Wednesday, February 5, 2014

An Attachment Parenting Lactivist Intactivist On Being Called Judgmental

You know, most people who know me would say that I seem like a pretty confident person, and I am, but sometimes I sit here guilt-ridden and think "Do I really come off as this judgmental intolerant person that some people (who are no longer part of my life) have pegged me as?"  --Simply because I have different ideology than the majority, I do things a lot differently than the mainstream, I'm proud of it and I articulate it?  Then I realize, I still have plenty of friends who are nothing like me, in that they don't lovingly and proudly call themselves a "crunchy hippie granola attachment parent".  The difference is, the ones who remain are confident enough with themselves and their choices and they're tolerant enough of people who think differently than them that they don't mistake my opinions and passion for judgment.

"Just because I have strong opinions, does not mean I judge. 
Do not mistake passion for judgment. 
For you might find you are the one doing the judging". ~Unknown

I can't even count how many times I've had a falling out with someone and they proceeded to call me judgmental and proclaim that I think that I'm "better" than everyone.  I always find it ironic that they always say it after we've had a falling out which always makes it glaringly obvious that they have had an underlying issue with me themselves for quite a while.

Regardless of what some people may think of me.  I do not think I am better than anyone.  That's not why I speak out about the things that I'm passionate about.  I speak about them because I want to make a difference.  I speak about them because I know how incredibly lonely it was when I had my first child and I had not one friend around me who ever breastfed.  I had never even SEEN anyone breastfeeding, and even though my breastfeeding support was Google, it has become one of the best and most rewarding decisions I ever made in my life.  Now, I can't even count how many people have come to me for breastfeeding advice because they know that they can because I am so vocal and passionate about it.  If my choices, opinions, and passions make you feel inferior or make you feel like you're being judged, I'm sorry, I feel bad for you, I really do but like Eleanor Roosevelt said:

I won't argue that I probably come across as judgmental about 1 issue that I am particularly passionate about, and that's routine infant circumcision and I never have been nor will I ever be apologetic about expressing my opinion of it.  Unlike the rest of my parenting choices, leaving my sons penis intact was not MY choice because it wasn't my choice to make, it's HIS penis.  Unlike the rest of the things that people have accused me of being "judgmental" about, to me circumcision is a human rights issue.  I do not agree with routine infant circumcision whatsoever, but I still have friends who have circumcised.  Sometimes I'm honestly surprised that people who have circumcised their sons are still friends with me because I talk about it so much and advocate against it every day but those people apparently are either A. Secure with themselves and their decision, or B. Realize that they made the wrong decision because they were uneducated when they made the decision and their doctor neglected to inform them of the truth.    
As a matter of fact, I have had countless people tell me that they regret their decision after I educated them on RIC.  Which makes me even MORE passionate and pissed off about it!  Why weren't these parents properly informed by their Doctors?  They have the right to informed consent!!  Why don't more people in our society talk openly about circumcision?  It's really important to me, and I am making a difference.  I have had a lot of people thank me and tell me they will not circumcise future sons and I recently had the first person who is actually pregnant with a boy tell me that her and her husband are not circumcising because of me.

I am making a difference.  Just a couple minutes ago someone who my husband is friends with on Facebook saw a picture with me babywearing that he's tagged in and asked for babywearing advice.  There ARE people out there who have no idea that "attachment parenting" or cloth diapers even exist!  (like me, when I had my first baby) & there are people who would have no idea who or where to turn to for breastfeeding advice or support & it makes me feel really good inside to help people like me!  All of the "friends" that I have lost and all of the negative comments I have received from past "friends" are all worth it when I get messages like these:
& for every old "friend" I have lost, I have gained a much more awesome new one, and I wouldn't trade them for the world!  My like-minded friends and what's left of my not so like-minded friends seem to have one thing in common, they're all positive, tolerant, loving, secure, accepting, and all around good people.  I've come to realize that the ones who I'm no longer friends with, were actually the intolerant judgmental ones who were also insecure.  It had nothing to do with me.

So thank you, not-so-like-minded-friends who love and accept me for who I am, passions, opinions, boob-out-breastfeeding-pictures and all, because you made me cognizant of the fact that it was never me, it was them all along.

I don't regret being me.

Monday, February 3, 2014

My New Cold Weather Skin and Eczema Natural Remedy From Fanciful Fox!

You guys know I love sharing natural remedies and stuff that work for our family, well this one was too good not to share! -it's so good that I want to skip around town with the jar in one handing dipping my finger from my other hand into it and smearing it on dry hands and faces all over town while yelling (in my Oprah voice) "You get some skin therapy, & you get some skin therapy, & you get some skin therapy!!!!"  But I'll just blog about it instead, my original idea could get me arrested.

