Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top 10 Signs You're a Crappy Mom

"You're such a great mom."

Ahhh....music to my ears! Nothing sounds sweeter. Those words make me glow. They make me feel like I've won an Oscar. Like I've scaled Mt. Everest. Like I've written a Pulitzer-prize winning novel. Like I've...well...you get the picture! To all the moms out there, I ask you... Is there a greater compliment in the world?

But some days I feel like I'm not a great mom. Like I'm not even a GOOD mom. Sometimes I feel like a downright crappy mom. Some days, the stars are not aligned. I'm not the happy, earthy mom with a perfect side-swept bangs peacefully breastfeeding her baby in public. I'm the ANGRY MOM with messy hair guzzling a latte and yelling at her kids in Target. I'm the impatient mom honking at the intersection because the old person in front of me can't find the accelerator fast enough. (I'm probably headed to Target where I'll  guzzle a latte and yell at my kids.)  I'm the mom who can't wait to put her kids to bed and pour a tall glass of wine. (I'm probably bitter because I have messy hair and have spent my day at Target yelling at my kids and honking at other drivers on the road.)

So yes, I've been feeling like a crappy mom lately. Since it's been bothering me, you know I have to write about it. Here are the Top 10 things that make me feel like I'm a crappy mom.Can you relate?

Top 10 Ten Signs I'm a Crappy Mom

1. I give my baby formula.  Everyone knows that breast milk is the best food for your baby. Yes, I managed to successfully breastfeed Marley for nine months with minimal formula supplements. The first month every time I nursed it hurt so badly I'd start crying. (And if you tell me, "If you're doing it right, it shouldn't hurt" I will smash my breast pump over your head. I was doing it right and it hurt.) Holland was another story. She was over 9.1 pounds and had low blood sugar so they gave her formula in the delivery room. Holland preferred the bottle, and I preferred to avoid excruciating pain, so I pumped five times a day, nursed once or twice a day and supplemented with formula. Needless to say, six months later she has opted out of breastfeeding and now enjoys a nice warm bottle of Enfamil. On one hand, I'm delighted to give away my breast pump, but sad that I was not able to nurse her longer. Did I screw up? Did I pump too much? Will she grow up at a disadvantage, more prone to infections and a host of other ailments because I didn't nurse her longer? The thoughts tug at the dark corners of my mind...
2. I don't use cloth diapers. Yup. I use landfill diapers. The kind of diapers that pollute our earth, thus making it less inhabitable for our kids and their grandchildren. There's nothing really I can say about this.
3. I don't make all my own baby food. With Marley, I made most of her own baby food. I made baby apple butternut squash, I made baby carrots, I made baby green beans. Look out, Martha Stewart! With Holland...well, I've busted out the baby food maker once. The rest of the time she gets Earth's Best. It's organic, right? So is it really worse for my baby then the mushy squash I made her? Last time it was so runny that she pooped twice in her bumbo seat during one feeding!
4. I let my baby cry it out. I'm not going to pretend to feel bad about this. I let Holland cry it out because there is absolutely no reason a 18 pound, 6 month old baby needs to eat at 4am. Sorry, kitchen's closed!
5. I don't "wear" my baby." I tried to shove Holland in the Ergo. I really did. Every time I stuck her in there, she screamed bloody murder until she fell asleep. Then she woke up screaming.  I DO however manage to cram her into the Bjorn facing front for a good 30 minutes at a time. Great success!
6. I give my baby a pacifier.  Marley took the binky. It was awesome! Holland...not so much. I do, however, sneak the paci in her mouth from time to time to see if she's ready for it. Fingers crossed!
7. I let my kids watch T.V. I celebrated the day Marley was old enough to watch Baby Einstein in the Zanzibar bouncer. Imagine, eating a meal in its entirety! Now she watches Disney cartoons in the morning, Yo Gabba Gabba before "quiet time" and enjoys the occasional Tim Burton DVD. Her favorites? Corpse Bride, Edward Scissorhands and Nightmare Before Christmas. A little dark, of course, but not so bad compared to Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and some other creepy classics. Holland is just getting started on Yo Gabba Gabba.
8. I bribe my kids. Marley got an elbow to the head during soccer a couple of weeks ago, and decided she wasn't going to play anymore. I tried to get her to play again, but nothing worked. Finally, I told her if she went to soccer and "tried her best," she'd get to eat ice cream and watch a DVD. Now, every time she finishes soccer, she says, "Coach Shiloh! I get ice cream and a DVD!" So much for playing for the love of the game!
9. I got an epidural. Twice. And loved every minute of it.
10. I don't clean my own house. Yes, I'm a stay-at-home mom and I have a house cleaner. I know this doesn't really have a lot to do with parenting, but it bothers me. I don't really work anymore, so shouldn't I be able to clean my house properly? Alas, Marta does a MUCH better job than I could ever do, and she needs the work, so it's a win-win, right? My lack of skills is helping the economy and helping me achieve a clean home.

Anyway. This is what's on my mind lately.

Is there anything that's making you feel like a crappy mom?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Testing Your Breastmilk for Alcohol: A Step-by-Step Guide!

