Fresh Air

The exhilarating feeling of getting fresh air on a perfect fall-ish day is something I always forget how much I love until I get the opportunity to do it. Sometimes, I even have to be forced into it by what could be seen as an unfortunate turn of events…

Saturday, I decided to spend the majority of the day outside with the kids.  It was gorgeous.  We took a long walk/run throughout the neighborhood.  Levi asked, “Do you think Aiden (our neighbor who we’ve only seen once) wants to come out and play?”

Usually, I would say, “He’s probably busy, bud.”  But that day, the fresh air must have gone to my head.  “Let’s knock on his door and find out!”  After all, that’s how I made friends when I was a kid.

We knocked on the door and his grandma answered.  They already had plans and were about to head out for the day, but she encouraged us to try back tomorrow.  I promised we would.  Success, just delayed a bit.

On the walk back, we decided to take the long route, down the back gravel roads.  Levi asked lots of good questions about the trees, the holes that (hopefully) were bunny burrows, and imagined some rocks were dinosaur fossils from a T-Rex who used to roam in our area long ago.

When we arrived back home, off to the trampoline we went.

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Then, to the swing set.  Then, the kids got some ice pops and rode around in Levi’s little Jeep.

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Idyllic is certainly a word that comes to mind.  When I envisioned having kids, this was the dream.  A blue house on a cul-de-sac.  Riding bikes, taking walks, swinging and ice-pops.  Watching my studly husband fix things outdoors with his muscles shining in the sun.

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You know what I didn’t dream of?  Realizing I had lost my keys somewhere on that long, long walk and having to retrace my steps 2.5 miles to try to find them, only to come home and find them wedged under the sun-visor of the stroller.

Still, I had had such a good day that I managed to laugh at myself and carry on.  I think the universe knew I needed more fresh air and had to force me into it 😉 For dinner, we went out for pizza and got the kids some ice cream. After all, we burned a lot of calories with our accidental adventure!

Despite my absent-mindedness, Saturday was a blazing success, and a nice reminder to enjoy the weekend, and ignore the chores sometimes.  They can wait, and they won’t mind.  But my kids can’t, and they do. Three cheers for the power of fresh air! Go get yourself some!

What are your favorite fall fresh-air activities to do with the family? We want to hear all about it!

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, closeupMargo is a financial advisor back in school again and a married mom of 2 in Maryland.

 

There’s wine in my soup

Those of you following us on Instagram may have seen this mouthwatering photo of our homemade Chianti Minestrone pop up on your feed for #winewednesday this week.

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We got a lot of interest about what’s cooking in our kitchen, and we were asked by a reader (and high school friend! what, what!) to post the recipe. So, without mincing words (see what I did there?) I’ll get straight to the point. Here’s how to make the magic happen.

Homemade Chianti Minestrone with Spicy Italian Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 1 28 oz. chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced into half moons
  • 1 lb hot Italian turkey sausage
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced into half moons
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup of fresh basil, chopped (reserve a few leaves for garnish)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 32 oz. vegetable broth
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1/2 cup good Chianti (optional)
  • 1/2 water (as needed)
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese (for topping)

To Make:

  1. Coat the bottom of a large soup pot generously with olive oil. Add sausage, onion, and garlic and cook over medium-high heat until sausage is cooked through, and the garlic and onion are fragrant but not blackened. Crumble sausage as much as possible.
  2. Reduce to medium heat and add carrots, cook 3-5 minutes more or until slightly tender.
  3. Add zucchini and squash and saute until tender, another 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for another 30 minutes or so.
  5. Add pasta, beans, spinach, and herbs and return to a boil. Cook for 5-10 minutes and reduce heat to low simmer.
  6. Finish by adding 1/2 cup of good Chianti, and salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes I’ll add an extra 1/2c. of water or so too, depending on how much broth has reduced.

That’s it! You’re done. If you want to go crazy and make homemade bread too, this soup goes fantastically well with my homemade herbed bread, and you can find that recipe here. This makes a LOT of soup and typically feeds us for a couple of meals. I add a bit of water to thin the broth when I reheat it, but it keeps very well in the fridge for a number of days.

