Dear Reader, You Rock

9 Mar

Let me share why you matter as a reader.

Most of us bloggers do this blogging gig because we love it. We’re usually passionate about writing – in my case – or photography or interior design or graphic design, or something extraordinary, but we have these things called day jobs or little babes who needs us 24-hours-a-day or both.

SO….this is our place to be, do and share what we love. When you visit our pages, leave a comment, tweet a post, or basically do anything that says you got something out of it, it’s friggin awesome. That doesn’t mean we want you to say you liked something when you didn’t, but if you dig something and let us know, you should know that it means a lot.

A Story of Going Viral 

To give you an example of just how little we get out of this by the form of monetary compensation, let me tell you a story about a little Knoxville, Tennessee blogger (she really is physically tiny) who recently went viral. Her name is Kristen and she wrote a post that so many people read and either loved – and a few hated (gotta love the haters) – that it went viral, being seen by tens-of-thousands. It’s called Let Your Husband Love You and you can find it here (or click on Kristen’s photo) It’s awesome in my opinion.

let-him-love-you.

When At Home Blog

So the thing goes like ape- crazy all over the U.S. and other parts of the world. Does she make a good chunk of change like you would if you were a New York Times Best Seller? Heck no. She ends up dolling out almost $1,000, with the help of some kind folks on a donation page, to keep her server from crashing so she can continue sharing the post for free.

To play this out by the numbers, by one estimation it only takes about 5,000 book sales to make the New York Times bestsellers list. Am I trying to say that Kristen’s situation is unfair and she should be making tons of money? Or that she won’t eventually make some sweet dough by selling ads and growing sustainably? Absolutely not, but the value of what some bloggers provide is pretty awesome. It’s free, folks. Free recipes and ideas and inspiration and some friggin incredible how-to articles.

Everything you could need to be inspired is probably being written by some blogger somewhere. Go out and find them! They will absolutely love you for it. ;)

And by the way, you can buy Kristen’s e-book, filled with 200+ toddler activities here, so she can keep giving the world her blog. 

So if it ain’t for for the big bucks, why do we blog? 

Our hope – and I’m speaking for all of us here which is probably dangerous – but I think most of us hope we’ll find others who share their ideas and hit pause on everyday life with us for a few minutes a day (or in my case, maybe 30 minutes because I really like to write). Good blogging should be like escaping into a book, seeing the world through someone else’s eyes and crawling around in their skin for a while. OK, I just got really Silence of the Lambs on you. Maybe let’s just visit for a bit and share a cup of tea and a blueberry muffin?

I joined this thing called the Mommy Blogger Collective 

It’s a group of fellow bloggers gathered together in the internets world by the very creative Dena Joan of Live, Love, Simple blog. Let me explain why this matters

Live, Love, Simple Blog

Live, Love, Simple Blog

to you. Every first Monday of the month, we’ll write a post inspired by a prompt word and feature a fellow blogger, so you can connect with them, learn from them and make new friends. It gives us each a chance to be inspired and reach new eyes and minds who might find some commonalities with us.

Tomorrow will be our first prompt day. The word is ‘dedined’. It will be my birthday. It will be awesome.  I cannot wait to share this post.

The end  

There you have it. My thoughts on being a blogger and the other bloggers I love. I’m now part of this collective and we will also feature one other blogger from the collective every month so you can read about them and see if you think their musings are super awesome and you want to and add them to your weekly reading list.

Hope you’re having a lovely, inspiring day.

Say What? Gender Reveal Party Featured on CNNiReport

7 Mar

About a month after I posted about our family-affair gender reveal party, a reporter from CNN contacted me to see if I’d be interested in submitting our party details for their iReport features. I was all, sure, why not, sounds awesome. What the heck is an iReport? But it’s CCN so sounds swanky. Then I wrote a short blurb about the event, submitted it and never thought twice. I guess I should have known something was up when I saw photos from the party repinned like a bajillion times.Image

For whatever reason, I never looked into it, but Matt went snooping around in the inter webs for my blog the other day and came across it, featured on CNN’s website. So cool. Not a HUGE deal, but fun to see it up and being used by others to get the creative ideas flowing. I actually think that anyone can submit on a variety of topics, so maybe you’ll get the submission bug…

Check out my reveal party feature on CNNiReport here.

