Monday, September 28, 2015

Don't hide your nude body from your children

**I'm so excited to announce that I've started a youtube channel discussing everything home making. My channel name is Surviving As Mom.  Check it out!!

Growing up, I was one of 5 children in our household.  We lived in a 3 bedroom apartment with 1 bathroom in Brooklyn.  Three girls in one room, one boy (the oldest) in his own room and my parents and baby brother in the 3rd room.  One bathroom meant no privacy, ever!  Even if the door was locked (with a latch hook), a butterknife was used to unlock it and barge in.  Showers and baths were usually shared too, just for convenience.  It wasn't anything weird or inappropriate.  Just normal routines amongst family members.

My mom was not shy at all about her body.  Many times we'd catch her walking completely naked from the bathroom after her shower to her bedroom on the opposite side of the apartment to get dressed.  She call regular meetings with random kids in the bathroom while she was doing her business, just as part of her multi-tasking.  We never found any of this to be weird or awkward.  The only one we never saw nude was our dad.  I'm sure we can all agree we are fine with that.

What's the point of all this?  To prove that nudity is a natural, normal, healthy thing.  There is nothing wrong with children seeing their parents nude, especially their mother.  I am often nude around my children, whether we are showering together or I'm just in the process of getting dressed.  The same is true for my husband.  My kids, all boys, learned to pee standing up by using the toilet alongside my husband.  They learned by example.  It teaches children that there is nothing to be ashamed of.  I DO teach modesty in the sense that my children know privacy with others.  They know that nudity is something restricted to the privacy or our own home (or hotel room, etc.).  Because of this, my kids don't pay any attention to our nudity.  The may ask questions or make random comments, but it doesn't bother them one bit.

My mother once told me a story of her friend who had two sons.  This woman (D) always hid her nudity from her boys.  One day she noticed her 6 year old son staring at her body oddly one day as she stood in her nightgown.  Almost as if he could see through it.  It made her feel very awkward.  When she told my mom, my mom explained that he is probably just curious.  She advised D to allow her boys to see her naked body and explain the differences between her and them.  She did this and that solved the problem.

It's not always perfect.  You still have to teach limits.  Once my 6 year old squeezed my breast while I was nursing my baby.  He said he was helping the milk come out.  I explained that a woman's "boobies" are her private parts, just like the bottom is private.  He felt bad that he touch me that way and was sorry.  I told him it is ok, but it was something he had to learn.  My children are very clear about "private parts".  They know it is NOT ok to touch people's private parts and the same is true for their own parts.  NO ONE is allowed to touch their parts, unless Mommy or Daddy says its ok, which will only be a doctor.  They also know that even we are not allowed to touch them if they are not comfortable with it.  When we shower them, they must wash their own parts.  They know that some "tricky people" may want to try to touch them inappropriately or ask to be touch by them.  They know this is NOT ok and to tell a trusted adult immediately.

The point is, there is nothing wrong with nudity between a mother and her children.  Why is it ok for children to watch people being killed violently, heads being blown up, bodies being mutilated on tv, but a nipple is considered offensive?  Violence is appalling!  Sexualizing the naked form is inappropriate for children, but there is nothing wrong with nudity itself.  It's all about what children are taught.  They are a blank slate and need to be filled with good, healthy, useful information.

The pic below is me with my preemie son Logan.  I am giving him Kangaroo care which is when the mother holds her baby skin to skin.  This helps the baby's health overall.  It is also great for mom.  In this case, nudity is beneficial for mom and baby.  When each of my children were born, I'd breastfeed them the same way.  Skin to skin.  It was so beautiful and definitely helped with the bonding experience.  Human health depends on skin contact!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Maybe it's not all in my head

**I'm so excited to announce that I've started a youtube channel discussing everything home making. My channel name is Surviving As Mom.  Check it out!!

I'm not writing this to get sympathy from anyone.  Everyone who knows me know that is NOT how I work.  I actually almost never talk about what is wrong with me.  I don't like to complain about how awful I feel or how much pain I'm in.  It's just not my style.  That being said, I decided to write this to share my story with anyone who may also be experiencing these problems.  I'm sharing this to help support and guide others who may be going through something similar.