Bon Appetit and happy fall soup-ing! (And wining, if you’re so inclined.) Cheers!

fullsizeoutput_658Christiana is a Navy wife and mother of 3 children, attorney and former realtor, world traveler, home renovator and decorator, yogi, fitness enthusiast, and recipe & wine explorer.

Photo credit: Tara Liebeck Photography

 

 

The Hope Beyond Fad Diet Fallout

In my world of fitness, there is ALOT of talk about nutrition and food. Different diets produce different results for all different types of folks. It is so easy to get confused, or feel exhausted from experimenting with diets and seeing too many changes, or worse yet, none at all. Not to mention the mess of not knowing which one to choose.

In a recent bout of frustration about my own current weight management struggle, I made a toddler tantrum sized putting-my-foot-down decision that I would become vegan.

“I need to get this bloat off me, so I’ll eat nothing but veggie broth and water until I am thin again.” ( Don’t worry, my vegan loves, I do not think this is anything like what veganism entails, this is just what my brain told me in this moment…I digress)maxresdefault (1)

<Pause for self-judgement break> Yeah, because THAT mentality towards food always works, right? Give me a break!

So, in this new state of delusional determination, I opened all my food delivery apps to change dietary settings to vegetarian/ vegan options. Instead of the settings button, an article popped up on my screen. As a new feature in the app, I had not seen links or advertisements like this before. This is where the universe kicked in with a nudge in a better direction with this article:

The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating  

Saying to my husband with intrigue, “Hey, I am intuitive. Maybe this is an answer to my weight struggles?” I read the article. I read it about six times.

I know most of us, if not all of us, can say we’ve said and heard the same old song and dance. “I’ve tried (insert whatever diet here), and it either didn’t work, or it worked for awhile until it didn’t anymore”

Loads of experts tell us that it is not in what diet we follow, it is about a whole LIFESTYLE change. But, honestly, how intimidating is that to hear?

Great, you’re telling me that I have to change the way I live my whole life?

Yes you do. We all do. And it sucks at first. I have tried pescatarianism, being almost fully paleo, taco-bellianism (JK, but I love you crunchwrap), and intermittent fasting, all with varying results. Whether it was lower cholesterol, higher body fat, more lean muscle mass, or better skin, each “diet” came with it’s positives and negatives. I adhered more to some and less to others. I performed better, looked better, and had more ego based outlooks about my body. In reflection, however, the only one true end product was always the same.

Food decisions were controlling my relationship to food itself.

So in this particular “diving head first into lifestyle change” moment, I was stopped abruptly by this concept. It occurred to me that I can change my thoughts about my body, and in a huge way. Not what, when or, how I eat, but how it FEELS to eat.  Not only will this help it change, but through mindfulness, I am also giving myself the power to heal my relationship to food. 

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Before I go further to explain the concepts, I want to point out that this “feeling” towards food is NOT EGO BASED. In other words, we are not eating just cookies because it “feels so good”. Honestly? Intuitive eating allows us to sit in stillness and ask ourselves, how will I really feel after I eat this food item? What will my body feel like? Will shame or guilt set in after the food is gone? Will my body feel nourished, alive, and taken care of?

In other words, we do not let the mind and addictions to sugar, chemical preservatives, and cravings take over. We sit with ourselves and look within, asking the mind and body to connect and be honest. If that seems impossible, please, give it a chance and let me sum up conceptually from the article referenced above to shed more light.

