Saturday, June 16, 2012

The former Judgey Moms are evolving into Discerning Mommas

 dis·cern·ing  (d-sûrnng, -zûr-)
Exhibiting keen insight and good judgment; perceptive.

dis·cerning·ly adv.

When we were thinking about starting our blog, we would regularly visit Baby centers facebook page and give advice to mothers with questions that  are relevant to our experiences and base of knowledge. These women seemed not to like getting advice that was different then they were doing, and like people do, they got defensive. They called us names, such as judgey moms. We thought, if being judgmental means then trying to advocate natural,peaceful parenting, then SIGN US UP! We decided to embrace that and thought other parents might understand where we are coming from, a place of people getting defensive and thinking your're judgmental, when in actuality you have everyone's best interest at heart.

 We are Buddhists and Buddhism really speaks out against, hate, anger, and judgment. What I've realized is that we aren't trying to be "judgey", we are trying to be discerning as possible. There is a distinct difference between judgment and discernment. Discernment means perceiving the way things are, period. Judgment is what we add to discernment when we make a correlation  between how things and people in the world are. It is  hard as we all know to keep negative judgment at bay, especially when childrens' well being is at stake.Start with a persons dissatisfaction over another persons decisions and mix in our desire for them to be otherwise and then you will surely feel a slew of negative emotions. I need to clear my mind of all preconceived thoughts and notions and start advocating with a blank mind, a discerning one. 

A 'discerning mind' comes from a peaceful place, from a nonreactive place, and ‘judging mind’ comes from a reactive place. But there has to be a middle ground, I mean even Buddha himself sometimes criticized the teachings of the Brahmins of his day, which means he judged they were wrong. There has to be a middle way, in every situation. For example, you see a child being abused and you judge that this is wrong, and you are able to stop it, then you probably will. I think for the state of my spiritual and physical progress I need to find that middle ground in my promotion of informed parenting. I feel like I have to judge corporations and money(not people and their actions) through my advocation,hopefully that is a good middle ground?

This brings me to  our news.We are not 'Judgey' but are promoting good judgment. We want more moms to feel welcome,and not put off by our name. We understand why we used the name "The Judgey Moms" but does everyone else? I  am passionate about families living beautiful,healthy, happy lives and I don't know if anyone can receive that energy with our current name. It has served its purpose in our lives, we feel our blog needs to follow our intentions and life experiences. We feel as if we parent 'with good judgment' and want to encourage others to open up to the wealth of knowledge mothers inherently own. We want you to realize you have your childs best interest at heart, no pharmaceutical corporation or  government organization can match a mothers instinct and capacity of love. 

We will be changing our blog name to Discerning Mommas and hope you understand and will join us! 

p.s-the new blog will be up in the next week and we PROMISE this is the only time we will be doing this :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mommy needs a Xanax: My ongoing journey to inner peace

Since my husband has been gone, I have been so ‘busy’ with my pregnancy and a toddler and life in general that I forgot about me.In turn I have neglected my emotional and mental well being.I have anxiety. I have anxiety about my anxiety. I have anxiety about trying to fix my anxiety. It has been a struggle, and I was becoming increasingly disconnected from my emotions about well, everything.  I feel as if I have legitimate reasons for my anxiety, but I still feel guilty that I get stressed and depressed sometimes. My husband hasn't gotten to experience all the joys of parenting (he was here for the first year of Maddox’s life) including, lack of sleep and ANXIETY. I sit here and feel like shit, why can’t I just DEAL WITH IT? Here I am, with our two beautiful babies, smiling or crying who cares, right? I don’t know anyone in the Bay area here, and I literally don’t get any me time ( we are working on that a.s.a.p. by the way) In my head I feel as if all of these factors are just plain bullshit. JUST DEAL WITH IT, HALEY.


So as you know, I hate the medical industry. Yeah yeah, there is a place for them in the world, and it should have to do mostly with car accidents and broken legs not maintaining mental and physical health. I have been having this dialogue in my head about my stressed out past weeks, and how I felt helpless to cope with it on my own. I felt as if I got to a point in my head where I just needed immediate relief to be able to come back down and deal with life with a clear head. I talked to a good friend, who told me how strong I was and how she thinks I was right and might need a little extra help and validated all of my feelings.
So, I went to a doctor. She was an hour late. She looked at me and said “So what is it you want” I said “uhh, relief” She was rude and didn’t believe me. Here I was with two babies, who wanted a damn nap, and I was pretty stressed out after being there so long. And of course because of my Fibromyalgia diagnosis I was treated like a liar. She told me that all she would prescribe was an SSRI. SSRI’s make me suicidal. I went through the ringer a few years back in the medical system when I trusted them and was happily ignorant of the truth, and in this time found that EVERY anti-depressant makes my life come to a screeching halt with sadness and pain. I don’t think they are safe, and I think there are better alternatives for myself. Long story short, I left 60 dollars lighter, and with a panic attack. It really solidified my disbelief in the medical industries ability to care or heal.

