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I Rule! Celebrating My First Mother’s Day

This year I celebrate my first mother’s day. And what a wonderful, wild ride this motherhood-thing is. What I’ve learned over the last nine months since my son’s birth is that all the ways I was certain I would do things “when I’m a mom” have gone out the window. Until you actually experience it—the good, the bad and the teething—there is no way to understand what it truly takes to be a mom. Now, I’m sure that as baby grows up I’ll establish rules so we’ll have some order in the house and to guide him towards being a thoughtful human being. But for now, as long as he doesn’t eat the dog’s food, bite the cat or chew on daddy’s stereo, we’re good. Shoot, depending on the day I might even be lax about those rules. (Just joking, animal lovers.) Joking aside, there are a few “rules” that I’ve become more passionate about since having a child:
  1. Pick organic, when possible. I’ve been a stickler for this since I was pregnant and it’s especially important to me now that we’re introducing solid foods to the little guy. Point blank, I want to limit my family’s exposure to persistent and toxic pesticides, GMOs and synthetic growth hormones (rBST). The best way to do this is by choosing organic.
  2. Eat meat from animals raised without antibiotics. As a nursing mom, what I eat, my baby eats. So, I’m keenly aware of the concerns that the increased use of antibiotics in our food supply produces antibiotic-resistance bacteria, which puts human health at risk.
  3. Care about our body care. Concerned about his delicate skin, I only select baby care products that meet the Whole Foods Market Premium Body Care standards. But, after thinking about it a little, my husband and I deserve the same care. Luckily, we can get it affordably with the recently reformulated 365 Everyday Value® body care line.
  4. Look for the Whole Trade Guarantee. I am willing to pay a little more for a Whole Trade product because I know it means mamas (and daddies) will work in decent conditions and earn a living wage to support their families.
Obviously, these rules are really for my husband and me to follow and hopefully our little fellow will learn by our example. And speaking of the hubby, I’m not sure what mine has up his sleeve for my first mother’s day but I’m sure it involves good food. Lucky for me, I married a man who likes to cook. Lucky for him, I like to eat! Besides enjoying a home cooked meal, the only other things that would make my mother’s day perfect is a little extra sleep (yeah right, like that will happen) and to spend some unhurried, unscheduled time with my family - enjoying all the wonderful and wonderfully unexpected things about being a mom to a great little guy, teething and all. As you can see, my rules and my idea of the perfect mother’s day are pretty simple. Moms out there, what's in your mom's rules repertoire and do you have any advice for a newbie?

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41 comments

Comments

cat says …

My mom rules: Don't eat anything with ingredients I can't actually buy in a grocery store. If you're not hungry enough to eat an apple, you're not hungry. Peace, health, and happiness start in the home. Always make time for a tickle fight. Happy Mother's Day!

FairTrade says …

Congratulations on your 1st Mother's day. Good rules. :)

Lorilei L.Bourell says …

One of my favorite rules is: When choosing foods to purchase, always look at the ingredients and if there is something in the ingredients that your Grandmother or Great Grandmother would not recognize, don't purchase it. I have found for me that this is the best rule for getting back to the basics of nature. As a Certified Chakra Therapist, I also recommend that we all work on holistic healing as well. Good food and cleansed and balanced bodies are the perfect mix to total wellness.

Kathy Watson says …

I have one son who is now 16. A very important mom rule is to eat breakfast. Even though he is old enough to make his own, my husband or I usually make it for him, since it is so important. It has a big postitive effect on his mood, energy and even his grade card! Fruit smoothies are so easy in the morning and he loves it. That, along with whole grain breads, homemade pancakes and eggs in all ways are some of his favorites.

Susanne Walker says …

Three kids later with a CRAZY schedule we still eat healthy. I shop all at whole foods, making my bill $$$$ but hey, its for the kids and mom and dad, we want them to have healthy habbits that stick with them through life and hopefully will pass on as they grow older... Well lets not go that far, they are only 7,9 and 11 :)

Jeanette says …

Happy First Mother's Day!! Drink up every drop of your little guy and relish in the fact that you can't spoil a baby...you can only love them more every day. :)

SMU Cox MBA says …

I love the fact that more organic products are becoming available. Unfortunately, it doesn't just stop with food - it only starts there. I'm going to mention a whole stream of toxic crap that most women aren't aware of. The beauty industry is poisoning us. You may be cutting pesticides out of your diet, but your shampoo is likely laced with contaminants unless it too is organic. And don't get me started on make up, hair gel, or hair spray. I'm glad that you're using organic baby products. Normal name-brand baby shampoo can kill your child if it's swallowed.