  1. Reject Diet Mentality: We covered this above. Lose the idea that you have to label yourself one thing in order to meet your weight goals.
  2. Honor Your Hunger: What did you just say to me? You mean to tell me that I should eat when I’m hungry and not fast and kickstart my metabolism with 17 protein shakes and a lemon water every five seconds? No dude. No. When your mind gives you the signal that you’re hungry. Just eat. Period.images (1).png
  3. Make Peace With Food: (this is a big one so I will quote it) “Give yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you tell yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have a particular food, it can lead to intense feelings of deprivation that build into uncontrollable cravings and, often, bingeing. When you finally “give-in” to your forbidden food, eating will be experienced with such intensity, it usually results in Last Supper overeating, and overwhelming guilt.” Bam….you’re free.
  4. Challenge the Food Police: Resist the urge to praise or judge yourself for the things you eat. Constantly feeling like “I ruined my good day with one chocolate cake bite” or “I was AWESOME today because I only had 1200 calories” is blocking you. It’s difficult, I know, to let this concept go as it is ingrained in our ego. So, if you won’t resist your self critic, then treat yourself like you would treat your best friend.
  5. Respect Your Fullness: Take five when your plate is half gone, and check in with your body. Do you feel as though it needs the rest? Are you going to clear your plate because of other reasons? My particular downfall is seeing the money wasted by wasting food. So I used to eat everything on my plate, leaving me uncomfortably full. There are ALWAYS leftovers, doggy bags, or in our family’s case, chickens to be fed.images (9)
  6. Discover the Satisfaction Factor: What a gift! You mean to tell me that I can find pleasure and satisfaction with eating? Yes! When we are not pressuring ourselves with the obsession over a body type, food can become an exhilarating dance between palate and plate. Discover that eating what you want in a headspace that isn’t deprecating can satiate more than just your appetite!
  7. Honor Your Feelings Without Using Food: I do realize that this one can be a sensitive topic. Eating your feelings, however, 100% of the time fails to make you truly feel better. So, learn ways that work for you to honor and heal your states of mind and heart without involving food. This will lead to a healthier relationship to food, and avoid the numbing we tend to do with the big emotions we can feel.
  8. Respect Your Body: Going through some inspirational memes the other day, I found this one:11755248_929402183794248_4932479781640736249_nThis was a game changer for me mentally. This whole time, I have been treating my body like it doesn’t exist as an entity. Like it is a stranger to me. Being hypercritical, wanting this part to change, or that to grow, or this to shrink. Would you talk that way to your best friend? No, odds are, they are beautiful in your eyes. So, let your body be your best friend. Choose to honor it, trusting it will help you feel better about exactly who you are.
  9. Exercise–Feel the Difference: Reject the exercising to lose weight mentality. Just exercise to feel your body move. Counting calories or making sure you exercise to burn the most calories puts you right back into that place. If we can focus on the JOY of moving your body, and what your body may be asking for that particular day, then we can learn to feel the everyday needs of our body. In that, we become more mindful and more apt to want to exercise.
  10. Honor Your Health: In each day, ask yourself what foods makes you feel healthy? Be gentle with yourself if that choice in one day does not meet ridiculous “dietary standards”. The point of this step is that one snack, in one day, isn’t going to make or break the rest of your life. Take one day at a time, and honor the consistent progress of your work.

So what is the difference between “Fad Dieting” and Intuitive lifestyle changes? Well, in my opinion, it is all in how you FEEL. Fad Dieting will create quick fixes that may or may not have results. Those that do have results, find that they either fade away, or that they are unsustainable, leaving an individual with negative and discouraging feelings towards their work and their body image. Rinse with new diet, and repeat.

If you have found something, a food relationship, that helps you intuit your connectivity to yourself, both physically and emotionally, then you have your keeper. Some examples out there include the Whole30, which places emphasis on “resetting your health, habits, and relationship with food.”

The authors of the article that I reference, Intuitive Eating, have created a very easy way to dive into this level of mindful eating with this workbook.

I will leave you all today with this (pictured below). Keep it in mind, and practice it with an open heart and mind.

Bon Appétit

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IMG_6228.jpgKristy is a Professional Birth Doula, Certified Massage Therapist, energy worker and mom of 2 in Virginia.

It’s OK to Be Tired

Happy Monday, everyone!

While I write this in hopes that you had a super restful weekend with your family, I know the reality is likely that that wasn’t the case.  For most adults, especially those with children, the weekend is spent catching up on adult-y things like laundry, housework, yardwork, and even potentially work-work and school-work.

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Additionally, we all want to spend the time soaking in the wonderful little creatures who are our beloved children, because most of the time, whether you work outside of the home or not, the week is not full of cuddles and lovey time.  It’s full of errands, school, homework, cooking and transporting these little humans to various activities.

