Do You Follow The DWYGD Parenting Style?

It's Ollie Wonka!

One of the hardest things about being a new parent for me was trying to follow all the insane amount of expert advice, and four hundred different "right ways" to hold, rock, wrap, change, carry and feed my infant. Then to add insult to injury, many times my instincts told me to try something else. But, no. I wanted to be the perfect mom, so I followed the experts over my instinct.

Oh, if I could go back and slap myself. I look back and think, HOW FU*KING DUMB?  That internal mom-instinct is a gift like no other and I denied it. Please, if you learn anything from this blog, FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCT! Especially because there are four million published "parenting experts and medical professionals" contradicting each other. So just when you decide you are going to follow one doctor's advice, another one tells you how horrible it would be for your child's development to follow any method but theirs.

Thankfully, I started wiping my ass with the pages of those parenting books around six-months into my son's life. I had finally had it with the contradictions and false advice leading to wasted time and discomfort for both my child and I. I knew inherently what to do, so I did it.

Unfortunately, it didn't stop the loads of crap advice and parenting expert 'dos and don'ts'. I just learned to take it politely, then do what worked best for my family.

I had one pediatrician tell me I could let Ollie cry-it-out (CIO) as early as 6-weeks old. Then another pediatrician, IN THE SAME PRACTICE, tell me that the CIO method would be neurologically too much for a baby under 12-weeks old. SO... Who was right? I still do not know, but I will tell you what was right for my family, not letting Ollie scream bloody murder at night. It broke my heart and FTD's too. We never had the balls to let Ollie CIO. Ollie slept through the night off and on from 6-months, and then consistently at 11-months old. We have moved on from this issue, and we are proud of the decision we made. We did what we had to do, and it worked for us, and that is all that matters!

Believe it or not, I got grief about exclusively breastfeeding Ollie for two years. I made a lot of sacrifices and faced criticism for it. Yeah sure, I could have given him formula and had more of a "personal life," but I didn't, that was my choice, and I am SO proud of myself for that. I did what I had to do for my son, and dammit it was the right thing to do.

Being a first-time parent is not easy.  Every day, you are forced to make choices for your child; use cloth or disposable diapers, nurse or give formula, let your baby CIO or not, allow TV before two or not, daycare, toys, activities... the decisions never end.

Thankfully, I finally learned to trust my instinct first and have faith in myself that I made the correct choice.

I've learned to take each day and issue as it comes. I trust my instincts. Most of all, I've learned to follow the Do What You Gotta Do (DWYGD) Parenting style. Screw the experts, if something works for my son, then THAT is what's best.

No matter your parenting style, the sooner you learn to trust your instincts, the better for all involved.  Don't get caught up in keeping up with the constantly changing expert methods and truck loads of  advice from fellow parents.  Have a little faith in yourself. Trust yourself to be a great parent without the help of fourbillion talking heads.

Who cares if the method is different from your mother, pediatric expert, Dr. Googe, or worse, your mother-in-law, DWYGD and know, if it works best for your child, then that's what matters most.


The One Thing Every New Mother Should Have

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I'm partnering with Aeroflow, to talk about why every new mother should have a breast pump, and how she can get it covered by insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

Breastfeeding for me, was anything but plug-and-chug. In fact, my experience with breastfeeding was the polar opposite. It took many sleepless nights, tears, ointments, patches, potions and lotions, but without a doubt, I would have failed the task without my husband standing by my side cheering me on, and my breast pump.

It all started right after delivery when my baby started a full-on assault on my ta-tas. He was pissed I wasn't making enough milk for his super-sized needs. The realization that breastfeeding wasn't some beautiful, easy gift of nature set-in two days after delivery in the wee hours of the morning when I was desperate to sleep and my sweet son wanted to rip my nipple off.

A few hours later, I met my hospital appointed lactation consultant. I'm not even sure if I said, Hi, before blurting out, When can I start pumping, because this (sh!t) hurts.

I told her that my nipples were barely recognizable and if I didn’t get some relief soon, my son was going to get some formula. She told me to, "Pump his feedings for 24 hours straight so my poor nips could heal and then go see her for proper latching techniques once the pain subsided. God Love that woman, because she got my nips screwed back on, my son fed and my sanity restored.

