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Addicted to technology

Posted by rose_beck74 on June 22, 2015 at 4:55 PM

People made fun of me and my old school flip phone, but I simply refused to upgrade. Why do I need access to my email and the internet 24 hours a day? I have a computer at home for those things. When I am out and about, I don’t need to be surfing the web or responding to emails. I’m not that important – it can wait.

And then it happened. My cell phone contract was up and when I renewed they offered me a free smartphone. I caved. That same Christmas I received an iPad. At first, I didn’t use the savvy technology much. I wasn’t used to it. Over time though, something changed. I started relying on it more and more. It has gotten so bad recently that I can’t even sit at a red light without checking my phone for something – a text, a call, facebook, the weather – it doesn’t matter. And if I am at home, my iPad is never more than an arms reach away. I used to have to go into the room where the desktop computer was, turn it on, sign on to the internet, and then look up what I wanted. Just the thought of doing all that usually deterred me. Now with my iPad so close and so convenient, I find things to look up constantly – and I don’t have to leave my bed or my couch to do it.

A friend of mine recently quit Facebook and when I asked her why, she explained that it was interfering in her ability to be present in her life. She said that she would be sitting at her son’s football games, scrolling through her newsfeed instead of watching him play, or talking with the other moms. It got me to thinking.

My technology addiction isn’t interfering with my son’s quality mommy time per se because we are together 24/7. If I respond to a text message or write an email while he is playing, I don’t feel like he is being deprived of anything. However, maybe I am depriving myself of things.

When my son goes to bed, I usually pick up my iPad and spend the rest of the evening on it. I’m depriving myself of quality time with my husband because I use my technology to shut down instead of be present with him. When my son naps, instead of doing something (anything!) productive, I often veg out with my phone or my iPad. It’s gotten to be too much. I need to detox a bit.

I won’t be doing anything drastic like consciously uncoupling from my technological devices, but I’m definitely going to make a real effort to limit my usage. Maybe I even need to set a time limit like parents do with their children. I’ve been thinking about this for awhile but have yet to do anything about it. By writing this post, I am officially holding myself accountable.

I’ve been trying to remember what I actually did before I had all of this technology at my disposal. It wasn’t that long ago so it shouldn’t be so hard to remember. My guess is I was more present – more engaged with my friends, my family, and people in general. I’m hoping that will be the case again.

Does anyone else have an unhealthy obsession with their technological devices?


Bye bye binky!

Posted by rose_beck74 on May 22, 2015 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Last week, a good friend of mine had a baby. I innocently showed the pictures to my son and here is how the conversation went down:

My son: Mama, the baby doesn’t have a binky.

Me: Do you think she needs to have a binky?

My son: Yes! Baby can’t sleep without a binky.

Me (lightbulb going off in my head): Hmmm….well since you are a big boy now, and you have binkys, do you think you can give the baby your binkies?

My son: Yes! Baby can have my binkies.

Ok, so that was easy – the decision had been made. I was guessing though that this would be easier said than done. Throughout the week, we kept talking about how he was going to send his binkies to the new baby. He even watched Elmo’s Bye Bye Binkie episode a few times – the song is super catchy! Still, the whole thing seemed too abstract. It’s one thing to talk about giving up the binky and another to actually do it.

On Sunday, the night before the big binky send off, my son informed me that he would like a pillow in exchange for his binkies. I was so on it. Instead of making my life easier and just giving him one of ours, I searched for hours for a toddler pillow. Sunday night was a big fail – I didn’t find one anywhere. Then a friend informed me that Pottery Barn Kids sold them. I went there Monday and searched the whole damn store. I didn’t see the toddler pillows anywhere. I was just about to throw in the towel when a sales person saw my distress and asked me if she could help me find something. “YES,” I exclaimed. “I need a toddler pillow for my son who is giving up his binky – TODAY! I promised him a pillow and I am running out of time. Nap time is in an hour! HELP!!” She informed me that the toddler pillows weren’t kept on the floor, but in the stock room upstairs (ummm, why?!?). She ran up to get me one and I was on my way home with the goods. Phew!

