Lean Green Mommy Machine

Thoughts on health, wellness, living green and motherhood


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That’s My Kid, Not A Labradoodle

That's my kid AND my Labradoodle. Just kidding, she's a lab-boxer.

That’s my kid AND my Labradoodle. Just kidding, she’s a lab-boxer.

In a day and age where people are treating their dogs more and more like children, I suppose it was bound to swing the other way as well.

You guys. Our kids are not dogs. And I’m really tired of everyone rewarding, training, and incentivizing them as if they are.

After ballet they get a sucker. After soccer they get Cheetos and Capri Sun. If they do XYZ just right in school or church they get candy.

I’m over it. Really.

What if for going to ballet class you are rewarded with increased skill and confidence in your dance routine? What if for playing hard in your soccer game you learned a little more and maybe even scored or blocked a goal? What if for paying attention in class or studying you gained knowledge and learned you are capable of working hard? What if we teach our kids that the activity itself is worthy?

There are two major issues with treating Frankie like Fido:

Rewarding with food gives food a power it should not have. You run the risk of creating a dangerous relationship with food. Food is fuel for our bodies. It can be fun, delicious, and enjoyable but it should not be the reason we do everything in life. If my kid is to the point where “snack is the best part of soccer” then I’m just going to buy her a few snacks and skip the $85 fee to play soccer.

The second issue is that we are creating a generation of kids who believes every thing they do deserves a reward. Every.Single.Thing. Do you want to deal with that adult? Neither do I!
But this is exactly what they are learning. I go to the class or game (that I begged my parents to let me do) and I get a food reward. I do what I am already supposed to do at school and I get a food reward. I pee in the potty instead of on the living room floor and I get a food reward. We already have a serious issue of entitlement coming up out of high school and college right now. This next group is going to be even worse if this keeps up.

Listen, if you want to treat your dog as a child have at it. I’ll keep to myself my thoughts on the “I Love My Granddog” bumper sticker you just bought your parents.
But for the sake of these kids we’re raising to be adults and the world that must deal with them…can we PLEASE stop treating them like dogs?!


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Intentional Birth and Pregnancy

husband wife pregnant

To say I am into pregnancy, birth and all that surrounds it would be an understatement. It’s possible to say I’m obsessed but that sounds so negative (and looney) so I prefer to say passionate.
I have 4 children and have enjoyed obsessing, err, exploring all aspects of pregnancy the minute I get a hankering to have a baby.
But it was my 5th pregnancy that had me realizing that “all” I had been exploring had very little to do with truly understanding pregnancy and birth. I discovered I was pregnant in January of this year. I began digging into aspects of natural childbirth, homebirth and things along those lines. But I was still a bit obsessed (there it is again!) with those little things like what vegetable is the baby the size of and what parts is she growing now.
Most likely due to my low progesterone levels, I lost my baby somewhere around 9 weeks.
Since that time I have gone through a roller coaster of emotions and desires (or lack of) for more children. We won’t get into where I am or where we have landed in that arena. But I will say that I have become aware of something that I had never truly experienced through 6 pregnancies and 4 children – intentional pregnancy and birth.
I don’t mean intentional, like I planned to get pregnant (though that is what happened most of the time lol) and planned to give birth. I mean intentionally understanding what happens during the intricate and lengthy processes of pregnancy and birth, what to expect, and how to have the best possible outcome.
We have come to accept “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” as the only manual you need for pregnancy and birth (and they pay dearly for us to believe it). Thinking all we need to know is every day by day of what our baby may be doing or what sixe it may be. And sometimes we focus more attention and time on what we plan to paint the nursery or finding the perfect going home outfit. But there is FAR more to pregnancy and childbirth and the lack of this knowledge has led to many generations of women who FEAR birth and don’t trust their bodies.
I’m not saying everyone should have a homebirth or intervention-free birth. I truly feel all women should make the right choice for them. But I think we need to start taking responsibility for our pregnancies and births. We need to genuinely understand the physiology of pregnancy and birth. If we don’t know what typically does or possibly could occur and how to handle it, how can we possibly NOT succumb to fear. Without this knowledge we simply are along for the ride with OBs who don’t always have our best interest at heart. (I know some of you read that as me saying the OBs are out to harm us- not what I mean. But they are quite often focused on managing and controlling every aspect of our births rather than allowing our bodies to do what they are made to, even if at times of day and holidays)
There are some amazing resources to explore in order to have a truly intentional pregnancy and birth.

