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Dec 18 2013

The Day Two Women at the Dollar Store Changed My Way of Thinking

By at 4:11 pm

bottle of formula

I remember clearly the day that I learned for sure that I know nothing. I was standing in line at the dollar store, casually eavesdropping on the woman ahead of me talk with the woman behind the register about feeding their ravenous newborns. I nodded smugly, caressing my huge belly and thinking back to when my other two kids were new and endlessly hungry. I smiled, confident in my ability to empathize and ready to interject a wise comment as a soon-to-be mother of three.

And then I stopped to actually listen. And I heard the woman behind the counter lament that her 1-month-old still seemed hungry even after finishing his formula. I nodded, a little less confidently (having no experience with formula) but still with sympathy; hungry babies are hungry babies.

I heard the woman ahead of me suggest following her lead by giving the baby cereal. And now I nodded even less securely, resisting–somehow–the urge to scream, “Noooo, don’t do it, your baby is way too young for solids!” But (and I am embarrassed to recall this) a part of me really really wanted to pass on my “advice.” A part of me really want to jump in with all the judgment I’d resisted on the nursing front (because, and I swear I mean this, I do get that what works for me doesn’t work for everyone, and that there are many many reasons why women don’t or can’t nurse), telling her (not that she’d asked) that formula really is just fine for a newborn, but cereal certainly is not. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 1 2013

What If We Chose Generosity Over Judgment?

By at 12:11 pm

city bus

Have you ever tried to fold up a stroller and get multiple small children onto a bus, find your Metrocard and put it in properly (without losing sight of the children or dropping the stroller), get those children settled into seats and the stroller stowed away without bumping into anyone, and then keep those children reasonably quiet for 15 or 20 blocks? In the rain? Without help? Everyone on the bus seems to be looking at you in annoyance: annoyed at how long it took you to get onto the bus and anticipatory annoyance for the noise the kids are about to make.

One rainy day, after doing all of that, my attention turned to someone else, sitting in a two-seater with two kids who were soaking wet and crying. She was trying everything to calm the kids and quiet them down. They were inconsolable. Two people got on the bus and sat behind her and immediately started loudly complaining about the kids. She became more desperate to quiet them. They got more hysterical.

What if, instead of complaining and criticizing her, those people had offered to help her (as we and others on the bus did)? What if we reacted with generosity instead of judgment? Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 29 2013

Judging all the Judgmental Parents

By at 10:27 am

baby girl eating toyI recently took my daughter to a gym class where they put out an assortment of instruments for the kids to play with. And my little 8-month-old teething machine put every last one of them in her mouth. As she gave each a slurp, a few of the moms made comments to their children, loud enough for me to hear, “No, no, we don’t put these toys in our mouth. They’re not clean.” And with the comments came the judgmental looks. You know the looks.

I had mixed feelings knowing that as the foot long string of drool extended from my child’s mouth that her slobber was the reason their children couldn’t fully enjoy the toys, but at the same time I was left wondering who these moms were to judge me for allowing my daughter to enjoy every mouthful of her maraca.

It felt like by them saying that the toys were not clean, they were implying that my child was not clean. I wanted to scream, “She’s clean! I bathe her! She smells like baby shampoo right now! Smell her head! Smell it!!!”

But I didn’t. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 11 2013

I Was a Breastfeeding Snob… Until I Had Twins

By at 2:00 pm

twins with bottlesI was just shy of 23 years old when my first son was born. That meant that the sole people I viewed as role models were my mother, who had my sister when I was 13, and a handful of friends, who had children practically right after high school.

When it came to the issue of breastfeeding, they are the ones I turned to as examples. My birth class teacher was somewhat of a hippy, who informed all of us new mothers-to-be that a year of nursing is the absolute minimum. I had stared at her in shock as I heard these words, certain that I would only last six months or so as the mothers I knew had done. It was only when I held my little boy in my arms for the first time and tried to get him to latch on that I truly began to discover what breastfeeding was all about and what it entailed.  Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 30 2013

Playing the Baby Competition Game

By at 12:42 pm

tara filowitz babyCharly’s turning 9 months old next week–she’s been in the world longer then she was growing in my belly!

