How this pro-life, stay-at-home mom became a feminist.

Hi there! Yes, it’s been ages since I’ve updated this blog. Apart from child-rearing, writing, editing, designing, and (sometimes) housework, I don’t have time to blog. But this is one of those cases in which I need to have more words than a Facebook post to get my point across. This is me, “coming out” as a feminist, since many of you don’t know that I am, don’t know how I could be one, or don’t know what a feminist is. If this is Feminism 101, I’m merely a T.A.
Actually I’m more like a first-year student that writes allocutions on the chalkboard before class.
 
feminist
 
This post sat in my drafts pile for months because I didn’t want to have to deal with all the trolls, the hate, the threats, or the rest of the “consequences” that come simply from identifying as a feminist. But fear from truth is what keeps ignorance and hate at large. This is what is true for me.

what being a feminist isn’t

“For me feminism is bra-burning lesbianism.”—Geri Halliwell (aka Ginger Spice), not an expert on feminism.

—being a man-hater

Misandry is the hatred of men, like misogyny is the hatred of women. Just because one is a feminist, it doesn’t make that person a man-hater. Women in healthy, loving relationships with men can be feminists. So can men be. Read on.

—being a woman

Men can be feminists, too. Joss Whedon is commonly referred to as a feminist. Any father who loves his daughter is likely a feminist, whether he’d admit it or not. (I can’t blame you if you don’t adopt the term. It’s become it’s own F word. But I can blame you for propagating misinformation about feminism. And if I see it, I will call you out on it.)

—being pro-choice

Let me go on a quick tangent really fast. Stay with me. Most of the world have gotten to the point now where they realize rape is a crime against women because it is an act done without consent.

And yet we assume it’s the woman’s choice if she ends up in prostitution or has an abortion. How do you feel about a person who assumes a rape victim “wanted it” or “asked for it”? It’s impossible to get accurate statistics on these numbers, but most prostitutes were forced into the profession through the sex trade. And many women who get abortions are coerced into them, either by family, their significant other, or their community. Even religious beliefs. Girls get abortions so they won’t be shunned by their church for having a child out of wedlock. Minnesota For Life surveyed women and found 64% of abortions were coerced. If you know better statistics, please share. Obviously those are biased.

Many feminists are pro-choice because they fight for women’s rights to control their own bodies. I’m a pro-life feminist because I think that abortion clinics take advantage of women physically, emotionally, and financially. I view abortion after 6 weeks gestation as mutilation of a woman’s uterus (and also as murder of an unborn child, but that’s not what we’re discussing here). If you are pro-choice for the reasons I listed above, do what you can to ensure that you are also pro-consent. Volunteer at an abortion clinic and encourage the women to make their own choice, whether it is for your way or another.

If you are pro-life, volunteer at a crisis pregnancy center. You’ll find that sometimes the choice isn’t as easy as you might assume. Learn to love women whether they choose your way or not.

We are all in this together. Feminists, this is a war for our consent. Pro-lifers, you cannot be pro-life without being pro-mother. Are you prepared to care for the mothers and children that choose life? How are you helping mothers and children NOW?

—being a Democrat

There are feminists in every political party, but Republicans are less likely to use the term “feminist” for fear of its consequences, as well as the assumption that it means they must not be Republican / conservative / manly / Christian. I’m neither party, in case you were wondering. Again, that’s another issue we won’t be addressing here.

—having a romantic attraction to women

Being a feminist doesn’t make you a lesbian, gay, bi, or trans* individual, but anyone can be a feminist because being a feminist had nothing to do with sexual preference. It has everything to do with enabling women to live freely. (Does that mean the same thing as living lawlessly? No. We live in a free country. Do we live in one without laws? Ha. Hahahahaha.)

what being a feminist is

A feminist believes that women shouldn’t live in fear of being a woman.

my journey to becoming a feminist

1. First Grade

I had an evil first grade teacher who introduced me to sexism. She (yes, she was a female-hating woman) would give us math assignments and would give whoever finished first a bag of fruit snacks. If I finished before J.D., a bucktoothed boy that she adored, she’d ignore my raised hand, wait for him to finish, and give him the fruit snacks. This is also the source of my problems with authority.

2. Learning there are more women representatives in Middle Eastern parliaments than in the US congress.

We hear a lot about women’s rights in the Middle East. Most would assume that women have fewer rights in the Middle East than they do in the U.S. So why is the U.S. so behind on having women representatives?

Now, if you’d have asked me five, ten years ago if I would have voted for a woman politician, I would have made a joke about her period and said no. What if she had children? Shouldn’t she be raising them?

What about women who aren’t raising children? Who are empty nesters? What about women who, like me, are thinkers more than feelers, whose maternal instinct manifests in protecting, rather than nurturing, children? The kind of woman who’s really a much better parent if she gets some time without her kids.

And then I considered testosterone, the main hormone in men’s bodies, and wondered if we wouldn’t go to war on a whim if we had a president that didn’t have so much testosterone in her body.

If you are a woman, don’t you want women representing you? If you are a mother, wouldn’t you want mothers representing you in congress, making the kinds of decisions a mother would make?

I am SO glad the Middle East has women representatives. But doesn’t it bother you that the US is ranked 86th place in terms of female representation? Afganistan is 41st. Iraq is 53rd. Pakistan is 73rd. Saudi Arabia is 76th. But here we are, a first-world country with women CEOs running multimillion-dollar companies, and fewer than 20% of our congress is female. Congress should reflect its population. That number should be 50%.

3. These Disney board books.

I got these for Champ when he was a baby, before I identified myself as a feminist.

It made me really angry that the books about male characters were all about their personality and their abilities, but the only thing about the female characters mentioned was that they were pretty and that they fell in love.

Yeah, I want to be pretty. I am madly in love with my husband. But I have interests, a brain, and a soul apart from that.

4. The Transformers movie.

If you’ve seen the first Transformers movie, you’ve seen Megan Fox draping her scantily clad body over machines. Now, I’m not mad at Megan Fox. As far as I’m concerned, women can do whatever they want with their own bodies. I am not okay with slut-shaming.

What I have a problem with is that Megan Fox’s character was reduced to the level of a hot car. Something to drool over, touch, and (if Sam Whitwicky’s mother was right) probably jack off to.

Objectification of women. Everyone should have a problem with that.

5. Jesus was a feminist.

During Biblical times, men really treated women as objects. They were considered possessions, less than human. Jesus spoke to women all the time—something no one else ever did. He even spoke to prostitutes (gasp!) with respect (bigger gasp!). He treated women as if they were human beings, as if they—like men—were children of God.

The Bible is full of sexism, sure. It’s not a guidebook on being holy so much as a story of how God loves his people, even though they mess up and are terrible 99.99% of the time. That’s the gospel. That’s the whole point of the book. And don’t rule out the brilliant women of the Bible Deborah or Jael or Esther or Ruth or Mary or Rahab or Miriam or Abigail…should I keep going?

