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Front Butt w/ Kendall Kotiza Mahoney!

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Totally Mommy Podcast

Episode 29

In this special episode, Elizabeth’s childhood BFF and mom to three darling girls, KENDALL KOTIZA MAHONEY comes on and discusses the Good/Bad/Funny (Visiting Friends! Mommy Network!/ Poop Streaks! Sleep Regression!/ What’s that on your front butt?!) before answering listener questions about sleep training books, babysitting conundrums with sensitive relatives, how to deal with potential infertility, and how to handle a husband’s deployment with three kids to care for. Enjoy!


Elle says:

I have to say, I’m a little disappointed at your response about the 15-year-old babysitter. While I understand your concern, this is obviously a woman who’s given great consideration to the care of her children. She said explicitly that this is a girl who’s taken numerous classes in childcare. Age does not necessarily equal superiority. I’ve encountered this issue myself. Many older women ignore instructions that don’t match up with their own child-raising experiences, believing that they know better than the parents. Your response seemed extremely judgmental to me. You seemed to imply that it would just be better if they didn’t go out at all, which isn’t healthy for a mother of five young children either. She stated that her experiences with this sitter have gone really well so far. You ignored everything she had to say about the girl except for her age. Is that really fair? I don’t think so, not to the mother or the sitter. There’s enough judgement that flies around the parenting community without you criticizing her for finally finding a baby sitter that works for her and her family. You mentioned that you even immediately emailed her about your concerns. Why did you think that was necessary? You’ve said in the past that it bothers you when people question your choices about Teddy. You’re the mother and you believe that you know what’s best for her. I feel like you didn’t offer that same courtesy to this mother. I enjoy Totally Mommy because it usually acts as a nonjudgmental place to discuss the questions and issues surrounding motherhood. This response made me really uncomfortable though.

Jacquie F. says:

“I enjoy Totally Mommy because it usually acts as a nonjudgmental place to discuss the questions and issues surrounding motherhood.”

I think there is a difference between being judgmental and giving your opinion. I don’t think there is anything wrong with Elizabeth and the guests giving their opinions on the questions that are written in, that is kind of the point of the podcast isn’t it?

Elle says:

I absolutely agree that the podcast serves as a place for them to share their opinions. After all, people are writing in to ask Elizabeth questions. However, this response bothered me because she wasn’t offering her opinion on something that the writer was asking. Her response was judging a decision that the writer had made that the writer was not asking for feedback on. I do feel that this crosses the line from opinion to judgement. She explicitly used the word “irresponsible” when describing the writer’s choice. To me, when you call someone irresponsible, you’re judging them and their actions. I don’t feel that it was fair to judge in this case because 1) It wasn’t what the writer was asking about and 2) Because the writer wasn’t asking about that specifically she didn’t include all of the details which may have been relevant to her making that choice in the first place. I’m not trying to be inflammatory and I hope I don’t come across that way. I’m simply pointing out that I think it’s unfair to judge this woman over a decision that wasn’t the focus of the question, nor is it fair to judge someone’s competence on age alone.

Elizabeth says:

Hi Gals~

Elle, I appreciate your take, you are right, I was being judgmental. In this case, however, I stand by it. It would have been irresponsible for me to gloss over that as I feel that leaving a 15 year old child to care for 5 children of those ages is endangering those children. Now, the writer inner has followed up with me and told me that she only leaves them with her for about an hour at a time, and they live in an apartment complex where there are a lot of caring people around for her to go to for help which makes me feel better about the situation, although still not totally comfortable.

Having said that, I will always, ALWAYS voice my opinion if I hear that someone is putting their kids in danger in any way or neglecting them. For example, I’d hate to have read that email and not mentioned how I feel about that and have another listener hear this episode and think to herself, ya know there’s that 15 year old kid down the street who wants to babysit, I haven’t thought it was okay but if this mom of 5 is doing it, then so will I!

Perhaps you disagree with me regarding a 15 year old but you mention that you think someone’s competence should be judged on age alone. Would you feel the same way if she were leaving 5 kids with an 11 year old? To me it is really not that different. A 15 year old is still very much a child. There are just certain instances where age does matter, whether you like it or not. Driving, for one. I personally would never leave my child, let alone five of them, with someone who couldn’t drive. And from personal experience, taking care of a one year old alone is full on – they are all over the place, getting into everything. I myself would probably feel comfortable watching two at a time, max.

I hope you understand why I had to say something. It would have felt irresponsible of me not to. Just as I am with dog rescue, I’d rather risk offending someone or ruffling a few feathers than not say something and risk having a child or dog remain in jeopardy.

