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How’s Mama-To-Be Really Like: 10 Pregnancy Advice For The First Time Moms

How’s Mama-To-Be Really Like: 10 Pregnancy Advice For The First Time Moms

For every first time mom, there are those rules and regulations, that advice of oh-so-many do’s and don’ts; the list just goes endless, that you have to abide to. On one hand, you are experiencing pregnancy for the first time, your body is going through major changes, you are emotionally fluctuated: excited, tensed, anxious, happy, blessed, impatient, so on and on. And on the other hand, you have been advised to do this, not to do that, to eat this, not to eat that, don’t go there, please go there! Driving you nuts? Well, here is an article that might come to your aid. From my very own first hand experiences, I would like to chime in your life for a bit. Hope I can help you!

1. No diet for you, first time mom!

Always remember, you have to eat for the two (or three, maybe?) of you. Whatever you eat, whether it’s a slice of cake, or a buffet dinner, make sure you eat two slices of cake, and adequate amount of meal that will leave you full and super satisfied. In simple words: eat food to your heart’s content. But of course, always, and always maintain a healthy balanced diet. It doesn’t mean you can’t have KFC or Burger King. You can. But keep one to maximum two junks per month. It really won’t affect your baby’s development. I have had my shares of junk food, and my babies turned out amazing! Another important advice: you can have sea food. Have plenty of fish. But make sure you avoid sushi, or any fish that is raw or half raw. Frozen fish are better. And cook them thoroughly. Fish in a curry is the best option.  Also, bear in mind that these extra food will go to your baby, and even if you grow fat, you will eventually shed them down. Or I hope you will shed them down!

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2. Don’t forget your exercises, though.

Don’t go overboard on your exercises. Minimum, appropriate exercises are what you require throughout your pregnancy. Here are 5 simple steps of exercises that you can do in your special nine months. Exercises, from the very beginning, will make you flexible, and will make your labor a tiny bit easier (please read “tiny bit”)! More importantly, make sure you are gaining weight at a steady pace. Exercises are not to keep your weight in check. It is to make you feel good.

3. Sex is a brilliant exercise too.

As long as you are going through a normal pregnancy, you can have sex till your water breaks. You are only exempted if you have some sort of complications. Don’t let your weight gain bug your desire to have sex. And don’t worry about your partner. They find us sexy regardless of how fat we grow. There are some who find it quite difficult to make love in their last trimester, because of the big balloon in front of them. Ease back, and relax. You should enjoy your sex, rather than panicking. Remember, sex is a brilliant exercise too.

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4. Losing hair or having luscious locks? Don’t fret if things go opposite after delivery.

During my first pregnancy, I had beautiful, thicker, luscious locks that I ab-so-lutely enjoyed. But couple of weeks after my delivery, my hair started to decline. Man, was I upset! It’s a normal thing, or so science says. If you are lucky, your hormones will play the good cop role, and allow your hair to grow. Once your hormones settle down back to normal, the excess hair that grew will shed off. And it will get back to your normal shedding routine. 100 per day. They grow back too. And during my second pregnancy, I started to lose my hair. This time, I was told, that the hormones played the bad cop role. But during my second trimester, my hair was back to normal, or maybe I was used to the thinning hair. Do not fret. All these are temporary. Once your baby pops out, give your hormones some time. They will settle down themselves (my hair is back to normal, Thank God!).

5. No hair coloring at home.

Really? I heard the same thing too. Apparently the chemical fumes that is released from the hair color is extremely bad for your fetus. Let me tell you one thing. It is bad. Very bad. But if you have enough fresh air flowing in and out of your room, then coloring won’t be a factor at all. I have colored my hair, during my second pregnancy, not once, but twice! But I made sure the door and the window were wide open, the fan at its fullest speed. And don’t inhale the smell deeply. While coloring, make sure you face the other way when you need to breathe deeply.

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6. Wear fitted, yet comfy clothes.

This is another factor we have to face a lot. There are people who would tell you to wear loose fitting clothes so that you can move freely, and there are some who would advice you to wear fitted clothes. You wanna know the truth? Wear fitted but comfy clothes. Example, you can choose maternity lines, and you can also opt for 2 to 3 sizes larger your regular size. My favorites were my partner’s ones. A cotton leggings and a cotton shirt. Or a skirt with a cotton tank top. Just make sure the garbs you pick are pure cotton, and soft.

