The No Drama Momma Is Moving!

Well. I’m really getting into this whole bloggging thing. Bought a .com and everything! And, oddly, have decided on a slight name change–to the No Drama Mama. Better now than in a year, right?

Please join me at the new site, www.thenodramamama.com! There’s a new Monday post there and everything.

Still trying to figure out Facebook. Good thing I have Mr. A!

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Fashion Fun Friday: Rainy Day

In honor of the super nasty weather we have been having all week here in D.C., this week’s outfits are all about rain.

Rainy Day Toddler Boys

Hunter boots for children! So cute I almost died. The bright colors are perfect for cheering up a dreary day.

Rainy Day Toddler Girl

I don’t usually like matchy outfits. But this pattern is adorable.

What about you? What do your kids wear on rainy days?

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Miss L Learns a New Word

I am a morning person. By this I mean that I can get up early and function reasonably well and quickly. Therefore, I am a morning person, but an enraged, homicidal morning person. You see, Mr. A is not a morning person. This one little thing may well be the downfall of our marriage because we commute together, which means I am late every.single.day.

This morning was no different. I get up at 5:30 am, realize I don’t have any clean pants, and quickly shave my legs. At 5:40 I tell Mr. A to get up. I remind him that I had been late every day for the past two weeks, and it was not going to happen again.

At 5:53, Mr. A slithers out of bed. By this point I am fully dressed, hair and makeup included. I wake up Miss L. Miss L hates waking up this early. I put her on the changing table for a diaper change, but she roles over to go back to sleep. When I turn her back around, she bursts into tears. I feel awful.

At 6:05, Miss L is in a clean diaper and dressed. I go back to the bedroom. Mr. A is sitting on the bed, staring at a sock in his hand.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

“I don’t know,” he says.

I resist killing him, but barely. “Hurry the fuck up,” I tell him.

I take Miss L downstairs for breakfast. While she is eating her Cheerios, I put together a lunchbag with an afternoon snack for the trip home, feed the dog, and put random dishes in the dishwasher.

It is now 6:20. I run up the stairs, pound on the bathroom door. “We have to leave in ten minutes! Hurry the fuck up!” I yell.

I run back downstairs. Miss L has taken off her shoes. “You have to wear shoes to go to school,” I tell her. “Sit down so I can put your shoes on.”

“I will not sit down,” Miss L says. “I’m poopy.”

I sink down onto the chair and bury my head in my hands. I am completely overwhelmed.

Miss L pats me on the arm gently, concern on her face. “It’s ok, Mommy. I go tell Daddy to hurry the fuck up.”

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Do Grandparents Have Rights?

Over the weekend I recieved the following email:

Hi No Drama Momma!

You’re a lawyer, so I was wondering if I could get your take on something. My parents are, at least in some ways, good people. My father is an alcoholic, and my mother can never say no to him (i.e., driving!). I don’t trust my dad to stay sober or at least not drive drunk, so I don’t let them see my three children without me around. Now they want to have the kids visit for a weekend, without me. I said no, but they say they have a legal right to see their grandkids. Is that true?

Anonymous

Before I say anything else, I want to make it clear that while I am a practicing lawyer, family law is not my specialty. Furthermore, family law is under state jurisdiction, and each state has different laws. That being said, Anonymous happened to ask a question that is a matter of federal law, not state, and I can answer it. Yay! :)

The Supreme Court

In most situations, grandparents do not have visitation rights. Nearly every state has a statute that allows grandparents to petition the court for the right to visit the grandchildren. However, in Troxel v. Granville, the Supreme Court of the United States held that state courts considering non-parent visitation petitions must apply “a presumption that fit parents act in the best interests of their children.” Troxel requires state courts to give “special weight” to a fit parent’s decision to deny non-parent visitation. This is because “the interest of parents in the care, custody and control of their children–is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.” The deference provided to the parent will only be overcome by some compelling governmental interest and overwhelmingly clear factual circumstances supporting that governmental interest.

That does not seem to be the case here. I think it’s safe to say your kids won’t be forced to spend the night with Grandma and Grandpa.

Kudos to you, Anonymous, for allowing the grandparents to see the children at all. Some people would just cut ties, but you seem to have found a solution that works–especially now that you can tell your parents this isn’t a case they can win. Good luck to you.

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5 Reasons Parenting Doesn’t Suck

A new article is getting a lot of press. If you haven’t seen it yet, read it here: “Parenting Got You Down? You’re Not Alone.” When it came out last week, suddenly a whole lot of voices chimed in to gratefully agree. Here’s a highlight:

“People don’t talk about this enough. It’s really hard, being a parent. At times, it’s crushing. But you’re never allowed to say this.”

Really? Raise your hand if no one told you being a parent was going to be mind-blowingly, life-alteringly hard. When I was pregnant, those who had already been through the experience took great delight in telling me just how awful things could get. (How wonderful it could also be was occasionally added as a side note.)

