Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Motherhood of Worries and Fear ~ It's Part of the Deal


Even though I worked in the Child Development field for many years prior to becoming a mother, the amount of emotional and physical stress that accompanies this role was still way more than anything I had ever experienced.  I knew it wouldn't be a stroll on the beach at sunset.  Years of managing large groups of Infants and Toddlers prepared me for the crying, never ending feedings, diaper changes, illnesses, teething, and clothing changes after diaper blow outs.  I embraced the joy of witnessing milestones for each child.  I loved learning about the personalities, quirks, and adventures during each precious developmental stage.  It was my calling, and I appreciated being able to offer encouragement and support to families.

My experiences expanded when I became a member of an amazing team of therapists.  We worked with children who had developmental challenges and medical conditions that required specialized interventions.   It was eye opening and provided a well rounded education for me as I witnessed the beauty of each developmental gain.  I saw the struggles and strengths of each family and felt humbled by how little I actually knew prior to my employment.  Even with my years of experience in early childhood programs, nothing adequately prepared me for some of the heart breaking moments we encountered as a team.  I grew, I learned, and I became increasingly frightened by the daunting tasks associated with parenthood.  

Time passed quickly, and at the age of thirty I still hadn't found anyone with whom I felt the kind of connection I desired to become a partner and parent.  I was afraid of what could happen during pregnancy and child birth.  I had seen the trauma.  I watched families struggle in the aftermath of what might happen when a child is born with a disability or severe medical condition.  I  held a still born infant after becoming connected to a family whose first child was in our program.  We grew to know that baby even before he was born, knew his name, understood his family's love for him, and looked forward to his birth with the family.  The morning of his birth, I arrived at the office to check in and was greeted by our office manager.  She told me the baby had been born.  Before I had a chance to express excitement and joy for the family, I was told that the baby didn't make it.  I stood in front of her desk in shock.  How could this have happened?  Everything seemed to be going so well for the family.  I immediately went to my desk and made a few calls to find out where she was.

I wanted to be there for the family.  It was important.  I rescheduled my other visits for the day and called the hospital until I figured out where she was located.  The family was no longer in the maternity ward.  They were in a separate part of the hospital and already assigned a social worker who was also their grief counselor.  She met me at the entrance to that section of the hospital and informed me about what happened and what to expect.  The baby was in the room being held and loved by family.  Pictures were taken.  It was the first time I had witnessed this type of grief up close and so very personal.  The family wanted me to hold their beautiful baby.  It was a moment I will never forget, equally precious and heart breaking.  I remained with the family throughout the day until they were released to return home.  

When these unexpected tragedies occur, it can become difficult to see beyond the event.  I saw challenges every day as the result of my work.  I experienced traumatic moments with families who were trying their best to be parents.  Day after day more referrals came in and we had long meetings with families to discuss resources, options for assistance, and home visits.  It seemed like everyone had a developmental delay, medical condition, or severe disability.  Some children graduated from the program, some transitioned to the school system, and others had shortened life spans.  I once commented to an Occupational Therapist that I was scared to get pregnant and have my own children after hearing some of the birth histories.  She calmly reassured me, "That's because it's what we do.  It's all we see.  We don't get to always hear about the births that are successful or the children that are doing well."  I appreciate how understanding and comforting those words were at the time.

I realized that as much as I loved children, it was possible I could face whatever happened when it came to parenthood.  My work did allow me to face a few things.  When I did meet my future husband and the father of my three children, we discussed my experiences in child development.  I wanted him to be aware of risks, complications, and what we would do if our children had special needs.

Here are some of the points we discussed:

1.  The only birth plan I wanted was one where the baby was born with minimal to no complications.  Just get the baby out safely.

2.  I did not want any invasive testing that might compromise the baby's or my health.  

3.  I would want to know if the baby had any medical or developmental concerns.

4.  Even if there were complications, conditions, or diagnoses that were concerning, I would want us to face them together and love the baby as long as we were given.  

