Holidays, New Motherhood

It Takes a Village

Over the weekend, we spent time decorating our home for Christmas and helped out some friends as well. I brought Chase along too and he absolutely loved every decoration. Every decoration was an experience. The angels? Magnificent. He wanted to eat the nose off of Frosty and cuddle with Santa. Which he did. [See below].

But as we ate, watched Christmas movies, and got Chase ready for bed before I drove home, I realized how important this is. You hear the phrase “it takes a village” probably all the time. But that saying is absolutely on point.

As a new mom, you’re set up in isolation. The house seems to close in. You don’t want to travel out because it’s too much of a process. But this is exactly where you’re COMMUNITY is. Your village is outside your doorstep waiting for you. Your baby, you and your family are better for you sharing motherhood. It’s not a solo sport.

Chase loved getting together with his sitter and “helping” decorate. He enjoyed seeing his friends and getting to spend time with others. They helped bathe him, feed him, and change him while I got a chance to eat without being

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bothered. Having this kind of help can never be taken for granted.

So if you’re a new mom and you feel alone, don’t. Go find your village, go find your friends, and bring your little ones. It’s so good for your social and mental health and awesome for your little one. Enlarge your community today.

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Family, New Motherhood, Working Moms

How to Enjoy Your Mornings, Working Moms

This was me and my little guy yesterday morning. See, we have this little routine. When I see him stirring on the video monitor, Greg and I go into his room and pick him up. He sees us and instantly starts beaming, as if to say, “You came back for me!” It truly is one of the highlights of my day. But I sort of forgot about how wonderful it is.

I started waking up just a half an hour earlier, 5:30 a.m. And just by doing that, I started to notice things. Like how happy I am for that first cup of coffee, or how I love listening to the news when it’s still quiet. I forgot how much I love to go into my little man’s room and see his beaming face, so happy that his parents are with him.

In the craziness of life, we prioritize a lot of things that just aren’t important. We chase people, jobs, relationships, goals, many of which aren’t really put in our hearts. So instead of loading up your schedule with all of the things that aren’t the most important to you, maybe we all take a “grown-up time out.”

During my “time out” I noticed that I had a bunch of different choices laid out before me. As I looked at them I thought, which one do I feel led to do? Which one leads me closer to my talents, my calling? When we get super quiet and away from the noise, we start to see things more clearly.

I’m not going to forget how awesome it is to hug my little guy in the morning. Many times that work outfit gets buggers and turd on it and I need to change. Instead of being frustrated, I try and remember his smile. Because it won’t last. One day he’ll be dreading me waking him up and not smiling in fleece footie pajamas. And I don’t want that part to end.

Treasure the simpleness in your mornings, working moms. There’s so much toughness but there’s so much beauty too if we’ll only take the time to look.

Enjoy it.

Fun, Mom Life, New Motherhood

📣A “Day-Off Work” For A Mom 📣

I woke up around 5:45 a.m. and considered if I should get up right away, or enjoy the silence and my cozy bed. But I knew I had things to do, so I put my feet on the floor, grabbed the baby monitor and my phone.
 
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First things first, I brewed the coffee for the morning and read a morning devotional. I thanked God for the day and asked for help.
 
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Once I was done with my morning quiet time, I got to work. I first checked the monitor to verify Chase was not yet up… yes I still have time, I thought.
 
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I bent down to pick up socks on the floor for what seemed to be, the hundredth time. They were adult sized and not mine. After I was done picking up jeans, socks, and unloading the dishwasher, the dryer stopped spinning with Chase’s clean sheets. He was sleeping on a blanket on his mattress pad because I just hadn’t gotten to it sooner… another “mom fail”.
 
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I went to sort through a pile of bills — some to be paid, some to be paid “later”. After folding the laundry and running the dishwasher, I heard some angry noises on the monitor and went to get Chase. He sat up in bed looking at me with the biggest puppy-dog eyes. I picked him up and he snuggled to my neck. I appreciated the moment and breathed in the baby smell, and maybe some poop. We changed his diaper and gave him a bottle to play on the floor of his room. And I went back to work.
 
