It’s Mother’s Day, So Leave Me The Hell Alone

The irony of Mother’s Day is that mothering is the exact last thing I want to do on this one special day of the year dedicated to the moms who give their all to these tiny fart nugget children who are also the pride and joy of our very existence in this life. 

Holla at me if you relate to any of the following: 

I’ve bled for these children, fluctuated 50 lbs a piece for these children, fed these children (FROM MY OWN BOOBS WHICH ARE NOW SAD AND FLAPPY BECAUSE OF IT), lost sleep for these children (so much sleep, remember what it felt like to sleep? ), sprouted varicose veins for these children, gotten stitches in my vagina for these children, spent all of my money on these children, attended so many games and practices for these children where they do nothing but swarm around a ball, or sit in the outfield and stare at the sun. Driven all over kingdom come for these children.

happy mothers day sleep

Worn my heart on the outside of my body for the past 9+ years for these children. 

I DRIVE A FREAKING MINIVAN FOR THESE CHILDREN. 

And yet, the last thing I want to do on this blessed day is to actually be around these children. Like, at all. 

It’s nothing personal, my sweet darlings. It’s just that I want a day. One day, just one where I can 100% check out and the house doesn’t burn down and life goes on and we all wake up the next morning and go back to our old routines.

I need one day to enjoy Netflix to my heart’s delight, to sleep in, to lock the door without small hands sticking underneath or anyone asking me to help them wipe. One day without breaking up a fight, just one. I need one day where Dad handles it all. I don’t want flowers necessarily (although, I wouldn’t say no because flowers are beautiful and delicate, just like me), I don’t even need a gift.

I do want my children to understand that this is a special day just for Mom where we have to leave her alone, OR ELSE, and that they all must make her a card professing their love and appreciation, even if that card just has their name written on it with some half-crooked hearts and something that looks like an orc drawn on there which actually turns out to be a rendering of yours truly.

Whatever, it’s fine. I’ll take it. 

Dads or significant others, do your lady a solid on this Mother’s Day if you’ve still got kids at home (and if they’re gone make sure you remind them to call home because duh, still important): 

  1. Have each child write a card or note to her expressing their love and undying devotion and appreciation and make sure you write her one too.
  2. Let her sleep in
  3. Get her favorite treat and leave it like a peace offering at the bedroom door. Don’t open the door unless she specifically calls for you and invites you into her kingdom, for she is the queen of the day. Or whatever. 
  4. Don’t ask her to do anything. Anything at all. If she comes out of her room don’t make eye contact and just stare at the ground unless she speaks to you directly. 
  5. Don’t ask any questions either, you can figure it out for one single day. 
  6. Prepare or fetch any food for her that she desires. Bonus points for having her favorite treat on hand (*COUGH CHOCOLATE COVERED CINNAMON BEARS).
  7. Let her wake up to a clean house. Do the dishes, don’t leave laundry out, just take care of the kids and all the stuff she does every single day. You can do it. Don’t screw this up. 
  8. Don’t forget to call your own mom and tell her you love her too. She’s important, DO NOT FORGET. 

I recognize that I don’t speak for all moms, but for all moms who are on the same page as me…all we want is one dang day. 

Tomorrow, it’s back to business as usual. 

Happy Mother’s Day! Now leave me the hell alone. 

 

 

 

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Can Goat’s Milk Help Toddlers with Sensitive Tummies?

As a mum, you naturally want the best for your child when it comes to care and nutrition. So, it can be devastating when you find that, despite your best intentions, your baby is not coping with certain food stuffs or has a bad reaction after feeding.

Of course, breast milk provides all the natural vitamins and minerals that your little one needs to develop their body and mind and provide immunity. But it is not always possible for mums to provide (all of) the milk needed, which is when many mums supplement or replace feeds with formula. But what if your child reacts badly to cow’s milk formula?

 

How do you know if your toddler needs to change to goat’s milk?

For some toddlers, cow’s milk can prove hard to digest and can cause mild to moderate symptoms such as colic, constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, chronic congestion, recurrent ear infections, and eczema when they first start drinking it.

If you recognise some of these symptoms, you may want to consider switching to goat’s milk formula which may assist with relieving many of these common concerns.

Baby drinking goat's milk

 

Some of the main benefits of goat’s milk

As well as often being gentler on your toddler’s stomach and easy to digest, goat’s milk also offers the following benefits:

  • Naturally high in Prebiotic Oli’s, these prebiotics are proven to assist the growth of beneficial bacteria and reduce the incidence of pathogens like E. coli
  • High in phospholipids, a fat that assists with brain development
  • Naturally high in many essential vitamins and minerals including
    • Vitamin A for vision and sight
    • Magnesium for development and growth
    • Vitamin C for development and growth
    • Calcium for teeth and bones

But what about the taste?

Some mums may be concerned about switching to goat’s milk as they associate goat’s milk with the strong smell and taste of goat’s cheese. However, most goat’s milk formula has a clean, and natural taste. It also smells very natural unlike many cow milk formulas Experts recommend transitioning your little one gradually over a period of a week rather than in one go, so they can get used to the new product and you can monitor any changes. Here are some tips for transitioning your toddler to goat’s milk.

