Life Lessons From a Toddler

10
Gain a new perspective on life.

12
Nutella makes everything better.

14
When life gives you rainy days, play in the puddles.

9
The most memorable days end with the dirtiest clothes.

8
Stop and smell the plumerias.

6
What other people think of you is none of your business.  If you want to leave the house with chocolate all over your face, who the heck cares??

4
Always check to be sure your fly is zipped.  Nothing is more embarrassing than walking around with your diaper showing.

3
You will never regret time spent blowing bubbles.

2
Relax.

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,
I only want one thing for Christmas this year:  sleep.  You see, my toddler has forgotten how.  It took 13 excruciatingly long months to get him to sleep through the night.  5 months of sleeping bliss followed, where I felt like a human again.  And then last week happened–all sleep went straight to hell.  For all of us.  He went from asking to go “ni-night,” to screaming and refusing, literally overnight.  When we lay him in his crib awake, like we’ve done for months, he arches his back and hollers like the mattress is on fire.  I don’t know what happened to my toddler that used to sleep, but I want him back.  My husband and I are taking shifts sleeping, my son is whiney and exhausted, my sanity is completely gone and my noisy neighbors might not make it to Christmas if they wake the baby ONE. MORE. TIME.  If we could all go back to sleeping like normal people, we’d all have a Merry Christmas.

My dearest Saint Nick, if you could find it in your heart to grant us all this one simple wish for Christmas, it would be much appreciated.  If not, I would settle for a night time nanny, a long vacation, or even a hysterectomy, as the idea of having another sleep-hating child is too much to bear.

Sincerely,
Beyond Exhausted Mombie Who is NOT a Fan of Sleep Regressions.

Bullet=dodged!

A week ago, we were preparing for 2 hurricanes.  I spent all day Wednesday scrubbing the house down; I figured if we were going to be stuck in the house all weekend, it had better be squeaky clean!  On Thursday night, I filled up the bath tub and every pitcher and water bottle in the whole house, just in case.  Then we waited, bracing ourselves for the first hurricane Hawaii has seen in 20 years.

I woke up early Friday morning to wind and rain. It was gloomy all day, with random rain showers and gusts of wind.  And that was it.  The Big Island took the brunt of Hurricane Iselle, and is still trying to recover.  O’ahu only saw the edges of outer bands, and by then it had weakened to a tropical storm.  

We were slated to see Hurricane Julio a mere 2 days later, but Julio had other plans.  He tracked straight towards us, then at the last minute, he took a turn for the north as if to say, “just kidding!  Gotcha!” 

Our little slice of paradise dodged not one bullet, but TWO in a row.  The Big Island is still recovering, and there are a lot of people without power.  Many local businesses have stepped up and are making sure the victims of Hurricane Iselle are fed, and have ice and water.  It is amazing to see the aloha spirit alive and well, and bringing people together.   

It’s been sunshine and flowers all week, and for that, I am thankful.  However, we are not out of the woods just yet.  Tropical storm Karina is brewing to our east and is expected to strengthen.  There is a system just to our south that has a 50% chance of developing into a tropical storm.  It’s definitely shaping up to be quite an active hurricane season, and we still have a long way to go! 

All Aboard the Hurricane Train!

In case you haven’t heard, there are 2 hurricanes barreling across the pacific ocean with the Hawaiian Islands in their crosshairs-Iselle and Julio.  Iselle will pummel Oahu on Friday morning, and Julio will kick us while we’re down come Sunday.  Sweet.  Of course the news is having a field day with this one!  They’ve been calling it “Double trouble,” “Hawaiian one-two punch,” and “the tropical disturbance train.”  We actually made the national news, which never happens.

Having spent 4 years on Florida’s gulf coast before moving to Hawaii, hurricanes and tropical storms are just part of life.  I was born during a raging thunderstorm and grew up in tornado alley, so crazy weather is something I’m quite accustomed to.  As a result, I am not one to panic when warnings are issued, nor do I take it lightly.  Seeing a funnel cloud and being in a tornado will give you a healthy dose of respect for mother nature.

I’ve always had an odd fascination with weather.  There’s nothing I love more than a good, loud thunderstorm with pouring rain and lightning that cracks the sky wide open.  It’s dangerous, chaotic, and loud, but there’s such a powerful beauty in it all.  Crazy weather makes me feel alive.  It reminds me how big and in control God really is.  I like to think of lightning as a crack in the sky where heaven itself shines through; maybe that’s why lightning is such an incredible, blinding kind of light.

