Category Archives: Think

New moms share truths about caring for babies in the age of COVID-19

Being a new mom at any time is filled with uncertainties, but bringing a new baby into a world in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic comes with a whole new set of challenges unlike many of us seasoned parents have ever faced.

In a time when they need plenty of in-person support and comfort, these new families are in the difficult position of having to navigate the world of new parenthood with often their only assistance coming in the form of FaceTime or Zoom.

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Even doctor’s appointments, a crucial part to maternal health, are being conducted virtually.

On my Facebook page, I put a call out to new parents, and asked them to share their stories in the hopes that their words would reach other new parents and inspire older ones, like myself.

I was amazed by the response, and how willing these women were to share their fears, their joys and their hopes with the Maybe I’ll Shower Today community.

In honor of Mother’s Day, I am pleased to share their incredible stories of #parentingthroughquarantine.

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“Will G-d punish me?” Understanding childhood fear in the age of COVID-19

“Will G-d punish me?” My son asked after admitting he had lied to me earlier that day.

The question caught me off guard, because, while my son does have a strong moral compass and feels ashamed when he makes a mistake, never before had he pondered G-d’s involvement in his own life.

I am all for intense philosophical and theological debates on the existence of a higher power, and what, if any, role said power plays in the shaping of human existence.

However, when these questions come from your own child, no amount of scholarly texts or Biblical excerpts will ease their fears.

Before I could approach my son’s question, I needed to take account of our current reality and it’s impact on my children and indeed all children around the world.

We are in the midst of what maybe the most frightening experience thus far for many of our children. Certainly, this is the case for mine.

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And, even if we as adults do our best to keep COVID-19=related news to ourselves, our childre are smart. They can sense our fear and worry. They see us donning masks to run errands. They conduct their studies via video meetings. They wave to their friends from across the street.

They know life is far from normal.

Take ten minutes to peruse online parenting groups, and you fill find countless cries for help, frustrated commenters and moms and dads at their wits end over their kids’ behavior. Continue reading

Donating meals to essential workers and more ways to help right now

News and personal accounts of the devastating impact on the new Coronavirus on the United States has left many of us feeling powerless and overwhelmed.

If you aren’t a health care worker or other essential employee, you may be wondering how you can help.

First, take a moment to be grateful to be at a place where you can think that way. Many people are in pure survival mode and don’t have the financial, mental or emotional means to help others or even themselves. The fact that you are willing and able to think about aiding others is a huge privilege.

So you want to do something, but what? The numbers are overwhelming, you may not always know what to believe, or where the help is truly needed.

I have felt this way myself. I was saddened by the impact of this virus, and was searching for some way to make a difference. 

Luckily, I was able to find answers within myself, through the magic of positive social media and via my own family, including someone who is an expert in philanthropy.

But, even with all this knowledge, where do you start? Continue reading

It’s OK to grieve the loss of the Passover you wanted

When the new Coronavirus virus arrived in full force in my home state of New York, I was worried, but hopeful. I thought if enough people limited social interaction, practiced safe hygiene and sought medical care, if needed, the virus would be controlled enough to allow us to gather for the Passover holiday.

Even as the number of infected persons ticked up, and the seemingly neverending month of March was finally in its last days, I still held out hope. Continue reading

Coronavirus and Passover: Tips for keeping everyone safe and healthy

Passover is one of my favorite times of year because I get to gather with my family to participate in a seder lead by my father. I enjoy the communal spirit in partaking in rituals observed by our ancestors and passing on these traditions to my children.

Given the spread of the Coronavirus in the United States and health organizations advising everyone to take extra precautions to avoid getting sick or passing on germs to others, you may be anxious about how you will spend your Passover.

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Maybe you had a big trip planned to Israel and now have to observe the holiday at home. Maybe you’re living in a containment zone and can no longer host the big seder you planned. Or, maybe, you are just anxious and can’t prepare for the holiday the way you normally would.

Whatever the reason, even during this time, we can still find ways to have a meaningful Passover, while still keeping our families and loved ones safe.

Keep reading for my tips, and feel free to share yours in the comments. Continue reading

Bringing babies to the office isn’t “working”

Every so often I come across a post about some company’s generous policy of allowing new parents to bring their babies to work with them. Usually the praise for the family-focused policy is accompanied by a picture of a smiling baby, happily sitting in a baby seat while mom goes about her office tasks.

These policies are touted as a wonderful solution for new parents who have to return to work and can’t or don’t want to rely on outside childcare.

The reality, however, is much different.

While some babies are calm enough to allow you to get your work done, others demand a lot of attention. Some babies are colicky, need to be held constantly. They need to be burped, changed, cleaned, and on and on.

And, then there’s the feeding.

If you are nursing, you may need to feed your baby as often as once every hour, and if you consider how long a feeding session is, that doesn’t leave much “baby free” time to get work done.

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This can be daunting if your job requires you to meet certain daily or weekly deadlines, you have a customer-centric career, or you have a job without flexible hours. 

Though, I was working from home, I still found it challenging to balance my job and my baby without outside support. I often found myself working in the middle of the night or very early in the morning to catch up on what I had missed caring for my son during the day. I imagine those who bring their babies to the office have to do the same.
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We all contribute to our families’ success

“Who has more bills, you or daddy?”

My son asked me, while we were chatting in the kitchen.

“Neither of us do,” I answered. “Dad may pay a certain amount to use the gym, and I may pay a certain amount on my dance class, but we share a budget, and all of us contribute, even you and your brother.”