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I made the beds, swept the floor, and got out the vacuum… I looked under the couch and found an old bottle of Chase’s and wondered how that got there? I folded clothes and put them away. By this time, Chase was annoyed he wasn’t getting any attention and I went to him. Did I eat this morning, I thought? Did I shower? I hadn’t but I couldn’t remember. I played with Chase and put him down for a nap.
 
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While he napped I tried to: shower, eat, read an entire book I meant to finish two weeks ago, work and watch re-runs on Hulu. I accomplished hardly any of those things.
 
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That night while my husband worked the night-shift and Chase was in bed, I cried. I was tired, burnt out and feeling so neglected. Because I was. But I’m a mom, and you are too. And we do “all the things”. Anything that needs to be done we do. There is nothing too gross or too hard that doesn’t somehow get thrown into our “job description”. We just do it. We’re tired, hungry, a bit cranky, and even lonely. But we do it.
 
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And I want to take this post not to offer a solution. Not a top 5 list to make it better. But to just LISTEN. 🌺😊
 
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So if you’re a mom, and this is your experience, like it, share it, or comment your mom moments below. ⤵️
Fun, New Motherhood

The Day I Took A Shower — Childless

Today I had the pleasure of getting Election Day off from work. However, I still kept on my childcare for today so I could enjoy the day a little more fully. Any other moms understand? You love your little people, but it’s not truly a “day off” with them at your heels all day.

What did I do with my day off you ask? Well I’ll tell you. My most memorable and best part of my day was getting into the shower in peace. There wasn’t a little person protesting in the next room that I wasn’t playing with him. I went in, I could shave both of my legs (wow!) AND rinse all of the shampoo from my hair without pretending there was a water shortage.

It’s amazing how we moms suddenly appreciate all the little “freedoms” everyday now versus pre-baby. Taking a shower in peace, getting your laundry put away without your son taking it back out the drawers, or simply unloading groceries without a baby carrier…

And I’ll tell you moms, when I got out of that shower and put on my robe, I felt like a million bucks. I couldn’t believe how much good that time was for me. My brain felt lighter, my body felt renewed, and I was super peaceful.

If you have the chance to get someone to regularly take the kiddos for a day here and there, do it. Because the crying, the wiping the noses, the poopy diapers — they wear on us. And we so desperately need that shower moment. To jump in and take the day to decompress and find ourselves again. To remember who we are and blow off the steam and anxiety.

So do it.  Call up Grandma, Grandpa, or the family friend. Set it on the calendar if you have to. And take your shower, paint your nails, see your girlfriends — without your kiddos. You’ll feel like a much better mom when you do. Trust me.

Photo Credit

Family, Growth, New Motherhood

For the Mom Who Misses Her Freedom

I sat in the nursery, looking at the blank walls and the sleeping baby in the crib. I saw all the mess on the floor from clothes tags that had been ripped in a hurry, to an empty formula bottle. And I sat on the rocker in a state of complete exhaustion.

As I sat there, I looked at my precious boy in the crib, in his napper. He was swaddled sweetly, sleep peacefully, breathing to a hypnotic rhythm. All the beauty around me, a beautiful mess, if  you will, and I felt horrible. IMG_1340

I wouldn’t call it post-par tum depression. I wouldn’t call it baby blues. But it was this deep and knowing feeling that my life, as I knew it, was over. It was the death of the old me, very much like marriage, and the birth of something new, a new life.

In that moment, that moment of feeling upset about all the changes, I felt guilty too. Shouldn’t I be so in awe of my baby that it doesn’t matter? Shouldn’t I be so in love with him and our new life that I’m overwhelmed with happiness? The thoughts of how I should have felt caused me to feel guilty.

Sitting there, I’d think about how my life was now reduced to feeding and nap schedules. I couldn’t just go on a date with my spouse without having a sitter lined up. I couldn’t just get in the car and get groceries without carrying what seemed like 10 million bags and bottles. The simple ways that my life had changed began to suffocate me, as this realization dawned on me all at once.

I think it’s fair to say that when you’re expecting, you’re super excited and maybe a little anxious. Everyone tells you to enjoy it, and how quickly it’ll all pass away. But no one really preps you for the insane amount of change that will hit you. all. at. once.

