Parenthood is a blessing and a responsibility, a profound lifestyle change that places a premium on self-sacrifice and preparedness. For disabled individuals, preparing to care for a child means preparing your lives for a new routine, a new home environment, and sourcing sometimes difficult-to-find equipment that helps make an often-demanding job a little easier to handle.
If you’re a disabled parent, focus on making sure your home is readily accessible, safe for you and your child, and has the parenting equipment you need. If your home just isn’t up to the challenge, you should be prepared to research houses that suit your budget and physical needs.
You can research home prices for your area in the comfort of your living room, and find the best deal to accommodate the needs of yourself and your growing family.
Safety Above All
Every modification you make should be done with safety in mind, first and foremost. Be sure that all heavy furniture is firmly anchored to the wall, have safety gates installed in all stairways, and add special cupboard locks at floor level. Some of these precautions may seem a little premature for a family just bringing home a newborn, but getting used to a fully kid-proofed home is good practice for everyone.
If you or your spouse is in a wheelchair, add threshold ramps between rooms to ensure there’s no obstacle that might prevent you from reaching your child quickly. Hallways should be at least 36 inches across and doorways a minimum of 32 inches wide (add expandable hinges to create easier access).
Pay special attention to the bathroom, one of the most dangerous rooms in the house where more falls take place on average than in any other part of the home. Grab rails should be installed in the bathtub and in the wall next to the toilet. Slips can also be prevented with skid-resistant flooring strategically placed around the sink, tub and toilet.
The Right Stuff
A well-modified home is an important part of preparing to be an excellent parent. The other part is having the right tools on hand, preferably ones specially designed to make parenting with a disability as easy as possible. Someone with a physical disability is apt to experience difficulty dealing with a traditional crib or getting a child in and out of a car safety seat, a demanding task for any new parent. This is another area where diligent online research can pay dividends.
For example, side-entry cribs are available, but finding one that’s right for you may take a little work. Swiveling child safety seats are a bit easier to find but no less helpful when it comes to easy accessibility and convenience. Being in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you can’t take your child for a walk in a stroller. A careful application of velcro connecting the stroller handle to your wheelchair allows you and your child to enjoy the fresh air together whenever you like.
Even the most effective home modifications won’t keep you from getting tired and feeling worn down periodically. Disabled parents require enough down time to recharge their batteries and enjoy some R and R. Prioritize your own free time so you have enough to set aside for yourself. Be prepared to say “no” at work and with acquaintances when you need a little “you” time.
Your time should include activities and a self-care routine that’s yours and yours alone, and these should be kept sacrosanct to make sure they take place. Arrange it so you and your spouse both have some time to yourselves. If you’re a single parent, reach out to a friend or relative who can babysit so you can run errands or enjoy a coffee out with friends.
Becoming a parent is a transition, and it takes time to get used to a new lifestyle. For disabled individuals, there’s a lot of adjusting to do to make your living space safe and accessible for a young child, but don’t neglect your own needs. To be a good parent, you need to be well-rested and energetic, which means taking time for yourself when needed.
It was 2am and I was sitting on a toilet seat in an airport bathroom, crying as a noisy machine sucked breastmilk out of me. I had a three-hour layover and I was pretty sure my boobs would pop if I didn’t pump. But, the only private space (that also had an outlet) available to me was the dingy handicap stall in the public bathroom. I felt ashamed and embarrassed over the 20-minutes I was sequestered in that stall – especially when someone pushed on the door or commented on the sound of my milk sucker.
Luckily, the ingenious ladies at Mamava saw me. Well, not me specifically, but all the women like me who are forced to submit themselves to embarrassing conditions each time they need to pump in public.
Their solution? Mamava Lactation Suites, which provide private, comfortable, and sanitary spaces for lactating ladies to feed their child, or drain that milk. The use of the pods is complimentary, as they’re purchased by the facility that’s offering the pod. I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the founders of Mamava, Sascha Mayer, about the rights of breastfeeding women and how the pods can help.
Bailey Gaddis: What inspired the idea for Mamava?
Sascha Mayer: I was inspired by an amendment to the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act that protected working moms from having to use their breast pumps in a bathroom. [According to the Mamava website, “The law mandates that employers provide reasonable break time and a private lactation space this is not a bathroom.”] We were also continuing to see women struggling with finding clean and comfortable spaces to breastfeed when they were out of their home and I just said, “this is broken and I have to fix it.”
Bailey Gaddis: What are features of the Mamava pods that make them so conducive to pumping and breastfeeding?