Today I woke up and I just wanted to feel better. We went to the library and got a book on the art of intention. *I intend to feel better, damnit*. We listened to the book on the way to the park, and I did deep breathing all the way there. I watched my son play with children and smile with all the light of the universe in his eyes. ( I might of asked some kids what they were looking at while nursing my daughter and they were squealing with laughter at how disgusting it was,  but hey, I’m freaking working on it here.) We got home and the kids took a nap, so I meditated for the first time in, well, way too long. As I opened my eyes, I remembered that this is what peace feels like, not a Xanax. I took deep breaths and let out my emotions the healthy way, the way that brings you closer to your real self. I let the tension out of my eye brows.  I let anger out of my heart and mind. I opened my heart to the universe and let the light in. Ahhhh. I will not give into big Pharma, I will not give into my anxiety. I will give into love, though. Healing and Happiness are already there, you just have to open up and let them in.
While I feel like I’m well equipped to advocate informed parenting because to me, it is visible and simple and easy to understand. But meditation, your physical and spirit body, and Buddhism are harder for me to convey to everyone.  I feel as if there are so many better examples and teachers of this eternal knowledge and I urge you to look into this yourself. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for Buddhism and meditation. Neither are religions. Science backs both of them up.  Happiness and relief await, deep in your mind. Join the collective consciousness and spread the love!

*Buddhism and meditation ARE NOT religions—they are compatible with every person and religion*
( I would also like to say, I am not trying to make anyone feel bad about their choices to deal with anxiety or depression, and hope you find peace and comfort. :) )

A good place to start would be to watch a few documentaries—

What the bleep do we know( This is very enlightening on the science of your emotions and the reality of the universe)(FULL DOCUMENTARY)

(They changed my life, I named my son Maddox Grey after him. I met him in San Fransisco and It was amazing. He is my favorite artist and a great influence for the world) Look at his beautiful art

The book The Celestine Prophecy is very relevant; although it is ‘Fiction’ It was very profound to me on my journey to discover the reality of myself.

Here are a few more relevant links
Quantum Physics and your emotions--

Written by Haley

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Poop like an African

Being enlightened on such topics as the medical industry, real health care, and the state of the human race and it's health is so burdening. Going through the grocery store I literally WONT eat 99.5% of the food there. It makes me sick, everyone and their diet coke and meat.  Ignorant as they may be, most people I try to tell shrug these things off. I knew a mother whose child had ADHD and was hallucinating off his numerous meds, saying " He wanted to go to heaven to be with his Grandpa" This child would drink soda all day long, candy, gum, had a whole goody cart they could eat anything off of. I told her about sodium benzoate and high fructose corn syrup and also organics. The mother was stubborn like most people I try  to tell, because no one wants to feel like they are doing the wrong thing for their kids. This it's "just soda" attitude is making our children an obese and sick generation.

We cannot ignore the rampant disease spreading through the modern civilized world. Heart disease, Diabetes, Cancer, Asthma, Fibromyalgia, MS, the list goes on. These are all diseases the medical world is just acting like they are "working on". Um, somethings not fucking working here, because we're all sick fat and tired. We live in a country where some red headed clown brainwashes our children on tv with cheeseburgers, and then ignores the massive amount of unhealthy children. And then what do we do, we defend it with our lives. I guess some people don't like me robbing my children of American toddler right of passage crappy "birthday party" diet. People think the children are deprived of some sort of dietary dreamland or something. My children have so much more to do and become than sick and fat.  I refuse to for the sake of a standard American childhood buy my children a crappy "treat" at the store. (Or conform to any tradition I see unhealthy or not in my morals.) A treat doesn't have to be toxic and have a negative impact on your child's health. I can make it myself healthier and as tasty and the children will have fun making everything together as a family from scratch and enjoying their labors. Family makes a beautiful childhood not junk food.

I am not saying "HEY YOU GO VEGAN OR DIE" I am a fake ass vegan anyways, we eat honey (gasp!)But I am saying, get off your behind and look into some real food for those growing children who need it. Look into how cancer has been cured so many times over, every time I see a new cancer cure, I go "Another?" THERE ARE SO MANY. Heart disease is a DIET RELATED DISEASE, and can be reversed even at late stages through diet alone. I watch so many people I know and their families are sick, and they think its normal stages of life. My dad and grandma just got their gallbladders removed, and so many people I found out that I know have gotten it removed. All it took was five minutes of research to find that this is from eating a meat and dairy based fatty STANDARD AMERICAN DIET.  We are just taking out organs that we need, and acting like that's fine. That isn't okay, your organs are there for a reason, removing an organ will never fix the problem it just fixes symptoms.

