Tag Archives: mommy luxuries

31 days to clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way

Won’t you consider joining me on this May challenge?

I am not a natural when it comes to cleaning. In fact, sometimes I think my DNA is allergic to it! However, I know that if I am to care for my home, and more importantly my family, I need to persevere in creating a clean, peaceful home environment (not a perfect one!).

31 Days to Clean is about the “why” and the vision and the heart for taking care of our domains. Each day I encourage you with some thoughts and ideas, and then we put those ideas to action.

After each days reading, you will be given two challenges:

The Mary Challenge -Something you do that encourages/engages your heart
The Martha Challenge – Specific cleaning tasks

Friends, 31 Days to Clean is a faith journey towards ruling, subduing, and loving. We are forgoing perfection; we are choosing life.

You can read more about it and download the book for a nominal fee, here. It is even Kindle-friendly, but (sadly, for me, not Nook friendly. But you could get it to work on the Nook, you just have to manually transfer the files as it is a PDF.)

The challenge begins May 1! Ready, Set, Pray!


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Pax Christi!

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Mrs. Hanglow: Or how I learned to stop complaining and finally bought quality

**Disclaimer to my gentleman readers: This is a post about bras and bra shopping. You have been warned.**

Yesterday, for the first time in four years, I went bra shopping and bought a bra that did not have escape hatches. I’d like to say that my motivation for such an endeavor was to look better and feel better about myself, but it wasn’t… well, maybe it was. I am standing up in a wedding next month and I have a great dress to wear and it would be a shame to wear a non-supportive bra with this dress because it would make things just… go… south.

The last time I really went bra shopping, I was not a mother (and certainly not a nursing mother. Just an FYI, I do own nursing bras so technically I have gone bra shopping within the last four years, but you kind of know what I mean…) I used to do all of my shopping at a little store that is known for having lots and lots of Secrets. The biggest secret that I came to find was that most of the consultants there really aren’t that good at bra fittings. Now, I shouldn’t blame the salesgirls, after all, they are only as good as their trainers (hahaha, that could be a pun!) Maybe it’s just the stock offering at this particular store, I don’t know.

I am of the ample chested variety (even without active lobules) and for some reason, most of the bras there are of the “push-up” variety. I am all about lift and separation and for me, having my breasts squished together and placed somewhere under my neck is not the most comfortable. In addition to smooshing together and jamming them under my neck, the bras that were “hand-picked” for me tended to give me the “quad-boob” look. You know what I mean, where the top of the bra cuts diagonally across the flesh of the breast and kind of digs in, making it look like you have four breasts? Lovely, right? So, by the end of my “fitting,” all these years ago, I walk out with a bra I am not 100% in love with and actually kind of hurts me (the underwire would dig into my armpit area. Not fun.) Oh, and did I mention, that it cost me an arm and a leg? Looking back, I really should have said “thanks, but I am not finding anything here,” and walked out, but I was a part of the consumer group that this store heavily markets to and, doggone it, I wanted a bra from there! To me, my other option would have been going to the old-lady department stores and getting fitted there, but who’d want to be seen doing that?!

Fast forward a few years, and I’ve been living in stretchy, comfy nursing bras for a long, long time. The Mister, when we were shopping for this dress for the wedding, even commented how much nicer the dress would look with more… support. OK, OK, I’ll concede, I’ll go shopping. I headed to the mall and avoided she-with-many-secrets and instead swallowed my pride and headed to an old-lady department store for a fitting. (After all, I am over 30 now. Tee Hee!) The saleslady asked my size and I told her a guesstimate and she promptly said, “You are no way in the right size, let’s go measure you.” Oh, was she right. From my guesstimate, actual band size was four inches smaller and the cup was one cup size bigger. (And joy, of joys… I am an “odd” size, so no Target or WalMart bras for me.) I tried on the correct size and, Oh Mercy! The girls were defying gravity!! In that one instant, I looked about ten pounds lighter and I found myself standing with better posture; my shoulders were held back and I didn’t have the hunchback thing going on. Then I looked at the price… and it was no where near what I was expecting and that was a nice surprise!

Let’s take a little break here and talk quality versus quantity or maybe how quality and quantity are related. Many women I know (me included) HATE to spend money on things like bras or shoes or other things that get worn out. Why? Precisely because they are going to get worn out and better to wear out and replace the cheap item than the expensive one, right? Wrong. Remember that you get what you pay for. If you are running out to local discount store every two months to by a new bra at $16 each (which may or may not fit right,) how is that any different than spending $35 on a bra, measured to you and made of better materials, every 6-9 months? Basic fact, cheap items are made of cheap materials and will wear out faster than their more quality made counterparts. Yes, a “specialty” bra (let’s say… for a wedding?) might run you upwards of $70 but for that $70 you are getting a bra that is guaranteed to fit and most importantly stay up and make you look flattering in your dress. How many of us have bought strapless bras off the rack (tee hee, another pun) only to have it fall down the entire night, or dig in to your flesh? I have heard it said that a woman’s wardrobe is only as flattering as the foundation pieces under it and this mama 100% believes that now.