Bonus: Do you know the definition of an apostle? It’s a messenger. In the context of the New Testament, it’s someone who spreads the good news of Christ. Who was Jesus’ first apostle? Who did he pick first? (Read John 20:17-18)

I didn’t become a feminist overnight. I’ve been a feminist my whole life. I just didn’t call it feminism. I didn’t call it anything.

things that make me more feminist

  • Outrage at comics doing this.
  • Dennis Hoffman’s explanation of what it felt like to play a woman in Tootsie.
  • #YesAllWomen on Twitter
  • #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft on Twitter
  • People blaming victims of rape, prostitution, or domestic abuse while ignoring the criminal’s responsibility to not be a rapist, pimp, abuser, or murderer
  • Stupid articles like this one written by people who have no clue what feminism is, but still argue that it’s terrible.

Feminism isn’t about women wanting to be men. It’s believing that all people have the right to give consent, and acknowledging that women in particular are taken advantage of, harassed, and abused by people. It’s a movement against the sex trade and against rape culture. It’s a movement against other people assuming they have some sort of claim over a woman’s body. It’s rejecting the idea that men should define a woman’s worth.

That’s all I’ve got to say today. I welcome all comments that are thoughtful and not personal attacks, whether they agree with me or not. Know that I vet comments and will delete abusive ones.


 

Update, Q&A

I’ve had people ask me a few questions about the relationship between being a Christian, anti-abortion/pro-life, and feminist. I’ll try to answer those questions here, but if you have more, ask in the comments!

How do you define your terms?

Feminist—Feminism is about consent. I’m a feminist and will continue to be a feminist until every woman feels that she has the right to grant consent, the right to disagree with a man or refuse his advances without being attacked verbally or physically. It’s not a matter of whether a woman will be harassed in her lifetime, it’s a matter of when. That’s a problem. To ignore that problem is to be part of the problem. As a feminist, I am pro-woman, anti-rape, anti-trafficking. I’m not anti-man or anti-men. I’m married and have two sons. I love men, and I want to empower them to empower women so women can feel safe.

Pro-life—In my blog, if I say I’m pro-life, I mean I’m against abortion and for taking care of people. I use “pro-life” broadly, not politically. For example, I’m fine with people using birth control, and I do think that condoms and non-hormonal methods of contraception should be widely and easily available for everyone. “Pro-life” for me includes suicide prevention, humanitarian aid, and war prevention (I’m idealistically anti-war, but realistically pro-military-defense. Pro-negotiations, if that makes sense).

ChristianThe word “Christian” has become just as badly tainted as the words above. I use it in the historical sense: I’m a Christian because I am a Christ follower. I wasn’t always a Christian. I was a searching, agnostic. Every belief system has weird stuff, but the Judeo-Christian beliefs make the most logical, social, emotional, and political sense to me. Nothing else satisfied my need for answers more. Now I believe Jesus of Nazareth is the savior foretold in the Jewish heritage, that he died as an atonement for my sins, and that if I make him both my savior and my lord, and I strive to be like him, then I will be saved from judgment. I think the Bible is true and inerrant, but that people misinterpret it all the time, so we need to bring logic and a contextual analysis of scripture when we determine what it means. For me, blind faith isn’t faith, it’s complacency. My relationship with Christ is a constant struggle, like the image of Jacob wrestling with God in Genesis 32.

How can you be anti-abortion and a feminist?

Because I am pro-woman and pro-person.

I’m against abortion because a beating heart is life, and abortion ends a life. Abortion affects two lives, minimum. It ends one completely.

Abortion is a huge problem. But calling for the abolishment of abortion, without preparing to care for mothers and children, without having those programs already in place, is also a problem.

How can we end abortion?

If you want to end abortion, donate your time and money to helping mothers. If motherhood were easy, no one would get an abortion. People get abortions because motherhood is very, very difficult without support. And the government doesn’t make it easy to be a mother even with support! Vote for candidates that will fight for maternal leave. The United States has the worst stance on parental leave in the world. Zero weeks paid leave in the US means that women lose their income (if not their jobs) simply for choosing not to have an abortion. Seriously, call your representative now and tell him or her how messed up that is.

Pregnancy resource centers always need donations and volunteers. But women in your neighborhood can use help, too. This is something everyone can do, and it’s something everyone can do, right now.

So what are you going to do about it?

Grace for the Introverted Mom

Note: As the title suggests, this is targeted to moms. Specifically stay-at-home moms that are constantly needed by their children. I don’t mean to alienate stay-at-home dads, I just have no authority speaking on your behalf! I’d love to hear your input in the comments!

Grace for the Introverted Mom (Just in time for the most stressful time of year for introverts—the holidays!)

Introduction and pseudo-history lesson

First thing’s first. Are you an introvert? Here’s 23 Signs You’re Secretly an Introvert from HuffPost.

Introverted stay-at-home moms in this era have some unique struggles. Being a stay-at-home-mom is the most unnatural thing in the world if you look at the historical order of things. Humans once lived in tribes, clans, family units, villages. Children were raised by their mother, plus any other number of matriarchal type persons. Fathers and other men were involved in the education and nurturing of their children as well. Mothers had help in the form of relatives, wet-nurses or nannies. These days, we tend to fall into one of two extremes: we are the sole caregiver of our children during the day, or else we leave them in the care of educators and coaches and have little time to interact with our own kids. Hopefully you fall somewhere into the middle! Anyway, this isn’t about societal norms or a call to action. It’s about introverts. Introverts who are drained when they are sole caregivers to one or more children.

We need plenty of time alone, but we still need a little bit of social interaction to retain any sanity. Back in the day of the front-porch suburbia, or back even further to the time of the common well, introverted people got their social interaction out of the way, out of the house, and they came back home ready to be introverted again. Now we have the internet, that glorious invention of social media, in which we can pretend we are socializing, but which never really leaves us satisfied like real-live interaction does.

Your main goals as an Introverted mom are 1) time alone and 2) some real, in-person interaction with other human beings outside of your family. Here are some tips to achieving those goals.

Tip #1—Favor reflection over distraction.

We introverts need time, alone, with our thoughts. If I don’t get time alone just to think, or sort out my thoughts, I end up distracting myself with the internet. (As a teen, I used to distract myself with endless hours of TV. As an adult, I don’t have cable, but I have my own laptop.)

I’ll spend hours and hours on Pinterest or YouTube or clicking on random Wikipedia articles to distract myself, when a 20-minute shower would be so much better for me, because I spend only 3 minutes cleaning myself, and the rest of the time, I just let my mind wander and sort and think and rest.

