Sunday, February 22, 2009

Breastfeeding Cafe

Although something about the name makes me giggle, there's a cool new thing going on in Wake County. La Leche League will be hosting a breastfeeding cafe every Friday at the Itsy Bitsy Baby Spa in Cary. Here are the details:

"Announcing the brand new LLL Breastfeeding Caf´┐ŻDrop in any Friday at

lunch to have all your breastfeeding questions answered at no cost by

La Leche League breastfeeding counselors. All women are welcome, with

or without your babies and pregnant women are especially encouraged to

attend. Please feel free to bring your lunch.

What: an informal drop-in meeting where breastfeeding questions can be

answered and women can meet other breastfeeding moms. Feel free to

bring your lunch, or purchase something at Panera Bread next door.

When: every Friday 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m.

Where: Itsy Bitsy Baby Spa, 1055 Darrington Dr., Cary (at the

intersection of James Jackson and Cary Parkway, next to Panera Bread)

Who: Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, any women with breastfeeding

questions, and babies.

Cost: Free!"

My experience with La Leche League has been mostly positive once I found the Raleigh Downtown group. The first group I attended, I went for five months, missed a meeting and then returned to be asked if I had ever been there before. Of course that was better than when I went last week for what would have been my 10th or 11th meeting - I've lost count - and no one was there. They dissolved the group, but apparently I didn't make the cut to be notified. Nice.

Still though, I think the informal setting of lunch and the possibility of one on one help is a great idea. It was too overwhelming for me to ask questions and get help in the group setting the first time I attended.

There is also a new toddler group in Wake County. If you are a breastfeeding mama of a toddler who is one year old or older, you are welcome to join a cool group of moms who promise not to ask, "So how long are you going to do that?" The group meets every fourth Monday at 10:30 AM at the Unitarian Church on Wade Avenue in Raleigh.

All meeting details can be found on the La Leche League website.

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Motherhood Crazies

This wasn't at all what I was going to write about today, but I really wanted to share something, or I should say someone, I stumbled upon today while listening to NPR.

On Wednesday's broadcast of The State of Things on our local affiliate WUNC, the discussion was about Postpartum Depression (PPD) and it's effects on both mother and child's health as well as how it is treated and responded to in our current society. According to the show at least 15% of new mothers experience PPD, but most experts believe that number is low as many mothers simply do not seek help.

It was a very interesting discussion and wonderful to learn that some of the greatest advances in helping PPD moms are being made right here in the Triangle. (Click here to listen.)

However, the most exciting thing to me was one of the panelists they had participating. Faulkner Fox is a local author and mother who has written a book about her experiences with new motherhood called, Dispatches from a Not-So-Perfect Life: or How I Learned to Love the House, the Man, the Child. I was very intrigued simply by the title but also her contributions to the discussion. She was speaking about the pressures to be the 'perfect' mother that society places on mothers. To say I was doing my best bobble-head impression would be underestimating my reaction. I found myself identifying with so much of what she was saying.

After listening to the discussion on my drive home from playgroup, I quickly logged on to the library site to see if her book was available. I intend to check it out as soon as possible and devour as time allows. Want to join me?

In the meantime, I also found myself nodding in agreement while reading an article she has written about mommies judging other mommies and the harmful effects of this kind of behavior. In all honesty, I've found the constant judgments from other parents to be one of the greatest challenges of being a new parent. And, I'm guilty of it myself. I've found my network of mommy bloggers to be one of mostly support but occasionally there are lurkers out there waiting to spew their ugliness (see anonymous commenter on this post of Steph's or Razzle on Kristen's fabulous post).

For my part, I try to be honest in my writing about the challenges, emotional ups and downs, and stresses of motherhood. I try not to hide it. I prefer not to just write about the happiness that my son and family bring me but also my struggles. I want other mothers to know that being a mother is not easy... not for me anyway.