CindyH says …

I am a mother of 2 and believe the same way you do. But, I think people are afraid of the cost. I have to say, I match coupons with sales and I don't really spend that much more at the grocery than a "normal" mom and my kids eat MUCH healthier! I really appreciate what Whole Foods is doing!

Marianne says …

Congratulations! My 1st Mother's Day was 15 years ago! UGH! I have 2 boys, agree with you and recommend that young mothers start early with good eating and organic habits! This way it will be the norm for them.

Linda says …

Our family has eliminated most high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup...all that dangerous stuff. One in three Latino children will have diabetes (learned that from Food Inc.) and I want to stop this cycle from reoccuring in our family. Thing is this bad sugar is in a lot of foods but there are lots of options out there. This is one change our family has made and stuck to thanks to our new baby boy.

Bayla Singer says …

I tried to set rules in such a way that I'd have one level of safety left if the children broke the rule ... "stay out of the kitchen while I'm cooking" for example -- I still had "don't touch the hot oven!" and "don't stand next to me while I'm cutting things" remaining.

Miko says …

My mom fed my sister & I a great variety of foods. As clean and un-messed with as she could. The only real food rule was you had to try everything on your plate. no questions asked. if you didn't like it, you didn't have to finish it, but you had to try every time she served it. funny, your tastes do change as get older. I still do not like liver... or beets. but I eat almost everything else, and so does my sister (and her 4 kids). BTW, I agree with CindyH. If I shop sales, use coupons, and generally just shop smart (which Mom also taught me well) I really do not spend that much more than at a conventional grocery. And think of the benefits and food quality! Thanks WFM!

Heidi says …

Everything in moderation has become a theme with me. I try not to get hard and fast about my rules. I did with my first and it was so stressful on me. We go to church together, we try to eat healthy (similar to what you have listed)and we try to model what kind of people we want our children to grow up to be. For me that would be God loving, compassionate, smart individuals with a respect for God, others and the earth.

Denise says …

Check the expiration dates on items before you purchase them. I thought it was silly when my own mother did it, as I thought the stores would have kept up on that on their own. Soon, I began checking the dates. I could not believe how many goods are still on the shelf past their expiration date. You could say it's become a "rule" of mine, passed from my mother to me...and now on to my own children.

Jennifer H. says …

We have 2 that we usually go by and they seem to be working pretty well: 1. You have to TRY the new food before you say you don't like it. This rule is great when introducing them to new foods from around the world. We went to a testing at Whole Foods and discovered that we love Ethiopian food. 2. This rule came from my kids: Meatless Mondays!!!!!! I am a vegetarian but I do not make my family eat vegetarian, so I was so pleased the day they came home from school and wanted to embrace this (even if it is just for one day) Lastly, my husband has finally agreed to only buy the meats that I do cook for my family from Whole Foods (Thanks Food Inc.!!!) I think that by allowing the kids to be a part of the process, they benefit from the experience and get a greater feeling of accomplishment when it comes to their eating habits (a lot less complaining too!!!). These eating habits will last a lifetime!!!!

Jennifer - Omaha yoga says …

I totally agree about what your rules are pre and post-motherhood are totally different. I was at Whole Foods the other day and my son took off on me while I was looking at the yogurt. I had to take off after him...he was halfway cross the store. how embarrassing. before kids I would have been all, "she should discipline her kid" and now if I see that kindof thing I think "that poor mom". (; I agree trying to buy organic and making fruits and veggies a major part of meals is big with me.

Gina says …

I also select organic fruits, veggies, and grains whenever possibile. I also found that taking the extra time to prepare some homemade baby food helps turn your little sweet pea into a "foodie". To all the moms out there-it might take an extra few minutes to whip up some veggies and fruit, but it will do you and your family good. You will have a more adventurous eater this way and less food fights!

