Saturday, June 30, 2012

Attachment Parenting – the long term effects…with a twist.     
I am dedicating this blog-post to three people:  My former step-dad Pete, my dad (who passed this March) and my step-mom Karla.  They are the ones who taught me the true meaning of unconditional love and acceptance.

Many people think that attachment parenting is very specific.  They think that if you don’t ‘follow the rules’ then you aren’t an attachment parent.  At my Parent Group last week I had a mom tell me she wasn’t an attachment parent because she vaccinated and used disposable diapers.  I laughed…out her surprise.  I told her that Attachment Parenting doesn’t come with a set of strict rules and that if you don’t follow all those rules you are NOT an attachment parent.  I asked her if she met her child’s needs to the best of her ability to which she replied ”Absolutely!  Of course I do!”  And then I shocked her by informing her that she was absolutely an attachment parent.  

You see, attachment parenting means one thing and one thing only:  That as a parent, you do your best to meet your child’s needs.  That’s it.  Each child has the same, and different, needs from the other child.  One child may need more snuggle time while the other is great on their own.  But each child needs love, food, safety and guidance.  

As a parent you do your best to meet your child’s needs but what does that mean for the long term?  In short, when you teach your child (by meeting their needs) that you will be there for them, that they can trust you, it lasts and it helps build a strong relationship between you and your child.  It builds a sense of security within your relationship that lasts and helps you get through the tough years – whether they be as toddlers, teens or adults.  Your kids know they can come to you with problems, joys, successes and failures – and be treated with love, respect and open arms.  No judgment, no I told you so’s…just acceptance and an ear, or a shoulder, and if warranted, some parental advice given freely and left for the child to use or not (with no conditions).  I am experiencing this with my teens now – and it is wonderful!

So – what about this twist I mentioned in the title?  Well – it’s a bit of a long story but let’s see if I can keep it short.

When I was young my mother and father divorced.  My mother remarried a couple years later.  All I remember is there was no Pete and then there was Pete.  Pete was awesome!  He was funny, he was smart, and he treated me (and my sister) with love and gentleness.  I felt like I was OK just the way I was with Pete.  Not so with my mother – but that is another blog.  I could wear a dress and be a girly girl, or I could get greasy helping him work on these little VW mini-bus vans he used to work on.  He taught me how to accept people for who they were.  And I remember this from him.  It made an impact – a huge impact - on my life.  He left when I was 7.  I missed him - A Lot.  But, what I took from that was that I could trust him.  With him I always felt like my emotional needs were met.  And I realize I was only 7, but it stuck with me throughout the years.

When I was 17 my mother threw me away to my father and his wife (and her two kids).  Another long story – but suffice it to say it wasn’t supposed to be a good thing for me – it was supposed to teach me a lesson.  However, I thank my mother very much for this because it was an amazing experience for me.  I was able to rebuild a relationship with my dad (who I hadn’t seen since I was 5 yrs old) and build a relationship with my step-mom Karla (now known as Mom).  They treated me as if I was a 17 yr old human who could handle responsibility, make sound decisions, and accept the consequences of those decisions that didn’t work out so well.  They never chastised me, never treated me with anything other than the respect and love they felt I deserved for being a human.  When I made a mistake (and I made a few whoppers!) they never punished me – we simply talked about the situation and how it could have been handled differently. I remember feeling very out of place with that – it was very uncomfortable. I was being taught better communication skills, better ways to look at the world and at other people – to stop judging and criticizing (what I had been raised with).  I was taught by example.  I was loved and accepted for who I was – NOT who they thought I should be or who they wanted me to be.  We had fun!  We laughed!  I got to work in my dads’ shop building tractors and cleaning engines (definitely NOT girly girl activities!).  And when I wanted to be a girly girl Mom had no problem making that happen!  My emotional needs were met in ways I did not understand until I was much older and could look back and recognize just how important it was.  They taught me that I could trust them by guiding me, loving me and accepting me.

So what is the twist?  The twist is that most of my childhood was spent in a family that, though I know they loved me, did not know how to show that love, nor meet my emotional needs.  There were conditions put on love and acceptance - You're pretty, but you're fat;  You will never make a difference in the world, but you can be a good wife; you're not parenting right, but your kids are so well behaved;  it's okay if others are gay, but not if you are; if you don't do it our way you are doing it wrong.   That’s just how they were.  They meant well and I know that.  But, in order to break cycles we need to have some sort of blueprint, some sort of message somewhere.  And I did.  I was lucky!  I had a step-dad who taught me love and acceptance and a dad and step-mom who finished what he started.  

