Why I Quit the Elf on the Shelf

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Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by Regina….er….Elf on the Shelf.

I know, I know, there’s an entire mob of cookie baking, Christmas caroling, magic making mothers out there who are going to shake their glitter covered fists at me. To you, I offer my deepest admiration. I am not you. I am the mom-friend wearing flip flops and her husband’s oversized t-shirts in the snow as she dashes to the school to drop off a forgotten jacket. Don’t get me wrong, I am capable. Of a good number of things! Just not…this thing.

Like many of you, I came away from my daily perusal of Pinterest, complete with anime heart eyes, at the thought of the magic this elf would help me bring to my children’s Christmas memories. It didn’t take me long to find a used elf to purchase from a fellow mother. Perhaps if I’d had taken just a moment longer, I would have looked into her haunted eyes and seen the warning they held for me. But alas….I tucked that tiny little person under my arm (the elf, not the mom) and gleefully ran back to my van with my treasure.

The first day went well.

And the second.

The third is when it got a little iffy. Our elf forgot to move.

“Mommy! Why didn’t the Lucy move?”

I stood frozen to the spot, eyes wide in terror.

Don’t worry though. I rallied and lied my rear end off. Years of Santa questions had prepared me for just such a moment.

Unfortunately, that was not the last time that blasted elf forgot to move. In fact, it became so commonplace that my kids began to roll their eyes and giggle at her ineptitude each morning.

They may have been snickering at Lucy, but I knew who everyone was really laughing at. I stared into those innocent looking eyes and felt evil in my heart. I swear I saw it smirk.

As the season progressed, I found that my evenings and mornings were filled with an unprecedented amount of dread. I’d watch the clock and burrow into my corner of the couch while our kids slept unawares in their beds. At this point, not moving that infernal creature was a matter of principle. I refused to be ordered around by my naive dreams of Christmas future. But she was always watching.

That elf became a visual reminder of holiday overwhelm.

As mothers, we spend so much time exerting our energy on behalf of our families. We are the makers of memories.

And it was at this point in my life that I QUIT.

I quit letting that doll (who may or may not have ties to the abyss) boss me around.

I quit doing things I hated.

I quit getting so stressed that I was incapable of actually enjoying the holiday.

I quit making it my responsibility to personally craft their childhood memories.

I quit procrastinating.

And most importantly, I quit letting people, social media, and inanimate objects shame me.

May this be the year we take back Christmas from the elves.

And may God bless whomever the poor soul is who picked up our Elf from DI.

Love,

Kasaundra (2).png

Showing Up is Half the Battle

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We know that motherhood is a brave new world. It wasn't until the last few decades that our culture shifted to place the burden of this transition on each individual woman. Alone.

For me, this was the hardest part of becoming a new mom. Being half-Latina meant I was exposed to the other side of things-where the flood of family invades the home, bathes the children, cooks the food, and pampers the new mother. I remember the resentment I felt when I realized that that swarm of loving family was two states away and I would be fending for myself.

With newborn twins. 

That experience and the postpartum experience with my subsequent babies left a dramatic impression on me.

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That's why our tagline is "We bring the village to you." Because when the baby isn't sleeping, your hormones are in a state of flux, and all the laundry is covered in spit up, just showing up is half the battle.

Knowing this, we've worked to create a network of support for our community. Everyone deserves that invading swarm of family. And if you weren't lucky enough to find yourself born into one, allow me to remind you that family can become the people in your day to day life who do the work of showing up for you. 

Below are the list of resources we've gathered for you:

Your Utah Mama Squad Facebook Group

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A complete Events Calendar featuring

  • Monthly Stroller Squad activities in Utah County

  • Monthly Stroller Squad activities in Salt Lake County

  • Monthly New Mama Chat support group in Utah County for pregnant mothers and mothers of babies up to 18 months

  • Mom's Night Out 

  • Playgroups

  • Fundraisers

  • Free & paid classes

  • Events hosted by agency members from their own private businesses

 

We're not there quite yet, but we've also got some exciting projects in the works to bring birth and postpartum support to families who couldn't otherwise afford these services. 

Things have been set in motion and the birth world in Utah is about to get very exciting. We cannot wait to have you join us! 