And then there is the Western Medical Doctor. Ugh. I am sorry but what a load of shit. We all follow these doctors blindly as they prescribe us toxic drugs to "fix" problems.Were treating symptoms here not the root cause. I am sorry but this is IRRESPONSIBLE MEDICINE. They gave my sister 16 doses of penicillin when she was in labor, as a preventative measure. When her son had a fungal rash they tried to prescribed more antibiotics, then wouldn't touch the subject of probiotics with a ten foot pole. Not even a pharmacist would. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia when I was 17 and I believed these doctors were doing what was best for me.  Antidepressants, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills, anti-seizure meds, you fucking name it they prescribed it. Turns out my nephew and I both needed probiotcs to cure us of a fungal problem that 90% of Americans have without knowing.

I cured my fibromyalgia after I found out about yeast (candida) overgrowth. This was due to the use of antibiotics causing yeast overgrowth that feeds on the Standard American Diet (Sugar and Carbs) until it is systemic. Jenny Mcarthy says she cured her sons Autism with probiotics and a candida regimen. Cancer and candida is another corrolation to seriously look into. Doctors wont even talk about nutrition and have no idea the implications of ignoring diet because they just aren't trained in nutrition (around 4% are trained in nutrition). They are MEDICAL doctors, the prescribe MEDICINE, and go to MEDICAL schools in which just teach what "big pharma" sells to them) It is criminal if you ask me.

So where do you start? Your body tells you so much about what is going on. Your poop, skin and teeth  weight and energy levels reveal your health. I once read about this African tribe who pooped 4 times a day and had like no cancer.(big long healthy poops too) The whole American sitting on the toilet reading really working hard to poop is just gross. If your not pooping at least once a day or your straining while pooping, your eating wrong. Pay attention to the state of your health. Just because everyone else is getting the same problems doesnt mean its normal.

The everyday products you use in the house also matter

Number one thing to do for your family to get on track with your health is switch to an organic, whole food diet. Look up super foods. Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, seeds and nuts. Preservatives and artificial colorings and flavorings are widely overused and shouldn't be ANYWHERE in your families diets. I can only think of one processed food we eat which is a rice noodle and the ingredients are "RICE, WATER". Find the diet that feels right for you, don't go against your instincts. Hopefully your instincts aren't telling you to get a value meal though.

Written by Haley


I will say this is what I have implemented in my families way of thinking and diets to benefit us in life, if you catch my drift.

The Jenny Mcarthy Interview(A MUST READ)--

 I dont use ANY product with artificial frangrance-

Watch food inc. and food matters they changed my perception on food altogether they are on netflix and easy to stream online and also worth buying.

Research for yourself to get a balanced educated knowledge of nutrition and its importance and take charge of your families health.

*Rant Over*

Friday, May 25, 2012

Top eight things parents need to educate themselves about(in no particular order)

I hope if you can get anything out of this article it is to question the parenting options and be informed of your choices. Your child relys on you to make educated, mature decisons about their upbringing and health.

1. Childbirth
I am a HUGE natural birth advocate. While I understand some women just want pain relief, or the comfort of the hospital. I urge every woman to at least research and understand the pros and cons of such medical aid. We will post our birth stories soon, but for now I had two beautiful natural out of hopsital births and my sister had a traumatic midwife hospital experience. I recommend watching the Business of Being Born (its on netflix and easy to find online) I had a doctor before and after watching this twice and crying the whole thing, I prayed for a homebirth. I was angry, I felt betrayed by the medical system and its horrible treatment of the birthing process.
Birth without fear is the BEST resource to educate yourself on empowering your own birth, no matter what route you choose. It is an amazing community of mothers, I urge you to read some birth stories to figure out what is best for you. My second birth went SO much easier because I wasn't in fear, and I was in control of myself and it made labor progress QUICK. I was informed and empowered. It was spiritual and beautiful. Everything a birth should be.

