Were you aware that monsters main source of nourishment comes from grass. Also, did you know there is an Apparently a Mom Youtube Channel?
I am new to feminism in the sense that I have never thought about my beliefs or perspective as being a movement with a label. I have always just considered myself a person who believed in equality and stood up to social injustice. I wanted to make a difference, I still do. Most of my post-secondary schooling is in the field of social work. It was not until the birth of my son did I have what people might call my feminist awakening. I realized that there was in fact a label to what I stood for. There was a name for the injustice I encountered more often than I would like to admit.
As I have embarked more consciously on my feminist journey in the past year I have found myself in an interesting spot. I seem to have become more aware of my perspective and more inclined to act upon on it now that I have a child. Bringing a life into this world was a journey in itself but I now find that I am riding a slippery slope I did not realize was there. I am the mother of a boy which has coincidentally made me a more mindful feminist.
Like any good parent I try to watch what I say or do in front of my child. I want to set the right examples and hope that I am making the right decisions. It is not as easy as some parents make it look, believe me. While parenting my son I have learned more about myself in this past year than I have in all of my twenty-three years on this planet. It was suddenly too easy to see my faults, quirks, insecurities, and societal boundaries embedded in me. I am sure much of what I realized was in part due to the anxiety issues I struggled with more predominantly postpartum or maybe it all just made me more cynical.
I opened my eyes to many things in the short time my son has been here. One of the many issues I have been more aware of recently is the very real problem our society seems to have with gender roles. I am not sure if the reactions or thought processes I had were normal in the sense that the majority of parents with sons have them or I am one of the few. I found myself getting increasingly annoyed with blue clothing and people questioning my child’s gender like it made a difference. Apparently people need to know so they can fit you in a box, even before you are a year old. The problem with boxes is that not everything is perfectly square. In fact, I would wager that most things are not.
There is only so much you can do at home but I will do my best to encourage my child to be true to himself regardless of the messages he will get elsewhere. It is so wrong to place these constraints on children. I am tired of feeling a little guilty when I walk in to the “girl’s section” in the toy department to buy my son something he will enjoy. Why should I? It pains me to know that one day he may be made fun of or told he is wrong for liking the color pink, wanting to cook, or playing with a baby doll if that is what he chooses to do. It bothers me that one day it will not be okay for my son to show that he is hurting but the little girl next door will be consoled and reassured. The last I checked we are all humans and some of the most human qualities are to have feelings, opinions, and choices and to be able to act on them. In my ideal world people would just be people; there would be no glass ceiling, rape, gender roles, or prejudices. Unfortunately, we do not live in such a world and that is why I will do what I can in my own home. I do not want my child to grow up feeling like he needs to conform to the limited view of masculinity that we have. Being the parent of a son in a masculine society has made me be more aware of what I say and how I say it, not only to my son but to everyone.
And this is why I have compiled a list of things I will not say to my son:
- “Man up”- This goes right along with sayings like “grow a pair”. Everyone’s feelings are valid and should be acknowledged. Courage does not come from having testicles neither does being a leader. Setting an impossible standard of “masculinity” that every male needs to live up to is plain silly.
- “Don’t cry/ Crying is for ‘pussies’”- Since when does having a vagina mean you are the only one that is allowed to cry or show your emotions? When we are hurting it is a natural reaction to cry. It is a stress reliever and a coping mechanism. Why on earth should that be gender specific? Humans have the ability to do this, humans have feelings, and every feeling is valid.
- “No, that is a girl’s…. “- Whatever. I will not tell my son he cannot do or have anything because it is not for boys. That is just ridiculous, sexes do not own rights to colors, toys, activities, hobbies, or fashion.
- “Boys will be Boys”- I will not give my son an excuse to misbehave. There is no old boys club in my home and I expect my son to respect others no matter where he is. I will encourage my son to be inclusive. Men should not get away with acting inappropriately because of their genitals, neither should women.
My son discovered his feet a couple of weeks ago. Naturally, he has not stopped playing with them since. Have you ever looked in to a baby’s eyes the moment they discover something new? There is a spark, a light, in their eyes that was not there before. You can almost see them learning. If you have not experienced this, I hope that one day you are able to. I have been lucky enough to see those exact moments twice now. The first time he realized he had hands and the second, his feet. You know that feeling you get when you come to a realization? It just washes over you. I imagine that is how babies feel when they figure out that those funny little wiggly toes belong to them.
It is so simple, so natural, and so perfect. I am not sure what will come next. I imagine getting up on his hands and knees since he already rolls all over the place and scoot around on his stomach. The days go by so fast, although they can seem so long.