When I got home, my son put his binkies in a box, decorated it, and put it in the mailbox for the mailman to pick up and deliver to the new baby. All the while, we sang the Bye Bye Binky song. Too easy, right? I presented him with his new pillow and put him down for his nap. He asked for his binky and I reminded him that he gave it away. For the next hour, he didn’t nap, but he did play quietly in his crib. Lately, his naps are hit or miss anyway, so I really wasn’t expecting him to sleep. I was expecting him to scream for his binky though – didn’t happen.

At bedtime, he went down without a fight. Ten minutes in, he couldn’t get comfortable and started to cry. I went in and he asked for his binky. I reminded him again that he gave his binky away and then that was it. He fell asleep!!! My husband and I couldn’t believe it. We were prepared for a toddler meltdown of epic proportions. We didn’t get it.

There was one slight hiccup though last night and shockingly, it wasn’t binky related. My son woke up around 11:00 crying the “I’m in pain” cry. When I went in he told me his belly hurt. Crap! Of all nights? For the next hour, I was in and out of his room rubbing his back. He finally let out a string of “toots” and then fell back asleep – for the rest of the night!

Please tell me this is over and toddlers don’t have a binky relapse in a few days or weeks? I was expecting to have to sleep train him all over again. Could this whole binky love affair really be over? Is this a clean break up or will he have second thoughts after a few nights without it? This all seemed way too easy – and my son has never done easy – ever! Is this too good to be true, or after months of obsessing over how to get rid of the damn binky, did we really say goodbye to it that easily?


Dear new mom

Posted by rose_beck74 on May 14, 2015 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Whatever you are feeling right now at this moment is completely normal. You may be on a baby high or you may be having major baby blues. If you are on a high right now – cherish this special moment. At some point, the high will go away. Don’t worry – it will come back. It’s just that nothing stays perfect forever. It’s inevitable that at some point, things will get a little ugly. You’ll get through it.

If you are at a low point right now, the same thing applies to you – thankfully, it won’t last forever. I’m going to say that again, because if you are feeling low right now you need to hear it:

This feeling won’t last forever!

When my son was 6 weeks old, and I hit my low, I seriously thought it was never going to go away. That I was destined to be a mess of a mom forever. That wasn’t the case (thank God), and it won’t be the case for you. Trust me! Motherhood is filled with amazing highs and shitty lows. At some point, we all will go through this bumpy roller coaster of emotions. Nobody gets through motherhood unscathed. I like to think I got my chaos out of the way early and that maybe I will be spared in his teenage years (probably not, but wishful thinking people!).

Here is my biggest piece of advice for you new mamas: accept help – from anyone. Seriously, if the mailman offers to do a load of laundry for you, say yes! You have enough going on, just trying to figure out how to be someone’s mom. I’m going to warn you right now – you can’t do it all by yourself. You will run out of adrenaline and find yourself laying on the floor crying and trying not to pass out if you try (sound familiar?). In the beginning, let someone bring you food (or order out for a bit). If someone comes over and offers to feed or change the baby so you can shower or eat something, say yes! If your husband offers to take one of the middle of the night feedings, smile and nod your head! And I know there are going to be lots of visitors coming over to meet your new addition, but screw having a spotless house. If someone judges you for not being the hostess with the mostest, kindly show them where the mop and broom are and put their rude asses to work!

Here’s another piece of advice – come to terms that you are a little bit crazy right now. Don’t worry, we were all a little bit crazy (I was a lot a bit crazy!). You may be crying a lot, calling your pediatrician everyday, and thinking that every little decision you make for your baby is a matter of life or death. People may laugh at you or roll their eyes, but don’t pay them any mind. They were crazy once too. They just may not remember. You will learn and loosen up when you are good and ready. You carried this baby in your belly for nine months – I figure you get at least that long to obsess over the little details. Right now, you don’t think they are little details though and that’s ok – in a few months (or years), you will laugh at yourself.

That leads me to my final piece of advice. Laugh! Your baby may pee in your face and spit up all over your expensive couch. Laugh! It’s Saturday night and instead of going out to a nice dinner with your friends, you will be sitting at home with your boobs leaking all over your shirt. Laugh! You just changed your baby’s diaper and he/she explodes all over his crib sheets at 3am. Laugh (or you will cry)!