I learned, by looking back at what these people taught me, that I could be the person I wanted to be – not who I was raised to be.  I was able to break cycles, reprogram myself and change the way I was parenting my kids and interacting with others.  I learned to listen to MY gut and parent MY way – and meet my children’s needs to the best of MY ability – regardless of what anyone else thought.  And, while I got a later start on this than I like, and as such my oldest didn’t get to see the major changes I was able to make, my younger boys have certainly reaped the benefits of what I was taught by these 3 people – only two of whom they know.  With my oldest son I bounced back and forth between how I was raised and how I wanted to be (seriously inconsistent parenting).  But for the last 12 yrs, I have been able to simply love my kids, guide them, and do my best to teach them how to communicate better.  But even more importantly, I accept them and love them for who they are – not for who I think they should be.  They trust me – the come to me when they have problems.  And they know that if they have a need – I will be there.  They also know how to build strong, healthy, emotional attachments to other humans.  They are wonderful boys!  All three of them.  

So, when you wonder what attachment parenting is all about remember this:  It really is as simple as meeting a child’s needs to the best of your ability.  And even if you are only in that child’s life for a short time, like my step-dad Pete, it can have far reaching effects.  And if you don’t get to that kid until they are older, it can still have far reaching effects.  You just never know how strong an effect you may have on a child, an adolescent or a teen…  And when you get that child right from birth you have the ability to grow a healthy child who doesn't need reprogramming to learn that they are OK. 

Pete, Dad and Mom (Karla) – thank you for all you gave to me.   

Pete – thank you for being in my life when I was little and for being open to reconnection now.  It means the world to me!   

Dad – though you are no longer with us, thank you for teaching me that I am just fine the way I am and thank you for taking me in when you didn’t have to.   

Mom (Karla) thank you for teaching me that it is OK to be me, for taking me in and loving me like your own kid.   

And to my mother who did the best she could – thank you.  I know you did the best you could with what you had.  Thank you for bringing Pete into my world as a little girl, and thank you for sending me to my Dad and Karla’s when I was a teen. 

And to my boys,  thank you for being such amazing kids!  You are the reason I have worked so hard to reprogram myself...I love you!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A day off…

There are times in my life that I don’t want to think about what I do for a living.  Not that I don’t love it – I do - very passionately in fact.  There is nothing like being able to earn a living helping people, making a difference in their lives and enjoying the hell out of it!  But there are times when I need a break.

For me a break is not getting any calls, not doing anything breastfeeding related (which usually means no bookkeeping or organizing files and such) and not reading my many lactation related e-mail and Facebook lists.  Just taking a break to breathe and relax a bit.

I can focus on my family – like my 15 yr old sleeping at his dads (because I know at 7:30 on a Sunday morning (or any morning of the week right now he IS sleeping), my 17yr old who is actually up at this time every morning chatting away online with his girlfriend – in England (No worries about unexpected grandbabies there!), my 26 yr old who is out on his own, probably sleeping right now but maybe getting up and ready for his daylong church going.  And then there is the wife.  Yes, she too is still sleeping right now.  You see, I tend to sleep in the middle of the bed…sorry honey!  So when I wake up every morning (for no good reason) at 6am, and get up for some super nice quiet time, she gets to sprawl out, which she likes to do.  It's rather cute!
When I have a day I don’t want to be in my business mode, I think about all the things I want or need to do.  Like, vacuum – no that’s the kids’ job.  Ok Laundry – no the wife already did it all.  Ok – dishes…no the kids do those to and what they didn’t do the wife did.  Water the lawn?  No – wife takes care of that too.   Clean the bathrooms?  Damn!  No on that one too – kids clean their own bathroom and the wife took care of ours already too.  Well, it seems that while I was gone most of the week working that job I love so much and having a great time, the family took care of all the things I actually enjoy doing around the house.  (Yes, I know I am weird – I enjoy housecleaning.)  Wait!  What about Dusting?  Makes me sneeze but that one is still left!  Yea!  Ok dusting it is.  That will take me all of 10 minutes.  Sigh…