Once the epidural of the “in love” baby phase wears away, and the sleep-deprived coma sets in, don’t be shocked to hear yourself say, “What have I done?”.

And moms, it’s okay to feel that way. I’d venture to guess we have all thought or said the same thing. It’s totally normal, and it will wear off, just like the “in love” baby phase. There’s so many great adventures waiting you and your baby, and it’s healthy to allow yourself to feel upset or disappointed from time to time. Sometimes phoning a fellow mom friend or getting out for a girls day can really help. But don’t allow yourself to think what you’re feeling is wrong or selfish. It’s all changing and all normal.

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Health, New Motherhood, Wellness

How to Love Your Body Again, After Baby

I remember the one thing I told myself when I had my son. I will do my best to stay healthy, I don’t want stretch marks, and I will NOT have a C-section. All the things I told myself because I didn’t want to “lose” the body I had grown to be so comfortable in. However, as new moms, we really don’t get the choice of what we look like post- baby.

I was waking up in the OR after having Chase. We had to have an emergency C-section due to some complications. I felt relieved to have my baby, but I knew I had been cut open and feared what my scar would look like.

  • Will I ever feel the same?
  • Will I ever get to wear a bikini again or to look “normal” again?
  • Will my body “bounce back” or be less squishy?

Some women give birth, and they immediately look like nothing happened. I can tell you that that was not my experience, nor is it the experience of most. While I was very healthy before delivery, my body had been through Hell. I looked like I had been mowed over back a Mack truck. I couldn’t bend because of my stitches or use the bathroom. I was pretty stationary for a while. I longed to hold my new son, but I also longed to be “me” again.

I think this issue of loving our bodies goes deeper than the scale. You’ve been in your body for a long time, you’ve grown comfortable in your own skin. Until pregnancy comes, and everything changes. Suddenly you’re forced to make peace with a whole new body.

These are my tips to trying to love your body again, after your baby:

  1. First, take the necessary time to heal. Don’t push yourself beyond what you can handle. Enjoy a cup of tea when you feel weepy — your hormones have been all over the place and it’s completely understandable that you may feel “off” for a while. Enjoy some Netflix and quiet times with your baby. Focus on healing — that’s first.
  2. Once you feel yourself again and heal (and have doctor approval), try to start walking your baby with the stroller. It usually feels impossible to leave the house at the beginning, there’s just so. much. stuff. But invest in a great walking/jogging stroller.
  3. Accept the things that are different and love the things that make you proud. I know when I had Chase my stomach line separated a little, diastasis recti. Even when I lost most of the weight, I noticed my stomachs width was wider. But I also got very strong arms. I carry a baby and his essentials and I became so strong. And so have you, and so will you.
  4. Give yourself permission to feel less than perfect.
  5. Once you’re ready to lose the weight, and have talked to your doctor, refer to my pots on Losing the Baby Weight.

While facing that your body isn’t quite the same, it’s also true that it’s not “destroyed”. By eating right and exercising, a lot of the changes, they disappear over time. The platitude that “you’re awesome and just gave life” didn’t really work for me. I wanted to love myself and my son. So I focused on what I could control and how I could feel good about myself again. And so can you.

It is possible to love your body again, in time.

Fun, Mom Life, New Motherhood

My Biggest Pet-Peeve: “Mom Brain”

Here it is everyone… One of my most detested phrases of all time.

“Don’t worry, Betty. You just have “mom brain.”

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Let me explain why that makes me super annoyed, and probably may annoy you too. Let’s face it, before becoming a mom, no one really understands or appreciates just how much they do. It’s not until you wake up at 3 a.m. with a screaming child that you really understand “motherhood”.

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Yet those who use the term “mom brain” are usually not mothers at all, not even close.

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For those who don’t know what moms do, let me just explain what happens in their brains, all day long. You know how the credits play at the end of a movie? Well imagine that happening in your head. all. day. long. Yup — that’s what happens for us mothers. It’s a litany of lists that never ends. Only there’s no fun music in the background.

