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Parenting Magazine Moms: Who Are These Women?

I always chuckle when I thumb through most parenting magazines because the kids all look so well groomed and even when they are supposed to look as though they have gotten into a mess, they still have perfect hair and rosy cheeks. I don’t know about your kids, but when my kids get into a mess they usually wind up looking much less presentable.

I never thought about comparing my kids to the kids in parenting magazines because I realize that these kids are usually models. I do like how these magazines usually try to present a broad range of kids of different ethnicities. I have also noticed that whenever parenting magazines use pictures of kids with special needs the next month there is almost always at least one letter from a reader praising the appearance of these kids.

Parenting Magazine Moms

Then again, my kids aren’t reading these magazines. I am. So when I flip through the magazine and see one photo after another of slim, attractive moms wearing makeup and with nary a hair out of place, I start to wonder what impossible standard is being conveyed to moms everywhere, albeit somewhat subliminally. If you don’t believe me, have a look at any parenting magazine. You’ll probably see a model posing with a dot of baking flour on her nose and a cute-yet-exasperated facial expression under the headline “Quick Meals for Moms” or a gorgeous female model nuzzled up to a gorgeous male model under the headline of “Find Time for Romance”.

Real Moms

For the record, when I’m whipping up a quick meal I look more frazzled than cute, and if you snapped a picture of a moment when I’m trying to find time for romance with my husband you would probably get a shot of me glaring at the baby monitor in fear of one of the kids calling out “Mommy!” Don’t even get me started about the models the magazines use for the “Get Back in Shape” specials, because the models they use really don’t need to get “back” into shape if they are already a size zero.

I just wish that once in a while these magazines would feature women who are larger than itty bitty, or feature women with glasses who are not reading, or feature “dads” who did not just step out of a Calvin Klein ad. Really, as parents we have enough to worry about without also being subliminally told that we’re not living up to a nearly impossible standard.

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The “New” Large Family Trend

Recently, I’ve found numerous articles about the new trend – you know, the large family ‘trend’. According to all the statistics, families with more than 2 children are increasing. Most of the articles site the 2004 study where 11 percent of US births in that year were to women who already had three children. This was up from 10 percent in 1995. Large families, it has been suggested, are the new status symbol.

Articles like these make me chuckle because I personally have five children. I am not a status symbol and I did not decide to have my children based upon current norms or because of what other people would think of me. In fact, after I crossed the ‘two child’ threshold, I noticed a distinct change in the attitudes of family and most of my friends when I’d announce subsequent pregnancies. What was I doing?

I love being a mom and I always wanted a big family. I never set out to have five children, it just sort of happened. As I look around me, I notice that yes, there are an ever increasing amount of large families, but most of those families, like ours, are blended families. ‘She’ has children and ‘he’ has children and then ‘they’ have a child of their own. If ‘she’ has two, and ‘he’ has two, that’s four children right there! If ‘they’ have a child together, you have a family with five children.

Parenting a large brood is not for the faint hearted–even if you don’t factor in the obvious worries about the budge and the sheer amount of time and energy it takes to effectively parent a bunch of kids. Since we’ve moved to the southern USA, I don’t notice the distain and negative public sentiment directed towards mothers of large families that I noticed when we lived in the north. On any outing, it was almost a given that someone would approach me and spew some sort of negative comment at me. I actually had one ‘gentleman’ inform me that I needed to find myself a new hobby! I politely informed him that I was very happy with my hobby and saw no need to find a new one. It’s one thing for a journalist to define me as a status symbol. It’s another thing all together to be living that status out in real life. Having said this, would I change a thing about my life if I could do it all over again? Never. I consider myself blessed to be a mother of a large brood.

Are large families the new trend? A new status symbol? I would say no, there’s no ‘new’ trend and I know of no one who is thinking about having a large family because it’s fashionable. Absolutely no one. Instead, I would suggest that large families have never gone away – the media is just behind on the reality curve.

Co-sleeping: Pros and Cons

Co-sleeping. Some parents of babies (and in a few cases, toddlers) swear by it, and others swear to never do it. Whichever side of the fence you sit, it can become a heated topic. Here are some thoughts for and against co-sleeping:

  • babies tend to sleep more soundly when cuddled with a parent
  • breastfeeding is much more convenient
  • additional opportunities for family bonding


  • some believe co-sleeping results in children who cannot self-soothe
  • parents lose privacy and intimacy
  • parents sleep lees soundly because of the fear of rolling over on their child
  • some children are active sleepers, making it difficult for the parents to get a good night’s sleep
  • 75% of all SIDS related deaths are caused by babies sleeping face down on a soft surface (which many adult beds are, especially with the recent trend towards “pillow top” mattresses)

Personally, with our daughter, we started out with her sleeping in a cradle. Eventually she and my wife co-slept while I took refuge in the guest room, mainly due to my wife’s condition post-c-section. Once my wife was able to get herself out of bed and retrieve the baby herself, we transitioned her to her own crib. Now, it is something that happens at 5am when she wakes up and our choices are co-sleep or get up for the day.

Source: ‘Family bed’ has pluses, minuses via

What are your thoughts on co-sleeping? Did you co-sleep with your children? Did breastfeeding play a part in your decision?

You can read more SciFi Dad at Tales From The Dad Side.

Send a little boy his last Christmas Card

An Early Christmas for a Boy with CancerHere’s your opportunity to kick off the holiday season by doing something nice. Even the most time-strapped parents of toddlers can take the time to send a Christmas card to a little boy for what may be his last Christmas.

