During our first few years of marriage, when my husband and I were in the thick of dirty diapers, sleepless nights, stress-induced fights and the general haze of early parenthood, I would wonder why more couples weren’t splitting up during this time.
I had no data to back this up, just my observations of couples we knew, who had been married for many years, and had decided to separate. I couldn’t understand what had driven them apart. After all, their kids were grown up, or at least old enough to not be a major source of stress, and, in theory, they had more time for one another.
Oh, yeah, and that little thing called, “COVID-19.”
The world can definitely seem fuckity fuck fucked, especially now.
If you are a worrier like me, who gets anxious and overwhelmed when thinking about all the problems in the world, I hear you, and I see you.
When I was a child, I use to randomly think about all the garbage in the world, and where it all goes, and if there’s enough room for it on our planet. I guess when you’re a kid, and a lot of your needs are already met, you have time to think about that stuff.
Giving birth seems to invite all sorts of opinions and input from everyone from close family to complete strangers. Here are some of the more common phrases new moms hear, and why they are problematic.
Breast Is Best
I breastfed both my children for about two years each (both directly from my breast and via pumped milk in bottles). I loved the bond nursing built between myself and my kids, and I am proud of myself for being able to do it for as long as I did. However, just because breastfeeding was right for me, doesn’t make it right for all mothers.
All who want to breastfeed should be supported in every way possible. However, many new moms are unable or prefer not to breastfeed, and need support as well. Breast milk is truly amazing, no debate there. However, breast milk is not the only way to feed a baby. Breast milk may be remarkable, but what’s more remarkable is a mom who is supported in her choices.
Like many (maybe all?) moms, I often feel guilty about my parenting choices. Do I let my kids have too much screen time? Should I force them to eat more vegetables? Do I yell too much? I am ruining the environment just by raising a family?
That last question is one I have asked myself from the moment I had my first child. Living in an apartment at the time with a communal laundry room, cloth diapering was not practical option, so I used disposables. But, not just any disposables, mind you; I had to have the most natural, sustainably made diapers your could buy (read: the most expensive).
Using the fancy “eco” diapers made me feel a bit better. Still, I was worried about all the garbage I was adding to the world. I decided to try elimination communication, or the concept of letting babies/toddlers go diaper free as much as possible. I guess I did manage to reduce my diaper use, and my oldest did potty train on the earlier side, but I am not sure all the time spent cleaning up messes was worth it in the long run. When my second child came along, I was often too distracted by other matters to really focus on teaching him to use the toilet. He was in diapers much longer than my oldest.
Over the years my guilt over my family’s impact on the environment, has evolved to include, worrying about how much packaging we’re throwing away, wondering if we are being energy-efficient enough, and thinking about how to be less car dependent.
I also constantly consider choices that are best for my family and compare them with their impact on the environment. Like my choice to use disposable diapers, often my desire to help the Earth and my family don’t always align.
A more recent example, is driving. Where my family currently lives, we need a car to get to most places safely. You may ask why someone like me, who cares about the environment would live in such a place, but again, sometimes needs don’t always align. Right now, this is the best choice for my family.
Parenthood enriches your life in many ways, allowing you to experience the world anew through the fresh eyes of a child. Being a mom or dad can also get stressful, however, resulting in negative consequences for your own health—and negatively impacting kids, too.
Luckily, there are many useful resources available to make your role easier at every stage of your child’s development. Maybe I’ll Shower Today wants everyone in your family, from youngest to oldest, to be happy and healthy, so read on.
My family loves board games. My husband, myself and my oldest particularly enjoy playing Monopoly and often get lost in intense, days long battles for money and property.
Much like his parents, my son is very competitive and questions every action taken during the game and cries foul when something seems unfair. He gets angry when he finds himself losing and livid if he loses the game altogether.
As someone, who isn’t always the picture of grace when I lose a game, I get my son’s passion, but I also know it is important to teach kids how to handle losing with dignity.
On a national level, former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has just been elected as President of the United States of America after a grueling election, which took days to resolve, and, in many ways, is still being carried out as President Donald Trump insists the election wasn’t run fairly and refuses to accept defeat.
As kids get older, they naturally get more curious about the world around them and why they do certain things. Being a Jewish family, who keeps a kosher home, we observe a number of rules: separate dishes and utensils, no pork, shellfish or other unkosher foods in our house and not eating dairy and meat in the same meal.
Lots of rules, which for most of their young lives, our children accepted as part of their reality.
In recent years, and in particular the last few months, my oldest, soon to be 8, has become more interested in what being kosher means, and has been asking more questions.
The other day, for example, my son asked me how long he had to wait to have dairy after eating meat. I explained how, as often is the case with Jewish law, that different Jews have different answers, with more observant ones waiting at least six hours after a meat meal before eating dairy, while others wait just one hour or less. I explained how we are generally more lenient when it comes to time between meals, but others in our extended family are more strict.
Whether you are strictly kosher all the time, observe some of the laws, or choose not to be kosher at all, there are lots of ways to help an interested child explore what kashrut means and how to make it a part of their lives.
Ways To Teach Kids About Kashrut
Go on a kosher-label scavenger hunt
From “OU” to “K” to “Star-K,” there are dozens of kosher certifications to be found on food and beverages throughout the supermarket. If you aren’t familiar, review the labels as a family, make a list and head to the store. Ask your kids to find one item with each symbol. Notice which ones are easier to spot, or if some are missing. Does your supermarket have a kosher section, or are items more spread out?