My husband knows that I love the Local Natural Vegan Handmade Soap Store called Fanciful Fox and I love shopping local so he went shopping there for me for Christmas.  I shopped for him there for Christmas too, It was the first outing that my newborn son and I went on together, daaaaww!!!!  They have an awesome line of natural mens products like aftershave and beard oil, but I will save that for another blog post!

He got me some soap and this overnight skin therapy stuff for dry, eczema-esque skin because I have a form of hand eczema called dyshidrotic eczema that breaks out on my hands when I'm stressed and it's REALLY painful.  It starts with these little sore blister like bumps that burst and then peel and make my hands really dry and uncomfortable and it makes everything with my hands hard to do.  I started getting those bumps once since I got this new skin therapy stuff and I applied it religiously and it never turned into a full on outbreak!  Awesome!

That's not even the best part though!  We had some freezing cold below zero temperature days here in NEPA and my 8 week old sons skin was SUFFERING, bad.  His cheeks were so dry and scaly feeling, it was awful.  I tried coconut oil and avocado butter, nothing was working!  Then it occurred to me to try this stuff and after 1 application it was better!  Within 24 hours the dry skin was 99% gone!  This stuff is going to stay stocked in my natural remedy medicine supply cabinet forever!  You can see the all natural ingredients in the picture from their website below.  It's their version of unpetroleum jelly!

Yes, I said website!  Lucky for all of you who aren't local they have a website!  What's even better is that it's only $8.00!!!   

Here's a link to their website
They have tons of different stuff from baby products, tattoo care, and pet shampoo!  

Here's a link to their Facebook page

Some other fun facts about Fanciful Fox:  It's owned by a Mother & Daughter, I love that! They also have THEE cutest shop dogs!  I am a SUCKER for Pitbulls & Fanciful Fox advocates for the breed, they advocate for Pitbull/animal adoption, and these adorable guys are rescued!  More reasons to shop at Fanciful Fox!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

How To Layer Clothes For Breastfeeding/Nursing & Nursing in Public Discreetly or Indiscreetly

I was trying to find a tutorial to show my doula client & first time mom friend how to layer clothes when breastfeeding and I couldn't find one so I'm making my own!

I got these super comfortable nursing tanks from Motherhood Maternity the other day and they were buy 3 get 1 free.  They're soft and supportive and they fit!  Their biggest bra (42F) is too small for me but their XL tanks fit just right.  All of their nursing clothes are mix and match buy 3 get 1 free right now click here to see the sale online.

 The clip is very quickly and easily clipped and unclipped one handed

Ok, so say that you want to wear your favorite I Heart Daryl Dixon shirt (hehe, Danielle!) but it's a high neck shirt and you can't pull it down to nurse but you don't want to pull it up and show your belly and back (or if you're shaped like me, your muffin top! haha!) to everyone or you might get too chilly with so much skin exposed.

You just wear a tank with a low stretchy neck or a nursing tank underneath and pull the top down on whichever side you're nursing from and then pull your Daryl Dixon t-shirt up!  Viola!  No belly, back, or love handles showing!  
It's very discreet up top as well for those of you who prefer to be discreet when breastfeeding, it's just a matter of personal preference. 

 I personally do not care if I feed my baby discreetly or indiscreetly because I strongly believe in normalizing breastfeeding (again) because somewhere along the way our society has UNnormalized it and if no one ever see's it, it will never become normalized again.  Women are being embarrassed and shamed all over this country for feeding their babies in public and it has to stop.  It's one of the major reasons that Americas breastfeeding rates are so low compared to other countries because women are choosing not to breastfeed because they are so afraid that they might have to feed their babies in public and that is very sad!  

Remember, if you choose to breastfeed in public discreetly or indiscreetly and someone asks you to cover up or leave, all you have to say is "I am legally allowed to breastfeed anywhere that I am legally allowed to be (IE: public places) BUT it is NOT legal for you to harass me for breastfeeding in public so I suggest you leave me alone!"  Practice that sentence over and over in your head and tell yourself that you're doing a public service by breastfeeding in public, empowering women, and normalizing nursing!
You can even print out your state law to carry around with you to hand over if someone starts harassing you and you're too shocked or embarrassed to speak.

Click here for more info on what to do if you are harassed for breastfeeding in public.

Here's a breastfeeding law card you can print for my state.  You can find your state law on Google.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

What "Mommy Wars"?

This gem called Stop the Mommy Wars: Empowering Photo Series has been being shared around and it's irritating me more and more every time I see it.
Maybe it's just me but I don't see anything Empowering about these photos...
& what "Mommy Wars"?
Maybe I live in a bubble but I just don't see it.