Here is the whole business of being born documentary
My first child I was ignorant of the importance, and how to breast feed. My Doula the second time around was a godsend as she taught me what I didn't know. As a mother who formula fed one and breast fed the other, I strongly urge everyone to at least try. I get SO much more sleep because we co sleep and breast feed. No bottles to scrub, no formula to mix up in the midst of a crying baby. Not to mention the bond and nutritional/medicinal value of breastfeeding. It is a beautiful thing nursing your child and watching them grow.It is a-freaking-mazing. There are amazing resources online for all the information you need to make educated decisions about what to feed your child. My big problem with formula is that it is powdered cows milk with synthetic vitamins, and hexane gas(a known narcotic gas) with other questionable ingredients.(Corn syrups, MSG and Arsenic) Breast milk is more than just a dead powdered food product, it is medicinal, nutritional and your baby needs it. Formula is a last resort.I urge mothers to look into breastfeeding, then donation breast milk, then and then homemade formulas,.
Here is a page about the marketing of formula

Educate yourself about formula, and its effect on a babys health

Places to find donation milk (WHICH IS EASY and there are plenty of generous mommas that want to help)

There are so many online communites that will come together to feed your baby what it was meant to be fed.

Respect the breast is my favorite go to advice forum on breastfeeding questions

Kelly mom is essential--

3.Vaccines/ Natural Immunity/ Delayed Vaccination
Vaccines are a very touchy debate with many. I am not anti vaccination, I am PRO SAFE vaccination. Which in my research and understanding-- ARE NOT.  They have tons of questionable ingredients that I would never inject my precious baby with. But I do understand people want to protect their babies from disease, which I urge you to research vaccine effectiveness, which they are not. The huge thing with vaccines for me is that they use aborted human fetal cells to GROW DISEASES/VIRUSES on. They also use a plethora of other animal tissues in the vaccines.(MONKEY DNA) I freaking object. If you do the research and still want to vaccinate, you should at least consider delayed vaccines or alternative scheduling. There ARE doctors to fit your needs no matter what.Vaccine detox is a great idea if your dead set on vaccinating too. Too many perfect babies are vaccine injured and the parents don't even KNOW.Then far too many babies are injured and die, or have brain damage, or seizures, or autism(yes there is a connection)

Dr. Mercola is such a good resource for health related issues--(the documentary is worth your time)

Information on animal tissues in vaccines--

Information on vaccine ingredients--

Vaccine injured database-

We have a blog on this and I urge you to read it, read more, and DON'T DO IT. Watch  a video and tell me you think that isn't genital mutilation. It changes their brain chemistry for life. The foreskin is a functional part of the penis. It contains 70% of nerve endings in the penis. The procedure is cruel and traumatic for the baby, and can cause hemorrhaging,heart attacks,seizures, and death. The claim that 'they just slept right through it' is bogus and is actually just the baby in shock. The information is right there all you have to do is want it, and be accepting that the generations before us messed up. Plain and simple it is not your choice to make aesthetic changes to your baby's penis. It has no medical validity, and is purely for profit of the medical industry. It is genital mutilation, plain and simple.
Dr Momma is my favorite site for information on circumcision--

Circumcison causes life long harm

This is a wonderful community and will answer any questions you have

Again there is SO much research as to why you shouldn't do this and it is right at your fingertips. Seek the truth.

5. Food additives/Diet
Although my outlook on food veers very psuedo-vegan-esque-ish (lol) I understand that not everyone wants to or will quit meat and dairy. I urge you to consider researching a little more, and limiting your intake. As heart disease cancer and diabetes are the three biggest killers, I suggest you maybe consider that it is unhealthy and causing diseases in most of the modern world. Either way you pick, 100% of everyone should feed their children as many organic fresh foods as possible. A whole food diet is the key to health. Please reconsider the cheerios chicken fingers childhood, it is frankly out of hand. I grew up on a SAD diet (Standard American Diet) of overly processed meats, cheeses, and sweets(fast food a  plenty) I have fibromyalgia which I think between vaccines, abuse, and a bad diet could have been prevented. Most Americans have candida overgrowth/infections. We are not a healthy country and need to stop ignoring the elephant in the room. It is possible, my son eats a organic whole food diet vegan except honey. He isn't big on berries, but loves sauteed spinach and asparagus.  Whole foods means no preservatives, or artificial flavorings. Vegetables, beans, quinoa, fruits, nuts, you get the idea. All of these food additives need to be removed from children's diets, it is causing harm.
Our blog on food-
Food additives linked to behavior problems in children

Why choose whole foods diet?

