Things I Want My [Childless] Friends To Know

Having a kid changes everything whether you like it or not. I love love love my childless friends. They are my connection to the world I once knew, but let's be honest, it's different now. And there are things that my childless friends may not understand. I want to help bridge the gap between us. So here's my list of things I want my childless friends to know!

If I can be on time, so can you
When I didn't have a kid, and you were late, it was not a big deal. Now? I am cursing the gods when you are late. I'm on a schedule. My time just ain't what it used to be. And even with a kid, I still show up on time, which means I was getting ready while you were still farting around doing people without  kids stuff. So please, make it a point to be on time. You can do it, I swear.

I'm so grateful when you come to me
I am super grateful when you take the time to come to me. Because loading up a kid takes untold amounts of planning. Because it's nice to see you. And because I know that hanging out at my house with me and child probably isn't the most exciting thing in whole, wide world. I'm grateful. Thank you.

I can't always control what goes down where my kid is involved 
Sometimes things will go as predicted, and sometimes they just won't. She's a kid. She is a tiny human with needs that vary and change and oh yeah, she doesn't talk yet, so I just get to figure those out as we go along. So if plans change halfway through our visit, it is what it is. Sorry (not sorry).

I can't afford shit anymore 
Not that I could really afford things in the past, either, let's just be honest...but now, it's even tighter. Yes, it blows, but I got this whole other person who is counting on me to keep the lights on and pay the rent. Sheesh. So I can't go out and spend money. No, not even on a coffee. Can't. Afford. Shit.

Every once in a while, I'll say yes
So, yes, I know I just said I can't afford shit anymore (and I meant it.) But there is a caveat here: sometimes I will accept an invite for a party, night out, etc. So please, KEEP ASKING! Just don't be offended when I say no 90% of the time. That 10%, though, I will say yes because I really want to say yes most of the time, I'm just not able to.

Just because I stay at home, doesn't mean I have all kinds of time 
I've heard a few comments here and there that suggest I just have all kinds of time on my hands. For the record, I am typing this 8:30AM, while constantly maneuvering the keyboard away from my child's tiny hands. Just because I stay at home with my kid doesn't mean I am not extremely busy. Try keeping a pre-verbal little person occupied all day. She has a less than five minute attention span! It's hard to imagine when you work all day what it might be like to be home instead, but trust me, you've got way more free time than I do....but I'm probably a better planner than you, so there's that.

Don't assume that I'm awake at 7:00AM 
Nothing chaps my ass more than being woken up before I'm ready. I was brought up not to call someone before 9:00AM, and not after 9:00PM. When did people begin to think it was okay to text or call me before that time? Yes, I have a baby, but she's asleep too, and when you wake her up, I get woken up and then the whole day is a black hole. Observe the 9-9 rule and no one gets hurt.

I'm not recruiting you to the dark side 
Believe it or not, I'm happy you don't have kids. I don't want to recruit you to have children just because I have one because this is a more than full time job and it never goes away. You have the energy to come over, play with my kid, talk with me, and you even have money to bring me booze (thank you, thank you!). So this arrangement is working out just fine. But if you want to fantasize about having kids, I'll gladly listen. I'll even talk you out of it if that's what you want. *Wink, wink*

Are you a parent? What would you add to this list?? Share it in the comments section below! 

Quick Fix: Tuna, White Bean & Avocado Salad

Tuna salad is a staple in our household. It's one of my husband's very favorite ways to eat lunch. Me? I'm generally a leftovers kind of gal when it comes to lunch. But I know how to enjoy a nice tuna salad every now and then, which is how I came up with this little gem.

You have to mix it up every now and then, right?

The thing is, I eat three meals a day at home nearly seven days a week. That's a lot of meals, people. And I do it most every time with my side kick, my ten month old. So let's just say that quick and easy are two things I especially love these days.

Now while I love mayonnaise probably more than the average person, I am also happy to report that this recipe is mayo free. I know, right? I think you can appreciate this because not everyone enjoys the caloric kick they get from mayo, even though for me, I am just so in love with mayonnaise. I don't know why, but I could eat it with a spoon.



This is three simple ingredients, and then for serving you can kind of do what suits you best. I like to serve it open face on toast with some sort of greenery, topped with tomato. My husband likes to eat his with what he called a "Mediterranean Platter," which consists of crackers, olives, pepperoncinis, pickles, and sometimes hummus. We are different we two.

Okay, down to business. Ready for a super easy (dare I say healthy?) lunch?! Here we goooooooooo!

