30 Signs You’re In Your Third Trimester

30 Signs You’re In Your Third Trimester

The third trimester is a wild 13-week ride through insanity. This is my third time through the third trimester, so I have one or two or 30 things to say about it that you won’t read in What to Expect When You’re Expecting. So grab some Depends, and let’s talk about what goes down this trimester (other than your baby’s head): 1. You bribe the man in your life to clip and paint your toenails. 2. You bribe your kids to put on your socks. 3. When you walk into a public place, your first thought (typically in a panicked frame of mind) is where to find the nearest bathroom. Your second thought is how fast your swollen feet and chafed thighs can get you there. 4. People always look at your belly first, then your eyes, then back to your belly. 5. You will receive an assortment of comments from a variety of Anonymous Angelas such as: “Twins?” “Looks like it could be any day now!” “When is your due date? Oh! My aunt’s birthday is two days after that!” And my all-time favorite, “I hope that what you have isn’t catching because I don’t want it!” 6. You’ll feel like wearing a sign around your neck that says, “I feel great, my due date is ____, the gender is ____, and this is baby # ____. Thanks for not asking!” 7. You could pee in a cup blindfolded if you wanted to. In fact, you could probably perform this magic trick with a squirming toddler tied to your back while opening up a bag of fruit snacks....
My Life Didn’t Start Until I Became a Mother

My Life Didn’t Start Until I Became a Mother

I always knew I wanted to be a mother. Even as young as 15 years old, I have diary entries spelling out exactly the kind of mom I wanted to be. I wanted an “arts and crafts cupboard” that my children could explore on rainy afternoons and use to create to their hearts’ content. I would stay home with them in the midst of their creative chaos, watching lovingly, writing something, anything. Crazily enough, both of those things actually did come true, although the arts and crafts cupboard is currently stuffed so full it’s practically a landslide of half-scribbled Frozen artwork. But looking around, at the life my husband and I have created with these little people, I also can’t help but marvel at how downright weird it is that I really haven’t known them all that long. I mean, really, I’ve lived the majority of my life without even knowing who my children were, you know? I’ve known my oldest for just over 7 years and my youngest just shy of 1. Heck, we are virtual strangers in the grand scheme of things. And yet, when it comes right down to it, I feel like my life truly didn’t get started until I met them. I guess part of me has been thinking this stuff over because I’m a little afraid of what my life will look like when babies, who have been the center of my world for a long time, are no longer in it. Get it together, Chauntel (my real name), I told myself. You lived without your children before, you can do it again when they’re grown. And...
What My Ten-Year-Old-Son Taught Me About Being Imperfect

What My Ten-Year-Old-Son Taught Me About Being Imperfect

An offhand comment by her son taught her an incredible lesson about perfection and truly living life.  — Yesterday, my children and I were enjoying a lazy summer day, and my ten-year-old son told me–out of the blue,“ Mom… I actually never want to be perfect.” I stopped what I was doing and realized what an amazing statement it was––so pure and honest. Without trying to add my personal opinion, I asked him why. He said because he never wants to stop laughing at himself when he makes mistakes. His answer made me glow. I looked at him and said, “Wow! Yes! Keep that going!” The secret is to create your vision that allows room for you to grow. It made me think how many people stop themselves from doing what they want to do because of the fear of not being perfect enough. That fear of never attaining success or a goal because of the perfectionist attitude is what keeps so many from really trying. I see so frequently that people begin with an expected place of perfection––and when they don’t hit it (because it’s not even a place to get to anyway), they become disappointed. ♦◊♦ The secret is to create your vision that allows room for you to grow and make mistakes while gaining immense experiences along the way. When you stop caring about attaining “perfection,” oftentimes, you get pretty close. To push beyond the idea of being perfect is something that is important to be reminded of all the time. We might want to sign up for a course, start our own business, talk to...
7 Things That Never Changed When I Became a Mom

7 Things That Never Changed When I Became a Mom

When I had a baby, my life changed. The world that revolved around me for 25 years suddenly didn’t anymore, and I was left learning how to find my way in this new life of mine. But even with my world turned upside down, there were many things that stayed the same. I am so grateful for these 7 things in my life that remained constant, because they helped me maintain some sort of normalcy and keep in touch with the woman I was before kids. 1. My love of sleep I loved sleep before I had kids, and I probably love it even more now. I never knew how precious my zzz’s were until I had a baby and couldn’t get some shut eye on my own terms anymore. Now that all three kids are sleeping through the night on a more regular basis, I can rest up when I need to. Although now the meaning of “sleeping in” has changed from noon to 7 AM. 2. Me time Before having children, there were a lot of things I enjoyed doing on my own, like reading, exercising, or just enjoying a day laying in bed watching movies. I still continue to enjoy time for myself, and try to get some as much as possible. However, me time now looks a lot less like endless relaxation and a lot more like trips to the grocery store, enjoying an uninterrupted shower, driving with no one else in the car, or the ultimate luxury of getting to eat a hot meal alone. 3. Being social  Friends and family have always been important to me. Many...
7 Things Not to Do When Raising Boys

7 Things Not to Do When Raising Boys

This piece was originally published on The Good Men Project and has been reprinted with permission.  Even the most well-intentioned parents sometimes make mistakes in how they raise their kids. None of us are perfect. But there are a few things parents raising boys often do that reinforce old stereotypes about masculinity. Here are a few I’ve come across, raising my own sons. 1. Expect them to be emotionally tough Even the most progressive parents don’t realize how much we’re willing to hug little girls when they’re sad, but try to coach our sons out of having feelings other than happiness and anger: the deadly male binary. We know that little boys and little girls both have profound emotional experiences, and we also know that it’s not good for kids to be told to suck it up when they’re sad. Instead, teach your boys a variety of “feeling” words: sadness, frustration, shame, pride, fear, embarrassment, love, desire, bravery, insecurity. Practice using those words for characters in books and movies, and use them to describe your own feelings. Also understand that some boys are going to be more comfortable talking about their feelings when you’re doing something active together, like hiking or throwing a ball back with you. 2. Assume they’ll never be victims We want to protect our girls, and that’s important, but our boys can be victims, too. According to MaleSurvivor director Christopher Anderson, 1 in 6 boys will be victims of unwanted sexual contact before they turn eighteen. That’s a really high number. Teaching your boys the proper names for body parts is very important. So is having conversations with your...