5.  I wanted us to know the gender of the baby and give the baby a name.  I couldn't get it out of my mind that the still born baby I held had a name, was known by his family, had a personality, and was loved even before his untimely passing.  I wanted to make sure our children had a name and identity in the event something happened prior to or at the birth.
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Everyone deals with parenting worries and fears in their own way.  Some of the things that might impact your coping strategies:

1. Your experiences in child development and taking care of children

2. Your birth order in family of origin

3. Knowledge of anatomy and physiology during pregnancy

4. Exposure to children with special needs and how to manage resources

5. Support systems in place

No matter how prepared you want to be, there will always (and I mean ALWAYS) be things that are new and unexpected.  It's normal to be scared.  It's normal to worry.  It's normal to have fears.  The best we can do is make sure to reach out for help when needed.  Find the resources and supports that work for you and your family.  Talk to other parents and share stories.  It's incredibly powerful to realize you are not alone in your journey.  The adventures and memories are worth the time and energy.  You will be exhausted both physically, emotionally, and mentally.  But those moments will pass.  There are also plenty of fun, happy, and crazy awesome memories to share with your children.  So hang onto that hope.  You're not alone!

How to Find Early Childhood Intervention Services in your area:

(State Part C Coordinators)

Saturday, April 15, 2017


A Blessing for Food Baskets
Variations on An Easter Tradition

             Originally published April 19, 2014             
  (Updates have been edited into the original copy.)

Since childhood our family has had an Easter Tradition that transcends any chocolate bunny or gourmet flavored jelly bean you might encounter at his time of year.  My mother is from Hungary.  She came to the United States as a young girl and earned her US citizenship at the age of eighteen.  My mother may have been forced to leave her country, but the special details surrounding each Easter remain embedded in our tradition.  This year I am on my own again with regard to carrying on the annual Easter Food Basket Blessing.  I have to admit that I still feel less than adequate when it comes to fully immersing myself in the preparations.  In past years we lived closer and my mother shopped, prepped, and prepared everything with precision and attention to detail.  I miss that!

My mother is the Hungarian version of Martha Stewart, The Barefoot Contessa, and Giada DeLaurentiis (collectively they are amazing hostesses, decorators, and culinary geniuses).  Every memory I have of my childhood includes how effortlessly mom made it look to pull together festive celebrations for our holidays...birthdays too.  Everything happened organically. Home made foods, gifts, and entertainment served with heaping helpings of love were always on the menu.  I believe she made such an effort because of how hard she worked as a child and as a young woman.  The many challenges she faced as an immigrant were woven into every molecule of tradition and culture that she shared with her husband, six children, and the many friends we welcomed along the way.
This Easter my children and I are no longer living like gypsies...even though many of our things are still in storage in another state.  Our current situation has been stable for the past four years.  We do not share a two bedroom apartment with another tenant. (In the past we had one bedroom for four people.)  So, basically we lived "European Style" in our quaint little flat and existed as minimalists.  Truth be told...I kind of liked it. (We're still pretty low key when it comes to possessions.) Less material possessions means minimal clean up and more reasons to get out of the apartment like back in the day when I lived in Germany.  (I miss my little efficiency from those years.)  
The first time I published this article was April 19, 2014.  During that period the drawbacks of our living situation included not having all my kitchen items for cooking, no room to do my own decorating (the other renter already had everything in place when we got there), and my favorite basket that I purchased in Germany was in storage.  So...adaptations to the Easter Food Basket had to be made three years ago when my children and I went to the church for the food blessing. 
My mother always spent Good Friday preparing the items that needed to go into the basket as we headed to church on Saturday morning.  At the church the priest would bless the food we planned to eat on Easter Sunday after mass.  The menu usually included: Home Baked Bread, Butter, Hard Boiled Eggs (later to be made into "Heavenly Eggs" because you couldn't call blessed eggs "Deviled" now, could you?), Ham, Horse Radish, Garlic, Salt and Pepper.  It was a very simple meal that involved many hours of prep time.  We were convinced the food tasted better after being blessed and we always seemed to eat more too.  I always loved the smell of freshly baked bread...still do.  Sometimes mom would make a smaller loaf so we could have a taste right out of the oven.  Pure slice of heaven!
Memories are great.  They are also painfully hard to live up to when the bar has been set so high.  Still...I am determined to share this tradition with my own children.  So here's my modified menu that mirrors my childhood even if it will never totally duplicate the amazing gift my mom gave to me and my siblings.  The entire sensory experience of Easter always culminated in our special blessed meal...and that is what we will have version.  (But Mom...I will still miss being there with all of you!)