Sascha Mayer: The pods were designed with our two audiences in mind – the pumping mom and the breastfeeding mom. Moms want privacy, so the pods have a locking door. We also have an app that women can use to locate and unlock the pods. Inside, it’s very much like a kitchen with a bench, good lighting, and a fold down table that’s easy to wipe down. There’s also an outlet for the pump and a USB charger, because so many moms are multi-tasking. While the pods were specifically made for pumping moms, they’re also a nice private space for moms to breastfeed.
We also wanted to make sure that the pods made it easy for facilities to do the right things and provide this space for moms. So, they’re easily placed and can be installed in 2-3 hours, can be rolled to various locations, and are low maintenance.
Bailey Gaddis: Can you tell me more about the legal rights of breastfeeding mothers?
Sascha Mayer: The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act is a mandate that states that if you’re an employer with more than 50 employees you have to provide a space that isn’t a bathroom for women to use a breast pump. Some of the more progressive states have richer legislation that protects a breastfeeding mom’s rights even further. In San Francisco, for example, businesses have to provide a lactation room.
This is so important because now, moms don’t always have to be advocating for themselves. It’s hard enough if you’re a mom that has to go back to work – it’s important to have legislation that protects your rights.
Bailey Gaddis: How do you hope the Mamava pods shift the conversation around breastfeeding?
Sascha Mayer: We hope that our Mamava pods create more of a conversation around the lines of “oh, breastfeeding happens!” We want moms to feel celebrated and supported through these pods.
I hope our units being out and about also sparks a dialogue about the choices moms have in feeding their babies. If their choice is to breastfeed, they should be supported in that. Moms should do what they feel most comfortable with. And, we don’t want women to feel like they need to pass on the option of breastfeeding because our culture doesn’t make it easy to do when they are out of their homes.
Bailey Gaddis: What advice would you give to breastfeeding mothers who work in a space without a comfortable and private space to pump, who would like to broach this subject with their employer?
Sascha Mayer: I think it’s important for women to remember that it’s in their employer’s best interest to keep them healthy and happy, rather than risking the potential of losing them and having to find a replacement. So, women should feel confident that it’s within her rights to feel comfortable talking about it and asking for what she needs. It’s also important for women to remember that they’re not alone and can find support through places like Facebook groups. Over 3 million women are breastfeeding every year – there’s a lot of support our there.
Bailey Gaddis: How do feel that millennial moms are influencing the conversation around lactation rights?
Sascha Mayer: We’ve found that millennial moms are driving the conversation around lactation rights. They’re very different from Gen X moms and are empowered by the Times Up mentality. And, millennial moms speaking up about their rights inspires facilities to purchase Mamava pods.
Sometimes, it takes a natural disaster to make things clear.
When an out of control wildfire chars over 242,000 acres, destroys 972 structures, and forces 88,000 people out of their homes, many couples are forced to come together in ways that leave lasting imprints on their relationship.
My husband and I spent a week holed up with our four-year-old in a hotel room escaping the flames and smoke of the Thomas Fire while obsessively checking our phones for updates and praying that our house survived. Our relationship was tested, but we came out of it with an appreciation for how we were able to show up for each other when things got real.
We were not the only ones. Many of the couples I spoke with post-fire reported significant shifts in their relationships after the shared experience of a natural disaster.
When I walked out of my bathroom last Halloween, dressed as Marvel’s Black Widow, the first thing my son said was, “Wow mama, you look strong.” And I felt strong.
Dressing up like a female character that needed little saving, and instead claimed her power to protect herself and heal her own emotional wounds, made me have a highly coveted proud mom moment.
I never thought much more about superhero gender roles (a course that should be offered in universities?!) until I recently previewed the new Marvel Universe Live Age of Heroes show brought to life by family entertainment juggernaut Feld Entertainment.
What I discovered was a feminist sub-culture in the Marvel Universe, full of butt-kicking, norm-hacking, damsel-in-distress rejecting badass chicks showing the boys how it’s done.
This show included Marvel women (that even I was privy to) like Black Widow and Guardians of the Galaxy’s Gamora, but new (to me) female empowerment heroes like the witty Wasp, and sexy villains Black Cat and Nebula were also present. And, when mixed with a fleet of popular male characters, guess who was keeping their cool when the boys were lashing out with often-ineffective action? That’s right – the ladies.
While the existence of these characters is no surprise to Marvel devotees, they were unknown to me: a fresh Marvel enthusiast who now plans to dress up like a different female superhero every Halloween, and maybe every birthday as well, because why not.