I lasted two-years and never once gave my son a drop of formula. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, I wouldn't be able to say that had I not had a breast pump to get my milk production up and running after my c-section, and most of all, my husband was able to take over a few feeding with pumped bottles, so I could have more than two hours of sleep!

I'd wager to say, many, many women would say the same about their breast pump being a saving grace. Thankfully, there were enough women and thoughtful dads sitting at the table during the creation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), because in 2010 when the ACA was signed into law, the miracle-mom-moment came; Health insurance plans were required by law to provide breastfeeding support, counseling, and equipment for the duration of breastfeeding. These services may be provided before and after birth. (NOTE: This applies to Marketplace plans and all other health insurance plans, except for, grandfathered plans.)

If you're thinking, Sweet! I need a pump but have no idea where to start; I also can't recommend enough letting Aeroflow help you get your pump. The company has been written up everywhere and repeatedly praised for what it's doing to get breast pumps into the hands of every new mom. It's a free service that helps you get what you need from your doctor, navigates the insurance forms, helps you chose the best pump to fit your needs, then has it shipped to your door. Most times, FREE! Seriously. You fill out one form, and Aeroflow breast pump specialists do the rest

You get to choose from the top breast pump manufacturers!

I can't say it enough; EVERY New Mother should have a breast pump. Every. Single. One. The benefits of nursing for mother and child are exponential. Before you throw in the towel on your milk coming in, your nips falling off, or the inconvenience on nursing, GET A FREE PUMP!

To get more information on how you can get your breast pump covered by insurance, click here.


The Back-To-School Guide For First-Timers

For me, the first week of school was the most eye-opening, intimidating experience for me. Between orientation, buying school supplies, paying fees, and leaving my son with people I had only met once before, I thought I was going to need an IV of Valium to make it through the week.

Nothing beats first-time parent ignorance. Silly me, I thought back to school would be easy and fun. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Thankfully, I survived to tell the story. Below is a full recount of the top 5 Eye-Opening Lessons I Learned During my first Back-To-School Week.

1. It's A Whole New World- So much for the easy days of the 'Mother's Day Out' program, my son attended 2-4 days a week at church; 'Real school' is a whole new world.

Picture it, Parents everywhere, children everywhere, kids crying, parents crying, photo after photo being taken in front of the school. Teachers shoving stacks of papers in your hand with lists, rules, expectations, and snack rotation schedules, all while your child is clinging to you for dear life, begging you not to leave him in this madhouse.

I'm not really sure what I expected, but I definitely didn't expect all that chaos. I quickly learned my son and I were one of MANY. The sooner we got with the program, the better. Give yourself PLENTY of time on the first day of school to swim through the chaos.

2.  Your child isn't the only one crying on the first day of school. The first day of school was rough for both Ollie and I, but we were certainly not the only ones. It was beyond cute watching the moms and dads taking photos in front of school with their child in the favorite outfit. Whole families were tearing up. At times, I couldn't tell who was being braver, the parents or the child. Starting school is a huge step, yes, but it's also a huge reminder that our babies are growing up.

3.  Moms bite. Hard. Especially in the morning. I get it. It's 8:30am, everyone is trying to get the kid(s) to school and be at work by 9am for the Monday morning meeting, but who knew the morning rush is a full-on knockdown, don't-fuck-up-carpool and get-outta-my-way mad dash? Get ready to watch the seasoned parents show you how to get your kid in class and be back in the car in 4.3 seconds flat.

Thankfully, I am not that mom, so I am a little less rushed, but God help me for not getting out of the way of the mom that is! The mornings are the worst. Thankfully, it gets a little less frantic about a month into the new year.

4Organization is key. During the orientation and the first few weeks of school, expect a small forest in reading materials. I cannot get over how much there is to know about school in general, State laws in regard to education and the ridiculous amount of activities, fundraisers and school events... I'm expected to attend and work.

By bestie and seasoned mom said the best thing you can do is print out the school's calendar of events for the entire year to stay on top of important dates and events, check the backpack DAILY and open a solid (respectful) line of communication with your child's teacher immediately.

5.  Make hand washing a household rule.  The inner walls of a school are full of germs, sneezes, coughs, viruses and miserable sick children whose parents had to get to a meeting. You've got two choices when it comes to dealing with the petri dish full of kids, stay vigilant or sick.

If nothing else, handwashing must become a MUST. Make it a rule, beginning on the first day of school, the second your child(ren) walk through the door after school, hands have to be washed. Well.