Tuna, White Bean & Avocado Salad 

Time: 5 Minutes | Serves 3 (Maybe 4) | Difficulty: EASY! 

You Will Need

1 ripe avocado 
1 can of white kidney beans (also known as cannellini beans) 
2, 2.5 ounce packages tuna (or one can) 
Salt & pepper, to taste 

Method

Slice the avocado in half, and remove the pit. Dice into squarish pieces and place in bowl. 

Put the tuna in the bowl. 

Drain the beans and add them to the bowl. 

Using a fork, mix the ingredients together. This with naturally mash them a bit, creating a great tuna salad!! Add salt and pepper to taste. 

There are many ways to serve this--get creative! I did mine on toast with arugula and tomato! YUM!! 

My Sorry, Not Sorry Stump Speech

Dear Parent People,

I am sorry, but I'm not sorry. As a new mother I am often under the impression that I am supposed to somehow feel bad about the following things:

1) that I got back down to my starting weight (and then lost additional weight.)
2) that my child is (generally) a good sleeper.
3) I make my own baby food.
4) have time for Pinteret projects.
5) being able to stay home with my child instead of working (well, I do work from home sporadically.)

I'm sorry, but I'm not sorry.

Whatever your life circumstances are, they are your own. Despite whatever your issues are with me and moms like me, you need to chillax. The fact of the matter is, I did my best to set up my life this way, and I'm proud of my choices. Sure there have been twists and turns-- things I didn't expect--haven't we all experienced those?

The truth is, I worked my ass off during my pregnancy, pushing myself to go the gym through exhaustion and morning sickness. I worked out until two weeks before I gave birth. So, yeah, I'm happy my body bounced back. I look good and I'm not going to feel bad about it. I'm also not going to judge you if you're 30(+) pounds up from your starting weight because I'm not a woman hating, body-obsessed freak. It's hard, and everyone gets a different genetic roll of the dice. I get it.

And I'm sorry that your kid doesn't sleep. But unless you ask me, I promise I won't try to offer you a sleep solution because honestly, I just got lucky. Sure, it's true, my mantra during pregnancy was "I'm so happy and thankful for my good sleeper." Did it work? I guess we'll never really know.

And yes, I'm mostly a SAHM who makes my own baby food and undertakes an abnormal amount of Pinterest projects. It's my hobby dammit, and I enjoy it. As for being a SAHM, well, it wasn't exactly the plan, but it works so what of it.

I've got my crosses to bear, God knows. Like that time when I had postpartum issues, which sucked. I'm not sure, given that experience, that I'll even have more children. So maybe you're 20 pounds heavier but had a blissful postpartum period-- hey I'd love to trade ya, but I heard that's not really an option, so...

I'm not sorry. I'm not having the easiest time, either. In fact, I'm just like you in lots of ways. So the stuff that did happen easy, like losing the weight or getting a nap, I'm not going to apologize for. The thing is, we shouldn't have to apologize for our wins in life. I'm not ashamed. Boogity boo.

When we make lists about the moms that annoy us, or we hate on skinny people, or we rant against someone who stays at home (or goes to work), or we roll our eyes at a mom who is doing a good job (because it makes us feel smaller) what we are really doing is telling her that she should dull her sparkle so we can feel better. And that's bullshit.

So be not sorry. It's freaking great!

Love,


Stuff I Use: Nutritional Yeast


Mmmmmm mmmmm, nutritional yeast. Ha! I know that is not what you were thinking AT ALL. But you should. Nutritional yeast first came on my radar when I started watching this show "Cook Your Ass Off." It was a one-off show, and I don't think it lasted for more than a season, but it was all about taking your favorite (unhealthy) foods and giving them a healthy makeover. Good stuff. And it had Richard Blais from Top Chef.

Any-who, I always saw the chefs on the show using nutritional yeast and going on about its "cheesy quality." Yeah, yeah. Then I gave up dairy. And I was like, "gimme me somma that cheesy quality!" So I grabbed this at the local health food store and decided to give it a whirl. All in all? I'm a happy girl and currently enjoying the cheesy quality nutritional yeast has to offer.

While I just use it for the cheesy nature it boasts, it's also chocked full of--you guessed it--nutrition. There are good vitamins, and honestly, any time you are cutting down on dairy, I think it's a wonderful thing for your body in general.

There have been times when a recipe calls for parmesan cheese, and I'll sub this out instead. I swear, I really don't think the recipes suffer. So, if you are dairy free, definitely give this a whirl. I've used it in my dairy free mac n' cheese recipe and even in creamy-like soups and a broccoli casseroles.

