You Know You Are A Parent When…

Ya feelin’ me?

Hope this made you giggle. (The truth is always funnier than anything we could possibly make up.)

Embracing the little moments of this day (the messy, imperfect and oh so sweet little moments…) with you.

xo

 

you know you are a parent when

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When we tune in and trust, everything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because mom-hood is BETTER when we’re holding hands. Let’s connect on twitterfacebook and pinterest as well, because the manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone!

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Embrace The Chaos

 

 

 

Average Is Not What Your Baby Needs

 

 

If you look up baby sleep requirements in a parenting book, you will likely find a table like this:

Total sleep time required over a 24-hour period

• Newborn…….16-17 hours

• 1-6 months….15-16 hours

• 6-12 months…14 hours

• 1-2 years…..13-14 hours

What they don’t tell you is that baby sleep researchers are forced to base their estimates of average sleep requirements on “best guesses” and that baby sleep norms vary greatly from culture to culture, study to study.

A little know sleep tip: average is not what your baby needs.

  

Now don’t get me wrong, these “best guesses” can be very helpful. They can feel reassuring and they can help flag some of the many other issues that could be altering your baby’s sleep (the true issue needing attention) like Reflux. Digestion. Constitution. Gas. Colic. Tongue Tie. A high palate. An improper latch. Milk supply. And so on, and so on. Here’s the deal.  Norms and charts are all fine and good if you:

1) take them for what they are, averages based upon the limited data collected in order to make the assessment (not your child)

2) are NOT dealing with sleep problems.

If you are dealing with sleep problems, worries and/or big concerns about your baby’s health, it’s time to dig deeper.

My advice to parents is this: read the studies, look at the charts, ask your best friend and neighbor… and then let ALL the information you collect filter down through you. Your higher self. Your mommy intuition and wisdom.

You know your child. You know your family. You and only you are uniquely connected to this little one because YOU are MOM or co-mom or dad or maybe even Grandma. Your title, age or even your male or female-ness do not matter. If you are this one’s mother, you know it. Step into your mommy intuition. Your love and connection to this child gives you a degree no one else in the world holds. Not the researchers. Not the sleep coaches. Not even your mother in law.

This may sound hypocritical given I am a sleep consultant. But it is not. My role might be better understood if I went by Suzanne Tucker, Baby Sleep Intuition Supporter or Suzanne Tucker, Mommy Listener/Cheerleader Such That Baby Sleeps.

Because here’s the thing.

There is no manual, except the one that exists within you. Not on baby sleep. Not on potty training. Not on where to send your child to school or how to love them best.

Open yourself to your mommy intuition to guide you as you take in sleep data… or any data. What is relevant to you will make itself known. Watch for the sparks — an inner “knowing” from somewhere deep inside yourself that says, “Yes!!! This is important for my child.” or “That’s what I thought!!!” or maybe “This is worth a try. It feels right for me/my baby.”

Here is an example of how easy it is to misread research and worry because you fear your baby is not fitting into the “mold”.

Imagine you have a one month old baby who sleeps 12.5 hours per day. They are happy. They are gaining weight. You are in a grove and no it’s not easy but yes, you genuinely feel your baby is thriving. UNTIL your best friend (or doctor or mother in law or someone else) tells you they are not. They tell you your baby “should” be sleeping more. That the books say 16 hours is normal. They have you worried, but do you have cause to worry?

Let’s take a close look at the data behind the averages behind the charts in the books, for example, this study, one of the most complete baby sleep charts, published in the highly respected medical journal, Pediatrics, based on the average sleep times associated with 493 Swiss children tracked from birth (Iglowstein et al 2003). Over a 24-hour period, total sleep time averages were as follows:

Baby Sleep Chart and Averages. Be careful how you read them. As far as baby is concerned, average is over rated.