Baked Bread (Using frozen dough that had to proof for 6 hours covered in plastic wrap) Still smelled amazing fresh from the oven even if I didn't mix the dough by hand
(Original Post)
(Note:  This year I used store bought loaf from store bakery.  It will smell delicious after warming in the oven to get a nice golden crust.)
Ham (Pre-cooked 3# ham from the store.  Just needs to be warmed up)
Eggs (I did hard boil these myself)
Garlic Salt/Regular Salt/Pepper and Hungarian Paprika (I will take large portions to be blessed and plan to label the containers when we return home.  Every time I use them I will be reminded of our special tradition.  And according to my mom, the food will always taste better since it is blessed.)
Butter (I purchased this too.  And no, I will not make a "Lamb" mold out of butter.  But if you do this I am quite impressed.  It's just not me and that's okay.)

My children and I  had one more hurdle to encounter three years ago.  Since our family's traditional "basket"  was in storage, we needed something in which to transport our food.  We got to church and placed our food on a special table that had been set up near the altar.  I smiled as I saw the collection of items placed there by the families who participated in this cultural display.  There was a large basket with beautiful embroidered linens...later the family shared that the basket was 60 years old and the linens were hand designed in 1921.  Other baskets were adorned with curling ribbons and tiny fabric flowers.  Most were draped with fancy towels or lace.  The priest arrived and offered some readings from the gospel and psalms.  He then encouraged everyone to gather around the table to share what they put into their baskets.  I loved this part!
The food blessing is part of many Eastern European cultures, so I was not surprised to see similar items in other family's baskets.  As I shared my mother's Hungarian tradition, I reached for the carrier of our items and smiled.  "Our basket is in storage," I admitted as I retrieved a pretty blue canvas eco-friendly shopping bag.  Everyone smiled back.  The best part was that I was totally more okay with my blue bag than I anticipated.  It was more important that I made it to the church with all the items I intended.  My children were calm and interested for a few moments. (A Bonus!)  Plus I had the opportunity to reconnect with a family tradition that is near and dear to my heart.  
(Note:  This year we do have a small basket I purchased from Good Will. It has double sided openings on top.  I will use a beautiful hand made shawl from Mexico to line the basket and cover the food.)
Three years ago, I corralled my children, made sure they were loaded into the van with clothing and shoes intact, and we made it to church on time.  After mass, we gathered around our table at home and enjoyed the blessed food.  I remembered the many Easters of my childhood.  Hopefully it was a good memory for my children too.  Blending familiar traditions with the adaptations of present day can be a daunting task.  But I think I'm doing okay.  I need to remind myself of that from time to time.  But I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in that feeling.
So once again, I am sharing our tradition with you.  This year (2017) I have additional friends of my children to invite as we put together our basket of food.  It remains simpler than the miracles pulled off by my  mother, but I hope she would be proud that I am trying.  Being far away makes it hard to carry through some of the beloved traditions, but it is a good feeling to make the best of any situation and share what we have.
Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate this special time of year.  Our family wishes you wonderful times together, special memories of loved ones present and past, and the opportunity to pass along culture and tradition to the next generation.  Blessings to You!
More Information about 
The Tradition of Easter Food Blessing

Sunday, April 9, 2017


Advocacy and Social Justice Commentary

Wondering how many people have watched the entire commercial. The backlash that has resulted from this is mind blowing.