But, more noteworthy than the feminine characters (who are writing a new definition of feminine) are the female fighters, dancers, motorcycle wizards, and more who are bringing them to life. These ladies are just as buff and skilled as their male counterparts, and are so savvy in conjuring the essence of heroes that many play some of the male characters. These women left me slack jawed and inspired to learn some motorcycle tricks… or maybe just take a kickboxing class.
Shannon Stanley (Atlanta, GA) – Aerialist
Kaitlin Murdock (Huntsville, AL) –Black Cat
Ashley Loyd (Lufkin, TX) – Wasp
Hilary Kadoya (Whittier, CA)- Rocket
Louise Forsley (Bernardston, MA) – Black Widow (Riding)
There’s even a performer, Louie Musselman, who is such a savant she can play every female role in the show, which translates into countless kicks, jumps, motorcycle flips, and more. I wouldn’t mind being her when I grow up.
I would assume that an action heavy show such as this would be brought to you by men, but no, a petite powerhouse, Juliette Feld, is the force behind the show, working with her sisters Nicole and Alana Feld to run the largest family entertainment business in the world, which includes other productions I used to equate with super charged testosterone: Supercross, Arena Cross, and Monster Jam.
Beyond Marvel’s team of women, there are other female superheroes stepping into public glory – ever heard of a little movie called Wonder Woman? It seems brands that commonly focus on the men have finally come around to the realization that women are just as capable, and often more complex and interesting, than the dudes, making them prime candidates to be the stars of these multi-million dollar franchises.
With the increasing unease I’ve felt with the American culture, I’ve been heartened by the fortified power and sense of purpose women like this (both fictional and real) are unapologetically splashing into the world. Members of this phenomenal gender are creating this change through words, images, acting, business decisions, and a multitude of other ways they’re allowing their intricate, ballsy (or “womby”?), and paradigm shifting roars be seen, felt, and heard.
The cover of the Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Women of Ski Patrol 2017 calendar makes me proud to be a woman. The image features 13 badass female ski patrollers radiating strength and confidence while hanging from all ends of a gondola: and the fact that all the proceeds from this calendar go towards funding avalanche safety education scholarships amps up my pride level.
In a field predominately filled with men it’s inspiring to see the women that step up to perform avalanche control, respond to injuries on the mountain, and help ensure the overall safety on the mountain, be featured.
The stunning images captured by acclaimed photographer Keoki Flagg do an excellent job of exuding the vibe veteran patroller Robin McElroy describes: “The Squaw Valley Ski Patrol Team draws adrenaline junkies, and I’m definitely in that category. There’s a sense of excitement to our work with starting in the dark and not knowing what the day will bring. There is also an inherent risk of avalanches for anyone who loves skiing powder and exploring our mountains, which is why I believe avalanche education is so valuable. We are proud to have turned a fun idea into a beautiful calendar that will directly benefit our community.”
A native of Anchorage, Alaska, McElroy learned to ski at a young age and grew up ski racing with Alyeska Ski Club and Spyder in Girdwood, Alaska. After joining the ski and snowboarding club at University of Colorado, Boulder, McElroy taught skiing and competed on the Freesking World Tour Circuit before joining the ski patrol at Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows in 2006.
Did I mention the term “badass”?
To check out these powerful photos buy your calendar here.
Have you ever gone on a vacation and felt a need for a vacation when you returned home? Or, gone on vacation and arrived home feeling like you missed out on memory making during the trip? Cabo San Lucas, Mexico offers a lovely alchemy of relaxing and adventurous opportunities sure to send you home feeling rested, yet electric with memories of stimulating experiences.
Cabo’s desert climate, warm waters, luxurious yet playful accommodations and activities in water, sand or spa, create ideal conditions for vacation magic to grow. If you’re looking for a destination that will “magically” strip your inhibitions, and give you a tender loving massage (or mud bath) in between your bursts of adventure, get on the next plane to this land of milk and honey (and tequila.)
The following activities will help you and your Cabo getaway develop undeniable chemistry.
Burst your “safe zone” bubble right out of the gate by hopping in a UTV and exploring the desert that flows onto white sand beaches. You’ll feel much more deserving of that margarita by the pool after coating yourself in a few layers of thrill, and dirt.
It’s launching! Ya whoo! My newest course on Daily OM “How to Handle Life Like a Badass” launched today and it’s currently mega-super-duper affordable. Youll find its spiel below. Let me know if you have any questions.
Sending you love!
