15 Things Moms Can Agree On (Hopefully) (Well, Maybe?)

In light of the election that took place last Tuesday and a country divided, I was inspired by a post from treehugger.com which highlighted 26 Things We Can All Agree On. I began contemplating the subject of motherhood with its diverse outlooks, beliefs, and countless ways we’ve amassed to raise our children. Aside from our individualities, are there any fundamental, concrete principles that all mothers can agree on? I hope so! Let’s face it, we all have an opinion, but at the end of the day what binds us is we all answer to that word, “Mom.” Or Mommy or Mama or Mom Mom Mom Mom Mom! or Madre or Mamacita or Ma or…well you catch my drift.

Spit-up, throw-up, early mornings, late nights. Infants, toddlers, teenagers. Just when we think we have it all figured out, motherhood throws us another damn curve ball. Well at least she keeps us on our toes. I for one am up for the challenge. You?

15 Things All Moms Can Agree On (Hopefully) (Well, Maybe?):

1. Motherhood is tough. This ongoing journey of ups and downs and winding roads is ever-changing and ever-challenging. Motherhood is an enormous task which reaps enormous rewards.

2. LOVE is all you need. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. I. LOVE. YOU. Tell them. Show them. Repeatedly. Again and Again and Again.

3. Mistakes are inevitable. They happen. More often than not. Let’s recognize the ones we’ve made and look to a future of not repeating them.

4. Every child is different. But wait a minute, my first baby slept through night no problem. Uh huh. Doesn’t mean a thing. The sooner we realize that not all kids are the same, the better off we’ll be. Agree?

5. Mom Guilt. We all have it. We all recognize it. We all need to get over it and stop putting so much undue stress and pressure on ourselves. What’s the deal with us doing that anyways? Oh right, mom guilt.

6. Children are our teachers. There is so much we can discover about ourselves from our children. We just need to take the time slow down and learn the lessons. Patience, tolerance, spirit, hope, passion, honesty, excitement, acceptance…

7. Time goes by too fast. Days are long, but the years are short. A first-born will soon be taking a first step. Savor every moment. Yes, even that moment when the baby is crying incessantly and the toddler is yanking on your leg telling you that she just flushed your keys down the potty. Okay well not every moment.

8. Self-confidence – We need it, desperately. It’s right there inside you. Find it. NOW.

9. Mother’s change the world. We are raising future generations. This requires no further explanation. 

10. We are all in this together. Although we are highly diverse in appearance and culture, our instincts at the core virtually remain the same. To teach, to nurture, to bring up compassionate, hard-working, intelligent, healthy, responsible human beings that contribute something positive to society. Not too much to ask for, right? If you’re doubt, please refer to #8.

11. A Step-by-Step Guide to Motherhood DOES NOT exist. In motherhood we learn from that thing called EXPERIENCE.

12. We CAN NOT please everyone. Not even going to try to.

13. Sleep is a necessity. For mom. For dad. For kids. For sanity.

14. Taking a [hot/cold] shower may equate to a week-long vacation. I was going to attribute this one to new moms especially, but I think all mothers can agree that five minutes in the shower has the ability to renew and recharge us – even if we have ‘mommy brain’ and think we can hear someone calling our name the entire time.

15. Balance is something we all strive for. On the outside. On the inside. Within our family, within our friendships, within our careers, within ourselves.

“Motherhood brings as much joy as ever…Nothing else ever will make you as happy or as sad, as proud or as tired, for nothing is quite as hard as helping a person develop her (his) own individuality especially while you struggle to keep your own.” – Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons

Have more to add? Please do so below! ♥

raising a child

Children are messy and noisy and loud and whiney.

Children cry and fight and annoy and bother.

Children stumble and fall and break things and scream.

We all know this going in.  Or at least we should.  From infancy through the teenage years (and beyond!) we are challenged.  Every.  Single.  Day.  Forever.  No joke.  How we react is key.  Is it helpful to share our frustrations with others?  Absolutely!  It makes the process of child-rearing real.  Is it healthy to bitch and moan about your kids ALL the TIME?  The answer is simple – no.

Let’s face it, raising children is a difficult task.  Adjusting to a newborn is probably one of the hardest challenges I ever had to go through.  It’s definitely one of the most grounding, mind-altering, loving events in my life.  Sleepless nights, endless laundry and diaper changes, 24/7 breast-feeding.  Coming to the realization that life is no longer solely about me.  The pressure of knowing that the choices I make in these early years will shape my child.  Dealing with inconveniences is inevitable, but it’s part of the story.  An essential part.  A part that teaches and tests.  A part that helps me dig deep within myself to see what I’m really made of.  The sooner I focused in on this, the sooner my vision and plan for my family came together.  As a mother, I fall on my face…a lot.  But I get up – again and again and again.