Or said another way, the average total sleep time for 493 Swiss one month old babies worked out to be between 14-15 hours. One hour less than what your friend told you was “normal”. But look closer. Only 50% of the babies actually got between 13-16 hours. ONLY 50%!!!!! 96% got between 9-19 hours. Let me put it to you visually:

Average is not what your baby needs. Baby sleep charts. Be careful how you read them.

Never give your power away.

Never. There’s a lot of information out there, but it is worthless without you and your mommy intuition filter to make sense of it all. You are this one’s mom and this is not a thing to be taken lightly. Step into your power. Listen with all of your senses. Your baby is talking to you. Source support. Quiet your mind. Follow your heart. Average is not what your baby needs. You are.

xo

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When we follow our bliss, tune in and trust, anything and everything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because everything is BETTER when we are holding hands. Let’s share on twitterfacebook and pinterest too because the manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone!!!

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References:

Iglowstein I, Jenni OG, Molinari L, Largo RH. 2003. Sleep duration from infancy to adolescence: Reference values and generational trends. Pediatrics 111(2): 302-307.

There Are No Words

What does this say to you?

For me it is the wordless definition of connection. A sweet, sweet moment (I’d go so far as to say a sacred moment) of acceptance, love and peace.

This blissful state is the same space I see babes of all ages (especially newborns) moving into when they receive massage from their moms and dads. Babes, basking in the love held in a simple, shared present  moment. Love held in stillness and in touch.

Giving and receiving. Being. Connection.

xo

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When we follow our bliss, tune in and trust, anything and everything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because everything is BETTER when we are holding hands. Let’s share on twitterfacebook and pinterest too because the manual is ours to write but we don’t have to write it alone!!!

Believe Anyway


“Your baby did not make it.” The doctors said this and left the couple to grieve, baby on mom’s chest, skin to skin. For two hours this grieving mother and this grieving father held, soothed, comforted, talked to and loved on their son.

One hundred and twenty minutes, loving, bonding, tuning in and following their intuition. When their baby started moving and breathing, the doctors brushed the parent’s reports of signs of life off, not even returning to the room, but sending in a midwife to tell these grieving parents something along the lines of, “these things happen, these sorts of breathes and movements, but your son is gone.”

For two hours these parents believed anyway, against all reason or logic, holding and loving their child back to life, despite hours of being told what they were seeing… what they knew to be so, was not to be believed.

Their baby was alive…

The miracle is two fold. That the baby revived to life… and that the parents trusted their intuition over cold, hard facts and medical know-how.

I love this story on so many levels. The power of loving touch. The power of believing. And I am reminded by this miracle baby, this mother and this father, once again, in matters big and small, that I can look inside of myself for instructions. That I am best served (in mothering and in life) when I keep my heart higher than my head, despite what anybody else has to say about it.

xo

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When we follow our bliss, anything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because motherhood (and life) is better when we’re holding hands.

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Smallest Teachers

I taught baby massage, like I do every Friday, but today, as I loaded up my things in my car, I realized I was leaving class feeling — what’s the word? — lighter.

By lighter I mean something about class today has me walking just a little bit slower, smiling just a little bit wider, thankful just a little bit more.

Why? I’ve been thinking about this for the last two hours, and the only answer I have for you is this:

small teacher

Starring into these eyes. Lying my hand on this ones head as he starred back at me. Breathing. Sharing stillness. Holding and soothing a sweet, little baby girl, just weeks old that came to class, crying from tummy pains/gas minutes into her massage.

These babies.

The peace of the present moment I am pulled into when I am with them. They are to blame, I’m quite certain of it.

Today, if you have little people lying, rolling, crawling or walking around you in the house, take a moment. Stare into their eyes. Breathe. Hold their gaze just a little longer than you normally would. Share a moment, still… together, no matter their age (even if you risk being called weird by your tween/teen.)

I promise you, you will walk away transformed. And likely, they will too.
xo

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When we follow our bliss, anything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here because motherhood (and life) is better when we’re holding hands.