Great info

6. Household products/Personal Products
Most people nowadays seem obsessed with sanitizing everything, with harsh unnecessary chemicals. With the health epidemics in this country, it cannot be ignored. We are filling our homes with toxic chemicals that our children breath in and touch regularly. This is such a simple solution. BUY VINEGAR, BAKING SODA, AND A STEAM MOP. Seriously. This includes regular dish soap, I would invest in a natural/organic brand that doesn't have synthetic fragrances(we will talk later about those) Laundry detergent, including baby brands like Dreft, are filled with dioxins,fragrances among other toxic chemicals that irritate baby's skin. All the mainstream baby soaps are toxic crap. I used to use J&J until I found out because of my sons eczema and I was PISSED when I started researching ingredients and reading labels, get that shit away from me. Both of our kids breaks out from regular soaps and detergents. Our bodies are already being bombarded with enormous amounts of toxins,more than any generation before us. These are simple changes in the products you buy that will eliminate unnecessary strain on your little ones body

Rocking Green is my favorite I have used it for 2 years.It lasts me about 4 months between cloth diapers and a family of 5 for 16$ Beat that, Gain.

Dr bronners is great soap for everyone-- Great information on this FAQ

Toxic ingredients in J&J-

Fluoride is toxic and actually hardens teeth so much they become brittle. It is a neurotoxin and should be avoided. I write my mayor regularly about removing it from the water supply. Hitler was the first one to use it to make the people docile, stupid. I recommend finding a better toothpaste. Its not hard to find at most grocery stores now a days.
8.Attachment Parenting and its benefits
I think all the controversy with the TIME magazine article has really just swayed everyone from the truth. Turned it into a sideshow. AP isn't just about breastfeeding, you can be a formula feeding attachment parent.It is about tuning into the needs of your child, and using instincts to form that child's emotions into a health happy balanced person. Ignoring your child's emotional needs, starting with crying it out to sleep, is never healthy for anyone involved. It isn't spoiling, its human nature between mother and child. There are benefits, and I think its the easier way to parent anyways. It forms children that are emotionally healthy without attachment problems.

Obviously Im going to link Dr. Sears
Are you a problem parent- a must read--
7. Baby wearing
My nephews first time piggy backin'
Plain and simple. ITS FUCKING AWESOME! Dear lord, I love my Ergo. I hate strollers,I actually use a wagon instead. I wore my son until i was 41 weeks pregnant,on my back in my Ergo. Its healthy, its natural. Get a good one that isn't a crotch dangler they cause hip displaysia, baby carriers are totally worth the money. I have a mesh ring sling for the water and its super cute. Seriously, how long have women been carrying their babies? Remember Africa?! The health benefits are there and it is great to be able to do, well, ANYTHING (remember eating?)
Dr. Sears is down

Seriously consider an Ergo( go on craigslist if it is out of your price range)  Best buy Ever

8.Sexualization of our youth and gender stereotypes
Sexualization happens FAST. All the sudden the baby is born wearing a mini skirt and a cheeta tank top. It limits girls to the confines of princess and pink, and that in turn forms insecure and superficial unhealthy feelings because of the oversexualized of women. We then put boys into a world of violence, skulls and gender stereo types and wonder what is going on with them. It is limiting to everyone and so unhealthy. The 'pink washing' of girls merchandise is so out of hand.Colors have no gender! I want my little girl to be able to be a child, not a princess. Princess is for fun, not a lifestyle. My son likes fuzzy things and flowers and tap dancing, and climbing on everything. A family once while I was buying a wooden kitchen for my son said that their son wanted one and wanted to be a chef, but he was a boy so they wouldnt think about buying it. Their are so many examples of gender stereotypes that need to be addressed. We are limiting our children and they are the ones who suffer from it. Pigtail Pals Ball Cap Buddies is my favorite website ever. Her blog is amazing and she is doing the best service for the youth. Her children are witty and full of life, and everything children should be. Check it out!
Peggy o'renstein-- Author of Cinderella ate my daughter

Written by Haley--I used the word urge a lot in this article.I should count.

This Meme bothers me so much. I cant stand thinking of raising my children in such a manner. A "because I'm mom" thing just doesnt agree with my rationale. Part of effective parenting is your children questioning the why, and then coming to understand the lesson you are teaching them. This parenting style doesnt give children the chance to be HUMANS. Humans are inherently imperfect, we have big emotions, even as adults have trouble controlling our thoughts and emotions. So how does it make sense to just expect a child to do something 100% of the time 'because you said so' Children are little people, with big emotions, and in order to control those emotions they first have to understand what they are feeling. They cannot recognize emotions yet and

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why my son's 1st birthday party will be his last: Birthday Entitlement and Materialism

My son just turned a year old in April. Yes, I went overboard and rented a covered picnic area in a local city park. I got him a few select gifts, one of them and a handmade bunting off Etsy. I ordered him the same teddy bear I've had my whole life, in a different color. I had custom ordered raw, vegan and gluten and soy free cakes. One was a fruit pie, and the other a chocolate raspberry cheesecake. My son had a cupcaked version blueberry cheesecake.

