Archive for the ‘Becca Schwartz’ Category

Ways to Bless a New Mom

Monday, February 9th, 2015

DSCN2516When you are in the early weeks and months with a new baby in the house, life can feel very overwhelming and isolating. The times that someone showed up to bless our family meant so much to us and helped us get through. Now that I’ve been there twice, I have a better idea of how to really bless a new mom.

Bring Food

Whether it’s a hot meal, a freezer meal, a basket of baked goods, or just some fruits and veggies that are easy to snack on, having food around that she doesn’t have to make herself is a huge help to a new mom.

Bring Coffee

Bring her favorite latte or if she really likes making her own coffee at home, bring a special mug and a pound of quality fair trade coffee for her to enjoy.

Take her older kids

Give her an afternoon with just her new baby. Call and ask when would be a good time for you to pick up her kids for the afternoon. Giving her that much needed time with just her new baby is such a blessing!

Fold her laundry

Many new moms manage to stay on top of washing the laundry, but when it comes to folding it they are falling behind. Show up with coffee and start a laundry folding party.

Tidying toys

If she has older kids then she probably has toy clutter. Having someone show up and clean and organize the toy areas is a huge help.

Clean her house

Wash a sink load of dishes for her, or wipe down kitchen counters. Clean her bathroom, vacuum her floors, or wash some windows. Any cleaning that she doesn’t have to do is a blessing!

Every new mom needs a village to help and encourage her as she transitions into having a new baby. Hopefully these ideas give some good ideas for helping new moms in your community.

For more encouragement for new moms, send them over here!

Becca Schwartz is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to a toddler girl and baby boy. She and her husband have a small mini-farm with a flock of chickens, a few goats, and a couple rabbits. 

Tips for Minimizing Gift Overload this Christmas

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Tips for Minimizing Gift Overload this Christmas‘Tis the season of giving, and when you’re a parent it also becomes a season of overflowing toy chests. Our kids seem to get gifts from all directions and sometimes it’s hard to know how to minimize the influx. Here are a few ideas to keep the deluge to a trickle.

Want, Need, Wear, Read: Basically each child gets four gifts: something they want, something they need, something for them to wear, and something for them to read. I love it because it sets a concrete boundary for gift purchases. Our family chose to use this strategy this year and it really helped me focus my gift planning and stay on budget. It also keeps excessive amounts of toys down because each child is only getting one or two actual toys.

Gift an Event: For older children, a gift of a special family outing might be a great alternative to toys or more stuff accumulating around the house. It could be museum passes, zoo passes, or a concert or show to attend.

Limit the Number of Gifts: For your immediate family, choose a number of gifts to give each child. Choosing two or three things per child instead of five or six could cut the stuff accumulation down dramatically.

You’re in Charge of Your House: My mantra with gifts from extended family is that though I can’t control what they give, I do get to decide what to do with that item once it enters my home. We have had gifts from grandparents in the past that have immediately gone to a thrift store or been returned because they don’t fit our parameters for suitable toys. I offer loose suggestions to grandparents if they ask, but if they choose to buy us junk or things that don’t fit the kind of things we want our kids to play with, I reserve the right to make that toy disappear after it comes home.

Hopefully these ideas help you find some ways to minimize the overflowing toy bins and keep your holidays low stress this year.

Becca Schwartz is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to a toddler girl and baby boy. She and her husband have a small mini-farm with a flock of chickens, a few goats, and a couple rabbits. 

An Open Letter To Relatives During The Holidays

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

An Open Letter to Relatives During the HolidaysDear (loved family member),

We are excited to see you all during the holidays and love our yearly gatherings to celebrate. Our children are very excited about all the activity, food, and fun people too! We understand that you love seeing our children and giving them love and affection, but we wanted to take a minute to ask you to please partner with us as we teach our kids that they are in charge of their own bodies.

Giving our children the power to say no to unwanted touch is setting the framework for raising children who are empowered to protect themselves in a dangerous situation. We want our children to understand that their “no” should be respected and that they are in charge of what happens to their body. If we force them to show affection when they don’t feel comfortable doing so, we teach them that their gut feelings aren’t to be trusted. We also want to be careful to avoid using manipulative language to convince them to give affection. This teaches them that they must set aside their bodily autonomy in favor of not hurting an adult’s feelings. This sort of manipulative language is often used by predators and we do not want to teach our children to obey manipulation tactics. If you would like more information, please feel free to ask! This is a good link, and here is another.

So when you see our kids at a holiday gathering, we ask that you ask them if you may have a hug or kiss and if they say no, then to cheerfully offer a simple handshake or high five instead. We also would ask that you refrain from using sad faces, guilt trips, or acting hurt to coerce them into affection. If we see any disregard for our children’s answers, we will step in gently to help our kids assert their answer. We want our kids to know that we’ve got their back and that we won’t let them be forced into anything.

Our children are loving and sweet and their genuine, unforced affection is wonderful! Help us to continue to show them that they are capable of deciding for themselves what affection they feel comfortable with. Usually once they familiarize themselves with people and situations they love to show affection to those they love.

