Tag Archives: motherhood

I Need a Meternity Leave from My Maternity Leave

I need a Meternity Leave from my Maternity Leave | Money Savvy Living

 

So apparently, there is a thing now called a “meternity” leave.  In case you missed it, there was an article last week in the New York Post called “I Want All the Perks of a Maternity Leave Without Having Any Kids.”

 

Umm, what?  That is like saying, “I want all the benefits of eating a brownie sundae without the fat, calories, or weight gain.”  Or “I want to get in shape and lose 20 pounds while eating fast food every day and never going to the gym.”  Or “I want to be a neurosurgeon but don’t want to go to college.”

 

Do you see where I’m going here?  You can’t have one thing without the other… So instead of having time off work to care for a newborn child, the author of this article wants to take time off to focus on caring for herself.

 

Kudos.  Take all the time off work you want, lady.  You should take care of yourself.  Pamper yourself with a manicure, pedicure, massage, and facial.  Go buy yourself a new outfit while you’re at it.  Find a nice relaxing hammock and cuddle up with a good book.  Bury your toes in the sand and soak up the sun while you contemplate what direction to head in life.  Everyone needs a mental break, I get it.

 

But, to try to equate reflective “me” time off work with a maternity leave is beyond unwitting.

 

I will try to give this woman the benefit of the doubt though, because I remember my pre-children days—feeling that it wasn’t fair that people with kids get off work “early” in many cases, to make sure that they can pick their kids up from daycare on time, while those of us without an “excuse” had to continue working.  So I sort-of understand how she could misconstrue maternity leave as extra time off work that childless employees don’t ever get.

 

With that small concession being made, I’d like to take this opportunity to set Ms. Davies straight on what maternity leave is and isn’t.

 

First of all, it starts with a lot of pain… typically about 12-20 hours of extreme pain.  Pain so bad you are not sure that you can do it.  Pain so bad that when a nurse comes in an asks if you would like a 4-inch needle stuck in your back you gladly, even joyfully, accept the offer in order to take away some of the pain—not a “MEternity” leave yet…

 

Now, I won’t go through all the details of childbirth, however, suffice it to say, you will barely be able to walk for the next week.  But don’t worry about that because the only time you will need to get up and move is when your baby needs something—still not a “MEternity” leave….

 

…like a diaper change, fed, cuddled to sleep… so maybe only like once every hour—AROUND THE CLOCK—will you need to force yourself to get up and move around to care for your helpless newborn even though you are truly the one who needs the pampering at this point—definitely not a “MEternity” leave….

 

Once you are all healed up—in 4-6 weeks—you can go back to your active lifestyle.  You are finally able to work-out again—and you’re probably gonna want to because you will still most likely be carrying around 15-20 pounds of unwanted “baby-weight.”  It just doesn’t drop off, much to every new mother’s chagrin.  Caring for a newborn doesn’t lend much time to taking care of yourself.  Maybe you will get a workout in and maybe you won’t.  You will even have to try to sneak a shower in when your baby is napping—that is, if you aren’t napping yourself.  You won’t feel like yourself.  You will feel like a tired, sore, deflated balloon—but you will long to feel like yourself again.  So I wish you luck on any of these endeavors because if the baby starts to cry, you have to drop whatever it is that you are doing and tend to him or her—does this ever turn into a “MEternity” leave??

 

NO.  The answer is no.

 

In fact, I think most new mothers would honestly say that they could use a “meternity” leave from their maternity leave.

 

Meternity Leave | Money Savvy Living

 

So, to get back to the original outrage—I mean article—“I Want All the Perks of a Maternity Leave Without Having Any Kids,” I am curious what Ms. Davies thinks those perks are?

 

In her article, she says, “Bottom line: Women are bad at putting ourselves first. But when you have a child, you learn how to self-advocate to put the needs of your family first. A well-crafted “meternity” can give you the same skills — and taking one shouldn’t disqualify you from taking maternity leave later.”