So, I am a proud owner of a new bra and I can’t wait to get some more. I would like to see if I can find at least one nursing bra in my “new” size because I am loving this new figure I am sporting. And if you’ve read this far… enjoy your cookie.
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Do you have any bra-shopping horror stories? Or even bra horror stories? Do share!!

Pax Christi!

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Things I love Thursday: Etsy.com

If you haven’t discovered Etsy.com yet, now’s the time! Etsy is a place to buy and sell all things homemade, handmade and vintage. It’s a great way to support artists, work-at-home parents and people who just like to create things!

I find myself heading to Etsy when looking for gifts, rather than other commercial sites because I like the thought that I am getting something one of a kind.

In the photo below, you can see some of the things that I have found on Etsy in the last year or so:

1. An applique and embroidered birthday shirt for The Bear (she turns 3 this Sunday) from Leah at SewCreativeSTL

2. Reusable Sandwich Bags, Diaper Covers and Baby Hanks from Tiffanie at Diaper Koozie

3. Breastfeeding Bracelet from Shannon at Organic Mama’s

4. Hand-dyed wool brown scapular from Jessamyn at Home Spun Ireland

5. Black Chapel Veil from Rhonda at Lady in Blue Shop

6. “Stellaberry” Cloche from You-Know-Who at The Bear and Dragonfly Hats

Photobucket

Next time you are looking for a gift or something for yourself, head over to Etsy! I’m telling you, you will not be disappointed!

Pax Christi!
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What makes a feminist?

Boy, oh, boy… I am going to miss our paper subscription to the NYT ( but thank goodness I can still find it online!)

Going through this week’s Sunday Styles, there is an article about a French Author, Elisabeth Badinter, and her thesis that the current ‘green’ movement and the ensuing ‘Mommy Wars’ is really an underhanded way to erase the progress of feminism. Her basic thought is that by choosing breastfeeding, cloth diapering, forgoing the epidural, women are being steered back into the home and away from the workplace.

From the article:

In “Le Conflit: la femme et la mère” (“Conflict: The Woman and the Mother”), she contends that the politics of the last 40 years have produced three trends that have affected the concept of motherhood, and, consequently, women’s independence. First is what she sums up as “ecology” and the desire to return to simpler times; second, a behavioral science based on ethology, the study of animal behavior; and last, an “essentialist” feminism, which praises breast-feeding and the experience of natural childbirth, while disparaging drugs and artificial hormones, like epidurals and birth control pills.

All three trends, Ms. Badinter writes, “boast about bringing happiness and wisdom to women, mothers, family, society and all of humankind.” But they also create enormous guilt in a woman who can’t live up to a false ideal. “The specter of the bad mother imposes itself on her even more cruelly insofar as she has unconsciously internalized the ideal of the good mother,” she writes.

(emphasis mine)
If you are on the internet at all, you can recognize the bolded section as what’s more commonly called, the “Mommy Wars.” It seems as if we mommies will war about anything and everything: cloth v. disposable, breast v. bottle, homeschool v. school, circ v. intact and now feminist v. non-feminist? (To me that’s kind of a misnomer, all women at heart are feminists)

Stay with me here. Feminists fought and are still fighting for the rights of women TO MAKE CHOICES. That’s all. Feminists are not telling women, “OK you HAVE to go out and work and shatter the glass ceiling AND raise kids and have an immaculate home.” They are telling us, “You have the choice to do what is best for you and your family, if you choose to have one.” Kind of like how veterans fought and are fighting for our freedom from tyranny, femisists fight for our freedom of lack of choice. (And before you ask, The Caffeinated Catholic Mama is pro-choice: With those choices being life-based: Raise your baby or place your baby up for adoption please! But I digress.)

Personally, I see Ms. Badinter’s thesis as furthering the victimization of women. Instead of sticking to her feminist roots, she is blaming society on making life harder on women. Does cloth diapering take a bit more time and effort? Yup, but guess what? My husband knows how to run the washer as well as I can. Does eating homecooked foods take more time than running through the drive thru? Yup, but thank goodness for my Crock Pot and Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker. Does my husband wish I met him at the door with a dress and pearls on, with a Manhattan and newspaper in hand, ready to speak to him in soft tones while the children play quietly in another room? Probably, but we can all dare to dream. I chose natural birth because I am a control freak and we practice Natural Family Planning for a bunch of reasons, not limited to the fact that I haven’t had a period in 18 months! Yay, ecological breastfeeding! (Yay breastfeeding in general!) I guess what gets me is why we as women allow ourselves to be constantly made victims of this and that. There are times you have to stand up and say, “I chose this life and I have to take the good with the bad!” (Cue “The Facts of Life” theme…) And as an aside, a more equal division on labor helps a ton!

