Why Kids Are Worst When Mom is Around

When you became a mom you may not have been completely informed of your job description. It’s hard to cover 18+ years of 24/7 parenting responsibilities. One of the most shocking and hard-to-understand roles of being a mom is the dumping ground you become for their emotions, and many other things as well. Today we’re exploring why kids are worst when mom is around.

Why Kids Are Worst When Mom is AroundDoes this sound familiar: You are excited to pick up your baby/toddler/children from daycare/preschool/school or return home after the babysitter/nanny/grandparents have been watching your kiddos. As you kneel down with outstretched arms and a huge smile waiting for that moment you’ve longed for all day – a warm hug, kiss from your kids, the simple words “oh mommy, I missed you!” – you are unexpectedly met with a full-on meltdown of tears, kicks, nasty attitudes and maybe even the release of  bowels. What happened?!?!

Your caregivers (and even dad sometimes) say they were perfect angels until you showed up. Surely they must be lying. This doesn’t just happen out of the blue, does it?

Moms around the world experience this phenomenon to be true but still wonder why kids are worst when mom is around. The answer is rather simple and, although often an unpleasant experience, should be flattering.

You are the safety zone, the one comfortable spot in this great big world where your kids can release it all. Every emotion, every moment of fear, anxiety, anger, overwhelm, excitement and more, is also vomited on you the moment your kids see you after being away.

While you are grateful that your kids were well-behaved for your caregivers, it feels painful in the moment. All you want is happiness as you reunite and finally get to spend time together. When it is marked with utter disaster you can’t help but feel sad, disappointed and unsure if you should ever leave your kids again.

You should. You should go to work, or volunteer, or get your hair cut or have a date with your husband when you need it. Your kids need to experience a range of emotions as uncomfortable as they may be for everyone. This is how to raise emotionally intelligent people. Be their safe space. Absorb their every emotion. Let them know it is OK. All the while, take peace in the fact that you are the only one in the world they trust enough with these raw feelings.

By now you’ve probably witnessed the extreme highs and the extreme lows of your children’s behavior. Lucky for you, that is one of the phenomenal gifts of being a mom. Yes, you have to deal with all the deplorable tantrums, inexplicable quirks and ridiculous messes you never would have imagined possible. But then you get to see your children in their shiniest moments of brilliants, creativity, silliness, curiosity and kindness – the ones you wish that you could broadcast to world…except no, you want to hold them in your heart as your own special secret.

While you hold your breath through your children’s thunderstorms, soak up their rainbows. These are the true moments of parenting when your kids are sharing their souls with the one they love most.

Sources: Popsugar, Kate Surfs and Simple Most

 

The Job of Parenting

If you feel like the job of parenting has swallowed your time and energy, you are among the majority of working moms. And if parenting were a paid job, you’d probably be rolling in dough.

A new survey shows that most working mothers clock in around 98 hours a week between their paid position and parenting, leaving just around one hour of non-sleeping “me” time. On average, moms start their day around 6:23 a.m. and finish up parenting responsibilities by 8:31 p.m., a 14-hour work day. Yes, the job of parenting is endless, tiring, demanding and complicated.

One aspect of the survey highlighted the seemingly constant and indefinite list of tasks required in the job of parenting, much of which are repetitive, tedious and mundane. For example, preparing food, cleaning the house and doing laundry are never-ending tasks that nearly every parent faces. And it’s probably not going to stop for about 18 or more years.

The Job of ParentingAlthough the survey focused on parents with children 5 to 12 years old, the results certainly apply to moms of younger tots as well. In fact, the repetitiveness and physical demands of parenting may be even more stressful with younger children who need you for every aspect of their daily lives.

Breastfeeding alone can be one of the most challenging facets to being a new mom. From worrying if your baby is getting enough milk and latching properly, to being tethered to your baby (or your breast pump) for potentially years on end. Add sleep deprivation to the mix and you’ll really understand why they say parenting is the hardest job in the world.