I had a nautical themed photo shoot, and found a local retired photographer who actually owned a sailboat. My baby shower, nursery were nautical themed, as was this birthday. We like to say Drakey has a "nautical themed life" . I liked the nautical theme because it is timeless, innocent, and we live in the SF Bay Area, water and sailing are a common sight.

I had an invitation designed, again on Etsy. I didn't send out one invite. I had one printed for my personal satisfaction.

Theodore. Isn't he Theo-dorable?
I only invited my son's other side of the family. His father, grandmother, aunt and her kids and husband. The grandma, aunt and one of the kids attended. I attempted to invite one other person, but it didn't manifest. It was a small, outdoor, gathering that I planned every detail of. Two birthday outfits for Mr One Year, my sisters kids each having an nautical themed outfit. We dressed the part too. He received a puppy because the neighbors had offered and we couldn't resist (turns out the puppy wasn't a great fit for our household because he was playful and nipped the children's toes, interrupted nap time and the last thing we really need is to co-sleep a pup and to clean up more poo. he was shortly placed with another family.) We made our own lemonade, kale chips, hummus, and so on.

It was all wonderful and enjoyable. The whole purpose of the party, was to bring Drake's family together, because there is separation and they  don't see him much .

Then we opened presents.

I asked the family for a nice feeding set, I had my eye on the thinkbaby stainless steel one.
 He received soft soled shoes, three wooden puzzles, a drum that included other instruments like maracas, an organic onesie and pant set, a stuffed lion, a nautical onesie, cardboard block set, bathtub basketball hoop, a wooden shape sorter, a book,  and a bathtub toy the gifts I got him, teddy bear, handmade taggy blanket with his name embroidered, a mp3 plush turtle, a xylophone push-walker toy, and an over sized tennis ball. These gifts were opened half at the park and half at home.

An unexpected friend showed up bearing two sets of polo style shirts and shorts and a really big cartooned pair of shoes.

Whoa, that's a lot of gifts, overwhelming really.

My concerns mainly stem from the extended family, we just do not have the same values. Although a $30 stuffed animal is nice, its not the best use of the funds and it is just another stuffed animal. I had to talk his father out of buying him a watch. I would be humiliated to have my one year old in public with a fashion acessory like a watch. At least he wouldn't be late for naptime, though! I really have to work on him not mentioning to the children when they are wearing certain brands, not putting importance on how they look and things of that nature.

 Simply, they are materialistic and we just never will be.

Maddox on his 1st Birthday

My nephew celebrated his first birthday with a balloon, a trip to the park and a homemade blackberry cobbler, his grandma's recipe.

How I envy the simplicity.

It's a great tradition, this year we may include some gifts, a tricycle and an art easel. The activity will vary in the years to come based on interest;  it's really a beautiful thing.

At Drake's birthday I was so busy hosting that I didn't have time to let him enjoy the park. Between the family leaving and unexpected guests showing up, I had to start all over, hosting again! Finally, I had enough. I demanded somebody watch that puppy, grabbed a boy on each hip and marched to the swing set. They had a ball. It was all they wanted to do, and all I wanted to see: smiling, happy kids. Nobody else got to witness the real birthday joy, it was just the three of us.

Its true what they say, the first birthday isn't for the child, it is for the parents. In my case the parents, and extended family, and mutual friends of my ex and I  who I hadn't seen in a while...

Weeks of planning, ordering, and organizing, just to put the kids on the swings and let the wind do the rest...

We learned a lot.

 Now there will be a one gift limit per family member. This will require that the gift be thoughtful, not last minute. (hopefully)

Clothing is not a gift, it's a necessity and we don't gift our children what is inherently their right to be provided. Fancy doesn't make clothing suddenly awe- inspiring. Kids don't care about clothes, and if they do, that's a terrible thing! They can like or pick their clothes, but brand names shouldn't matter to them and they should always prefer an activity or toy!
(For the record, Drake received ONLY clothing for Christmas, which only his dad's side celebrates, and a little piano I requested his father give him. None of it was even his size. Box after box of nothing that interested him except the tags and tissue paper... now that he fits it, its not seasonal and the only person who has enjoyed it was my nephew, for whom it wasn't exactly intended.)

Birthdays aren't a reason to rub elbows with people who aren't otherwise around.

Next year, we might plan an activity and invite the family to meet us, but there will be no party, no invitations, no decor, (well maybe balloons, our kids are big fans!) no appetizers, no waiting around or trying to make everyone happy and the birthday boy won't be subjected to rituals he doesn't care about.