Most of all, Get ready, your little one isn't the only one learning and growing up as a result of starting school.


6 Things To Know Before Shopping Amazon Primeday #Primeday2017

There's no doubt about it, when you become a parent you also become a broke ass budget conscious shopper. Every penny counts. Every. Friggin'. One.

Since we broke ass parents have to stick together, I'm sharing my mom's group six best tips making Amazon Primeday work for you, and things to keep in mind when purchasing from Amazon in general.

Get Amazon Prime

Primeday means NOTHING without Amazon Prime. In fact, Amazon doesn't make sense most of the time unless you're a Prime member reaping the rewards of fast, free shipping. Even if you have to do it the dodgy way and start a new account with a different email address, get Amazon Prime NOW. For those of you holding out on getting prime because of the upfront $99 payment, now you can pay monthly. Can't afford it, cancel. Keep this in mind for holiday shopping. It's like paying a $10 flat fee for fast shipping for the month!

I cannot recommend enough once you get prime, get ALEXA!  I love her so much. She talks to me, sings, tells jokes, plays ANY song I want, tells me the weather, traffic and pretty much anything else I ask, including recipes!  Get 50% off Amazon Echo on Primeday!

Price Check Before Purchasing

More and more, my broke ass mom friends and I are finding, Amazon's prices are near par with big box stores, and sometimes Amazon charges more for the product! Gone are the days of Amazon beating the store's lowest price by at least 10%. And here's why, Amazon doesn't have revolving sales like big box or Mall Shops. It's not unusual for stores like Macy's, Nordstrom's or Target to regularly clearance the crap out of seasonal products. Amazon does not. Also, major brands are now selling directly through Amazon, charging regular retail prices, and never giving a discount.

Seeing this trend on the rise, before buying anything on Amazon over $20, I copy the name of the product and paste it into a new Google search bar then click the shopping tab to quickly scan the results of the search to for a better price.

Reign-In The Retail Therapy.

I admit it, I've purchased many things from Amazon solely for retail therapy purposes. And I have no shame about it; it's fast, cheap cheer-me-up fun. Thanks to my Amazon Prime,  I can spend less than ten dollars for a little bit of happiness that repeats itself a few days later when my new purchase arrives in the mail. I've learned on those retail therapy days, (Primeday is Def One!) I always check the Amazon daily lighting/ Primeday deals tab then sort showing the lowest price first then set a purchase limit. Thankfully, there may be thirty pages of deals under ten bucks, and hundreds of cool gifts and gadgets I had no clue existed. (Think: Christmas shopping on budget while finding random cool things).

Buddy Bulk Buying

If what you need comes in a package of 10, but you only need two, phone family friend and see if they want to split the package with you. Do this with Prime Pantry and back to school shopping to save a bundle on home and school supplies.

Check for an 'open box deal' in the Amazon Wharehouse 

I've scored a couple of really great things for the help of the box item list the time it's just things that of been returned for one reason or another, some refurbished. Bottom line, Amazon's great return policy makes taking a chance on big box items a no-brainer.

Amazon Is Not The Only One Cleaning House Today

Back-to-school sales kick-off in July, causing many stores to clearance season items to move them off the floor, fast. How else are the stores going to rob you blind during the back-to-school shopping craze AND shove Halloween in your face by the end of August?

Big box stores are under a time crunch to move out summer items to make room for fall and winter inventory, so expect a few great sales and season clearance to come to your local stores, too. Check the local listings over the next couple of weeks. TIP: Most stores do further markdowns on Wednesdays and new markdowns on Thursdays, so focus your in-store shopping days on those days for the best deals.

Ok, Jedi, take what you have learned and go smash Primeday and don't forget, when possible, buy local!

May The Super-Sale Force Be With You... Start shopping now, here, or click the banner below.



14 EASY Ways To Get Clean + Green in 2017 #MondayMotivation

For two years now, I've been moving my family to a 'clean' diet as possible. I have to say,  I'm pretty proud of myself with how well we've done.

Possibly, even guilty of going over the top. 

This past weekend my 5yr old had his very first drumstick... and was mortified by the bone. And that was after it took him a minute to figure out how to eat it. I honestly have no idea he hadn't had chicken. But I certainly don't serve my chicken fried I always take my breast baked in the oven.

And so, being that I have turned two boys and two green clean machines I thought I would share how I did it.