I absolutely adored that small family gathering to find out Grayson’s gender and would do it a hundred times over if given the chance. Find the original post with all the details including creative help from my mother-in-law Lisa and my mom here. It was definitely a milestone in the journey to becoming Gray’s mommy.

How did you find out about the gender of your baby? I want to hear stories! Would you ever plan a gender reveal party and how would you design it if so? The balloon reveal concept is so cool.

Happy Friday, everyone!

And P.S. Mouse In Your House will be down for a bit on Sunday as we give the site some update love. But we should be back up and running per usual on Monday.

How We Saved $50,000 as Newlyweds – Part II

6 Mar

Read part I here.photo-47

So there we were – back in 2008 – with $10,000 to our little newlywed names.

And as a side note, now is probably a good time to say thanks, mom and dad, for paying for college!! Really, none of this could have happened without their help which allowed us to enter our marriage debt free.

So…our rent at the time was $320 per month and we were both making entry-level incomes. My income went up to $34,000 with the new non-profit job and Matt was still making $20,000 working part-time and getting about $2,000 a year, I’d say, from music gigs. Most of this money he would put back into music – new gear, travel, etc – so we didn’t really count in into the mix. He was touring at the time quite a lot and had this very flexible job as a bar manager at a local restaurant that allowed him to work whenever he was in town.

Eventually, Matt got his first social media job with a startup company where he would also work at a restaurant that was part of the venue/business. We actually tag-teamed this portion of the job on the weekends, so I would occasionally take a shift while he was traveling with a band.

I mention all this for those trying to make a more creative-type career work. There are ways and we never would have been able to do this if we hand’t just asked. Our managers or business owners didn’t have a problem with it; we worked hard and always gave every company we worked for an honest day’s hard work, and normally a lot more than that.

We were working hard and having a lot of fun. I was living the high life with my dream environmental legislation job with an office downtown that was within walking distance from our apartment in the Fort. We were surrounded by our college friends, so the living arrangement was basically heaven for us. We were both doing what we loved and having a lot of fun hosting bonfires an night with our friends and watching the Boomsday fireworks from our backyard. Everything we could possibly need was within walking distance. It was basically like college all over again but with more money, and we each had a roommate we liked a WHOLE lot. ;)

We were 24-years-old, in love and VERY happy.

So we just kept. saving. money. We both drove the cars our parents had bought us when we had turned 16 (and actually drove them up until about a year ago!). We cooked most meals in the 800-square-foot apartment but actually had a pretty good amount of money left over to go out with friends when we wanted. Matt’s lunch meals were normally covered by the restaurants he worked at and he often brought food home for me.

We didn’t think it was worth buying a new TV and got a donated couch from a friend (which to this day we both think was the best couch we ever had). At the time, I didn’t have interior design expectations, so there were these hideous plaid kitchen curtains I look back on now and laugh at, but I don’t even think I noticed them back then.

Our vacations became Matt’s gigs that gave us an opportunity to travel to New York and Arizona among other places. We were so busy with work and Matt with touring that we didn’t have time for expensive vacations to Europe, etc, so that also was a no-brainer for us. On the up side, these group road trips were even more fun because we got to be with friends, and to this day have been some of my favorite memories of our newly married life together.

To put it in a nutshell, we didn’t spend a lot of money and I don’t remember feeling like we were compromising much. We were saving, and saving and saving more.

Here’s an idea of how it looked:
Combined income after taxes, SS, etc.: $54,000 (roughly $3,600 per month)
Expenses:
Rent: $320/month
Food: $1000/month (extra money here also covered tickets to see a movie and mini date nights)
Restaurant: $150/month
Individual ‘Fun’ Spending: $100 (sometimes more and sometimes we didn’t spend anything)
Phone bill: $50 (Parents still covered this cost for a while. We eventually started paying them separately but stayed on the group plan so that it was cheaper.)
Internet: $11/month (we split it with neighbors)
Gas: $80/month (and sometimes we didn’t even get close to spending this much)
TOTAL: $1,711
This left us able to SAVE: $1,889 per month
More detail: Rent went up at some point by $30 but this money basically got absorbed by our gas or food allowances. Obviously, money didn’t flow out exactly like this every month but this is meant to provide an idea of how we budgeted and made our aggressive savings plan work.