I will never forget my first tropical storm in Florida; of course, Dan was gone on a TDY, so it was just me and the dog.  I kept a close eye on the weather, secured all of our outdoor items, and made sure I had the essentials in case of a power outage.  Then the storm came in the night.  It woke me up out of a dead sleep; it was unbelievable how loud it was.  The rain was deafening, and sounded like bullets slamming into the house.  I looked out the window of course, because I like to watch storms.  The rain was literally falling sideways from the wind and the trees looked as if they’d snap right in half.  It was just a little tropical storm, yet it still packed one heck of a punch.  I can’t imagine the power of a full-blown hurricane if “just a storm” were that intense.  I was never afraid, though.  I went back to bed, the dog curled up at my feet, and kept the blinds open so I could watch the trees dance.  And everything turned out just fine; not so much as a power outage.

Fast forward to this week:  Here we are in Hawaii nei, a mere two months into hurricane season, during El Niño, with two storms closing in on us.  It is extremely rare that Hawaii is ever in the path of a hurricane to begin with, due to the wind patterns and cooler water temperatures.  The last one was Hurricane Iniki, back in the 90’s…also during el Niño, I might add.  It slammed into Kauai as a category 4.  So, to have TWO of them in a row like this is unheard of…and quite possibly the first occurrence in known history.  Just a matter of days ago, Iselle was whopping category 4, but is now down to a 1, while ol’ Julio has only strengthened.  With the forecast still predicting the Islands to be in the path of both hurricanes, I thought it wise to get ready.

R and I braved the commissary to grab a few essentials and it was an absolute mad house!  Just getting down an aisle proved difficult, and the shelves were looking pretty bare.  I grabbed what I could from the slim pickins left scattered on the shelves.  I made sure to get toilet paper, and of course, a case of blue moon beer.  Then we stood in a very long line.  Poor R was so tired; he missed his nap, and we had just waited 2 hours at the doctor’s office for absolutely nothing.  I was feeding him fruit snacks to keep him calm as we stood in line, and I had a migraine getting worse by the minute.  (We’ve all been trying to get over an awful cold for a week now, so me and R were feeling like crap to begin with…poor baby).  The line was wrapped around a display, and some old man comes from the other direction and parks his cart in front of mine, cutting right in the middle of a very long line.  I scooted up…and then he scooted up to stay in front of me!  Really???  I did not have a single shred of patience left in my body at that point.  I kind of flipped out on him, which is extremely out of character for me, and said, “the line is over here, but GO AHEAD!!!”  He knew better than to argue with me about it, especially after seeing that I had a little one with me, so he cut in front of the lady 2 shopping carts behind me instead.  It was almost our turn and the kid in front of me was kind enough to let me go ahead of him–I didn’t ask him to, he just offered out of nowhere!  Faith in humanity somewhat restored.

Finally, we got in the truck to leave the craziness!  Oh wait..just kidding!  Here on Oahu, rush hour lasts waaaay longer than just an hour.  We were getting on the freeway just in time to come to a dead stop and crawl allllll the way home.  It took a good hour to drive less than 10 miles.  By then my head was absolutely throbbing and the sun was shining right into my eyes making it worse.  Raylan was fussing off and on, and refusing to just go to sleep like any other normal tired person would do.  So I resorted to opening another bag of fruit snacks to buy myself some peace and quite for a few minutes before my head exploded.

After an eternity of inching our way home, we heated up some leftovers and Raylan gladly took a quick bath and went right to bed.  I popped some migraine pills and ended up cleaning out the fridge and pantry for hours.  All of our canned goods are nice and organized now, and I’ve been filling up Ziploc bags of ice from the ice maker in case we lose power and need to use the cooler.  Today, I focused on securing the loose items in the yard, filling up every pitcher and water bottle I could find, gathering all the flashlights, candles, lighters, emergency radio and batteries together, and scrubbing the whole house from top the bottom.  If we’re going to be stuck here all weekend, I at least want the place to be squeaky clean.  I even gave the dog a bath, much to his dismay.  The weather may be a mess, but I’ll be darned if my house and dog are a mess, too!   Haha!