 

Maternity leave is not about you.  It’s about your baby—taking care of your baby and bonding with him or her.  If you don’t know how to “self-advocate” before having a child, you won’t magically develop that skill upon reproducing—and in fact, having a baby to take care of will make self-advocating even harder.  You don’t have a child in order to find yourself, become self-aware, or introspective.  Having a child is not about what that child can do for you or how he or she will make you feel, it is about giving of yourself to a person that you decided to bring into this world—and maternity leave is only the start of that.

 

If you want “me” time, that’s great.  Take some time for yourself.  Do what you need to do to reflect on your life and be able to stand up for yourself—every woman should get to that point.  But don’t equate it with maternity leave.  You don’t want maternity leave, what you are looking for is called a vacation.

The One Thing Every Mother Needs to Hear

The One Thing Every Mother Needs to Hear | Money Savvy Living

 

We went on what I like to think of as a “mini-vacation” this past weekend. We took the boys out of school a couple hours early and headed for Chicago.

 

Since the kids have been born, I have to admit that I am not much of a vacationer. It. Is. So. Much. Work. Yes, work… not relaxing. Work. It really seems like I need to take half of the house with me in order to be prepared for anything that we may even possibly think about needing. You know, like diapers, wipes, bottles, snacks, Band-Aids, extra clothing… now that they are getting bigger this is getting a little better…

 

We have gone on a few vacations though—to Disneyworld and the beach, and things went well. For the most part, the kids have always done well. Of course, we do hear the typical things that you would expect to come from the back seat: “Are we there yet?” “I need to use the bathroom!” “Mom, he’s touching my stuff!” Did I mention we have THREE boys?

 

Even though the kids do pretty well and are excited when we go on vacation, I still don’t really feel relaxed though. I mean, it’s a lot of pressure to make sure all three kids actually stay with us so that we don’t come home with only two… or just one…

 

The boys standing by a huge Lego giraffe at Legoland

The boys standing by a huge Lego giraffe at LEGOLAND

 

So on our mini-vacation, this past weekend, we went to Chicago and tried to make it fun for the kids—riding the train into downtown, going to Skydeck Ledge, visiting Legoland… even getting to try authentic Chicago-style deep dish pizza.

 

Yes, we were actually all brave enough to step out over the city at the Skydeck Ledge (photo via: theskydeckledge.com)

Yes, we were actually all brave enough to step out over the city at the Skydeck Ledge (photo via: theskydeckledge.com)

 

But the event that stood out to me this weekend was brunch at the hotel on Sunday morning. It was crowded. Really crowded. There was a long line for the waffle maker, and of course, the kids wanted waffles. There were no tables big enough for our party of five. But there was a table in the corner for two. So I asked an elderly couple sitting close by, if we could borrow a couple of chairs from their table. They indicated that no one was sitting there, so I scooted them over to our table. Ok. Now the kids could be seated while I worked on getting their breakfast and my husband could watch them to make sure no one got away. Whew. See what I mean, even just getting a table for breakfast was work. So I got the boys eggs and some cereal to be eating. Then went back up for extra plates, napkins and silverware. Work. Then back up for water and orange juice. Work. Everyone was happy—sort of, “Mom, can I please have a waffle?” Of course, the little guy only wanted pancakes. And there were no pancakes.

 

By this time, the line died down for waffles, so I put some batter in the waffle maker and even got my husband some eggs and juice to be eating while he made sure no one escaped. Finally, we had a waffle. So everyone was happy. Time to relax and eat my breakfast. Then the little guy spilled his water—and started to cry. I told him it was ok… And as I tried to make my way around the table (it was very crowded, so I had to go past that elderly couple again), that sweet elderly lady stopped me and said,

“You’re a good mom.”

The One Thing Every Mother Needs to Hear | Money Savvy Living

 

I thanked her. I should have hugged her. She will never know how much I needed to hear that. That little bit of encouragement made my day. It was all I needed to realize that this work was my life. My life with little kids that will soon be big.

 

If you see a Mom with little kids, give her a word of encouragement today. It may mean more than you know.

