I’m smoooooshed today. Underwater. Submerged. Trapped under my orange scarf (see image). Just back from two consecutive conferences and readying to speak at another. And, drumroll……the in-laws show up in 2 days. I’m in that state of near-paralysis-parenting where there is so much to do I feel incapable of completing any of it. Every parent, working or not, has been here. Right? Here’s to hoping I’m not alone… I nodded my head about 12 million times over the last week when other docs I met at the AAP conference talked about the juggle between work and parenting. One pediatrician, Dr Alanna Levine said, “There isn’t an instant of time left unscheduled.” Yes, and today I’m behind on that schedule.
I started sobbing at my computer this morning after our nanny came home to tell me that I had forgotten it was picture day at preschool. Of course, I wasn’t crying about the reality that F went to school in an old T shirt and a cock-a-doodle-doo hair style (he went straight to bed after family swim last night). No, this is not about vanity or being uptight. I was crying because it feels like failure sometimes when you forget details in your parenting life. F couldn’t care less about what shirt he wears for the photo, and I certainly need to think about that, too.
So as I scour the planet for a shovel big enough to dig me out of this hole, I wonder, what would you most like to hear about this week and next?
- Blog post on recent update on recommendations for preventing, treating, and caring for kids with concussion.
- Blog post on a list of recommended booster seats. And the whys in using booster seats.
- Why I hate infant sleep positioners and why I think they put kids at risk for SIDS. Don’t believe the advertising hype that they are good for your baby. Video or blog post.
- The AAP published new recommendations for iron intake in infants and toddlers. Want to hear about it?
Tell me what you want me to write about; vote below. Yes, I’m asking for audience participation. And, ummmm, do you have a sturdy shovel I can borrow, too?
Any of those sound good. I’ve always hated infant sleep positioners too. A friend of mine asked me what I thought about them when she was given a hand-me-down one before her baby was born. I told her and she ended up throwing it away before I left the house.
Marion Gillins says
I am not usually a commenter, but since you asked…
I would like to hear about booster seats and iron the most, but I almost always find your topics useful and thought provoking. Also, and you may have posted about this before I discovered your blog, I would appreciate a post on proper helmet usage (fit, proper placement, when to wear them, etc). It astounds me how few kids wear them, and if they do – wear them improperly. I’d sure like to know if I am doing it the right way, and I hope that it would get other readers thinking about it.
Thanks for this post Mama Doc- Sometimes I wonder how other Moms are doing it all- and it is so nice to know we are not alone! I have recently been at the point of counting minutes after my son goes to bed- how much can I get done between his bedtime and mine… and have recently found myself thinking about plans and check boxes for the next day as I bathe him or rock him at night… and then his little toes remind me to be in the moment. So hard to do when we are smooshed. I don’t have a shovel, but will be happy to join you in this hole for a little while!
Not sure if it makes you feel better, but I picked out a cool shirt and tried to get the nose extra clean for my son’s class photos- and he refused to have his photo taken- scared of the “picture man” I guess. So I laugh- no control!
I really appreciate your insights… and sharing your experiences!
I vote for this post: Why I hate infant sleep positioners and why I think they put kids at risk for SIDS. Don’t believe the advertising hype that they are good for your baby. Video or blog post.
Hang in there Mam Doc!!!!!
oh, doctor…i am home full time and i STILL struggle with scheduling/being too busy. please know that you are just like any other mom…and it is true. F really doesn’t care what shirt he wears. it’ll just be a great photo to look back and smile at. you’re giving your all. that’s all that matters.
so, tell us about the booster stuff. the iron stuff sounds pretty intriguing too.
and don’t be so hard on yourself.
my prescription for YOU:
glass of wine, feet up, and Hulu.
I don’t usually comment either, but I vote for the booster seat information. My daughter is on the small side for her age so it seems like she will have to be in a booster seat for a long time. With grandparents telling us that ‘we didn’t have to use those when you were little,’ it would be helpful to have new information to explain to them the importance of using a booster.