World of Writer Mom's Insights

What I thought this ad was trying to convey:

"With great privilege comes great responsibility."
"We are all responsible for participating in social justice."
"The concerns for social justice span the globe and there are many issues that have the capacity to either destroy or unite us."
"Even small gestures of unity can provide a conduit for change."
"Don't be afraid to join a movement that promotes and encourages unity."
"Be brave enough to find the things we have in common in an effort to collaborate and share resources."
"Remove the barriers to communication that may exist and step away from your comfort zone to make a statement."

The ad caused an incredible outpouring of vitriol and was pulled.

What that said to me was:

"Only some individuals are allowed to express outrage."
" If I wish to be an advocate and promote peace, tolerance, and unity I must first possess the qualities and persona that are expected."
" I need to analyze every motive, thought, and presentation to the point it becomes almost unnatural."
" I need to shut my mouth out of fear my opinions, beliefs, and efforts will be misinterpreted, misrepresented, and dismissed."
"Stepping out of one's comfort zone is a mistake and it's better to maintain your distance with issues where you are not directly affected."

Before anyone judges these view points or makes assumptions:

1. I have experienced assumptions and prejudice from others b/c of who I married.
2. My children have experienced assumptions and prejudice for being multi-cultural. (My daughter was recently told to go back across the border even though she was born in the USA.)
3. My interest in advocacy is sincere and I want my children to be able to stand up for themselves and others.
4. I want to promote a family legacy of advocating for others without fear of being ridiculed or accused of false representation.
5. I have tried many types of modalities toward advocacy of various issues and concerns and will continue to do so.

Perhaps we need to come together and provide ideas for acceptable advocacy methods. I believe there are many people who would love to become more involved and put themselves out there. When they see things in the mainstream, like the Pepsi ad being pulled, it sends the message that every one's voice, methods of communication, and insights are not necessarily valued or needed.

We can't have it both ways. Either we allow ALL to have a voice toward peace, unity, and justice or we will ALL remain stuck in our expectations, disappointments, and judgments.

So how are YOU going to make a difference and promote respect and collaboration?

Monday, April 3, 2017

Travel Review Pending ~ A Spring Break Adventure

Working on a Review of
Hotel Recommendations


Travel Tips

Looking forward to sharing with you!



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thursday Thoughts


Creeps up on me like
the taco nightmare from Tuesday
Trying to convince me
there is still time
to complete the weekly list
that never ends.

Laundry piles waiting expectantly
for my attention
Like growing children who
need to be supervised.
Sorted, fed, cleaned, organized
into some semblance or order.

Dishes lining up for their bath
unhappy with my willingness
to let them sit for a moment...
While I take a moment for

Just in case you need to hear
that you have permission...

Take care of your heart
Feed your mind.
Hydrate your soul.
Nourish your time.

There's time for the laundry later.
There's time for the dishes delayed.

Happy Thursday from World of Writer Mom

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Life of A Vacuum

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I truly feel bad for what I have put my vacuum cleaner through lately.  My children are not of the ordinary, simple, garden variety species.  They create, play, and make messes like nobody's business. I don't know where to begin when I enter their rooms.  Yes, I do expect them to help, but sometimes the room begs for my version of "Mom approved clean."  