 

Love,

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9 Birth Books For Your Shelf

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Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth written by Ina May Gaskin

Drawing upon her thirty-plus years of experience, Ina May Gaskin, the nation’s leading midwife, shares the benefits and joys of natural childbirth by showing women how to trust in the ancient wisdom of their bodies for a healthy and fulfilling birthing experience. Based on the female-centered Midwifery Model of Care, Ina May’s Guide to Natural Childbirth gives expectant mothers comprehensive information on everything from the all-important mind-body connection to how to give birth without technological intervention. This book is full of birth stories from mothers. This book takes the fear out of childbirth by restoring women’s faith in their own natural power to give birth with more ease, less pain, and less medical intervention.

 

The Birth Partner written by Penny Simkin

The Birth Partner remains the definitive guide for preparing to help a woman through childbirth and the essential manual to have at hand during the event. This completely updated edition includes thorough information on: Preparing for labor and knowing when it has begun; Normal labor and how to help the woman every step of the way; Epidurals and other medications for labor; Non-drug techniques for easing labor pain; Cesarean birth and complications that may require it; Breastfeeding and newborn care; And much more. For the partner who wishes to be truly helpful in the birthing room, this book is indispensable.

 

 

Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn

written by Penny Simkin

This book covers all aspects of childbearing, from conception through early infancy, and tells you what to expect. It offers detailed information, suggestions on decisions to make, and advice on steps to take to have a safe and satisfying experience.

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Birthing From Within

written by Pam England and Rob Horowitz

Here is a holistic approach to childbirth that examines this profound rite-of-passage not as a medical event but as an act of self-discovery. Exercises and activities such as journal writing, meditation, and painting will help mothers analyze their thoughts and face their fears during pregnancy. For use during birth, the book offers proven techniques for coping with labor pain without drugs, a discussion of the doctor or midwife’s role, and a look at the father’s responsibilities. Childbirth education should also include what to expect a fter the baby is born. Here are baby basics, such as how to bathe a newborn, how to get the little one to sleep, and tips for getting nursing off to a good start. Pregnancy, birth, and postpartum is a process of continuous learning and adjustment; Birthing From Within provides the necessary support and education to make each phase of birthing a rewarding experience.

 

Childbirth Without Fear

written by Grantly Dick-Reed and Ina May Gaskin

In an age where birth has often been overtaken by obstetrics, Dr Dick-Read’s philosophy is still as fresh and relevant as it was when he originally wrote this book. He unpicks every possible root cause of western woman’s fear and anxiety in pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding and does so with overwhelming heart and empathy. Essential reading for all parents-to-be, childbirth educators, midwives and obstetricians!

 

The Official Lamaze Guide

written by Judith Lothian and Charlotte De Vries

The mission of Lamaze International is to promote, support and protect natural, safe, and healthy birth through education and advocacy through the dedicated efforts of professional childbirth educators, providers, and parents.

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The Gift of Giving Life written by Felice Austin, Lani Axman, Heather Farrell, Robyn Allgood, Sheridan Ripley and Lynn Callister

Pregnancy and childbirth are not to be feared; they are divinely appointed processes that can be joyful, spiritual, and bring families closer to God. The Gift of Giving Life: Rediscovering the Divine Nature of Pregnancy and Birth offers something that no other pregnancy book has before–a spiritual look at pregnancy and birth by and for LDS women and other women of faith. Through moving stories women in the scriptures, women from early Latter-day Saint history, and dozens of modern mothers, The Gift of Giving Life assures readers that God cares deeply about the entire procreative process.

 

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding written by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West and Teresa Pitman

Working mothers, stay-at-home moms, single moms, and mothers of multiples will all benefit from the book’s range of nursing advice, stories, and information—from preparing for breastfeeding during pregnancy to feeding cues, from nursing positions to expressing and storing breast milk.

 

Breastfeeding Made Simple written by Nancy Mohrbacher, Kathleen Kendall-Tackett and Jack Newman

is an essential guide to breastfeeding that every new and expectant mom should own-a comprehensive resource that takes the mystery out of basic breastfeeding dynamics. Understanding the seven natural laws of breastfeeding will help you avoid and overcome challenges such as low milk production, breast refusal, weaning difficulties, and every other obstacle that can keep you from enjoying breastfeeding your baby.

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Well that's all, Mama Squad! We hope at least one of these tickled your fancy. Disclaimer, the books listed above are geared more towards unmedicated childbirth. Drop us a line if you find yourself in need of more (or different) recommendations.

Love,

Maura + Kasaundra