I admire him often, it has been rewarding and enlightening to watch him grow every day. I try to take it all in and adapt some of that lost child like magic in my life- like, when ten little fingers meet ten little toes and there is nothing more needed in the world.
You may have noticed people taking cute monthly pictures of their new babies for the first year of life. If you haven’t you might want to come out from under your rock, they are everywhere. It is a great way to watch your child grow in such a crucial fast paced part of life. Some pictures are super cute and others… not so much. Either way I decided to give it a shot and share my tips on how to get super cute monthly pictures to cherish as your little one grows. If you have not already guessed it, this is a DIY because who has the money or time to get professional pictures done every month?
Without further ado here are my tips:
1. Pick a theme: Without consistency how can the pictures be a series? The theme can be anything. You could use the same theme you used for the nursery. For example I used “owls” as our theme.
2.Consistency: With that being said, stick with something once you have done it. For example, do not use a theme in two pictures and not in the rest.
3. Choose how to list the month: You can buy stickers you can stick on your baby’s clothing or whatever you want to stick it on that says the number of month. You can also use blocks or a chalk board, whatever you like. I have seen some cute pictures where people have typed the text in on the picture and included milestones, likes and dislikes, etc. If you are up to it you can even make your own sign or sticker to customize it to your theme.
4. Start at 0: Start taking the photos when they are first-born. I had not decided to do them until he was a month old so, I do not have a new-born picture. I regret that because he grew so much within the first month. It is so amazing to see where they started at the very beginning.
5. A happy baby is cute: Take the pictures during a time of day your baby is happy. Make sure to have baby fed and satisfied. Who wants to try to pose or deal with a grumpy baby? Not me.
6. Keep it simple: The more complicated you make it or the more time-consuming it is the more likely you are to have a baby that is not going to cooperate. I took a total of 15 minutes setting up and taking the pictures.
7. Take multiple: I snapped quite a few pictures to ensure I could pick the cutest one. I wanted to keep him happy and smiling during the shoot so, I played with him. At the time he was not interested in playing for very long which ensured I acted fast.
8. Something to compare: I found it useful to have some sort of object by him to be able to see how big he is in comparison. We used a stuffed owl that we bought at the hospital for him. You could really use anything to do this, the owl just matched our theme and was a cute addition. It can also show milestones. He cannot hold it just yet in his first photo ( or first couple if you took the 0 month one) but as he gets older he will be able to interact with it.
9. Photoshop is your friend: If you happen to have this or a similar photo editing software it can be really helpful. I used it to add in the month sticker, correct the picture, add in a border, and add text. Who says photoshop is only good for air brushing those evil skinny models?
10. Have fun: Have fun and go with it! This can be an awesome time to make some cute memories. When you look back at the pictures they will have an added sentiment. These moments are beyond precious, soak in and enjoy every second that you can! You never get them back.
Remember, you do not need any fancy equipment to do any of this. I used my cell phone, a stuffed owl, a blanket my Grandmother made, and photoshop.
Let me know how they go! Be sure to share them with me when they are done!
Feeling a little like Super Mom the last couple of weeks. I cannot believe I am now to the point where I can actually manage to get things done that do not have to do with the baby. My little guy is a month old now and it seems like a few days ago I was a walking zombie that could not even manage to go to the bathroom without some sort of help. While I still do not get to pee as much as I would like, it is nice to have little moments to do other things for my own sanity. I never thought I would be happy to do the dishes. Sure, I could still use the million hours of sleep I must have lost and the new mom bags under my eyes prove that but you have to pick your battles.
I guess it gets easier as time goes on, you live and you learn like everything else in life. Every moment is worth it though. I might not be super productive or productive at all in a day but my life has never been more fulfilled.
My entire pregnancy I spent my time preparing in any way that I could. Making a birth plan is an important way lots of soon to be moms spend their time preparing, I was no different. I intended on having a natural, medication free, with the least possible amount of medical interventions birthing experience. As usual, nothing went as planned and shit hit the fan even before my day came. What I ended up with was being pumped full of drugs and using quite a few interventions. That is one thing I have learned in my three short weeks being a Mom. Actually, it is probably the first thing I learned in my new role; nothing goes as planned. You know what? It sucks. I am the kind of person that needs control of situations and that definitely does not happen in my life any longer. I would not change it for the world though.
As I type this I am sitting here looking over at my beautiful three week old son who is currently napping in his swing. He is perfect and I have never been more happy than at this point. This little guy is pure chaos in my life but it is just so right. Being a Mom is crazy and we are crazy to go through everything we do to be parents. I totally get it now though, these moments are so precious and are gone entirely too fast. I intend to enjoy every single moment of chaos, as hard as it might be sometimes.