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Odds are, that every single day, a mother is doing the following:

-working full-time outside the home
-picking up and dropping off children
-driving home with a screaming child
-wiping butts that aren’t her own
-calling the insurance company
-cooking meals
-assuring Verizon wireless that the bill was sent
-calling spectrum to reset the modem
-emailing her colleagues
-laundry…laundry…more laundry…

And … so much more.

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If any other “non-mom” human was responsible for the amount of things that moms have in their charge, they’d be given an award. No other person is required or expected to “have it all together”. But somehow moms are… because they term “mom brain” exists.

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So maybe next time you hear the term, you’ll understand why these ladies deserve something better. They do more than anyone else and outwork even the best of employees.

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Moms are superheros, rock-stars, and they deserve way more slack than is given.

Who’s with me?

#nomombrain #momsrock

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New Baby, New Motherhood

What to buy for a Newborn? Halp!?

Hello mamas and soon to be mamas. I’ll tell you what, I was super lost when I was about to have my baby. I had no clue as to what I really needed versus what Babys’Rus and BuyBuy Baby wanted me to have. Clueless I tell you! But I’m here now to give a fair warning to all you friends now as to what I think you actually need.

  1. Crib: Some choose to do a bassinet. We felt it was a waste. We did use a napper seat that vibrated for our baby to sleep in the first 3 months when he was really little, and then transitioned to the crib directly.
  2. Baby Video Monitor: Make your life easier. It’s so much easier when you can SEE them not just HEAR them. Babies are nosey. Especially in their sleep. Get the video monitor — no wifi needed either, just the regular vanilla video.
  3. Clothing: That’s fairly obvious. Depending on your baby’s size, which you really won’t know until he/she is born, get some newborn outfits but mostly 3 months and 6 months clothing. Those little suckers grow quickly and you’ll want all the next sizes now so you won’t be leaving the house during pumping sessions and nap times.
  4. Burp clothes: You’ll need quite a few of these. They’ll kind of become like a decor piece at your home, scattered everywhere. Some reflux is fairly normal in newborns and spit-ups are inevitable. So get quite a few.
  5. Newborn bottles and bottle brush: Depending on if you’ll breastfeed versus bottle-feed, this depends. But at some point you need bottles so others can feed baby. And you’ll need a brush in order to clean them out and to clean out your breast pump components. Make sure you get in all the nooks and crannies because mold can grow, I didn’t realize this. The sanitizers are pretty much pointless, don’t buy that. Just get a good bottle brush and some soap.
  6. Diaper bag and lots of diapers and wipes: Fairly simple and clear, but oh so necessary. We did pampers and felt like they hold up very well. For the wipes, we just did a generic non-sented brand. For night-time as baby gets bigger, invest in the overnight diapers, they truly are a lifesaver. Diaper pail? We had one but felt it was cumbersome and just another bag of trash to take out. We simplified and just used our main garbage for diapers since we take out the trash daily.
  7. Humidifier: We got one that doubles as a night light. This is great especially since most times you enter baby’s room it’s dark and a light can be super handy to have. This is an awesome piece to help them breath, relax, and can be act as a white noise machine.
  8. Rocking Chair/Nursing Chair: Whether you breast or bottle-feed, you will need a comfy chair to sit in in your baby’s nursery. So find something super comfy. Doesn’t have to be the ones at the baby store, La-Z-boy’s work too… 😉 Then they can be added to your living room once you’re done!
  9. Extra fitted sheets for the crib: They pee. And some days, you just don’t have time to wash the one set, you’ll need more. And don’t bother with the bumpers — they just make it harder to change the mattress and are a baby hazard.
  10. Infant Bathtub: They are tiny, and unless you can hold them and still bath them without freaking out, you’ll need an infant tub and soap. I skipped the baby towels because they aren’t any different than adult towels. Plus they grow out of them, thus making it a waste of money.

That’s all I can really think that I had to have right away. But you’ll probably get so much extra stuff from family and friends — which is awesome. Just know that a baby doesn’t warrant as much stuff as you think. 🙂

Fun, Mom Life, New Motherhood

–Bedtime Routine–

It’s been a day mamas… do you agree? Does it feel like it’s been a week already and tonight should be FRIDAY? Yup — me too.