Mum holding baby drinking goat's milk

 

Why choose Oli6?

Oli6® is a dairy goat formula that has been developed in direct response from talking to Australian mums who are looking for products that are as natural as possible to help their little ones’ growth and development. Oli6 toddler formula has a high percentage of goat milk solids, which makes it naturally rich in many essential vitamins and minerals like magnesium, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C, as well as other beneficial substances like prebiotic oligosaccharides, or Oli’s for short, which assist with gut health and digestion.

As well as providing formula that meets all of Australia’s stringent health and food safety guidelines, you can take advantage of security of supply and a wide range of resources for parents who are considering switching to goat’s milk formula. Handy trial sachets, advice on how and when to introduce the new formula, and much more can all be found on the website to help you make the switch and know that everything you are providing for your toddler is designed to help his or her welfare.

Oli6 goat's milk logo

Want to find out more about the benefits of goat’s milk for your toddler’s tummy? Then take a look at the Oli6, where you can find a lot of information about the various formula products on offer.

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Science Says: Don’t Tell Your Kids What To Do!

To structure or not to structure…that is the ever-pressing question for parents prepping for those seemingly endless summer months. Do you let the kids roam wild and free or keep them busy with a schedule of swim lessons and summer school?

There are pros and cons to either side of the argument, for sure. Those in the pro-freedom school of thought tout more imaginative play and less pressure for the entire family, while pro-schedulers see a chance to keep kids out of trouble and opportunities for meeting goals outside of the classroom.

Well, a study done at the University of Colorado Boulder may sway the structure lovers to free up the calendar a bit this summer.

parenting kids schedules

Researchers gathered data from parents of children ages 6-7 regarding their daily, annual, and typical schedules, specifically their structured and less-structured activities. For an activity to be categorized as less-structured, the child had to be in charge of what to do and how to do it, as opposed to more structured undertakings like formal sports practice or music lessons.

What they found was that the children involved in more structured activities performed worse on a test that revealed how well they used their executive functioning, “the cognitive control processes that regulate thought and action in support of goal-directed behavior.” In other words, the children’s abilities to perform tasks that would lead them to accomplish a goal were hampered by the very activities that were pushing them towards one.

The study even went so far as to say that two children who performed the same tasks in a day, where one was directed and the other wasn’t, the latter would actually learn more having been given the opportunity to decide for themselves what to work for and actually choose to accomplish it.

Pretty impressive, right? The real question is, does the same theory work on husbands…

 

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Science Says: Dads Think It’s What’s On the Outside That Counts

You know how it’s your very favorite when someone tells you your kid looks exactly like their dad? Obviously implying to your new-mother brain, which is coursing with unchartered hormonal rage, that maybe, even though you just carried that child for nearly 10 months and gave excruciating birth to him after 28 hours of back labor, just maybe…you should get a maternity test?

Okay, slight exaggeration, but still, I get it. My son is his father’s mini-me and sometimes hearing about it gets to me.

But it turns out, children who look like their fathers may actually have a healthier early childhood. A new study, published in the Journal of Health Economics, revealed that fathers who see a strong physical resemblance in their newborn infants tend to feel a stronger paternal bond and consequently remain more positively involved in the child’s life. According to this study and several previous ones, a father’s investment is especially beneficial for young children. It has been shown to increase social, academic, emotional, and economic well-being, and that’s major.

To make the picture a little clearer, this research showed that “the average nonresident father spends about 2.5 days (per month) longer in parenting activities when the child resembles him.”

The shocking part? Those 2.5 days of investment could mean a 25% overall health improvement for the child. That should make every dad jump in with both feet.

And while this particular study focused on single-mother households, the fact remains that when both parents are highly involved, every type of family is stronger for it.

 

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Life After Birth: 5 Ways to Take Care Of Yourself

Check out part one and part two of our series of frequently asked questions on postpartum mood disorders. We are offering an exclusive discount to Today’s Mama’s readers. Enter code HMHBLOVESTM to take $40 off a lifetime membership to our program. In our two-part series on postpartum mental health, we mentioned the idea of upping your self-care game if you have the baby blues. (Please note: the baby blues is not a postpartum mood disorder. Read our previous posts for a clear explanation and check out this post about baby blues vs. postpartum depression.) Self-care is often neglected during the blur of new motherhood, so we hope these fun ideas will tempt you to treat yourself and indulge in some much deserved YOU time.

Enjoy Some Water Therapy

Budget: Ask your partner, a friend, family member or sitter to take your little(s) for an hour of uninterrupted time. Fill up your tub and add your favorite bubbles, oils, or salts (we love these Ancient Minerals bath salts). Light a candle, and turn on your favorite Pandora station loud enough to cancel out any potential baby/toddler noises. Make sure to lock the door, so your zen isn’t interrupted.

Splurge: Consider checking out a float tank (get approval from your provider first!) in your area. Float tanks (sometimes called sensory deprivation tanks) are large, light- and sound-free chambers concentrated with Epsom salt so your body floats to the surface. It can be used as a tool for stress and pain management. If you don’t have any float tank companies in your area, consider getting a day pass to a local spa that has a hot tub. Either way, you’ll still get some deep relaxation and restorative time alone.