7. High heels much?

Yes, you can wear high heels (you read it right, women!) but make sure you are one hundred percent comfortable in them. Doctors usually don’t allow heels in case you lose your balance and fall. But if you are a pro, and have a clear history of never falling down while dancing, running, cat walking in your stilettos, then go for it! But one thing I would advice, the safest shoes are flats, without a doubt, but if you have to wear heels, then go for wedges. They’ll keep your balance, and make you tall.

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8. No perfume? No deodorant?

Seriously? Well, you can’t stay stinky all day now, can you? Especially during the hot summer days, you are all sweaty… okay, I’ll stop. You can use deo, and please use perfume. I know they contain alcohol. The thing is you are not drinking your perfume, are you? No? Then it is absolutely safe to use it. The alcohol containing in a perfume evaporates into the air. It is exactly the same as using ethanol after drawing your blood for various medical tests.

9. Visit the movie hall while you can.

Many will refrain you from visiting the movie hall while you are pregnant. The reason being the surround systems, and the amount of loud sound the movie theaters will produce. They say it is bad for your baby’s hearing development. To be honest, I did watch Avengers in the theater. And my baby can hear better than me. Just make sure you sit in the middle of the hall, not on the sides where the speakers are the loudest. And you can watch movies as much as you want to. It is a great way to unwind your anxious you!

10. Stop reading too much pregnancy blogs!

These will drive you nuts. Just stick to one website that you think has enough information, and follow the updates every week. Not every day. Please! And don’t compare the weekly development of your baby and the website’s baby too seriously. Every baby is unique and has their own pace of development. What the websites provide are based on an average study. If your baby weighs less than the website’s given weight (or more), don’t panic. These are just to give you an idea of your weekly development. They are fun to read, and look at. Do this with your partner. Keep him in loop as well. And besides reading weekly development, why don’t you sit with a nice novel and read it? This is a great therapy to keep your mind off any anxiousness.

Pregnancy is an experience of a lifetime. We all should enjoy it as much as we can. Because when we’ll look back, even the little thing will make a wonderful memory. So, don’t let the silly advice blog your path of enjoyment. This is your first pregnancy, an experience to be a first time mom. So do what you like, see what you like, eat what you like. Doing a little research on certain topics isn’t harmful. But doing a lot of researches might put mountainous pressure on yourself. Relax, get enough sleep, get out, shop, hang out, eat, pamper yourself. These nine months are your months. You are on the limelight. Make use of it before the tiny human being(s) steals your show!

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Published on December 20, 2019

Is Authoritarian Parenting Good or Bad for Your Child?

Is Authoritarian Parenting Good or Bad for Your Child?

Kate sits down to the dinner table and is eager to be a good girl and eat her dinner like her Mom and Dad want her to do. She is a sweet girl who wants the approval of her parents very much. It is not always easy though. During dinner, she stands up and starts to leave the table because she has to use the bathroom. Her Dad yells at her to sit back down. He tells her “we don’t just get up from the dinner table, we wait and ask to be excused after everyone is finished eating.” She begins to protest, wanting to explain that she needs to use the bathroom. Her father becomes more upset with her and yells at her that she is now talking back and she is not allowed to say another word at the dinner table until everyone is finished eating and then she can be excused.

Unfortunately for Kate, she can’t hold it, and she has a little accident because she is too fearful to say a word to her Dad. She doesn’t want to get yelled at anymore. She also knows that in her home, kids don’t have a say. What Mom and Dad say is like words carved into stone. They are strict beyond reason and they will not bend their rules. Therefore, Kate felt that she had no choice in the matter and when she could no longer hold it. There was nothing she could do about it.

Kate’s parents are an example of authoritarian parenting. They are strict, they are not emotionally engaged with their children, and they have very high expectations for their children. This type of parenting style leaves children feeling disconnected from their parents.