I went on to explain while his father is the one who brings in the most financially, and that it is important to recognize that, it is just as important to recognize the non-monetary contributions all of us make.

I spoke about how my writing, though not a big moneymaker, enables me to be home when needed, take care of household chores (however poorly I manage them), take his brother to speech services, and other tasks that would be difficult to complete if I was working full-time.

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I reminded my son his role (and his brother’s) is just as important as his parents. I explained how helping with the laundry, cleaning up his toys and being a good brother, all contribute to happy and well-functioning household.

We are all in this together, and we all play a part. Continue reading

To the moms who pump at work, we see you

I never intended to be a stay-at-home mom, so when it came time for me to return to work a few months after my oldest was born, I knew pumping would be a major part of my experience as a working mom.

Luckier than most, though far from ideal, I only had to go to the office once a week.

As a nursing mom, I had to pump on those days I couldn’t breastfeed at home. This meant lugging my pumping equipment, along with my regular bag and often my laptop back and forth from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

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It was cumbersome and exhausting and I still can’t believe women do this every day.

While at work, I had to hope the one spare office was available, otherwise my only option was to use the ladies room.

Yes, I pumped in the bathroom.

I would hide in largest stall and hope nobody could hear the pump motor, which always seemed ridiculously loud. I felt ashamed for pumping in that place, and for not demanding something better.

As far as I was aware, at the time, my company was not large enough to have to comply with any federal or state regulations on providing lactation rooms at the office. But even if they were, I was too exhausted to deal with it. On top of that, I was already grateful to only have to come in one day a week, and I didn’t want to push my luck.

Looking back, however, if I did speak up, and made my experience more comfortable, I might have been motivated to stay a bit longer. Continue reading

Fires put Australian wildlife at risk, here’s how to help

Like most people who grew up outside of Australia, I’ve always been fascinated by the country’s unique ecosystem and variety of animals found only in that part of the world.

Viewing koalas, kangaroos and other native Australian animals at local zoos was the closest I ever got to witness this incredible wildlife, and my hope is still to someday make it to Australia, so I can experience these creatures in their natural habitats. australiananimals.png

Sadly, those habitats are in grave danger, as fires continue to rage across Australia, leaving many animals without food, water, shelter and other means for survival. According to WIRES, an Australian organization leading the efforts to conserve local wildlife, more than 800 million animals have been effected since September.

WIRES has been working round the clock to rescue as many animals as possible, and is great need of financial support to carry out their mission. The organization has established a special emergency fund to address the dire needs of animals impacted by the wildfires.

Visa and Mastercard holders can donate directly through the WIRES website via these links:

https://www.wires.org.au/donate/online
https://www.wires.org.au/donate/emergency-fund

PayPal donations can be made here:

https://www.paypal.com/au/fundraiser/112574447199339912/charity/3562115

Donate through Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/donate/1386120504919105/10158318179549750/

For those donating from the United States, the exchange rate is favorable and your contribution can make a huge difference.

The impact of the Australian wildfires has yet to be fully understood, but it is clear they will have far-reaching effects on the Australian ecosystem and beyond. The BBC provides a thorough explanation of the causes, current status and implications of the wildfires.

For more ways to help the people, places and wildlife effected by the fires, check out this link from PBS.org.

 

 

 

Groceries and gratitude

“The card didn’t go through,” the cashier said, after I attempted to pay for my groceries.

I inserted my credit card into the reader once more.

Again, nothing.

I sighed heavily, baffled by why my card wasn’t working.

I don’t struggle financially.

My payments are on time.

I was annoyed.

After a failed third attempt, I used a different card.

I left the store still annoyed and embarrassed.

I hated the idea of people thinking I couldn’t afford those groceries — that I was deemed unfit by the credit card company to pay in such a manner.

But, as I drove away, I felt something deeper.

Shame.

Not the shame of feeling misjudged for my economic status,

But the shame at myself for allowing myself to think so negatively of those who are less fortunate that the mere idea that others would perceive me in the same light made me so angry.

I like to believe I am a compassionate person.

I support many causes.

I try to give back in my community and beyond.

And, yet, I am still part of a society which teaches us to put so much worth and value in one’s economic standing.

From a young age, we are inundated with the notion that those who work the hardest will be rewarded, and that those who are less fortunate than we are simply didn’t try hard enough.

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We are conditioned to believe:

Poor equals lazy.

Poor equals stupid.

As if there aren’t plenty of rich, lazy people roaming the earth.

But, thinking negatively of those who have less makes it easier to write them off.

It makes it easier for people like me to feel better about ourselves.

But, we all know the truth.

How much any of us has doesn’t make any of us a better human being.

Living in a huge house doesn’t make us any kinder.

Having a designer wardrobe doesn’t make us any more empathetic.

Driving a nice car doesn’t make our actions any greater.

Going on expensive trips doesn’t make our souls any more fulfilled.

Our stuff doesn’t make us better.

In this time of year when it is easy to focus on being grateful for the material things, I am going to remember that things I hold in my hands are nothing compared to what I hold in my heart.

I will encourage my children to think of others this season, and do my best to model acts of kindness.

I will pause before judging others, whose situations I do not know, and even better, try to take the time to learn more about them.

And, I will allow myself room for growth, and forgiveness.

A version of this post originally appeared on the Maybe I’ll Shower Today Facebook page.