What Am I Going To Be When I Grow Up?!

 

 

Photo by Bob Packert

Photo by Bob Packert

I’m just now catching on that as a mother your identity shifts every few years.  You are not just a mother, you are a mother of a newborn, or a mother of toddlers, a mother of school kids, a mother of teenagers…and so on and so on!  I can see that as they grow, I’ll need to evolve with the kids various stages, and maybe I’ll be prepared by the time I hit the High school, college and empty nest stages……(o.k, bringing that up puts me in a full fledged panic, but I digress).    That said, I have been eagerly anticipating my current stage of motherhood, finally getting all my kids in school for a full day.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my children from the depths of my heart, but come on ladies, if you have small kids at home, you are flat out lying if you tell me you haven’t fantasized about this moment too.  So now I have time to ponder the yawning question of    “What do I want to be when I grow up!?!”   I know, as a married mother of four in her mid-forties, I kind of am grown up.  I also know that I am not the only one out there with an inner 21 year old, who looks around baffled some days thinking  ”and who thought it was a good idea to give all of this responsibility to me exactly?!”.  Despite that delusional youthful inner being, I do seem to find myself with all evidence pointing to truly, and actually being an adult!  I suppose the lines that have taken up permanent residence on my face are Nature’s gentle reminder of such.  So here I am, a mature woman, almost thirteen years out of the work force, with finally some time to start thinking about what I’d like to be (along with wife and mother).   I allowed myself the savor the first half of the year, to see what it really felt like to have time to myself again.  I found the need to re-learn time management in the paradigm of my new schedule, so that I could efficiently balance that new found freedom with accomplishing the day’s practical tasks.

Entering the second half of the school year, I now feel it is time to start figuring out what to do for a job.  There are a few parameters.   Namely the aforementioned kids who need shuttling around in the afternoons, and said husband with primary career of varied schedule. Whatever it is I do, has to take place between the hours of 8:30am and 2:00pm.

Some of the author's "passions"

That pretty much rules out my previous work in Film Production and renders my Masters degree in Ethnographic filmmaking as obsolete. (a documentary on the anthropology of childrearing in the suburbs, I’m sure would fascinate the masses) So of course I’ve been reading a lot of Oprah and More magazine lately, and taking those quizzes to “find my passion”.    (Off the bat, I’d just say, my husband, eating and drinking, travel, reading, skiing, movies…..)But I don’t think that’s what they mean.  These magazines are full of women who turn their passion into fulfilling moneymaking careers!  They are so inspirational, and yet that whatever it is going to be for me thing seems just beyond my cognitive grasp.

Photo by Bob Packert

Photo by Bob Packert

Some of the tips the articles I’ve read advise things like; Figure out what you love to do.  Think of something you loved to do as a kid.  Look around your house and write down the things that point to a certain passion, such as books, art,travel, or antique collection. Once you figure out what you would love to be doing, research ways to make money on it.  My Google search for “how to make money shopping” turned up at least seven legitimate ideas for how to do so.  Other tactics include writing lists of the things you are good at, the things you would do if you were sure not to fail, and all the things that make you happy.   Now cross reference your lists to formulate a plan.

Documama's logo

The things I tore out of magazines (this is a great method for formulating your decorating style as well) were all articles on socialpreneurs such as Lauren Lauren and her FEED bags, Tom’s shoes, and Alex & Ani Charity by design bracelets.  My role models were real life moms who have found careers where they are making a difference globally, such as Navyn Salem and her Edesia factory that produces global nutritional solutions.  I realized whatever it is I end up doing; I would like it to have a positive impact, not just a financial reward.  I get things moving, I created a blog www.documama.org to be able to explore my passions for travel, food, family, and global issues in one place.  Figuring out what I am going to be when I grow up is clearly a process, and a work in progress, and as a Mom, I have a feeling that just when I get this part all figured out….it will be just in time for another Maternal identity shift!

 

 

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Family Ties

My sister and I spent our childhood pretty much attached at the hip. We have subsequently spent most of our adult lives thousands of miles apart. She has a job that has moved her around quite a bit, I have my own business here in Phoenix and am, therefore, not moving any time soon.

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My sister

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The early years: my sons

For a while, our lives were quite different. She was rising up through the ranks  in her career,  and I was beginning to have babies and trying to start a business while keeping my head above water. She was flying to a premiere in L.A., wearing a fabulous dress and getting her hair and make-up done, and I was trying to get breastmilk out of my work shirt, and trying to picture a life without a “Boppy” and immunization records.

