Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sounding Off: Ask me what I REALLY think about "Attachment Parenting"

Recently, TIME Magazine had a story about Dr. Sears and attachment parenting... you know the story, the one with "the cover" showing a mom breastfeeding her three year old son while standing on a stool. The image has been plastered everywhere but just in case you haven't seen it..

I read the article and it is not only about breastfeeding but "attachment parenting". Breastfeeding is one aspect of the attachment parenting method and it is obvious why they chose to play up this particular part of it. My friend Quiana recently posted a blog titled "Are you Gullible Enough" which really hit the nail on the head as far as describing what my feelings were about the cover. For weeks I've just been sharing her post and did not want to get into anything here on my blog... but those days are over folks!

Recently, Anderson Cooper had famous moms Rebbecca Romijn and Mayim Bialik on his show to discuss this cover and attachment parenting. I thought his show was very informative and it really brought to light the misconceptions about both sides of the "mommy wars" this cover has sparked. So what is attachment parenting? According to Dr. Sears' website, it is practicing the "7 Bs" -- Birth Bonding, Breastfeeding, Baby-wearing, Bedding Close by, Beware of Baby Trainers and Balance. Sounds simple enough right? Wrong! Moms everywhere are going nuts over this thing called attachment parenting.

Here's what I think -- labels.. I truly hate labels. Why do we as a society feel like we need to label everything and store it neatly in air-tight containers? Especially when it comes to parenting, this is just impossible! I happen to love Dr. Sears' website and it has been an incredibly useful resource for me since I was pregnant with Aiden but by no means do I put myself in the "attachment parenting" category. I am just a mom who tries to follow her instincts and make informed decisions for my son.  I read, I research, and at the end of the day I do what I FEEL is right for us. Sometimes, that includes aspects of the attachment parenting method and sometimes it does not.

I recently was having a conversation with someone and she chose to make some ignorant comments and pass some pretty mean judgments about my son. Nothing makes you "see red" as a mother more than when someone is speaking negatively about your child and/or your parenting method. Why do people feel they need to tell moms what they are doing wrong and more importantly, why do they need to make it a competition? You get to raise your kids, and I get to raise mine.

Yea, that's right I AM Mom Enough!

That is exactly what TIME magazine did with this cover -- "Are you Mom Enough?" They made it a competition about how to be the better mom and the sad thing is that moms all over the country fell right into that trap. The picture itself is very misleading about breastfeeding a toddler. The way his hands are dropped down to his sides, his facial expression and the awkward position he is standing in do not correctly represent extended breastfeeding in my opinion. I also think that the way the camera is angled, the way he is standing on that stool and even the clothes he is wearing were all intentionally done to make him look even older than he is.  He is 3 years old!

For me, I cannot see myself breastfeeding Aiden at 3 years old. My hope is to be completely done with it by his 2nd birthday and that is not because I think it is weird or gross... I simply feel that I selfishly want my boobs back.. I want some freedom, some space and it really is a decision that is all about ME rather than Aiden. And I am OKAY with that. I want to do what is best for him but I will not be a martyr mom either. Sometimes I will do what is best for ME too. Other moms feel just fine with breastfeeding well beyond the 2nd birthday and that is just wonderful in my opinion! There are so many benefits to both mother and baby with extended breastfeeding and if you still think that is crazy than you haven't done enough reading. The longer a mom can breastfeed, the better and baby-led weaning is actually proven to be the more natural, beneficial route. I hope Aiden weans himself but if it doesn't happen by the time he is 2, there will be some "mommy-led" weaning. Ha!

So here's what I REALLY think about the different aspects of attachment parenting:

1) Drug free birth -- Personally, I think it is kind of insane that women put so much pressure on themselves to labor completely free of pain medication. If men were the ones who gave birth this would never be an issue.. they would take the drugs! But us women, we are a different story. I say, if you can have a drug free birth and feel that is right for you, then go for it! But if you (like me) want to get an epidural, then take care of YOU mama! Delivering vaginally was more important to me than going drug free so at 2am when I was in so much and needed sleep, I got that heavenly epidural. I got some much needed shut-eye and in a few hours I was well rested and ready for the 2 hours of pushing (yes, that's right I had to push for 2 hours) it would take to deliver my child. I truly believe that had I not rested, I would have not had the strength and ultimately been taking in for C-section. I AM GLAD I got the epidural and I would do it again.