So what else to think about?  The first thing that pops into my head is of course – business related:  I am finishing up an article, studying up on designing a curriculum for an upcoming webinar and the last time I did a curriculum of any kind was 20+ yrs ago for preschoolers!  I'm just a tad out of practice.  I also need to learn how to DO a webinar!  And for the webinar I need a Power Point presentation - last time I did one of those was 13 yrs ago.  (Good thing my 15 yr old is good at Power Point design!  Help your old lady kid - you need to earn your keep!)  Oh, and don’t forget the continuing education certificates I get to figure out how to do for those who take my webinar.  What a learning curve!  But, wait:  I am trying to think about things unrelated to business.  Next thought?  I need to work on my website – it needs updates.  Bugger!  Ok – try again:  my desk is a mess I could clean it…  Aaarrgghh!  One more time:  Those receipts and invoices need to be entered.  <head-desk!>  Ok – last try:  My coffee cup is only half-full…I need more.  Go get coffee.  

Now that my coffee cup is full maybe I can think straight.  Nope.  I'm gay - don't know how to think straight.  (I know - dumb gay joke...I have many!  Be glad you only got one today!)  There is a Farmer’s Market today…I want to go!  I need to research how to freeze fresh vegetables.  Buy lots of organic veggies and freeze them before they wilt.  And I get to make bread today!  We are down to half a loaf.  I actually LOVE making bread!  Kneading it is therapeutic and it tastes so good when it is done! (ok - and even when it isn't - I have a thing for dough...yummy!)  If I only make two loaves, before they even have cooled, one will be virtually gone in minutes.  The family loves hot fresh bread and devours it!  If I am lucky I’ll get a slice with melted butter on it.   So I usually make a 4-8 loaves – and if we are lucky they will last more than a couple days. What else can I do today?  I know – I have a book I want to read…I can snuggle up on the couch and read…that's nice and relaxing.  Or, I can play a game of Acey Deucey with the wife.  Love that - we play nearly every day! thoughts about work!

So – I have it!  A nice relaxing day…time with the family…no work today.  But I do wonder how my mommies are doing…Maybe I’ll give them a call later and check in…

Monday, June 18, 2012

Is your care provider really breastfeeding friendly?

Now for the Controversial…

There is a lot of talk these days about breastfeeding friendly care providers, who is the best HCP (health care provider) to go to – Dr., Nurse, Midwife, doula, CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor), CLE (Certified Lactation Educator), LLLL (La Leche League Leader), BC (Breastfeeding USA Breastfeeding Counselor), or  IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant)?   How is a mom to know who the best help for her is with that alphabet soup and each of these professionals claiming to be able to help her?  It can be difficult to say the least.  

Many times our care providers mean well, but leave us confused or worse:  Un-helped and possibly harmed.   There is nothing like having your care provider say, “Just hang in there…it will get better!”  And all you want to know is how to make that piranha (who resembles your baby) stop causing you excruciating pain every time they want to eat!

We hear it all the time:  breastfeeding should be easy.  It truly should be ‘Put baby and breast together and let magic happen!’  I often tell moms, ”baby needs to ‘earn his keep’ so let’s see if he can,” while having mom lay back a bit, put baby on her bare chest and let him go find the breast, self-attach and nurse well.  If he does (with no pain to mom) – he has ‘earned his keep’ in that he gets a meal and mom didn’t have to do a thing.  If he doesn’t, I figure out why not.

Sadly, many HCP’s do not have the training they need to handle more complex cases, and rather than refer out immediately they ‘try to help’ (this includes IBCLC's, by the way).  While this is all nice in concept (especially if they are not charging the mom for the services – worse if they are), and the intent may be good and honorable, there absolutely is harm that can happen.  Many moms have stated to me that, while their care provider was very nice, they felt like guinea pigs so that person could learn more and get more experience.  Frankly, in my opinion, that's unethical.  We practitioners should NEVER use our clients as guinea pigs.  We should absolutely recognize when we are out of our area of expertise (or Scope of Practice) and refer out ASAP.  That being said, if there is no one in the area to refer out to (and this absolutely does happen), the care provider should be up front with the mom and state that she is in over her head but, since there is no one else to refer out to she will everything she can to find more information to help.