So, today I’d like to focus on an important topic – Sleep.  I have noticed lately that some of us wear this ridiculous mask, like a badge of honor.  The mask is: “I’m not tired.  I’ve got this totally under control.  I’m super happy and can handle it all.”

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The mask has virtually no purpose at all.  Saying these things and pretending they are true doesn’t make them true.  Most importantly, pretending we are well-rested doesn’t make us well-rested.

Sometimes, you need to give your to-do list a rest and TAKE. A. NAP.  I did this yesterday.  I spent the morning tidying up, after spending Saturday catching up on work and studying a bit with the kids in my lap.  Then, my dear husband spent some quality time with the kids while I snoozed on the sofa for a bit.

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And, I’m here to tell you I’m not ashamed!  I needed a nap.  I needed to recharge.  Yes, I had other things to do, but the world isn’t going to end because I took a little hour and a half break.

It doesn’t make me weak.  It makes me normal.  So, take that nap, my friends.  Recharge your body and your spirit.  Your to-do list can always wait another day.

I’m officially giving you the permission you should be giving yourself!!

Wishing you lots of good rest and snuggles,

Margo

A Modern Day Village: The Birth Worker’s Inspiration

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I recently had a conversation with a client who is about to be a first time Grandmother. As I listened to her speak about her worries about her daughter’s upcoming birth, her struggles during pregnancies with depression and Hyperemesis Gravidarium, I was completely struck by the feeling of isolation that she was describing in her daughter. She is the only one of her friends pregnant, and although she does have a Fiance, he is  not operating on the helpful wavelength that she needs.

Immediately, my head swirled with questions to find out more.

“Who did this new soon-to-be-mama have to ask questions to other than the doctor she sees once a month?

Why is no one there for her other than her mother? Is the doctor leading her to support groups, mothering circles, moms with prenatal or postpartum depression? What will she do when she actually HAS the baby? If she’s struggling with depression now, who will watch out for the signs/symptoms of it in the postpartum months? Who will help this woman!!!!!!!??????”

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A little voice in my heart spoke up right then.

You, silly. You’re a birth doula. You have all she needs. Help her.

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Almost moved to tears, the words fell out of my mouth reflexively. “I remember those feelings all too well in both of my pregnancies,” I said sympathetically. “It sounds like she could use a birth and postpartum doula.”

The only difference between this mama and me when I was going through those same terrible feelings while pregnant was, I wasn’t actually alone. I had my doula there one phone call away at any moment. I had the cohesion of care between my amazing midwives, my doulas, myself, and my team. I had created my village.

After explaining what a doula is and does to her, (if you still want to know what that is, reference my Demystifying Doulas post here) it occurred to me that in some cases, women have no idea of the need for a village.

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Photo Cred Doulamatch.net

Back in the day, we lived in literal villages that would commune together for the birth of a new village member, and either call the midwife or have one on hand. 9 times out of 10, the birthing mother had a sister, mother, friend, neighbor, SOMEONE, with her until the midwife could arrive to her. Thus, the doula is born. Even female elephants know the importance of gathering around to form an impenetrable barrier of support for the birthing mother. I frickin’ love elephants.

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While modern-day women and birthing communities are certainly bringing doulas back, there is still too large a proportion of women who go unsupported during the pregnancy, birthing, and postpartum process. Why, you ask? Mostly because, they do not know we exist. It is the lack of conversation, or the lack of clarity on our exact role, that I sadly have to believe is one of the main reasons that birth has the potential to be such a traumatic experience for some women.  Having the guidance of your doula to shepherd you into the parenting life with grace, provide you with materials to support you every step of the way, can provide you with your lifeline if when you need it.

A glorious benefit in making the choice to hire a doula is that he/she may in turn lead you to your permanent, modern village.