10 Tips to Help Your Baby Sleep Better at Night

sweet, sleeping angel...

sweet, sleeping angel…

If you are the parent of a newborn, or even a toddler, you are probably a bit sleep deprived. While there may not be a magical wand to wave and make your little one sleep twelve hours in a row, there are some things that you can do to help your baby—and you—get a more restful night of sleep.

 

Bedtime routine

Newborn babies learn from their experiences what is going on in the world around them. Of course, it takes a while, but if you are diligent to put a routine in place that leads up to bedtime, such as bath time, then they will grow to expect that bedtime is coming after bath.

 

Milk

It may be an old wives tale that warm milk before bed helps you sleep better, but it certainly does seem to have some benefits, if for no other reason than making sure your little one’s tummy is full. It is hard to go to sleep—and stay asleep—when you’re hungry. Even as kids get a little older, they may still like to drink a cup of milk (or have a serving of yogurt or cottage cheese) before bed.

 

Quiet activities

Babies or toddlers can remain engaged for quite a while when something is going on around them that they find interesting. Just before bedtime is probably not the best time for a loud toy with lots of moving parts. So put the loud toys with lots of moving parts away and do quieter activities, such as coloring or reading.  Even a baby can sit on your lap and enjoy listening to a bedtime story.

 

Turn down the lights

Yes, your baby probably can fall asleep any time of day no matter what is going on around them when they are really tired, but turning the lights down low is another indicator that bedtime is near.

 

Sing or play soft lullaby music

Hearing a certain song can also indicate that it is bedtime. Not to mention the soft, soothing sounds of lullabies actually encourage relaxation and sleep.  Check out these wonderful lullaby CDs, or just softy sing your child to sleep, such as: Baby Mine, Classics Songs for Bedtime, Bedtime Prayers: Lullabies and Peaceful Worship, Bedtime Mozart: Classical Lullabies for babies, or Piano Lullabies: Babies’ Bedtime Favorites.

 

Ambient noise is a good thing

Have you ever tried to fall asleep in a quiet room that you are able to hear every crack and creak of your house? It’s not easy to do. Running a humidifier or a small fan can give enough background noise to drown out those bumps in the night and enable a better night of sleep.  Or you can try something like the Sleep Easy Sound Conditioner, white noise machine to see if that will help soothe your little one.

 

Keep the daytime sounds going at naptime

Make naptime drastically different than bedtime. Encourage naps during the day in a light-filled room that has typical daytime sounds. Don’t bother pulling the drapes or turning down the television; this extreme difference can help your baby differentiate between daytime and nighttime.

 

Don’t nap in the bedroom

Put your baby down for a nap in a bassinet or pack-n-play in a location other than your child’s bedroom. This is just another cue for your little one that indicates the difference between when they are expected to sleep a short time at naptime or for a longer period of time at night.

 

Don’t hold your baby while they nap

If you get in the habit of holding your baby the entire time that they nap during the day, they may get used to being held while they sleep—and that may carry over to nighttime as well. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you can’t hold your baby while they snooze at all. Snuggle your little one as much as you want, but putting them down to sleep, without being in your arms, should be a part of each naptime too.

 

When your baby cries, go to him

This topic is somewhat controversial. Some people tell you not to run to your child when they cry at night; however, as a parent, I cannot leave my baby in a dark room by themselves, crying in the middle of the night. Your baby needs to know that when they cry, for whatever reason, that you are there for them. If they don’t need a bottle or a diaper change, they may just need a little comfort in order to go back to sleep.  But keep in mind, going to see what is wrong or changing a diaper does not mean that you should have to stay up all night…

 

While those first months are a bit disrupting to your regular night of sleep, it does get better.  Know that you are going to be tired—and make an effort to just be tired, not grouchy with it!  Yes, this can be a struggle, but my husband and I decided that it would be better to simply be tired, not tired and grumpy with each other or the baby.

Honestly, looking back, some of those middle-of-the-night snuggles in the rocking chair, in which I had to struggle to stay awake, were pretty wonderful times.

Priceless memories.

 

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