Do you dwell in the darkness, even when your life is full of light? Do you live in dread of mistakes, or perceived misfortunes? Do challenges eclipse your ability to see the forest for the trees?
Would you like to feel excited by the growth opportunities in your challenges? Would you like a metaphorical flashlight to guide you through the darkness, out into a brighter reality? Would you like to open your spirit to a knowing that the life you are meant to lead is colorful, dynamic, and blissful?
This course will help you step into that brighter world. It will adjust the shade of your challenges from murky blacks and browns to vibrant blues, greens, purples, pinks, reds, yellows, and gold. Together we will unravel the tight belief that challenges are wrong, bad, or debilitating. The exciting bumps in life are not to be feared but examined, explored, and honored. A road with rolling hills, sweeping curves, unexpected dips, and steep inclines is much more thrilling than a straight flat road leading to more of the same.
In the space of this course you will learn to awaken your inherent ability to take a skilled mind, body, and spirit to this bumpy road of life. You will not only learn to see challenges as benefits but will tap into your inner knowledge of how to pull the insights, epiphanies, and enlightenment from life’s struggles. On the other side of this learning you will find yourself freed from anticipatory fear and anxiety, waking each day with an excited curiosity for what is to come, and a knowing that you can roll through it all- expanding your beautiful soul in every moment.
Each lesson will be complimented by a Guided Meditation recording, serving to integrate the core elements of the lesson with your subconscious mind.
Solidifying Your Self Worth
Detangling from Anticipatory Fear and Anxiety
Honoring Unpredictability and Giving It Sacred Worth
Changing the Color of Challenges
Having a Dialogue with Challenges
Writing Out the Challenges
How Body Awareness Can Lead to Acceptance
Relearning Your Ability to Have Unconditional Fun
Now is the time to step into your renewed life, where all good is coming to you.
“We focus on 6 key developmental skills that run deeply within play. They are improving cognitive skills, honing communication skills, increasing creativity, processing and expressing emotions, developing physical skills, and enhancing social skills.”
Breastfeeding can really suck- but it doesn’t have to (well, at least not in the emotional sense.) Much of the anxiety that comes with breastfeeding is birthed from the mother’s uncertainty regarding how much milk her baby is consuming. Sure, we can keep a tally of soiled diapers, but if a baby still seems like she’s hollering for more, many new mamas panic and switch to formula- even if their body is pumping out plenty of milk.
What to do?
Enter Momsense, a new product designed to record and report how much baby is actually consuming by using a tiny sensor placed behind baby’s ear that captures the sounds of baby’s swallowing to determine how much milk is being gulped down- the information is then sent to a program in mom’s smartphone (on Airplane mode) that allows her to keep track of how much baby receives during each meal. Cool!
Remembering the sandy-bodied, messy-haired, laughing kids (and mommas!) of Roatan, the Honduran island I used to live on in the Caribbean, gives me an itch to hightail it back there, or a similar beach community in Nicaragua, with my partner and toddler in tow. The livin’ was easy and parents reeked of relaxation versus fatigue and stress.
While I love parenting in the small town of Ojai, California, I can’t help but fantasize what it would be like to return to the slow pace, easy smiles, and lush surroundings of island life.
As I contemplate the decision to move my young family out of the United States, I’ve been recalling these key differences between parenting in the U.S. and Central America (some make me want to go, some make me want to stay) …
#MomConfession I dreaded the mountain of ribboned tissue paper and bags at my baby shower. I was grateful, but. So. Much. Stuff. I was already having trouble fitting the essentials into my tiny living space and didn’t know how the stuffed animals galore would be integrated.
I get it- stuff is what you get and give during a baby shower. But, what if there was another option? A great gift that would create lasting value for the baby, and wouldn’t give the mother an additional thing to find a home for? Enter Stockpile, a gift card you can purchase and load with stock from a company of your choice.
I was able to interview the mind behind Stockpile, Avi Lele, and he didn’t disappoint.
Bailey: What was your background before becoming the CEO of Stockpile?
Avi: I started out as an engineering major at MIT, got a law degree at Harvard, and practiced law for 16 years before founding Stockpile. My specialty was patent litigation, and our cases involved complicated, cutting-edge technology. But technology can be intimidating to many people, so every time we went to court, we had to find a way to make the technology accessible – easy to understand and even entertaining – so lay judges and juries had the information they needed to decide the case.