Kate wanted to communicate to her parents that she had to use the restroom, but she couldn’t even get her words out because her parents have such strict rules and demands of her. They did not care to hear what she had to say, because upholding their rules was more important to them. In their household, a child’s opinions and feelings do not matter.

This kind of strict parenting is not helpful for children. It can damage a child and leave them with low self-esteem, mental health issues, and doing poor academically among other problems cited by research in Parenting Science.[1]

What Does Authoritarian Parenting Look Like?

In the 1960’s, a researcher and theorist by the name of Baumrind established the well known theory of parenting styles. Those four parenting styles, which are well known today, are authoritarian, authoritative, passive, and neglectful. For proactive parents that are trying hard to be good parents, they will usually lean toward either authoritarian or authoritative.

Authoritarian parenting involves strict parenting and high expectations for children. This can sound reasonable and even like good parenting. However, the strict parenting is often characterized by lack of compassion toward the child, little to no flexibility in rules, and complete control sought over the child’s behavior.

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Parents who use this parenting style believe it is their job to control the will and behavior of their children. An article in Psychology Today explains how authoritarian parents operate:[2]

Authoritarian parents believe that children are, by nature, strong-willed and self-indulgent. They value obedience to higher authority as a virtue unto itself. Authoritarian parents see their primary job to be bending the will of the child to that of authority—the parent, the church, the teacher. Willfulness is seen to be the root of unhappiness, bad behavior, and sin. Thus, a loving parent is one who tries to break the will of the child.

For example, Jake has authoritarian parents. He wants to stay out past curfew on a school night because he has an opportunity to play in a jazz ensemble. He has been playing the saxophone for years and his ambition is to play in a college jazz ensemble.

With Jake still being in high school, his parents have a curfew. On school nights, it is 8:00 pm. This rule is instituted because his parents believe they need to ensure that Jake gets his school work done each night and that he needs to be well rested for school the next day. However, they don’t explain the why of their rules to him, they simply tell him that those are their rules. The jazz ensemble is practicing at 8:00 pm on a Thursday night and they have invited Jake to come play with them. It is a well known group and a huge opportunity for Jake.

Unfortunately, his parents say no. Their authoritarian parenting style is unwavering. He wants to discuss the opportunity and its importance, but his parents will not even entertain the conversation. They stop him mid-sentence and go over their rules again. There is no flexibility.

If Jake’s parents had been authoritative, they would have taken the time to hear out his case and would likely have granted him a later curfew for that one instance. They would see that, although they have a curfew, there are some instances when an opportunity is worth bending the rules. They would ask that he has his homework done before going to play with the group, and that he come home as soon as the practice was finished.

Authoritative parents have rules, but they are also flexible based on reasonable requests for exceptions. The authoritative parents are interested in how their children are thinking and feeling. Conversely, authoritarian parents are not likely to be interested in hearing their child’s thoughts and feelings, because they want to control the will of their child, not come to some middle ground.

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Here are some characteristics of authoritarian parenting:

  • They have strict rules that are unyielding and unwavering. This is often called “heavy handed parenting.”
  • They do not want input from the child about rules. They also feel that the child’s opinion does not matter, because they are the parent thus are the supreme authority over the child.
  • There are severe punishments when rules are broken.
  • There is an emotional disconnection between parent and child, because the parent is not interested in what the child thinks or feels. They are more interested in controlling the behavior of the child and having the child be compliant to their rules.
  • Children are expected to listen to their parents and follow the rules, there are no exceptions. A child that voices their objections will likely be punished for doing so.
  • The parents have high expectations, especially when it comes to compliance of their rules.
  • Parents expect that their child will be obedient and they do not need to explain the “why” of their rules and expectations. Compliance is expected out of sheer obedience, not because the child understands the reasons why the rules are set. Parents do not feel the need to explain why they set their rules.
  • There is a failure to have attached relationships between parent and child because of the overly dominant nature of authoritarian parents and their unwillingness to allow their children to have their own voice or free will.

Authoritarian parents are driven by a belief that they need to control their children. This means controlling their children’s behavior to an extreme. They are inflexible and don’t take into account the child’s desires, emotions, or well-being as being as important to enforcing rules to get the desired outcome. Authoritative parents on the other hand, seek to guide and direct their children instead of control. There is a distinction.

