paycheck or had a career, motherhood wasn’t good enough.

I laugh now, though I still battle that feeling when I see posts on Instagram and Facebook. Then I thought, what does that tell my daughter? What an insult to my children. Is motherhood not good enough? Raising children doesn’t satisfy me? The fact is, that’s not true. Raising our daughter and growing our baby is the greatest honor I could have. It’s this society that tells me different. The messages in the media, women can do it all. Women have to do it all, if not they fail. Yet if we work too hard, how dare we leave our children to be raised by others. If we choose to be a stay at home mom then we’re lazy, we just use our husbands, what a luxury. All this fucked up criticism that isn’t true. It is reflected in our school systems, our preschools, our childcare and the lack of maternity care, paternity care and the lack of leave that is alloted from work after a baby is born. Because if we’re not making money our sense of worth is gone, straight up out the door. That tells the children of our society that they are not good enough. It tells them that they are not worth taking time, that money means more. That sets them up for low self-esteem. Because when they’re parents work all the time or seem distracted looking for something else to fulfill them, that child gets denied.

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But what if we valued motherhood? What if we valued parenthood? What if we praised mothers and fathers and the curves of our bodies post-baby instead of these pictures of “fit-moms” only 2 weeks post-partum. What if we praised mothers who raised their children, conciously. If we praised motherhood more in media, in communities, would mothers feel satisfied with “just being a mom”? Do we feel unfulfilled because of society or did we have children too young? Did we use having kids as an excuse to run away from our problems? I realize the answer isn’t the same for everyone. The very large majority of us, regardless of circumstance, are all trying to do our best. But if society, media, and our communities didn’t shove us all in a shitty box full of disses, expectations, and judgements, would we feel more fulfilled as mothers. Couldn’t we do even better?

I’ve always wanted to be a mother. More than I wanted to be anything else, more than I wanted marriage. I never saw a Prince Charming, but I always saw my children in my future. The first few months of motherhood, I felt that I wasn’t satisfied because I felt that I had to provide a paycheck. I felt that if I told people I was a mother not an accountant, a nurse, a whatever, I wasn’t valued enough. It left me a little bit heartbroken, confused, and angry. The adjustment period into motherhood took part in these feelings, the “holy shit, this is real and my life is changed forever” played a part. I think other mothers can relate to that. Now, I get angry that people talk about “just being a mom” or “another mom blog” or anything that implies mothers should feel less than because they are mothers. What the fuck is wrong with wanting to be a great mother? Doesn’t this world need better mothers? Better parents? A greater sense of family and togetherness? Isn’t that what gang members look for when they enter a gang? Isn’t that why children look to be accepted by others because they don’t feel a sense of family at home? These aren’t the only issues of the world, obviously. It is not the fault of mothers and fathers for the troubles of the world. But if we valued mothers, fathers, families, wouldn’t that set us up for a greater future?

I don’t want to be too tired to parent my child. I don’t want to use an iPad to distract my child because I have spent all my energy working. I’m not trying to shame the parents that are in this situation. I understand the financial need for both parents to work, I understand the lack of energy you enter your home with at the end of the day. If we valued families, if we praised mothers for doing a great job and in some way supported those families, we’d be in a better place. My husband and I are lucky enough and have chosen to budget our lives so I can be a mother, first. I have chosen this life and I value the importance of raising conscious children.

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I refuse to feel like that decision is not enough because society values money over the health of our children and families. I have passions for many things in this world and I do want a career, but I don’t need it all at once. My children will be young for only a few years. For now, we will pinch our pennies and I will fulfill my other passions slowly, in a different way than I did when I was single.

Whatever you choose, whatever works best for you and your family, don’t let anyone talk you down from being the mother you want to be, however that may be. Don’t let anyone put you in a box or judge you because of their own expectations. If you’re a working mother, props. It takes a hell of a lot of energy. If you’re with your babes all day, props. It takes a hell of a lot of energy. If you’re a mother who is doing her best to do right by her children while taking care of herself as best as possible, props. It takes a hell of a lot of energy.

Raffaella

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