2) Breastfeeding -- this has truly been the best experience of my life and my proudest accomplishment. It was not easy and there are so many times I wanted to quit. For something so natural, it is also very, very difficult to get the hang of... I really think that every mom should at least try it and really commit for the first several weeks to trying.  Breast milk is the ideal food for babies, not man-made formula. Babies find the best possible nourishment and also comfort at the breast. Comfort in my opinion is just as important as nutrition so I do not agree with taking that comfort away from an infant who requires it. We value independence as a society way too much in my opinion. Infants are dependent on their mothers .. toddlers too... and small children... why the rush to make them independent? to make them self-soothe? I truly believe that they will learn that naturally and with time and most importantly at their own pace! Aiden will one day not need me for comfort but I do not think that I need to rush him. 13 months, we are still breastfeeding and I am okay with that.

3) Sleeping arrangements -- Mammals sleep close to one another. This goes again with what I stated above about independence. Every child is different, every child has different needs and the best I can say here is -- follow your instincts. I will not put my child down to sleep and let him cry in a room alone. Does that make him spoiled? Again, if you want to label it then go ahead... but I am confident that if he is nurtured and comforted in the way he needs to be, he will eventually grow to be a strong, independent person. He won't be 18 years old and sleeping with me and Daddy..  co-sleeping facilities breastfeeding and I personally could not do one without the other. Wake up, turn the light on, walk across the hall and breastfeed in the middle of the night? NO WAY.. with co-sleeping I barely need to open my eyes to get feedings done. This arrangement benefits us both.

4) Baby-wearing -- I love wearing Aiden in his Moby wrap.. I love cruising him around in his stroller. I don't think wearing him in a sling constantly is necessary and I certainly put him down when he was newborn. I picked him up, snuggled, him, let him sleep on my chest and all that good stuff but I also put him down. Now that he is walking, he doesn't want to be held period ("Give me freedom!!") and we love that about him. That kid will not be confined!  I think the idea of wearing your baby in a sling while doing household chores for example is kind of unnecessary unless of course your baby is hysterical when you put him/her down. Then, I totally get it. Aiden has had moments where he does not want to be put down and rather than let him scream his head off, I will pick  him up. I believe in acknowledging his needs and responding to them. It may not be the biggest dilemma in the world but in HIS WORLD it is the biggest thing. I'm going to give that the attention it deserves. I hope I can continue to give him that when he gets made fun of at school, when he doesn't get picked for a team, and when he goes through his first heart break.

5) Gentle Discipline -- we aren't really there yet with discipline because a 13 month old just isn't ready to be disciplined but we are starting to teach him about certain boundaries. I want him to know he is safe and that boundaries are necessary to keep him safe. I want to MODEL good behavior so that things like "saying please and thank you" are second nature to him. I do not play to tell him to "sit down and shut up" nor do I plan to spank him. I do not see how hitting a child teaches him not to hit others and I know for a fact that hitting children leaves emotional wounds that last well into adulthood. I cannot tell you the number of  adults I have spoken to, who recount stories of being hit as a child and the pain (emotionally) that is caused them. I realize this is controversial and I am not saying that all spanking is child abuse, but I just know so many people who have told me their story of a "spanking" gone too far. I think adults need to learn to be adults and deal with their frustrations...not expect a child to bear the burden of those frustrations.  Discipline is about learning and as Aiden gets older I know we will figure out a gentle form of discipline that works for us.

6) Balance -- Last but not least! I think this is the key point here. Parenting is about learning how to balance... you read and you get advice and you observe the needs of your child and then you put all of that information through a giant filter and work out what is best for YOUR child. No one knows your child better than you and Mrs. Smith from down the block may swear to you that "if you just get him used to it" or "if you keep trying" that your child will adapt and conform to what you want him to do... but YOU as the parent know better. You know your child's personality, you know your own needs, and you know the culture of your family.  If your child is a heavy sleeper, then go ahead and take him out for errands while he naps on the go, if your child is a light sleeper, then go ahead and give him a quiet place to sleep. Don't forget about your needs as a mom, don't forget to take some time for yourself and don't worry about what other people think.