Of course there are also many other parts of parenting that make it extremely difficult too. The responsibility of molding a human being into a productive member of society, for example, is not something most parents take lightly. And the constant worry about your children’s safety, health and wellbeing is always on the top of your mind.

Despite the hardships, exhaustion and selflessness involved in the job of parenting, the paycheck, as it could be called, is priceless. Everyday may not feel like you’ve hit the jackpot but you are the winner. You GET to be the mom of your amazing children. The heart-stopping, overwhelming, extraordinary love you feel and you receive in return is your reward.

The survey rings true for many moms around the country – the job of parenting is HARD. But it also yields the most powerful reward you could ever imagine – LOVE.

Sources: Working Mother, The Bump, Huffington Post and Motherhood and More

 

Behavior and Personality Traits among Young Children

If you thought “following the crowd” starts in middle and high school, a new study on childhood influences will surprise you. The findings show that preschoolers as young as three years old are highly influenced by their peers, usually for the good.

This psychology study comes from Michigan State University and dives deep into what affects the behaviors and personality of young children. As parents you may want to believe you are the biggest influence on your child and much of personality is innate, but it’s actually her peers that make a bigger impact, according to the research.

Behavior and Personality Traits among Young ChildrenConducted in a preschool environment, the study observed social networks and behaviors for an entire year. Researchers call personality traits “contagious” because the three and four year olds in the study were highly influenced by other children their own age.

Children who socialized with outgoing and hard-working peers were highly likely to adopt similar personality traits. However, children were not taking on negative personality traits like being anxious and easily frustrated.

You may observe similar results among your own young children. They process the behaviors of friends or siblings and start to incorporate them into their own personality. Personality traits play a large role in both short term and long term responses throughout your child’s life. Paying attention to the peers and friendships your little one gravitates towards may predict traits and behaviors they will display for years to come.

This is not to say that parents have no influence on their child’s behavior. Teaching right from wrong, patience, kindness, compassion and many other admirable qualities you want your child to possess is always a good idea. However, know that it is not you alone that will contribute to your child’s personality. This study highlights the impact that others will likely have on your child starting at a very young age.

Sources: Science Daily and The Bump

3 Reasons to Join a Baby Play Group

3 Reasons to Join a Baby Play GroupWhen you need baby-friendly stimulation outside your own home, a baby play group can be beneficial for both moms and babies. While your baby may not be interacting with others at first, being in a new environment and observing other babies and mothers can be a great learning experience. Here are our top three reasons to join a baby play group:

Reason #1: Social Interaction

Children usually don’t play together in the traditional sense until well into their 2s or 3s. Up until that point they usually participate in parallel play, which is playing by themselves in the same room as other babies and toddlers. But for swiping a toy or two from a neighboring baby, your baby is probably content exploring alone. However, at a baby play group your child has the opportunity to observe other little ones around his size, which is a wonderful learning tool. He may watch another baby play and even learn how to use a toy or get motivated to develop fine and gross motor skills by watching other babies. When conflict does arise over toys, hair pulling or whatever else your baby may decide to try, it’s an early opportunity to explain sharing and playing gently. Although your baby won’t understand the concept for some time, it’s good to start talking about it early.

Socialization is a critical part of schooling. Participating in a baby play group during your child’s early years can help prepare him for preschool. Shy and sensitive children may not enjoy too much stimulation so find a baby play group that jives with your baby’s personality.

Moms also benefit from social interaction. A baby play group is a fantastic way to make new friends. These friendships may last throughout your baby’s childhood and beyond. Plus, while the babies are happily playing, moms can discuss topics outside of parenting for some much-need adult conversation.

Reason #2: New Environment

Getting out of your home play space can be refreshing for you and your baby. Whether your baby play group meets at a central location or rotates homes, you will both benefit from being in a new environment and playing with new toys. In fact, play groups are a terrific way to try out new toys to see what interests your baby without buying up the toy store.