Colleen says:

I normally agree with Elizabeth on all the hot button issues that come up on the podcasts because I think people generally take things too seriously or personally , but I must say I agree with Elle on this one. I think that their comments came across the way they did because Elizabeth was talking with her best friend, with whom she is completely on the same wavelength (it really comes through what an awesome, supportive relationship they have), so she felt comfortable to freely voice her opinion without holding back. It’s easy to use strong language when you’re chatting with a good friend that you know agrees with you. I think 15 years old is young, but fully capable of taking care of these kids for a few hours. The writer inner says that these are date nights and bedtime is 7:30. If the parents leave at 6:30, her job could literally be to watch tv/play for an hour and put the kids to bed. As long as she doesn’t have too much responsibility, like cooking/baths/etc, I really think a responsible 15 year old is fully equipped to handle a couple hours. My first babysitting job was when I was 12 years and I sat for a 1, 4, and 6 year old. Looking back, it seems crazy, but at the time I had taken appropriate courses, I had the parents’ number (actually only the phone number of the restaurant they were going to), 911, and for minor questions I always had my mom to call. Plus, the majority of the night, it’s really just house sitting rather than babysitting. I think this mom should trust her instincts and stick with this girl if it feels right.
As for the actual question, I do agree with Elizabeth and Kendall’s advice. Maybe every third or fourth night out, the sister could babysit. Rules are always going to be bent when the parents are out. (That’s why kids love having a babysitter!) I think if the writer-inner weighs the cost-benefit of not trusting the sister with the kids (who supposedly love her), it’s not worth straining a valued family relationship.

JZ says:

Actually in this case, I really do agree with Elizabeth. 5 kids in general with one person is a lot and one 15 year old is super hard. One or two is one thing but 5 under 5 is a lot. Especially for someone who can’t legally drive. I guess maybe if it was only an hour or so it might be ok. But I still think 5 is a lot for one person. Though I really do agree that if the others didn’t follow dietary rules that hurt their health I would have kicked them to the curb.

The thing is with the Aunt, you would be surprised how easy it is for kids to swollow something without you knowing. It will happen to all moms. If it isn’t a quarter, it will be a lego in the nose or a pea in the ear. It’s just sad that it happened on the Aunt’s watch. My mom was extremely watchful and I downed a whole bottle of motion sick pills at 3. And I am one of two, not 5 with an Aunt who doesn’t have kids.

Maybe try the 15 year old and the Aunt together or have Aunt take three and the 15 year old have two. Something like that. Allow the Aunt some alone time with a few at a time to bond one on two or three. It would be less stress on the whole situation. Just a thought.

KD says:

I agree that adoption is more involved and serious than some people realize. It involves mountains of paperwork, rigorous screenings, and (in the case of private domestic adoption and international adoption) tens of thousands of dollars. It can also take several years to be placed with a child. It’s not easy.

I do, with respect, take issue with using the words “meant to be” in adoption. Adoption involves trauma in all cases. If a child is adopted at birth, there is the trauma of being separated from his/her birth mother. Babies know the sound of their mother’s voice because they have heard it for nine months. No matter how wonderful an adoptive family is, the child starts off life with a severing of that strong connection.

There is trauma in adopting older babies, toddlers, and children of all ages. Depending on the circumstances, a child may have had 3 or more caregivers before being adopted (birth mother, nannies at an orphanage, foster parents, etc.). A child may have attached to one or more of them by the time an adoptive family can bring them home. This second separation is also traumatic for a child.

While “meant to be” is a well intentioned phrase, it glosses over the depth of an adoptive child’s loss. If anything is “meant to be”, it’s that a birth mother can love and raise her child. When that is impossible due to any unfortunate circumstance, of course it is WONDERFUL when a loving family adopts a child. But in our home, we say that we wanted a child to love and you needed a family to love and take care of you. That is how our family came to be.

Elizabeth says:

Whoa, that is really eye opening (and heart wrenching!) Thank you for sharing KD – gives a whole new perspective.

Avalia Leyva says:

Your not losing your milk supply. Baby Oprah is going through a growth spurt and your milk supply needs to catch up. She’s feeding more often and waking up to feed to get that extra food her body needs. Your supply and her feedings will soon level out. Make sure your also eating enough calories and staying hydrated. I literary just listened to a podcast on this topic from The Boob Group. All about breastfeeding. You should check them out. Great info.

Elizabeth says:

Ooh, I will check them out – thanks Avalia! ps. great name!