Also, try not to feel too guilty about picture day. It was picture day for my kiddos too. I tried to convince my daughter to wear her adorable new sweater which she refused, while my infant son, also in a cute fall sweater, cried and squirmed through the whole thing. So much for getting a great sibling shot. The lesson I learned is that over-planning is worse than forgetting!
I would read a post on any of the topics as well as one on carseats. I am amazed at how many people turn their kids around before age1 because they are over 20 pounds. And what about the new recommendation that kids stay rear facing until age two. Illinois just made that the law. My son is 21 months only 21 pounds still rear facing and loves it.
Sarah Pulliam says
Hi, I have only read a few postings but will tune in more often. It takes courage to put yourself out there as a real mom. I expect that it would be hard not to feel like you need to come up with all the answers. I would be curious to know about the infant sleep positioners, and also the car seats. Some other ideas: I recently dealt with head lice in a child and received so much conflicting information! Also, I’m paranoid about inadvertently sending nuts to school with one of my kids as I’ve been told one of the classmates has a severe allergy– what’s realistic in terms of preventing accidents with this? But for now, survive the in-law visit! And trust me, whether you forgot picture day or remebered it, what your child will remember about your parenting is more likely to be something you already do without fail, and aren’t even aware of it. Hang in there.
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
Okay, first of all, thanks for contributing, all! I’ll continue to tally votes in hopes that more come in…
Some initial thoughts/ideas
1) Helmets: Marion, look at this: https://www.seattlechildrens.org/pdf/CE222.pdf
2) Kelly, thanks for the comment. While rocking O tonight and singing before bed I was thinking about his toes. And very present. Your comment helped….I will do the positioners (there is a theme in the comments) but I am gonna get a quote from you about the Noggin nest. Heard of them? Grrrr.
3) No wine or Hulu tonight…but maybe tomorrow after clinic.
4) Okay, re: booster seats, I’ll do that one, too! But JEN, look at this post first and let me know what I can clarify. LOTS of answers in the comments section, too
And as to head lice, I’m putting that on my list, too. Was just talking with some other moms/pediatricians about it this week. There is LOTS of conflicting info about lice. Even conflicting info on treatments. And lots more discussion because of the new AAP policy statement this fall that kids don’t need to stay home from school who have lice. You’ve got me convinced. I’ll work on it all. Promise….but still need that shovel, first.
Hmmm. Personally I’m tuning out everything about carseats because we’re keeping our kids in harnessed carseats until they exceed 59 inches or 80lb. They will be the only kids in elementary school in harnessed carseats and they may get teased, but that’s just tough.
I AM interested in the discussion about concussions since my younger child experiences life head first.
I also want to hear about the iron. I am surprised the AAP has to say anything new about iron-deficiency anemia. So many children’s foods are iron-fortified. I thought you’d have to be vegan and eat un-enriched processed grains to be iron-insufficient.
Instead of “either/or” can we have “both/and”? Meaning, it sounds like you have 4 great blog posts there………
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
Yes, MJ, I suppose so. But you’re going to owe me an excavator….:-)
Keiko Koizumi says
I would really appreciate learning more about concussion risks in small children. My partner is still dealing w/symptoms from a concussion sustained on new years from being hit in the head w/a wooden toy from one of our toddler twins! The symptoms have been so severe it put her out of work til September. Our toddler boys are constantly falling and hitting their heads – that’s what toddlers do, I know – but now I worry. Our pediatrician says babies bounce… Hmmm… W/out getting neurotic or overprotective, do we need to watch out for?
Thank you so much! Really appreciate your blog. Taking the boys to their two-yr old check up tomorrow and your post about breaking the code on flu shots was really helpful!
I too am a mother and a pediatrician. For better or worse, I am now a grandmother/pediatrician and have only recently found your blog, as someone in my organization forwarded your post on mandatory immunizations. I empathize with your feelings of being overwhelmed, but can encourage you to keep on keeping on, as your children will appreciate the mom they have, not the mom you think you should be. As my three girls matured, they would actually verbalize what they saw as differences between their friends’ mothers who stayed at home and me. They wouldn’t have changed it since they knew that I treasured every moment with them, even if I did frequently fall asleep in the midst of reading their bedtime book.