We’re getting closer to that $50,000. I’ll be back next Thursday to finalize the series.

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‘Breastfeeding Benefits Overstated’ & Insight from a Lactation Consultant

5 Mar

You may have recently seen big headlines about breastfeeding. Things that read like this, “Breast-Feeding Benefits have Been Drastically Overstated.” I’ll admit that I read three other headlines and half an article before realizing that this study wasn’t exactly what I thought it was.photo 1-1

First off, this was a longitudinal study showing the impact of breastfeeding to children long-term (I know, I just restated that), particularly looking at behavior and performance outcomes after the age of 4. The study was different in that it tried to control for selection bias, namely that women who breast-feed are more advantaged. They did this by looking at sibling pairs, one of which was breastfed and the other bottle-fed.

The results showed that when all kids were compared, the ones who were breastfed performed better (no different than what has been shown in the past), but when only looking at families, the siblings performed about the same on intelligence, health and other outcomes. That’s it…in a very quick overview. But you can read more about the study here.

So here’s where it gets personal. This is a blog, right, so I get to talk about the things that interest me. I’ll go ahead and say up front that I am a working mom who breastfeeds. It’s hard and I pump between meetings and…well I’ll leave it at that. But I will also mention that I didn’t choose to breastfeed because I thought it would make my baby smarter. I did/am doing it mainly because it’s a great way to feel confident that Gray gets the nutrients he needs; that he is less likely to get sick and when you’re in daycare that’s extra important; because it’s free; and because it’s healthier for me and my body. Done. End of story. Now you know way too much about why I breastfeed.

When I read those headlines I automatically thought that one of my core reasons for doing all this pumping and baby begging was going to be compromised, but despite the fact that they never come straight out and say it in these articles, not one of my reasons for breastfeeding was discredited. I think it is AWESOME to make women feel better about their choice not to breastfeed for any number of reasons – they can’t physically make it happen; their jobs won’t allow it, etc. But I do feel like we need to be careful about making too many broad statements – like “breastfeeding is way overrated” – because it can send a bad messages out about an already threatened and weakened practice.

If it isn’t enough that women have to convince their bosses to support them pumping at work (luckily, not something I have to deal with but I hear about it all the time), or that we have jump through hoops to hide our breasts when feeding our children in public (God forbid we try to keep those babies alive!), I’m now staring at headlines all over the U.S. that help undermine breastfeeding further. Now don’t get me wrong. I absolutely believe that valid, reliable research needs to be conducted and this study was indeed very insightful. But at the end of the day we have to ask ourselves why we breastfeed or don’t and stay away from sensationalized headlines…and hope the findings don’t get used and abused by those who make life harder for breastfeeding mamas and the daddies who support them.

So anyways, I’ll boil it down. I read the study and I still breastfeed and feel like it’s the best option for me and Gray.

I reached out to lactation consultant Marie Davis, RN, IBCLC, to get her thoughts on the new study as well. I loved her quick, clear advice. She knows how to get down to business. She also provides lactation consultant services via email. 

Enjoy.

What does this new study mean for moms who plan to breastfeed?
Nothing’s changed. She should base her plans on what she feels is best for her baby. Moms need to trust their instincts.

What’s the big takeaway?
Ignore the study. The results were sensationalized because they were so far away from the norm. For every study like this one there are a hundred showing the benefits

Does this study in any way effect the conclusions the medical community currently holds regarding breastfeeding’s impact to the health and immunity of newborns and babies?
No, the medical community still believes that breastfeeding, human milk feeding is the way babies should be fed. Formula has a set of risks even in an industrialized society with clean water supplies. People need to be more aware of those risks. We have to stop talking about the “benefits of breastfeeding” and discuss the risks of formula feeding.

Up until what age is breastfeeding still considered beneficial for health?
Seriously? Breast milk is given to cancer patients to help their immune systems. The benefits are always there. Just because the AAP says “one year” doesn’t mean mom’s milk magically changes on a baby’s first birthday. Moms should breastfeed for as long as THEY want to, because THEY want to.

Are there other benefits of breastfeeding?
Again it is not the benefits of breastfeeding we should be discussing, but the risks of formula feeding.I believe that breastfeeding is the biological norm; science cannot improve on biology.