 

 

cute mom and toddler

My sis & niece

More recently, with the birth of her first baby about 22 months ago, my sister  is in the forays of early motherhood and chasing a toddler, and I am navigating a household where no more naps are taken, but two school-aged boys may or may not jump off the dog kennel onto the couch in superhero fashion. The divergence of our lives the past 20 years is narrowing again and our circle is beginning to get smaller.

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A recent family picture

There was a time when my boys were really young and I was a nap Nazi and a hyper-scheduler and every time my sister  looked at me I felt like she thought I had three heads, and maybe I did. I had my second son on a Thursday and saw my first patient in my new practice on a Tuesday. Not exactly the best timing, but at the time, it is what I felt I had to do. I don’t imagine I was much fun in those days, and she probably wondered whether I ever would be again. I wondered if there was ever going to be a time where she would understand the pressures and demands and stress I was experiencing. I wanted her to love my babies as much as I did, but seeing them once or twice a year was not really enough to forge the tight bond for which I had hoped. When your kids are under the age of three, they are only friendly with people they see often, people with whom they have established memories.

Fast forward almost nine years from the time I had my first, and she was finally having her first. Although I hated the desperation in her voice as she was describing the frustrations of no sleep and early mommyhood, I loved being the one she called for advice or for simply an ear. I wished I could have given her a shoulder. It was very hard to be so far away and not have the ability to hold my sweet little niece and give my sister a break without her having to worry about her baby being cared for. Because to me, that is what family does. They are the people with whom you can trust in caring for your most valued possessions without worrying about them. We had two or three days here and there–not nearly enough time for me to be a trusted face for my niece or for my boys to really spend some quality time with their aunt.

Then this past summer came. My sister was in the throws of looking for a different job….she had some time to spare–we planned a family vacation, and then my boys got to spend an extra week with my parents and my sister, her husband, and their new niece. They came home with the kinds of stories that can only come with time real time spent in the company of the ones you love. They loved their niece, they constantly played with their uncle, and they were doted on by their aunt. The story was coming together….closer to what I had always wanted for us.Toddler and her cousins

Now there is a real possibility of her finding work here where I live. I can barely think about it because I dare not, lest I jinx it. They have been staying with us and other family off and on the past few weeks–and any time they aren’t at our house, my boys are wondering when they are coming back. You see, there is no other reason that 9 and 7 year old boys would be so infatuated with a 22 month old cutie pie, except for that family bond and time that establishes and cements these core relationships. My sister is over the hump and confident in her motherhood and I am basking in these boy years where they still let me kiss them. We are both relaxed for the most part, sharing the best bond of sisterhood and motherhood. She watches  me looking adoringly at her daughter and I look at her cracking up at my silly boys’ antics. It just doesn’t get much better. And my niece? No stranger danger with me anymore. This morning I got a kiss and a smile–none of that “Who is this lady that loves me?” look. My sister and I are geographically and emotionally closer all at once. Our lives are converging–no longer parallel three time zones apart…..attached at the hip, and hopefully within the same time zone, state, county, and maybe even zip code.

Sisters

Motherhood and identity

photo by Bob Packert

I stood in my gown frozen by the moment that had just passed, the room around me buzzed with beautifully dressed people.  I was at a Hospital gala event with my husband, in the middle of his first year of residency training.  Having just had our first child, I was stuffed like a sausage into my dress, so my confidence was far from its peak to begin with. The conversation had begun innocuously enough, with an introduction, and cordial small talk.  She was a fellow physician who worked with my husband.  A moment before she had innocently asked, “So what do you do?”  For the first time ever the words “I am a staying home with our new baby” would cross my lips, and I will never forget their immediate effect.  I had answered with pride, still excited at becoming a new mother.   Her reaction stunned me as the smile on her face faded, her eyes glazed, and subtly searched the room for an escape.   She excused herself with a polite, “oh, well, it was nice to meet you.” and moved on.  As I watched her walk away, the strangest thing happened, an internal voice shouted after her.” Wait! But I used to work on Hollywood movies! I have travelled all around the world! I’m a Scuba Diver! I really am an interesting person!!”  I was shocked by my internal reaction.  What was that!? What was the sudden plea for validity that sprang into motion?!  My whole life I had wanted nothing more than to become a mother, and was thrilled that I was able to stay home with my baby.   If this was what I had wanted so badly for myself, why was that external validation suddenly so important to me?