Just try to embrace the positive – you and your husband have just officially become a family! You not only have this little person to love with all of your heart, but you will look at your husband in a whole new way and fall in love with him all over again too. You are now going to see a part of him you have never seen up until this point – his paternal side. If you think you have seen sexy before, just wait until you see your husband changing a dirty diaper (you think I’m kidding?). My point here is that it really helps to have a sense of humor when it comes to being a parent. It’s complete and utter chaos – laugh at yourself, your husband and your baby. You are all going to be ok. Promise!

Congratulations new mama! Here’s to you and your little one (since you may be breast feeding, I am going to go ahead and have a drink for you – if you’re not, this is the part where you open a bottle of wine and have a glass or two). Cheers!


Maybe they're onto something!

Posted by rose_beck74 on May 7, 2015 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I had another conversation – this time with a friend who just became a new mom. She’s hormonal, she’s exhausted, she’s in pain from delivering her child, and she’s stressed because she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing (sound familiar?). Talking to her brought me right back to that place. I remember all too well feeling all of those things. Becoming a mom is freaking hard!

I started thinking about how I had postpartum anxiety and how many people suffer from that, along with postpartum depression after having a baby. Maybe my two friends from different countries are onto something. Maybe new moms do need time to heal – maybe if we had that time, postpartum issues would be less prevalent. I’m not saying families need to come in and do everything – I’m not saying that at all. I’m just saying that many new moms are struggling and we need to do something – at the very least, a conversation is in order.

In the United States, once the baby is born, all eyes are on the baby rather than the mother. What I learned from this dinner was that some other countries place their attention on the health and recovery of the new mother. They do this to ensure that she can be in the best place physically, mentally, and emotionally to care for her child. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

When I was suffering from anxiety, I beat myself up because I believed that I wasn’t as good a mom as those around me. I believed that because I was having a hard time and others weren’t (or weren’t talking about it) that I was weak. That I was less. That maybe I wasn’t cut out for this. You know what? I was wrong. Hard times do not equal weakness. Motherhood is not a competition and one mom isn’t better at it just because she’s not struggling as much as the mom next to her. There’s so much pressure to make it look easy – to make it appear that we can do it all alone. It’s not easy, and we can’t do it alone.

For some reason, we aren’t supposed to talk about our struggles. We aren’t supposed to complain or show weakness. Why? We just gave birth for God’s sake! We are responsible for a freaking helpless baby. We aren’t sleeping! Hormones are flowing through our bodies like water from the ice bucket challenge! Let’s please give ourselves a break. We aren’t weak. We’re f-cking awesome! And we need a nap!!


Playdates aren't always playful!

Posted by rose_beck74 on May 6, 2015 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

A few months ago I went on a playdate from hell. It was exactly like those horrible blind dates, where you instantly know it’s not going to work out, but you have to stay through the disastrous dinner (and maybe dessert) anyway. First playdates feel a ton like first dates, don’t they? You don’t really know the other mom or child that well. On the surface, it seems like you may have a lot in common, but until you have that first playdate, you can’t be sure. And now, it’s not just you who needs to mesh. Your freaking kids have to hit it off too. Talk about pressure!

There was a mom that I kept running into everywhere I went. We were in the same library class, ran into each other at the park, and even saw each other at the grocery store. Our kids were close in age and after a few smiles and hellos, we exchanged numbers. She invited me over to her house and I accepted.

Whenever I go to someone’s house, I like to bring something. It’s so hard because when you don’t know the person, you don’t know what they like (or what they let their kids eat). I decided to bring a snack for the kids – those organic letter cookies that all the kids usually enjoy at the other playdates I’ve been on. When we got to her house, I handed her the cookies and told her I brought a snack for the kiddos. She looked at me and said, “Oh, I already gave my son a snack before you came. Didn’t your son eat snack already?” Ummm, my son eats all day. And since food is usually a central part of the playdates I have been on in the past, I was guessing my child was going to want a snack in the two hours we would be at her house. Awkward! I’ll get back to this snack thing in a bit.

