Thoughts On Identity and Politics

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Why is our identity so rooted in politics?

This is something I often ponder and often times it ends up leaving me feeling frustrated.

I grew up with a conservative background. I went to church occasionally. I was taught ‘right’ from ‘wrong’. When I entered high school my identity seemed to be rooted more firmly in politics as I made the decision to attend church religiously (pun intended) and thought I had everything figured out.

I thought immigrants were a plague on the U.S. I thought being gay was the worst sin you could commit and felt appalled by gay marriage. I thought men were unable to control their sexual impulses and therefore needed to be protected from risque images. I thought Obama was the anti-Christ. You get the idea…

Part of my beliefs were formed from my family. Part of my beliefs were formed from the church.

Fast forward some years later and with some maturity and life experience I realized all of these beliefs that I held onto…weren’t really my own. It took me time to accept that I did not have to believe everything my family did. It took me time to accept that immigrants are people just like you and I, not something to be feared. It took me time to accept that I have no issue with gay people or gay marriage.

So my husband would probably just call me a liberal at this point. Maybe I am? Does it matter? Does it change who I am ultimately? Does it change how much I love my family and children? Does it change how I treat people?

I think it shouldn’t matter whether you are a Republican or Democrat. I think we put WAY too much stock into politics and how it relates to our identity. I think the point (and Jesus would agree with me here too) is that we are to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

We may not agree on everything. But if you are a Republican, Democrat, immigrant, whether you are gay or straight, whether you practice religion or not, I am open and willing to being friends and will treat you with as much respect as anyone else.

I wish it didn’t matter as much as it seems too. And I hope after reading this all my friends and family still love and accept me. But if they don’t – then they can go kick rocks.

Ways To Save Money As A Stay At Home Mom

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How many times have you googled how to make money from home? Or work at home jobs? Guilty right here. Often times these searches don’t provide me with substantial information (for example, I don’t want to spend my time taking surveys that pay barely anything and take up all my time). And as a busy mom I don’t have a ton of time on my hands.

What I can do as a stay at home mom is save money. I would like to provide you with a few ways to save money for your family and a few ways to make money. These are things most any mom can do.

SELL GENTLY USED BABY ITEMS

I used to strictly donate all the baby gear and clothing that my kids outgrew, but in the last year I realized there are quite a few people willing to pay for gently used items. It can take some time to go through items and post nice pictures, but utilizing apps like LetGo I was able to sell my kids clothing they outgrew and make a nice chunk of cash in the process.

BREW YOUR COFFEE AT HOME

This one is easy and will save you so much money! I love my Starbucks just like anyone else, but I enjoy it as a rare treat these days because honestly how difficult is it to enjoy a cup of coffee at home and save $5?

CUT YOUR OWN HAIR

No, seriously! Unless you are doing more than just a trim, there is no reason why you can’t do this at home. Invest in a pair of shears and trim your own hair. In fact I recently started saving money by cutting my son’s hair at home and now my husband is on board for me to cut his hair. A haircut on average for my family is $21 a person and the guys need a haircut every four to six weeks. This equates to major savings.

BUY IN BULK

Some grocery items it is more cost effective to buy in bulk. We definitely save money with our Costco purchases. Items such as toilet paper, diapers, wipes and coffee creamer are part of our bulk purchases.

MEAL PLAN

Meal planning is a great habit to form. When I plan out our meals for the week it gives me a concise idea of what to shop for and makes it easier to curb the temptation to eat out.

FIND FREE ACTIVITIES

Keeping kids busy while expanding their knowledge and social interactions does not have to cost money. Take your kids to the park, to story time at the library, to a splash pad or the beach. Make crafts with your kids at home, teach them how to make cookies, or play a board game with them.

OFFER TO BABYSIT

Have friends with kids? If you are at home with your kids already, why not offer to watch other people’s kids? It offers a playmate for your child and you earn some money in the process.

I hope you found some of these suggestions helpful. What are some ways you save money? Please share below in the comments.

Let’s Get To Know Each Other!

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Hey readers and friends!