After that evening, I became interested in the identity shift that takes place when a woman first becomes a mother.  Whether she works, stays home, or does both part time, I believe in no judgment, there is no right or wrong.  It is such a personal, case-by-case decision; there is only what is right for each individual. In the end, women need to do what makes them the best mother, and what is best for their family, in any permutation.  Personally, although I had always wanted to be a stay at home mother, I loved my job, so when the time came I had tried to stay on part time.  I quickly figured out that after what I would pay for child care, I would take home about $100.00 a month, and in the end it did not make sense.  There is much ado about the effect of retirement on men, and how it impacts their identity.  I believe women who leave careers behind to stay home with their kids go through a similar identity shift.  Mothers who go back to work have to deal with a new paradigm as well.  I have been quizzing women, testing a theory since that night.  I wonder how much of what a woman’s mother did in the last generation, may dictate the daughter’s decision when she becomes a mother herself.  My own mother was a career woman with a Ph.D., as amazing as she was both as a woman, and mother, as a latch key kid, I idolized my neighbor who was home with her kids.  I know that is where the strong desire for me to stay home with my own kids came from.  I have a friend with the opposite experience, she decided she never wanted to be a domestic servant, and be in a position of financial dependency, as she viewed the situation of her stay at home mother.  Today she is a successful career woman, with a family.    I would love to hear your own experiences with this issue, and how they may relate to your own mother’s experience.

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Pregnancy the Second Time Around: Advice Needed!

I am currently 17 weeks pregnant with our second child. My son is 17 months old and while we are thrilled for the new addition to our family, this pregnancy is entirely different from my first.

My first pregnancy I worked full-time, but was able to nap when I got home from work and sleep through the night. Sleeping through the night is still a semi-rare occurrence in my home. My son, especially while teething, will wake up a few times through the night and/or is up for the day at 5am. The lack of sleep contributes to a much more tired, worn-out pregnancy.

Gone are the days I can throw my feet up and relax when feeling nauseous or tired, now I have a little buddy wanting to throw a ball or go for a walk. Now, I can barely think about this pregnancy, in contrast to my first pregnancy where I obsessed over every little twinge or symptom. This time, I have more faith in my body and trust everything is going to be ok. I don’t have time to worry about the alternative.

Despite the obvious differences in having a toddler this time around vs. having no kids, this pregnancy has been totally different. First time around, I never got sick or even nauseous. This time felt like I had the nastiest college hangover from about weeks 7 through week 13. My first pregnancy, I felt so good I was in a fantastic mood all the time. This time, not so much. These differences have my husband convinced we are having a girl. I’m not sure either way, but we will find out for sure on June 1st.

With my son’s pregnancy I took weekly pregnancy pictures throughout my entire pregnancy (You can see them here). This pregnancy, I have a total of 5 “belly pictures” at 17 weeks. I feel HORRIBLE about it! I always swore my second baby would have an equal amount of pictures, little did I know I would be WAY more sick the second time around. I hope he or she forgives me! Thankfully, I am finally feeling better and will make up for lost time.

I hope I will be able to be as good of a Mom to this new baby as I have been to my son. People always tell me that your heart expands and you never know you could love TWO little babies so much. I hope that’s true because it seems implausible to think of loving another baby as much!

Moms of two or more: I would love your advice on introducing a new baby into your family. Especially on how to introduce a baby to a very jealous toddler who will be 22 months when he takes on the new role as “Big Brother.” Thank you!