Truth is, the years of preconception, pregnancy, transitioning to becoming a mother of one, two, three, multiples, etc., can come with many mixed emotions. No matter what your situation turns out to be when you find out you are pregnant, the feeling of isolation can be sudden and agonizing. When hiring a doula, you’re not only receiving the personal care of a hands-on teammate in your birthing journey, you are also DSC01327choosing an expert in community, local resources, birth education, knowledge of primary care givers specific work, and access to birth related evidence, articles, and, yes, even a postpartum sounding board. The doula will, in essence, be your trail guide for navigating the rough and unknown waters of this new chapter.

It is time, now, that we stop isolating ourselves as mothers. Let’s remind our world that we have been supporting each other proudly and strongly for…well…since the dawn of humankind. We do not need to do it alone. It may feel too daunting a task going to these mothering circles full of strangers, organizing birth class dinners at your house, or even seeing a therapist to get the necessary prescriptions to aid you. What if, in lieu of uncertainty of the support you need, you could Call. Your. Doula.

We can support this adventure every step of the way. We are here, so that you can be here and present through the whole process.

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Now that I have you convinced of the awesomeness of unconditional education and no-judgement support during your birthing years, let me illuminate the steps necessary to finding your perfect doula.

  1. Ask a friend: Ask around for a connection or connect with the doulas in your area by using the ultimate doula search engine: Doula Match  
  2. Interview a few: Find the right candidate by sitting in the energy of several different people.  Remember, you are hiring for a job, so the right fit is important. Birth is a vulnerable experience, so pick someone who will make you feel completely safe, who makes you feel confident, and someone by whom you and your birth partner feel empowered.
  3. Ask all the questions: Make sure you understand their vision of care, fees, and schedule and those align with what you had in mind for your birth vision. After all, it is your birth, the team you hire should complement it in every way with encouragement and advice that makes you feel informed. Do you want a doula just for prenatal education and birth? Do you know you’ll need postpartum care? Do you even know what that means? Does this person have the resources for all of that?
  4. Contract: You should always enter into a contract with your doula. That way there is an expectation of care that is agreed upon by all parties. This agreement is key, as mentioned above, it will be the catalyst for your new life as a mother.
  5. Get excited: Your doula should help you feel connected to birth classes, books, and other materials to prepare you for your upcoming experiences and all outcomes!

We all need the help. It is up to us to choose, in this modern world, just what our helping hand will look like. Most of us consider this calling a service to womankind alike. I am here to let you know it’s out there. I am writing to speak aloud that we are everywhere. We are your friends, neighbors, sisters, mothers, co-workers and colleagues, gym members, professionals, and tradeswomen.nature.jpg

We are your village, and we are here for you.

Kristy is a doula, massage therapist, energy worker and mom of 2 in Virginia.

 

Zen As A Mother: Kristy’s Simple Guide to Creating Your At Home Zen Space

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Oh, there you are!

Now that school is back in session, I have found gratitude in some straight up sol-i-tude. Know what I’m sayin’? Rather than spending this time binge watching “This is Us” (no judgement if that is how you relax) or adding on work hours that would leave me depleted when the kids got home, I’ve decided to dedicate this time where I am transitioning in so many ways to starting each day with some zen time.

This has always been a hard concept for me, because my house has never felt…well….zen-able. I have struggled with the ability to turn off my anxiety in order to sit peacefully without the checklist of things that I have to get done before I turn my “mom” back on. I realize now, that that notion is no longer working for me.

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So, I put on my Namaste big girl pants and tackled a space in my house that has been many things. A guest room, a Massage Room, the room where I kept all my LulaRoe clothing inventory (yes I did do that for a time) and now, I have transformed it into a loving and welcoming environment for all those family members who wish to find peace with meditation.

SOOOOOOO, without further Ado, I give you my guide to making your seemingly impossible chaotic space….zenified.

