With Easter Sunday this weekend, I’m taking a moment to reflect on the beliefs of my upbringing versus my current beliefs, now that I’m raising a child of my own.
I remember crying when I first saw When a Man Loves a Woman in the theater as a high schooler. I cried in reaction to Meg Ryan’s character’s helplessness [recklessness as a mother], and then her empowerment through sobriety; I cried about the love the film portrayed, and the relationship that was forever altered. I had yet to taste my first drink.
I cringe every time I hear the term Mommy Juice. It’s not cute. It’s not funny (although I am guilty of posting “lol” when people have posted about it on Facebook). Even worse is when children are told that the alcoholic beverage their mother is drinking is Mommy Juice. Think about what’s being taught to children when mom grabs a glass of Mommy Juice. Think about whether that drink is really going to soothe anxieties, or if it’s an appropriate ‘reward’ after a long and harried week.
I’ve been bothered by this term for a while, but recent news reports, such as the Today show’s story with Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, have pushed me to open up about this topic. What bothers me about this term is that it is so often used in response to ‘relief’ from the stress and demands of parenting, work, and running a household; that a term so benign could be used for something that has the potential to become a serious problem. I won’t even begin to address my thoughts about drinking and playdates [and then driving home with the kids]. Why such a visceral reaction from me? Because 3 1/2 years ago I found myself unable to cope with the stresses of my life (without children at that time), and drinking wine almost nightly in an effort to de-stress.
Sure, I had tried the gym, but workouts didn’t kick in as quickly (or effectively) as a glass [or three] of wine, and my genetic predisposition placed me in the perfect position to develop a full-blown addiction to alcohol. Like Elizabeth Vargas’ story, I was lucky enough to realize that I had a problem before it became a big problem (which is a joke because alcoholism is a big problem, regardless of the depth of the addiction), before I began losing those things that I held dear [or hurting someone else]. I too, began drinking to quell the anxiety and stress I felt with a long commute and a job that I was unhappy with, a job that didn’t challenge me in the ways that I needed. Pouring wine over the issues that plagued me was like pouring gasoline on a fire; my anxieties and stress compounded and the of glasses of wine increased in number. I am incredibly thankful to have had that moment of awakening, that moment when I realized that I had a problem and needed to do something about it. I am, most gratefully, 3 1/2 years sober.
Why share this? I’m sharing my reality to illustrate how alcoholism manifests itself in many faces, that moms are just as easily susceptible as the men portrayed in the show Mad Men. The tradition of the five o’clock cocktail helped feed the line of alcoholism that runs in my family, and even my awareness of it wasn’t enough to prevent me from developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Let my story be a lesson. Think twice about your relationship with that glass of wine. Or Cosmo. Or whatever your drink of choice may be.
As a mom, I still have stress and anxiety [of a different nature], and my life gets overwhelming at times, I just don’t drink to try to calm myself. I am incredibly fortunate to have been so defeated by my drinking that I put the [wine] bottle down and never looked back (it wasn’t that simple, but you get the idea). I’m not perfect at finding ways to combat the stresses life throws at me, but I do know that a hike in the sun is one of the most effective remedies for me. Going to AA meetings and talking to other alcoholics helps too. Finding a good therapist isn’t a bad idea either.
So, yes, the term Mommy Juice scares the hell out of me for mom’s out there with the right [genetic] recipe for addiction. And it infuriates me that liquor companies continue this charade by marketing wines and liquors that make light of, and cater to, moms drinking for release (I won’t mention the names here because I don’t want to help market them).
Let me be completely clear — I don’t think that drinking is a bad thing, it’s simply a bad idea for me. I think that problem drinking, or drinking in response to things that happen in life is unhealthy. If you think you might have an unhealthy relationship with drinking alcohol, please reach out and tell someone. Reaching out to my, then, fiancé proved to be the lifeline that I needed, and kickstarted my road to recovery.
What are your thoughts about the term Mommy Juice? Do you think the media is inflating this issue? Is alcohol a staple in the playdates you attend? I’d love to hear from you!
I’ve seen an influx of people with children ordering subscription boxes; pregnant, those with infants, toddlers, elementary aged children. I just don’t get it, and I think it feeds what will likely become a sense of entitlement when children get older.
While the official first day of spring was just over a week ago, in the northeast, the crocuses and daffodils are just beginning to poke their green shoots from the earth in search of the sun. This winter has been long, snowy, full of colds and flu bugs, and there is nothing I love more than being able to throw open my windows on the first mild spring day. Airing out one’s house is often paired with a good spring cleaning, so I thought I’d highlight five frequently overlooked spring cleaning tasks for those of you with small children:
Okay, so I don’t live in Philadelphia, but I live close enough to reap all of the benefits the metro area has to offer. After an 8 month absence, I’m excited that my family is moving back to the Philadelphia area because of the plethora of resources, activities and abundance of like-minded parents. Here are 4 reasons to have your baby in the Philadelphia metro area:
Are you a cloth at all costs household? You know, where there’s a will there’s a way-type-of-cloth diaper user? We, unapologetically, are not.