Evolving as a Mother

As I laid there gazing at my little one, the roundness of her cheeks, her sweat dampened curls on her forehead, it hit me. This Mother’s Day would be different from all the others. My mind traveled back to what seems like so long ago, to my first Mother’s Day. My first child was only a few weeks old when Mother’s Day came around, and the discomfort of his cesarean birth was still very fresh in my mind. My husband and I had been married only a few years at the time. We got into the game a little late, and I was back at URI studying Nursing as my second career. People questioned the timing. “Enjoy married life,” “Wait until school is done,” “Establish your career first.” We had been together long enough before we tied the knot, and graduation was another 2 years away. We wanted a family, as soon as possible. We started trying with no regard for timing. Everything else could wait. School would still be there. I knew there would be plenty of time for me to work my life away. When the two pink lines appeared, we were more than thrilled. We were having a baby. I was going to be a mother.
Nothing dramatic happened that first Mother’s Day. That is the way I like it. I was a mom, and I had a beautiful little life to take care of. We celebrated, but for me, the real celebration was in the quiet moments where I sat and snuggled my baby. I had done it. I had achieved my biggest goal in life, I had climbed my Mount Everest, I gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby. I had become a mother. It wasn’t long before we were pregnant again. The thrill wasn’t lost this time around either. It seemed to multiply. Again. And again…
We have been blessed to create, deliver and raise four beautiful children. This will be my eleventh Mother’s Day. All the others have been very similar. Flowers, heartfelt homemade gifts, nice meals. This year will be different for me, though. I am turning a corner in my mothering career. A corner I am not sure I am ready to turn. You see, our family is complete. Four is it. This will be the first Mother’s Day that I will not change a diaper, nurse a baby, plan for another. That stage is over…I am growing up as a mother. I am facing new challenges. My oldest would rather play his DS than sit and snuggle with me in the rocker. Even the rocker, my true and beloved friend for the last ten years will be different this Mother’s Day. My gift this year is a set of brand-new cushions for my dear old friend (since we don’t have to worry about baby stains anymore). Times they are a changing. Like it or not.
So those cheeks, those curls, they did something, stirred something. I cannot imagine life without my children. Parenting isn’t for everyone, and even those of us who have chosen this path have our moments of question and doubt. As Mother’s Day comes, I will be reflecting on the days of past, and dreaming of whatever lies ahead. Regardless of what the future holds, today I know one thing. I am many things. I am me first, and then I am a mother. I hope I do the title justice.

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Birth of A Mother

holding hands The last words my mother spoke to me were “I will always hold your hand”. I held her tiny, cold, and puffy hand through that last night of her life in the hospital. In the morning I watched her chest rise and fall, as she slowly took her very last breath. I truly expected to feel her presence then, as she had promised, but felt nothing. I looked for her everywhere for weeks, for months, but she was gone. The stark finality of death confounded me.

When my first child was born three months later, I half expected to look into her eyes and see my mother’s soul. It was clear however, that my daughter was a unique individual from the very start. I had to come to terms with the fact that my longing was just a wishful notion. The magical thinking that follows death of a loved one.
I did find her,  eventually, but not where I would have expected. A year and a half later, on a wintery night, my baby woke me with her cries. With a fierce mothers need to warm and comfort her, I brought her into bed with us. I hushed her, and soothed her, and held her hand as we both finally drifted off to sleep. My epiphany came somewhere in that half sleep state. The hand that I was holding was suddenly so familiar, tiny, cold, and puffy in mine. I had held this hand before.
I was flooded with the exaltation of a reunion with a long lost love, wakened now by the realization that a baton had been passed. My mother was there, where she had been all along. That intense mother love, that profound need to soothe my baby’s cries, resonated within, and I found her deep inside me. I was the mother now. She had shown me the way. I understood that the incredible depth of what I felt for my daughter, was how my own mother had always felt for me, and she was there. Honestly, for the first time I reflected on the gestation, birthing, nursing, and holding, all of the draining things mothers give to their new child with love. All that she gave of herself was what brought me here, to my own motherhood. Now, whenever the small hand of one of my own children slips into mine, I hear her words, “I will always hold your hand, ” and she is there with me.

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Gone, But Not Forgotten

Paige in Purple
     My baby left me.  Just walked right out of the house in the middle of the night for the desert and dry air of Arizona.  Okay, so it wasn’t quite THAT dramatic….but it sure seemed that way when we were skyping from RI to AZ and she was was more interested in jumping on the couch than talking to her mama!  My husband looked at me as tears started to stream down my cheek.  I quickly wiped them away, so Paige wouldn’t see.
     When My husband suggested he escape the frigid New England air for two weeks to see family in Arizona, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to get some work done on this website, maybe even catch up on some sleep.  What I hadn’t anticipated was the emotional toll of being away from her and my husband.  Now, I like my alone time.  In fact, for much of our marriage my husband and I have worked different shifts–at times–even in different states.  Heck, even in different countries!  How do you think we’ve managed to stay married so long, moving state to state, job to job?  (I kid.)   But throw the little one in the mix, and that’s a one- two punch this mama just can’t handle.  Seriously, I was a wreck 75% of the time they were gone. 
     They get back tomorrow and I know my heart will skip a beat when I see them at the airport.  Just like it did when I met my husband at that BBQ in college and when I saw the yes sign on that pregnancy test. (oh, yeah…I got those tests, I wasn’t foolin’ around with the plus/ minus nonsense).
     What’s the longest you’ve been away from your kids?  Was it easier or tougher than expected?  Join the conversation…we’d love to hear your thoughts!

