Three years ago, I introduced a job board to my children. Foolishly, I thought it would lighten my workload. I thought by sharing household tasks with my three children, I wouldn't be so exhausted or stressed out by day's end. I was sorely mistaken.
You see, the purpose of the job board is NOT to make life easier. It is actually easier to wash the dishes myself rather than repeatedly remind my daughter to do her job. The purpose of the job board is not to speed the completion of household tasks. Seriously. Have you ever watched a five-year-old fold clothes? It takes FOREVER. The purpose of the job board is to teach, build confidence, and set expectations.
So, how does it work? I list age-appropriate jobs and assign children to each task. Some jobs like dusting, polishing, take out the trash and clean the toilet rotate each week. Other jobs are assigned to all of the children, such as putting the laundry away. The job board has gimme jobs such as, brushing teeth and drinking water because I don't want every task to be hard.
Hopefully, one day, the time invested in teaching my children how to maintain a home and work as a team will pay off.
Funny how the click of a mouse can change your life and the lives of others forever. I became interested in health and nutrition while I was in college and desperately trying to shed the Freshmen 15. I read books, listened to lectures and combed through medical journals. Several years later I received a newsletter in my inbox. I was pregnant with my first child so I was especially interested in the results of a study about babies’ health and breastfeeding. I clicked where the newsletter said “read more,” and my life hasn’t been the same since.
That link led me to a review about a book called The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. I had zero experience. I had not thought about breastfeeding the baby I was carrying. I didn’t know any breastfeeding mothers. I had never even seen anyone breastfeed a baby! But the book’s excerpt had me hooked and I had to learn more.
As natural as it is for women to breastfeed their babies, it is not a skill that women naturally possess. It is a skill and an art that mothers have to learn and often need help with. La Leche League’s classic book,
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, is published by The Penguin Group. It was originally published in1958 and has been revised many times to include more scientific findings about the benefits of breastfeeding and to reflect the changing societal roles of women and men in child rearing.
It is a magnificent tool for teaching women the mechanics of breastfeeding and how to overcome common obstacles.
The book’s format allows the reader to quickly and easily find information. It begins by expressing the importance of breastfeeding and the many benefits for both mother and child. The text explains how breastfeeding is not just about feeding babies. It is a form of mothering that extends well beyond the act of feeding. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding explains the depth of connection and communication shared between a breastfeeding mother and her baby in a way that is difficult to truly understand without experiencing it. Some people criticize the book because it approaches breastfeeding from an attachment parenting perspective, but I appreciate the emphasis on keeping the baby close to the mother to successfully feed on demand. The text also provides information about pumping and storing breast milk for mothers who must or choose to separate from their babies, usually to return to working outside of the house. It offers a lot of support and gives important information detailing how to maintain a breastfeeding relationship after returning to work. It goes into detail about selecting a proper pump and how and when to introduce a bottle to a breastfed baby while still maintaining a breastfeeding relationship. The book does glamorize staying home with the baby and I can see how a mother who is working as a necessity rather than a choice may long to be a stay-at-home mother after reading it, but it is not critical of mothers who can’t or don’t want to remain at home.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding devotes a portion of the book to nursing in public. There is such hostility towards mothers who breastfeed in public. It is nice to see a book offer much-needed encouragement, especially to new mothers. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding explains how important it is to have a network of support to build confidence and to maintain a successful breastfeeding relationship. It urges readers to attend La Leche League meetings even before giving birth and to get support from more experienced mothers. Next, the book discusses birth and how some medications and interventions can affect the mother’s ability to breastfeed. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding presents a complete and realistic view of breastfeeding. It is honest about the difficulties that often occur during the first six weeks: cracked/bleeding nipples, uncertainty of whether your body is producing enough milk, loneliness and isolation, self-doubt, mastitis and more. It is very sympathetic to the feelings of a new mother and offers encouragement and practical advice. It contains information for both stay-at-home and working mothers. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding addresses aspects of breastfeeding from pregnancy and birth, early infancy, nursing toddlers, tandem feeding, nursing difficulties, death and complications, weaning, and even discipline. It contains relevant and important information for all breastfeeding mothers. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding is an excellent resource and offers much-needed support and encouragement to mothers and fathers
The journey that women embark on during pregnancy is full of many twists and turns, both physically and metaphorically. It is a time of great change as ligaments loosen, pelvic alignment shifts, emotions run wild, and hormone levels fluctuate. Yoga can help a laboring woman find inner peace and prepare her mind and body for the climax of the voyage, the birth of her child. Yoga can be a fantastic tool to achieve natural childbirth as it promotes deliberate breathing, meditation, visualization and movement. It helps the mother to focus inward, listening to her instincts as she works with her baby for a successful birth.