I CHOOSE to surround my self with nonjudgmental people who support me and my choices but even if someone didn't support my choices, guess what?  I don't care!  I don't need you to love my choices. They're MY choices, I'm doing what's best for MY family.  That's what we should all be doing.  If anyone in your life is saying things to you like the post I linked above says: "Raising your kids without religion will damage your kids souls" then by all means please remove them from your life!!  Why on earth would you remain friends with someone like that?  If your friends are saying shit like that to you than you need to find a healthier social circle & if it's a stranger who is saying things like this to you, who the #!&@ cares??!  Really, who cares what a stranger thinks of you and your parenting?  I certainly don't & you shouldn't either.  They don't know you, the dynamics of your family, or why you choose to do things the way you do!  There are a lot of negative and opinionated people in this world & point blank:  F*@! them.  I can't think of a more eloquent way to say it.

Also, I co-sleep and I wouldn't have an issue with anyone asking me "why do you co-sleep?" like it says in the "Stop the Mommy Wars" post.  It's just a question, an opportunity for discourse, it's NOT judgement.  I would take the opportunity to talk about a subject that I'm passionate about and explain why co-sleeping works amazingly for our family.  That's just absurd if anyone would get offended about that.

or I would simply show them this heart warming picture of my husband and kids co-sleeping to make my point

In my opinion the bigger issue is Mommy guilt, & we're all guilty of it sometimes.  Most recently I've been trying to make myself not feel guilty about the lack of attention and all of the electronics time my 4 year old has been getting since my 7 week old son has been born.  So what did I do?  I told my amazingly supportive friend how I'm feeling and she told me that she goes through the same thing, that I'm a great Mama, and I'm doing an awesome job, & I know that I am because I'm doing my best.  I'm doing what's best for my family and tending to my newborns needs 24/7  because that's what will be best for us in the long run.  Do I think that everyone I know who limits their children's electronic time is waging a war against me?!  No!  They're doing what's best for THEIR family.

In my circle of friends some of us are vegetarians, some of us are meat eaters, some of us eat fast food, some of us don't, some of us co-sleep, some of us don't, some of use cloth diaper, some of us don't, some of use vaccinate, some of us don't, some of us are religious, some of us aren't, but we all RESPECT each other and our choices that we make for our own families.  There are no "Mommy Wars" in our social circle.  If the first sign in that post said "RESPECT more & judge less" I can get down with that.  We all don't have to LOVE everyone else & their choices but I can still respectfully disagree.
As a matter of fact, ask anyone who knows me, I'm VERY open about my opinion on routine infant circumcision, I'm constantly trying to educate people because I believe every parent should be informed before they make a decision they may regret and every baby has the right to genital integrity and guess what?  Some of my best friends circumcised their sons!  Granted, most if not all of them have had the courage to admit to me that they regret it because they weren't informed when they made the choice and that is actually what pushes me to be more vocal about it, so no more Moms have to feel that awful regret.

Me and my friends at my Blessingway

So where are all of these "Mommy Wars" that everyone speaks of?  On the internet?  Well if you're getting into fights or "Mommy Wars" on the internet then you have bigger problems..  There's negative people and trolls all over the internet antagonizing people on all types of issues.  If you're listening to anything they say or letting them bother you stop!  Just stop!  Take a breath and go outside and play with your kids.

I think Mommy Wars are a fictitious imaginary problem that is fabricated by the media.  Articles about Mommy Wars get people to click and read them.
Case in point:
Jamie from I Am Not The Babysitter did NOT do this cover to start "Mommy Wars" but that's obviously what TIME was going for.  They got A LOT of attention for this cover.
From Jamie: TIME contacted me by email with their phone number asking if I would be interested in participating in a photo shoot for a story they were doing on attachment parenting. I then found out the story was going to be about Dr. Bill Sears. It sounded like a celebratory story because it was the 20th anniversary of his first book release. The author from TIME spoke about being immersed in the topic, and appeared to have a lot of respect for Dr. Sears.

There is nothing empowering about those photos in the "Stop Mommy Wars" post.  It's just perpetuating the "Mommy Wars" myth and feeding into the media frenzy.  If we really want to Stop the "Mommy Wars" then we need to stop letting the media create them.  Stop posting shit like this, stop sharing shit like this, and stop feeding into it.

***Edited to add a quote from my brilliant friend Doris regarding this blog post:
 If you step back even further, think about the effect that the media fabricated "Mommy Wars" has on women in general. It's become another tool in which women have to second guess themselves. "Are you Mom Enough?" "What's Your Excuse?" and so on and so on. A continuous barrage of images & ideas that suggests we are not good enough, that we are somehow lacking. We should call it what it is, the media's war on women. How else are they going to get us to buy the "necessary" new gizmo's and gadgets so we can become the "perfect woman?" 

So instead of calling it the "Mommy Wars" let's call it what it is!  The Media's War on Women!  -Bravo Doris!

***I'm suddenly getting thousands of hits on this blog if someone can comment below and tell me where you all are coming from so I can thank whoever is sharing it, I'd appreciate it!  :)