Anything else you’d like to add?
First, human milk is a species-specific living fluid. It is unique to every mother and every infant. That uniqueness cannot be replaced or copied. Science can try to replace or copy the general components, but they can only make second rate copies. Formula is a huge industry and they put lots of money into advertisement, into convincing people that formula is almost the same as breastmilk. Formula companies also pay for research.

Second, because human milk is the biologic norm people should be asking “How sick, how allergic–etc.. would a child be if not breastfed?” Breastfeeding doesn’t guarantee a baby will be the next Einstein, won’t get sick , won’t have allergies or won’t get diabetes, but human milk won’t contribute to or compound problems.

Learn more about Marie Davis here: www.lactationconsultant.info

Spring Fashion Board: Pretending it’s March 20

4 Mar

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac the first day of spring is March 20. Really? That’s both way too far in the future and surprisingly close all at the same time. I normally can’t hardly wait for warmer weather to breeze on in but there are some mixed feelings in the bag this year for this ol’ mama. On the one hand, I can’t wait to get sandals on and run outside in the sun, sans heavy coat, but I’m also still sporting some extra pregnancy weight that I’m not exactly thrilled about. Although I’m sort of, almost, over it. As in, I don’t give two sheets and just want to get a spring dress on and jump in the pool (wearing a bathing suit, not the dress).

To get us all in the mood, pregnancy stretch marks or not, I’ve created my Spring 2014 fashion board featuring all the items I could use in my personal boudoir. I’m seeing some bright trends for spring including: flowy, wide-leg pants; paisley patterns; chunky bracelets; and the color orange. Yep, the color orange. I think it was inspired by Orange Is the New Black. Regardless, it works out perfectly for this Knoxville lady. Like any UT alum, I’ve got boxes full of peachy clothes.

My spring 2014 favorites, thus far…

board.spring2014

1. Florida Oranges Tunic by Bluetique
2. Tiled Wide-Legs pants by Anthropology 
3. Butter London nail polish in Ladybird
4
. Toms Correa Sandals
5. Jackie Link Bracelet by Stella & Dot

Are you in the mood for spring? What items have you found to help you kick the season off in style?

Did you get RAW burlap?: Things Matt has said in the last 5 hours

1 Mar

And this is only in the last five hours….photo-47

While packing things for donation delivery:
Matt: I hate this burlap. It left stuff everywhere. This burlap is rediculous. It’s like raw burlap. Did you get raw burlap?
Me: No, burlap is burlap. There’s no such thing as raw burlap. Let’s donate it. Someone will love that burlap.
Matt: No way, I don’t want it in the car. I’ll donate it straight to satan.
Me: Cries into burlap. He doesn’t understand us.

While walking through the kitchen:
Me (thinking to myself): Dang it the Census is here. I don’t have time to fill that out. There is always something in that mailbox that requires me to DO something. Who has time for all this? I’ve got to clean this house and feed the baby and they want me to sit down and fill out a Census. Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
Matt: Oh look, the Census came in. Yay, we get to fill out the Census, Grayson. You are part of our family now and we get to tell the government. (and no, it was not said with a sarcastic voice. he was completely serious)
Me (thinking to myself): Well that works out well.

While filling out the Census:
Matt: When did we get married? 2009?
Me: No, 2008
Matt: No way! We’ve been married going on six years? It’s been that long? There’s no way. I want a divorce.

While trying to make me fill out my portion of the census:
Matt: Come on Grayson. Mom’s got to fill out the census or I’ll take her to jail myself. You have to do it wifes; it’s required BY LAW.

While making a grocery list:
Me: cucumbers, dill weed, tomatoes….
Matt: You’re a dill weed
Me: OK

While waking up in bed this morning
Matt: Hey baby, hey sweet baby. What are we going to do today?
Grayson: Loud pooping/fart noise
Me: bahahahahahahaha

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Southern Lovin’ on Friday

27 Feb

Are ya’ll ready for a fun weekend? Let’s get this party started early. Here are a few things that caught my attention here in the South.

– The Sugarlands Distilling Company will open in March in Gatlinburg, TN. Yep, that means you can get real moonshine straight from its southern tap. Complete with a tour and a sip of the real stuff, can you imagine a better day trip?

– Mardi Gras is coming up – March 4 – so you better get that King Cake ordered. Check out some yummy creole recipes to get your family really in the mood. Scope out these underground food joints if you make it to New Orleans…then come back and tell me how they were. ;)

– The bourbon & coke is making a comeback. Did it ever really leave the building? I think not, folks.