Vegetarian (though you do need to be mindful when it comes to cheese, but that’s a seperate post) and vegan meals tend to be kosher by design. When you go on your kosher scavenger hunt, your kids may notice the fresh produce has no kosher markings or labels at all. This is because unprocessed or uncooked fruits and vegetables are kosher on their own and need no further certification. Make a meal (or part of a meal) of only fresh produce and discuss what makes it kosher and why.
Try a meal without mixing meat and dairy
Another simple way to test out keeping kosher as a family or if your child is interested on their own, is to avoid serving dairy with a meat meal. So if your kids normally drink milk with their meatballs, mix it up with another beverage or even a non-dairy milk alternative such as almond or coconut milk.
Understand kids will make mistakes
Speaking more to those families who do keep kosher, understand that remembering and following the rules of kashrut can be challenging for young children (not to mention grownups). Whether its a birthday party where your kid is confused about why they can’t eat the burgers, or a piece of candy shared with them at lunch that isn’t kosher-certified, there are many moments for misunderstandings and slip ups. Be patient, and acknowledge their efforts.
No matter where you, your family or your kids on their kosher journey, exploring the laws of kashrut can be a great way to connect and learn more about Judaism.
Disclaimer: As a PJ Library influencer, I am compensated for promoting this program. All opinions expressed are my own.
Like most kids who grew up in the United States, I first learned about Christopher Columbus through the popular poem:
In Fourteen Hundred And Ninety Two Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
Columbus was part of a greater bunch of lessons that put a positive spin on colonization, and downplayed — or outright ommitted — the atrocities commited against the Indigeneous peoples of the Americas in order for these revered Europeans to succeed.
As I grew up, I discovered American history is not as clean and beautiful as I had once thought, and indeed the founding of my country is full of mess and ugliness.
I am happy to see a shift toward more honest retelling of history in our schools, and an effort to uplift the voices of those figures long overlooked in the story of America. However, I am aware that curriculum is slow to change, and the narrative our kids are ingesting still very much has a Euro-centric spin.
So, when my almost eight-year-old son asked me why he was going to be off from school one Monday in October, I took the opportunity to talk with him about Columbus Day, why we celebrate it, and why that is problematic for many people.
We talked about how whole communities were living here before Christopher Columbus and other Europeans landed on the shores of the Americas, and how he did not in fact “discover” this land. We also spoke deeper about colonization and why European nations saw the Americas as an opportunity for expanding their access to materials such as minerals, crops and more to use to build their economies.
We spoke about how Columbus is credited for starting the colonization of the Americas, eventually leading to the country we live in today. We discussed how being Americans has afforded us many privileges and opportunities, and how fortunate we are to have them. We also discussed how Columbus and others, in order to achieve their visions of colonization killed and exploited the Indigeneous peoples of the Americas and later enslaved millions of Africans brought over to bear the brunt of work required to build up our developing country.
We finished with how many Americans feel we should no longer honor Christopher Columbus and instead lose the holiday all together or change it to honor the Indigeneous peoples of the Americas. We ourselves did not come to a “conclusion” on how we feel about the matter, but I am glad we were able to have a thoughtful discussion on U.S. history.
Even if Columbus Day disappears, I hope our schools will continue to teach our students about him in a way that is honest and reflective of the good and bad of American history.
My elementary-age child dropping the F-bomb about Donald Trump, the President of The United States.
If you follow me, you know I rarely, if I ever speak about Trump.
Sure I will comment on mistreatment of asylum seekers, racial injustice and more that happens to be occurring under this administration, and I will continue to comment on those things regardless of who is President after the election.
No, this post is not about Trump.
It is about how I and other adults talk about him or other politicians in front of our children.
Maybe you called Trump an asshole or Joe Biden a moron. Maybe you lobbed insults at those who support either one of them.
Maybe you were just joking around with your spouse, laughing at some meme, not realizing your kids were listening.
I know I have.
To be clear, I do not support Donald Trump as President of the United States, and have no problem expressing my views and debating those who disagree. I am also disgusted by his language and mannerism that frequently mocks and insults others. I would like to think most adults, including myself, are above this behavior.
So when my child called him a “F-U-You Know The Rest,” yes I was upset about the language, but I was even more upset that he felt that it was the best way to speak about him.
Although, I can’t recall an incident where I used the word fuck and Donald Trump in the same sentence, I am a person who curses often, and I speak with unfiltered passion about things I care about, often not realizing who’s listening.
I apologized to my son, and said we adults needed to do better.
I said we can discuss Trump and other issues civilly and factually without resorting to name calling. We can be resolute in our stance for wanting leadership we can be proud of.
To be clear, I am not saying adults should be dishonest with their children about their political feelings. Nor is this a request for anyone to censor the truth for our kids benefits. By all means talk to them about the environment, poverty, racism and everything else you are passionate about. Our children are as impacted by this election as much as if not more than we are. They deserve to hear us speak about what matters to us. They deserve to understand why we are voting the way we are and to be included in the process. What they don’t deserve is to be subjected to hateful language and child-like name-calling of others.
We can do better.
As we head into the Presidential debates, I remain hopeful both candidates will rise above petty insults and low-blow jabs, and stick with discussing the issues. Hopeful, but realistic.
In the mean time, even if our leaders can’t behave decently. I know I can. And I pledge to do better.
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