Far too many times over the years I and other colleagues around the world have been called in as the last resort to fix a train-wreck that could have been avoided if the other care-providers had referred out sooner.  And while we may have gotten very good at cleaning up those kinds of messes - we really don't want to have to do that.  There is nothing like that phone call of, “I’ve seen 2 midwives, 1 doula, 3 nurse practitioners and 4 LC’s already in the last 8 weeks.  If you can’t fix this, I’m done.”  No pressure there!   Many of us (who fix train wrecks for a living now) can spot the problems easily because we have a lot of training that others do not.  This does not make us better – it just makes us differently skilled.  And the others were well intentioned – at least we sure as heck hope so!  However, they really should know when they are in over their head and they should know that there are others out there who can step in and help them help their clients.  But, sadly, for whatever reasons, they don’t refer out and they don't give the client other options.  They just keep 'trying to help' while nothing is getting better and mom and baby suffer.

What is avoided when HCP’s do NOT try to do it all and rather, know their Scope of Practice and when to refer out?  Weeks of stress and frustration of not knowing why things aren’t working, anger, emotional stress, physical stress, pain, postpartum depression, and breastfeeding failure.  And what we all need to know as HCP's is that if we do not refer out to more experienced practitioners in a timely manner (when it is needed) WE can cause breastfeeding to fail – and that is OUR responsibility – not the mothers.  I have seen it far too many times myself personally - being called in to fix a train wreck that is now un-fixable because the other person trying to help did not refer out in a timely manner.  But - because 'they were so nice and did their best to help us!', couples do not seek to hold the other party accountable for their actions (or lack thereof).  And those people continue to inadvertently cause harm to many more mothers and babies.

So what is a mom to do?  First, when looking for Lactation care, start when you are pregnant.  Talk to local lactation professionals, make some calls, ask them about their experience, their education, and get referrals from other moms.  Do you 'click' with them?  Ask how long they have been in practice, do they stay current on new advances in lactation care, will they be available to you 7 days a week or not?   Do they do home visits, what do they charge, what services do they offer after the consult?  Ask your Dr.’s if they are supportive of breastfeeding and what will they do for you if you have breastfeeding challenges?  Ask your midwife, doula, CLC, CLE, LLLL, BC if they offer breastfeeding support and consults, and then question their education, their skills and if their Scope of Practice allows hands on consults (many do not!).  Most midwives, doulas, CLC’s, CLE’s, LLLL’s, and BC’s have perfectly fine basic breastfeeding skills, but many are not IBCLC’s and do not have the advanced training for more complex situations that do arise from time to time (even with natural, easy and home births).  Ask all of these care providers (including the IBCLC) if they have outside referrals for IBCLC’s and if they will refer you out if they cannot ‘fix’ a breastfeeding challenge easily and quickly (like within 1-2 visits).  If not, look for someone else who will.  

A skilled practitioner should be able to help you find the source of the problem in the first, or at least the 2nd, visit and give you a solid care plan on correcting that problem and getting you and baby back to breastfeeding.  If they are still trying to ‘figure it out’, ask for a referral to someone with more expertise.  A good practitioner will have already given you that referral making sure that you know they want the best care for you and right now they are not it – and that is OK.   I’ve been in practice for 17 years now and I consider myself a good practitioner.  I am a highly skilled and educated Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).  But I don’t know it all and I don’t claim to – there is no way I could know it all.  I know where my specialties lie – I know what I don’t know.  I have no problem referring out or consulting with others when needed to assist my clients.  I just cannot do it all and because I can’t, I have a highly skilled team of other care provider’s to back me up and help my clients.  

If you happen to be in the middle of a situation where you are having breastfeeding challenges that have gone on for weeks, you are frustrated and/or confused, your care provider has not given you a solid answer as to what the problem is (many moms find themselves going back week after week to said provider with no resolution) and your care provider has not referred you to someone with more expertise – ask for that referral or start talking to other moms in your community and looking for an IBCLC who can help you.  Don’t wait.  It shouldn’t take weeks of visits to figure out what the problem is and have a care plan to fix it.  It just shouldn’t.   

Trust your gut – if you don’t feel like you are getting appropriate help don’t stay with someone ‘because they are so nice’…Remember:  This is all about You and Your Baby - it isn't about them.  They are not the ones who are important - YOU are.  Ask for referrals and find someone who can help you solve the challenges once and for all and help you find normal breastfeeding once and for all.  It may not be easy, but it is worth it!  

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A couple is a couple...

I saw a lovely couple last night for a consult.  There were many issues they were dealing with - many of them breastfeeding related.  But I am not talking about breastfeeding today.  