– A Native American decor theme is blowing on on the internets. The mini teepees are perfect for a nursery…maybe Grayson’s nursery? Take a look at some adorable little creations at the Theteepeeguy out of League City, Texas.

– You can now sign up for monthly deliveries of hand-selected Southern artisanal goods sent straight to your front door. This looks like an exciting way to try new culinary creations. Sign up at Batch, out of Nashville, TN. Um, yes please.

There’s my hodgepodge roundup of Southern-based fun. Now, I’m going to go eat these baby toes…

photo-47

How We Saved $50,000 as Newlyweds – Part I

27 Feb

Back in the day, when Matt and I were fresh college graduates, 24-years-old and had just said ‘I do’, I had this crazy idea that we could save a ton of money….if we just stopped spending it. It was really that simple. And photo-47this is how it all began….

When our marriage days kicked off we actually lived in two completely different cities so that I could keep working at my first little baby marketing job and save more money. Looking back, I think this was the first group decision we made to “suffer” in the short term in order to make our lives more financially secure.

So I had been living in Lexington, KY for that highly sought-after job for about four months into our marriage, and decided to move back to be with Matt in Knoxville, mainly because I liked the city a lot more and had an awesome job offer to work in the field I loved, which at the time was environmental legislation.

I closed up shop on that first job in August 2008, and off I went, newly hitched, without much of a living standard since the college dorm lifestyle was still pretty fresh in my memory. I had no far-flung notions of needing a new car or a big screen TV or, well, anything for that matter.

But the cool thing was that because Matt and I had been socking away around $1,000 a month we had started our marriage off with no debt and $10,000 to our names. We did this the same way we saved money later, which I’m going to get into more detail about in the second post. But basically, we lived on less and used the Dave Ramsey approach to saving. I had been a Ramsey fan since high school and used his energetic approach to finances to build this mindset of being proud of living below our means.

We found ways of making our cost of living as low as possible. I roomed with someone in Lexington in order to cut my apartment bill in half and Matt was sitting on this super cheap apartment bill, so together, we could save a lot of our income.

As a side note, I made $30,000 and Matt made about $20,000 working part time during that eight months leading up to our marriage. We lived on roughly 2/3 of our income. We had different banking accounts at the time but we would just chat every two weeks and then make contributions to a common savings account.

We decided together that I could just move into the small apartment Matt was living in in the Fort Sanders area (where most of the college kids live after their dorm stint is over at the University of Tennessee, where we had both gone for college). It was this beautiful old Victorian home with a gardener who managed the massive grounds. Yes, the apartments were basically falling apart, but I had also lived in the complex during my last year of college and had fallen in love with our neighbors and the area. I could run downtown and walk to work. It was perfect for the beginning of our new life together.

Plus, and this is sort of the launching pad/fact that got our whole savings craziness started, it cost a whopping $320 a month. It eventually went up to – now, hold your breath – $355 a month when the manager decided they needed to update a few things.

And that begins our almost-three-year journey to saving $50,000. As a recap of where we are in this story, we’re now married and living in the Fort. We have $10,000 and a dream of owning so much more. I’ll be back with Part 2 of the 3-part series next Thursday.

In the meantime, share your stories of being young and trying to save….or spend? ;)

P.S. Can’t get enough of Mouse In Your House? Find me over at Knoxville Moms Blog today sharing my thoughts on why Knoxville businesses need to get kid-friendly.

East Tennessee Blogger Love

26 Feb

Quick Note: Welcome, all you new, incredible visitors! If you’re looking for the co-sleeping post, find it here. If you’d like to get to know me better, take a gander and learn about how I left my sweet corporate job to move back to Knoxville and start a family, the ups and downs to being married to a musician, and how we stuck it out in a 400-square-foot bungalow with the wee little one. Now back to our normal programming…

You all know that I love to gush about Knoxville, Tennessee, my favorite city. But you might not know that this fine town is also EThome to some fantastic bloggers (I know, not just me, don’t make me blush). Take your lunch break early and snoop around these fun sites. They’ve each provided a snippet about who they are and why they blog. Enjoy!