  • The Business of Being Born (documentary) – As of the date this si written, available on Netflix streaming
  • Birth Without Fear (Blog and Facebook page) – birth stories of every kind (including c-sections, you can have a positive section) and so much more
  • Mama Natural (Blog, Youtube Channel & FB) – Folks, this Mama is awesome. She teaches so much about pregnancy and birth and she feels like a best friend. I just love her!
  • Peaceful Parenting (has great lists of books and other info to explore) – This stuff is deeply researched and thorough. So many resources.

I admit that if we are blessed with another baby, I truly want a natural birth at home (something I never had with my other 4 children). I realize not everyone wants this, and that’s ok. You should still be intentional and well informed. And I plan to be very intentional should that time come, by taking in as much knowledge as possible on what to REALLY expect.
Happy birthing!


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Katy Perry is NOT My Girl Power Icon

Roar!

Roar!

Ever since Katy Perry released her song “Roar” it has been used at any sporting event involving a big cat mascot (including the Bengals, much to the disappointment of fans).
It has also become some sort of “girl power” theme song. Moms happily sing along with their daughters, feeling they are being empowered as females and developing quite a love for Perry herself.
But why wouldn’t you. She’s a successful singer who is belting out a tune that makes girls feel strong and confident, right?
Except it’s one song and positive girl power is NOT Ms. Perry’s M.O.
Before you get all, “Let’s buy you every Katy Perry song on itunes, sweetie because she is all about awesome girl power!” let me take you back to a cringe-worthy little number called “Last Friday Night”

“Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”

There’s a stranger in my bed,
There’s a pounding in my head
Glitter all over the room
Pink flamingos in the pool
I smell like a minibar
DJ’s passed out in the yard
Barbie’s on the barbeque
This a hickie or a bruise

Pictures of last night
Ended up online
I’m screwed
Oh well
It’s a blacked out blur
But I’m pretty sure it ruled
Damn

Last Friday night
Yeah, we danced on tabletops
And we took too many shots
Think we kissed but I forgot

Last Friday night
Yeah, we maxed our credit cards
And got kicked out of the bar
So we hit the boulevard

Last Friday night
We went streaking in the park
Skinny dipping in the dark
Then had a ménage à trois
Last Friday night
Yeah I think we broke the law
Always say we’re gonna stop
Op-oh-oh

This Friday night
Do it all again
This Friday night
Do it all again

Trying to connect the dots
Don’t know what to tell my boss
Think the city towed my car
Chandeliers on the floor
Ripped my favorite party dress
Warrant’s out for my arrest
Think I need a ginger ale
That was such an epic fail

Pictures of last night
Ended up online
I’m screwed
Oh well
It’s a blacked out blur
But I’m pretty sure it ruled
Damn

Last Friday night
Yeah, we danced on table tops
And we took too many shots
Think we kissed but I forgot

Last Friday night
Yeah, we maxed our credit cards
And got kicked out of the bar
So we hit the boulevard

Last Friday night
We went streaking in the park
Skinny dipping in the dark
Then had a ménage à trois

Last Friday night
Yeah I think we broke the law
Always say we’re gonna stop
Oh whoa oh

This Friday night
Do it all again
(Do it all again)
This Friday night
Do it all again
(Do it all again)
This Friday night

T.G.I.F.
T.G.I.F.
T.G.I.F.
T.G.I.F.
T.G.I.F.
T.G.I.F.

Last Friday night
Yeah, we danced on table tops
And we took too many shots
Think we kissed but I forgot

Last Friday night
Yeah, we maxed our credit cards
And got kicked out of the bar
So we hit the boulevard

Last Friday night
We went streaking in the park
Skinny dipping in the dark
Then had a ménage à trois

Last Friday night
Yeah I think we broke the law
Always say we’re gonna stop
Oh-whoa-oh
This Friday night
Do it all again

[Clapping] Whohoo!

So let’s sum this up: got completely drunk (to the point of no memory), not sure what I did, trashed a lot of stuff, bad pics ended up online, slept with a stranger.
Girl power.

There is a time in history where we women were told that this sort of thing is being powerful. We were lied to and I am quite sure we know better by now. Don’t we?
I guess if that is how you want to live your life then, whatever (I really won’t know anything about it because we aren’t friends). But I doubt all those moms out there praising Katy Perry and her “girl-power” song want THIS for their daughters. This is the type of somg Ms. Perry consistently puts out.
I have 4 daughters and I believe in instilling confidence and power in them. I do not believe Katy Perry stands for that in the least. If you want to rock this song as such, go for it. But you may want to stop your Katy Perry playlist there. And in the mean time, find some more worthy girl-power role models for your daughters – like you.