When will we realize that parenting our children is a privilege and a responsibility – not a hindrance?  Our kids need us to provide for them and support them and make important decisions for them.  They need us to be their teachers and their playmates and their boo-boo kissers.  Every day, we are molding them physically, emotionally, and spiritually through our actions or inactions.  Raising a child should be a wonderful journey, not a bitch-fest.  It requires an educated mind, a loving soul, and inexplicable acts of kindness.  All in all, being a mother is a thankless job, but it helps to remember that:

Children are wonderful and funny and pure.

Children are full of love and light and strength.

Children are inspiring and adventurous and beautiful.

Children . . . they string our joys, like jewels bright, upon the thread of years. ~Edward A. Guest

junk food junkies

Have you ever heard of The Fast food Song?  Apparently this song used to be taught to kids in school.  Yikes!  Clever?  Yes.  Catchy?  Yes.  Horrible for teaching our children about health and nutrition?  Absolutely.  Thank goodness schools have since abandoned this mind-numbing song, but marketing unhealthy foods to children remains a stronghold in advertising today.  Catchy commercials  and ‘superhero’ product endorsements are widely and greedily used tactics by big corporations to target our children.  These companies spend millions upon millions of dollars in advertising.  They pay BIG money to bait our children with popular cartoon characters and bright colors.  They pay BIG money hiring scientists to manipulate and chemically alter foods to get our kids wanting more and more and more.  I get it.  It’s not a conspiracy.  These companies have an agenda and their agenda is to sell their product.  Bottom line.  Children are the perfect target.  They are gullible, easy to manipulate, and have the potential to become customers for life.  Cha’ching!

Are these companies to blame for intentionally creating habits that will condemn our children to a lifetime of ill health, including but not limited to obesity, diabetes, and mood disorders?  Or should our focus be put solely on us as parents?  Have we become a nation of brainwashed fools who aren’t educated enough to understand the difference between whole foods full of nutrition and over-processed junk?

Are we being outsmarted by these big corporations?  Are we raising an entire generation of junk food junkies?  Shrek sells.  Spongebob sells.  Scooby-doo sells.  But who’s buying????

Over-processed foods make-up eighty to ninety percent of our supermarket shelves.  The odds are stacked against us, but it is the consumer who dictates the market.  It’s as simple as supply and demand.  Every time a product you purchase is scanned at the check-out, you become an advocate for that particular food or beverage.  Think about it.  What have you been advocating lately?

Our children still have a chance at a healthy life, but it’s up to us as their parents to give them that chance.  If five year-olds are incapable of making proper food choices without the guidance of an adult, how is it that these corporations are WINNING over our kids?  It is in fact the adult that is purchasing this crap, correct?

We need to STOP being a victim of the food industry.

And honestly, the Shrek Twinkies make me want to gag just looking at them.

petroleum, coal tar, and popsicles?

The sun is blazing, the pool is open, the kids are energized, and school is on its way out!  This could only mean one thing – SUMMER is on the horizon.  I for one, could not be happier!  I ♥ summer.  The smell, the late nights, the campfires, the smores, the sand, the swimming, the people, the parties, the food.  Need I go on?  Okay, one more thing…frozen treats.  Popsicles!  Popsicles!  Popsicles!  Freezy pops, italian ice, ice cream cones, and lots of yummy summer fun!

All these goodies are so colorful and pretty!  And refreshing.  And easy to market to kids.  I mean what kid doesn’t like the bright colors of the rainbow?  Or a box of crayons?  Or better yet, a rainbow-colored popsicle that looks like a crayon?  Popsicles are a summer staple and they are oh so good.

One question though:

Would these treats look less appetizing if instead of listing

Red 40, Yellow 5, or Yellow 6

(which sound harmless) on the food label,

it listed

Food dyes derived from petrochemicals?  yum. yum. yum.

Did that grab your attention?  Would you knowingly feed your child ingredients derived from coal-tar or petroleum?  Probably not.  Yet we do it every single day in this country.  I know if I were reading a food label and saw the words ‘petroleum,’ ‘petrochemicals,’ or ‘coal-tar,’ I would immediately put the product back on the shelf and I bet you would too.  The problem is we aren’t properly informed on what ingredients go into the foods we consume.  Get this, food dyes were originally synthesized from coal tar and now they are synthesized from petroleum.  Yes, chemical byproducts of petroleum are what make those red popsicles so red!  Uhhh, gross.  Food dyes have long been controversial because of their possible health risks.  No kidding?  Oh and they are in almost everything!  From frozen goodies to yogurt to chips to mustard to Jello to lemonade to Poptarts to salad dressings to candy.  You name it.