Be sure you select a baby play group that makes sense for you geographically and logistically. Going to a baby play group during your baby’s regular nap time could be a disaster. Also, driving long distances to play may not be wise. Plus, making friendships closer to home means you can get together more often and you may have more opportunity for interaction throughout the years if your kids go to the same schools and do the same local activities.

Reason #3: Advice and Support

Moms are super networkers and baby play groups offer the ultimate opportunity to get the scoop on a variety of parenting topics. From sleep troubles to breastfeeding triumphs, moms can support each other and provide advice based on their experiences in motherhood. Or, sometimes a mom just needs someone else to commiserate with when things get tough. Veteran moms and first time moms alike are great for information and ideas to improve your parenting.

Sources: BabyCenter, Parenting, More4Kids and The Baby Corner

5 Things Not to Worry about with a Newborn

For many new parents, bringing home a newborn can be terrifying.  This tiny life has now been placed in your hands and you’re not exactly sure what you’re supposed to be doing.  This fear of parenting causes stress for new parents.  While there is a lot to think about as you enter this amazing stage in your life, there are some things not to worry about with a newborn.  Today we’re releasing you from stressing about 5 of the most common new parent concerns.

Holding Your Baby Too Much

Your parents may tell you that you’ll spoil your baby if you hold her too much.  That’s actually NOT true!  Babies want to be held and touched.  In fact, babies need it for their mental and emotional development.  The sense of touch is a babies earliest connection to love and safety, so being held makes your baby feel secure in this great big world on 5 things not to worry about with newborn__1453337181_108.89.137.58the other side of the womb.  Most experts agree that you should hold and comfort your newborn every time she cries, and most would recommend continuing this practice throughout infancy and early toddlerhood, with a few exceptions such as sleep training.  Newborns need to know that a parent or childcare provider will always be there to take care of her basic needs and pacify her fears.  This not only calms babies in the short term, it helps them cope with stressful situations in the future as well.

Whether or Not Your Nursery is Complete

With all the things you need to accomplish before your baby arrives, don’t freak out if the nursery is not ready for a magazine photo shoot by the time you give birth.  Trust us, your baby doesn’t care and she will not know the difference.  As long as you have a warm place for your baby to sleep – whether it is in a barren room or a bassinet beside your own bed – your baby will be just fine.  It will be months before your baby really absorbs anything special you may have placed in her nursery, including toys, bright colors, mobiles or pictures.  Most parents feel pressure to complete their nurseries before their babies are born but this is an artificial deadline.  Don’t let it stress you out.

The Amount of Time Spent Breastfeeding

Each mother and baby pair have a unique breastfeeding experience.  The amount of time your baby spends breastfeeding is not an indication of how much milk she is drinking.  Some mothers have quick let-downs and their milk flows fast.  For others, the flow takes awhile to begin and trickles in slowly.  Also, some babies are fast feeders – they drink what they want and are ready to move on to the next activity.  Other babies like to linger at the breast and find comfort sucking, even after they are full and there is little milk left.  Mothers often fret that their babies aren’t getting enough to eat because they don’t spend much time breastfeeding.  The true indications that your baby is eating well are weight gain, consistent soiled diapers and a sense of satisfaction or contentment after eating.

Certain Milestones

Milestones were initiated by medical experts to help give parents a range of normalcy for childhood development.  However, many parents are distraught when their babies don’t meet certain milestones within the “appropriate” timeframe.  What is often lost in developmental milestones is that some milestones are never met and are not a big deal.  For instance, when your baby learns to roll over or crawl is not necessarily a sign of a handicap.  Some babies take their sweet time rolling over and are perfectly happy lying exactly where they have been placed.  And some babies never crawl at all, but rather find a different mode of transportation before walking.  Talking is another milestone that new parents worry about.  While not talking by three years old may be a sign of a larger issue, not having a first word until well after your baby’s first birthday is no cause for concern.