Here’s what we just got done with, Chase’s bedtime routine:

6:30 p.m. Get home from work and unload baby, carrier, his bag, my bags, coffee mugs etc. Get in door and hunt for the keys for 20 minutes.

6:45 p.m. Put Chase in his room for some play time while starting his bath. Watch him perk up as he here’s the water running (see the bath time video from last night if you missed it — it was a hoot if I do say so myself).

7:00 p.m. Get Chase in his seat in the bath tub and let him splash me and himself for about 15 minutes, upon which he’ll try to climb around.

7:15 p.m. Put Chase in his PJs and try to keep him “contained” on the changing table — make sure he doesn’t fall off.

7:20 p.m. Read some bedtimes stories and say some goodnight prayers.

7:30 p.m. Kisses and cuddles and then it’s in the crib for Chase.

7:35 p.m. Turn off the lights, close the door and do a dance. Because it’s bedtime mom, your favorite time, and it’s all yours… all 2 1/2 – 3 hours of it.

8:30 – 9 p.m. (the timing is a little elusive) Try to read, paint your nails, catch up on life, read a book, netflix, in this time span. But will most likely end up drifting to sleep on the couch too little too early.

You rock mamas!

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Mom Life, New Motherhood, Work Freedom

THE Childcare Solution for Working Moms

📣I started with my list… every possible childcare center within a 40 mile radius of home/work. I wasn’t even looking at prices; I was just trying to find an opening, or even a possibility of getting an opening in the next 6 months for an infant.
This below… is how it went [you might want some coffee while you read, or calming music in the background ]:

 

“Soooo… if I want to get on the “list” for my 4 month old (at the time) how long would that be, sir?” I asked, hoping for the best… but realizing this was the TENTH call I’d made, I knew what would come next.

“Well our newest openings will be eight months from now for an infant, and then he’ll be a toddler, so that would be…”

I interrupted — “When he’s five? You might have openings when he’s five and in kindergarten?” I didn’t mean to be sarcastic and matter-of-fact but this really wasn’t my first rodeo with these folks.

“Haha, I don’t like to say never, butttt…we do have a pretty long wait list.”
“No I understand, there’s just not a whole lot available for infants these days. Just out of curiosity, what’s your weekly tuition rate?”

“For an infant, it’s about $250 a week, $230 a week for a toddler.”

“Hmm… that’s great, we’d get that big $20 off the weekly rate… and do you do partial weeks?”

“No we do not ma’am, unfortunately.”
“Haha, offff course you don’t. Thanks so much.”

“Have a nice day ma’am.”

“You too.”
Click… rinse, repeat.

After doing a lot of calls, consuming innumerable cups of coffee, and wanting to jump off my balcony a couple times, I regrouped. I had an epiphany, if you will. The childcare solution for a working mom may not be childcare. Here me out. The solution may not be an actual daycare.

Who knows of a retiree who loves kids and needs some extra income? Who has a grandma, and aunt or an uncle who could watch your cutie a couple days a week? I’m sure you do. In your community there are so many baby boomers who would love to watch a little person a few days a week for little or even no pay, just for fun.

Let’s face it. The traditional, brick and mortar childcare centers are super expensive. You don’t know what goes on there, you read the reviews, you hope it’s great – especially since MOST of your paycheck goes there. Maybe the government will come up with a new idea for childcare… ehh most likely not.

My solution to the childcare dilemma, the getting on the lists, the crazy mornings is this: find a trusted baby boomer and let them watch your children.  They are in your church, your community, your family; they may be your friends. But they are out there and definitely could use a new found purpose and some extra cash to fill a need that you desperately have.

This is what I did. I have two boomers watching my son during the week. They divide up the task and do a great job. Not only do you avoid the “lists” the mayhem, and get personal care for your babies, but you also get some knowledge. Odds are your boomer has been a parent before, they know stuff. They know about eating solids, the blowout diapers, putting cereal in bottles, etc. And their knowledge and sharing parenthood with you can be so helpful and rewarding.

It really does take a village, and that’s okay. So moms, avoid the lists and find your boomers.

 

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