Find A Supportive Community

We were designed to mother in communities. Reaching out for help is life skill that you can start practicing today! Sometimes a good laugh or venting session with a friend can help do the trick. Other times, you may need a more experienced professional to step in.

Budget:  Set up a babysitting swap with another mama friend. You watch her kid(s) while she enjoys some alone time, and next time she’ll watch yours. Don’t have any close mama friends? Ask anyone you trust to watch your little(s) and you can “repay” them with a coffee or have them over for dinner once you’re feeling up to it. Don’t want to be alone? Strap the baby in the stroller, grab a friend, go for a walk, and allow yourself an hour to just vent on how freaking hard motherhood is. Once you’re done releasing, discuss ways you can troubleshoot the difficult situations. Need professional support? Check out Postpartum Support International’s free, live “Chats With an Expert” which are facilitated by licensed mental health professionals. You can also see if your insurance covers visits to health professionals, such as a behavioral health and marriage and family therapists.

Splurge: Hire a personal trainer, registered dietitian (this may be covered by your insurance), life coach, or business coach who can offer you personalized strategies to reach your unique goals, whatever they may be.

Streamline Your Beauty Routine

I mean, you’re absolutely stunning without makeup, but sometimes it just feels nice to spend a few minutes brushing your hair and taking care of your skin. Take some time to figure out a quick beauty routine that works for you. If you know you can breeze through your beauty routine in under 10 minutes with products you love to use, you’ll probably make regular time to do so.

Budget: We all have that one friend who has fantastic hair and makeup. Ask her if she’d come over to take a look at your makeup drawer and help you figure out which products to keep; which products to toss; which products to invest in; and how to organize everything. She’ll be honored to share her tips with you, and you’ll get some girlfriend time in!

Splurge: Consider going to a local Ulta or department store make-up counter and have them give you a quick make-over. You’ll likely have to purchase a product and/or pay a small fee for the service, but it can be a fun, new way to recreate your style. Ask for a simple routine to keep it reasonable! Or, you can try Beautycounter’s 5-Minute Face Kit. You could also go to a nice salon and get a great new haircut. Ask the stylist for some tips for fabulous, low-maintenance style!

Channel Your Inner Bookworm

I’m talking fiction — dramatic, juicy, “I can’t put it down” books. I’m NOT talking sleep training books and the other millions of baby books that make you doubt your mama instincts. Pick a new favorite tome and find some time to read each week.

Budget: Head to your library and find something that will take your mind off of mom-ing for awhile. You may be able to time it just right to join the library’s mommy and me group while you’re there! Or, you could also borrow a book from a friend, family member, or neighbor who has similar interests. Consider joining a book club. You might be able to find a local one on Meetup, or you can join an online book club on Instagram, like Belletrist, Book Bento, or RWBookClub.

Splurge: Consider getting a Kindle or Audible membership to keep your personal library fresh with new options.

Get Help with Grocery Shopping and Food Prep

Budget:  Consider a time-saving grocery service, like Instacart. Some popular local grocery stores also offer this service, and Amazon Prime Now delivers groceries in specific areas. You could also host a  weekly meal swap with your neighbors/community, where you each make a few batches of your favorite meal. Then you can “trade” batches of your meal for other meals so you get a variety of meals throughout the week, with less work and prep time.

Splurge: Let meal-delivery companies do the cooking for you! There are plenty of Whole30 Approved options out there. If cooking relaxes you, but you’d like help with some of the prep work, consider a service like SunBasket. Maybe meal planning gets you down. In that case, a subscription to RealPlans might be the ticket. It will save you tons of time planning and you’ll find delicious, new recipes to keep your meals exciting.

Bonus ideas from our HMHB Community:

“Tiara time” Dedicate at least 5-minutes to yourself.  You can designate this time by literally putting on a toy tiara, or by sitting in a certain spot in your house. When your partner or (older) kids see that, they’ll know that you need a minute to recharge and that they can’t interrupt you until it’s over.

Purchase a new coffee mug with a fun slogan Choose something to make you smile every morning. I like mugs from Brim Papery and The Love Bomb Company.

Start a new hobby or rekindle an old passion. Strap on your dusty rollerblades, learn how to kickbox, decorate cakes, play piano, color, or dance. The options are endless!

Walk around Target without a child or a time limit What else is there to say?

Recognize Yourself

The simplest way to take care of yourself? Remind yourself that you’re still you! It’s important to “put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.” In order to be the best version of yourself, you need to have your own needs met, and this includes taking time for self-care. When you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re more likely to pick arguments with your partner, yell at your kids, and emotionally eat. Simply taking a few minutes for yourself each day can make all the difference. Give it a shot, mama! What do you have to lose? What’s your favorite way to take care of yourself? Join the conversation on Instagram or send us an email.


Steph(hi)-6Stephanie Greunke is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition who specializes in women’s health. She is a certified personal trainer and prenatal and postnatal corrective exercise specialist. Stephanie guides and supports women locally and globally through her web-based private practice, RockYourHormones.com.