So what am I talking about?  The concept of two parents being treated as a unit, which seems to be difficult for far too many people.  Whether those parents are male-female, female-female or male-male, they deserve to be treated as a unit. 

When a mom and her partner come in with a baby needing help, the focus is on her and primarily her alone.  The partner is often ignored - especially, it seems, if the partner is a female.  The question is:  Why?  Every single lesbian couple I have worked with as an IBCLC has had the same problem during their pregnancy, often the birth and then post-partum.  Everything is directed at the mom who birthed the baby.  It's like the partner doesn't exist.   I have spoken with my couples and asked them what they thought the problem was and they don't know either, assuming it's because they are lesbian and the HCP's are uncomfortable or worse:  discriminatory.  

Doing some reflecting on what I have seen and heard over the years, I have to say I think the answer is relatively simple - and sad.   Many HCP's simply have no idea how to treat the lesbian partner - is she an equal, is she like a husband or is she just a friend who came into the room with the 'mom' - who is she?   So, rather than  simply ask, "Who is this person with you? Can I share your personal information with them," they address the visit with the mom who birthed the baby and the partner is ignored.

This in fact happened with my wife and myself.  When I had to be rushed to the hospital last year my wife was really not involved in the conversation or decision making in my care.  She was an emotional mess at the time, granted, but truly she should have been informed about what was happening to me and what needed to happen to me.  And - she wasn't.  Had she been a male (and us a hetero couple) that would not have been the case.  And, we had to be very clear that we were in a domestic partnership (as married as you can get in the state of California if you are LGBT) and that she had full rights legally to make any decisions for me.  Hetero couples are not asked for nor do they feel a need to state they are married.   Had Jo been my husband she would not have been treated that way.  I have an ex-husband and he was never treated or ignored the way my wife was.

So, back to my couple I saw last night.  While trying to get help for their baby and breastfeeding challenges, they were involved in a group setting, with many other Lactation Consultants who were watching a well-known expert evaluate and give suggestions for treatment.   Mom A (the one who birthed the baby) was in on all conversations.  Mom B was ignored.  Per her recounting of the experience no one took her aside to make sure she understood what was happening.  The person who was doing the evaluations did not address her nor include her in the conversation about HER baby.  No one made sure she was part of the conversation.  She felt left out, ignored - and angry.  And rightfully so.   And, while both Mom A and Mom B are the baby's parents, many people assume that the partner who carried and birthed the baby is the Bio-mom (biologically related to the child).  What those LC's may not have realized is that Mom B was the actual Bio-mom.  It was HER harvested and fertilized egg her partner carried and gave birth to.   She was ignored while HER baby was being checked out, handled and evaluated by people she didn't know - and NO ONE is brought her in to the conversation.  Can you imagine how you would feel in that circumstance? 

So what does this all mean?  For HCP's, Lactation Consultants, midwives, doula's etc.,  it means pay attention to how you are treating your lesbian couples.  Do NOT ignore the partner - to do so is disrespectful.  Rather, if you are unfamiliar with working with lesbian couples SAY SO.  It's OK to not know how to work with the LGBT community.  But do us a favor and ask us what we want and need from you. 

And what about us in the LGBT community?   Simple - and not so simple.  Speak UP.  Let your HCP's, Lactation Consultants, midwives, doula's etc. KNOW you exist.  Make it a point to be part of the conversation - even if it means you need to get a bit pushy.  "Hey - I am right here!  This is MY partner and MY baby - talk to me too, please."  Be involved - ask questions.  Don't be afraid to make yourself part of that conversation and don't let anyone push you out of it.  Don't let anyone dismiss your importance.  Because You ARE important!  

If you take anything from this let it be:  A couple is a couple - regardless of what gender the partners are.  They both deserve to be fully involved in matters that concern them as a couple and as parents.  They are equals in that relationship - no one is more important than the other.  And they deserve to be treated with respect, common courtesy and as the important people they are to their family.  Period

Thank you.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Impressed by Mama's...

OK - I lied.  I'll do 2 posts today because this one really struck me as important (and I honestly had to get it out of my head before it drives me nuts!).  

I am not easily impressed - not at all.  You can take me to a 5 Star restaurant and feed me a $100 dinner (per plate) and I'll be thinking, "Well, this is nice.  I don't have to do my own dishes, but I can cook my own Filet Mignon just as well, and make my own sauteed mushrooms or asparagus and make my own nice salad for far less money - and it will be healthier too."  And since I happen to make a great apple pie (and my wife makes to die for Shoo-Fly pie) dessert is covered as well.   I have lots of other examples of how I am not easily impressed, but I'll leave it at the food example.  So what does impress me?  Moms.  