How a Family RV Trip for 6 Became one of our Best Vacations

Have you ever thought of taking a family vacation in an RV?  Did you end up doing it?  Last year we were coming off the “year of unemployment” and taking the idea of any spending very seriously.  So when April vacation was being considered we tried to think of a fun and inexpensive way to see a lot of places in a week.  We figured it would be wise to stay on the east coast so as to minimize the amount of miles logged and to maximize our destinations.  The first task at hand was finding an RV.  There are websites that exist for just that purpose.  One of the biggest is: Cruise America.  We ended up using Craigslist and found a local man who rents his RV by the week.  Perfect.

The cost for a week using Cruise America for a large 7 person RV is roughly $1050 with mileage costs at about $.32 a mile.  700 miles is easy to do in a week, and that would run another $224.  We paid the private owner from Craigslist $1000 and no mileage fee – just brought it back with a full tank of gas.  One of the options our guy gave us was to rent his kitchen equipment for $150, the items of which he listed in detail.  In an effort to be frugal we passed on the offer and used his list to create our own ‘kitchen to go’.  Personally, I will always prefer my own utensils and pans to someone else’s unless maybe it’s Martha Stewart.  Cruise America offers a Kitchen Kit for $100 and a Personal Kit (towels and a sleeping bag, etc.) for $50.

Our trip began to take shape.  We decided to pick up the RV and leave our car at the owner’s house for the week.  When we arrived to “move in” there was a binder of all kinds of information he’d compiled over the years of renting, and we referenced that often.  At first the rig was very intimidating, especially in its width.  It turned out that the RV was a little on the quirky side maybe due to its older age, and responded to its Master’s Voice better than ours, but we managed.  There were a lot of gadgets and buttons to activate to get a shower, or to cook, so there was a steep learning curve in the beginning.  There’s nothing like a cold shower to motivate one to figure out the system, though.Cold shower

The fun part was narrowing down all the grand ideas we had for our destinations.  The kids lobbied hard for a stop at Hershey Park, PA, so my husband and I wove that into a generally educational itinerary (sneaky, huh?) including Gettysburg, PA and Washington D.C.  We eventually headed back to RI through NYC.  The trick was to find decent RV parks near the cities, and public transportation into them.  We tried RV parks with public bathrooms that had showers and pools, laundry and miniature golf, as well as ones in the dark woods with nothing but water and gas hookups and lots of crickets.  AAA has excellent RV books that tell you just what to expect from each park.  We played a lot of board games at night, and each of us probably read a book or two that week.  All the parks have grills, so cooking was a breeze, and s’mores were the staple dessert.S'mores

If you ask the kids, this trip was epic, and if you ask my husband and me, this is one we would definitely do again.  There’s a lot to be said for staying on terra firma, besides just the significant savings on airfare.

Echo Caverns

Echo Caverns

An interesting road sign could turn into an impromptu adventure, like the awe inspiring Echo Caverns we happened upon, or at least a good ice cream cone.  We’re thinking of a summer RV trip through Canada next.  Well, we’ll see you on the road, and happy trails!

Are there any of you RV adventurers out there with a good tale, tip, or destination to share?  I’d love to hear about it in the comment section below.

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What’s the point of Twitter?

A young computer geek, vintage Joanna circa 1984

 

I signed up for Twitter in January of 2009. I’m a proud computer geek and love to try out everything new on the technology front. I’ve always been an early adopter of all things tech-related. My love of technology started when I was four years old and my family welcomed an Apple IIC into our home. I would wake up at 5am before school to play on it and hone my typing skills.  When the Internet came out, forget it. Countless hours were spent by my friends and I dialing up each other’s computers via a painfully slow dial up speed. I was also the ecstatic owner of a gMail email address when Google first brought them out by invitation only in 2004.

Considering my history, I was a late adopter of Twitter since it was founded three years prior to my first tweet. When I opened an account, I didn’t get the point of “tweeting.”  It appeared to be the same as a Facebook status update and anyways, who was listening to me? I felt like my tweets floated off into a black hole, never to be read. I abandoned my Twitter account until months later, when I discovered I was pregnant.

Suddenly, I recognized that Twitter could be a resource. A tool to connect with people I would have probably never have met in real life but have something in common. In my case it was pregnancy and I found myself tweeting with women who were due around the same time as me.  We compared symptoms and fears, mourned when some lost their babies and celebrated each time a new “Twitter Baby” was born.