Katie says:

Hi Elizabeth!
In regards to your milk supply; I am a Public Health Nurse who works in a healthy babies children program, we are all trained in the field of breastfeeding and baby care!
I don’t think you are losing your milk supply. A lot of moms feel the same way as you around this time (3-6 months) because of the reasons you were stating: baby feeding more often, not pumping as much etc. In reality your supply is probably fine but because baby Oprah is growth spurting *legit medical term πŸ˜‰ she is ramping up your supply. Pumping is an inefficient method to gauge how much milk you have. Because your supply regulates around 6 weeks, your body stops making an overabundance of milk and just makes what your baby demands, therefore why you aren’t seeing a steady stream of milk come out while you are pumping.
In regards to pumping ; If you are constantly checking the bottle while pumping, stressing that you aren’t getting enough – I guarantee your milk will do a slow drip (which then causes you to stress out more).
While pumping, relax, watch tv, lay back and close your eyes – DON’T think about pumping! Another trick is to pump one breast while baby Oprah is on the other, but she may not be so impressed that a robot is stealing her milk.
Natural ways to boost supply: Fenugreek, blessed thistle (herbal pills you can get at a natural food pantry), oatmeal, quinoa, avocados, milk tea (can be found at a natural food store). The best way is to continue feeding baby Oprah on demand! Fastest way to boost supply – guaranteed.
Re: Sleep regression. Lord help you. I don’t really know the answer to this. My suggestion would be to put her in bed with you and get some rest while she’s nursing until it passes, but this may not work for you. My other suggestion would be to read about some gentle sleep training methods; but these never worked with my daughter who just wanted to be near me 100% of the time. So good luck and I hope it passes soon.
If you want to read more about breastfeeding, supply etc. Check out the BoobGroup podcasts – they are amazing and super informative.
All the best,

Elizabeth says:

Katie! Oh man, this is so great. Thank you for all the suggestions~ you’re definitely right about “checking the levels” last night I pumped while watching TV and got almost twice as much as usual. THANK YOU!

KT says:

This is the writer inner about the endometriosis and the slight touch on adoption. First off I just want to say thank you so much for your advice on the matter. I felt that it was almost therapeutic to write that email to you when I did. Also I feel that we have a lot of opinions that are similar and it really helped me more than you know to hear about that you would feel the same way.
So just a bit of an update. Two weeks ago, I did end up having my surgery. It almost wasn’t a thing because of the craziness of switching insurance and trying to get everything fixed three days before. They did go inside and found two things. On my right tube, they found a cyst which is normal. But on the left side they found the endometriosis and what is known as a rent which kind of is like a hole on the inside of your pelvic cavity. This is usually there when a significant amount of the endo is present. They were able to easily burn this a bit so it would close up. There was another cyst but it was growing where the tube and ovary connect so we are hoping it will just go away on its own.
So overall, my doctor is trying to get me to take a hormone shot known as Lupron. This is something that would send me into a state of menopause for about six months. The idea is that it would keep the endo from growing as quickly because she telling me already that the pain will be back as soon as two years. The only thing with this is that it cause a significant lose in bone density. Plus she wants me to go into menopause at the age of 22!
I’m trying to take your advice and just deal with all of this one day at time. It’s hard, but my current focus is trying to get back to work next week and not thinking so far in the future. Which when Kendall mentioned my boyfriend and I may not be together at that time, I would like to say that in the next few years after we are both out of school we are planning to get married. No harm no foul, she didn’t know πŸ™‚ That’s why with all this fear the thoughts of what he wants and my own indecisiveness about children became a big factor in my fight with endo.
No word on how it is going to affect things just yet. My doctor pretty much said either way have them young. Or more like he told my boyfriend, “have a shotgun wedding in August and get her pregnant my September.” She obviously supports moving forward as soon as possible.
So again thank you so much for your thoughts on the matter. The episode I feel was as fun as ever and I can’t wait to hear more about the cute little baby Oprah!

Elizabeth says:

Wow, thanks so much for the follow up – I really hope that the surgery was the end of your endometriosis, that sounds like way too much to deal with – especially at your age! Please let us know if you do have a shotgun wedding in August! πŸ™‚ Sending you love.

Tess says:

Navy wife from Aus here. Our friends have a “daddy wall” in their house. Somewhere central and the kids pin up little snippets or mementos from their day. Photos or menus or awards theyve won at school. They have left the bluetac out for the kids so they don’t have to make a big deal of it but its good for older kids to recognise they are missing their parent without too much fuss. Its also a wonderful icebreaker and conversation starter for dads return home. All the best!

Elizabeth says:

OMG, I love this!! Such a great idea. Thanks for sharing, Tess!