I must say, I'm loving my Milkscreen Home Test for Alcohol in Breastmilk strips. For raging winos casual drinkers like me, they are just the ticket. Although I don't drink often, I do enjoy the occasional bottle glass of wine, and it's great to know if my milk is safe for Baby Holland to drink. If I'm ever unsure, I simply test my milk with these bad boys, and SHAZAM! They'll tell you if your milk is safe, or if it's time to pump and dump. All you have to do is put a little breast milk on the strip, and if it changes or darkens in color...your milk is tainted with alcohol. If the strip stays the same, you're in the clear!  Weeee!

For your reading pleasure, I conducted several tests. Here are the results!

Specimen 1. FAIL!

Date: October 25, 2011.
Time of Milk Testing: 7:35pm.
Location of Drinking: Coronado Brewing Company. Kids Night. Ha!
Drinks consumed: 16 oz of Orange Avenue Beer. (Equals roughly 2 beers, but I was cool and drank out of a large mug.)
Food consumed: 4 buffalo chicken tenders and 1/2 a side salad.
Summary: I was pretty buzzed by the end of dinner, so I'm not surprised that my milk failed this test. I was disappointed because I was able to pump 6 ounces of milk when I got home from dinner, and was hoping it would squeak by. My buffalo chicken tenders were delicious though, and the dinner was quite enjoyable. I find it ironic that I was able to garner a big enough buzz to fail the milk test on Kid's Night. No place is safe!

Specimen #2: PASS!

Date: November 6, 2011
Time of Milk Testing: 6:45am
Location of Drinking: Night before...Ortegas Mexican Bistro for dinner, Candelas in Coroando for wine, Peohes in Coronado for more wine, and Il Fornaio for...yep...more wine.
Food Consumed: Fresh lobster, served up Baja style! Delish!
Drinks Consumed: 2 glasses of Sangria at dinner, and 4-5 additional glasses of wine (I lost count).
Summary: It was date night, and we went big. Incredibly enough, I was NOT hungover the next morning, which I could not believe. Either I am a total alcoholic or I went to bed early enough to avoid a hangover. Uh...yeah. Anywho, have you seen the episode of Kourtney and Khloe where Kourtney gets super wasted one night, and her milk STILL tests positive for alcohol the next morning? Well, to be safe, I decided to test my milk also. Amazingly enough, it passed!  Whoohoo!

Specimen #3: FAIL.
Date: November 8, 2011.
Time of Milk Testing: 8:21pm.
Location of Drinking: Casa de Van Tuyl (our lovely home)
Food consumed: Pasta and salad.
Drinks consumed: 1.5 glasses of red wine.
Summary: I was hoping that my hearty artichoke pasta would soak up more of the wine. Alas, it did not. Although I can't say I felt buzzed by the end of the meal, I was feeling spry and spunky. I only pumped a measly 3 ounces of milk, so no great loss. WHATEV.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed this experiment. Happy testing!

Anyone else tried these strips? What do you think?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Top 6 Lessons Learned from This Halloween

This is my first Halloween with two kids. Most of it was awesome! Some of it sucked. Fun was had. Mistakes were made. Here are some of the lessons I learned this year that I SHAN'T repeat next year.

1. Learn the difference between a good costume and a bad costume. Good costumes are cute and require little or no adjusting throughout the Halloween outing. Bad costumes are DECIEVINGLY cute, yet have many, many parts that require constant fixing and tweaking throughout the evening.

Poor Costume Choice

Exhibit A. Marley's pirate girl costume. Cute, yes. Practical? No. Notice all the parts. Belt. Boot covers. Hat. Bandana. All it takes is one trip to the bounce house at the Halloween carnival to jack this costume UP. At one point I found her belt hanging from a tree.

2. Some costumes are mild forms of child abuse. No, I wasn't out to abuse Baby Holland when I ordered this adorable peacock costume.

Child Abuse

See how cute she looks laying there? Yeah. Now try to put this baby into a car seat or the Bjorn. And did I mention the A/C in my car doesn't work? Result: One pissed-off peacock.

3. Think your three-year-old doesn't know how to unwrap candy? Think again. That "quiet" toddler in the back seat is ripping through dozens of bite-sized snickers and smearing chocolate all over the window. She'll also probably wake you up twice in the middle of the night to poop. Awesome.
4. Eliminate questionable Halloween props. The harmless little pirate sword I bought Marley? Not so harmless when she runs through the house threatening house plants, Pekingese and princess figurines, "I'm going to poke you in the EYEBALLS!"

Questionable Accessory

5. Don't overdo it.  It's cool to try to hit up all the fun parties and Halloween happenings...but try not to go overboard. If you're on your way to the third dress-up party of the morning and your costumed-kid is screaming in the carseat, "GET ME OUT OF HERE!!!" then it's a sign you've gone too far.

6. Strollers and Haunted houses don't mix. No matter how "not scary" a haunted house is...it's still a HAUNTED HOUSE, people. It will probably still scare the crap out of your kids. And wheeling your stroller through cobwebs is a bad, bad idea.

Thanks for reading! Anyone else have any great Halloween tips I missed? If so, please share!