Emma Steen says …

Your program for healthful living is commendable & practical. Another suggestion is to develop practice of removing shoes that you've walked in outside the home, and change to a pair kept especially for indoor use. Refrain from carrying possible toxics into your home. This becomes especially important when baby starts crawling. Joys to your family.

Sue says …

It's fun to think of someone just starting on the Mom journey. Congratulations! My favorite Mom Rule is for the family to eat dinner together -- and for kids to be served the same foods as the adults. They will have some cranks and quirks, but if you've managed to keep away the snacks, they will be hungry and ready to enjoy good food at mealtime.

Linda Greene says …

Momma always used to say regarding babies... "If one thing doesn't work, try something else!

Amy says …

My rule? You must taste everything your parents offer you; you do not have to finish anything.

Silvia Craveiro says …

My only rule: THINK OF THE CONSEQUENCES!!!!

Joan Rene says …

Ditto, Sue--the family ate dinner together every night with few exceptions. I too, required kids to eat what we adults were eating for supper. When my daughter adamantly insisted she did not want what I was making for dinner(healthy fare) (after finding out her friend's mom made her something different) I did not set her a place at the table(no snacking allowed) and that was the end of that. Now 29 and 23 my girls are each excellent cooks-one is a chef!

E. Beron says …

Love so many things about Whole Food, that it's hard to name a few. The men in the fish department are friendly, helpful, & know their business. Fresh veggies & fruits are great, and servers in the Deli dept are lovely. I can't forget the men in frozen food. They go above and beyond to help, always. Love the flowers, the breads, cheeses and wines. Thank you for being so near that we can shop almost daily. Happy spring!

Nan Beth Campbell says …

I'm a mom of 3 boys - now 17, 18 and 20. One of "my" rules is that you always have 2 choices for dinner. Take it or leave it ! I implemented this rule after years of kids who wanted different things, trying to cook to please everyone and listening to whining that they didn't want what I cooked. Rather then continue to "try" to get them to eat it, I finally came up with my new rule. And the corollary rule - if you cook something else, you clean up ! Life is much simpler now.

Samantha says …

My most important rule was and is, people come first, before the house, the cleaning, the schedule, even the rules! When in doubt, choose the people over the things; things are for people, people aren't for things. Kind of the same train of thought as in that cute rhyme--"...dust go to sleep, I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep."

Janelle Ford says …

The one I have been telling my kids FOREVER, is "Look where you are going, not where you have been." They were always falling over something as they looked back to see what the other was doing. It still works. To look ahead at what comes up instead of wrrying about what's done already.

Jennifer says …

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters...I am working with my 3.5 year old on healthy eating. We developed a category system of items to select from for dinner - veggies, fruits, breads and proteins. We also got him a divided plate so he can select an item for each section from his categories. Although we have a hard time breaking from the traditional hot dogs (soy dogs), fish sticks and pizza, we rotate in a new food whenever possible (like my chicken & spinach meatballs which both my kids love!). We also cook together so he gets excited to eat things he makes, and do a weekly grocery trip to our new Whole Foods together so he helps me select food (and often try new foods thanks to their many demonstrations and samples!)

Meghan Wade says …

Be loving, honest and caring. Tell your child the truth, take them lots of places and let them have an opinion. Involve the nature in your everyday routines. Spend time together and ask them what they want to do. Show them first hand how a healthy and organic lifestyle is achieved so they can reflect and internalize these traits.

Cyndi says …

Keep up the good work! Seriously, in a year or two go back and read this article to remind you of the importance of these things. I have a 3 year old and a 5 month old, both boys, and it gets a little challenging to "stick with it" sometimes. But buying organic foods, and natural body care makes a HUGE difference in our children's health and it is most DEFINITELY worth all the extra effort. Also, I love what you said about having to ditch all those "this is how I'm going to do it when I'm a momma" ideas. I've done the same! It's one of my mommy rules to give myself permission to not be perfect! Also I saw someone's rule about people coming first - that is our number ONE rule too! It really helps to keep things in perspective. I can get very stubborn about certain things, and I have to constantly remind myself what is really important. So kudos to you, sounds like you're doing a terrific job as a mommy, so far! I hope you have a VERY rewarding and blessed 1st Mother's Day, you deserve it!!

screwdestiny says …

You sound like a wonderful, caring mother. If only all children were raised to actually care about what they put into their bodies.