Right now it’s 2 am, and I should be in bed, but I’ve just been putting off my time of introspection all this time, and now I won’t be able to sleep until I think about it.

Are you the type of person that needs to write thoughts out to get them out of your head so you can sleep? That’s why I keep my phone and a notepad by my bed. When a thought comes, I scrawl it out on my notepad in unabomber handwriting. If I don’t think I’ll be able to decipher it in the morning, I email myself on my phone.

Tip #2—Don’t feel guilty.

I feel guilty not being able to give to my kids 100% of the time. I feel selfish when I take time apart from them. I feel like a bad mom for wanting to get away from my children. I resent clinginess when it creeps up (and clinginess is natural for children exploring new territories and reaching new milestones.)

It is 3,000 times harder when my husband isn’t home, because that means I NEVER get a break, and my kids rely on JUST ME to meet all of their needs. I’m on call, 24/7. I’m needed every minute of every waking hour, and I’m needed half of the night. I’m constantly being touched.

Repeat after me: If Jesus Christ needed breaks, then I CERTAINLY need time alone.

Introverts need time alone to recharge. It is better for ourselves and for everyone else in our home if we get some time to recharge. You know that phrase, “If Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”? We need time alone, for our emotional and mental health, about as badly as we need sleep for our physical health.

If I don’t get enough sleep, I feel like a zombie. I can barely function. Caffeine can work a little to get me through the day, but if I rely on caffeine and not sleep, I’m going to get sick. I don’t know about you, but for me, the same goes with alone time. If I don’t get time alone, I start to space out and check out. I can barely say a word to another human being, let alone hold a conversation. Distractions can work a little to get me through the day, but if I keep distracting myself without getting time alone, eventually I’m going to lose it, and either have an emotional breakdown or get really angry at my 3-yr old (who knows precisely which buttons to push in either of his parents).

Don’t feel guilty about getting time alone. Also don’t feel guilty about getting out of the house every once in a while to socialize with other people. That means date nights and girl nights. Maybe you’re like me, and you dread girls’ nights with a passion because you don’t relate to all that estrogen and emotion. Give it a chance. Studies show that it is important to a woman’s health to get time socializing with other women. If people start talking about their feelings, find another person to talk to, or change the subject to current events or pop culture. Or only go to events that include activities, like game nights or movie nights, so you aren’t obligated to talk at all. True story: Captain and I went on a date last month to dinner, and we brought a book of crossword puzzles to do. We ended up talking and laughing the whole time, but as introverts, it was nice to have the option to be together, but be quiet, and have something to do other than stare at each other while masticating.

Tip #3—Enforce quiet time (for your kids, but also for yourself).

Grace for the Introverted Mom (Just in time for the most stressful time of year for introverts—the holidays!)

If only my children would nap at the same time! I admit, right now, I’m in survival mode. When both kids are napping at the same time, I need to NOT DISTRACT myself (see #1), but do one single thing—one thing that is quiet and allows me to organize my thoughts. It could be writing a list, reading, or quietly doing some tedious or repetitive tasks that allow my brain to sort things out. My favorite mini-vacations when Champ was a baby were reading a magazine and painting my toenails. I got my magazines with deals I found on Tanga, but you can search for discounts any time at Discount Mags. A few years ago, I got 3 years of 6 magazines for less than $20 total. Not bad.

Other ideas: knitting, daydreaming, planning, having a caffeinated or weakly alcoholic libation.

No TV or internet during these times. See #1 and #4, below.

Tip #4—Spend time reading, offline.

Then you can focus and think and not be distracted by clickable rabbit trails. Reading is a way for introverts to fill up that need for socialization, because we are essentially having a conversation with the writer as we do it. All introverts should read. Extraverts, too, but especially introverts. That’s why I’m repeating myself by giving offline reading its own tip.

Offline reading is the best way to spend our time alone. Here’s why:

  • It gives us a chance to think and process…
  • …without the distraction of the internet…
  • …and it partially fulfills our need to socialize

Are you an introvert? How do you fill your “time alone” and “socialization” tanks? Do you have reading recommendations? Leave your opinions in the comments!

(I started writing this in August of 2013, at 2 am, when my husband was gone for 2 weeks in South Africa. Today I am finishing it. It is 3 pm in December, and Champ is still eating his lunch, two hours after his nap was supposed to begin. If you’re curious why I haven’t posted original content since this summer, with the exception of posts pertaining to Champ’s Birthday or our Geeky Halloween, allow me to direct you to  Mom Stress and Survival Parenting. Being a mom of two is a 24/7 job, and I’ll get back into blogging regularly when I can get housework back on track first. So expect posts to be few and far between until, say, ten years from now, when they will not be relevant to this generation. Welcome, class of 2020!)

Cookie Recipe Exchange

These are the cookie recipes we exchanged at Champ’s Birthday party, along with favorite books.

Sorry I’ve been so delinquent about getting these up on the blog. I kind of loathe typing projects, so I kept putting it off. In the process, I’ve probably lost some of the cookie recipes from the party. If you have one to share, please do! You can add them in the comments section.
 
8 favorite cookie recipes, from Paleo chocolate chip, to homemade graham crackers, to ANZAC biscuits, to white chocolate cranberry cookies!
 

Champs’ Friends’ Favorite Cookie Recipes

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies (Jonathan)

Ingredients

  • 1 c almond flour or almond meal
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 TBSP melted coconut oil
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 1 to 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 to 3 tsp water
  • 2 to 4 TBSP chopped chocolate

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix first four ingredients together in one bowl
  3. Mix coconut oil, honey, and vanilla in another bowl
  4. Combine both mixtures and add water as needed to bring together
  5. Stir in chocolate
  6. Form into balls 2 to 3 tsp each, place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and flatten to 1/2 inch thick
  7. Bake about 10 minutes, until edges are golden.
  8. Let cookies sit on pan an additional 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack <<Don’t skip this step!

Homemade Graham Crackers (Alexa)

Get a ruler handy if you want these to be cut into equal squares! Even better if you have a square cookie cutter!

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 c graham or whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
  • 5 TBSP water
  • 2 TBSP light molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine dry ingredients
  3. Using a food processor or pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal
  4. Add the water, molasses and vanilla and process until the dough comes together
  5. Divide the dough in half
  6. Roll each part of dough out between two pieces of parchment paper to a 16″x8″ rectangle, 1/8″ thick
  7. Remove the top piece of paper and trim dough to 15″ x 7 1/2″ rectangle, and score into 18, 2 1/2″ squares
  8. Prick each square several times with a fork
  9. Bake on parchment until golden, 10–15 minutes
  10. Cool completely, then break apart on score lines

Modified “Anzacs” (Jonah)

Read the history of this egg-free, Australian biscuit here. (“Biscuit” is the international name for cookies.)