A week ago today I started my very first blog–Close to Home–about pediatric health care in southwest Virginia. I am the chair of the department of pediatrics at the very new Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, and by training a pediatric intensivist. My goal is to help people in the community understand what it takes to run and maintain a children’s hospital. The Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital is a ‘hospital within a hospital’ for our inpatient services, and our outpatient general and subspecialty services are literally all over the place. It seems to me there are an unlimited number of topics, as you have mentioned in this post, and clearly your readers want to hear about most of them.
I would appreciate advice from the readers of this blog as to what works and what doesn’t; what kinds of things someone like me, who is now mostly sitting in the administrative seat and only sometimes actually at a child’s bedside, can offer to the community.
So, if your readers could take a look, I would so much appreciate it.
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
Thanks for the ongoing comments, support, and perspectives. And your blog link, Alice….
Nearly done with the sleep positioners post. It is a little of a rant….Will hopefully have that up tonight after I am home from clinic.
And the others will come soon, I hope. Some require a bit more research time!
I’m off to clinic!
Exhaustion makes it hard to see the glass half full perspective, for sure. I do find myself counting down the minutes until bedtime sometimes, and then all I can think of is how many things I can clean, prepare, organize before my own bedtime and there STILL isn’t enough time. I go to bed at 1am and the baby gets me up around 7am, and already it feels the day is behind schedule for breakfast, packing lunches, ets. Every night I swear to myself I am going to get an early bedtime the next night and it never works out. Once in a while I take a step back and sit down and breathe and do nothing useful for a few moments to recharge and re-align.
I think there is a lot of pressure in being a mom these days, not to be too gender biaised but a little. And in my house the dad stays at home but I still think moms get the tougher deal. My mom was super busy and very productive in everything she did, from working to growing her own garden for fresh food to ironing everything she laundered. Yet she never felt she was not good enough in the same way all my peers feel. She also never felt the overwhelming bombardment of media that we have, blogs and journals and news feeds and access to much more online than ever before. I wonder about that a lot. The balance of all this information and the ability to constantly compare ourselves to how others online are doing things a better way, in the end may make it harder for us to just be ourselves and be happy with what we can accomplish not focus as much on what we cannot manage to accomplish. Also drawing boundaries and priorities in how much we serve our \communities\ large and small (friends, family) can play into that. We can give give give and avoid saying no but sometimes being a little more selfish helps protect us without actually hurting anyone else. That is a hard notion to accept, that sometimes we have to make ourself number one. Especially with children. That said, when I do grab those moments I love reading your blog so (no pressure! ha ha) know that all your hard work is very much appreciated.
I’d love to hear about the iron research. I also wonder a lot about palm oil and all those palm derivatives we are seeing in foods, allegedly to replace the bad trans fats. Formula, for example, is unavoidable for us but that stuff is in most of them. I’m not convinced we are making a healthy switch, but maybe you know more research on that topic? I don’t want to trade off the good DHA stuff if I can help it, but then I have to accept the palm olein oil or whatever that stuff is. Thoughts on that? Thank you.
Booster seats, please! We’re moving that direction soon and I’d love to have a shortcut on the research front. Thanks!
thanks for the reminder of that car seat post. I remember reading it now. I will have to post it again for all my friends to see who think I am strange for keeping my son rear facing for so long. Maybe more states will make it a law.
Oh, I have so been there… I actually missed my older daughter’s first preschool program 🙁 I still want to cry when I think about it, but it was a HUGE wake-up call to me about being over-committed and staying supremely organized. Every time now before I take on a new project or volunteer for something new, I stop and think long and hard about it first – I used to say “yes” to everything, and it made me not the best mom or wife. So I un-committed to a lot of things. Because some day, sure, it will be fabulous to be on the boards of nonprofits and chairing committees, but this is the ONLY time I will have these little ones, so that will have to wait. Then for everything else, I live my life like I have Alzheimer’s now – I have redundant calendars with pop-up reminders. Every Monday we have family night and we sit down and go over everyone’s schedules for the whole week. I write notes like crazy. I email myself. Sometimes I call my work late at night and leave myself voicemails.