In the past few years, this has become more than socially acceptable–admitting how hard parenting is has actually become something of a trend. First there are the blogs (brilliant, I love them) like Scary Mommy and The Meanest Mom. Then there was the study discussed in Time Magazine called “Kid Crazy: Why We Exaggerate the Joys of Parenthood.” And the infamous New York Magazine article “I Love My Children, I Hate My Life.” All this has spilled over into life in general–I myself am deeply suspicious of any mom who doesn’t complain about parenthood at least three times a week. What drugs is she on, and where can I get some?

What I’m trying to say is that if you still don’t feel free to admit how hard parenting really is at this point, you have deep issues that can probably only be solved on a psychiatrist’s couch.

I’m also trying to say that I’m really, really tired of hearing how hard it is. You can only beat a dead horse for so long before the inevitable backlash.

And here it is! Just to be contrary, here are five reasons parenting DOESN’T suck.

1. You probably won’t miss your old life very much. This is mostly because your old life was pretty boring. What did you really do, anyway? If you did anything interesting before kids, and it actually mattered, you will continue doing it after kids, even if it has to wait a year or two. Having kids does not change who you are.

2. You get to shop, shop, shop. Oh, my god, this is the best. Almost as good as shopping for myself (almost). Every season Miss L gets a whole new wardrobe. Why? Because nothing fits! Nothing compares to that first year. Seriously, when else can you drop hundreds of dollars on furniture, clothes, toys, and other necessities while feeling absolutely no guilt? Brilliant!

3. You get a second chance at childhood. Yeah, I know this one is a bit of a cliche. But it’s totally true. Watching your child experience something for the first time is like experiencing it for the first time yourself. It’s amazing how incredible shadows, ceilings, and grass suddenly become.

4. You get a new favorite person. Your child is going to be your absolute most favorite person in the whole world. Now that she’s here, life would completely suck if she weren’t around.

5. The hormones are amazing. Consider this: Your two year old is being the biggest brat ever. Right before you wring her scrawny neck, she suddenly grins at you, plants a kiss right on the mouth, and whispers, “I love you, Mommy.” Swoon. This is nature’s way of keeping children alive–if it weren’t for the love hormone surging through your veins, those little monsters would not be long for this world. Check out this funny article on the subject. And for those of you for whom hormones are a bitch instead of wonderful (as in,  postpartum depression), at least the drugs have gotten pretty good, and the good hormones come later, I swear.

To end this mushy post, here’s Miss L discovering the joy of bubbles. I can’t believe I haven’t played with bubbles in 30 years–how could I forget how awesome they are?!

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Fashion Fun Friday! Labor Day Edition

Labor Day is the one last hurrah of summer before fall. Yes, I know fall doesn’t officially start until September 23, but please–summer ends with school. These outfits are perfect for a family barbecue or a picnic. The nights are getting cooler already–don’t forget a cardigan or hoodie!

Labor Day Outfit for Toddler Boys

Labor Day Weekend

Miss L had these Keds early this summer and loved them. Alas, her feet grew and we are now on to yet another pair of sneakers.

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Co-Sleeping: How Far Would You Take It?

There’s been a lot of debate surrounding co-sleeping for, I don’t know, the last decade or so? If you want to see some of the highlights, try Dr. Sears for the pro-co-sleeping arguments. If you want anti-co-sleeping arguments, there are several books that discuss it, and plenty of arguments on forums, but since I pretty much don’t care one way or the other, I don’t know where to point you.

That’s right. I. Don’t. Care. Do whatever works for you. For me, Miss L slept in our bed for the first week. Then I moved her to a bassinet right next to me. She stayed there until she was seven months old, when she moved to her crib without any problems, because she no longer wanted to nurse during the night. Other people put the baby in the crib from the beginning, and others co-sleep until toddlerhood. It’s all good. I seriously doubt either method, or anything in between, will have a lasting affect on a child. (I don’t feel the same about crying it out, which often gets entangled with co-sleeping issues, so let’s keep it separate here.)

This co-sleeper is similar to what we used with Miss L.

Here’s what I don’t get: Why do people continue one sleep method or another when it just isn’t working for the whole family? Why take it to such extremes? For example, if your baby wakes up every hour, and you aren’t getting any sleep, why are you schlepping down the hall when you could just roll over and pick up your baby? Or, what seems to be pretty common judging from some forums I’ve seen, why are you sharing your bed with your two-year-old every night while your husband sleeps in a separate room and is pretty unhappy about it? This mystifies me.

It boils down to the pressure parents put on themselves to be perfect. If you don’t put your child in his own bed immediately, he is doomed to sleep in your bed as a teenager, and will never learn independence or self-reliance. If your baby sleeps in his own crib, he will have abandonment issues that will prevent him from ever having a healthy relationship.

Bullshit.

Stop demanding perfection from yourself, kick the drama to the curb, and do whatever keeps you sane, healthy, and as rested as possible. This doesn’t sacrifice your baby’s needs, and it doesn’t sacrifice your spouse, either. If your sleeping arrangement is causing serious tension and stress in the mother, father, or baby, then it’s just not working, and it’s not healthy for your family, no matter what any expert tells you about the “right” way to sleep. Rules are for people who lack enough imagination to come up with a solution on their own.

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