Ingredients

  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c steel cut or pinhead oats
  • 1/2 c cane sugar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 c unsweetened, finely shredded coconut
  • scant 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 c butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 TBSP golden syrup + 1 TBSP honey (alternate: 2 TBSP honey, no syrup)
  • zest of one orange
  • 1 or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 TBSP boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl
  3. Over low heat, combine syrup, honey, butter, zest, and vanilla until melted
  4. Whisk together boiling water and baking soda, add to butter mixture
  5. Combine wet and dry ingredients
  6. Mix well
  7. Spoon onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
  8. Bake 12–15 minutes or until golden brown
  9. Allow to cool on parchment paper before removing

Our Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies (Luke)

This is a double batch with reduced sugar. For a single batch, use the same amount of sugars but halve everything else. 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups softened butter
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 small pkg pudding mix (you choose flavor)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 1/2 c flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 – 12 oz pkg chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Blend butter, sugars, and pudding until smooth
  3. Add eggs and vanilla
  4. Mix dry ingredients together and add 2 cups at a time to wet ingredients
  5. Form into small balls and bake on a cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes

Note: These do not flatten out much, so how you put them in the oven is how they will look when they come out.

Monster Cookies (Annaleigh)

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 c packed brown sugar
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 12 oz jar of creamy peanut butter
  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 1/2 c M&Ms
  • 1/2 c chocolate chips
  • 1/4 raisins (optional)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 4 1/2 c quick oatmeal (not instant)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix eggs and sugars
  3. Add salt, vanilla, peanut butter, butter and mix
  4. Mix in remaining ingredients
  5. Bake 8 to 10 minutes

Our (My) Favorite Cookie Recipes

 
Did I mention I don’t like typing up recipes? Here are my favorite online cookie recipes. White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies are my Absolute Favorite! I think the Craisin bag has a recipe on it, too. I also love oatmeal raisin cookies, but I just can’t seem to make them at sea-level like I do in the mountains.

White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies (you can use vanilla instead of brandy)

Mrs. Sigg’s Snickerdoodles

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies with Sugar Cookie Icing (I replace the almond extract in the icing with vanilla or coconut extracts)

 

Confessions of a Sleep-Deprived Mom of Two

Anyone that has come over to my home or talked to me on the phone recently can gather one of two things: 1) I am entirely sleep deprived and 2) I’ve lost complete control over my household.

If I weren’t so sleep deprived, I likely would have the sense to not post any of the information below. But because I am sleep deprived, I tell myself that a future sleep-deprived self will be amused by it when I see it again in a few years. Behold, life with a toddler, puppy, and newborn baby.

Confession #1

dazed

“Oh, I’m, I’m dazed and confused. I’ve been chasing this…this wee-naked child over hill and over dale.”

Oh, Doctor. You have no idea how relevant that line is to my life right now.

I just stepped out the front door, grabbed my toddler, and pulled him back inside. That seems normal enough—toddlers letting themselves outside. Mine was standing there, on the stoop, completely naked, wearing sunglasses. Then he ran off down the hall, the dog chasing after him, desperate to lick his bottom.

Confession #2

Champ has been getting quite a bit of freedom lately, as you can expect. In an attempt to stave off tantrums (or should I say, more tantrums), I’ve been giving him more leeway. He’s also regressed a bit in potty training, hence my letting him be naked (see above). The nakedness was progressive. He’s usually fully clothed—sometimes wearing the same pajamas or shirt for up to three days—but I’ve let him go shirtless like his dad a few times.

mowing

This afternoon, I had to change his clothes, and I grabbed the first pair of shorts I could find, not realizing they were 18-months. So I help him put on his underpants and the shorts, and they are super short. Like, Daniel Craig’s swimming suit in Casino Royale short. Whatever, it’s fine. But then he decided to put on his backpack, and as he’s running around with a backpack strapped to his back in hilariously tiny shorts, I was suddenly reminded of The Hawkeye Initiative, which exposes (no pun intended) the ridiculous hypersexualization of women in comic books by replacing women with illustrations of Hawkeye doing the same poses. Like this:

Sorry, son. I’ll make sure you wear appropriately sized shorts next time.

Confession #3 (aka, you can stop reading here and go about your daily business)

You know that space between two people right before they are about to kiss?

harry-ginny

Yeah, right there. We’ll call it “the land of in-between.” THAT is where I’ve been living the past three weeks.

Abstinence is no stranger to the Captain and myself. We saved ourselves for marriage, we got through the birth (and thereafter) of our first child, and we made it through many weekends, weeks, and months away from each other when he was an Active Marine. We’re pretty familiar with sexual tension, too—from the moment we first met, there was a definite chemistry between us that rivaled the likes of these folks:

mr-and-mrs-smith

Still, we had a strictly platonic relationship for quite some time before finally coming to terms with ourselves and each other, and most of that time was spent in that land of in-between. You can read our story here.

ron-hermione

Anyway, if you didn’t know already, several weeks after a woman gives birth are spent in abstinence, so her body can recover from labor and delivery. For most women, this is absolutely not a problem. And I think for some men who were present during the labor and subsequently traumatized, they can spend the time in recovery as well.

Apparently my hormones are completely whacked out, because I’ve got the opposite problem. I’ve got so much tension built up, just from the past 3 weeks, I could probably gnaw through a telephone pole.

You might conjure up an image such as this:

but this is to what I am referring:

I’ve been able to scrape the skin off the giant vat of pudding that is my sexual tension by watching clips from romantic comedies and commiserating with the characters.

But then the Captain comes home, wearing plaid and smelling like machines, and he goes and works on the car, or he chops some wood, or he walks across the room, or he leans up against a counter

and I’m all…

i want him bad

I think he’s secretly reveling in torturing me. This is what an average day in our house looks like these days:

killers

Notice his cheeky grin, her looking away and not knowing what else to do

I catch him walking out of the room, walking back into the room, taking off his shirt and revealing his GLORIOUS ABDOMINALS OF SPLENDOR, and then walking right out again.

But I know it’s affecting him, too. The other day, he cried out in a voice of mock-hysteria, “WE ARE IN A TIME OF HEALING!” and I nearly choked on my lunch from laughing.

At least we still have our sense of humor. In fact, the baby isn’t the sole reason for my sleep deprivation. Captain and I have been staying up super late every night for the past week, cracking up laughing. “Super late” is midnight for us—we get up at 6 or 7 every morning. It’s like having a marathon of slumber parties. We’re totally losing it, but we’re enjoying ourselves as much as we possibly can.

Now he’s finished with school and his part time job for the summer. I’m praying he can find another job soon, because going from seeing him just an hour or two a day to being together 24/7 is going to be a shock to the system. Looks like I’m going to have to up my prescription of romantic comedies, and supplement with multiple viewings of this:

and scrolling through Tumblr gifs like this:

matthew-mary

Misery loves company. What are your favorite moments of romantic tension? Be a dear and share links if you’ve got them!