Five-year-old Noah Biorkman has been battling neuroblastoma cancer for two-and-a-half years. He was diagnosed with Stage IV neuroblastoma in February 2007. It went into remission in August of that year, but returned in September 2008 with legions on Noah’s right arm and leg. After six different clinical trials, the cancer continues to spread.

His family, including his mother Diana Harrison Biorkman, will celebrate Christmas with him early this year – what is likely to be Noah’s last one. Noah loves Christmas cards, so his mom had asked everyone to send him a card.

According to, DJ Ed Carter WKSR in Pulaski, Tennessee, who is an acquaintance of Mrs. Biorkman, has verified the story on the air. You can also read updates on Noah at his section on CarePages. Be warned that his mother’s blog is a definite tearjerker. I’m actually sitting here with tears in my eyes, holding my one-year-old daughter, as I read.

On Thursday, Noah received 416 cards and they continue coming in. The celebration is planned for this weekend. But it’s not too late to send a card with well wishes for this beautiful and brave little boy.

Private thoughts, prayers and well wishes for a “Christmas miracle” won’t hurt either, I’m sure. While Noah sleeps a lot, the medication that keeps the pain at bay does permit him to walk and play, as well. He is filled with wonder at the well wishes he’s receiving and is making the most of his time with his family in the ways only a child can.

About Neuroplastoma

Mrs. Biorkman describes her son’s cancer on the blog: “Neuroblastoma cancer really sucks and is a beast.” Noah’s doctors continue working hard to find a cure for children who relapse, and Mrs. Biorkman hopes the clinical trial’s Noah has taken will help them in their efforts.

Neuroblastoma is a cancerous tumor beginning in the nerve tissues – often in the adrenal glands in the abdomen — of infants and toddlers. About 650 cases of neuroblastoma are detected in the U.S. each year and most are diagnosed in children under 5 years old.

As with most cancers, the prognosis for children with neuroblastoma varies depending on how early it is detected, and how quickly the cancer progresses.

Read more about Neuroblastoma at

Moms Talk: Top Morning Sickness Remedies

Moms Talk: Top Morning Sickness RemediesMany pregnant women know “morning sickness” is a misnomer; nausea can last all day. The good news is it typically ends by the end of the first trimester. Morning sickness is caused by pregnancy hormones wreaking havoc with your system. Some people say morning sickness indicates a healthy pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you should worry if you don’t have any. Every woman – and even every pregnancy — is different.

Babies Online collected the most effective morning sickness remedies posted by our community of readers. The best tip is to remember that all the symptoms of pregnancy will end soon and, when they do, you’ll have a beautiful baby. So on to the recommendations of the Babies Online community.

Morning Sickness Cures

  • Rachel Price Lott – I always had a bad taste in my mouth, so I chewed cinnamon gum and it helped.
  • Kimberly Colombo Mitchell – Don’t jump out of bed! Saltines and ginger ale on the nightstand before you even get up. Don’t brush your tongue when you brush your teeth…gag! Don’t let your stomach get too empty during the day…small snacks.
  • Kristin MacDonald – Stay in bed till the afternoon ha ha. Nothing is helping me.
  • Palesa Chula – I would drink water and have dry toast.
  • Mary Chnapko – Peppermint candies, ginger, and stay away from Kool Aid… too much sugar! Oh, and sourdough pretzels helped a lot too, but there were days nothing helped….. blah
  • Teresa O’Dell – Stepping outside for breath of fresh air always made mine go away
  • Kimberly Stidham Dobbs – Hot Tamales candy and Big Red gum. Those were the only things that would help. I was sick for 4 months for all day long. I was so glad when I discovered these!
  • Kristy Stevens – Keep saltines by the bed and eat one or two before getting up.
  • Jennifer Sanchez – Those motion sickness bands!! They worked wonders for me!
  • Emily Richards – I liked dried ginger.
  • Melissa Ryall Haynie – Ginger candy… spicy hot, but suck on it slowly. Also ginger or peppermint tea… and right now a candy cane sucked on very slowly!
  • Jacquelynne Rose Cook – Strawberries, peppermints and/or ginger ale seemed to help me with mine in all three of my pregnancies.
  • Kristina Davis – Ginger ale, eating a big breakfast before taking my vitamin, and peppermints all helped during this pregnancy – things I wish I knew during my first.
  • Tina Parker – Peppermints
  • Shannon Taylor Katsara – My morning sickness was worse if I didn’t eat so I’d eat something very mild like oatmeal or some tea and toast and I’d feel much better.
  • Bridgette Beaman – Sour candies helped my morning sickness. I ate sour patch kids ALL day with this baby up till week 19.
  • Shanelle Patrice – ginger ale or sleep…
  • Gabrielle Wolf-Stahl – a plain croissant with a hard boiled egg
  • Danielle Williams – The ginger slices in sushi restaurants…I would stockpile them and carry the little cups in my purse.
  • Beth Overla – Saltine crackers before actually getting out of bed. Make sure you have them in your room already!
  • Desiree Olson – Preggy Pops, ginger ale, and ice cream. Not all together, but when one didn’t help the others did.
  • Susan Estep – Preggy pop drops. You can get them in a maternity store. They are awesome! Saltine crackers and Ginger ale work also.
  • Lois Du Preez – Sleep… ginger didn’t do the trick at all. Sleep was the only thing that helped me. But I think if I ate more frequently it would’ve helped a bit.
  • Sarah Mall-Pavich – Punching my husband for doing this to me. HAHA!!!

Our community of readers answers all your baby-related questions! Look for Babies Online’s Question of the Week posted on our Message Boards, Twitter, MySpace and Facebook every Monday!

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