Baby Acne and Other Minor Skin Conditions

Thanks to a mother’s raging hormones during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, newborns sometimes develop baby acne.  It may not be pleasing to look at, but it is harmless for your baby and will probably go away within a few months after birth.  You can clean facial skin with a gentle baby soap and otherwise let the blemishes run their course.  Other minor skin conditions that occur in newborns are dry flaky skin, cradle cap and diaper rash.  None of these are signs of anything serious unless they become extremely inflamed, cause bleeding or are upsetting your baby greatly.  Most of these conditions can be treated by keeping skin clean and moisturized and using over-the-counter topical creams and ointments designed for babies.

 

Sharing Childcare Responsibilities May Result in Better Relationships

Looking to improve your love life around Valentine’s Day?  The secret may lie in how you and your spouse choose to parent.  The way you split parenting responsibilities may have a direct impact on your satisfaction in your relationship, including your sex life.  Could a path to a better marriage be that simple?  Read on to find out what the research shows.

A study from Georgia State University found that those families who had close to equal childcare arrangements between mothers and fathers feel most satisfied in their marriages and in the bedroom.  The study examined nearly 500 families from low-to-middle income households.  It divided them into three categories:  those who split childcare equally, those where the mother took on the primary childcare responsibilities and those where the father took on the primary childcare responsibilities.

Sharing Childcare__1452885192_50.243.196.179The findings were that splitting childcare equally resulted in the greatest satisfaction within the marriage for both the mothers and fathers.  This was measured by level of conflict, overall feelings of happiness and sex life.  Marriages where the father took on the primary parenting also showed high results whereas marriages where the mothers took most responsibility for the kids scored the lowest in satisfaction in all key categories.

Interestingly, the study found that all three groups were having sex at around the same frequency.  But the quality of sex was what changed among those who split childcare equally.  Therefore, more equality in childcare responsibilities led to a better experience in the bedroom.

One researcher pointed out some insights about these interesting findings:  Sharing childcare responsibilities takes cooperation, communication, coordination and lots of teamwork.  These are also qualities that make up a good relationship.  Mastering these skills when taking care of children may translate to a better overall relationship because parents use them in other areas of their marriage.

Researchers hope that their findings will impact employer parental leave policies.  When people have the flexibility to equally support their families, they are more likely to be happy, healthy and more productive in the workplace.

If you’re hoping to improve your relationship in the New Year and as a Valentine’s Day resolution, consider starting with your parenting responsibilities.  It may lead to a better marriage and more romance in your future.

Embrace Your Child’s Individuality

Embrace Your Child’s IndividualityAs a parent, you have the amazing opportunity to share life lessons with your child constantly.  One of the values that many parents encourage their children to learn is that the things that make each of us different make the world more interesting.  Put another way, if everyone were the same, life would be pretty boring.

Differences will pop up repeatedly in your child’s life but the early stages of teaching this important life lesson is to embrace your child’s individuality.  That means showing them that it’s not just OK to be different, it is wonderful to be different.

Differences come in all shapes and sizes, of course.  Some kids are born with physical differences, which they may not even notice or see as limitations until later in life, but other kids or adults may be quick to point them out.  Some differences are preferences, personality traits or means of expression.  As a parent, when you embrace your child’s individuality, you are helping them build self-esteem, become a confident unique person and you let them know they are loved for exactly who they are.  Here are some ways you can put this into practice every day:

Encourage Your Child and Accept Your Child’s Ways

Children need lots of praise to build their confidence and make them feel loved.  Life can be tough, as your kids will learn soon enough.  Let your time with them be a safe space of happiness and praise, and free from judgment.  When he’s old enough, consult with your child on choices about his own life including what he wants to wear, activities he wants to do, people he wants to play with and books he wants to read.  Allowing children space for choices can help them feel less restricted by the boundaries of life and give them the creative freedom to explore many interests in their own way.  It’s ok to correct misbehavior, but when your child is expressing his individuality, try to embrace it without trying to change it.  This may mean your child will come up with some crazy ideas that challenge your own.  But this variety of life and parenting may be one of the most rewarding as well.