No matter what TIME magazine says, or what Dr. Sears says, or what Mrs. Smith from down the block says...  YOU ARE MOM ENOUGH and so am I :)  So there it is folks.... what I really think about some hot topics in the mommy world lately. Your thoughts/comments are always welcome!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Ever since Aiden turned 1, we have entered a totally different realm of babyhood.. we have actually come out of babyhood and entered the realm of (tun, ta ta) TODDLER! And I guess the definition of toddler would be "one who toddles" which he definitely does but it is so much more than that. Ever since his birthday, it's like the clouds have parted and he has discovered the world in a whole new way. It is like he has discovered himself and found his voice (literally and figuratively) and there is just no stopping him now!

Aiden is into EVERYTHING! He opens the cabinets, he goes into the toilet, he runs away from us,  he knows what we mean when we say NO and has a complete fit if we say it. He falls and bumps his head, cries about it and then gets back up to do the very same thing again -- such a boy!!  My favorite is actually when he'll pick something up off the floor and slowly bring it up to his mouth, waiting for one of us to tell him not to eat it.. it is so cute and funny to watch. The thing is, at only 13 months old Aiden is starting to assert himself and his personality is shining through.

So far I can tell you that he is a complete jokester - he loves to make us laugh and does so on purpose. He is cuddly and will just run up and give hugs when he feels like it. He is determined - once he sets his mind on a "project" he keeps going until achieving his goal. He is demanding - pay attention to him! And he is vocal about his current state of happiness. He is smart and curious and therefore requires a lot to keep him busy. Books, blocks, toys, music, and yes, ELMO (Sesame Street episodes) are all in full affect when we are at home.  He loves to explore and I love watching him discover more about the world around him.

I got some good advice from a friend about letting Aiden explore while still setting up boundaries. He said that it is just better to child-proof everything and create the safest environment possible. "Make it so that you don't have to say NO"  and I loved that advice. We still tell Aiden "no" but I do try my best to make his surroundings (at home) safe for him to explore freely. I love that he is a thinker and I want to always cultivate that and encourage it. I feel like constantly keeping him in a play pen or behind a gate just so that I won't have to bother is not the best way to do that.

Aiden loves to be outdoors too. He goes to the park almost daily, story time weekly at the library, and I am so excited for the weather warming up because we got a membership to the Bronx Zoo! He just loves to look at things and touch them and he is repeating words like crazy. I know that this is because he gets exposure to so many different things and I love that.  When it is necessary for him to be confined, like in the car seat for example, he is NOT happy about it. We've found that playing music in the car and giving him a book helps and even opening his window so he can gaze outside. That will usually settle him down for a car ride. Any additional tips on that are welcome! We have some road trips planned and I will take all the tips I can get!

Anyway, so far I really LOVE being mom to a toddler =) He is learning and growing so much and I still have no idea how this has happened so fast?!

Painting with Daddy... I made this paint from flour and water so he totally ate some and I was OK with it :)

Using crayons for the first time! 

Happy in the car seat - I was making him laugh!

Sigh... I just love him...   any ideas on how else to keep my little man busy? What do you think about setting boundaries for toddlers and giving them space to explore? I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Mother's Day!!

 I am going to make this post short and sweet but I needed to write about my Mother's Day! I enjoyed a Guatemalan breakfast and a beautiful church service. I got gorgeous flowers from my hubby and adorable paper flowers at church. I got an awesome Android Tablet from my Mommy and new Converse from my hubby.  I spent the day surrounded by LOVE... it was amazing.

Here are the top 10 reasons my Mother's Day was PERFECTION:

1) Because I woke up late (9:30am) to smells of freshly brewed coffee and a yummy breakfast being prepared... to a baby who had been changed and was playing happily.

2) Because a good friend stood over the night before and we stood up chit-chatting until 2am. She was the maker of the yummy breakfast on Mother's Day morning.

3) Because my amazing, hero of a man woke up early with the baby and kept him occupied and entertained while I caught some much needed Z's.

4) Because that same man got me beautiful flowers, a heartfelt card and a new pair of converse! God bless him for knowing the way to my heart.

5) Because I got all dolled up for church and spent the morning worshiping my savior and hanging with my extraordinary church family.

6) Because I spent the evening with my sweet boy, and my beautiful mother and grandmother. We had a wonderful visit!

7) Because I got so many thoughtful, warm wishes from friends and family ... and they all made me feel so loved and appreciated.

8) Because I spent the day EXACTLY the way my heart desired. Around amazing people who lift me up, encourage me as a mother, and constantly bless me with their positive words and genuine care.