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Are We Taking Gentle Parenting Too Far?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m not a fan of spanking. It’s not part of how I choose to or want to parent. I don’t take issue with friends who choose to spank. Everyone has to make the right choice for their own family.

There are many aspects of gentle or peaceful parenting that resonate with me. I like to (try to) slow down and discuss things with my kids, understand their point of view, talk things out, etc.
As I am around more parents and families I see a gentle aspect to parenting gaining ground. I feel, for the most part, this can be very positive. I think we need less yelling, less anger and more understanding and patience. But I have begun to wonder…
are we taking this too far?

I’ve heard of many parents who won’t say the word “no” to their child. They find it to be too negative (um…duh?) and is somehow damaging to the child. But life is full of NOs and how are we preparing our kids for that reality if they never hear that word. And honestly, I have a kid who feels everything is merely in the negotiation stage if you haven’t said “no”. Sometimes we need to hear “no”.

Another recent discovery is not telling a child they are doing something wrong but rather trying to guide them to do it the right way but by their own choice. I’ll wait a minute to let you get your head around that…. Now, I’m all for freedom of expression with coloring and pretending blocks are cars, that sort of thing. But if a child is putting their sunglasses on upside down and keeps fidgeting with them because they feel funny, it is ok to say, “You have them on wrong. They go like this.” But what I was recently told was “I try not to tell him he is doing something wrong but rather explain that perhaps he would be more comfortable if he changed something.”

I really have a hard time believing that telling my kid that she did something wrong, something that has a definitive right and wrong way, is going to permanently scar her and make her never share feelings, trust others or be creative. And when my kid is an adult and her boss tells her she has done something wrong, if we have shielded her from this concept her whole life, will she then be confused, hurt and upset? Will she understand how to handle the situation?

One last aspect of gentle parenting I have read about is this idea that we shouldn’t impose our desire and need for cleanliness and order onto kids. That that is our choice on how we want to live and our kids may not be that type of person and it isn’t fair to impose our feelings and beliefs on them (and make them clean or give them consequences for not keep rooms tidy). This seems insane to me. I wish someone had imposed some cleanliness on me as a child. I have struggled as an adult to get myself in a routine of cleaning and organization. We can’t simply allow our children to live in filth because we don’t want to impose our beliefs and will on them.

We need to remember in all of this parenting business that we are ultimately raising adults who need to be a functioning part of society. I fail to see the logic in the idea that guiding them, teaching them and giving them boundaries and rules (and even “no”) based on our life experience and personal beliefs is ruining them for life and that leaving them to rule the house and their lives based on their whims will lead to far greater success and joy in life.


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Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!

ScaleDo you ever read some of the articles and blog posts on how to get in shape and think, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”? (thank you Sweet Brown!)
I know I do.
This morning I was reading a blog post from one of those real food bloggers I mentioned before. She was talking about how she lost weight with the help of her Fitbit. Now I read her posts so I know a bit about her life situation. I suggested that I would love to see a post about how to realistically get fit when you have 3+ kids, no nanny, no housekeeper and can’t afford a treadmill desk or fitbit and also don’t live somewhere with perpetually perfect weather.
Well her only reply was to say that the treadmill desk was a necessary investment for her personally because of her long hours at her computer for work (I get that). But she did feel the Fitbit was fully worth the $100 investment and costs less than a personal trainer and most gym memberships (who said I can afford those either! lol).
She never addressed the nanny, housekeeper, number of kids or where you live. Her emphasis on the device made me return to the post. I then noticed two things: her asking who wants to do a Fitbit challenge along with her AND links to purchase a Fitbit. Well clearly everyone is going to see that she lost 10 lbs in 6 weeks and that she is emphasizing this specific device in being key. And THEN they get a chance to do a challenge with a well-known blogger. Well, I imagine these Fitbits are flying off the shelves. And this blogger is making a pretty penny on it. See, those links all go to a specified Amazon page where she will earn money when people buy through that link.
No wonder that was the only part of my query she addressed (and emphasized how she couldn’t have lost the weight without it).
Now it may be a great device. Maybe you own one and love it. Good. Go get ’em, tiger.
I could probably muster up the money for it (though I can think of so much more to spend it on. I have FOUR kids!). But then you have to log all of your food and weigh yourself and enter your weight into it (or by a special scale that does it for you, and the blogger makes money off of that too).
I just feel like…ain’t nobody got time for that! (seriously, have you seen the autotune? Awesome.)
I told my husband about my dilemma. There aren’t realistic weight loss or getting fit posts. Nobody seems to take into account having 4 kids, rushing them to sports, running your own daycare (more kids!), being a freelance writer, cooking and cleaning (no nanny or housekeeper here!) and the unpredictable weather of the midwest. I don’t have time to hit the gym nor do I have the money for the membership.
My husband says, “It sounds like YOU need to write this post.”
Hmmmm….
I think he is right. So now I plan to think of ways to fit in fitness when it seems impossible. And how to do it with little to no money spent.
I’ll let you know what I come up with in a future post (where I promise to not try to sell you things).
In the meantime, how have you managed to fit in fitness?