Diversify Your Family’s Experiences

Expose your child to many experiences, even from a young age.  Experts say the more we talk to babies, the better they will be able to develop language skills.  The same concept can be applied to other life lessons.  The more new ideas we introduce into our child’s life, the more he will appreciate many different aspects of the world.  This includes activities such as music, athletics, arts and academics, as well as cultural, sensory and volunteering experiences.

Incorporate your children in your interests.  If you like to cook and your partner likes to play sports, share your passions and let your child be involved in both.  Plus, let your child pick their own interests, even if they defy your family’s talents or social norms.  Also, share your child’s hobbies with their friends, and encourage your children to explore their friend’s interests too.  Even if your son does not want to take ballet, he can attend a friend’s ballet recital to see what it is all about.

Dream Big with Your Child

Starting in toddlerhood, children develop wild and fascinating imaginations.  This is one of the best ways to embrace your child’s individuality because it’s a peek into his creative brain.  Let your child weave stories, do elaborate art projects and design games.  You should participate in them fully.  Showing your child you are part of his biggest wishes and dreams can make the difference between acceptance and defeat.  The bond begins now and he’ll realize you’ll always be his biggest champion.  Some of the world’s most successful ideas came from dreaming big.  Right now it may be about monsters and dragons, but tomorrow those dreams could be an incredible invention or social movement.  Childhood is the time for dreaming so let your child’s imagination run wild – and try to keep up as best as you can.

 

When you embrace your child’s individuality, its yet another way you are nurturing your child to become the best person he can be.  Be sure to read books about characters who are different and talk about how much happier they were for being themselves.  This life lesson will be one your children will carry with them as their lives take shape throughout the years.

What you should Know about Newborns

To a certain extent, each of us has an idealistic perspective on having a baby.  While we know we’ll be contending with crying, constant diaper changes and a lot of work ahead of us, there are several aspects of having a newborn that are completely unfamiliar.  The newborn stage is filled with joys and challenges, many of which are unexpected.  Today we’re sharing what you should know about newborns to help prepare you for the arrival of your new baby.

Even full term babies are not fully developed at birth.  Although we try to bake our babies as long as possible, even 9½ months of growth in a mother’s womb doesn’t completely get the job done.  Bones, cognition and many bodily functions are still maturing well into the first year of a baby’s life.  This is why nutrition, healthy sleep habits and nurture are essential to a baby’s physical, mental and emotional survival.

Babies can be fierce and explosive.  Your baby may look tender and delicate but babies are much stronger than you would ever imagine.  A baby’s grasp or tug of the hair may feel like you are wrestling with a body builder at times.  And you may be surprised at the volume, velocity and force of your baby’s spit-up and poop.  For such a small creature, they can really spew despite champion burping and super-duper diapering.

Newborns may look odd but they grow out of it.  When you see beautiful pictures of babies, you’re usually not looking at a newborn, but rather an older infant.  Newborns are often misshaped from their experience in the womb and journey through the birth canal during labor and delivery.  Sometimes the head is shaped like a cone and without muscle tone and facial features are limp.  Additionally, babies often have skin conditions from being submerged in amniotic fluid.  But don’t worry, the newborn aesthetics shed as your baby matures into an adorable infant.

What you should Know about NewbornsBabies are pretty vocal about getting enough to eat.  The most fundamental need of a baby is to be fed.  But if you’ve never fed a newborn before, how on Earth do you know if she’s getting enough to eat, especially if you’re breastfeeding?  The truth is, your baby will tell you in three ways:  1) she’ll root and cry when she’s hungry (and you’ll learn the hunger cry pretty quickly) 2) she will be soiling diapers frequently, and 3) she’ll gain weight when she’s eating well.

Love at first sight is not always the case.  Every parent and baby bonds at their own pace.  For some, they fall in love immediately.  However, sometimes the stress, hormones, life changes and time commitment involved in parenting delays the bonding process.  The connection will develop gradually over time when parents remember to remain calm, nurture their children, meet their basic needs and take “stress free” breaks when necessary.