9) Because I had a day that was care free.. for that I thank my husband who took all my cares into his hands and let me do whatever would make me happy.

10) Because I chose to not care about anyone's expectations for just one day. I did what I wanted and what I felt was sincere. I just LET GO of all worries and things "I need to do" or people "I need to see"... I did exactly what I wanted and it felt sooooo good.

AND those are the ten reasons why I had the perfect Mother's Day. Sadly, I did not take any pictures because I was too busy having an awesome day. I know that makes me a bad blogger, sorry friends!

I hope all the Mommies had an amazing day too - it isn't an easy job and you are all so loved and appreciated!!


Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day Week: My Best Friend, My Mommy ...

She has taught me what it means to love unconditionally... to love sacrificially... to always forgive ... to be strong and courageous ...  My mom is my super-hero!

For most of my life, it was just the two of us... we usually shared a room and I remember countless nights spent snuggled in bed with a bowl of cereal watching a good chick flick. My mom has always been my best friend. She held me up during the most difficult times in my life.

When I came home with a broken heart, she listened to me recount the whole story and let me cry on her shoulder. She never judged me for my imperfections or turned her back on me when other people did...  she was always there, arms wide open and she still is.

When I became a mother, my bond with my own mom only got stronger. I could finally understand the way she loves me and I could finally share that feeling with her. During labor and my difficult recovery, my mom's presence was like a Godsend. She was as she has always been throughout my life -- she was my rock.

I think she is the most beautiful, kind, strong, fierce woman I know... she cries during sappy movies and when her car breaks down, she doesn't pull out her cell phone -- she gets out and looks under the hood! She is soft and nurturing but she is also tough and a force to be reckoned with.

I will always treasure our times together... our long talks, our times watching Lifetime movies or singing along with the radio in the car... on this Mother's day, I just want to say that I am so grateful for the amazing woman who is my mommy.. and I am beyond blessed to have her in my life. She is the best mom to me and grandma to my son .. and I simply could not be where I am without her.

Mommy, I love you so much.. Happy almost Mother's Day!

The Lamboys =) She is the glue that has held us together

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mother's Day Week: Selfishness gets a Reality Check

 As selfishness and complaint pervert the mind, so love with its joy clears and sharpens the vision. --Helen Keller

 This weekend is Mother's Day and I have lots of thoughts and feelings about it so I think I will write about them in a series of posts. Two, maybe three leading up to Mother's Day and of course a recap of how my celebrations went!

Something I've really been thinking about though has been selfishness. And not the kind that people usually talk about. Not the self-centered, narcissistic, lack of empathy kind that you immediately know is wrong. While that kind of selfishness certainly is out there, it isn't the kind that has me thinking. No, I'm thinking about our basic needs and desires .. the "selfishness" we exhibit on a daily basis by simply fulfilling those wants and needs.

There are times every single day, where I have put my own needs above other people. This is not something that anyone would say is wrong it is simply necessary. For example: if I have not had lunch and am hungry, but my friends want to go out I will say "I need to eat first". I have a basic need to fulfill and currently, that need goes above what others may want. You wouldn't normally call that selfishness, but according to the definition it does qualify. Sometimes it is necessary to put our own needs on the front lines.. it is prioritizing those needs along with the needs of others that can get tricky. Most people struggle with this in one way or another and I am sure you can think of times when you thought you needed to "take care of yourself" but took that a little too far. That is where selfishness overpowers empathy and consideration for others. That is where it can ugly!

Since I became a mom, I have been amazed at how quickly my selfishness has been cut out of the picture. There is simply no room for it anymore .. My basic needs and desires that I had once put on the front lines, have taken a back seat to the needs and desires of someone else and in every possible way imaginable! When my son needs something, there is no telling him "I need to eat first" or even "I need to use the bathroom first" --- now that's a reality check!

My basic needs for sleep, food, warmth, shelter, can all be met AFTER I have met them for Aiden. I'm sure many moms can relate when they think of the times they couldn't take a shower or had to scarf down a bowl of cereal because the baby needed them. Well, what has that done for your selfishness?

For me, it has caused me to see the world through completely different eyes. It has changed the way I relate to people, it has changed my reaction to news or even a sad movie.. it has changed my tolerance for others and the depth of my relationships. More importantly, it has caused me to see myself through different eyes. When I am willing to wipe the slate clean and put every  need and desire away to take care of my son, when I look at him and know that I would give up my very own life for him, I can see myself through eyes that are not my own.