The first toy my son set his eyes on was a car in the foyer. The mom’s jaw set as she said, “Oh, we aren’t playing with that today. We are only playing with toys in the living room. The car is in here for a reason.” Ummm, okay. I ripped my son’s hands off the car and distracted him with a Mr. Potato Head in a really cool Mr. Potato Head case that I saw in the living room. I asked her if he could play with it. Her response was, “Oh, I guess. It’s just really hard to put the pieces back in the case.” So was that a yes or a no? It’s in the designated acceptable toy area. Awkward! My son played with it for a few minutes and then asked for his snack. I asked her if it was ok if he had a snack and where he should sit. She showed me a kids table and I sat him down. As my son was eating the cookies, I was sitting on the floor next to him, frantically trying to catch each crumb. I instantly sensed that this was not a house to make a mess in. While I was busy catching cookie crumbs, she was busy putting the Mr. Potato Head back in the box. My son asked if he could still play with it, but she didn’t stop putting it away. I guess playtime with that particular toy was over. Once my son was finished eating, I surveyed the table, chair and floor, making sure I picked up every last crumb. I thought I had them all and breathed a sigh of relief. As I walked away, she immediately came over and picked up a crumb and threw it out. Sh-t, I must have missed one! Awkward!

My son then spotted a bunch of rubber duckies lined up on the top of the toy kitchen. He couldn’t reach them and asked me to get one for him. Again, I asked if she minded. Her response was, “That’s what he wants to play with? Those aren’t even toys.” Ummm, in my house rubber duckies are toys. What the hell else are they? Once again, awkward! At this point, I was staring at my watch and praying it was almost time to go. Nope! Only 25 minutes had gone by. I was so screwed.

I’m used to playdates where the kids take out every toy and play with it and every snack the parents bring and eat it. The kids run around like busy little bees, while the parents sit for once and chat. The house gets messy, but it’s nothing a few minutes and a vacuum can’t fix. As long as the kids are happy and safe, the mommies can relax and gossip a bit. I’m not saying this is the right way, I’m just saying, this is what I was used to with my other mommy friends. I was not used to having to ask permission for my son to touch each toy and to have a snack that I brought. I decided to skip the duckies and brought his attention over to the blocks. She can’t have a problem with him playing with blocks, right? I even sat with him and played too, trying to ensure that no block went missing or God forbid, went into his mouth.

The icing on the cake was when she started scolding her son for not playing with my son. The kids are two and they don’t know each other. To me, it’s perfectly normal for them to play around each other. She seemed very agitated by this, telling her son, “I had him over to play with you. Start playing with him.” Her son seemed perfectly happy playing with his trains and didn’t seem to have any interest in the blocks. I was ok with that, she was apparently not. At one point, her son was standing in the corner, taking a poop, I presumed. She looked at me and said, “My son gets threatened by children who are dominant. He shuts down. That’s why he isn’t playing.” Ummm, what?!? Two seconds later, her son emerged from the corner and said, “Mommy, I pooped.” He wasn’t threatened lady, he was taking a sh-t!

I could deal with her ultra neatness and weirdness about which toys were acceptable and which ones weren’t. What I couldn’t deal with was someone making me feel like my child was somehow wrong because he wanted to do what all kids his age want to do – play! At no point was my son at all dominant towards her son. The two toddlers didn’t even interact so I didn’t know what she meant by dominant. He isn’t shy and doesn’t know that certain toys are off limits – does that make him dominant? Anyways, at that point it was time to go. My son wasn’t having fun because he couldn’t play without me up his ass cleaning everything up as he went. I wasn’t having fun because we weren’t socializing as adults, and instead, I was up my son’s ass, cleaning everything up as he went.

I think it’s important to note that I’m not saying this mom did anything wrong – she didn’t. We just didn’t click. Our ways of doing things were just too different. And to be honest, she clearly wasn’t impressed with me either, because she never called me again. It’s ok. There are some moms you meet and you just know that you have an instant connection. Then there are others, where you learn, it’s just not going to work out. Unfortunately, you often have to have that awkward first date to figure it out!

On that note I have to run! I am meeting a new mommy friend at the park. We were set up by a mutual friend (see it’s totally like dating), we had our first playdate last Friday, and it was a total match made in mommywood!