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Why I happily do the 6 things I said I would never do as a parent

Like #5—Cook more than one dinner. You get what you get + you don’t get upset. Isn’t that what they teach in school?

Why I happily do the 6 things I said I would never do as a parent

Before I became a parent, I had certain ideas of what kind of a mother I wanted to be (don’t we all?) Those ideas were vague initially, but nonetheless I had a long list of things I would NEVER do. I wasn’t going to be a servant to my kids. There would be rules and those rules would be followed.


Easy as pie, right?

Pre-kids, if I were a good mum, these are things I would never, ever do.

1. Give in to their begging for sweets.

I will not be blackmailed by a 3 foot tyrant!

2. Follow them around the house trying to get them to eat.

If you are hungry, you’ll eat sitting down at the table like a normal person!

3. Get drawn into their fashion demands.

You are 3 years old, you’ll wear what I tell you to wear!

4. Co-Sleep.

What do you think I bought your crib for? I painted your room in Bubblegum Blue for goodness sake. That’s where you will sleep. That’s what the book says.

5. Cook more than one dinner.

You get what you get and you don’t get upset. Isn’t that what they teach in school?

6. Coddle past the age of 5.

That’s the cut off. After that I have expectations of self-sufficiency. Maybe you could get yourself a part-time job or something…?

...but then I actually had kids. And that’s when things changed. My parenting ideals got shaken up when theory met reality. The more kids came along, the more the rules went out the window, and the more I free-styled (which was part choice, part necessity.)

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And I ate my previous words about what I would never do.

1. I gave into the begging.

Go on. Just say “pleeeeeeeeeeease” again with that cute face and big smile of yours. I know you are trying so hard to win me over. You win.

2. I really want him to eat his food.

So, yes, I have run after my baby—bowl and spoon in hand—when he refuses to sit in his high chair. Because in theory, the more my little guy eats, the longer he will sleep. So mama will do what she needs to do to get that food into him.

3. I don’t stress about what he wears.

Unless it has Minions, Batman or Turtles on it, my son won’t wear it. He has his own ideas of what he likes and how he wants to look. I’ve tried to enforce that what I say goes, but another very important lesson in the parenting game is “pick your battles.”

4. We co-sleep.

We have co-slept with all of our children. By choice. Then choice became habit. While there are days where I wish we had our bed to ourselves and that one of us wouldn’t always end up in the spare room or on the floor, I know this is for a short time. This isn’t going to last forever and I know that we are all happy with co-sleeping, and most importantly, we’re all getting sleep. So it works for us!

5. I’ve been cooking more than one dinner for the best part of my parenting tenure.

I have two very fussy eaters and have tried the approach of “You’ll eat what everyone is eating” and failed. So, I make multiple dinners. (Remember that “pick your battles” thing?) Now one of my fussy eaters is nearly 5 and I can reason with her. I can tell her about food and the importance of eating her vegetables. She gets that now and we are on the way to one meal for the whole family. (Can I get a whoop whoop please?!)

6. I coddle all of my kids.

Guilty as charged. I will stand outside the shower, holding the towel for my kids. I will make sure their hair is brushed and that they change their socks. I will clean up after all my kids and do their jobs for them. Maybe one day I’ll start putting my foot down, but for now, I’m doing what works for us.

As they say, you don’t know what you don’t know. And so you probably won’t understand the allure of co-sleeping or letting your child pick out his out outfit himself until you’re in the thick of it with your little ones. And that’s okay, because there’s a learning curve to this motherhood thing.

These lessons have taught me a thing or two. For one, maybe all of these “parenting mistakes” aren’t really mistakes at all.

Maybe they are a chance to learn to trust ourselves, trust our instincts, and do what we feel is right for us and our families at any particular point in time.

Maybe these “mistakes” can teach us how to enjoy riding the waves of parenting; embracing all the ups and downs for what they are without the need to constantly second guess ourselves.

Everything we do in life, we do by choice. It is okay to back down from the society-imposed or self-imposed parenting expectations out there and instead do what is best for us, for our family, and for our children.

No one else knows what we know. No one else knows our children like we do. No one else is walking in our shoes.

All that matters is that we care about our children and that’s why we walk the extra mile bent over backwards to make sure we give them all they need…and much, much more.

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In This Article

    Ara Katz/Seed

    We spoke to Ara Katz, co-founder and co-CEO of Seed, who shared her journey to (and through) motherhood—and gave us the lowdown on how probiotics can benefit mamas and children alike.

    Chances are, you're aware that probiotics can help us digest the food we eat, keep inflammation at bay, synthesize essential vitamins and more. But here's the thing: When it comes to probiotics, there's a lot of misinformation… and because of that, it's hard to know what's actually a probiotic and which is the right one for you.

    That's why we chatted with Ara Katz, who is a mama to son Pax and the co-founder of Seed, a company disrupting the probiotics industry. The entrepreneur told us about her motherhood journey, what led her to start her company and what she wants other parents to know about probiotics.

    Q. What was life like for you before you became a mama?

    I was bi-coastal after co-founding a mobile tech company in New York City with a partner in LA. My life was, for as long as I can remember, consumed by creating and work. I was fairly nomadic, loved to travel, spent many hours reading and practicing yoga, being with friends [and] waking up at the crack of dawn. [I] was fairly sure I would never marry or have children. And then something shifted.