 

 

Note: Some of the links contained in this website are affiliate links. This means that we may receive a commission if you click on the link and make a purchase from the affiliate. We only recommend products and services that we know or trust to be of high quality, whether an affiliate relationship is in place or not.

 

SEVEN Things You Should Know About a De Facto Relationship

Nowadays, you do not necessarily have to be married to enjoy the same benefits as a married couple. However, there are some things that mums must know, especially if they decide not to tie the knot with their partner, and continue to live together. Here are seven things you should know about a de facto relationship.

1. De Facto Relationships Can Lead to Property Settlements When Couples Separate

When you are in a de facto relationship, it does give rights comparable to those of a married couple. If you have been together for at least two years, have a child together, or have made substantial contributions to the relationship, such as acquiring an asset, you may be entitled to a property settlement in the event the relationship breaks down. So, stay-at-home mums could be entitled to a property settlement or maintenance in the case of a separation.

2. The De Facto Law Applies to Relationships That Ended After the 1st of March 2009!

If you were in a de facto relationship and it ended on or after 1 March 2009, then you may be entitled to apply for a property settlement under the Family Law Act 1975 (the same law that applies to married couples). If you were in a de facto relationship that ended before 1 March 2009, you may need to apply under different legislation, depending on the state you live in.

3. The Family Law Act Can Be Avoided with a Financial Agreement

Some mums do not want the law to interfere in their relationship, even in the event of a separation. For example, if you are financially successful in your life pre-or during your de facto relationship, and want to be covered in the event of a separation, a financial agreement enables you to ‘contract out’ of the Family Law Act and may be to your benefit, so there is certainty afforded to you concerning your property settlement without needing it to go before a judge.

4. Disputes Regarding Children Can Be Handled in the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court of Australia

One very important rule you should know is that disputes regarding children, when they cannot be resolved amicably, are handled in the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court for couples previously in a de facto relationship in the same way as disputes for married couples. The best interests of the children are still the paramount consideration, regardless of whether the parents were married or in a de facto relationship.

5. A Two-Year Application Limitation Period Applies to Financial Orders

Applications for financial settlements under the de facto provisions in the Family Law Act 1975 must be made within two years after separation. An application can be made outside this time limit; however, it is subject to permission of the court and is not guaranteed to be approved. It is important for mums to make sure they pursue their entitlements within the time frame to ensure they get the best deal for themselves and their children.

6. Properly Settlement Should be Formalised With The Assistance of Specialist Family Lawyers

Some couples separate on good terms, only for things to go wrong somewhere down the line. If you and your partner come up with an agreement, it is always better to formalise it rather than have a handshake agreement and hope nothing goes wrong. A property settlement can be formalised with little fuss and without the need to go to court. Doing so through ‘Consent Orders’ (or a Financial Agreement) has a number of advantages incl. closing the door off on your former partner coming back for more of the assets allocated to you as part of the property settlement, as well as a stamp duty exemption that could possibly save you tens of thousands of dollars where a property is being transferred to you. Such settlement documents need to be carefully drafted by experienced Family Lawyers to ensure important safeguards are put in place for your benefit.

7. Representation Is Key

Even if mums are well-informed about the law and their rights in case of a separation, the right representation is always essential. With a specialised lawyer, mums can make sure they make the right financial arrangements, not only for themselves, but also for their children in case a separation does occur. Before you enter into any property settlement, your lawyer should tell you what the law says, take detailed instructions as to your relationship history and what you want to achieve in your matter, tell you what your entitlements are and strategize with you about your different options and how best to achieve them. They should also be frank with you from the start regarding your legal costs.

There are some minor differences between the law relating to property settlement between de facto couples and married couples, but that does not mean you have fewer rights or entitlements. For more info about de facto relationships and seeking legal advice, go to Taylor & Scott.

3 Nourishing Whole30 Recipes for the Postpartum Mama

We are offering an exclusive discount to Today’s Mama’s readers. Enter code HMHBLOVESTM to take $40 off a lifetime membership to our program.

Recipes by Sarah Steffens, Whole30 in-house recipe creative

Nutrition plays a big role in postpartum health. Pregnancy, labor and delivery, and breastfeeding can deplete your nutrient stores, so it’s important to be mindful of replenishing them throughout pregnancy and postpartum. These Whole30 compliant recipes are specifically designed to nourish the postpartum mama. Two of these recipes are freezer-friendly, so if you’re pregnant, you can spend some time cooking as you prepare for baby and stash these in the freezer for after baby comes. Or maybe you have a pregnant friend and know that you will want to bring her a meal after she delivers. She will appreciate the care you took to bring her a meal, and as a bonus you can slip in a card explaining the health benefits of the dish.

Healing Bone Broth Soup (AIP-Friendly)

Highlighted ingredient: Bone Broth

Warm broths are rich in minerals and amino acids that help repair tissues and accelerate healing. Broth can also serve as a source of liquid to keep mama hydrated, especially if she’s nursing. Herbs, spices, and vegetables added to the broth (such as turmeric, ginger, onion, and garlic) boost the immune system and counter inflammation to help mamas recover from birth. Traditionally in Eastern medicine soft, warm foods are encouraged as they may be more easily digested.  Be mindful of how you feel and see what works best for your body.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 Tbs. coconut oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 tsp. sea salt
2 bunches of baby bok choy, chopped
1 Tbs. fresh ginger, peeled
1 Tbs. fresh turmeric, peeled
4 cups baby spinach
4 cups of bone broth (look for an AIP-Friendly brand)

Instructions

ADD coconut oil to a large stockpot and bring to low heat. Next, put diced onion, celery and sea salt and sauté until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add baby bok choy and continue to sauté for 2 minutes.