Babies require basic mammalian social needs that have evolved over 30 million years.  Social mammals have been around for a long time and their needs require “intensive parenting,” according to Psychology Today.   This means that newborns and babies need breastfeeding for holistic health; constant touch, love and affection; responsiveness to their distress; playtime starting at birth; and someone to help them meet their physical needs of food, shelter and protection.

Newborns aren’t facially and verbally responsive for at least six weeks.  The gurgles, coos and smiles that melt your heart usually don’t emerge until your little bundle of joy is six weeks or older.  Getting this brief feedback from your baby is extremely rewarding and more than makes up for many of the stressful moments of new parenthood.  Just don’t hold your breath from the beginning because it takes a little time for these adorable sounds and expressions to arrive.

Your parenting style will differ from what you expect.  It’s great to consider the type of parent you want to be before your baby arrives, but a lot of flexibility is required in your parenting style.  Without having been in a parents’ shoes before, you really don’t know how you will respond and what you will want for your child.  And your baby will also dictate much of what she requires from you as well.  Your personal parenting style will evolve along with your child and you’ll make decisions that are right for you and your family in each new phase of parenthood.

The newborn stage is fleeting so embrace both the joys and the challenges because it will all be over before you know it.

Celebrating Dad’s Role and Breastfeeding This Father’s Day

Celebrating Dad’s Role and Breastfeeding This Father’s DayFather’s day is this weekend, and we’re sure you’re getting ready for lots of time spent celebrating with your family. Dads are notoriously hard to buy gifts for and rarely ask for any one item in particular. Why not thank your partner this year by detailing all of the specific ways he’s helped you while breastfeeding? Men generally report feeling removed from the breastfeeding schedule moms keep for their babies, and for understandable reasons most of the attention surrounding breastfeeding is attributed to the mom. Let your partner know that he’s a great dad and an essential part of your breastfeeding journey by thanking him for all of the times he’s brought you a snack while you nurse. Or let him know how much his encouragement kept you going when you had trouble getting the perfect latch in the beginning. Your baby’s health, care, and happiness are the most important goals you both share as parents, so let him know that he’s doing a great job keeping your family supported (like your favorite nursing bras!) this year.

Bottle feeding breast milk in the middle of the night, helping you figure out how your new breast pump works, laughing at your favorite television show together while you nurse—these are a few of the ways your partner has shared breastfeeding moments with you and your baby. Celebrate dad’s contributions and let him know how much his attention and care have added to your breastfeeding journey.

Happy Father’s Day to you and your families from all of us at Loving Moments.

Celebrating Mom with Moms 4 Mom Day

moms-4-moms-day-the-bump

Picture courtesy of TheBump.com

Every mom’s had one of those moments when another person offers advice or criticism (or some blend of the two) that contradicts whatever parenting choice she had made. Whether it’s about baby names, baby delivery method, sleeping, eating—really, you name it—every mom finds her own path that works best for her and her family. That’s why The Bump and CT Working Moms Group came together and designated March 4th as Moms 4 Moms day.

The inaugural Moms 4 Moms day focused on moms sharing parenting choices that come up as hotly-contested arguments between different groups. Some examples of mom confessions included: “I work full time,” “I had a c-section,” “I supplement and breastfeed,” and “I choose to home school.” Moms were meant to empower their choices by making simple assertions—and the outcome was a great show of support from other moms and participants.

Moms 4 Moms day served as an important reminder that parenting involves a lot of complicated, personal choices and there is no one formula which all moms should follow to raise the perfect child. Even though we at Loving Moments are huge advocates of breastfeeding, we understand that not every mom will nurse, nurse exclusively, or nurse for more time than she’s comfortable. We understand! Moms 4 Moms day is a great reminder that respect is the greatest gift one mom can give to another, regardless of what birth plan she chose to follow.

We’re in this together, moms!