I find that being prepared for things like this takes most of the fear out of it.  When those storms roll in, I will be confident that we’ve done our part to be ready–the rest is the good Lord’s hands.  When the power gets knocked out, I won’t be stressing about how I will feed my family, see in the dark, or get water.  We’ve educated ourselves on the flood zones, evacuation shelters, and we stay aware of what’s going on with the weather.

There is a big difference between being prepared, and panicking.  For some reason, people seem to think they’re one and the same.  If you go to the store because a hurricane is coming, you’re “freaking out”!  And that’s not always the case; some of us are just being smart, not scared.  I’ve seen countless statuses and comments on social media along the lines of, “this storm isn’t going to be that bad, just saying..” or, “Lol look at these crazy people running to the stores and gas stations!  People are freaking out for nothing!  Hawaii doesn’t have hurricanes!” as a cat. 4 hurricane churns straight towards us.  These people are delusional if they think they are above mother nature.  Mother nature always has the last laugh.  Their “I’m too cool to be prepared” attitude could quite literally be the death of them.  Apparently, people have learned NOTHING from hurricane Katrina, or hurricane Iniki.  Natural selection at it’s finest…

It’s almost eerie how nice the weather has been.  If it weren’t for modern technology, we’d be blissfully unaware of the powerful storms just off shore.  As I ran my errands yesterday, I noticed the blue sky, sunshine, and the gently swaying palm trees.  But the air felt different, charged with a strange energy.  I could feel the uncertainty, the nerves, of everyone around me in that store.  The collective anticipation of Iselle and Julio is hanging thick in the air, and it makes everything look different.  The ocean, the air, the trees, the clouds, though peaceful now, could turn violent and angry in just a matter of hours.  So now we wait…

 

 

 

Hurricanes Iselle and Julio taking aim at us.

Hurricanes Iselle and Julio taking aim at us.

 

Shoppers preparing for the storm, and stores running out of water.

Shoppers preparing for the storm, and stores running out of water.

Deceivingly beautiful Hawaiian day..the calm before the storm.

Deceivingly beautiful Hawaiian day..the calm before the storm.

Part of our food and diaper stockpile.

Part of our food and diaper stockpile.

When Hawaii Isn’t Paradise

homeless1 (civilbeat.com)
O’ahu Homeless Camps.  (Photo Courtesy Of Civilbeat.com)

Hawaii has a dirty little secret.  You won’t see it on the vacation brochures, or the post cards.  It lies just beyond the walls of your $600/night hotel suite, across the street from the fancy stores and tourist trap restaurants.  Lost in the shuffle of happy tourists is a not so happy reality–homelessness.

Contrary to popular mainland belief, not every one sits around sipping mai tais, surfing and living it up.  For people out on the streets, it is far from paradise.  They are struggling to survive and to feed their families.  They are lucky to have a tarp over their heads to shield them from the brutal tropical sun and rain storms.  Some of them have very young children and homeless shelters, which are already overcrowded, only want to separate them.  Others work all day and still can’t afford a place to sleep at night.  Some have immigrated from places like Micronesia, in search of a better life, only to be met with language barriers, racism, and unsuccessful attempts at landing a job.  Without an income, they can’t afford a place to live or the extremely overpriced plane ticket back home.  Some are unable to obtain the psychiatric medication they rely on in order to function in society; people end up running from them instead of helping them.

When I arrived on O’ahu three years ago, I was shocked at what I saw: homeless people living in parks, bus stops, under bridges and on beaches. The sidewalks downtown were lined with shopping carts, tarps and make-shift shelters.  All of their belongings could fit into a single trash bag.  I had no idea this was such an issue in Hawaii; I was mistakenly led to believe that Hawaii was nothing but sunshine, palm trees and total paradise…that life would be better just for having the privilege to live here.  But that couldn’t be further from the truth.  I was blindsided.

I see homelessness every single time I leave the house.  I wish I were exaggerating, but sadly I am not.  There is a family just outside our neighborhood, a couple with 2 school-aged boys, living in their minivan.  They have blankets and towels over their windows as curtains, and everything they own crammed inside.  All four of them sleep in the van every night, and in the morning, the boys walk across the street to go to school.  A bunch of us in the neighborhood put money together for them around the holidays, so they can buy their kids something for Christmas, or get new clothes or food.  One family down the street even invited them over for Christmas dinner.  I remember driving by and noticing they’d hung a few ornaments on the chain-link fence behind their van, trying to make the holidays a little happier for their kids.