The problem…

Recent studies linking food coloring to hyperactivity and ADHD in kids is causing some experts to call on the FDA to ban foods containing them – or at least require a warning label.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says the dyes are a “rainbow of risks” for children and can cause allergic reactions, hyperactivity, and even cancer.  I must point out that 1 in 17 children have allergies in the US, 1 in 10 have ADHD, and 1 in 5 are obese.  Despite those concerns, manufacturers put about 15 million pounds of eight synthetic dyes into our foods each year, according to the CSPI.

And now for the kicker….

Per capita consumption of dyes has risen five-fold since 1955, thanks in part to the proliferation of brightly colored cereals, fruit drinks, candies, and yes popsicles, all pitched to our children.

How do we avoid them?  How can we possibly go dye-free?

First read this: http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/food-dyes-rainbow-of-risks.pdf to educate yourself on food dyes.

Second, avoid synthetic dyes by choosing organic products. Organic standards prohibit the use of these dyes in products bearing the USDA Organic label.  Organic products use natural food colorings such as:

Red = Beet Juice or Paprika

Orange = Carrot Juice

Purple = Grape Juice

Green = Seaweed or Spinach

Yellow = Caramelized Sugar

Blue = Blueberry Juice

Third, read your food labels!  If you see colorings such as Blue, Red, Yellow listed on the label, don’t buy it.

philosophies and politics and motherhood – oh my!

All this TIME magazine hoopla got me thinking about the philosophies and politics of mothering.  Simply put, how do we discuss or share our parenting philosophies with others without looking opinionated and judgemental?  Is it possible?  Did Jamie Lynne even stand a chance given the chosen cover photo or that controversial headline?  Is holding a view that is different from some of your mommy friends automatic grounds for tension?  Can we agree to disagree on subjects that we hold so dear?

We all have different ways of nurturing, nourishing, and raising our children.  We all make choices about how to live our lives – What we eat, how we exercise, if we exercise, how we love, who we love, what we learn, how much me learn, where we go, where we work.  We have different sets of priorities.  Most of which we are extremely passionate about and for good reason.

This is me…

My priority is health.  Health for my children, health for my family, health for myself, health for others, health for the planet.  Every single day I ask myself how I can contribute to keeping my children healthy and happy.  Every single day I try to educate myself on a topic whether it be agriculture, politics, chiropractic, health care, pharmaceuticals, supplements, yoga, etc.

From the food we eat to the products we buy to the relationships we build to the love we give – all of the choices we make affect our lives and the lives of others, especially children.

In America today, the rate of chronic disease among children has more than doubled in the past two decades from 11% in the 1990’s to over 25% in the year 2006 according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.  And it’s only getting worse.

According to the 2010 Drug Trend Report, prescription drug use among American children rose by 5% in 2009.  The highest of any other single demographic for the second year in a row.  The report found that more than 1 in 4 insured children are now taking at least one prescription medication to treat a chronic condition such as diabetes, asthma, autism, ADHD, cancer, and arthritis.  The most significant increases over the past 9 years have been seen in the use of antipsychotic, asthma, and diabetes drugs.  There was a HUGE increase (over 150%) in diabetes over the decade seen especially in girls (a 200% increase).  Higher rates in obesity, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), autism, and ADHD have all contributed to significant increases in drugs approved for younger patients.

Bottom line: Our kids are sick.

We need a grassroots movement to change the health landscape in this country.  It needs to start with the foundation and core of our society – OUR FAMILIES.  We NEED to educate ourselves and do all we can to stop this insanity.  We have the POWER to take back our children’s health.

The dilemma…

How do we as moms encourage such debates with our mommy friends?  Or do we avoid them simply to not look like know-it-all’s?  Should our passion for health and wellness be put aside to keep the peace?  Isn’t it about time we engage adults and children in topics relevant to living healthy, happy lives?

If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all. ~Pearl S.Buck.

What do you think?

lisa

Bum Boosa® Giveaway

It’s a great day for a giveaway!  I’ve decided to start doing giveaways on my blog so I can share with my readers the kinds of products I use and love!