USING a microplane zester, grate fresh ginger and turmeric into the pot and stir well to combine. Add baby spinach to the pot and stir well, and then add bone broth and increase the heat to medium-high, until the soup is hot enough to serve.

*Notes: This soup can be made in bulk and stored in the freezer for when you need a fast, healing meal ready in just the time it takes to defrost! Serve this soup with your favorite Whole30 compliant protein, or add pre-cooked, shredded chicken to the soup when you add the bone broth.

Lemon Roasted Salmon (AIP-Friendly)

Highlighted ingredient: Wild Salmon

Wild salmon includes the important nutrients of DHA/EPA, Vitamin D, B-vitamin, and trace mineral benefits. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are the most well-researched nutrients when it comes postpartum depression and nutrient depletion. Early observational studies consistently show that serum and dietary omega-3 fatty acid levels are low in depressed patients. Postpartum mamas are encouraged to eat wild salmon or supplement with fish oil as a way to ensure proper DHA and EHA levels! Have questions about postpartum depression? Read our answers to some FAQs here.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 – 1.5 lbs. wild-caught salmon (skin-on is OK)
2 medium sweet potatoes, diced (skin-on is OK)
2 Tbs. coconut oil
½ tsp. black pepper (Omit to keep this recipe AIP-Friendly)
2 tsp. sea salt
1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeds removed
½ cup fresh parsley, to garnish

Instructions

PREHEAT your oven to 400 degrees.

ARRANGE diced sweet potato on a baking tray or cast-iron skillet lined with aluminum foil and parchment paper (the foil and parchment paper is optional but will speed up your cleaning time!).

TOSS sweet potatoes with coconut oil, 1 tsp. of sea salt, ½ tsp. of black pepper and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, tossing after 15 minutes.

WHILE your sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare your salmon by drizzling it with olive oil and arranging thinly sliced lemons and sea salt over each filet.

AFTER your sweet potatoes have roasted for 30 minutes, place each filet in the same pan as the sweet potatoes, and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve between 4 plates, garnishing with fresh parsley.

*Note: This recipe can be prepped 1-2 days in advance and roasted just when you need a Whole30 meal!

Slow Cooker (or Pressure Cooker) Carob Sirloin Stew

Highlighted ingredient: Red Meat

Red meat is rich in iron which helps new mamas replenish what was lost during birth. Eating foods rich in iron (such as red meat, oysters, and liver) will help your body form new red blood cells, boost your iron stores, and help you stay energized and strong during postpartum.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 – 1.5 lbs. of organic beef sirloin, diced in 1” cubes
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
28 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
4 oz. canned tomato paste
1 tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. black or white pepper
1 large sweet potato, diced
2 parsnips, peeled and diced
¼ cup carob powder
½ cup fresh parsley, to garnish
1 whole minced scallion, to garnish

Instructions

Slow cooker option:
ADD all ingredients except the parsley and scallion to a medium or large slow-cooker.
COOK on low for 8-10 hours.
REMOVE the slow-cooker lid and serve between 4 bowls and garnish with fresh parsley and scallion.

Pressure cooker option:
ADD all ingredients except the parsley and scallion to your pressure cooker.
PRESS the “Meat” button and adjust the timer to 20 minutes.
ENSURE the steamer valve is set to “Sealing.”
WHEN the timer has reached “0” minutes, allow the steam to release naturally for at least 30 minutes (Simply allow the timer to reach 30 minutes, you don’t have to do anything except that!).
REMOVE the lid and serve between 4 bowls with fresh parsley and scallion.

*Note: This stew can be made in bulk and stored in the freezer for when you need a fast, heathy meal ready in just the time it takes to defrost!

Connect With Us!

What are your favorite meals to bring to a mama postpartum? Join the conversation with us on Instagram or send us an email. For more information on postpartum depression and nutrition, check out this blog post from Steph, a registered dietician and co-creator of Whole30 Healthy Mama, Happy Baby.

Our goal at Whole30 HMHB is to give you the information you need about pregnancy nutrition and health without the judgment or fear-mongering that is so commonly directed at expecting mothers. For more information on our program, find us at mamas.whole30.com and on Instagram @Whole30HMHB. We are offering an exclusive discount to Today’s Mama’s readers. Enter code HMHBLOVESTM to take $40 off a lifetime membership to our program.


sarah-headshotSarah Steffens has a B.A. in Business Administration, Public Relations from The Master’s College in Southern California. After years of experimenting with nutrition and recipes in her own kitchen, she now works as a Personal Chef in Los Angeles, cooking meals that support her client’s intention to physically and mentally thrive. She has catered several independent film sets, making it her goal to optimize the energy and well-being of each creative crew. She is the in-house recipe creative for the Whole30, and the creator of the Savor and Fancyblog. When Sarah is not cooking Whole30 and Autoimmune Protocol meals, she is likely exploring mid-century sites in L.A., taking photographs, listening to an audio book or hiking at Griffith Park.