Surviving the Third Trimester

surviving the third trimester | diary of a bewildered mother

In just a matter of days, I’ll be full term with Baby Lion (full term is 37 weeks to 42 weeks). I was “lucky” enough to have Champ right at 37 weeks, so I haven’t shared the misery of some ladies that go to 41+ weeks, but I’ve still had my share of late-pregnancy woes.

And I’ve been in my third trimester in the South during the summer, and in the North during the winter, so I’ve experienced a range of annoyances. Thankfully for you, I’ve also found some relief for these annoyances. (“Some” being the key word.) Here are the four unfortunate symptoms I’m most familiar with, along with a list of home remedies to relieve them.

Note: I’m not a doctor or midwife, and my only license is a driver’s one. So be sure to check with your healthcare provider before making any changes. These remedies worked for me, but I can’t be held responsible if they don’t work for you . . . sorry.

surviving the third trimester | diary of a bewildered mother

Swelling / Carpal Tunnel

Both swelling and Carpal Tunnel are caused by water retention. Carpal Tunnel, for those of you who don’t know, is when the swelling pinches a nerve in your wrist, numbing your thumb and first couple of fingers. It may or may not be painful, but it will likely keep you up at night.

I’m listing these roughly in order from what works the most to what sometimes / maybe works.

  • Drink a TON of water—at least a gallon each day. More if you are in a hot or humid climate. The less you drink, the more your body decides it needs to hoard water in case of emergencies. Like a camel. Camels have skinny calves, sure, but they’ve also got those gigantic humps on their back.
  • Stay cool—keep indoors in the A/C if it’s warm outside.
  • Elevate above the heart—for carpal tunnel, this is your wrists. For foot swelling, that’s probably your feet. Yes, it’s a bit ridiculous feeling to raise your feet above your heart, but that’s how to decrease swelling. If I’m trying to sleep, it only takes about 90 seconds for my fingers to go numb if my arm isn’t elevated. Use pillows. Sometimes I awkwardly drape my arms over by body, above my head, or on the Captain to keep my wrist elevated. He’s a good man.
  • Wear a wrist brace for Carpal Tunnel—I can’t sleep in these. The idea is to keep your wrist straight when you sleep. A straight wrist means your thumb aligns with your arm, not your palm. Your palm should angle up. If you don’t know what I mean, then put on a brace to see what position your wrist should be in. Also, don’t sleep with your hands under your head.
  • Limit sodium—Salt contributes to water retention. But sodium and salt (including table salt, which has iodide in it) are important, so talk about your diet with a health professional before making any changes.
  • ExerciseApparently this is supposed to help, especially if you sweat. The only exercise I get is chasing a toddler around the house, trying to get him into his underpants, and hauling him onto and off the potty and into his crib. That’s enough cardio right there.
  • Take a bath—I think this is psychological, but I feel like when I take a shower or bath, my body realizes it doesn’t have to hoard all the water itself, because there is plenty water accessible to me at any given time. So be grateful, body, because many parts of the world don’t have running or clean water.
  • Cold / hot compresses—these may give relief to your wrists or feet.
  • Vitamin B6, Calcium/Magnesium supplements—these could help, too. I already take these supplements (as you will see), so I can’t tell if they are making my carpal tunnel better. It could be much worse without them, I don’t know.
  • Hazelwood and/or Baltic Amber jewelry—I wear these primarily for heartburn (see below), but have been wearing my Baltic Amber necklace tripled up around my wrist lately.
  • Nutritional Yeast / Brewer’s Yeast—My midwives are awesome. Saw one today and she said I should get Brewer’s Yeast for my carpal tunnel, that it’s an anti-inflammatory, and that I can sprinkle it on cereal or yogurt, and that some people put it on popcorn (apparently it tastes like cheese!). Picked some up, but haven’t tried it yet.

surviving the third trimester | diary of a bewildered mother

Dry Skin / Itchy feet

I’ve been so itchy with this pregnancy, and I blame the cold weather that just sucks the moisture out of me. Now that I’m retaining water, I’m not as itchy all over (hooray?), but it could become unbearable/ here’s what worked for me:

  • Warm, not hot, showers—hot showers will actually dry out your skin more, I’ve been told.
  • Lotion or baby oil—some people don’t want to put baby oil (mineral oil) on their bodies, or Vaseline, because they contain petroleum. You can decide what you want to avoid in your lotions or oils and find products on the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. I’m fine with Vaseline and baby oil, but I’m not okay with parabens. I use Palmer’s Cocoa Butter for Stretch Marks (note, its current, paraben-free formula is not on the database). Whatever you choose, put it on your body while it’s still damp from the shower to seal in the moisture.
  • Ice water—when my feet WOULD NOT STOP ITCHING, I got a bit desperate. I ran ice-cold water from the tap over my feet until they were thoroughly chilled and I couldn’t feel the itching sensation anymore. Then slathered baby oil over them, and put on socks over that. It seemed to work, because after two nights of doing this, I haven’t had to do it again, and that was about a month ago. Desperate times call for frozen feet. (Er…don’t give yourself frostbite or anything)

surviving the third trimester | diary of a bewildered mother

Restless Legs

If you’ve ever been in bed and had your legs FREAK OUT like all of a sudden you were James Brown singing “Sex Machine,” then you know what restless legs are. Sometimes restless legs cramp up, and you get Charlie Horses, too! Fun fun, especially for anyone who gets to share a bed with you, and finds himself being forcibly kicked at random in the night. Here’s some remedies—start at the top and work your way down.

  • Eat a banana every day—this could be the only change you have to make to find relief. I know other moms that swear by it. Worked for me in my first pregnancy.
  • Take magnesium supplements—I’m going to reference magnesium supplements over and over again. See how much I take at the bottom of this post. And talk to your provider about how much you should / can take.
  • Keep feet raised—if your feet are swollen, you should already be doing this. Keep them elevated above the heart while sleeping.
  • Stretch your calves—One of my midwives showed me a stretch that can give relief. One foot at a time, press the pad of your foot against a wall, keeping your heel on the floor, and pull yourself closer to the wall, pushing your foot into the wall and stretching your calves out. I just walked on the pads of my feet, doing lunges, on the way to and from the bathroom during my mid-night pee runs. Yes, it felt like I was part of the Ministry of Silly Walks.
  • Grab some Vicks VapoRub—This was another one of those dire moments, drastic measure things. Pretty sure Vicks VapoRub is perfectly safe during pregnancy, but since I couldn’t find a definitive answer, you should probably ask your provider if it’s okay. Anyway, my solution? I dabbed a bit on the backs of my knees, right in the crease of the skin. Tingly? Yes. But it somehow draws the tingles out of the rest of your legs, like sucking out snake poison. Pretty awesome and worth a try if you (or your spouse) are miserable. I’m no scientist, I have no idea why it worked or how I thought it might. But believing it will work is half the battle, right?

surviving the third trimester | diary of a bewildered mother

Heartburn / Reflux

I got heartburn the first time when I was 8 years old, and have had it ever since. When you’re pregnant, the relaxin hormone that allows your hips to stretch out—you know, so you can actually push a human being the size of a melon out of your body—also wreaks havoc on your esophageal sphincter, that one-way door that is supposed to keep food in your stomach. That door “relaxes” so that the acid party in your stomach spills out, into your throat. Fun, fun. Oh, and then your baby gets bigger and bigger and pushes up on your stomach, squeezing everything out of it like a squirty bath toy.