Now that I’m back at work full time, it feels like months are literally zipping by. I’m trying to treasure every moment, but everything is starting to become a big blur. It feels like any moment I’ll have to start planning her first birthday (and I’ll admit, I’ve already been filling up my Pinterest board with ideas). Every day she grows cuter and cuter, does more and more new things, and finds new ways keeps us on our toes. With four little teeth coming in and her finally mastering the art of crawling, I tend to think my baby is AMAZING!

Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 5 2013

When Parenting Starts to Feel like Junior High

By at 3:58 pm

Dear Mom in Music Class,

For a brief second last week, I wanted to punch you in the face. True story.

Sure, I’m an overtired and overworked mom of four kids. I’ll concede that maybe I was a little closer to the tipping point than a normal, well-rested human being would be.

But when I came into the room and said “Hi!” to you, and you slowly and deliberately looked me up and down and then turned back to your friend, not saying hi, there was A Moment.

It was the kind of moment in which crimes are committed: a blinding flash of red rage that makes ears hot and blood boil. It was brief, and then it passed.

But in that moment, I swear: I wanted to put down my toddler, walk over to you and Punch. You. In. The Face. In my mind, I ran through a scenario that made that scene with Lucy Liu and Uma Thurman in Kill Bill look…well, like toddler music class.

In my brain, I Quentin Tarantinoed your ass. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 11 2013

It’s Harder To Be A First Time Mom Than A Fourth Time Mom

By at 9:47 am

“Are you the oldest mom there?” a friend asked me as we walked to the elementary school to pick up our sons. At least, I think she’s my friend. (Just kidding, Michelle!)

She was asking about the “Mommy and Me” classes I go to with 18-month-old Baby G. You know the kind of classes I’m talking about. They’re the ones where the kids shake/chew on bells that are both musical and receptacles for vomity viruses. They’re the ones where the instructors are often ignored by the moms in the class, who busily and loudly chat with each other (kinda rude, no?). They’re the ones where the instructors say things like, “Do you know how to say hello IN FRENCH?” to the kids, and you’re thinking, “Um, the kid just figured out how to say hello in her native language–let’s take a little pressure off, shall we?” Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 24 2012

My 3-Year-Old Ate a Sticker (and Other Ways Having a New Baby Changes Everything)

By at 9:35 am

It’s funny how perspective can change in the blink of an eye (or in this case, 14 hours of labor). Before having my son, I thought my 3-year-old was still a baby. She was so little! She could barely do anything!

But then I had a baby. And when you compare a 3-year-old to an infant, that 3-year-old is like a giant. Not only can she walk, she can run, trip, scrape her knees, and shake it off. Not only can she talk, but she can express an argument as to why she should really be allowed to watch one more TV show. She can open the refrigerator, get out her own string cheese, and pull it into strings. Meanwhile, the baby really just sits there (though he’s an excellent smiler these days!) Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 24 2012

I Text Around My Kids, and They’ll Survive

By at 2:06 pm

mother pushing stoller on the phoneLast week, Renee Septimus shared her feelings about parents who are frequently texting around their kids. Here’s a look at the other side of the story.

If anyone had walked past my neighbor’s yard last Friday morning, they would have seen six kids under the age of 4 and three mamas. Two of those mamas were holding babies and pushing swings, and the third was on her cell phone. A lot.

The third mama was me. I spent much of the morning on my phone, talking to my family on the west coast. My mother had fractured her arm, and the last time this happened, she nearly died from complications related to the pain medication they gave her. Anyone walking by would have no way of knowing this. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 17 2012

Dealing With the Jerks of Your (Kid’s) Life

By at 4:33 pm

It was hot yesterday–serious, in-the-upper-80′s hot. Not normal for suburban New Jersey in mid-April. I haven’t put the winter coats away that we were wearing last week. I can’t keep up with the weather, and can’t sort my kids’ drawers and closets: after all, tomorrow may bring either a blizzard or a typhoon. So clothing for every temperature is easily within reach of each of my kids’ grasps. (Fine, not the baby’s.)

My younger son, R, came dancing downstairs to breakfast in shorts and a t-shirt. My older one, Z, came down more slowly in a t-shirt and jeans.

“Hey, you might want to change into shorts,” I said over my shoulder as I made coffee. “It’s going to be really hot today.” Read the rest of this entry →

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