 

 

HURRICANE HARVEY: How to Help

Sitting in the bone dry desert that is Southern Utah, it’s hard to know how to process what is happening in Texas right now. At least 30 deaths and many more injuries are believed to be related to the storm, which has inundated parts of the Houston area with more than 40 inches of rain. In some places, totals have surpassed 50 inches, setting a record for the continental United States. At least a quarter of the land mass of Harris County, which includes Houston, is flooded, according to Jeffrey Lindner, a meteorologist for the Harris County Flood Control District.   My heart is broken watching the news, reading the Facebook updates and talking to friends and family as they are evacuating or unsure about their homes.  Social media is full of articles like this one from CBS news about what not to do, so I thought I would investigate what we should do and how to help with hurricane (now tropical storm) Harvey.

If you’re looking for some entertainment, a Utah local has started his own campaign to help raise funds.  Collin Kartchner is an Instagram Stories favorite (@collinkartchner) and in the last 24 hours has raised almost $15,000 raffling off donations.  The donations include everything from his “nuch” merch to botox to financial planning services and we are happily following along in his shenanigans.  The entire effort has been an incredible joint effort to witness as more and more brands and shops have happily donated.  Efforts like this-sending cash instead of physical supplies-have been proven more effective in disaster relief.


Along with him, a bunch of nonprofit organizations are working to mobilize relief for those affected, with some putting a specific focus on more vulnerable communities:

Unfortunately, some scams are circulating online. Here are a few things to watch out for.  If you have any non-profits to add to our list, please comment below!

Texas we love you!!

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Masters of disaster: Helping your family plan ahead for emergencies

The One Question Your Child Secretly Wants You To Answer

Unless you tell your children what you believe about them— what you think their talents are, what their character is like, what you expect of them—you might be surprised what they think.

I was giving Quinn a check-up for kindergarten. He said his dad was overseas fighting in a war and that he missed him terribly, and couldn’t wait for him to come home. He was proud of his dad and tried to describe his uniform for me.

“My Dad really misses me,” he said. “He’s proud of me and says I need to be the man of the house while he’s gone. My mom says I don’t, but I believe my Dad. He’s tough, you know, and when he comes home he’s gonna take me hunting. But I have to be twelve to shoot a gun, he says, because I’m too young now.” Quinn talked rapidly and his voice seemed strained.

“Yup. My dad told me that I’m the smartest kid he’s ever known. He’s right, you know. I am smart. I read every day because I know that when my dad gets home he’s going to want me to read with him.”

I asked Quinn to get a book from the waiting room to show me how well he could read. When he stepped out, I asked his mother about his dad. “He’s in jail,” she started. Then she broke down crying. “He never calls. He doesn’t write either. He got busted for drunk driving and was so humiliated he couldn’t bear to tell Quinn where he went. We told him that dad had work to do far away. Quinn turned that into he was overseas fighting a war. I just didn’t have the heart to correct him.”

Children have vivid imaginations and at six, which was Quinn’s age, it’s not unusual for them to create an imaginary friend. In Quinn’s case he was creating an imaginary father to make up for the absence of a real one. It was okay for the moment, but eventually he would, gently, have to be told the truth. Neither his mom nor I looked forward to that moment.

father and son communicate with child

Quinn imagined what his father believed about him—and maybe he was right, maybe his father did think he was the smartest boy on the planet; maybe he had told Quinn so earlier. The important thing was that Quinn was sustained by his belief that his father was proud of him, and believed him to be strong and smart.

Quinn’s father was set to be released from jail in the next few months. My hope was that he would reaffirm his son’s faith in what his dad believed about him. That would make the transition much easier.

The academic research has shown us that kids who have good communication with their fathers are much less likely to have trouble with drugs, alcohol, or depression. It seems as though dads have a unique power to boost their children’s sense of self-worth, of being grounded, and of belonging, which acts as a shield not just against drugs, alcohol, and depression, but, what is often related, teenage sexual activity.

Here’s how you can help fill that need.

1. Communicate simple truth.

Kids see right through platitudes and hype. It’s no good getting C’s in school and having your father boast that you are one of the smartest kids in the class, if you still can’t get your grades up, no matter how much you apply yourself. So praise needs to be honest. If your child is getting C’s and that’s the best he can do, tell him that’s fine, that you admire his tenacity for working so hard, and help him discover the subjects or practical skills at which he can excel, while he hammers out his C’s in Calculus or English.

As a parent you should be positive—and never talk critically of your children to other people—but you also want to be truthful. Your kids will appreciate that—and appreciate that C’s in math don’t spell the end of your affection for them or mean that they’re mediocre in everything, or for that matter that with enough effort and time they can’t improve in math!

