Wednesday, July 30, 2014

MomAssembly: Hey, I Found the Instruction Manual!

*The following post is brought to you by MomAssembly. All opinions are my own.

I am a planner. I am a reader. I am a researcher. I am a direction follower. I was a good student. I like to be prepared.

When we knew Madison was on her way, I signed up for websites. I joined message boards. I had piles of books on sleep, nursing, behavior, milestones, health and happiness. I had three different pregnancy and parenting magazines arriving at the house every month. It was like I was daring the universe to quiz me. Go ahead, ask me a hard one! Teething remedies? Got 'em! Sleep schedule? Done! Nursing? Please.

I was totally prepared.

Then she arrived and I couldn't believe that the hospital was just letting us leave with this tiny human. I had studied and studied and I wasn't sure I was ready for this. How could they think I was? Somehow, even with all my studying, when it came down to it, I was clueless. What I really wanted was for someone to just tell me what I was supposed to do.

And it turns out that for all my planning, babies don't actually come with instruction manuals. All that reading I'd done? Neither of my babies seemed to agree wholeheartedly with the literature. And as I sat on the floor of the nursery one night, with a squalling seven week old, repeating the mantra crying peaks at six weeks crying peaks at six weeks crying peaks at six weeks, I found myself wishing for a real instruction manual, one that could get me through the tough spots when the books weren't cutting it. I wanted one again when the teething started. And when the toddler years hit. And, please God, when the potty made an appearance. And sibling rivalry. And preschool power struggles. The quizzes keep coming and I can't find the darn manual!

At MomAssembly, co-founders Jill Spivak, LCSW and Jennifer Waldburger, MSW have come up with the next best thing. In 2012, Jill and Jennifer brought their nearly two decades of experience as family and parent educators and created an online Parenting University with over 70 hours of video courses taught by nationally renowned experts in their fields.

The courses are organized in helpful categories such as, Birth to 4 Months, 4 to 8 Months, 8 to 12 Months, 12 to 24 Months, Your Preschooler through Age 5, and even a section, Just for You, with courses on balancing motherhood and marriage, finding balance, and even coping with postpartum depression. There’s also a list of topics in the sidebar, like Discipline, Feeding and Nutrition, School Age Children, and Special Needs.

When I heard about this initially, I wasn't sure if videos were the way to go. Remember, I'm a reader. Online courses? That means finding the time to take them. Could I sit at my computer, watching a video until it was over while the laundry piled up? Wouldn't that actually make my stress level worse? Would there be a quiz at the end?

Turns out, no quiz. And no huge time commitment. Each class had a few segments, most of which fell into the 5-10 range. And if the baby starts to cry or the two year old needs a diaper or your four year old wants a water refill, just stop the class and pick it up again whenever time is available. I love that the courses are just as helpful to listen to as to watch, meaning that I can set-up my laptop or tablet or even my phone, on the kitchen counter while I make dinner.  It’s all online, so whatever is easiest for you is what will work. Multitasking: a mom's best friend.

The course that really hit home for me was How to Turn Sibling Rivalry into Sibling Camaraderie. Now with two kiddos, it's not just dealing with their individual issues, it's dealing with them together. They love each other, then they're pushing each other's buttons. They fight, I separate them, and they both wail for their sister to come back to them. I needed some tips to help my close in age sisters get along for more than five minutes at time. I also made sure to check out Master the Art of Balancing Love and Discipline for some peaceful parenting techniques and naturally, Discipline Dos and Don'ts. Check that one out here.

You can either get a month-to-month plan for $7.99 or a yearly subscription, which comes out to $3.99 a month. Both plans include unlimited access to over 500 classes, downloadable handouts, and workbooks. You can add up to four family members or caregivers to an account (hello grandma, babysitter and dad)! They also both come with a seven-day free trial.

But as a special offer to readers of From Meredith to Mommy, MomAssembly will give the first 10 readers who purchase either one of their plans a free month’s membership when they use this link.

Check MomAssembly out on Facebook!
Check MomAssembly out on Facebook!
No matter how much you cram ahead of time, babies test you. Toddlers test you. Preschoolers test you. And I have a feeling the testing won't stop.  MomAssembly gives us the instruction book we all wish the hospital had remembered to include when we brought these babies home.

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