I used to ride the bus to work downtown.  The bus route took us straight to the homeless shelter.  There were so many of them camped out under trees and on benches because the shelter was too full.  The lucky few with $2.50 in their pocket would board the bus…maybe to find a new location, look for food, or even to go to their jobs that don’t pay nearly enough.  In Waikiki, they line the sidewalks, selling magazines or jewelry to make money for their next meal.  They camp out next to newspaper stands and sleep next to garbage cans.  You don’t see this on your vacation pamphlets.  The travel agency photo shops that little tidbit out of the picture, so you only see sunny beaches with diamond head and a rainbow in the background.  Heaven forbid they show the real Hawaii and lose money when the tourists go elsewhere!  As usual, it’s all about the money.

Just last week, we drove through Honolulu on our way to zoo.  In Chinatown, homeless camps lined the sidewalks and parks.  I spotted a woman at the park in her bra, taking a “bath” in the drinking fountain.  This poor woman has to bathe on the side of busy street, with everyone watching.  I get a hot shower in the privacy of my own home every day, and she gets a cold drinking fountain in public.  I instantly felt like crap for complaining about my small house and my barely-working hot water heater.  I am lucky to have any of those things!

The sad part is, a lot of these people DO have jobs.  So before you write them off as “lazy freeloaders,” you have to realize that it’s just not the case for most of them.  Hawaii is not cheap.  It costs a very pretty penny to live here.  One job isn’t always enough to cover living expenses.  We pay quite a bit more for everything here: gas, electricity, rent, and even a gallon of milk.  We are military and get a cost of living allowance and still live paycheck to paycheck.  It’s so different from life on the mainland.  Rent alone can eat up your entire monthly paycheck.  I actually know someone who went through this; they had a full time job and slept in the park at night.  It’s horrible what the high cost of living does to people here.  There was a story recently about a homeless family; the man had suffered a heart attack and he couldn’t keep up with his fast-paced job afterwards.  He lost his job as a result, and could no longer support his family.  A mere 3 months later, they were all living on the streets.  One of the kids is only 3 years old.  Can you even imagine?  It could happen to any of us–we are just a heart attack or job lay off away from being homeless. Especially here, where you’re stuck on an island with no family and nowhere to go.

It doesn’t help that the state is very money hungry and finds ways to siphon money out of it’s residents.  (For example: the state requires that you get your car safety checked and registered.  They charge for both, and those prices go up all the time.  You can’t get the registration without the safety inspection.  If you fail the safety, you have to pay to fix the problem and pay for ANOTHER safety inspection until you pass.  If it takes 5 safety inspections to pass, you pay 5 times.  Once you cough up the safety check fee, you have to stand in a very long line and fork over more cash to get the car registered.  And don’t even get me started on the outrageous taxes involved!  This is something that must be done yearly, and everyone dreads it.)  The government requires us all to jump through hoops, AND we get to pay for the hoops, too.  That, coupled with the high cost of living, is only adding to the homeless population.  I don’t know where all of the state’s money goes, because it sure doesn’t go towards education or helping the homeless.  But  that’s another topic altogether.

The city of Honolulu thought the homeless camps would deter tourists and inconvenience anyone trying to use the sidewalk, so they had the bright idea of doing “sweeps”.  Basically, HPD tapes off the homeless camps and then takes away everything behind the tape.  The problem has only worsened since the sweeps started.  People’s IDs, birth certificates and important documents that are necessary to obtain a job or financial help, are taken during the sweep.  Now they are worse off than before!  Good job, city of Honolulu.  I read an article in the local news that said the rookie cops would actually be in tears doing these sweeps, and would come back with clothes and food for the homeless families that they just had to take everything from.  It seems like the city is literally trying to sweep the problem under the rug.  I hope they come to their senses soon, especially now that the local media is shedding so much light on the issue lately.  These people don’t need what little they have taken away-they need help!  Maybe all this money the state takes from us at every turn can go to building more homeless shelters, putting support systems in place for immigrants, and adding family units to existing shelters so they don’t have to be separated.