Order it on Amazon today by CLICKING HERE. You can also generally find in health food stores, too! I use Bragg because it's a brand I trust and love, but there are lots of brands out there you can try.

What about you? Have you used nutritional yeast and loved it as much as I do??? 

Think Before You Ask This...

People seem to love asking me when in the world I am having more children. At first, it just made me cry when I would get the question. And then I tried to come to grips with it and settle on "I don't know" as the answer. While I still don't know, [read that post by CLICKING HERE] I have come to a more definitive reason as to why I don't know. I'm writing this because the reason I don't know if I want more children actually makes sense, and applies to many mothers.

The thing is, by asking, assuming, or (worst of all) judging moms about the number of chicks in their pen, you may be opening up an emotional can of worms for her. I think you should know about it because if you did, maybe you wouldn't ask it as much...or at all.

After my daughter was born, I was relieved. I was relieved that the pregnancy was over. Relieved that she was here, healthy and safe. Relieved that I was able to have a vaginal (natural) birth. But what happened after that relief ended, and the true experience of motherhood began, was difficult. In fact, it was almost entirely in hindsight that I truly understood what the definition of that difficulty was.

The long and the short of it is that I had a pretty significant bout with postpartum anxiety. Not depression. Not hopelessness. But anxiety, which included a loss of appetite, dizziness, panic attacks, nausea, and intense fear (which included a fear that I would die or that someone would drop my baby.) The people around me who are close to me knew that I was having trouble. I tried to be open. It was hard to ask for help, but I did it.

The good news is that I did ask for help. Things did get better, and I am now fully enjoying motherhood. The bad news is that it was scary, and it puts me off having more children for several reasons, the first and foremost being my concern about my ability to care for my current child should I have another postpartum issue. Sure, it was all well and good when she was a tiny baby; she didn't know the difference. But what about when she's bigger, more perceptive and verbal?

When well-meaning people ask me whether or not I want another child, and I say that I don't know, I wish that they could just respect that. I would love it if they would refrain from judging me, or telling me how much better it is for her to have brothers and sisters. I've heard it all. From the "but you make such cute babies" to "only children are lonely children." It's unfair to put that on me, or try to guilt me into having more kids. If I don't have more children, my daughter will be fine. She will not be alone in the world, and certainly that is not how I want to think it will be for her.

There are days or nights when I cry about the fact that I may not be able to mount the mental hurdle of having more children because I am afraid of another postpartum episode. My mental health is no small thing. My ability to care for myself and my family depends on it. Sometimes, as an adult, you have to make tough decisions for yourself based on what is best. I haven't come a decision yet, but while I am, it's a process.

Having the question of children constantly thrust upon me, especially on days when I am feeling particularly vulnerable, is difficult and, at times, insensitive. So next time you ask a mom if she's planning on having more children, and she gives you any answer other than "yes," maybe back off. Don't talk her into more. Don't judge her. Don't try to guilt her. Because maybe she can't have more. Maybe she had a postpartum issue and struggles with whether or not she can.

You just don't know what a person is going through.

Orange Creamsicle Poke Cake

It's happened; I've given in to the poke cakes. I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later because I spend a lot of time cruising Pinterest. One can only withstand two million pictures of cake before one gives in.  My willpower originally caved over red velvet poke cake. I followed a recipe and it was super easy and major delicious.

Then my husband asked, "Do you think you could do a orange creamsicle one?" His wish being my command, I busted this puppy out real quick and in a hurry. I even took a brief hiatus from my dairy free lifestyle for these cakes. Talk about falling off the wagon--haha.

Now, the red velvet one I had made had cream cheese flavored pudding, but this one uses condensed milk. My husband said that, in the end, his favorite was the pudding filling. I liked that the condensed milk made this cake extra moist. I don't play favorites--they are just different. But you could totally use vanilla pudding mix instead (in which case you'll want to do two boxes.) Personal preference is what it truly comes down to.

Either way, enjoy poking your little cakey heart out!!!


Bake 1 box of orange cake according to the directions.... 
Let it cool for 5 minutes. 



Using the back of a wooden spoon, poke holes evenly throughout cake. 


Pour one can of condensed milk into the holes and over the cake. 

Refrigerate cake (preferably overnight to let it all fully absorb).

Top the whole thing with whipped cream! Eat. Try not to eat the whole thing at once. *wink wink*


Orange Creamsicle Poke Cake 

Time: Active,10(ish) minutes plus bake time | Makes: 1 awesome cake | Difficulty: Easy

You Will Need: 

1 box orange cake mix (plus ingredients on the box) 
1 can condensed milk* 
1 tub of whipped cream

*You can sub in two boxes of pudding with the specified amount of milk to make them, totally your choice. 