I just recently met my goal of getting 100 followers on my blog. Whether you are newly stopping by, or have been following since I began blogging six months ago, I’d like to say thank you for taking time out of your day to spend here.

Instead of sharing more about me, I would love to learn more about YOU. If you wouldn’t mind in the comments answering a few questions that would be great.

  1. If you have children what is the number one parenting issue you struggle with or would like to learn more about?
  2. While this site is geared toward parents, all are welcome here, if you are not a parent and enjoy reading, what is a post/subject you discovered on this blog that really spoke to you?
  3. Would you care to connect on social media? My instagram is @genevacerrato but feel free to leave yours in the comments.
  4. Lastly, please share your name and just for fun, tell me a fun fact about yourself, something you enjoy, etc. Also if you have a blog or a blog you really enjoy please share a link in the comments!

Thanks everyone! I hope you are all having a good week so far.

-geneva

Wisdom From Brene Brown

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“Without vulnerability, there is no creativity.”

These words were gifted to me yesterday by Brene Brown. Until yesterday, I had no idea who she was, but when perusing Netflix, I found a special on courage featuring her and decided to watch.

The timing of me discovering this message was honestly perfect because I happened to be having a rough morning. My anxiety was at a high and I felt bombarded with some emotions I’ve been choosing not to deal with lately.

Her statement, “Without vulnerability there is no creativity,” really stuck with me. I’ve been pondering how this relates to blogging or any writing in general and I find that my best writing comes when I allow myself to be vulnerable.

I’ve touched on what I believe it means to be vulnerable in a previous post if you would like to check it out here.

She also talked about joy and how often we do not experience it because our mind goes to the this is too good to be true or everything is going well so something bad must be coming route. I could fully relate to this way of thinking. And with this method of thinking we cannot fully lean into joy.

I want to experience joy fully in my life. I want to enjoy the little moments without wondering what could go wrong next or thinking I don’t deserve to feel happy.

Brown’s advice is to practice gratitude. She states that those who practice gratitude are able to more fully experience joy in their lives. I am going to put this into practice the next time I am feeling anxious or having unwanted thoughts I will focus on what I am grateful for and enjoy the moment.

I hope this wisdom is helpful to someone else. We all deserve to live life with joy and without fear of what’s to come.

Seasons of Parenting

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Are you in a place where you feel like parenting is difficult? Frustrating? Perhaps you have a baby not sleeping, a child with anxiety or anger issues, or perhaps you are dealing with tantrums and potty training. I’ve dealt with my fair share of issues in parenting three young children and I want to assure you, this too shall pass.

As my kids grow older and I continue to experience the plethora of issues that come with parenting, I find myself reflecting on the past six years of time I have shared with them, the storms we have weathered, and the ones we are currently dealing with.

Just like we experience four seasons in a year, I feel that there are multiple seasons to parenting. These seasons, however, are not so predictable. Every child is different with their own personality, likes and dislikes, emotional reactions, and so is every season of time with them. I think this is another reason why we shouldn’t compare our children to others.

For example, my son never gives me any grief – he listens well, he’s kind, he’s helpful, he’s independent. When he was three however, he went through a short phase of throwing tantrums and being aggressive. This short period of time was extremely stressful for me, as he was also having issues at preschool, and in the middle of potty training. Being that he was my first child I didn’t understand at the time that this was normal behavior for his age, especially since he was not very verbal and dealing with some big changes.

At the time my son was going through a rough patch, my daughter was a toddler. She was very easy at the time, but flash forward another year and a new season of parenting began with her. We were once again going through some big changes; adding a baby to the mix, and potty training again.

This season of transition with my daughter lasted years as opposed to the short three month time with my son. My daughter is very different from him in how she sees the world and reacts to it. I have to accept that they are not the same and that the challenges they each face will be different.

I am just now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with my four year old as my baby is blossoming into toddler-hood. I am now entering a season of challenging behavior and changes with her. She is exerting her independence and has a mind of her own. It can be an exhausting time, but also rewarding if we go into it with the right mindset.

