We Shouldn’t Engineer Childhood

September 26, 2014 by ldecesare

engineer childhood, let kids fail, failures and mistakes as parents, let kids be kids

September is Menopause Awareness Month

September 22, 2014 by ldecesare

fall leaf, changing leaves, The Change, menopause awareness, perimenopause symptoms, pregnant late in lifeToday is the last day of summer. Perhaps figuratively, too. This week, a piece I wrote appeared on the Huffington Post, 44 and Pregnant?, and it stirred a flurry of comments, emotions, private emails, and lot’s of questions and speculations on my Facebook pages. (No, I’m NOT pregnant!) The punchline, it turns out, is menopause. Fitting that September is Menopause Awareness Month!

So as summer creeps into fall outside, it seems it’s also happening within me. Many women reached out to me saying that they have experienced the same moments of wondering and worrying, dreaming and freaking out, that I talk about in 44 and Pregnant. Did you know that women between 40-44 years old account for the second highest unintended pregnancy rate? It’s shocking to think I’m even in the age category to be talking about the “M” word let alone be experiencing the precursors to “The Change.”

Menopause is medically defined  as cessation of menstruation for one full year, but every woman’s different and our bodies may start seeing a range of symptoms in the decade or so leading up to menopause, called perimenopause. The Menopause Awareness Month site says: “There are 34 different symptoms of menopause. Some physical. Some physiological. Some psychological. All frustrating and debilitating.”

On the list of exciting possible symptoms: mood changes and mood swings (that’s always a joy), joint pains, irregular and erratic periods, insomnia, memory loss, itchy skin, headaches, weight gain, and the ever-so-famous hot flashes …. And have you ever experience night sweats? There’s nothing like waking up slippery and soaking. (If it happened to you after your babies were born, you’ve gotten a peek into the future fun.) Oh, and as an added bonus, with menopause, women’s chances of osteoporosis and heart attack increase.

As a northeasterner my whole life, I’ve always said that I love the four seasons, the changing air, temperatures, colors, and ways of life as the year circles round. So on this, the last day of summer, my optimistic nature also makes me look at perimenopause with a positive lens. What comes next? While the symptoms might be difficult, annoying, and worse, what will life bring as I age? I enjoyed life with three of my four grandparents all of whom lived into their mid-late 90′s. I want to live long and see my grandchildren have children, I want to be a great grandmother, too. I feel very blessed that my own kids knew my grandparents so well.

I watch my mother and women her age, and older, who are so vibrant, active, and who are living life fully and giving much to others and the world around them. The autumn of life brings an easing of the daily tasks that life with children at home and active schedules brings, it affords more leisure, more time to slow down and do things you care about most. That’s a lifestyle I aspire to, and I try to implement those lessons now, instead of waiting for later.

My point is, menopause and perimenopause can be a time we welcome, just as we can celebrate a young woman beginning her menses and all that it means, all the hope and joy it holds. I’m working to embrace this change, this transition, and one day, maybe I’ll even be able to see it as a transformation.

So, happy Menopause Awareness Month! Whether you’re far from this time, still having babies, or if you’re on its doorstep as I am, it’s part of being a woman, it can be empowering if we allow it to be.

Screw the hot flashes and night sweats, here I come, watch out!

Some resources:

Hormone Health Awareness

Menopause.org

Menopause Awareness Month – official site

© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2014

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44 and Pregnant?

September 19, 2014 by ldecesare

44 and pregnantI had fun writing this piece, 44 and Pregnant?, my first for the Huffington Post. It’s already caused a flurry of questions and comments on my personal Facebook page.

Tell me what you think by commenting directly on the Huffington Post, on the Mother’s Circle Facebook page, or here.

Here’s an excerpt:

I’m late. Not just a little late, but over two weeks late, pushing three. For someone who has always been clockwork regular, I’m really late. I feel a little like I’m in that waiting zone between buying a lottery ticket and the drawing date. You know you’re going to lose, but you spend three days dreaming and planning. With my husband having had a vasectomy six years ago, I know I can’t be pregnant. I can’t, right? Right? But I find myself talking about it, imagining, and thinking, “What if?”

What if I am? My first feelings are filled with the nostalgia of being pregnant and a new mom. I think of the family videos that we love to watch with our two teenagers and our 10-year-old. I long for those pudgy cheeks to kiss, for those adorable little voices learning new words, for those cuddly small bodies. I loved my pregnancies. As a doula, I have a trust and passion for birth, and I savored my nursing days snuggled in with a baby. When I think I might be 44 and pregnant, my immediate gut reaction is happy and gleeful, excited for a possible accident.

Then reality starts to ease into my memories.

Click here to continue reading.

© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2014

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Delight in the Journey

September 15, 2014 by ldecesare

Delight in the journey of parenting, raising responsible adults, job of parents

© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2014

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Show the Love for Mother’s Circle

September 5, 2014 by ldecesare

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Hi, Mother’s Circle Readers, thank you for your loyal readership. I have a few favors to ask of you to show the love. If you would please consider clicking, sharing, following, liking, pinning … I would be so grateful!