Related Posts:
Connection and Baby/Kids

A Mother’s Bedtime Poem

Hadley bedtime poem

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When we follow our bliss, anything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here, sharing the stories of our lives, because motherhood (and life) is better when we hold hands.

Little Ears

colin w mmm logo 5.2013We were driving to dinner and my three year old son asked, “Mom, can I have an E-F-H?”

Dad and I look at each other. “A what???!” “An E—-F—-H…” he repeats in a do-you-pinky-swear-you-won’t-tell-anyone?!?! sorta whisper. And with that, I get it and interpret for my husband. Our child is attempting to spell out a cool-secret-thing he wants, just like he’s heard his big sisters do.

“Mom, can we have some I-C-E -C-R-E-A-M?” or “Mom, can we go to the P-A-R-K when Hadley and Colin nap?”

Things not meant for three year old ears lest they want it too, get spelt out in our home and our little guy had cracked the code. He just didn’t know how to spell. But why let that stop him, right?

They may not always do what we want, when we want… but do not be fooled.

THEY ARE LISTENING.

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When we follow our bliss, anything is possible. I hope you walk with me and other moms here, sharing the stories of our lives, because motherhood is better when we are holding hands. 

What If We All Entered The World To This Sort of Love?

This. This is why I teach baby massage. This is it. It is all here in this video.

 

A peace-filled, conscious connection possible with our hands, telling our little-est people that the world around them is a safe and nurturing place. Telling them it is okay to trust and that they are loved.

Who would not want this for themselves, for their children? (Can someone please do this to me?)

xo

Suzanne

The Crayon Connection

I am so happy my friend Shanna agreed to write for us about crafts today. She’s a mom of two under age three and I am inspired, not only by her and her crafty-ness, but by the simple truth she shares with us today. Thanks Shanna!!!

(PS: Crayons rock. You two have inspired me. I have our crayons out today) … 😉

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I’ve done a million crafts with my daughter and for the most part, they have been really fun and educational. So when Suzanne asked me to write about crafts and connection, I must admit, I kind of panicked. As I thought back to all the crafts we’ve done, my mind kept going back to one thing…crayons. Silly, right? I thought so. I kept saying to myself, “Crayons just won’t do.”

I pondered and pondered what I could write about. What would be the best craft to help us connect with our kids?

Thinking…thinking…Crayons…Really? That’s still in my head?

After sleeping on it, I finally realized why crayons were so prevalent in my thoughts about this post. When I color, simply color and draw with my child, that is when I feel the closest, the calmest. I notice it in my daughter, Grace, as well. We clear the table and the excitement builds as she’s helping me. I go to our art station and grab the crayons and A LOT of paper. She asks me to let her carry them and she’s so proud to do so. We get ourselves set up and we are off to the races.

The crayons allow us to tell a story to one another…Grace has great stories.

The crayons allow us to talk about fear, love, sharing and caring.

The crayons allow us to learn together.

The crayons allow us to encourage and complement each other.

Grace is only three years old, but has a vast vocabulary. I enjoy talking to her and hearing what she has to say and I want her to know that I am always willing and excited to listen. But let’s be honest for a moment. When I’m cooking or cleaning, I’m not doing my best listening as to how she just saw the COOLEST ladybug. And when she’s really focused on her dolls and giving them checkups with her doctors kit…well, Mommy is the last person she wants to tell about the nice dragon that visited her and who would now like to be her friend.

But I want to hear about that ladybug and the adventures they have together. I want to hear about the nice dragon and I don’t blame him for wanting to be my daughter’s friend…she’s AWESOME!

When we color, I get hear those great adventures and she gets to know that I’m 100% listening…we’re connected.

I always stand from the table feeling like I know my daughter better than when we started. I always feel closer. We get to laugh together and tell secrets and share our creations together.

It may not be a huge craft with themes and glue and buttons and glitter and pom-poms…those are really fun and we do them all the time. However, there is something special about the connection I get with my daughter through a simple crayon.