Today while doing our return... there was a birthday boy at Toys R Us. Cute kid, red headed and age 7.  I talked with his mother who told me it was a hard time because of some things going on with his grandmother. She went on to tell me that she was just trying to make the best of it and " Spend the money."
I told him Happy Birthday, and he showed me his box of Lego's.
" $44.99! $44.99! $44.99! " he shouted with pride.
"And I get these too!" He showed me some comic book super hero trading cards.
"And I get to see 'The Avengers' tonight!"

It was all pretty Americana to me, boys and violent characterized merchandise, but it seemed like the money was the real gift here. The mother "going ahead and spending the money", I noticed she paid in check. Could this be spending money she doesn't have during a family crisis? I speculate. Regardless, the kid was more excited about the price than whatever object the Lego set was supposed to construct.

As we are leaving the store, they announce his birthday over the in-store intercom...
and as were loading our vehicle with kids and loot, I see him walking out of the store with a balloon in hand and a paper crown on his head. YES, a CROWN!

This little boy wanted everyone to know it was his birthday, he was boasting about the price of his gifts and it all seemed grotesque to me. I liked the kid, I really did, but I didn't like the messages and behaviors we were teaching him.

If birthdays mean you are royalty, host a kiddie social event, receive luxury clothing, thoughtless and numerous gifts, spending beyond means and require weeks of event planning... I'm out!
Worse, your still doing it when your an adult!

"How this happen to me?  ITS MY BIRTHDAY!" Adult birthday entitlement is the worst!

I literally had a friend of mine host a three day birthday celebration, which I attended two events of and the third night didn't go, so he invited me to a do-over... where I had to put my foot down and say hey, I have a child! You have got to be kidding me!

Drake's father recently had a case of birthday entitlement. It was planned far in advance that he would help 'babysit' on his birthday because my sister was going to see her favorite artist speak and paint, Alex Grey. She even gave her son the middle name Grey, and she hadn't been out by herself in years probably because of her young children. Big deal, really it was. My ex offered to loan her his car. Sweet. He shows up HOURS late, she had already left. When he arrives he has a new hat, necklace, shoes, shirt, pants, sunglasses, cell phone case, haircut, new CD... and when confronted about his tardiness he gives me the, "It's my birthday!" thing.


I can't wait to celebrate our kid's birthdays and watch them grow. I just won't be going the traditional route here, surprise! I have to be conscious of our choices and what we implement, I don't want to create lavish expectations, because I don't want to "just spend the money" if I don't have it. I don't want my child to know the prices, or brands or care. I want them to know we love them, spend time together and experience childhood bliss and excitement. There is nothing like the simple joys and I intend on preserving them.

Drake and Kagomae in the type of clothing I value!

written by B. Judgey

Monday, May 21, 2012

Spanking and a black eye at the happiest place on earth: Why we say no 'spank you'!

"Non-violence means dialogue, using our language, the human language. Dialogue means compromise; respecting each other’s rights; in the spirit of reconciliation there is a real solution to conflict and disagreement. There is no hundred percent winner, no hundred percent loser—not that way but half-and-half. That is the practical way, the only way." -Dalai Lama XIV

My opinions on spanking were established early in life.
I can remember the last time my father spanked me...
We were at Disney World, "The Happiest Place on Earth" on "vacation".  My siblings and I lived with my father for most of our youth, and my grandmother lived with us and cared for us as well. This particular instance my father was travelling and interviewing for work. The details are a bit vague but I will tell you that the travelling progressed until we had driven a U-Haul into Utah and enrolled in school from a motel room. (by Christmas we had a beautiful home and my father's career was flourishing) But... at this juncture of our journey we were still convinced we were on "vacation"... and what child would know any differently when we were at Disney?
I speculate that the driving and travels created tension between my sister and I. I even went as far as to call her a "Dumbo" after she got off her elephant ride. When Mickey Mouse called our hotel room to invite us to breakfast SHE got to talk to him, and I was SO JEALOUS.  If you can get a vibe of my state of mind, I was the slightly neglected, very sensitve middle child who had been cooped up in a car and possibly exposed to adult stress...
I don't even really remember what I did or said to my sister... but boy did I "learn my lesson"...
The spanking took place in the hotel room, I can remember doing the cover my butt with my hands and when that becomes too painful squrim technique, and the Squirm landed me with a black eye.
My shiner sure put a damper of the family vacation, we had some videos from the trip, but  no photos. My dad realized that SPANKING IS VIOLENCE but any kid being hit could tell you that. I was spanked most likley due to his stress and inabiltiy to cope with my specific needs properly.