The thing is, we might not always be the moms who have time to send homemade Halloween treat bags to school, but the gift we are giving our kids by showing them that women can be successful businesswomen AND loving and awesome moms is so much better! Your boys have a wonderful role model, and you should be so proud of yourself. As for blog topics… they all sound great! If I had to pick one, I’d say concussions. And actually closed head injury guidelines in general – they are scary and it’s hard not to rush kids to the ER every time they bonk their heads!
Since we just had a scary head incident in my house I’d love to read about concussions. Thanks!
Amy Duncan says
If you’re still taking votes I would love to hear about booster seats!
(and, sorry to hear you’re buried…good luck getting out form the rubble!)
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
Amy, I am. I’ll work on the booster seat one, yes.
Rubble still around me. Working on it…
I vote for you to write about concussions, but instead of focusing on football as most national coverage has done, I’d like you to focus on young women getting hit on the head.
While doing gymnastics, cheerleading, soccer and dance.
Women and girls don’t always think about concussion the same way that young men do. But I think these young women are getting hit on the head, too and deserve to be reminded how important it is to get watched after a hit.
Many parents of toddlers may think the “wake them up every 1/2 hour” is just pediatrician being evil.. rather than an important preventive step.
Because misery loves company:
I, too, am a mom doc who forgot preschool picture day. She went to school with a purple T shirt covered in yogurt schmear, just high enough near the collar to be recorded for life. In retrospect, I will remember this photo more than any froo-froo picture in a dress. But I felt like a mommy-failure, too. Our whole lives are schmooshed.
At least you make it to family swim night. That’s really wonderful and impressive.
And thank you for the iron information!
I loved your post! Not just because it made me feel like maybe there is hope for me if others feel overwhelmed as well, but because you are succssful, and you still care at how you are doing in the little things with your children. That is what they are going to remember. I always give my son, now eight, a hug and kiss at the time he was born every year. This year I forgot until he came up to me later in the day, and said, “it’s okay you forgot the time I was born mom, i know you are busy mom.” I started to ramble then that I couldn’t have forgotten, and then the tears just started rolling down my face that I really had forgotten. I volunteered to do a graduation party for a friend, and I got so caught in that the time slipped by me. So then, here we are all caught up, and I forgot the most importnat tradition I had with my son. I still wish I could take it back, but he told me, ‘mom i know how much you love me cause of how you cried.” So even when we don’t remember everything, our kids remember how much they are loved. Its not always how we do things, but why we do them. So we had rootbeer floats all together, and vowed to make time just for our family. Pull together as a family, and the pieces seem to make themselves fit.
Family swim night, sounds like you have a great system!
I would love to hear bout booster seats, as safety is a biggy for me. Plus it would save time for mom’s to have some research done on something we all use everyday.
Thanks for pouring your heart out, and showing humility in your own world. That is something I need imitate.
Yes. I feel like that often. I happen to work full time and hate that I have to, but I imagine it’s always a struggle. 🙂
Wendy Sue Swanson, MD says
Thanks, Maryann and Barb. Maryann, your story is a killer but entirely expected in real life commotion. Your miss once may redefine those moments from each year to come as more and more important. Maybe it just illuminated how important sharing that minute was for both of you. I may emulate your tradition. It’s delightful. Thanks for sharing it….
Great idea Maryann! Now if Ewan wasn’t born at 9:26 pm, it might be fun for me to do. 🙂
Wendy – something else… I am actually even in therapy for some of the anxiety I experienced and experience as part of this struggle. I felt like a poor Mama for a while at the beginning, and now I feel like a good Mom. However, I have a 3 day weekend (4, 10 hr workdays.. really 11, 12 with commute), and my first day back to work afterward is a killer for me. It’s always my hardest adjustment because it feels like just when I get the hang of being a good Mommy and keeping the house under control (or really just starting to GET the house under control), I have to go back to work. And I feel like I am no longer doing work as well as I’d like to if I’m going to do it. Adding guilt is the fact that E is an attached baby and really craves that one day that he has with both his Mommy and Daddy home. It kills me that all we have is one. I see him maybe an hour at night during the work week. Thanks for saying all this. It resonates and validates.