Stacey Ann Weiland, MD
Dr. Weiland is a mother of a 14-year-old daughter and 9- and 7-year-old sons, and an internist/gastroenterologist in Denver, CO.
What is your favorite parenting tip? I think that my best parenting tip is that there is a wide range of “normal.” I remember being so concerned when my children were babies regarding the timing of: their first teeth; sitting up; walking; talking; etc. I was obsessed with all of their growth chart data as well—my daughter always had a really big head! Genetics play a huge role, and sometimes there are just other factors that we cannot account for. Generally speaking, however, as long as your child is healthy and is growing and progressing, be assured, all of the normal milestones will come.
What has surprised you most about parenting? I think that what surprised me most is how much I love it!! I was never really a “baby person” before I had my own children. If someone would ask me if I wanted to hold or feed their baby just for fun, I would politely say, “no thanks.” However, after I had my first child I felt like something turned on. There is so much warmth and pleasure in holding your baby for the first time, kissing that booboo, seeing a smile, receiving a hug, and hearing a whispered “I love you, Mommy.” I worked so hard my whole life to become a physician, thinking that that would be the answer to happiness. But I was wrong, it was in becoming a mother.
How do you get your kids to eat healthy food? Our three children have very well rounded, adventurous, and healthy diets. I think that we did several things to achieve this. First, we always ate with our children. Even when they were babies, they would be sitting in their high chair during our dinner. They would have their baby food, of course, but we would always give them a little taste of whatever we were eating, too.
Second, we exposed them to a lot of variety. We took them to all kinds of restaurants—Italian, Chinese, Indian, etc.; and always encouraged them to try new things. I always gave them an out, too. If they didn’t like something, I thanked them for trying it and then let them have something else.
Finally, I like to reintroduce things that they may not have liked in the past. Children’s taste buds definitely change with time. With my daughter, in particular, who is now 12 years old, I found that foods she was not so crazy about a year or so ago, can suddenly turn into a favorite when she tries it again.
How do you work exercise into your family life? I think that the best way to consistently work out, run, bike, etc. is to schedule it. As new mothers, we are tied to our children’s feeding, sleeping, and playing schedules. When they are older, were are confined by their school and activity schedules. And, if we return to work, we are ruled by our work schedule. Without scheduling time for ourselves, whether it be for a spa day, or a work out day, we can never find the time.
How do you recharge your batteries? I have a lot of hobbies, including gardening and reading. I love getting together with friends for lunch. And, of course, I love spending time with my kids. Scheduling time to be with each of them individually makes a huge difference. Since we have three, I think that their little quarrels amongst themselves have a lot to do with vying for my and my husband’s attention. They love having one of us just to themselves. Sometimes, they almost act like different children! Who are these people?