Meet Candace from His Mercy is New! I’m Candace and I blog at His Mercy is New. I’m married to David and we have 3 children that we homeschool; we live just east of Knoxville where my husband and I met at Carson-Newman College about 15 years ago! On my blog you will find homeschooling posts, great reads, posts about faith and especially encouragement for moms struggling with depression. I pray you are blessed and encouraged each time you visit. 

Meet Edie who blogs at Life in Grace! I’m Edie and I’m a lifestyle blogger, wife, momma, writer, home cook, foodie, keeper of chickens, and reader of many books. I’m a lover of home decor, truth, beauty, goodness, cowboy boots, and all things Appalachian.

Meet Heather and her site Kiser Ridge Farm! Hi, I am Heather, stay at home mother of soon to be 5 children. We live on a small farm in East Tennessee. We raise chickens, goats, rabbits, hogs, dogs, cats and kiddos. Kiser Ridge Farm is also my herbal shop, where I combine my 15 years of experience in herbal medicine, with my 20 years in Emergency Medicine, researching and mixing natural remedies. My blog is new and so is my business.

Meet Megan of Lifesong blog! Hi! I’m Megan, a wife (to one) and homeschooling Mama of three. I am passionate about Jesus, teaching my kids, and taking pictures. But I also love baking, Amazon, reading and writing. My blog is a little of everything – homeschool days, recipes, stories, traditions, and encouragement. We have made East TN home for the past eight years, and we love it here! Come say hello at Lifesong!

Meet Meghan and her blog KMac Creations! My name is Meghan and I write. Streamlined & slapstick stories of memories made. Not perfectly, but purposefully. Under blankets snuggled, my space for words is covered with stories of family, fashion, homeschool and design. Faith finds its way in too. Always. My blog documents time honest, hilarious and most certainly hope filled.

Meet Melissa and her blog Finding Joy on the Journey! Finding Joy on the Journey started as I felt moved to record the blessings that occur in the every day. The beautiful blue sky, the warm sunshine on my face, the sweetness of a good book finished. I used to say, “simple pleasures” in high school and college. Only now they’re deeper than that. It’s deep-seated joy that isn’t based on circumstance. So I write here about joy in the midst of infertility, food allergy frustrations, depression, chronic health problems, and life just not turning out to be what we thought it would. (Is it ever?) The Lord’s name is to be glorified in it all, and that is what I want to do here on my little home on the web. I hope you’ll join me!

Meet Melissa from Life Off The Paved Road! Hello there! I’m Melissa. I am wife to Stacy and homeschooling mom to five children. We live in East Tennessee, just north of Knoxville on land that has been in my family for five generations. Life Off The Paved Road is my online home where I talk about natural living, marriage, parenting, homeschooling, and adoption. I hope you will stop by, hang out for a while and come back to visit from time to time.

Meet Rebecca of Life Changes! Hello! My name is Rebecca and I have been married to Brian for almost 21 years. We have 3 adult sons and a 7 month old Granddaughter! I blog about our life, encouraging stories, our faith, things for the home such as frugal decorating/organizing and freezer meals and anything else that comes to mind. I appreciate you taking your time to read my blog and if you have a blog I would love to read yours!

Meet Sara from The Happy Brown House! Sara is a Chattanooga area blogger that writes about life in the Happy Brown House: homeschool, crafts, kids, adoption, and faith.

Sara has started Chatanooga Families!  Sara is also the blogger behind the site, Chattanooga Families, a blog dedicated to helping local families find resources and local fun. Sara shares the reall nitty-gritty details about local events and places that are relevant to families in the Chattanooga area through a weekly newsletter. Want to know where the best park is or what restaurant has a free kids meal? Chattanooga Families is your answer.

Meet Sarah and her blog Sarah’s Heart’s Home! My name is Sarah and I am a homeschooling mom to three young children. I blog at Sarah’s Heart’s Home where I write about daily life as a mom, recipes, homeschooling ,and more. I strive to find Joy in the Journey (as my subtitle indicates.)

Meet Stephanie from The Multi Taskin’ Mom! Being a wife, mother, full time work-from-homer, and a homeschooling mom, means that I must be able to multi task. Come join in as I share the journey along with several other moms on The Multi Taskin’ Mom.