So, I guess what I want to know from you is how can we change it? How do we stop with the ridiculous judgments and move forward to form a community of mommies? How will you yourself make an effort to change?

Crossposted at My Sweet Babboo. An avid listener of WUNC, Abby usually hears less than half of the each article because her toddler is loudly demanding more food. Read more about her life with Linus at My Sweet Babboo.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Power to the Mommies

Do you remember the Motrin Moms incident in November? It was one of the first times Mommy bloggers really used their power and change happened.

Once all of the talk and excitement settled down, the question remaining was, "What do you want to change next?" In January, the answer came with the impending enactment of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). Mommy bloggers, work-at-home moms, and moms everywhere were concerned about how increased and costly safety testing could put thousands of small businesses, Etsy sellers, and many, many work-at-home moms out of business.

Of course as mothers, we want the toys our children play with to be unequivocally safe and we want them to be lead-free. However this act in its sweeping legislative action would potentially have done more to hurt the safe toy industry then it was likely to help. What toys could be safer than ones made by other mommies who are solely dependent on customer happiness and loyalty to remain in business?

In the end, Mommies took to the internet voicing their concerns on blogs, Twitter, through their votes at, and even by contacting their government representatives. And their voices were heard. On January 30th, the Consumer Products Safety Commission granted a one year stay of testing and certification requirements in order to have"more time to finalize four proposed rules which could relieve certain materials and products from lead testing and to issue more guidance on when testing is required and how it is to be conducted."

This was good news to everyone who voiced concerns over this act but most especially to the small businesses who would have been affected. Of course, it is important to note that the work is not finished as now input is needed in how to change this body of legislation to follow through on its good intentions without leaving the path of destruction the original bill would have.

As amazed as I was to see the stay happen, I was even more amazed at the power of the mom, the power of the people. All too often that sweatpants wearing, toddler toting mom is written off as unimportant compared to the executive in the Armani suit, but this stay proves that the mommies of this country have an incredible power and are beginning to use it. In that way, it really is going to be "The Year of the Mom".

An original Triangle Mamas post. Abby has to be vocal about government legislation that bothers her because she's more likely to be heard by the President than by her own 18 month old. She blogs, in case you'd like to listen, at My Sweet Babboo.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

One Little Sheep

There is a story in the Bible about a shepherd with 100 sheep. One
night, he is putting all of the sheep back in their pen and only counts
99 of them. He secures the 99 sheep and then goes to search high and
low for the one missing sheep.

My heart hurts today for that one missing sheep.

Some of you know that I used to be the executive director for a
non-profit music school for children from low-income families. Hundreds
of children who were considered "at-risk" youth came through the school
while I worked there, and for the most part, I have all of these warm
fuzzy feelings about success stories. Children who decided to go to
college. Children who earned places in the premier youth orchestra here
in town. Children who got music scholarships to college. A clarinetist
who ended up the top player in the state and is now at Harvard.
Children who I when I bump into them, still give me a hug and have
something good to say about their experience at the school.

Funding was granted because of our successes and our mission. Who could say
no to giving music lessons and instruments to at-risk youth? Even the
White House thought the program was super and in 2004 I took one of our
students there to accept a Coming Up Taller Award from Laura Bush. I was proud of the work we did and the families we helped.

This morning, I turned on the news and saw the other side of the coin.

six years ago, there was a little boy who had all the cards stacked
against him. He was withdrawn. His mother got him to lessons late if
got him there at all. He was unresponsive with his teacher, although he
really really wanted to learn to play. He was 10 years old with a
tough guy attitude already trapping him behind a thick defensive wall.
When his lessons were over though, he would come see me while he waited
for his mother who often had to be called long after his lesson was
over and told to come pick him up. We would talk, rather, I would talk
and he would give
me one word answers and at least one smile every week. He was the kind
of boy that I knew had it in him to do great things, but had no support
system. I fought like crazy to keep him in the program. Convinced his
teacher weekly to be patient with him, rode his mother to get him there
and get him there on time, and skirted around the attendance rules so
that he wouldn't be kicked out. By the time he was 13, he disappeared.
Phone disconnected, mail returned. Lost from our radar.