Women experience many significant changes during pregnancy. One of the most obvious changes they experience is weight gain, especially in the abdominal region. The growing belly shifts the woman’s center of gravity causing many women to sway and strain their backs. Yoga promotes good posture and a strong core, allowing women to better support themselves in a manner that doesn’t cause muscle strain. A pregnant woman’s growing uterus can also shift and apply pressure to digestive organs, impeding digestion and causing unwanted side effects. Yoga can help reverse this process and restore healthy digestion.
Some women have difficulty achieving restful and sustained sleep during pregnancy. Practicing yoga can help women sleep more peacefully by providing them an opportunity to release stress and relax more fully before retiring for the night. Yoga helps to relax both body and mind, promoting a general sense of well-being. It is a time for mothers to slow down and focus on the baby growing inside, building a connection between mother and baby that is especially helpful during birth. Yoga promotes body awareness and helps mothers tune in to their intuition in order to better understand her own and her baby’s needs.
Yoga energizes the body, calms the mind and balances emotions. As mothers visualize a successful and satisfying birth they build confidence and courage. Practicing yoga prepares women for childbirth by teaching them acceptance and to focus on the present moment, breathing through one contraction at a time.
During pregnancy, women experience a significant increase in blood volume. Stretching and deep breathing exercises such as those done during the practice of yoga promote circulation of blood and oxygen throughout the body. Slow and deliberate breathing is beneficial during labor, allowing the mother to relax her muscles even during stressful or frightening situations. Deep stretching increases flexibility, allowing the mother to remain in positions such as squats and lunges for longer periods of time. Deep stretches that open the pelvis promote a speedier and less painful labor.
Prenatal yoga is an excellent exercise to prepare women planning to use yoga during birth. Many of the same poses used in a prenatal yoga class are also used with yoga birth. There are specific yoga positions that can be especially helpful during labor. Cat Pose is a yoga position that can help rotate the baby into the anterior position, alleviating back labor and avoiding dystocia. In between contractions, Child’s Pose opens the pelvis, encouraging the baby to descend through the birth canal. Another position that is beneficial during childbirth is squatting. Squatting widens the birth canal and works with gravity to help the baby to descend faster.
There's something special about kids and their dogs. My kids grew up with a dog that we all loved very much. His name was Taz. My daughter and Taz were inseparable, best friends.
As years went on, Taz grew old and no longer had the energy to play with my daughter. Instead, he kept a watchful eye on her from the front porch. A mass developed on his chest that we later learned was bone cancer. With arthritic hips and advanced age, the best we could do was keep him comfortable.
Taz eventually lost his ability to walk. The pain medications became ineffective, even at the highest dosage. One night Taz began screaming and howling in agony. We took him to the vet's office where the vet confirmed that the cancer had spread to his spine. Taz was suffering.
Euthanizing the family dog was difficult even though we knew we were ending his pain and suffering. It was especially difficult because my husband and I had to tell our young children that Taz was going to die. They were comforted by having the opportunity to say good-bye. They hugged him and gave him treats. Then they said good-bye one last time.
Birth and death seem like direct opposites; however, they share some similarities. Birth and death are transitions. When I had my first child, I transitioned into motherhood. My old sense of self died. Moments after my daughter was born, I delivered the placenta. I inspected it with my midwife. The placenta was, in a sense, dying at that moment of my daughter’s birth. Its job of sustaining my baby’s life while in my womb was complete. I felt a sense of gratitude as I looked at it. I didn't want to discard such a precious organ as medical waste. It deserved something better, but I didn't know what. I stored the placenta in my the deep freezer for safe keeping until I could figure out how to honor it.
When Taz died, we had a short burial ceremony in our backyard. I think by including our children in the burial ceremony, they were able to understand death better. My daughter wrote Taz a letter and placed it in the grave with him. Then I went to the freezer and pulled out my daughter's placenta that had sustained her life while I carried her in my womb. I placed her placenta in the grave next to Taz and whispered, "Job well done."
Living the JACK'd Life
I am a certified birth doula (BAI) in Charlotte, NC . I provide information and support to pregnant individuals and couples so they can have satisfying and empowering births. I am a married mother of 4 trying to navigate life, unafraid of sharing my truly JACK'd up missteps.