Baby steps will get you there faster. You can't imagine that you can go to the grocery store and only buy green clean food and if that's what you serve that's all that's going to work. I tried it, that's stupid. It takes small changes over time but the changes that last a lifetime. Slow and steady wins the race.

Cut out the three worst things in your family's diet. And by worst things I mean, JUICE, junk food, ice cream or anything else that could cause a health risk to your family. WAIT! Before you do that, find a replacement and I don't mean veggie chips for potato chips.

Don't let them catch onto you. Change one thing at a time. If you eat too much beef and you want to get more lean meats and fish in your family's diet, substitute it twice a week, not every day.

Keep the good food on display. I always always always, keep healthy snacks in the front of the cabinet and refrigerator. Make a list of the healthy snacks that your family likes and buy them and then put them on display. Hide all of the really really good stuff in the vegetable drawer. No child or husband will ever look there.

Grow as much as you can. My son, after three years of helping me in the garden, takes so much pride in growing food in our garden. Every night, he picks the good strawberries and we bring them in and get them a wash and set them on the counter so they're ready for the morning. I let him help me cook the spinach that we eat and plant the corn we're going to eat. There are all kinds of studies that show if your kids get involved with growing they take pride in eating it.

You have to want to change, first. You can't half-ass this. You need to make a plan. You need to know what needs to be cut out first and then find a substitute for them.

Over the next month, make a goal to drink more water as a family and each week eat one clean meal. The second month make it two clean meals a week. The third month, make it three. And I'm only really talking about breakfast, lunch or dinner. This gives you the ability to work on changing all three meals over time. 

Healthy snacks exist. If I tried to cut cheese crackers and nuts out of my family diet, they would kill me. And don't even get me started on the threat side receive if I even tried to come home without ham or salami from the grocery store. The way I get my revenge, s portion control. Have cubed cheese and hummus ready available at all times.

Enforce the polite bite, but make sure you have a reward regardless of the i'll come. Using this method, my son now eat broccoli peas asparagus and corn with excitement. He also hates peaches and pears but will destroy apples all day long. The big part of this is that if he doesn't like something I don't serve it again at least that month. I remember being a kid, being forced to eat food that taste like shit was the worst thing in the world. If my son hates it and wants to spit it out then he could spit it out but if he likes it he can't complain anymore about eating it.

Don't Ask. Just serve it. Options are not an option if this switch will work. It's far easier to beg for forgiveness than permission. For example, switch the husband's lunch sandwich to a pita and pack it full of avocado, light mayonnaise, salt and pepper lettuce and meat. Men will eat anything. As long as it tastes good. The delivery method is secondary. It's gotten to the point now, my husband prefers to have a sandwich on a pita. He says he doesn't feel nearly as bloated after a pita versus white bread.

Plain Greek yogurt has changed my life. I use it for sour cream, smoothies, and mix it with honey for a substitute whipped topping at dessert. Did I mention it's fat-free and full of healthy things? I can't recommend enough just trying to trade plain fat-free Greek yogurt for sour cream. To this day, my husband doesn't know the difference.

Start a Pinterest board of clean healthy meals you want to try. Pin everything you can find about tips for going green and eating clean and while you're on your lunch break, go through the board and get inspired.

Life is for the living and good food is for eating. Live a little! Don't go all in crazy. Order Pizza, Take-out and eat off the ice-cream truck! but as sparingly as possible. 

Activity is amazing. Last but certainly not least, get active. The better diet will lead to more energy. USE IT! The more your family can go outside and play even for just 15 minutes the better you will feel a little happier you are happy.

This can be done, I did it. You can do it too. And the lifelong lessons and health, wellness and nutrition that I'm teaching my son at such an early age will, last him a lifetime. Every minute, every complaint, every fail, has been worth it to get to the point where he picks hummus and pretzels for snacks and apples with peanut butter. He loves Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries (from our garden!) and local honey for dessert. For more inspiration, check out my, clean living + eating Pinterest Board.


It's Not Just Your Kid. They All Do That

Recently, while having a conversation with my son's pediatrician, I expressed my concerns about the wild-child being so full of energy, and that I'm convinced I'll have a stress induced heart attack if he stays like that forever. Seriously, the kid NEVER stops!  If his feet aren't moving his mouth is. And, always, he's compiling evil plans to outsmart me, and or, up the danger factor of his next move.