Last night he was arrested for murder. He's 16 years old.

breaks my heart. It reminds me to look at the kids who
get into trouble with the law and remember that at some point, somebody
believed in them. It reminds me that most of the time, these are kids
who had insurmountable issues at home, if they even had a home. Sure,
they made their own choices and have to answer for them, but somewhere
along the way, he was let down by the people who should have done right
by him.

When I saw his mugshot on the news, I didn't see a murderer. I saw the
little boy who never lost his drumsticks and always wanted to have his
lesson even when his ride dropped him off so late that the next student
had already started.

This little boy had potential to succeed, and the adults in his life
failed him. Then he failed himself. I'm just so sad. I wish that I had
tried harder to find this one sheep and keep him with us. Keep him in a
program where he could learn self respect, good self esteem, and self

The 99 continue to make it worth all the work, but my heart is broken today for the one little sheep.

Cross posted at Don't Take the Repeats.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Directionless Mommy Travels

Believe me when I tell you it is easy to find. Kidzu, a children's play museum, in Chapel Hill is conveniently located on Franklin Street in the heart of Chapel Hill. It is REALLY easy to find. Which is why I can't believe it took me at least 5 turn-arounds, 3 check-ins with my GPS, and 2 more check-ins with Google maps on my iPhone to get there.

Of course, I wasn't entering Chapel Hill from my usual route. Instead I had decided to make a stop at NC Birth and Wellness Center to pick-up some Bummis from their fantastic natural baby boutique. (Have you been there? They carry babywearing, cloth diapering, and breastfeeding supplies galore.) So, I was heading into Chapel Hill from a different direction than I was used to.

Add to that the fact that my GPS actually had me turn left into a parking lot, turn left two more times, and wanted me to turn left a final time (yes, a complete rectangle of driving) but I refused.

Finally after 20 minutes, I manage to successfully navigate myself (ignoring the GPS) to Franklin Street.  Now onto the greatest challenge in journeying to Kidzu (or anywhere else along Franklin Street) finding a parking spot. Since I was already stressed about getting there, I opted to not parallel park. (I'm miserable at it.) I know what you're thinking... That means you will park where exactly? I parked in a parking garage a good three blocks away, that's where.

By now you are thinking that this story of my pathetic navigation skills will come to end with us arriving happily at Kidzu. Well, you're wrong. Instead, I venture out what looks to be the exit of the parking garage which opens into an alley. Thinking the alley will lead me to the street, Linus and I head out. After walking about a block's length down the alley searching for an out, I reach a deadend and am forced to turn around. Returning to the parking garage, I decide to exit the same way we entered which puts us out on Rosemary Street. Heading up Rosemary Street, I'm unsure exactly where I am in relation to Kidzu but I do know how to get to Franklin.

Standing on the corner of Franklin and Columbia, I'm faced with another directional decision and, of course, choose poorly crossing Columbia and heading down Franklin Street away from Kidzu which only moments before was a mere one shop length away. Traveling about a half a block further, I begin to suspect my mistake and complete yet another turn around. Heading back, I decide Kidzu must be on the other side of Franklin (no idea where I got that idea) and proceed to cross Franklin. Once across, the Gods above take pity on my soul as I look up and can actually see Kidzu cattycorner from where I am standing.

With a weary mind and a severe arm cramp from hauling around my 25 pound toddler, we finally arrive at Kidzu, 30 minutes later than I had planned, but are able to relax and have a good time because that is definitely what Kidzu is made for, a good time.

And, it really is easy to find. Just don't ask me for directions because I have NO idea.

An original Triangle Mamas post. Abby also blogs at My Sweet Babboo about finding her way around life with a toddler.

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