Twitter was a huge tool for me as a new mother. While nursing my son every three hours throughout the night, I found comfort in knowing there was bound to be another mom on Twitter at the same time, tweeting from their phone like me. When my c-section incision site seemed to be a little red and inflamed five weeks postpartum, it was a nurse from Twitter that responded to my tweets and encouraged me to call my doctor ASAP. Turns out I had an infection and caught it just in time.

I understand Twitter now and can’t imagine my life without it.  Instead of polling my Facebook friends every time I have a silly question, one tweet can get answers from my “followers” or the general population who may happen to see my tweet in their timeline. I love that Twitter is a place to talk about anything, while I often feel restricted with Facebook.  After all, I’m pretty sure my eighth grade social studies teacher doesn’t want to hear about my son’s diaper rash, but I’m confident that someone on Twitter will have an idea for a cure.

Twitter is a place where,  in 140 characters,  you can send out a thought or question to the over 200 million Twitter users across the World.  You can communicate directly with Lady Gaga or Oprah Winfrey, get customer service help and receive breaking news as it happens. It may not be for everyone, but I love Twitter.  Facebook still has a place in my heart, but Twitter will always be special to me for helping me survive life as a new mother.

What’s been your experience with Twitter?  Either people say they don’t get it…or they love it!  I’d love to hear your feedback in the comment section below.  You can follow me on Twitter at @RiGatorMom, send me a tweet and introduce yourself!

Potty Training; The Dirty (Diaper) Truth

My personal potty training method was honed early on with the oldest of my four children. It was a gorgeous day at the zoo. I had my newborn in the babybjorn, as my two year old hopped happily in and out of the stroller, to explore. My feeling of accomplishment at having gotten myself, and two tiny children dressed, fed, and out of the house, unraveled the moment my daughter announced “I have to go potty!” I can’t remember who the reckless individual was who had told me that at two years old I had to start potty training my daughter, but there I was, smack in the middle of the vast zoo, the nearest bathroom a ½ mile away. I already knew at this point that when a toddler tells you they have to go potty, you are moments away from being too late. I was never much of an athlete growing up, but if they had a category for sprinting mother with stroller and Bjorn, I would have won a medal on that day!

World's Greatest Mom Medal

I earned THIS baby!

I ignored the stares as I ran and shouted in my motherese, “Just hold on sweetie, we’re almost there. Hold it in. Hold it in!” Trying to look cool and collected is one of the first things to go when you become a mother, so I didn’t care what anyone thought of my maniacal dash, as long as we made it to the bathroom in time. The smell of the public bathroom hit me as we squeezed through the door. I hastily tried to put toilet paper over the crusty seat with one hand, while I helped my daughter pull down her pants with the other, newborn baby dangling perilously above the toilet in the meantime. As I hoisted her onto the seat one of the strips of protective paper slipped in, her bare bottom resting on the filthy seat, but we had no time. When you are potty training they stress that you are not to rush the child, or raise your voice, lest you traumatize them, and destroy all progress, possibly ruining potty training for life. They never mention how traumatized you will be as you are crammed in a dirty toilet stall, newborn hanging upside-down in the babybjorn like a trapeze artist, as you lean over to hold your toddler from falling into a germ ridden, gaping grown up toilet. The fact that the baby is now screaming, and the toddler touches the toilet seat with her hands while you hold her in place, heightens the drama. Then you wait, because, sometimes you just have to patiently wait for them to go. It was there in that smelly germ infested bathroom, that I made my decision. The potty training ended. As traumatized as I was by that episode, six months later, I decided to try again. All of my friends were potty training their children by two and a half, and there seemed an urgent need by society that I should be too. My method was sealed by that second try, when my now crawling baby made his way over to the tiny full plastic potty on the floor. The one that I was helping my daughter get up from. He grabbed the lip of the bowl and splashed it over the rim, all over himself. In my apoplectic fit that followed, I decided then and there, that I would rather change a dirty diaper any day, on my own terms, in a clean, calm & safe environment, than suffer through the tribulations of potty training. From that moment on I never had to deal with mad sprints, wet spots on my new couch, a miniature toilet in the back of my car, or the multitude of daily clothing changes that I watched other mother’s go through. Although each of my kids had different time frames, in the end they never seemed to be too far behind their peers. When they did get out of diapers, emotionally and physically ready, they made the switch instantly, trauma free for all of us.

What do you think is the right age for potty training?  Do you think there even is a “right” age, or do you think your child will let you know when he/she is ready?  I’d love to hear your stories, tips, tricks and questions in our comment section below!

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