Next time you think we have it made because we live in Hawaii, think again.  The beaches and rainbows are beautiful, but they don’t exempt Hawaii from homelessness and struggle.  Even those of us that are lucky enough to have a roof over our heads still have plenty of problems.  When you actually live here, you have to work for it.  There is no sitting around on the beach or surfing 24/7.  You spend most, if not all, of your week working for the money to afford the gas to even drive to the dang beach.  To say that someone’s life is better because they “get to live in Hawaii!”  is completely insensitive, obnoxious and down-right delusional.  Hundreds of people who “get to live in Hawaii” don’t have a place to sleep or food to eat.  I am tired of the stereotype that life is “so much better” here because we live in “paradise.”  It’s not paradise for the lady bathing in a public drinking fountain.  It’s not paradise for the family raising their young children on the streets or in a minivan.  Your geographic location doesn’t give you immunity from being dealt a bad hand in life.

If you have a roof over your head and food to eat, you have no idea how lucky you are.  Every single time I pray, I thank God that I have a house to live in and that I don’t have to raise my son under a tarp on the pee-stained sidewalks of Honolulu.  I get a reality check every time I leave my house and see that poor family living in a van in that creepy parking lot, or the old man camped out alone on the side of Kamehameha Highway.  These people don’t need your judgment, they need your compassion.  Help a homeless person when you can, don’t stereotype people based on where they live, and most importantly, don’t take your blessings for granted.  Be thankful for what you have today, because it could all be gone tomorrow.

Goodbye.

milquote

There is one word we have to say a lot as a military family…the dreaded “G” word: Goodbye.  We had to say it to some of our best friends just last night.  It never gets easier.

Being a military family means you never stay anywhere longer than 3 or 4 years.  You move, your friends move, and your visits with family are never long enough and the goodbyes are always difficult.  As soon as you find a good friend, one of you gets orders.  It never fails.  It’s just the way it goes. 

When you’re the one with orders, you have to leave every single friend you’ve made at that base.  You have to say goodbye to everyone and everything you know, and go off into the great unknown.  You have no idea what the next base will be like.  It’s like jumping off a cliff, not knowing what is at the bottom.  PCS moves are terribly stressful, thanks to the house inspections, TMO appointments, briefings, out-processing and everything in between.  Your whole life gets packed into boxes by strangers.  The house that just became home, is now empty and sad.  You hand over the keys and are officially homeless for weeks, even months, until you get to your next base and find a place to live.  You bounce around from hotel to hotel, and even the guest rooms of family or friends.  By the time you get a place and all of your stuff, you are sick of airplanes, rental cars, hotels and fast food.  You have never been happier to drive your own car and sleep in your own bed.  You are in a strange place, and get lost every time you leave the house.  The people there talk funny, and you can’t pronounce the street names or find the dang commissary.  You know absolutely NO one and your families are hundreds, even thousands, of miles away.  It’s fun to explore and do things that you couldn’t do at the last base, but once the newness of it all wears off, the homesickness hits you like a ton of bricks.  You miss your old life, your friends, even your job more than you thought you would.  After a few months, you slowly get used to your new home and make some amazing friends.  Before you know it, it’s time to go through it all over again.  You’re there just long enough to get attached.

Then there’s the flipside–being the one that’s left.  When you are so far away from family, your friends become your second family.  You see movies together, go out to eat, your kids become buddies, and you spend holidays at each other’s houses.  They become such a huge part of your life.  Then one day, your friends break the news, sadness in there eyes; “So…we got orders today.”  And it’s like you’ve been punched in the gut.  You try to picture life without them, but you can’t.  Actually, you don’t even want to think about it.  So you go on with life, making the most of what little time you have left to spend with them.  You try not to dwell on it, you tell yourself you’ve been through this before and that it will be easier this go around.  You try to ignore the loudly ticking clock hanging over your head, counting down the days.  Next thing you know, there’s a moving truck parked in front of their house, and they are gone, just like that. 

Every time you walk the dog, you see their empty house.  For a split second, you forget and stop to wave, only to realize their car isn’t in the driveway.  You take your son to the park, and he plays by himself instead of with his life-long friend.  You sadly notice the empty spot at the picnic table where your friend used to sit, keeping you company as the boys played.  Everything reminds you of them and makes you happy and sad all at once.  You drive through the base and see Will and Annie’s old house, occupied by strangers now. You remember sitting on that very lanai, talking and laughing until the wee hours; having Thanksgiving dinner there, and playing cards.  You go to park 3 doors down, and see Chris and Lauren’s empty house.  You remember making s’mores around the fire in that back yard, playing balderdash and spending Halloweens and Christmases there.  You see Zech and Ashley’s kids on facebook, growing like weeds and it kills you that you can’t be there in person.  You see their familiar house in the background of those pictures, and remember all the good times spent there, celebrating New Year’s in your pajamas and having dinner together just because.  You see pictures of your old friends hanging out without you, and it makes you miss them even more.