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  1. Find a subtle corner: It doesn’t have to be an elaborate room or even a huge space, if you feel at peace in a corner of your bathroom with Cindy Lauper blaring, do that.
  2. Declutter your space; Declutter your mind: Make sure you vacuum, sweep, remove any trash or clutter items, so that energy can flow nicely and there are less distractions in your space. In the Ultimate Beginners Guide to Feng Shui, (Feng Shui being an ancient Chinese version of creating harmony in your living or working space) “In a clear and organized space, energy can flow freely and feelings of guilt and unrest might vanish too.” I know that clutter makes me feel irritated and judegmental of myself and my surroundings, and disorganization of my space adds to my anxiety and scatter-brained moments. So, clear answer is a clear space leads to a clear mind.
  3. Meaningful Decorating: For me, it is super important to feel inspired by the art that surrounds me. Whether it invokes a sense of peace, a pleasant memory, or makes me feel cloaked in the guidance of a loved one who has passed, each piece in my zen space has meaning. My personal space has some living energy in the plants that remind me of divine guidance and the readiness of life to bloom at any moment.
  4. Sacred clearing: Not only do we declutter our space of “things”, we must also declutter our space of energy. If you haven’t heard of smudgingimg_0031 with sacred sage before, now is the time to jump on that train. It can be a smudge stick, or it can come in spray form, but the idea is the same. According to Jane Alexander in her article Smudging, “It [smudging] is the equivalent of spiritual spring cleaning.” There is a ton of information out there about the origins of this practice, but for our purposes here, I will explain my intentions. Sacred sage, for me, allows any energy that will influence my mediation practice to be cleared. I believe the smoke from burning the smudge stick will attach to the energies. So, I fill the room, open all the windows, and blow the energy out to the earth. This way, I am clear of any influences or energies that are not my own.
  5. Sound Elements: Sound therapy is always a plus for keeping energy flowing and clear as it is moving through your space. In this amazing book, How to Heal with Singing Bowls, Suren Shrethsa explains that “clients have experienced a wide array of benefits from deep stress relief and relaxation, to a reduction in chronic pain.” One can also use music of all kinds, guided meditation tapes, or water elements such as this fountain for the sound therapy as well.
  6. Get Cozy: In my zen space, I use a sham pillow that’s cushy and cozy to sit on. You, however, may choose to lay, sit in a meditation chair, stand, or even do yoga. The choice is yours, just get comfy so your body can fully relax.
  7. Set up your Altar: There are a million ways to set up your altar space. Setting up an altar with statues, figures, photos, intention candles, or relics that pay homage to your higher power, can help ground your reflections and connect you to that source you find most comforting. It does not have to be about an organized religion, but just think about what makes you feel unconditional love, and place your reminders on your altar. Mine has a heart that reminds me of the sacred union between my heart and the universe, and a mantra that reminds me to light my soul’s fire and be fearless in that. I also love to remember that the world is full of magic, so I am inspired by peacock feathers and a fairy next to my orchid.
  8. Protect your space: believe it or not, it’s super easy to be effected by the energy of others while creating sacred space for you. If your kids are at home, or your neighbors are cutting the grass, their influential distractions can take their toll. I like to put up special mirrors, called Bagua mirrors that deflect negative energies and keep them from entering your space and on the other side, keep positive vibes in. Rad, right?
  9. Time for zen. Now, it’s up to you. Go forth, my loves, and get your zen on, whatever that means to you.

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Kristy is a doula, massage therapist, energy worker and mom of 2 in Virginia.

Dr. Annie Answers: Back to School Sniffles

Is back-to-school time giving anyone else the sniffles yet? No, I’m not talking about the emotional “my baby is growing up ones”. Though, holy pregnancy hormones, Kindergarten meet-and-greet had me reaching for the tissues tonight!!

Seriously though, I’m talking about the cold virus, mucus-attack-from-all-the-new-people-germs ones.

Cold and Flu Season

“Back-to-school” in my line of work means office visits are about to pick back up to packed days of people suffering with upper respiratory infections (URIs). If your kid is in daycare or just starting school after staying home with you – get ready for the fall/winter viral rodeo! We expect normal young children to get between 6-8 viruses per ‘school season’ in those first few years of exposure. Yep, that means pretty much one per month. This is all part of developing their little immune systems. Yayyyyy! Not.

Don’t despair though, people – once they get this immune system 101 out of the way, the frequency of illness decreases dramatically – generally by the time they hit 5-7 years old. Not everyone thinks this is a good thing – there were many, many tears from my 5 year old last year when 3 year old sister kept getting fevers and staying home from daycare with me, “I never get sick!!! It’s not FAIR!!!”. Proof that you can’t please everyone as a mom.