    Q. What were some pivotal moments that defined your journey to motherhood?

    Ha, that makes it sound like motherhood is a destination when at this very moment, more than ever, it evolves daily. I lost my mom when I was 17 and spent most of my life believing I didn't want to be a mother. I had a lot of wiring about its limitations and constraints—I'm sure relics of grief and the fear of loss.

    My journey started with a physiological wanting to be pregnant and have a baby. There was a kind of visceral sense that my body wanted to know what that was like and a strange curiosity that, at least for that period of time, usurped my ambivalence about motherhood.

    Then I had a miscarriage—a beautiful inflection point in my story. I resigned from my company, chose a coast, committed to be more committed to my (then) boyfriend, now husband, and tried again. I got pregnant shortly after that and found pregnancy to be a profound journey within, a reshaping of my life and the tiniest glimpse of how motherhood would unfold.

    In the 55 months since giving birth (and I like to use months because I have learned in the moments that I am most frustrated as a mom that he has only been on this planet for less than 14 fiscal quarters), I have realized and surrendered to a definition of motherhood that is a process. One of cultivating, creating, recreating, shapeshifting, learning, feeling, healing, hurting and experiencing the most potent form of presence I have ever experienced—and an aching, expansive love I didn't know possible—not just for my son, but for all living things.

    Q. How did motherhood change your approach to your career?

    Becoming a mother is certainly a persistent lens on all of my choices, but it was really my miscarriage that recalibrated my path. My pregnancy rekindled my love of biology and health and led me to my co-founder and the microbiome. My breastfeeding experience incepted our first product focus, and the newfound accountability for a human inspired our brand.

    Q. What inspired you to co-found Seed?

    I met my co-founder, Raja, during my pregnancy with Pax. [I] was immediately awestruck by his ability to both deeply understand science and to methodically break down a product, dietary question or piece of advice in a way that's educational (you actually learn something about your body), actionable (you understand what to do with the information) and foundational (you can build on that knowledge in the future to continue to make better choices).

    As we spent more time, our combined passion for microbes, their potential impact on both human health and the environment, and how to set up a child for a healthy life became increasingly clear. And through birth, seeding (the process by which we get our foundational microbes and the inspiration for the name of our company) Pax and my struggles with breastfeeding, my entrepreneurial spirit was lit to build something with Raja. His deep experience in translating science to product, and mine in consumer, community-building and translating through storytelling, culminated in a shared vision to set a new standard in health through bacteria.

    Q. Probiotics have been trending in recent years, but they're nothing new—can you talk a bit about the importance of probiotics?

    Interest in gut health and probiotics increases month by month. However, despite the quickly growing number of "probiotic" supplements, foods and beverages out there, there's still a lot of consumer confusion—particularly around what they are, how they work and why we should take them. Probiotics have been studied extensively across various life stages, body sites and for many benefits. Digestion is an obvious and immediate one (and the primary reason most people currently take probiotics). But other strains have also been studied for skin health, heart health and gut health (including gut immune function and gut barrier integrity). But this doesn't mean that any and all probiotics can do these things—this is the importance of 'strain specificity.' In other words, ensuring that the specific strains in your probiotic have been studied for the benefit you desire is critical.

    Seed Daily Synbiotic

    Seed

    Seed's Daily Synbiotic is a 24-strain probiotic + prebiotic formulated for whole-body benefits, including gut, skin and heart health.


    Q. How do probiotics play a role in your life?

    I mean, I take them, I develop them and I work with some of the leading scientists from around the world advancing the field—so they play a big role. As for my personal health, I take our Daily Synbiotic daily and my son also takes specific strains for gastrointestinal health and gut immune function. Beyond that, it's the re-orientation around my microbiome that guides many of my choices: how important fiber is, specific compounds like polyphenols found in berries, green tea and other foods, avoiding the use of NSAIDS like ibuprofen and antibiotics when not needed, exercise, sleep and time in nature [are] all aspects of our daily life that impact our microbiome and our health.

    Q. What are some misconceptions about probiotics that you would like to set straight?

    There's one main myth on from which all the other stem: that probiotics aren't considered a serious science. On the contrary, it's a field of inquiry that demands incredible rigor and extensive research. And when anything and everything from chocolate to ice cream to fermented food and kombucha to mattresses can call itself "probiotic" due to underregulation in the category, that grossly undermines the science and their potential.

    The term 'probiotic' has a globally-accepted scientific definition that was actually co-authored by our Chief Scientist, Dr. Gregor Reid ,for the United Nations/World Health Organization.

    At Seed, we work to reclaim the term for science, through the development of next-generation probiotics that include clinically validated strains and undergo the most rigorous safety, purity and efficacy testing procedures. Because why would you invite billions of unknown microbes into your body without asking "what's in here, is it the correct dosage that was studied, and has that strain in that amount been studied in human clinical trials to do something beneficial for my body"?

    Q. Can you tell us a little bit about what product you plan to launch next?

    We are developing a pipeline of consumer probiotics to target specific ecosystems of the body and life stages, including a synbiotic for children. Our next product will reflect a unique breakthrough in the field of pediatric probiotics, which we are excited to announce soon.

    This article was sponsored by Seed. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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