2. Praise their Character not the stuff they do.

Kids want to know what you think they’re made of deep down. So tell them, “I believe that you are courageous, strong, patient, committed, hard- working, chivalrous,” or whatever the case may be.

child parent communication

3. Let them catch you talking about them.

When I was rejected from every medical school I applied to at twenty-one, I thought my life was over. I thought I was too stupid to go and that’s why I was rejected. One day I overheard my father talking on the phone to a friend and telling him that I would be going to medical school in the very near future. I was stunned. In that moment, my life changed. I was filled with the deep knowledge that my dad believed I could succeed in medical school. That was it. I was going. Period. That overheard conversation meant nothing to my father; it meant everything to me.
When you really believe in your kids, they’ll hear it in your voice. If they hear you talking about your belief in their goodness, perseverance, or courage, they will believe it—and it might just change their lives.

4. Take advantage of their failure.

The very best time to communicate sincere belief in your son or daughter is during a time when they feel they have failed. Then, their self-esteem is low, they are thinking that they are worthless, dumb, incapable. That is the perfect time for you to step in with a smile and say, “I don’t care what just happened on the field, I don’t care that you just flunked your exam, I know what you are made of and I believe in you. So stand up again and get back at it.” These are words that change your kids’ lives.

*This is excerpt from Meg Meeker’s brand new book Amazon Best Selling book HERO: Being the strong father your children need.

 

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Meg Meeker is a New York Times bestselling author who writes with the know-how of a pediatrician and the big heart of a mother because she has spent the last 30 years practicing pediatric and adolescent medicine. Her work with the NFL, the United Nations, and countless families over the years has served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books: Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know and Strong Mothers, Strong Sons: Lessons Mothers Need to Raise Extraordinary Men. You can pick up your copies on Amazon or at MegMeekerMD.com

Dr. Meg is a parent and has spoken nationally on parenting issues, including personal appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and television programs including The Today Show, Dateline with Katie Couric, Fox and Friends, The Dave Ramsey Show, The Laura Ingraham Show, NPR, Oprah Radio, The World Over with Raymond Arroyo and more.

11 Ways To Give Your Kids Experiences, NOT Stuff

The idea had been percolating around in my head for a while, the older our kids got the more STUFF they’d accumulated and I kind of hated it. I wanted to give our kids experiences over stuff but that’s always easier said than done, right? 

I think it started for me at Christmas this last year. Even though I’d hardly stepped foot into a store (thanks Amazon), I looked over our bank account at the end of the month and felt sick. We spent SO MUCH MONEY on stuff. Our kids lost their minds over the literal buffet of THINGS we’d laid before them. After the wrapping paper massacre they all headed downstairs to play a new x-box game leaving nerf guns and footballs and scooters and tons of other junk just sitting there.

It was overwhelming to even look at and felt weird to me. Had we done too much, were our kids bordering on spoiled?

Probably so.

I sat back on the couch and looked at my husband and said “I don’t want to do this anymore”. 

And I meant it. 

Growing up, Christmas was a lot different for me and my siblings. We got a few gifts, usually one big ticket item (a letterman jacket for my brother, a new stereo/CD player for me, a really nice pair of Nike’s for my sister), and then our stockings would have a few trinkets and treats and we’d sit down to the most delicious breakfast of the year to be followed by a day of lounging, watching movies, sledding possibly depending on snow levels, and then a dinner to knock your socks off. My mom is a fantastic cook.

Of course that’s what I remember, THE FOOD. I’m nothing if not consistent in my priorities.

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Interestingly enough, the memories that stand out to me from childhood in general are the ones that revolve around the trips we took and stuff we did together as a family, heavily focused on the experiences we had as kids… not the tangible things we did or didn’t have.

Things are, after all, just things. 

After that Christmas morning we committed. Less is more when it comes to toys and stuff, instead spend money on good gear for activities our family can do and follow through on plans to spend quality time together. Let’s get out there and make some memories, okay? 

Here’s a little insight into what we did from there: 

GET RID OF THE EXCESS

We’re currently in the process of selling our house and building a new one. This has nothing to do with the point of this article except for how it’s impacted my resolution to de-junk. In preparation and anticipation of the move I’ve gone into deep cleansing mode which has been a huge weight off my shoulders. Both literally and metaphorically. Extra stuff weighs you down, get rid of as much of it as you can. 

REHEARSE YOUR RESPONSE TO “I’M BORED”

I donated 90% of the toys in the house to our church and to a local shelter, keeping only a few cherished and well played with favorites. When my kids say they’re bored, I rattle off an oft-rehearsed list of chores that need doing, books to read, and dinner to make and that usually does the trick pushing them out the door and off to play. The threat of chores and jobs are a powerful motivator in this house.  

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MAKE A GO-TO LIST

We made a list of all the free stuff to do and on slow days we just pull it out and pick from that rather than stay inside and play xbox all day while crossing our eyes… even though on some days, that’s totally warranted. We’ve got lakes, fish ponds, splash pads, parks, waterfalls, canyons, and several family friendly hikes located within 10-20 minutes of our home. CAN’T BEAT THAT!

BUY THE PASS

We have several museums, gardens, a zoo, water parks and fun centers in our area and try to purchase annual passes to as many of them as the budget will allow because it’s so worth it in the long run. For example, it costs us about $50 for all of our family to go to the zoo for one day, but an annual pass costs less than $130. That math just doesn’t shake out and a pass gives you so many more opportunities to get out and do stuff. When in doubt BUY THE PASS! 