Wendy says …

Doesn't seem like things change much from first to 13th! With 5 children now, the youngest of which is 14 months, my daily struggles are exactly the same! With special respect paid to the non stop ritual of keeping him out of the dog food, not biting the dog and not screwing with Daddy's stereo! I must say I wish I had been as well informed with the rest of it 13 years ago, but learning counts for something right? Feed him what you want him to eat now and it won't be a struggle. As for advice, stay committed to what you've got, the rules will come on their own. You'll figure out really quick what's important. Pick your battles. And when you have a girl the 9 to 19 months thing will be a little easier, girls are different. But they'll make up for it between 2-5! Enjoy your Mother's Day and the sleep will come...eventually. And be good to Daddy on Daddy's Day. He will appreciate it and your Mother's Days will get that much better! I need a whole foods closer than an hour and 15 away! When is one coming to Lynchburg, VA?

Alexis says …

First, congratulations on your first Mother's Day. My first one was last year, and I can't remember what I did exactly except spend time with mu husband and son — which is really all I wanted to do. This year, I just want a few minutes, enough for a long bath, to myself. Anyway, I find that as my son gets older (he's almost 2), I do have more rules. Like you, we try to eat organic as much as possible. My son is also really into shows like Yo! Gabba Gabba and Elmo, but I have been cutting back on his TV. He has always loved books, so I now I read to him all the time. I buy books in Spanish and French, and my husband and I work with our son on the words. Being in a warm climate, I also try to keep my son outdoors and active as long as possible. We play on the swings, walk the dog, or just run around. Most importantly, I just try to make sure my knows, every day, that his parents love him. In the end, it really is true that kids just need love, food, and a few clothes.

Kristen says …

My mother is an amazing cook and was always ahead of her time. Many of the simple dishes she used to serve us as a family during the week have become my signature dishes for entertaining. Her golden rule was and is "always start with good quality ingredients. If you start off poorly you will end up with a poor product." My love of cooking comes from my mother and my five year old twins and I have a great time cooking together. It gives the kids a tremendous sense of pride to be able to enjoy the fruit of their labor or better yet to share it with a loved one!

GLS says …

Happy Mother's Day to you all! I absolutely agree with your rules, Allison, and admit that these things did not become important to me until I became pregnant. On the first (and only, luckily) day that I experienced morning sickness, I rushed to Whole Foods and changed my diet completely. To this day, I credit Whole Foods with my healthy pregnancy! After my baby was born, I used only organic body care products and somehow found time to make all of his food (working full time and attending grad school - yes, it's possible!!!). He will be three next week, and I am proud to say that his favorite foods are blueberries, tomatoes, green beans, broccoli, and salmon! He loved avocado as a baby but recently told me that he wants to wait until he is five to eat them again. ;-) Enjoy every minute with your children! Love, hug, kiss, and snuggle as much as you can!

Cookin' Canuck says …

I feel very lucky that my two boys are fruit and veggie lovers. We always make an effort to use organic produce, whether it's from Whole Foods, farmstands, or our own backyard. They have learned to appreciate that produce that is properly grown is not only better for you, but has a taste that is far superior to other fruits and veggies.

Re Re says …

Woooooooooooooooo hooooooooooooooo and Happy Mamas Day! I have 3 children, 4, 6, and 13 and proud to say that they love to eat their fruits and veggies! What I discovered with motherhood is that introducing them to healthy foods early is that it lays a strong foundation for excellent eating habits later and gives them a natural ability to make heLthy choices for themselves when they grow old enough to make those eating decisions for themselves! Let's keep these kids conscience!

Amy says …

Great story!

Lynnea Brodeur says …

If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!

Allison B says …

Thank you all for such warm words of support and encouragement and the great advice too! Happy Mother's Day!

Jill says …

Rule #5 Keep a bowl of fruit on the counter or table. If kids are hungry an hour or less before dinner they can choose from the bowl. Fruit has great fiber, digests easily on it's own and kids can always benefit from an extra serving!