As a busy mom, I don't value the standard gifts of Valentine's Day the way I did as a young bride and I think many women out there think the same way. We don't need the extra calories of heart-shaped chocolate or expensive, cut flowers that wilt and die in a few days or a store-bought card that lacks originality.
When a friend says postpartum depression is normal, I get disappointed. When a psychologist says postpartum depression is normal, I get worried. When a New York Times best selling author and former U.S. congressional candidate with hundreds of thousands of followers says that postpartum depression is normal, I get livid.
Parenting, like life, is about balance. Between independence and rules, work and play. With the authoritative dolphin style of parenting, greater self-confidence, critical thinking, good behaviour and academic performance are all achieved by encouraging collaborative communication that is both firm and flexible.
At Kids Help Phone, hundreds of kids contact us each year about sexting. Most teens make contact because they're feeling pressure to sext, or someone has shared a sext without their consent. A very large proportion of the calls are initiated after teens have already taken a sexting action and they're in crisis mode, or in desperate need of advice.
I think competition is good for us, and is critical to helping us find performances that we didn't know we had. Sometimes I feel we have become so sensitive about not leaving anybody feeling left out that we have all but obliterated competition in our schools, and to a large degree in our workplaces. Nobody gets recognized, and actually nobody feels special.
The kids are growing up, and as they do so, drifting away. Their independence is greater than their need. I think back to those days when I was smothered in children. When I knew every moment of their day. When our lives were so entwined it was difficult to see where one started and the other left off. When they were a part of me, and I was a part of them.
I look at my boy and see a sweet... empathetic kid and sometimes think to myself, "You're going overboard. He's only 11. Look at him, he would never participate, stand by or condone sexual aggression." And then I think of all the parents who probably thought the same... and I push on with the conversation.
Experts say you shouldn't praise children. I'm no psychologist, but I think they're wrong. Kids absolutely need to be praised. They deserve to be celebrated -- for the right reasons. I don't beat on to my son about how smart or handsome he is (though of course I'm biased on both counts). But when I know he has done something especially challenging, I don't skimp on the praise.
The first time I carried a child, I suddenly had this intense urge to be closer to my mom. It was hard going through a pregnancy and a stressful birth experience without my mother's guidance and support (cancer can quit now, OK?), and I keep coming up against questions I really wish I could ask my mama, but that must be left unanswered.
There is still so much misinformation on mental illness in society, especially in the workforce and in schools, where young people and older adults are stigmatized as being unproductive, lazy or exaggerating their behavior, when really they are dealing with very real mental health issues, ADD, ADHD, Autism, Bipolar or other depressive disorders. These individuals need our help, not our judgment.
As much as running your own family requires keeping things straight from an internal perspective, let's face it: sooner or later these little buggers are going to have to face the outside world and subject themselves to the judgement, which can only come from other parents, teachers, and so-called authority figures.
In our eyes, and in our kids' eyes, uncles truly rock. Thank you uncles everywhere, for being such important members of our family, for loving our kids, for helping to take care of them and for teaching our children so many things. Our kids look up to you and love having you around. We love you and we appreciate you more than you will ever know. You make our lives more fun, messy, silly and adventurous. And our kids are better for it. Thank you.
The last time I breastfed my first child, I bawled. Unbeknownst to my 13-month-old, I was about to disappear for several days, a last-resort measure to terminate a relationship that was marked by inadequate milk supply, sleepless nights, blocked ducts and metabolic chaos. She was frustrated, I was frustrated, I was losing more weight than was healthy and I had a job interview in a week. It was taking a huge toll on everyone. Heaving with sadness and guilt, I finally agreed to go cold-turkey.
You wonder if it will ever get better. Wonder, too, if there really is a light at the end of the tunnel. Wonder incessantly if you will ever have energy again. All while you also wonder if you ever will see a semblance of your former self again. I hear you, friend, and I truly feel for you. I remember those days.