Why do moms impress me you may wonder?  Well for lots of reasons actually.  We grow babies on the inside and we can grow them on the outside (most of us anyway).  Personally I think the fact that we can grow miniature humans is awesome!  The fact that we do it knowing we will be sleep deprived for at least a year or more and that those mini-humans will make us nuts off and on...well that just adds to my being impressed.  

How about the single mom?  Single moms are amazing.  They have everything on their shoulders - no help from a partner - and yet, they still do it.  I have been a single mom - my kids survived.  It wasn't easy.  So all you single moms - keep doing the best you can because I know it isn't easy.  But it can be done.  And don't forget to ask for the help you need.  I know that isn't easy...but do it - because you'll find it when you least expect it - like I have.

How about married moms?  They are also amazing.  They may be at home moms (which society does not appreciate or value - which pisses me off) doing everything in the home - the child rearing, the cooking, the cleaning, the grocery shopping, the bill paying - everything.  And if they are homeschooling moms - well add to the above a ton of extra work educating your kids.  Having also been an at home mom, who also homeschooled, I certainly did NOT sit on my ass (like some people think at home moms do all day) - unless I was teaching someone something or taking a much needed break for 5 minutes until one of my boys had the injury of a lifetime and desperately needed lifesaving help (you know, those splinters in the finger and scrapes on the elbow are so traumatic!).   

How about the married moms who work outside the home?  They have to not only work, and take care of the house, the errands, the bills etc but also have to try to have quality time with their kids after being gone from the 6-10 hours a day 5 days a week.  It's not easy!  How do I know?  Been there done that too.  Sigh.  Working moms are amazing.  They just are.  And they too are sold out by society (which pisses me off).  

What other moms impress me?  Breastfeeding moms.  Moms who have difficulties with breastfeeding and yet hang in there and do what they can to find the right help and make breastfeeding work.  Yeah, I know how that is too because my 2nd son is the reason I am a Lactation Consultant.  (for those details go to my website   It is NOT easy by any means to struggle the way many moms do with breastfeeding.  They get told all sorts of stupid shit from people who should know better and don't.  They are not referred out to quality LC care by their Drs  often enough (if at all).  Rather, they are told to just give a bottle of formula because, you know, it's just as good as breastmilk.  And yet these moms struggle and work and figure it out.  

You know what kind of moms also impress me most in some ways?  The ones who struggle with breastfeeding and yet know when it is time to call it quits.  That is about the hardest thing a mom who desperately wants to breastfeed can do.  No - I didn't do that - I was lucky - my mother told me I could never succeed at breastfeeding and should give up, which made me work even harder just to prove her wrong.  However, if I had to go through what I did with that boy again, I just don't know that I could do it.  I'd like to think I could - but honestly:  It was HELL and frankly, I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.  There is a point in time when it is OK to say "I'm done with this."  We as moms must take into consideration so many things - and I'd rather have a mom who has done everything she could decide that she is done rather than keep going making herself insane and never enjoying her baby and being a mom .  Breastfeeding is great - but sometimes we need to know it's OK to stop.  

And Lesbian moms?   Yes, I am one of these:  Lesbian moms.  Lesbian moms get all kinds of crap from all kinds of people for only one reason:  ignorance.  What the LGBT community go through to have their babies (if they haven't had kids prior to coming out like I did) is nothing short of amazing.  The process of becoming pregnant is not always easy, it can be expensive and can also be a very invasive medical procedure.  It just isn't always a lot of fun.  There are NO accidental pregnancies within a same-sex relationship.  It's just kind of impossible, you know?  We want our babies enough that we will go through these processes to have them.  And yet - society (yeah, them again) judges the same-sex couple or single lesbian mom without any justification - it's all based on ignorance.  And lesbian moms fall into all of the categories I listed above - they truly are no different from any other woman with a child.  They impress me.

And lastly - step-moms.  I really don't know what it is like to be a step-mom.  I should ask my wife about that.  She (knowingly!) entered into a relationship with a single mother with 2 teenage boys at home.   Ok - teenagers can be scary enough as it is with all their hormones, and growth spurts and trying to be an adult while still being a kid.   Coming into a family and finding a place has got to be a challenge.  I salute the step-moms who take on this challenge.  It is not an easy one - and I have a tremendous amount of respect for those of you who take it on.