The blogging world is busy and populated, and when I began Mother’s Circle, I made the decision to be a content-driven site rather than a giveaway or review space. Those sites are often very heavily trafficked and likes, shares, tweets, follows, pins, and clicks all become ways for readers to enter a contest and better their chances of winning.

For a content-rich site, I’m proud that readers are here who want to read and learn something. I’m happy that those who subscribe and interact do so organically, but today, I’m asking you to show the love.

My goal at Mother’s Circle is to continually provide my readers with practical information that’s well-written, applicable to your life, and hopefully entertaining and enjoyable for you to read. I receive countless requests for reviews and sponsored posts, but I am extremely selective. I write about, or accept guest posts, only for things I believe in and feel you, my readers, will benefit from in some way.

Thank you for your support in helping to give Mother’s Circle a little boost – a shot in the arm as we head into a new season!

Here’s how you can show the love:

1. Subscribe

If you don’t already receive new Mother’s Circle posts into your inbox, please subscribe by adding your email in the box in the sidebar. You’ll get an email whenever I publish a new post. You can see how frequently, or infrequently, I post. I try to post at least once a week but sometimes I have a short lull, other times I have a burst! :-) Depends on what’s happening in life – you get that, I know!

2. Follow Me on Pinterest

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So I’m not a huge Tweeter or even much of a Facebooker – I could spend more time on either – but I LOVE Pinterest! It’s seriously my social media of choice.

I would love to have you follow me on Pinterest and go ahead, pin and re-pin! You can click here or use the Pinterest logo in the sidebar and the Pinterest share buttons on the bottom of each post to pin things.

 

3. Like Mother’s Circle on Facebook

If you haven’t already liked Mother’s Circle (and Naked Parenting) on Facebook, your likes matter! You can click right from the sidebar (I try to make it easy!) Invite your friends to like Mother’s Circle, too!

4. Share

Thank you for sharing Mother’s Circle posts via the share buttons on the bottom of each post. You can also share posts on Facebook directly from the Mother’s Circle or Naked Parenting Facebook pages. Shares help! My recent post, Why you should fart in front of your husband, within 36 hours of it being live on FamilyShare,  had over 3400 shares from the FamilyShare post and over 3400 shares on Facebook – and 4600+ likes on Facebook. This post has had a crazy amount of views, within 36 hours, almost 100,000 views! Sharing posts matters – especially if “fart” is in the title, apparently! (Update: Now this post has over 123,700 views and over 10,800 shares!)

5. Top Mommy Blogstop mommy blogs, mommy blogs, RI blogs, vote for blogs, blog directory,

Mother’s Circle used to be on page one of this immense mommy blog directory; I was number seven for awhile but have since fallen to page three. You can help by clicking on the Top Mommy Blogs image at the end of my posts or in the side bar. You’re allowed one vote every 24 hours, so even if you click just once a week or once in a while, it helps! You just have to click, it will take you to the home page, and once it loads the page, that’s a vote. No need to do any more.

Thanks for your votes for Mother’s Circle and helping to bring us back to page one!

 

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

I truly appreciate you taking an extra moment in your packed-full day to show the love for Mother’s Circle! Thanks for a click and a share now and then! You rock!

© Copyright Leah DeCesare 2014

top mommy blogs, mommy blog directory,

Why You Should Tell Your Kids Their Artwork Stinks

September 2, 2014 by ldecesare

praising kids, how to praise kids, giving specific praise
Sounds awful, right?

Read my latest post on FamilyShare,  Why You Should Tell Your Kids Their Artwork Stinks to learn why I wouldn’t quite say it that way, but why I won’t give hollow praise, either.

Do you ooh and aah at every scribble and pencil mark? Here are some practical tips on how to best praise children and on organizing their artwork. Children sense insincerity and feel really proud when they know they’ve earned your praise.

Okay, I know. Telling your kids their artwork stinks sounds horrible. I wouldn’t quite say it like that, and I would keep in mind how young the kids are. But if you “ooh” and “aah” at every scribble, pencil mark or blobbed together Play-Doh sculpture, this is for you.

If you find yourself telling your child that every piece of artwork is wonderful, ask yourself if you may be saying, “That is so pretty,” without really thinking or paying attention. Sometimes praising kids, how to praise kids, kids artwork, we say something just to acknowledge a child who’s madly chanting, “Look, Mommy, look! LOOK!” Yes, it is easy to just stop the crazy with a quick compliment, but piling on hollow words is exactly that: hollow. Instead, I believe in being truthful with our children.

I find that when complimenting a child, it’s important to be specific and comment on things they have the control to improve. The details in praise let kids know we’re really paying attention. It gives them a glimpse of themselves from a parent’s point of view. In my work with new parents, I’ve experienced that throwing around the “good jobs” doesn’t work to improve kids’ self-esteem in the way so many parents imagine that it would. Sure, it’s important to notice the good things our kids do, and telling them does build their confidence, but how we do it matters. Broad brush strokes of “that’s wonderful” don’t do the trick.

Click here to read more.

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