My selfishness has changed since becoming a mother and that transition has not always been easy...  Sometimes a long shower or a trip to the nail salon has helped to balance things out.. but still, there is nothing that could be more important than taking care of that little boy of mine.. knowing he is happy and healthy is more than I could ever hope for.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I'm NOT a "shoe girl"...

Most of my blogging tends to cover topics like - marriage/babies/family, spirituality, friendship, current events, literature, film, and the occasional (not so occasional) rant about whatever frustrates me at the moment. Blogging is an excellent way to just get things off my chest or work through something I am pondering ... lately, I have not had much time to take to my blog and for those who follow and have missed me - I apologize! I have been very, very busy with work and with life and I have not had a moment to sit down and write about life. So I am making some time right now and guess what kind of post I have for ya? It is a post about SHOES. I know, I know, I hardly ever write about fashion except for saying that I wish someone would nominate me to be on "What Not to Wear" (Go ahead, sign me up I won't be offended)

Thing is, I am really not very fashionable... I don't have "a style", I just kind of wear what makes me feel comfortable. I have had some of my clothes for far too long and since I fluctuate so much between sizes 2-4-6-8 (who do we appreciate!!) nothing seems to fit me properly. This is why I DREAM of being on What Not to Wear. I want Stacy and Clinton to make me throw out all the crap in my closet and really set me straight. After my pregnancy, I have lost a bunch of weight and am actually thinner than I was pre-pregnancy so now I have no idea what to do. I have a bunch of old clothes and nothing really fits right. I need about 5 pairs of new jeans at least and thanks to breastfeeding, most of my tops are stretched out so it is time for a whole new wardrobe.

Since I don't have that kind of money, I have decided to slowly purge my closet of items that are just plain useless and buy a couple key things that might make me feel better. I will try to update on how that is going since I completely lack fashion sense but when going through my closet last night, I realized that even OLDER and outdated than my clothes are... MY SHOES!

I am just not a shoe girl... most women I know just LOVE to buy shoes and I actually kind of dread it. I don't enjoy the process of trying shoes on and pairing them with outfits.. and most of all, I hate to be uncomfortable in my shoes and it seems like the only shoes that are pretty are the uncomfortable ones. I inherited the "bad feet jean" from my grandmother and have always struggled with pain in my feet. I've got no arch (flat) feet and that has caused a bunch of other issues and I really, really just wish I can go barefoot.

For someone who prefers comfortable shoes you would think that I live in sneaks right? WRONG. I also do not like sneakers. Most sneakers just feel so heavy on my feet but more than that, I was raised wearing dresses/skirts every single day and never really felt like sneakers went with my dresses. This was before I discovered how much I love Converse sneakers which I think totally go with dresses. I still regret not wearing a pair of sparkly Converse slip-ons for my wedding.

I have a shoe dilemma don't I? but please, don't get it wrong - I DO WEAR SHOES. Here are some of my favorites:

Ballet flats! I actually have a polka dot pair just like these from J.Crew 

Loafers! I have a really cute navy pair from Delia's that I love

Gladiator Sandals - I have a few pairs in different colors 

My 2nd favorite type of footwear... FLIP FLOPS! I mean, come on, they are so easy and I love getting all colors from Old Navy. 

As you can see... comfort is  my main thing when it comes to shoes... so if flip-flops are my second favorite type of footwear, what is my first?? I'm surprised you haven't guessed it by now ---

UGGS!!! I don't care if you think they look ugly.. lol.. they are cute. Recently Victoria Beckham said she would never be caught wearing Uggs in public and I wanted to send her all kinds of hate mail. Listen Victoria, they are comfy and functional and lots of beautiful ladies wear them. 

Megan Fox.. yep, that is the hot chic from Transformers

SJP! Can you say "Sex and the City"??

Tina Fey - there is no one cooler than her
So now let me get back to the reason I started writing this post. I just bought myself a new pair of shoes and I THINK they might soon take a place in April's top 3 choices for footwear. They are comfy, they are adorable and they are available in all colors. They are the perfect "non-shoe girl" shoe and I am so excited...

TOM's! I ordered a black pair

I will test these Tom's shoes out and see how they measure up but so far it is looking good!