I have an autoimmune disease.  I have a few actually.  At this point in time, my diagnoses are Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Sjogren's syndrome, Raynaud's Disease and erythromelalgia.

What initiated the need for testing for these illnesses was my constant severe fatigue, body aches, joint pain and stiffness.  These feelings were almost continuous for about a year.  I just didn't feel right and after doing my own research, I decided to visit a rheumatologist for testing.  I already knew about the Raynaud's and erythromelalgia, but not the Hashimoto's and Sjogren's.

If you look up the names, they consist of the following (briefly):

Hashimoto's- the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing an overactive or under active thyroid, which leads to a whole other list of problems.  In about half of the cases, the thyroid is unaffected, which is the case for me.  However, I do have to keep an eye on my thyroid function in case that changes.

Sjogren's- the immune system attacks all moisture producing glands creating a whole host of problems.  This is where most of my discomfort comes from.  It causes dry eyes, dry mouth (with sores), dry nose (with cracks and sores), dry skin, digestive problems, breathing problems, joint pain and stiffness, muscle aches, and severe exhaustion and fatigue.  There are other body systems that are affected, but these what affect me.

Raynaud's- Extreme sensitivity to cold temps resulting in blue or yellow hands, feet, ears and nose.  It is extremely painful and very dangerous due to the risk of frostbite.

Erythromelalgia- An extremely painful vascular disorder affecting extremities, face, nose, ears.  More commonly affecting the legs and feet.  Also called "man on fire" syndrome because that's what it feels like!  Affected areas also swell up and turn bright red.  Usually triggered by heat, stress and activity.
*I diagnosed myself and confirmed diagnosis with a doctor after years of not knowing what was wrong with me.  For many years I didn't even know it was abnormal to have these feelings.

Of course I'm not happy to have these issues, but I am so relieved to have an actual diagnosis, proving that what I've been feeling is real.  For years I've struggled with all of these illnesses and even after seeing many doctors and having multiple tests, I still didn't have a diagnosis.  I was so frustrated and had given up altogether until about 3 years ago.  Looking back on all of my issues, they all make sense now that I have names for my conditions.  Now at least, I know what to expect and how to manage it.  More than anything, I know it's not all in my head, as many doctors implied.

My home business - lavender products

**I'm so excited to announce that I've started a youtube channel discussing everything home making. My channel name is Surviving As Mom.  Check it out!!

Being home all day with my kids is a blessing.  I know how lucky I am to have the opportunity to be home with them rather than work a full time job.  However, it can get a bit dull.  I don't know about you, but I get very antsy not earning any money.  I've been working since I was 14 years old.  Before that, I'd have yard sales, lemonade stands, take polaroid pictures at the beach, and anything else I could think of to earn a buck.  To me, it was magical to have money handed to me for my services.  I've never gotten rid of the itch to make money for myself.  Even when I was working full time, I was always looking for ways to earn cash directly for my services.

Since I was a kid, I've tried many things.  Now, as a stay-at-home-mom, I'm back to finding creative ways to earn a buck.  Not that I need to, but I LIKE to.  I've done everything from selling adult "toys" at home parties, cleaning services, face painting to my latest of lavender spa and beauty products.  The problem is I lose patience and get discouraged easily.  I have big dreams of success but no patience to give success a chance.  I'm gonna try to be patient this time.  I have some stuff made and I'm gonna just wait to see if it sells.  If it sells, I'll make more and go from there.

So my latest venture is making lavender spa and beauty products.  I have lots of lavender plants that I never know what to do with when I harvest the flowers, so I did some research and found some fun recipes for making beauty products.  I've already made a bunch of stuff, so I'm just trying to sell it.  I have a Facebook business page and an store.  I'll keep an eye out too for local craft fairs and flea markets.  I don't expect to get rich, but it will be nice to have cash in my hands in exchange for my work.

Here's the info if you're interested...