Mom need to, in my opinion, come together and support each other in where they are at.  Even if they are doing things differently - the at home mom, the single mom, the working mom, the lesbian mom, the moms who breastfeed, the moms who do not (or worse, cannot) breastfeed.  We need to NOT allow society to judge us or tell us what we should and should not be doing.  Why are we allowing society to pit us against each other?  Why do we allow the 'mommy wars' to happen?  I don't get it myself - do you? 

I am impressed by Moms.  We work our asses off - we love our kids.  We do our best.  It's that simple.   Ladies - you are amazing!  And don't you forget it...

I have been wanting to do this for a long time but just haven't managed to for a variety of reasons.  Fact is I love to write - I love to write about stuff that is funny, serious and even controversial.  

In this blog that's what you will get - funny, serious, and even controversial.  So let's start with some funny...

My kids make me laugh - a lot.  My wife makes me laugh - a lot.  In fact there is so much laughter in my family I can't imagine how much happier I could be.  I have a wonderful life - I just do.   Let me share a bit of that life with you...

My kids are random - as in they will walk into the room and say stupid shit (yes I swear) and then walk out leaving Jo and I looking at each other, laughing and shaking our heads, and being so blessed to have this in our lives.  To hear them laugh long and loud while they are messing around on their computers (interrupting our TV time) is a blessing in so many ways.  Hearing them chatting with each other via Skype when they are not together is even better.  They really are nuts...and I love them for that!

My youngest (15) will walk up to me, poke me in the arm then turn around and walk away giggling.  (and then run like hell when I chase after him!)  When he teases Jo he knows damn well he is liable to end up being hung upside down (he is taller than her by 4 inches mind you!) - and yet he teases her anyway.  And he is one of the most empathetic boys I know...he knows when I am happy, or hurting - even if he isn't with me.  And he is always available for hugs...and a random funny face.

My 17 yr old is just...well...weird.  He is a writer, he has this fabulous sense of humor that keeps us giggling, and also has a compassion that would blow your mind.  If I am upset he has no problem giving me hugs, talking with me and making sure I am OK.   He adores Jo - and teases her accordingly.  He is also a fierce protector of equal rights for all, especially the LGBT community.  He has been known to get into very vocal (and loud) debates with those who seek to keep the LGBT community (to which I belong if you hadn't figured that out yet) as second class citizens. I often wonder what he will do with that...

My wife Jo is amazing.  We met 2 yrs ago and it was love at first sight - really - that shit happens!  I was not particularly happy about it at the time because I had zero interest in dating anyone.  But, like I said, she is amazing and well, I love her.   She is my best friend and I cannot imagine spending my life with anyone else but her.  She can actually put up with me which makes her even more amazing in my eyes.  I can be a handful - opinionated, stubborn, emotional and a hell of a tease (yes in all ways!).   I routinely make jokes about her age (she is older than me) and she just glares at me (with a smile!).  I tease her about my having more grey hair than she does - because you know I LOVE my grey hair.  (I do!  Really!)  I play little practical jokes on her...walk by her and poke her in the side, tickle her and make stupid faces at her just so she will laugh and smile (because I love her laughter and that!)  And yet - she takes it all in stride.  When I am being moody or cranky she finds some way to make me laugh getting me out of my moodiness.  Really - she rocks!  

Now, here is some seriousness:  I almost died last year.  I'll share the details later, but suffice it to say I am happy to be on the planet.  When we went through our hell I actually had an out of body experience and made a choice to stay here - I suppose it helped that Jo was holding on to me and telling me to get my ass BACK in my body.   But - it was a conscious choice to LIVE.  And so I am here - living and encouraging others to LIVE - to enjoy the moments they have with their loved ones because it can be taken from you so fast and without notice.  My recovery has been a challenge to say the least - but with the support from friends, family and my wife I am doing well now.  So - take a moment, look at your loved ones and tell them you LOVE them.  Make sure they won't regret it, I promise.

We will get into controversial stuffs next time.  I think I have written enough for today.  What can you expect from this blog?  Open your mind and expect anything and everything...and go ahead and comment if you like.  

Life is good really is.  Sometimes the situation sucks, but really...Life is Good.