The first inklings we had were when we just couldn’t get cloth to work at nighttime. After trying a couple of options, and two terrible ammonia burns on D’s bits, I went into a diaper-stripping fervor, panicking that I had done something wrong. I stopped, after buying special detergent and stripping made no difference…and the second burn Declan received. The solution was easy, we switched to disposables for nighttime diapering, and have never looked back. Not even once.
Declan spends all of his waking hours in a cloth diaper, so putting him in a disposable diaper at night doesn’t make me feel guilty. D’s recently become a heavy wetter, so we’ve had to add a disposable booster on top of a disposable diaper that’s one size larger than he is. I just can’t imagine that he would be comfortable in cloth that wet overnight.
I was taken aback by how many people suggested (I asked for solutions, which is how I found out about disposable boosters) that I wake Declan up to do a diaper change at night. Given how hard we worked to have Declan develop healthy sleep habits (and sleep through the night), overnight waking just wasn’t an option for him (no way, no how). I would rather he wake up wet in the morning than wake him in the middle of the night!
I understand that many people who cloth diaper do so in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint and impact on the environment, as well as to keep harmful chemicals away from baby’s skin (those were some of our motivators as well). But I can also understand why many people give up on cloth diapering, when they say that cloth at night isn’t working for them. They turn to Google searches & cloth diaper groups, where the majority of people responding will tell them to try XYZ diapers (undoubtedly, you’ll walk away with no fewer than 5 diaper suggestions). After investing more money into cloth diapering, and when those diapers don’t work, or their baby soaks through them, or reeks of ammonia in the morning (I won’t even go into the ammonia issue), they end up incredibly frustrated and feeling like a cloth diapering “failure.” I’ve seen it so many times, people embarrassed to admit that they use a disposable at night (I used to be one of them).
Let me reiterate, there is nothing wrong with supplementing your cloth diapering routine with disposables. Absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
When do you call it day? When do you accept that it’s fine to take a break from cloth…and be okay with it? Rashes are another time I switch to disposables. Declan develops a yeast rash each time he has a new tooth coming in. The past couple of times the yeast rashes were the worst I had seen. Whenever yeast enters the equation, I change D to disposables because a.) I would rather not have yeast in his cloth diapers, and b.) I like to ‘spackle’ his bottom with a heavy duty anti-fungal + barrier cream (I swear by Triple Paste AF), which is absolutely not cloth diaper friendly. Rather than ruin my fleece liners, or use uncomfortable flushable liners, I just throw a disposable on and rest easy. (I will add this disclaimer: the last yeast rash we battled was cleared in 3 days by using coconut oil. I had read the claims, and thought I’d give it a go for a day or so to see if it worked. We used Eco Sprout’s Coconut Stick and his bottom was entirely clear in a matter of days…and our cloth diapers were never at risk (coconut oil is cloth-friendly)
I remember planning for our first extended weekend trip. Declan was around six months old, still in cloth at night, and I still felt obligated to find cloth solutions for this trip (specifically, the travel portion). Our car ride was going to be 6 1/2 hours each way, and I didn’t want to have to stop every hour or so to change Declan’s diaper. Not wanting to use disposable diapers, I shopped GroVia’s BioSoakers because we used GroVia Shells. In the end, it was much cheaper just to buy a small pack of disposable diapers, as we were cloth diapering while at our destination. We’ve not traveled by air, so we’ve been able to cloth diaper with all of our trips. Unabashedly, we would use disposable diapers while flying (carting luggage & a car seat through an airport w/ a kid is enough without dragging a bag of dirty diapers along with you).
What is the point of this post, you ask? Well, to make those of you who do use disposable diapers as part of your cloth diapering regimen not feel so…alone. I still consider myself a fervently dedicated cloth diaperer, despite having disposables as part of our regimen. While I love cloth diapering, I really only see them as pee and poop catchers. The same principles behind my disposable diaper usage can be applied to my cloth diaper laundering (another *HOT* topic in the CD community). I simply lack(ed) the patience to a.) try 10 different brands of cloth diaper-safe detergent, and b.) don’t really care what I use as long as my diapers are clean. I’m all about no-fuss cloth/ diapering — whatever helps us make it to potty training smoothly is what we’ll do….
Are you a cloth diaper at all costs type of diaperer, or are you unabashedly using disposables?
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- Like an automaton, you proffer your breast when you hear the words milk, milkies, boob, boobie, etc. [or any utterance that sounds remotely similar].
- You gaze longingly at your regular bras, tucked into the far reaches of your lingerie drawer, and haven’t the slightest recollection of the last time you wore one.
- Why buy the milk when you get mama’s milk for free is no longer a humorous saying. In fact, you’re thinking about charging at this point.
- You’re ready to disassociate yourself from the Got Milk? campaign.
- You’re seriously questioning having another baby any time in the near future [because the thought of another nursling makes you cringe].
- You no longer think the I’m a Boob Man onesie is cute. At all.
- You’re ready to wear something other than tank tops and cardigans [because, you know, you stopped wearing nursing clothing LONG ago].
- Nursing in public? Pfft! No biggie [almost everyone’s glimpsed my breasts at this point].
- Your little one can now ask to nurse…using a complete sentence.
- Even your grungiest regular bra looks appealing.