While cruising FaceBook yesterday, I saw how FuzziBuns (FB), a cloth diapering company, was coming under fire for sponsoring “The Feminist Breeder” (TFB) for BlogHer 2010. The comments that followed divided into two groups: women who didn’t 100% agree with TFB’s ideals and therefore were going to no longer buy FB and those who were wondering what the fuss was all about. The most often quoted bit of TFB’s blog that drew the most ire was about The Duggar family, how she doubts Michelle Duggar is raising little feminists:

Q: Where did that crazy name come from?

A: I hard time finding like-minded feminists once I became a mother, and I started to feel like feminism and motherhood may be mutually exclusive. I chose the moniker The Feminist Breeder to prove that even those of us who reproduce can still be concerned feminists.
Q: But wait – I thought feminism meant staying childfree?

A: Don’t be stupid. Where do you think the future feminists will come from if the feminists aren’t breeding them? Do you think Michelle Duggar is reproducing feminists for us? Come on.

If you follow TFB’s blog, you know that she uses humor and is very tongue-in-cheek about things (she also uses some “colorful” language, that I look past!) I can see how that comment might ruffle the feathers of some women, but it’s also TFB’s opinion and she’s entitled to it. I like the Duggar family but I have a hard time seeing Michelle and Jim Bob raising little feminists as well but you never know.

In our house, we make it clear that men and women can do any job they want (except for the Priesthood and, yes, I believe in that as well, but that’s for a later post) and we make it a point to show our daughters that. The Bear goes with Daddy to work and sees that men and women are at the office. Our pediatrician is a woman whereas our family doctor and my OB/GYN are men. We point out men and women doing the same jobs whenever we can.

But feminism is not just about work. It’s about a state of mind. Days when I am having a challenging time with the children are days that I constantly remind myself that this is the life that I chose and to be honest, I wouldn’t change a thing.

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What are your thoughts? Is every woman a feminist at heart? Are we who choose the role of Stay Home mother hurting the vision of female independence? Tell me your thoughts!

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Filed under breastfeeding, Catholic, cloth diapers, eco-friendly, feminism, history, life, mothering

Things I love Thursday: Better Life

I didn’t want to get onto the whole “I love this product” bandwagon, but I just have to in this case. The husband and I made the decision to introduce chores to our almost three year old and since she loves playing in water, we thought that washing the kitchen floor would be a good match. In addition, The Dragonfly is beginning to creep along and the last thing that we want is for little crawling hands to be covered in chemicals. That meant I had to seek out a kid friendly, safe floor cleaner. Thank goodness I live in St. Louis, the home of “Better Life!”

About six months ago, I was at Costco and there was this demonstration for a new cleaning product. With having two little kids in the house, I am always cleaning something up, but as most little kids… there is no distinguishing “floor food” from “table food.” I chatted a bit with Tim (who I found out later was one of the innovators) and walked out of Costco with three new cleaners and a whole new point of view.

Better Life is the brainchild of two St. Louis dads, one a chemist, the other an idealist, who wanted to make household cleaners that were safe for families. Out of that meeting of the minds we get the Better Life line. Made of all natural ingredients (aside from a smidge (10 parts per million) of a synthetic preservative), you could essentially eat these cleaning products, if you were so inclined.

I use the all-purpose cleaner (What-ever!) on all of my household surfaces and I discovered today that it’s a great cloth diaper pre-treater. The floor cleaner (Simply Floored) is strong but gentle. It managed to get the dirt, grime and weird, sticky stuff off my floor with minimal effort. The floor cleaner is ready to go, no bucket needed, just squirt on the floor, clean and go. I use the liquid scrubber (Even the Kitchen Sink) on my kitchen sink and trash can every night after I’ve finished the dishes.

Not only are these products environmentally friendly and family safe but they are also a local company which is an important factor for me. So if you are so inclined, check them out… you can’t go wrong!

Better Life Cleaning Products

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Phantom Baby Cries

I am not convinced that my mind is heading out of town. After a pretty good workout this morning (it wasn’t great because it was not my very missed spinning class) I managed to get the girls home and down for a nap. That meant, shower time for Mama! In peace no less. Right before jumping in, I sneaked a peek at LR and she was snoozing happily. Now, earlier this week, when I hit the shower, I managed to wake her up with the screeching of the curtain on the rail and had to take a crazy fast shower so I could soothe my crying babe. Since that incident, I have been working really hard at making my getting into the shower as steathy as possible.

As I get in and start washing my hair, I hear… cries. Oh, no. I’ve woken the baby, there went my hope for a long, luxurious shower without interruption. Granted, my showers are not that long to begin with but since my hair’s been falling out (postpardum hairloss) it’s taking a little longer because I have to make sure all of the hair is off of me. Gross, but what can you do. I zip through the shower, turn off the water and hear… silence? So, either she woke up, cried and fell back asleep or she never woke up and I imagined the whole thing. Looking at how she was positioned… I believe it was the latter rather than the former.

On that note, everyone have a very happy New Year! I said that I was not going to make any resolutions, but I will resolve to blog a bit more.

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