What the health?

Three questions come up over and over and over again in my office:

  1. Is it contagious?
  2. Do they need antibiotics?
  3. Do they need to stay home from daycare/school?

The answers to those, respectively are:

  1. “Yes, duh. If you are acutely sick with pretty much anything that is not food poisoning or an actual venomous snake/insect bite it is contagious”
  2. “Probably not. 85-95% of these are viruses not bacteria so antibiotics will do nothing except mess up your kid’s microbiome, probably give them diarrhea and probably increase rates of obesity.” Did that last part catch your attention? Check out This Article in Scientific American if you want to read a little more…
  3. “That depends.”. Let me expand on number 3 a bit.

And in case you’re wondering – no, that is not how I communicate with patients at my office. But this is Real As A M*ther and I’m gonna shoot you straight here.

To Stay Home or Not To Stay Home

That is the question, amiright? For me, staying home with one of my kids sick means either my husband or myself cancel 15-25 patients’ visits that they’ve been waiting for sometimes for weeks. Plus using my nearly non-existent PTO (no, doctors do not get great benefits a la Google employees). If I don’t really need to keep my kids home, I’m not gonna.

On the other hand – I know that other people who’s precious little ones are in our daycare or school are in a similar boat, so I’m also not going to go all Typhoid Mary and send my kids in to take down the class.  Here are the rules we go by – some dictated by science and some by school policy and some by just plain ol’ common sense.

  1. Pukers stay home until they’re eating normal food for 24 hours without relapse. This one is science + common sense.
  2. If fever happens (over 100.4F on oral or rectal thermometer), kid stays home until fever-free for 24 hours. This one is usually a daycare and school policy. It’s a little arbitrary since you can still be contagious with a virus for several days after the fevers go away. Usually you’re shedding less of the viral badness by then though. I would go with this as a minimum rule *but* if your kid has no temperature and yet still seems pretty sick, give it another day or two. 
    • IMPORTANT: This rule is different if you choose not to give your child a flu shot or the other routine childhood vaccinations. I’m not getting into any rights/wrongs here, but bottom line, if your child does not have flu or other major immunities and they get a fever, you MUST quarantine them for at least 10-14 days after any febrile (fever) illness. That means at HOME. Not taking them with you to Target to pick up a few things. Not hanging out at the library or the park. You do not get to take those germs in public to potentially kill other babies or people with weak immune systems. Period. Moving on…
  3. Diarrhea is a little tricker… in so many ways. This generally also earns a home-stay until it at least slows down to non-urgent, soft but not watery poos only a few times a day (I’m not being gross, you’re gross. Doctors have no TMI mode). If your kid is potty trained and old enough to wash their hands well or little and still fully in diapers, they can go back then. If they’re still in potty training mode and likely to have an accident, they should be kept home until they’re back to normal because that poo is still highly contagious for up to 2 weeks and who knows where it will end up. 
  4. Sniffles and coughs are generally ok to go in if they come without fever or rashes. However, if your child has asthma and needs to be watched more carefully or seems too sick to be able to be managed with only the offer of tissues or sips of water, keep them home until they’re better.
  5. Mouth sores, fever with a rash or a very sore throat should usually be checked out by a doctor before going to school. Some kids will get a ‘viral exanthem’ or viral rash at the end of the fever part of illness that is fine if it’s super mild – like you barely can tell it’s there, but if you’re not sure, get them checked.
  6. If they’re given antibiotics because the doctor is SURE it’s something bacterial like strep throat or true pink eye, they need to be on the meds and ALSO fever free for 24 hours before returning.

Gesundheit!

Got it? Great! Tell your friends and your mom and your sister and your cousin with all those kids. And as always, remember I’m not your personal doctor so take this as fun information and ask them specifically about any questions or worries. Getting your kiddo checked out in the office is always an option.

DSC_4458BW Dr. Annie is a family doctor, mom of 2 with 1 on the way and expert booger catcher in the Sacramento area.