Today I’m excited to introduce you to a line of natural baby wipes from Bum Boosa®.  When it comes to your baby, you want nothing but the best and you wouldn’t mind helping out the environment as well.  Am I right?  Well then, let me tell you a little about a product I found and fell in love with.  Bum Boosa® Bamboo Products are made of renewable, sustainable bamboo in combination with natural ingredients for biodegradable and natural baby wipes, soothing and natural diaper rash ointment, soft and eco-luxurious bathroom tissue, and other eco-friendly products soon to join the marketplace.

Most diaper wipes on store shelves today are made from petroleum-derived plastic.  This drives me absolutely insane.  As a mother to two young children, I use baby wipes every single day.  Not just for diapering (we are out of that stage for now), but for wiping little hands and faces, and even their toys.  The last thing I want to be doing is exposing them to more chemicals on a daily basis.

Bum Boosa’s® baby wipes are:

  • Award Winning;
  • A non-synthetic, tree-free product;
  • Derived from a renewable & sustainable bio-based material;
  • Contain plant-based ingredients including organic aloe vera, calendula and 100% natural scent;
  • Are alcohol free, Paraben-free, and Sulfate-free;
  • A USDA Certified Bio preferred product;
  • Made in the USA at a 100% wind powered facility

Today’s giveaway is for the Bum Boosa® Eco-Gift Bag: 

Includes (3) packages each of 80 count Bamboo wipes, (1) 4 ounce container of diaper rash ointment, (1) 10 ml bottle of pure grade Bulgarian Lavender Essential Oil with a recipe card for making your own natural baby skin care products.

A big THANK YOU to Sonja- a fellow mom on a mission, President and co-founder of Bum Boosa® Bamboo Products.  Please take the time to visit the Bum Boosa® site to learn more about her success in creating safer, gentler, more eco-friendly baby products.

To have a chance at winning the Bum Boosa® Eco-Gift Bag, just leave me a comment below or on my Facebook page under the Bum Boosa® giveaway link.  Easy!  Giveaway open until Friday March 30, 11:59 pm EST.  Winner announced on Monday.

Have a great day!

dr lisa

i see red

In keeping with the red theme for Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to revisit one of my biggest annoyances when it comes to holidays and children, and that is stuffing them with tons and tons of treats and candy. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about fun and the occasional cookie or bag of skittles here and there. What I can’t stand is the fact that children almost always associate holidays with junk food and crap that’s not good for them. And in our culture, it’s acceptable for them to think that way. In fact, society actually pushes this trash on them- and teachers, parents (me included), and grandparents, etc., fall for it hook, line, and sinker.

Let’s take Valentine’s Day for example. When did this day turn into an all-out cookie, cake, and every-kind-of-candy you can think of festival? When I was younger all I remember doing is exchanging folded Scooby Doo or Barbie valentines. Oh and the little candy hearts with sayings on them. Not anymore. My kindergartener came home yesterday with a huge bag filled with valentines plus all sorts of goodies- from M&M’s and red suckers to foiled chocolate hearts and pixie stix. Besides the diabetes-in-a-bag treats, her class also had a St. Valentine party. This included a plate filled with chocolate chip cookies, Hershey kisses, and cupcakes. All at once! For five year olds! I don’t know about you, but I find that completely insane.

While I happily participated in sending in a bag of goodies (in my defense I sent in plastic rings, bouncy balls, and stickers all of which were probably made in China, but I’ll save that for another post), I don’t place blame on any of the other parents for sending in treat bags at the school’s request. I think it’s pretty safe to say the blame should be put on all of us as parents for tolerating and participating in the rising epidemic of type II diabetes and obesity and hyperactivity that has gripped our nation’s youth in the last decade. I know Valentine’s Day is only one day of sugar fun for kids in school and there’s no need to overreact, but-

From Boo! Wake up!

The problem is that for most kids in the US it’s not just one day, it’s every day. Every day our children are bombarded with ads for crap food and sugary drinks. Fundraisers at school for cookie dough, frozen pizzas, potato chips, and chocolate candy. SpongeBob and Dora spewed all over every fruit gummy treat in the store. Colored food products targeted to children around every corner. From popsicles and colored goldfish crackers to fruit loops cereal and M&M’s.

I really believe it’s time for us to ban together and say enough is enough. I’m starting NOW. Tomorrow for snack, I’m sending in Raw Revolution Organic Live Food Bars made with all-natural organic ingredients including cashews, dates, spirulina, almonds, and sprouted flax. Oh boy, the kids are gonna love me. What are you sending in?

Health is contagious.

dr. lisa