Steph says:

Writer inner here, I’m a bit late on listening to the podcast. Thanks for answering my question about the military deployment. Tess, I love that idea.

Beth says:

I have gone through a few cycles of this eating more at night and getting less when I pump. My son is now 8 months old and he is hardly eating at daycare (4-8 oz over 8 hours), and is making up for it by nursing at night. Now when I pump (3 times a day @ work) I only get 75% of what I used to since he isn’t sleeping as long and is nursing much more. Just when I think it can’t go on any longer, it changes, HOORAY! He has never been a sleeper and we are slowly getting to nursing twice a night now. Just hang tight and drink plenty of water and make sure to eat enough. I have had to boost my supply a few times (which is bonkers since I had a massive over supply for the first 4 months, mastitis included). I find that drinking Mother’s Milk tea and adding one more pumping session usually does the trick. It is so hard not to stress about supply, I still do since my goal is to let him self-wean whenever he’s ready. Good Luck Mama, you’ve got this!

Mandy says:

Just want to chime in about the milk supply because I went through a similar experience awhile back. It could be your pump. I use amedala hand pump since I only pump once or twice a day to be able to donate milk, and I didn’t realize that the membrane needed to be replaced every so often, and once it got replaced, I went back to pumping out quite a bit of milk . Also, stress can affect how much you pump, so try not to constantly look at the amount you’re pumping out. Lastly, calories and hydration can affect your supply, so try to eat and drink (water) a lot throughout the day. I also personally find that having a beer or two in the evening really helps with maintaining my supply and sanity.

Elizabeth says:

Thanks Mandy! Haha, love the beer suggestion, of course. πŸ™‚

JZ says:

I just wanted to say I am only a few minutes in and you are talking about leaving the Lovey on Baby Ophra’s face. My son, 6 yo, still sleeps with a blanket over his head. You can pull it down as much as you want but it will end up over his head. He has been doing this since he was able to move his arms up to put it there. His daycare had me sign something saying that they would put him down to sleep with the blanket down lower but if he put it over his head in his sleep they were allowed to leave it.

My suggestion is to make sure that all blankets and lovies that are in the crib are thin enough to be able to breath through. My son was a texture kiddo so we have a very soft blanket that is super breathable. As he gets older I am less worried.

Anyway, that’s my suggestion.

Elizabeth says:

Great suggestion – glad to hear we are not alone in this. Thanks JZ!

Meghan says:

I was going to comment on your concerns about milk supply, but Katie already said everything I was going to say. πŸ™‚

Regarding sleep regressions, here’s a link that I found very helpful:

To the writer-inner wondering about sleep training books, I highly recommend this baby sleep blog:

It’s basically the info from the top baby sleep books, but distilled into a form that’s understandable by very tired new parents. I fully credit this site with empowering us to get my daughter (now 11 months) into a great sleep place. And we never had to do any sort of extreme CIO, which was awesome.

Allison says:

LOVED this episode! Just want to comment on the 15 year old comment. I think one of the most important things is what Kendall said that the babysitter can’t drive! I was never allowed to babysit before I could drive because if heaven forbid there was an emergency you have to be able to get in a car and act.
Love you guys!

Valerie says:

I want to comment on the discussion about the lady and her youthful babysitter. This is a little off topic, but a quick opinion about emergencies. Please everyone call an ambulance or emergency professional in case of an emergency. They are trained to care for people on site and also on the ride over. It may be faster to drive someone yourself. However, if the situation were to escalate on the way you are not in a position, and probably not trained to treat the person. It would also be very hard to focus on driving safely when someone is in an emergent situation in your car, especially if that someone is a small child. It makes me so worried to think that people are driving in those situations. If you think it is an emergency call. The operator will be able to help you decide if it is an emergency, and what help you need.

Sorry for a bit of soapboxing.

The show is great!

katie says:

Liz- the worst thing you can do is stress about your milk supply. just like getting pregnant, it only makes it harder to do what you want. when my son was 6 weeks old and I went back to work, he started sleeping 7pm-6am thru the night.thats 3 feedings he was skipping every 24 hours. there’s no reason I shouldve expected my body to still keep up only half the day. I was able to get by supplementing with formula once a day until he was 4 months old. he started with cereal then, and by 5 months, I waS barely able to pump 4 oz in a whole day even on herbal supplements with eating the right foods. he’s 11 months now and still sleeping thru the night with one bottle a day right b4 bed. Its formula, but I’m no longer stressed over him not getting enough to eat. we did what we could and when It didn’t work anymore we did something else. the sleep is great tho, I’m not sure how I’d function if I were still feeding 3 times a night. hang in there! you’re doing great!

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