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The Moment That Changed My Heart

We women and girls can tend to be very hard on ourselves. We expect to be perfect, like the women and girls portrayed in the media. We constantly criticize ourselves for being too fat, too thin, too pale, too curly, too straight.
Too much.
Not enough.
Not good enough.

And somehow, when even unprompted compliments wash over us, we simply can not believe we are enough. That we are beautiful.
All of us.
Being an adult and a mom doesn’t make that go away. In fact the changes my body has seen after 4 kids have made it worse.
When will we stop? When will we see God’s love in ourselves and realize who we really are?
When you have a moment.
Mine happened this past week…

I was laying on the floor playing with my youngest daughter, Poppy, who is 4. It was just she and I. Tickling. Laughing. Playing.
We lay there at one point, holding hands. I looked down at her hand in mine and here is what happened in my brain, “My hand looks so old. I see some spots there. Age spots. I just look old. Worn.”
And then in the very next moment, God spoke to my heart.
I am holding hands with my amazing, wonderful daughter. She tells me I am beautiful. She tells me I sing beautifully (which I do not but this shows how she sees me in her heart). She curls up with me multiple times per day, getting as close as she can, stroking my arm, leg face. She can not get enough of being near me. Loving me. It is pure joy to her heart.
And the only thing I found in that moment, that beautiful moment, was that I did not look good enough.
I truly felt God touch my heart right then. I felt something change.
I AM good enough. God placed me here for these girls. To be their mother, love them, guide them.
They show me everyday that their love for me is endless and not based on how I match up with an airbrushed supermodel.
I’ve told myself a million times to change how I think but it isn’t that simple. I needed God to speak into my heart in that moment.
And he did.

photo-35


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Cloth Diapering: No Washer, No Dryer, No Problem

I considered cloth diapering for quite a while before I actually took the plunge. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to handle the work, the laundry, all of it. I began toying with the idea when my third daughter was a toddler and I was thinking of having a fourth child. I didn’t actually start until my fourth child was about 15 months old.
When I started I learned what kind of diapers I prefer (and they weren’t the ones I thought I would) and what kind of diapers my daughter needed to wear.
I also learned that cloth diapering is not hard, not a burden and not stressful. I really wish I had done it MUCH sooner. Just imagine the money I could have saved…..
Since I myself was a very worried, cloth-curious mom, I totally get why people worry. Now that I am a cloth convert I always try to offer cloth as an option to new and pregnant moms. Often they hadn’t considered it, didn’t know people still used cloth or were just too worried (like myself). I like to try to talk it out with moms to see where their worry is to see if I can help alleviate it.
Now, I’m not saying cloth is for everyone. I love it. LOVE. And I think it is possible for everyone but if you aren’t interested then that’s fine. Just own that. Don’t hem and haw and act interested when you really aren’t. My feelings won’t be hurt, promise.

I’ve heard a lot of excuses as to why people can’t use cloth. But honestly, very few people truly CAN’T do cloth. There may just be enough of a challenge to deter you. And like I said that’s fine, own it. It’s up to you.

But if you DO want to do cloth, if you’re really committed, you can work around challenges.

One of my dearest friends in the world is Clara. She and her husband are at the beginning of all that marriage, kids, figuring out life stuff. As young as they are though, they are making some very wise and responsible choices. I wish I had been as smart when I was that age.

Clara has two gorgeous little girls. One of them is still in diapers. They live in a little apartment above a vet clinic in a small town. They have no washer or dryer (or even hook ups), yard or outside space to call their own.

Know what? They cloth diaper that little sweetie of theirs. Clara figured the easiest way (also the least expensive) to do cloth while washing by hand. She uses flats and utilizes the Diaper Bag Fold and then uses a variety of covers (such as Flip, a favorite) that can be used over and over and easily wiped clean.

Know what other awesome thing she does?

This:

Don't you just love freshly washed diapers on the clothesline?

Don’t you just love freshly washed diapers on the clothesline?

This it the walkout from the apartment. Those are her diapers and wet bag.

She’s making it work because it matters to her. No excuses.

Not always easy but worth it in her eyes (and mine).

What cloth diapering hold ups do you have? Would you like to know how to work through them?