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EMBRACE CAR TRAVEL

We don’t really go on huge vacations requiring air travel mostly because we aren’t in a place where that’s super affordable for us and also because air travel with small children is literally hell. Our youngest is three, an airplane ride with him is akin to a nightmare in my book so I’ll spare myself and everyone else that experience. You’re welcome! For now, we drive. Gas prices are relatively cheap, cars have DVD players, it’s what works for us. What’s better than a good old fashioned road trip anyway? That may change in the future and get easier as our kids get older. I hope so! There’s a lot of stuff to see and do and I don’t necessarily have a desire to criss-cross the whole country via car with little kids in tow at this stage in our lives. I’m expecting that eventually our horizons will expand and we’ll grow a little more bold with our destinations as time goes on. 

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PLAN AHEAD

We sat down with the family calendar and made a list of places we wanted to visit over the next year and blocked off the dates we figured we could go so that my husband could request the time off work in advance and we could plan ahead budget-wise. My work is flexible and I make my own schedule for the most part. Again, most of these destinations are within a few hours drive of us which is what makes them do-able and affordable. 

ADD THE NATIONAL PARKS TO YOUR BUCKET LIST

We’re lucky enough to live within a few hours time of several major National Parks including Zion, Arches, Capitol Reef and Bryce Canyon. These are ALL on our list, but we’ll probably pick a few to visit over the summer and save some of the warmer locations for the fall when the temperatures cool down. There’s literally so much to see and do in our own state it will take us years and years to explore. FINE BY ME!  We’ll also buy a National Parks pass, again, a wise and relatively affordable purchase considering what it gives us access too. 

GEAR UP…AT A DISCOUNT

We’ve been accumulating good gear for our kids and ourselves slowly, including sleeping bags and outerwear like jackets and shoes, by watching deal sites like Steepandcheap.com, backcountry.com, and Craigslist too. There are some amazing deals to be had on secondhand stuff too off Craigslist and your local classifieds section. Take the down filled Patagonia coat we scored for our 8 yr old for only $30, or the Sorel snow boots for our 3 year old too, $25!  

When stuff like kid size kayaks go on sale at Costco or other stores, we snap them up when we can and watch the end of season sales too. 

YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO FULL MINIMALIST

I am not by any means, an expert in this area, it’s just what we’ve decided as a family to do. Nor do I think we’re necessarily that family that has foregone all of our stuff to live off-grid in pursuit of a life of abandonment and exploration unplugged. We still have wi-fi, I still like my Netflix, air conditioning and creature comforts (hello Chick-Fil-A drive through) as much as the next person. We have gotten rid of stuff like cable and dish because we find with streaming options available, we just don’t need it. 

As far as priorities go, we’ve just made more of an effort not to accumulate pointless toys and other stuff, to live a little more simply (relatively speaking, we’re not full blown granola, okay?), and focus on making the time we have together as a family really count instead. I mean, as much as we can anyway. Giving our kids experiences takes planning and work, but it’s worth it. 

Less stuff, more experiences, more time together. 

Maybe the outdoors isn’t exactly your thing, thats fine! Figure out what you like to do together and go from there. Museums, plays, art, comic books, movies? Whatever! Personally, we’re big fans of nature and the outdoors, and I’d like for my kids to see and do as much of it as possible so I’m going to cram it down their throats while we as parents are still in a position of authority and pay for all the things giving them no choice. Hey, at least we have air conditioning and a DVD player, my kids have it WAY better than I did at that age. You’re welcome! 

We’re heading out on a trip to Wyoming (including my home town) later this month with plans to loop back home via Yellowstone, Island Park, Idaho and Jackson Hole too if we can swing it. One giant road trip with a family reunion thrown in for good measure.

 

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Family time TO THE MAX!

Luckily our costs should stay low thanks to family accommodations for part of it, and maybe one night in a hotel for the other which is cool because my kids love hotel pools more than almost anything else and one night isn’t going to break the bank. We’ll pack as much food in coolers to take with us as we can, and hit the grocery store along the way too. Kids are generally pretty easy to please like that. We’ll stop by the library and load up on books on tape for when the DVD player isn’t doing the trick. My kids love a good series, Harry Potter and Percy Jackson are proving to be winners so far. 

Is it always going to be fun? No. Is all that driving and family togetherness a blast? No. 

But, I can’t wait to take them fishing in the mountains I grew up in, to run wild on my brother’s farm with cousins they see only a few times a year, and to go to bed exhausted and covered in dirt just like I used to. Not to mention their first sight of a buffalo up close, and how about Old Faithful? Mind-blowing!

My hope is that these trips really light their fire for adventure, making our next destination and activity something to look forward to. So many cool things to see! 

We’ll leave the Xbox sitting safely on the shelf back home for the middle of winter when things get really dire… for now, we’ve got other stuff to do. 

I have to think there are so many others who feel the same, I can’t be alone with feeling overwhelmed by THINGS, can I? Especially when it comes to our kids….

Less stuff, more experiences. Are you on board? I’d love to hear about it! 

 

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