It’s far from easy, but it’s part of what we signed up for with this military thing.  You just never know– our next base could be within driving distance of theirs!   I always tell myself 2 things when someone moves:  “How lucky we are to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard,” and, “It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later!”  It sounds cliché, but it’s true.  Each and every friend we’ve made has a special place in our hearts forever.  I would rather have a short time to spend with them than to have never met them at all.  Without the military, we wouldn’t have all these amazing people in our lives.  Even though all of our lives go on, thousands of miles apart from each other in several different time zones, we never forget a single one of them.  Thanks to modern technology, you can easily stay in contact.  They’re all a text message or phone call away.  But it’s just not the same.  Those precious moments spent in person, making memories and enjoying life, are absolutely priceless.  If anything, it’s taught me to make the most of every second you have with someone.  Live today like you’re getting orders tomorrow.

5 Moms You Meet Online

1. The Bitter Formula Feeding Mom.  This mom either couldn’t breastfeed or chose not to.  There are a few not-so-nice moms in her life that have given her hard time about it.  Every time she sees a “benefits of breastfeeding!” infographic pop up on her facebook feed, she gets annoyed.  She takes it as a personal attack on her choice to formula feed, instead of seeing it for what it really is: imformation based on facts.  It doesn’t even have to put down formula for her take it personally.  It is so unfortunate that moms judge each other so harshly.  Even though the breastfeeding moms made the formula mom feel like crap, the formula mom still has a choice here.  She can choose to let them get to her, and to be bitter.  OR she can choose to ignore them, to stay confident in her ability to do what is best for her family.  Formula feeding mom, not all of us breastfeeders are crazy judgy-judgersons.  Not all of us look down on you for you decision.  So please, don’t write us all off yet.  Don’t give up on breastfeeding in the future because of one bad experience.  You are doing a great thing by even feeding your baby in the first place.  There are babies born every day to parents who do not want them, and they are left for dead.  There are babies born in third world countries that don’t have access to formula if breast milk isn’t an option.  We are lucky and we don’t even know it.  How you nourish your baby is not an indicator of how much you love them.  Hang in there and don’t be bitter.  You don’t need approval from anyone!

2. The “I have more kids than you and I’m going to let you know it!” mom.  This mom thinks her life is so much harder than yours, and in some twisted way this gives her bragging rights.  She has more kids than you, and somehow this makes her super-mom.  She says things like this on a regular basis:  “Just wait till the second one comes along!”  “If you had four boys, you’d understand!”  and “Well, you only have one, so you don’t know how hard it really is to have kids.”  She makes you feel like you’re not a “real” mom unless you are raising an army.  This mom’s facebook is full of check ins at various parks and sporting events, and pictures of grass-stained, trophy holding kids.  She is a major know-it-all, and the queen of unsolicited advice.  She has forgotten what it’s like to bring baby #1 home from the hospital; she’s forgotten what it’s like to assume the new role of “mother” because it’s not so new for her anymore.  She forgets what it feels like to bear the weight of parental responsibility for the very first time.  She doesn’t remember that having just one child is challenging in itself.  This mom can be annoying and condescending, but give her a break.  She puts on the “I am super-mom!” façade to hide how much she is really struggling.  She’s completely lost herself in her kids and doesn’t know who she is if she’s not running around to soccer games and play dates.  She could probably use some support, adult conversation and maybe even some help.  Her advice might be unwanted, but she really is trying to help; after all, she’s been there several times over and probably knows what she’s talking about.  Invite her to a girls night out and pour her a tall glass of wine–you might be surprised at how cool she really is!