So with the passage of time comes change, both for my children and myself. Like with the weather we will have periods of sun and occasionally a storm or two. As they grow I know the challenges we face will change too. I highly doubt the issues we face now will be the same issues we face when they are teenagers and all in school full time.

These challenging times where we are dealing with aggressive behavior, tantrums, medical issues, sleep challenges, potty training, transitions – the list goes on – can seem like they last forever. But they don’t. And whatever you are dealing with will get better. And perhaps you will get a period of time where there is a reprieve and everything seems to fall into place – until the next season of parenting begins.

Just remember – although it can feel overwhelming at the time – this too shall pass.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as a parent?

Why I Wean Cold Turkey

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The last few days have marked a transition in the relationship between my daughter and I. On Friday morning we began the process of weaning – and by process I mean we were DONE. No gradually decreasing nursing sessions, just DONE.

It might sound drastic or mean, but it’s my philosophy that it is much easier to make the change (for her and I) when we are on the same page and start a new routine for naps and bedtime right away. She understood that there would be no more nursing and now we cuddle to bed. I feel it would be more cruel to let her nurse once or twice a day and otherwise fight her on it. I have the same philosophy about potty training – once we start going in the potty we don’t use diapers or pull ups, we go straight to underwear. It’s all or nothing.

We are now on day 4 of ‘no nursing’ and she is doing great. The first day is always the hardest. She woke up a few times and didn’t want to go back to sleep, so we were pretty tired on day 2. Day 2 she didn’t try to nurse and she took her nap no problem with some cuddles. Day 3 she did great again and she only woke up once at night. I was able to lay her in bed and she put herself back to sleep within minutes. This is the reason why I chose to wean her now, because our sleep was suffering massively from her using me as a pacifier all night. With my other children I found that as soon as I weaned them they started sleeping through the night.

WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU CHOOSE TO WEAN COLD TURKEY

Both times I weaned my other children I was pregnant at the time so I never experienced the reason why they tell you to decrease nursing sessions gradually – painful engorgement, blocked ducts, and possible mastitis (breast infection).

I have been very careful and aware of my body over the last few days to avoid this happening. Some ways you can relieve the pain of engorgement are:

-Take hot showers and express manually (just enough to relieve the pain, you don’t want to ramp up your supply)

-Use cabbage leaves in your bra (it’s not based in science, but it’s worth a try)

-take ibuprofen to relieve pain and swelling

Also consider that weaning affects your hormone levels and moods. It is very possible you will feel sad or weepy. Your body also needs to adjust to the change. While I did not experience much in the way of mood swings, I did experience body aches and some flu like symptoms the very first day.

I have been following these steps and I am happy to say by day 3 I was feeling much better. My flu like symptoms were gone, I had less swelling and engorgement, and I am no longer needing to take ibuprofen for the pain.

If you choose to wean cold turkey you might consider discussing with your doctor or child’s pediatrician if you have any questions. I am in no way a medical professional, just offering my personal experience and advice.

Did you wean your child gradually or cold turkey? Do you have any advice for a mom thinking about weaning?

End Of August Check In

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So I realize we are already into September, but I did write a goals post for the month of August, so I feel that it is mandatory to write a follow up.

As far as blogging goes, August I really came to the place where I am taking my blog seriously. I want to write more often, help others with parenting advice and info, and continue to reach out to other bloggers and network. I feel that August I really cemented what I want and started the process of working toward that vision. According to WordPress I have 99 followers (including email) so I am just ONE short of my goal.

In my personal life I am still struggling with eating healthier. I did cook at home more often this month, and when I did, I really made the effort to make sure I was incorporating healthy foods, but there is still room for improvement.

I am really proud of my parenting this past month. I feel like I made more of an effort to be patient with my daughter and that I handled her mood swings and the day to day drama much better.

So with September comes new goals to meet, but instead of writing another post I will just say those goals include to grow my blog, write consistently, keep parenting with intention and keeping my frustrations in check, and to continue with my goal to treat my body better.

This month my son is back in school full time, the fall season begins, and I am back into a routine with my girls. We have a Disney World trip at the end of the month and then the onslaught of holidays begins.

How was everyone’s August? What are you looking forward to in September?