Years later, we moved into my mothers home and embarked on years of various types of abuse. The first 24 hours my sister endured (she hadn't lived with our mom from the age of 6 months until age 7) she was hit twice, for the cantelope in the trash can and jelly sandels on the couch.
My sister was spoiled by my grandmother at my father's house, and was never reqired to eat anything that wasnt cheesy or sugary. There was an immediate role reversal when we arrived at moms, and now I was favored and she was abused daily. We were physically, mentally, emotionally, religously abused and my sister was also force fed and tortured with food.

Eventually, my sister told the DARE officer at her school "My mom hurts me." and showed him a scar on her knee. My dad drove from out of state to pick up the following day, and we were escorted by police to collect our things in black trashbags while she screamed and tried to get the officer to take his shoes off in her home. I have seen her once since then, 12 years ago, but I talk to her on the phone sometimes and try to help her through.

After landing back at my fathers, we rebelled against the regime we had lived under for so long. As young teens we did what anybody would do, we went PUNK... then GOTH.
My dad was ill-prepared to deal with his punked-out teens, and worked constantly, and much like the prior years we were left to fend for ourselves.
Angsty, fighting for identity and detoxing from abuse our interpersonal relationships suffered. 

We were never taught accountability, as we recall we have been violent to each other well into our teen years.

Before we ever lived with my mother my bother was 8 and I was 7 he choked me after I beat him in a video game. I was further repromanded for winning, since it wasn't a proper girl thing to do by my granny... same ages my sister threw a dumbell on my leg, I can still recall that pain. As teens my bother used his "hammer fists" against our thighs, I threw a phone at my sisters head, she ripped a necklace off my neck cutting me. I would pin her to the floor and watch her struggle. She fought like a "wild banchee". I would say "cunt punt" and kick her accordingly. I slapped her for turining off my computer mid-email. I spit and kicked my brother in the face. All three of us also were prone to self mutliation. My sister used to pick this same scab over and over when she would get into  trouble and has a scar on her arm still. Later she also was found stashing hair she pulled out on the side of the bed, and got beat for that too The  three of us also  did  "ice burns" which was ice and salt burning your skin, for fun though. Then into our teen years my sister and I did cutting with razors and fingernails and things of the sort, another way of trying to express anger,pain, whatever we were feeling. My brother by then was praticing more of a mental downward spiral type burning and cutting phase, which is still doing to this day among other self destructing behaviors that keep him from maintaining healthy relationships with hiself and others.

Whatever lesson about our personal interactions I was being taught at Disney World didn't translate.

 My father was hit by his grandmother, and resents it. My mother was severley abused and required to clean and cook and raise her siblings . She was hit with extension cords, vaccum hoses, and endured some form of kneeling on wet rice and corn on tile or in the tub puishment.

Dad was spanked, and he spanked, Mom was abused, so she did too. We were taught to hurt eachother as a means of dealing with human fault and error also.

We have experienced a wide range of dicipline (or lack thereof) and abuse. From casual spankings to full blown tell my DARE officer abuse. In retrospect, my father's spankings were no better than my mother's high-heel beatings. I remember my parent's rage more than the pain.
My dad is the one who agknowledges the violence of spanking when my mother still sees no fault.

That's the problem with spanking, its a act of violence and inherently anger-filled. I don't beleive spanking can be emotionless. Who can hit their child without emotion? I can't think of hitting or a child without feeling an emotion...
Don't tell children you hit them out of love either, thats hypocrisy!

My brother is a schizophrenic now, studies have shown violence and trauma are triggers.
My sister has fibromyalgia, which is a widespread pain condition often found in women who were abused.
Abuse even found its way into my love life.

But now we draw the line. No hitting, ever. We practice attachment parenting. We practice non-violence.

We love the peaceful parenting facebook page for support and ideas for raising a child non violently.
There are also plenty of studies to back up  non violent parenting as a better, healthier choice for everyone involved.
Drmomma really has the best article on spanking and we encourage every parent to read it, even if your currently spanking to get a further knowledge on the subject. Blindly spanking your children without knowing the reprucissions is dangerous and  not fair to them.  Praciticng passed on traditions from prior generations without using todays knowledge is  dangerous. Examples being cirucumsion, smoking and drinking during pregnancy(but 1 in 5 white women smoke while pregnant still), arranged marragies, lead paint, gender get it. We could have easily continued the cycle of abuse, but we came out on the other side as happy and strong women, sisters, mothers, and friends. We also maintain healthy relationships with our children, father, and eachother.

Science and pshycology are on our side. Whats on pro spanking/ physical discilpines side?
"World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion." Dalai Lama XIV