I have a very large list for this one, so don’t expect too much organization here.

  • Eat small mealsthe less and more frequently you eat, the less of a chance your tummy will be filled to overcapacity. You can still eat a ton of whatever you’re craving, just split those meals in half and break between them.
  • Don’t drink during meals or after meals—drinking before or between meals is better, so you don’t fill up your stomach as quickly. You could try drinking a glass of water 15 minutes to half an hour before a meal to try and wash away any acid, but that could backfire, making your stomach overcompensate.
  • Watch how you sleep—sleep upright, at an incline, or on your left side. You’re more likely to wake up with vomit in your throat if you sleep on your right side. Isn’t pregnancy super glamorous?
  • Fight the acid—take TUMS (but don’t take too many!), drink water with lemon, or sip apple cider vinegar. Lemons and apple cider vinegar seem very acidic, but when they hit your stomach, they balance out your Ph. Lemon water is the tastier option; apple cider vinegar can be more effective.
  • Take a calcium/magnesium supplement—Are you seeing a pattern here? This stuff works for swelling, restless legs, and heartburn. Talk to your provider about how much you can take, and be sure to include how many TUMs you are taking so you don’t overdose on calcium.
  • Increase fiber—constipation is common in pregnancy because your digestion slows WAY DOWN to ensure your baby can take as many nutrients from your food as possible. If your plumbing is plugged up down south, expect that traffic jam to back up into your stomach, giving you heartburn. Lots of fruit and veggies, and complex carbs. Note: read the comments at the end of this blog to see a discussion about how Papaya and other P fruits can aid digestion!
  • Wear hazelwood and/or Baltic amber jewelry—Hazelwood neutralizes acid and Baltic amber works as a natural, safe anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. I order my jewelry from Hazelaid.com (some styles are also available on Amazon.)

If you get heartburn on an empty stomach:

  • Eat absorbent foods—Again, I think this is a psychological thing, but if you get heartburn on an empty stomach, eat something that will absorb that acid, like rice or bread. I’ve even tried marshmallows. They’re spongy, right?

Sometimes, in an effort for your body to close that esophageal sphincter, it tries a bit too hard, and your whole abdomen might cramp up to stop the acid. Definitely talk to your provider if you have abdominal pain! If it’s caused by heartburn, though, here’s what you can try:

  • Drink peppermint tea—Warm drinks soothe and relax, and peppermint does the same. Drink warm peppermint tea to soothe your tummy. DON’T suck on peppermint candies or chew peppermint gum, because those will just relax your esophageal sphincter further.
  • Try tummy massage and warm compresses—Warm compresses can offer relief from muscles cramping. Pair this with the peppermint tea, and you’ll warm and soothe inside and out. For tummy massage, I use the “I love you” massage I used on Champ when he had baby reflux, but do it on myself. Start on your left side, where your stomach is, and smooth down towards the pubic bone. The “L” starts under your right breast. The “U” starts at your pubic bone on the right side and ends on the left side.

massage

If you still have heartburn, don’t give up hope yet.

  • Reduce or eliminate acidic foods from your diet—I had a cheeseburger each day with Champ. No wonder my heartburn was so awful! I’ve blogged about acidity before, so you can check that out.
  • Keep a food journal—You’ll be able to reintroduce some of those acidic foods if you 1) eat mostly alkaline and 2) figure out what your triggers are. For example, I can eat sausage pizza but not pepperoni. I can’t eat nuts on an empty stomach.
  • Eat ice cream—I saved this one for last because it’s my favorite. If I know I’m going to eat red meat, I eat a small portion and eat it early, pairing it with some greens. Then an hour or so later, I reward myself with ice cream. Maybe it’s just because I love it so much, but ice cream seems to be the only dairy product that reduces, rather than increases, acid in my stomach (milk and cheese are acidic!).

Be Patient

Just remember as you are dealing with pregnancy woes what joy awaits you! Soon you’ll have that precious child in your arms, and your mommy brain will make you forget most of what you had to put up with in pregnancy. You might even be so crazy to want to endure it all over again, to add to your family. I’m one of the crazy ones.

Note: this post may include Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase from these Amazon links, a very small portion of the profit will be returned to me. If I ever make money off these links, I’ll buy more cloth diapers with them.

Abortion is Never the Right Choice

Note: As an abortion survivor and mother of my own unplanned pregnancy, this topic really strikes a chord in me. The wifosaurus is about to show her teeth but also reveal a gap in her scales. No, this post isn’t going to include photos of abortions or babies. I’d prefer to appeal to reason, not use emotional manipulation. But I can’t guarantee to be 100% reasonable, since this is an emotionally charged topic, and the discussion that prompted this post made me very, very angry.

I’m about to tell you that abortion is never the right choice. Don’t agree? Then you don’t have to. I’m not going to debate about when life begins. That’s not the point. The point is, having an abortion is a choice. Sometimes it’s choosing fear over faith. Sometimes it’s choosing selfishness over selflessness. But most times, it’s choosing to believe the lie that you aren’t loved, that you can’t do it, that you aren’t strong enough, and that you are all alone.

I’m here to tell you that you can do it. You are loved. You can do it. You are strong enough. You are not alone.

I know situations are complex. I don’t know everybody’s situation. I don’t claim to know. But I’m going to list a bunch of situations, and I’m going to give you my honest opinion—the opinion of a friend. Sometimes we need tough love, and I’m not afraid to tell it like it is.

Two wrongs don’t make a right

Whether you made a mistake or were the victim of a mistake, realize that an abortion will not solve your problems. If anything, it will add to your pain and grief and regret. Abortion clinics don’t care about what happens to you after they are finished with you. And yet so many women need counseling after an abortion, so many feel regret afterward. Their lives are plagued by “What if”s. On the other hand, becoming a parent (or giving someone else the chance to parent through adoption) can offer healing and redeem the situation. If good can come out of a bad situation, why choose something that could cause more grief and regret? I have heard countless stories of women who wished they had never aborted their child. I’ve never heard of a woman who honestly regretted having a child.