Sincerely, your loving (______________)

Becca Schwartz is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to a toddler girl and baby boy. She and her husband have a small mini-farm with a flock of chickens, a few goats, and a couple rabbits. 

Stupid Things People Say To Moms Of Toddlers

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

Stupid Things People Say To Moms Of ToddlersOnce you have children, everyone you come into contact with suddenly has an opinion on how you should raise your child. I’ve collected some of the most annoying, stupid, rude, or judgmental statements here for your amusement. (If you are the perpetrator of such statements, please use this as a handy guide for what not to say in the future.)

“Is she potty trained yet?” This question seems harmless at first, but it started a couple months before my daughter’s second birthday and has not stopped since. It drives me crazy since I am a huge proponent of waiting until my daughter is ready and I don’t need the inherent judgement of this question. It also can be embarrassing to my daughter if she is in earshot. I don’t question your bathroom goings on, stop questioning my kid’s!

“There’s no such thing as a high-needs baby/toddler: All babies are high needs.” I have been told this several times when my daughter was a baby and young toddler, usually after I got done telling a story about how hard it is to parent a high needs/spirited child. This statement is just awful because it completely invalidates the experience I just related. As a first-time mom, hearing this also instilled a lot of guilt because it implies that I have made my child be this way. Now that I have a second child who is the complete opposite of his sister, I know for a fact that some children are just wired differently.

“She’s still nursing?!” This question started when my daughter was a year old, but the tone of voice accompanying it has gotten more and more offensive as she has gotten older. Now that we are past the two-year mark this question is asked with a tone of horror and scorn. I am proud of our breastfeeding journey and have no need to justify it, especially in earshot of my daughter. My daughter has become self-conscious about asking to nurse around certain people because of their rude statements about it. No child should have to feel ashamed of their comfort/nutrition source.

“Enjoy these moments–they grow up so fast!” Just stop saying this to a frazzled looking mom with young kids. If I’m wearing fresh clothes and make up and am out without my children, then ok. Otherwise, no. I do not need to enjoy all the moments. Mamahood is hard, and I don’t need guilt about the times when I am overwhelmed. Related to this is the “looks like you’ve got your hands full” comment which makes young mamas want to scream and cry simultaneously. Of course our hands are full. Shut up or help, those are your options.

“When are you planning the next one? How many do you want?” Last time I checked, my family planning decisions were up to my husband and I. This question is really obnoxious because it often implies pressure to have a family of a certain size. Sometimes when you are in the trenches with little ones you just can’t handle thinking about if or when there might be another one.

Really the inherent problem with all of these is that people assume that they have a right to know information, or that they know better than you how to handle it all. The solution to all of these would be people choosing to listen instead of inform, help instead of comment, and change the subject instead of asking a rude question.

Becca Schwartz is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to a toddler girl and baby boy. She and her husband have a small mini-farm with a flock of chickens, a few goats, and rabbits, and are making plans to move out west to start a homesteading adventure together!

 

Imaginative Toddler Toys

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

At our home I do my best to keep our toys simple and open ended to help stimulate my kids’ imaginations. This means that I try (thanks a lot Grandma) to avoid toys with batteries or noises, and I try and avoid single-purpose toys. Here are some of the toys we love having in our home!

Fisher Price Little People - We love Fisher Price Little People for our kids. The nice chunky size makes them easy to hold, and it’s easy for our kids to imagine stories with them. We own a lot of the vintage sets, but no matter what era they’re from, Little People are a great toy to have.

Imaginative Toddler Toys

Fisher Price Loving Family – Similar concept as the Little People but a bit more “grown up” for older toddlers. We got a set of these for my daughter when she was almost two and she just loves them. The dolls often go places with us and she acts out stories with them that mimic our real life family.

Wooden Blocks – Blocks are a great addition to kids’ toys. Build towers, houses, fences, towns, anything their imaginations can dream up! They also can be used along with most of the other toys on this list.

Duplos – Duplos are perfect toddler toys. They can build anything they want, and it will hold together a bit better than blocks. Our set has a few people and train cars with it and my daughter loves building trains and acting out stories with the people. Our Duplos and Little People often exist in the same toddler imaginative world.

Play Kitchen/Food and Play Tools- Play kitchens and tool sets are fantastic because they allow toddlers to imagine themselves doing what they see mom and dad doing. My daughter loves to make supper in her play kitchen and sit me down to eat food with her.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 6.35.50 PMBaby dolls - In my opinion, both girls and boys do great with baby dolls. Especially if they have a younger sibling on the way. It gives them a great opportunity to take care of a baby like mama—including cloth diapering your doll! My 8-month-old son loves the baby dolls in our house just as much as his almost 3 year old sister.

Animal figures – I personally love Schleich animal figures, but there are many brands out there with cute animal figures for kids to play with. Our kids use the animals as an addition to most of the other toys sets listed above and tote them around on their own.

Hopefully these give you some good ideas for babies graduating into busy toddlerhood.

Becca Schwartz is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to a toddler girl and baby boy. She and her husband have a small mini-farm with a flock of chickens, a few goats, and rabbits, and are making plans to move out west to start a homesteading adventure together!