Food prep has always been the metaphorical poison oak rubbing on my leg when I go camping- my main criteria being “what will be the least fussy food to make?” After spending half a day using my mad-Tetris skills packing my car with half my house, I have no desire to be a short order cook of crappy food when I get to the camp site.
But, what if campfire food could be both easy and delicious? (I would go camping more.)
I spoke with Shane Hammett, avid camper and chef de cuisine at the Lone Eagle Grille in the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, to get the (beefed-up) skinny on how to make campout eating a (easy) fine dining experience- albeit fine dining a la fold out chairs, dust and bug spray.
Here’s how to jazz up your campfire cuisine without having to skip the hike because you need to clean up after lunch and start prepping dinner.
1. Build the Right Kind of Fire.
Trying to cook on a campfire without the right kind of fire is like trying to scale a mountain trail in heels- you can do it, but it will take a long time- and it will suck.
“Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent.” Gabriel Dee’s Daily Om course, Change Your Life With the Power of Death opens with this powerful quote from Steve Jobs then goes on to lighten all your fears by supporting you in releasing the ultimate fear- the fear of death.
Death is a topic rooted deep in my mind that I never let out to play- my breathing becomes shallow, my thoughts darken and my hope falters when I ruminate on the idea of death, or allow myself to re-feel the emotions attached to a loved one passing away. This course flipped my script of death- shining light on how it can be used to enhance life, versus elicit fear and avoidance.
As Gabriel writes in the course, “If you are a spiritual seeker, I highly advise you to follow these teachers on the road to death. Because the road to death eventually leads to enlightenment. The path of darkness leads to light.” How lovely does that sound? To gain the ability to see the light in the darkness of death, to even pull a potent form of love, hope and joy from the acceptance of it?
This course doesn’t paint a picture that “someday you will be gone and that’s it- deal with it”- it offers the possibility that by accepting and honoring the knowing that one day your body will die you step into your immortality. You step beyond the physical aspects of death to explore what it means on a spiritual level, and what it can mean for your current life- how it can inform your thoughts and actions for the better.
In addition, this course offers valuable lessons for parents hoping to raise a unique individual, while facing the barrier of unconsciously conditioning the child to become a copy of themselves. (Guilty!) The course doesn’t admonish this behavior, but supports us in examining this phenomenon and creating space to make different decisions in how we raise our children. It also provides a powerful lesson in how to begin raising the unique child within us all who was affected by our parent’s desires to mold us into a version of themselves.
This course will serve to liberate you from the restrictions you currently have between your current self, and your best self by helping you find peace with the idea of death. As Gabriel writes in the course, “It kills fear because it faces you with the source of all fears, the fear of death. It kills procrastination because it takes away the illusion of time. And finally, it kills your mind because it helps you find who you really are beyond your ideas.”
If you choose to explore this course, you’ll dive deep into the following teachings over the course of eight lessons and
How to develop lasting motivation effortlessly without willpower.
How to prioritize between important and meaningless activities.
How to live an authentic and meaningful life instead of just surviving.
How to eradicate all of your fears and find courage.
How to find your true purpose and start creating it.
How to stop procrastination and develop a sense of urgency
How to really achieve your dreams and live up to your potential?
How to make sure that you really live, love and matter.
If you want the motivation to step into your full power to change your world, take this course.
One of my Daily Om courses was reviewed! Yee haw! Here it is 🙂
Childbirth and an entry into motherhood, especially for the first time for an expecting woman, can be a nerve wracking experience both from a mental and physical standpoint. While bringing a new child into the world is truly a unique and exciting experience for both parents that brings a great amount of joy, and happiness into their lives, the experience can be draining. Having the access to the knowledge that has been proven to work with childbirths throughout hundreds of years can be invaluable to a mother and couple going through a pregnancy. Instead of searching for answers to every potential issue that may arise during the pregnancy, and being forced to be more reactive than proactive during the process, there is a great solution to mothers, of all types, that will help provide them with the opportunity to experience only the joys of childbirth and few of the downsides.
DailyOM’s Utilizing Ancient Birthing Wisdom course, designed by Bailey Gaddis, is truly a must have and its price is something that hardly anyone else can match in terms of the value you get for the money you pay. Bailey Gaddis, the course’s founder is a mother, educator on the subject of HypnoBirthing, she is certified as a birth Doula as well as a certified Hypnotherapist. Gaddis is also the founder of the Ojai Valley Birth collective. As a mother who experienced various challenges on her way to motherhood, Gaddis devoted her life and career to helping empower other women in the hope she can help inspire them to rise above the fear of childbirth and live feeling empowered, courageous and blissful.