That little waxy, colored tube gives me a window into my daughter’s heart and mind and I can’t help but think that somehow, in her own little three year old way, she gets an understanding of mine.

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By guest blogger Shanna C. of Momma C. Designs.

A Curvy Road

The beginning of my third decade on Earth brought with it our first child and there began my walk on the spiritual path of motherhood.

How to sum up this walk???

For me it’s been a spiritual practice in many things, but forced to name just three they would be acceptance, self-love and intuition.

Acceptance.

Ever the fighter for control and/or having things go the way I’d like them to go, Spirit wisely threw me quite a few curve balls in my late thirties. I’d sum up the spiritual exercise of early motherhood and later, living through five miscarriages in a single word. Acceptance.

Being a first time mom and feeling the grasp I thought I had so firmly on life slipping through my hands. Living through loss after loss, accepting I had no control over whether, with each new baby, I would carry them full term or not. The experiences combined, motherhood and miscarriage… better than a college credit course in teaching me to allow.

I look at our experiences with loss now differently than I did while they were occurring. I still feel the sting of these experiences but can also appreciate them for what they brought me. As I see it life forced my hand, demanding of me to learn to be with what is rather than how I’d have it.

Non-attachment. Not an easy lesson, but a valuable one and I am still a student of (big-time). Life as “mom” gives me new lessons in sweet-surrender on a daily basis. Holding on to letting go. It’s become my mommy mantra.

Softening into life rather than fighting it when inevitably it doesn’t seem to be going my way. This is the lesson acceptance has offered and it’s been immeasurably helpful in parenting, especially of late now that we have two tween daughters and twin 2.5 year olds.

Two’s and tween/teens. All you READ about parenting these ages has to do with conflict and power struggles. The terrible two’s. The dreaded teen years. Thankfully we are not there (knocks on wood.) I think the resistance that might exist between us has been lessened by a great extent thanks to the lessons life delivered to me (be it with me kicking and screaming every step of the way) in learning to allow. The practice of pausing and allowing before moving head first into responding and reacting; invaluable of late for me. Thank you Spirit.

Self-love.

I look at self-love as coming to better know and love myself for the person I am while forgiving myself for the person I am not (a rather long list).

How can I love another if I don’t first love me? Good question, and one I found motherhood brought into sharp focus for me.

When life feels hard I breathe in “I love myself” and breathe out “I am enough.” This is my other mommy mantra, the one I reach too when life is feeling hard… and it’s been healing beyond measure.

Being enough. Life brings me many opportunities for me to practice self-love, breathing into my mistakes and letting go of the “not-enough” when inevitably I find myself judging (myself and those I love… that’s who we judge most harshly though, isn’t it?) or otherwise resisting life. This is a daily (if not moment by moment) practice for me and probably will be for the rest of my life. It is in modeling self-love and forgiveness I teach my children the most precious thing I have to teach them about love, namely, that I am love. That they are love.

That love is a noun… not a verb.

Intuition.

I see intuition as tuning in and trusting myself and the inner knowing I pose (we each possess) to guide me. I believe this inner knowing to be Spirit and I look to this place inside myself for very real guidance on matters large and small, in parenting and in life.

So many ways to go. Do I do this? Say this? Go this way or that? How do I manage this crisis, this conversation, this decision, thought, emotion? I would be LOST in parenting were it not for the practice of pausing. Were it not for the guidance I receive when I stop to ask,  listen and receive. All that is left for me then is to follow. Thank you Spirit.

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Suzanne Tucker aka Zen Mommy hopes if you liked this article you will subscribe and/or join other mindful mamas here. To keep the lights on, Suzanne runs a holistic health center in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband Shawn. She is passionate about the connection we are and to that end offers Infant Massage, parent coaching and YogaParenting. If she can be a support to you on your spiritual path of motherhood, please reach out to her today!