Meet the writing team at Knoxville Moms Blog! At Knoxville Moms Blog we are passionate about parenting, community and the city of Knoxville. We strive to provide moms with relevant, timely and fun information about all things mom here in the Knoxville area. We are a collaborative blog written by and for local moms with daily posts on things to do around town, ways to get involved in the community, parenting solutions, personal essays from local moms, local business spotlights, giveaways, and an opportunity to share with one another in the journey of motherhood.

Meet Mollie, at Love Is In the Details, blogs about her beautiful and amazing life experiences. Read about her mother’s battle with breast cancer, dealing with a miscarriage, and life as her and her sweet family find passion, love and beauty in their home.

I’m Calling Shenanigans on the Anti-co-Sleeping Stance

24 Feb

Quick note: If you like this post and others, please take a moment to vote for me on Top Baby Blogs (just takes two clicks and no registration). Your votes help attract new readers and that enables me to keep blogging! You can also subscribe to Mouse In Your House in the side bar if you’d like to receive email notices. Thanks for stopping by!

The other night, after a long day of breastfeeding and grocery shopping, paying bills, cooking chili and who knows what else because I can’t keep up anymore, I laid in bed, finally relaxed, photowith one arm slipped around my sweet baby boy. His chubby little hand gripped my finger and my other arm rested on my husband’s shoulder. At that moment my heart fluttered as I thought, this is the best night of my life. Does it get any better than this? Did you just throw up in your mouth?

I didn’t actually think that last part, but I wanted to check in on you for a sec.

So I had my disgustingly gushy moment and then I told Matt, “I know we should’t let him fall asleep in our bed like this but we don’t normally do this.” When those guilt-stricken words were spoken aloud I realized that I could not have sounded more absurd. Because, really, let’s teach this three-month-old a lesson by making him cry in his bed. Let’s not snuggle up together, because that will really show him the right way to act.

Meanwhile, our sweet baby started snoring like an old fat man and then I really did want to lay him in his bassinet, but that’s veering from my point. Back to the co-sleeping issue and namely the guilt trip we get as parents who choose to bed-share. Because isn’t there this underlying tinge of hesitation you hear in a mom or dad’s voice when they quietly admit they’ve been co-sleeping for the past two years? Safety issues aside, and you can discuss safe bed-sharing techniques with your pediatrician, I’m more concerned with this unspoken idea that we are weak parents for allowing our kid to sleep with us.

I started doing the math. And let’s say, for all extreme purposes, we assume this lil’ guy will sleep with us until he’s five years old. Folks, that’s 1,825 days of co-sleeping. If you live to be 78 years old – today’s life expectancy – that’s approximately 6.4% of your life. I don’t know many people who co-sleep until their child is five years old, but I’ve done the math for you just in case.

In my humble opinion, it just isn’t very long.

It’s rare that a family chooses to only co-sleep. I normally hear about some combination that involves a nursery or baby sleeping in a bassinet. But regardless of your dedication to the practice, I’m calling shenanigans on the whole anti-co-sleeping regime.

No matter how you slice this pie, 6.4% of your life spent co-sleeping – the extreme measure here – is not something you’re probably going to regret. If parents have personal reasons for choosing to place that dear baby in a crib – as in it just ain’t jiving and we don’t want to hear the lil’ fat man snore – then by all means, do what you need to do. I’ll be there cheering you on (metaphorically speaking; I won’t creepily visit your house wearing a cheerleading uniform with my stretch-mark fat rolls peeking out and….ok, I took this one too far).

BUT for those who want to snuggle up with that little person and may be having reservations, I for one am not going to perpetuate the guilt trip. I say, have the “best night of your life” for the 6.4% of the total time you’re allotted here on earth.

Because, “dear God, I can’t get this teenager to stop sleeping in my bed,” said no one….ever.

And there will come a time, dear friend, when our homes will be filled with the wrath of an angry, confused, moody, but hopefully still lovable, teenager. And we’ll miss the 6.4% of our life filled with toothless grins, belly laughs, milky mouths and falling asleep with one arm wrapped around that perfect little angel.

So do it up, dear parents. Co-sleep till your heart’s content.

Share your sleeping setup. What works for you and your family? 

P.S. If you want to discuss research and safety issues related to bed-sharing, you can do that here.

P.S.S. G is not snoring anymore, thank goodness. And I joke about it here, but snoring could actually a pretty serious concern. You can read about that here.

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