The Problems of Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian parenting has many negative consequences to children. Children who are raised in homes with extreme authoritarian parenting are more likely to become dependent on drugs and alcohol, have lower academic performance, and increased mental health issues according to Parenting for Brain.[3] Children who are raised with authoritarian parents are also more likely to have lower self esteem, inability to make decisive choices, and have social skills that are lacking.

When a child is raised to be taught day in and day out that their voice does not matter, then that child will likely be ingrained with that belief. They will not value their own opinions because they have been taught that what they think does not matter and is of no value. This leads to poor self-esteem and low self-worth.

If a child doesn’t believe that their thoughts matter, then what they think about themselves overall is going to be affected. They will not think highly of themselves or believe that what they think, say, or do is of value. This will contribute to low self-esteem long term.

Social skills will suffer because a child who comes from an authoritarian home will be trained to believe that nobody wants to hear their opinion and that relationships are based on compliance.

For example, Judy is raised in an authoritarian home. She is now 18 years old and has her first boyfriend. Anytime that he asks something of her, even if she internally disagrees, she feels that she is supposed to comply and do what he says in order for him to like her and continue wanting to be with her.

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He wants to have sex. She does not feel that she is ready, but she will not voice this to her boyfriend because she doesn’t think that her opinion will matter or that he will want to listen to what she is feeling. She goes along with sex in their relationship to be compliant. She doesn’t want to be punished by disagreeing with not having sex. He says that they are ready for that next step in the relationship and she fears that the consequence of saying no would be that he ends the relationship.

Therefore, she doesn’t even voice her thoughts or feelings on the situation because she doesn’t think they have value or will be heard anyway.

She has been taught by her parents that her opinions and feelings don’t matter. She has learned from the past 18 years with her parents that what matters most is that she is compliant. She gets along with her parents best when she is doing exactly what they want her to do. This is why she feels the need to do the same with her boyfriend.

Going along with his decisions, being compliant, and not voicing her feelings will keep the relationship going and avoid conflict or punishment. The ultimate punishment in her mind would be that he ends the relationship.

With her opinions never being valued by those who she has loved the most (her parents), she has learned that she should not voice her opinion if she wants to keep the other person in the relationship happy. In her mind, because of how she has been raised, compliance overrides all else, and her opinion is meaningless.

However, her boyfriend is not her parents. He is understanding and would want to know how she feels. He wants a long term relationship with her and he loves her so much. His true desire is for her to be happy. He would never want her to have sex if she wasn’t feeling the same way that he was feeling. He would gladly wait and would want to hear what she thinks and feels about taking their relationship to the next level.

Authoritarian parenting methods can inflict great harm on a child. The child becomes emotionally damaged because they grow up believing that their opinions, thoughts, and feelings do not matter. Instead they are taught that compliance and being obedient supersedes all else.

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The Solution

The solution is to move from authoritarian parenting methods to authoritative parenting practices.

Authoritative parenting has been deemed as the best parenting method by researchers, according to Psychology Today. Parents who use authoritative parenting methods have rules for their children, but they are not looking for blind compliance. They recognize that having a relationship with their child is of great importance and therefore valuing the child’s voice, opinions, and thoughts is important.

Authoritative parents seek to guide and direct their children, but they do not seek to control the will of their child.

Parenting Coach Plan explains the foundation of authoritative parenting as the following:[4]

Authoritative parenting can be described as a style of parenting that combines firm limits and clear boundaries with fair and consistent discipline. Authoritative parents are also nurturing, highly-involved, and willing to speak openly with their child regarding expectations and the consequences for failing to meet those expectations. Rules are enforced and fair consequences are put in place for when those rules are broken.

Children raised in authoritative homes follow the rules because they understand the “why” of the rules. They are also bonded to their parents because they are able to talk to their parents openly. This bond helps nurture a positive home environment and a two-way relationship that can last a lifetime.

To learn more about how to be an authoritative parent and how to discipline a child using this parenting method, check out my article:

How to Discipline a Child (The Complete Guide for Different Ages)

Featured photo credit: Xavier Mouton Photographie via unsplash.com

Reference

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