3. The “crunchy” attachment parenting mom.  This mom doesn’t own a stroller because she wears her baby 24/7 (chances are pretty good that her facebook profile picture is evidence of this).  She only buys “organic” this and “natural” that.  She co-sleeps, cloth diapers and breastfeeds till age 3, at least.  She also does not vaccinate or use modern medicines–she’s all about the essential oils and herbal remedies.  She probably traded her vaccine-pushing pediatrician for a holistic doctor.  She will be the first to tell you that coconut oil and breastmilk can cure anything and everything.  She is the admin of attachment parenting facebook groups, and her status probably reads: “Just made vegan, organic, gluten free granola bars with fresh picked berries for the kids’ lunches!”  She is horrified to see you feeding happy meals to your kids or bringing sugary cupcakes to playdates…”Do you know what’s in that?!?”   A lot of people look at her like she is crazy and over the top.  People have told her a billion times that the baby needs to learn independence and should sleep on her own, that breastfeeding after 1 year is weird, and that she must not really love her kids if she won’t vaccinate them against diseases that can be prevented.  She has heard all of this and more, but it doesn’t stop her.  She is a strong woman who thinks for herself instead of going with the norms of society.  Having a mind of your own is a good thing to teach your children!   She is honestly doing what she believes is best for her family, just like you.  The reason she doesn’t vaccinate IS because she loves her kids; just like you do vaccinate yours because you love them.  You may not agree with her against-the-grain parenting style, but that’s ok.  Keep in mind that she has a lot of wisdom to offer and is happy to share it if you ask.  Instead of telling her she’s crazy for baby wearing, ask her why she does it.  You might learn something and be pleasantly surprised. Give the coconut oil a try; it just might work!  Don’t write this mom off as crazy–learn from her! 

4. The “kids need to learn independence!” mom.  This mom is attachment parenting’s polar opposite.  She is all about the ferberizing/CIO method.  If she chooses to breastfeed, she puts an stop to it by 6 months.  She has a regular sitter or daycare provider from day one.  This mom is an independent woman and has a career.  She puts the “power” in power suit and wouldn’t be caught dead in a mini-van.  She gets a lot of judgment from other moms, especially stay at home moms.  She has been accused of putting herself or her career ahead of her baby.  She gets lectured on the dangers of the CIO method.  Breastfeeding moms tell her that she gave up on nursing too soon.  While this may be true of some working moms, it’s definitely not true of all of them!  This particular mom decided to continue her career so she could put money away for her daughter’s college fund.  She grew up poor and doesn’t want her child to suffer like she did.  She works to give her baby a good life, to make sure she has everything she will ever need.  She believes teaching her independence will make her a successful adult.  She is also quite aware of how the CIO method works and has gone about it correctly.  She does all of this not because she is selfish, but because she is putting her child first.   

5. The no-shame-in-her-game breastfeeding mom.  This mom is proud to breastfeed.  She has done her research and knows how beneficial it is to mom and baby alike.  She will not hesitate to whip out a boob in public if her baby is hungry.  She doesn’t use a cover and she doesn’t care.  She refuses to nurse her child in a dirty public bathroom, or cover them with a hot blanket in 90 degree weather.  If baby’s hungry, baby’s getting fed.  It doesn’t matter who else is around or where she is.  She puts up with a lot of rude comments from by standers, flight attendants, store employees, and even family.  Not everyone supports her decision, but she stands firm in it nonetheless.  This mom is not out to seduce men with her lactating nipples, or cause a scene in public for attention.  She is not disgusting or inappropriate.  She is feeding her baby.   End of story.  If this mom bothers you, put a blanket over your own head.  Or better yet, see her for the strong mama she is.  After all, she is putting her child’s needs first, ahead of the “comfort” of rude strangers.

Moms, give each other a break.  If I raise my child differently, don’t take it as an attack on your own parenting style.  We all come from different walks of life, backgrounds, cultures and experiences.  We each have our own unique perspectives on this motherhood thing.  However, we do have one thing in common–we want the very best for our babies.  We just have different ways of going about it.  And that’s ok!  So stop with all the bashing and judgment.  If you’re against the Ferber method, then don’t use it; no need to give another mom a tongue lashing over it.  Just as each mother is different, each child is different.  What works for my child may not work for yours.  They are unique individuals just like us.  How often do you see dads having breastfeeding vs. formula debates or blowing up at each other because one dad cloth diapers and the other doesn’t?  Never.  (Can you imagine?  “You started solids at 5 1/2 months old?  That’s it, Carl!  We can NOT be friends anymore!”)  They don’t start wars over this stuff like moms do.  We could learn a lesson from dads; do the best thing for your kid, and don’t compare your parenting to someone else’s.  The end of “mommy wars” starts with you.  Be the kind of mom you would want to meet.