 They look so sweet and incapable of the exploits I share.
copyright 2017 M.B.V.Rodriguez
World of Writer Mom

Kids version of cleaning up is as follows:
  1.  Basic surface level only clean up. (The superficial, fake clean.)
  2.  Anything fits into a garbage bag.  No sorting required.
  3.  No need to throw away wrappers, empty containers, or papers.
  4.  It's perfectly acceptable to throw away dirty socks, underwear, and items that have become ripped when you don't want mom to find out .
  5. Mixing of items in a bag is okay.  In fact, mixing wrappers with clothing is ideal.  No time to decide what goes where anyways!
  6. Small items not easily seen (but able to inflict pain upon impact) are to be left on the carpet.  It's more fun to watch the vacuum wheeze, smoke, and grind to a halt.
  7.  Dirty dishes, glasses with toxic sludge, and dinner plates that won't be missed (according to a child's point of view) might end up in the throw away bag if you can get it out the door quickly.
  8.  It is assumed that Mom will forgive the nails (toe, finger, and picture hangers), push pins, tacks, screws, and miscellaneous home improvement tools on the floor if she is able to safely extricate them from her feet, hands, and fingers.  (Mom chuckles maniacally at the idea of "home improvement" items entering a child's room unaccompanied by a responsible adult.)  Yet, that is exactly where these items magically navigate by none other than "Not Me"  and "I Don't Know."
  9. Tools find their way to the room, probably out of loyalty to the push pins, nails, and screws in the carpet.
  10. Spare change has an amazing ability to end up in corners, under furniture, and even inside clothes baskets.  I have a nice jar started toward my future retirement.

 Mom's Version of Clean-Up
  1. Enter room to assess the damages.  This involves looking in  the closet too!
  2. Take your anti-anxiety medication to reduce the heart palpitations and quell that dizzy, nauseated feeling you just got.
  3. Affix large garbage bag to the door knob. (Throw out 90% of what you find.)
  4. Begin piles for clothing in the hall or living room, which ever is the nearest place to toss darks/lights/whites/towels, etc...
  5. Start sorting!  Be prepared for the stench of ass and frustration.
  6. It's best to let your mind wander to your happy place as you scrape gum off the base boards, pull sticky candy from the carpet, and carefully remove nails, push pins, screws, and pennies (Oh, soooo many pennies!) from the floor.
  7. Assign each item a new "home."  
  8. Put aside any items that require a "follow up" conversation with your child/children.  (You'll know what I mean when you find it.  No other explanations necessary.)
  9. Leave the clean clothes in a pile for your children to fold and put away.  They at least need to do this!  (Once you have conversations regarding #8, it's unlikely you'll get too much resistance.)
  10. Children old enough to wash their own clothing should do so.  If you're like our family, have the kids carry the laundry to the car and load it for a trip to the laundry mat.  Have them help with all other aspects of this family adventure once you get there.  

Hope these lovely lists help.  Hope you at least laughed and found comfort in the fact you are not alone.  I'm sure most parents struggle with the clean room dilemma.  Hope your week is going well and your troubles are limited to whether or not your vacuum will survive.  Kindest Regards, World of Writer Mom

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

World Book Day 2017

Information can be found at:

 What's in your library?
 Here are some ideas to celebrate 
World Book Day!


Have a "Book Dance"
Entrance is one book donation per person
Designate who will receive the books
Deliver books the following day to your recipients
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Find a quiet space to enjoy your books.

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While you get your hair cut
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At home
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 Before bedtime
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 With your pets

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 Any way you read
Any where you read
Any time you read
Any reason you choose to read
Hope your day is filled with
Books bring the world to our door
Just open a page and begin!
 Copyright 2017 World of Writer Mom

 More information with ideas for teachers and parents
 can be found at:

About Me

My photo

I have over 20 years of experience in Early Childhood Development Birth-Age 5 including work in classrooms and as an Infant/Toddler Program Manager.  I have several writing projects in progress including a resource book for parents of infants and infant room teachers in a full day child development (school) program.  The book will provide families with information about what to expect and how to monitor their child's progress in an Infant room.  My second book project involves how to cope with family challenges, lessons in forgiveness, dealing with a spouse's addiction, and reinventing yourself along the way.  I am excited about all of these projects and am currently accepting comments regarding experiences my readers have had placing their child into a full day child care program.  I would also like to hear from Infant room teachers.