Method: 

Bake cake according to directions on the box. Remove from oven and allow it to cool on a rack for 5 minutes. It's important not to let it cool too much because you want to get the condensed milk in there while it's still warm. 

Crack open that can of condensed milk. Try not to eat it up because condensed milk is just one of life's best guilty pleasures. Pour it over the holes of the cake and over the cake. Cover with foil. (If you are using pudding, as a substitute for the milk, then place it right in the fridge.) Allow the cake to cool and then place in the fridge, preferably overnight to allow all that condensed milk goodness to soak in. 

Before serving, top with the whipped cream. Enjoy. 




In Support of Home Birth

When I was pregnant, it took me forever to come to grips with having a hospital birth and I took a little flack for it. I was so utterly defaulted that home birth was not an option. After having had a natural birth in the hospital setting, I feel even more compelled to speak up about the option of home birth. I am even more in support of it now than I was then. With legislation coming up in support of home birth in our state (Delaware), it's more important than ever that the women who can use their voices to speak about it. [Visit the Delaware Families for Safe Birth HERE for more information.]

The funny thing is that before I had a child, when I used my voice to tell people I wanted a natural birth, I was met with a lot of skepticism. I can understand that. There has been a lot of fear within the birth community within the last 30-odd years and this is largely in part to a shift that has occurred, taking birth out of the home and putting it mainly within the hospital setting. 

Let me be clear so there is no misunderstanding: I am grateful for the strides modern medicine has made. If you want or need a hospital birth, there are wonderful facilities available to you. I am thankful to the nurses who work long, tireless hours, and I respect the doctors who assist in birth. 

But I also believe in midwives and birth in the birthing center or home setting because I know that it works, and I know that it is a viable, good option. With almost 90% of births in America being normal, healthy births, there is every reason to believe that if women were less fearful of home birth (and if were an option) they would choose it and they would love it. 

In fact, nearly 30 years ago, I was born at home in New York state. My mother had a midwife named Annie, who delivered me. The midwife experience that my mother enjoyed was something she will never forget. Similarly, my brother was born in a birthing center here in Delaware back in 1989. I was five years old, and guess what? I attended his birth. I even cut his umbilical cord.

Being present at my brother's birth is something that was important for me. It gave me a live birth experience (also, my mom had a natural birth and was given no pain relief), which most people haven't attended until they see their own! And it gave me the knowledge that I could do it. If you are birthing in the hospital setting, many times there are rules preventing children from being present, which I believe is not only a personal choice, but also an important one. I simply don't feel that hospitals have the right to dictate those sorts of choices, call me crazy!

Birth, for me, was a communal experience; I had my team of women, and thankfully the hospital allowed me to sneak in an extra person. Some people feel it's a private event, which is fine. I don't think birth needs to be done in a tucked away corner, or in a hospital at all, especially if it is a normal, low risk pregnancy. I don't want to be told what I can or cannot eat, that it can't be taped, or who or how many people can be present. For these reasons, home birth would have worked very well for me. Not to mention I had a low-risk pregnancy and had a natural childbirth. Should I ever had another child, I want my child present (as I was for the birth of my brother) and I want the choice to do it in my home.

More than wanting, though, I believe it is every woman's right to choose how and where she births her baby. After carrying and caring for a child for ten months (that's nine fullllllll months), no one wants a healthy birth more than the mother does. Whether or not home birth is legal in our state, the fact of the matter is that people are going to do it. I don't think that women should be forced to do it "underground."

I also want to be clear that I don't believe that my choices will be right for everyone else. That is why I believe choice is important. If you don't want a home birth, hey, by all means, don't have one. But that doesn't mean that I shouldn't have access to one. We've simply got to be more comfortable with more choices and that even includes birth. Women have been taught to fear birth. We have been conditioned to have fear; fear of pain, fear of death of ourselves or our babies...but the facts of modern prenatal care in America don't really jibe with better results for mothers and their children. This is a major reason why I support home birth options.

Delaware, as well as many other states, need legislation that supports home birth and puts midwives back to work in our state. Because women deserve options, whether they take advantage of them or not. We've got to learn to step into the light on the birthing issue. As women, we have to trust our intuition and our bodies and as a community at large, we need to learn to trust mothers and their choices when it comes to birth. If you support home birth initiatives, I urge you to use your voice to speak up. It's too important not to.