If you don’t want to be pregnant

Pregnancy can be a bugger. Still, would it kill you to do something for someone else in your life? No. If nothing else, pregnancy will make you reevaluate your priorities and make you more of a compassionate human being.

Also, obviously you have no idea that there are millions of women who would give their lives for the chance to be pregnant, but they are infertile. On their behalf, I have a string of choice words for you. But on your behalf, I’ll refrain from using them.

When the family situation is unstable

One of the most frustrating arguments I hear for abortion is that getting an abortion is better than having a child live in poverty. First, that completely ignores adoption, which would remove the child from an unstable situation and place him or her into a loving environment. Secondly, that logic decides that it’s not worth it to give someone a chance at something so fundamental as life itself. What if you met the love of your life, and he or she told you, “I’m sorry. I don’t want to be in a relationship with you. There’s a chance that someday one of us might make the other unhappy.” Have you ever been upset because someone didn’t give you a chance? Have you ever felt like someone wrote you off or judged you without knowing you? Why is it okay for someone else to decide that a child has no right to live? This argument especially frustrates me because

I was that baby.

My mom was a teenager when she got pregnant with me. She was told she should get an abortion by those closest to her. But my mom gave me a chance, and she gave herself a chance. Yes, we lived in a rough neighborhood for a time and relied on food stamps for groceries. But my family, by the grace of God, worked their way out. My parents married, I grew up, got scholarships to go to college, fell in love, got married, and now I have my own child. I’m a regular person. I’ll probably never change the world by any significant means. But my existence has made an effect on my parents’ and on my husband’s and on my son’s life. How many future Albert Einsteins and Steve Jobs have we not given the chance to effect our world for the better?

It’s no coincidence that abortion clinics are located in the poorest neighborhoods. The abortion industry is a business that profits off vulnerable women. Abortions are expensive. But did you know that adoptive parents pay the medical bills for their birth mother? There is no such thing as an unwanted baby.

When it will change your life

Pregnancy and parenthood definitely change one’s life, of that I am certain. Unexpected pregnancies are terrifying! They threaten to change your world upside down. But sometimes life throws us curve balls. Parenthood is a chance at creating a legacy. Are babies inconvenient? Yes, yes they are. Will children drive you insane? Yes they will. But you will never know unconditional love like the love a parent has for a child until you are a parent yourself, whether birth or adoptive. I wouldn’t exchange anything in this life for my son. Success, riches, fame, comfort, entertainment…all these things are temporary. But a child is a gift that lasts two lifetimes—yours and theirs—plus the lifetimes of any future generations that come from that child. I know a handful of single mothers who made the choice to keep their children, and even though their lives changed, they would all agree that their lives changed for the better, and none of them have a single regret that they took a chance on their child.

If the baby might have a disability

First, most prenatal screenings are not accurate. They don’t tell you that a child has a disability, they tell you that a child might have the possibility of having a disability.

Secondly, if you don’t have a natural miscarriage, then it would playing God to destroy a child based on gender, disability or handicap of any kind. Except God doesn’t discriminate. So it’s really like playing Hitler.

When no one will support you

If your friends or family won’t support you in one of the biggest decisions of your life, what makes you think they will support you in easier situations? You may feel completely alone in this. Planned Parenthood will tell you as much. But you aren’t alone. There are support groups in churches, at pregnancy resource centers, and places you might not expect. When you open yourself to others, you’d be surprised who will end up being your closest friend. Find an advocate that believes in you and will support you through the pregnancy whether you decide to parent the baby or choose adoption. If no one close to you will, we have a spare bedroom, and we will be your new family.

If nothing else, realize that a child will love you completely, simply for being his or her mother, even if you choose adoption. You don’t have to be a perfect parent. No one is perfect at anything.

Maybe you had an abortion in your past. Maybe you’ve been grieving openly. Maybe you’ve been stifling that grief. Either way, find someone you trust that you can talk to. Most pregnancy centers can point you in the direction of post-abortive counseling, even if you think you’re over it, or if it’s been 20 or 30 years. Take the chance to release that guilt or grief and find freedom.

You aren’t perfect, but you are loved.

Fertilization: An Epic Tale of Triumph and Failure

I was on Babycenter today and in the right sidebar, a video was playing, muted (THANK YOU, Babycenter! I hate automatically playing, loud videos!)

I hadn’t seen this particular video before, so I thought I would turn on the sound.

Oh dear.

This is like, sperm meets egg, Braveheart style. Except, you know, the winner actually survives…yeah, I can’t think of another movie that’s just as epic in which the warrior lives.

Die Hard?

Anyway, the narration made me laugh, so I just had to share. But it also just goes to show you how incredibly difficult it is for that one sperm to make it!

Note: Unless you have headphones in and/or are alone  and/or are a health teacher showing this to your Sex Ed class, this might not be safe for work, as it includes the “V” word.

fertilization

I can’t embed the video, so click the image above to be taken to BabyCenter.

And remember, YOU are one in tens of millions!

Fun (perhaps embarrassing) Fact: Now you know how Champ got his nickname.

My 3-Year Bloggiversary!

Three years ago today, I published my first post on Bewildered Mother, Those Two Little Blue Lines.

And boy, what a three years it has been! To commemorate, I created a timeline of all the posts from January 2010 until now. You can find the timeline up top in the menu. You can also find the individual pages for each year in that menu.

2010

Seriously, go check out the timeline. I spent time on it and need validation.

I also updated the ABOUT on the blog to include Neville. I’ll update it again when Baby Lion is born or if something monumentally life changing happens (I kinda hope it won’t).

Top 5 posts of all time

#1—The Cure for Hangerphobia, 1-20-2012

In which I humiliate myself by piling all of the clothes that need to be hanged up on hangers onto my own body.

Could I BE wearing any more clothes?

#2—Pinwheels—the Addictive Finger Food, 12-29-11

In which I give recipes for twelve different varieties of the tortilla roll-up appetizer.

Ham and Green Onion Pinwheels

#3—Mommy DIY: Nursing Pads, 11-22-2010

In which I describe the complete waste (and possible alien origin) of disposable nursing pads, and then illustrate how five dollars can make enough nursing pads to last the rest of your baby-producing life.

Easy even for those who mistakenly call seamstresses “sewers.”

#4—Daily Mom and Toddler Schedule, 5-14-2012

In which I am laughably unrealistic.

(This schedule did work well for a while, and I intend to pick up on it again SOON. Moving over the summer, followed by a 1st trimester of pregnancy, followed by job searching, has basically thrown any sense of schedule out of the window. I owe my sanity to PBS. I finally have a chiming clock, so it should be easier for me to keep on track.)