His pediatrician told me in his many years of practice, it never failed the parents with wild children wish they would calm down. Parents with ultra calm children wish they would kick it up a few notches.

Then he said, the reality is that all children are both. Every child, from calm to crazy, has their beautiful moments and beyond frustrating moments. Most of the time, when parents are exhausted from the crazy side of their kid, it's a phase the child is going through testing their independence.

After a bit of thought, I realized, he is so right. When I think about it that way, I go from being positive my kid is going to set a new bar for ADHD, to accepting that he is just a very spirited toddler. And in a way, it's super-awesome.

My wild child has beautiful calm moments. He does slow down. There are beautiful moments, daily. I get to hold him without fail morning and night. Sometimes, even during the day, if only for a few minutes, sometimes longer.

My wild child is beyond sweet as pie and adorable in every way. Sure, he's a go-go-go give-mom-a-heart-attack kind of kid, but there is more to him. But at the same time, I love his energy. Most of the time.

Sure, there's no denying, some kids lean towards being super spirited and some very calm. One of my son's best friends is a super-duper chill calm kid. He is soft spoken and nowhere near as full of energy as Oliver. Still, they play really well together. Even when Ollie's driving full steam towards the playhouse with every intention of crawling over it. His best friend reassuring him, " YEAH!  You Can Do It!" (Not shown, dads running in to rescue the boys from the ensuing dumbassery.)

Still, both have their moments. Both use their manners, surprise us with their selfless acts of kindness and give the best cuddles. Both cross the line and give us hell. Both are individuals and five-years-old at the same time.   Both torture the dog, dig up worms, make us laugh, cry, feel love like no other and of course, embarrass the crap out of us in front of family, friends, and strangers, never missing the chance to run from us AT THE WORST FU*CKING TIME!

But one thing is for sure, both are perfect just the way they are.


4th of July Fun Facts And Jokes You'll Wanna Know

With so many of us either throwing a Fourth Of July party or attending one , I thought I would send you off with a few Wow-The-Crowd 4th of July fun facts and silly jokes...


1. The oldest, continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States is the 4th of July Parade in Bristol, Rhode Island; it began in 1785.
2. The Declaration of Independence was penned by Thomas Jefferson and signed by 56 men representing 13 colonies.
3. One of the United States’ patriotic songs, “Yankee Doodle” was originally sung by British military officers prior to the Revolution as a means to mock the disorganized American colonists who fought alongside them during the French and Indian Wars. (BASTARDS!)
4. France, Greece, Poland, Russia and several countries in South America used the Declaration of Independence as a beacon in their own struggles for freedom.

5. Three U.S. Presidents, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, died on July 4th; Adams and Jefferson died within HOURS! of each other in 1826 while Monroe died in 1831.

6.The average age of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence was 45. Benjamin Franklin was the oldest at age 70, and Edward Rutledge was the youngest at age 26.

7. In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation was 2.5 million. According to the U.S. and World Population Clock, the nation’s estimated population in July 2015 will be 320 million. (My goodness we are a pile of baby makers!)

8. Both the Philippines and Rwanda celebrate July 4th as a day of liberation. In Southeast Asia, it is known as “Republic Day” and Rwandans celebrate “Liberation Day.” 

9. Americans began observing the Fourth of July as early as 1777, when the first-ever major celebration in Philadelphia included a parade and a thirteen-shot cannon salute and fireworks.

10. To avoid cracking it, the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846. To mark the quintessential day, every fourth of July it is symbolically tapped 13 times.

11. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson are responsible for the bald eagle as the national bird; Benjamin Franklin wanted it to be the turkey. (A turkey?!)

12. The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) estimates that more than 14,000 professional firework displays light up the skies in the United States each 4th of July.

13. Americans consume about 155 million hot dogs on Independence Day alone; it is the biggest hot dog holiday of the year.

4th of July Jokes
.2. What's red, white, black and blue? Uncle Sam falling down the stairs. 
3. What kind of tea did the American colonists want? Liberty. 
4. What was General Washington's favourite tree? The infantry. 
5. What do you call a redneck bursting into flames? A Fire Cracker! (HAHAHAHA!)
6. What was the most popular dance in 1776? Indepen-dance. 
7. What did one flag say to the other flag? Nothing. It just waved.
From us, to you and yours, we hope you have an incredibly fun, safe and blessed Independence Day!  
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