#5—Potty Training in One Day: Day Zero (Preparation), 1-19-13

In which I talk about the prep work that went into getting my 2 year old potty trained. Be sure to read Day One: The Big Day!

pottytraining0

Golly Moses, I wrote this less than a week ago, and it’s already in the top five posts of all time!

What I’ve learned about blogging

I don’t blog for pay, and I never intend to. Blogging is generally at the bottom of my priorities, even below the dishes, because 1) it is time consuming and 2) it doesn’t have to be done.

I’m an ideas person, but I’m not a follow-through person per se. If the idea ends up not going how I’d like, I ignore it for a new idea. My mind is like a closed room with a pitching machine shooting out bouncy blue racquet balls. I’m like the dog in that room, trying to catch just one ball at a time.

Yeah, it’s kinda like that.

I’m also a very forgetful person, and mommy brain does not help the situation.  I’ve been trying to make myself a cup of tea for the past three hours. I keep forgetting about the water boiling on the stove—we don’t have a whistling kettle and all my timers are already preoccupied. Now my tea is steeping. It’s a good thing I like strong tea, because I’ll probably leave the tea bag in there for about 20 minutes before I remember to take it out.

That said, you’ll find quite a few blog posts in which I start something and never finish it. If you ever want a follow-up on something, please comment on that blog post!

The Future of Diary of a Bewildered Mother

Primarily this blog began as a way to document the confusion, craziness, and excitement that accompanies an unexpected first pregnancy. In that sense, it was definitely more like a diary. Then I got to meet Little Champ, and my life as a mom really started. It’s crazy and unpredictable and anything but orderly.

Now that I have a toddler and am expecting a second baby this spring, I’ve got my hands full, but I’ll have my hands even more full once Baby Lion is born. I know I’ll post Baby Lion’s birth story, and I’m sure I’ll post lots of photos of my two kids once a month.

Ideally, I’d also post some more recipes and DIYs and lessons I’ve learned about parenting and marriage. But with two kids and a dog under 3, I’m just not going to make any promises. Especially since we might be needing another income this year. What I can say is that I post a whole lot more on my Bewildered Mother Facebook Page than I do here, so individual pictures and little moments are more likely to pop up over there. I also ask parenting questions and post links to parenting sites and to things that make me laugh as a mother. Check it out, become a fan if you want.

February 9th is our prohibition-themed speakeasy gender-reveal party! I’ll definitely be posting about that. On the potty front, there isn’t a whole lot more to say except that the Prince Lionheart Potty is far superior to the crap Disney Cars one we got at Walmart. Once I figure out about potty training and public toilets, I’ll be sure to share.

In case you were wondering, the tea is just fine. Champ has had to use the potty half a dozen times (read: 3) since I began this post, so I have been able to check on my tea using his biological clock. Now the matter is drinking it before it gets cold.

Roe Vs. Wade 40th Anniversary

Today is the 40th Anniversary of Roe Vs. Wade.

I am thankful that 3 pregnancies have shown me just how precious the unborn are. I am thankful that each of your mothers put value on your lives and gave you a chance. And I pray that if you are ever put in a difficult decision, that you would be surrounded by supportive people that will love you no matter what. If you can’t find one of those people, then let me be one of them.

Fighting for Girls’ Sake

There are plenty of YouTube videos, books, and articles on the topic of misrepresentation of women in media.

Ralph Lauren Photoshop Disaster

Ralph Lauren Photoshop Disaster

Think about the average portrayal of a woman in an advertisement or television show. She’s anything but average. She’s probably a size zero, and that’s all we notice about her. Appearance is what’s important—not who she is, what she does, or what her talents or skills are. Granted, the media is primarily visual. Humans are primarily visual. First impressions are usually made based on appearance. But what is bothersome is that appearance seems to be the primary focus, and that even women who are intellectuals or are extremely talented are judged by what they look like.

I’m guilty of putting appearance first, too. It’s a sickness, and I’m trying to get better. Awareness comes first.

Recently I watched a video commenting on media’s portrayal of women, linking that to the pathetic representation of women in the US Congress.

I’m pretty traditional. I’m a stay at home mom, and I think that children need their mothers when they are growing up. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think we should have women in congress, representing 51% of the population of our country. Absolutely not. I think congress needs women and mothers of grown children representing other women.

A woman that I highly respect, who was my English teacher in high school for the better half of three years, recently posted that video (warning: includes graphic, sexual images of women) with an appeal to her Facebook friends to discuss how we can change this problem of misrepresentation, more deeply, the problem of girls being “taught” by media that they are only worth their dress size, and that women are valued by appearance, not ability. Here was my response. I’d like to hear your thoughts as well.

Sesame Street and the American Girl company were both good influences in my life growing up. The American Girl BOOKS, though. The dolls harbor materialism in young girls, just like any other commercial toy.

Language is huge—we have to change the way we speak to change the way we think, and vice versa (You taught me that, Keri, when we were reading 1984). We can’t focus on girls’ appearance FIRST, if we mention it at all. All girls want to be beautiful, and we can help them to feel beautiful, but we need to tell them and show them that beauty comes from truth and reality, not deception and fantasy. I always loudly comment on a photoshopped image of a woman when I see one in public.

I rip ads out of my magazines; we don’t have cable so we don’t see commercials. We need to change the way both boys and girls think.

I’ll annoy my children by constantly reminding them that the point isn’t to have a boyfriend or girlfriend—it’s to create a partnership with another person. I hope that my marriage will be the prime example to my children how men and women should treat each other.

Parents can change the world, but parents are too often replaced by media. If you are a parent, fight for your right to be your child’s parent.

I’ll also subject my children to Bollywood movies, so they see healthy actresses like Aishwarya Rai, whom I consider to be the most gorgeous woman on the planet.

Click through for source.

Brief Interlude: An Appeal from Bewildered Mother

Related to this issue of how we view women as a society is the extreme problem of human trafficking in the US. “Human Trafficking” is the politically correct term for “sex trade” or “children sold into slavery so perverts can rape them.” YOU CAN HELP to protect and save children in the US by donating to Gracehaven or Love 146. LT and I donated last year, and we did again this year. It’s tax-deductable, too. We donated through the Comic Creators for Freedom Drive. The drive ends Tomorrow, January 20th! Please consider donating to the drive, or individually to Gracehaven or Love 146 (click the links to find out more information about each organization). Either way, 100% of your funds will be donated—it won’t go to administration or anything. At the very least, start talking about Human Trafficking in the US. Awareness is the first step to any radical change, and change happens one person at a time.

What are your thoughts? What can we do to raise girls (and boys) differently? What are your favorite articles, books, or videos on the subject?

Note: Out of respect for my other readers, please give a description of any link you post, and let us know if there is any questionable content in the link, otherwise I will edit your comment to include one.