You’re a Mom…But That’s Not All

My kids are my life, and pretty much everything I do revolves around them. However, I’m a firm believer that you have to take care of yourself first and you have to have your own life outside of being a mother. Yes, it is my most important job and my highest calling. But I believe that in order to be the best mother I can be for my children, I must be healthy not only physically, but mentally. If I do nothing but parent 24/7 and do nothing that is enjoyable to me, I will get frustrated, irritated, annoyed, and burnt out. When this happens, you become like a volcano just building and building until an eruption. A lot of times you take things out on your spouse or your kids or your friends or other family members, and this isn’t fair to those people.

Take time for yourself.

Take time to relax and clear your mind. Take time to do things that you enjoy–that don’t involve the kids. When you do these things for yourself, you are helping release more of the good chemicals in your brain that make you feel happy and satisfied with life. If you are feeling satisfied, you will be in a better mood, have more patience, and will be more willing to read that dumb dinosaur book to your kid for the 57th time today.

Happy moms are the best moms and you can’t be happy if you never take any time for self care.

Another reason I believe it is so important to have your own life as a mother is one day, far too soon, these children will grow up and sadly, leave me. While I still hope to see them very often and be involved in their lives, I will need to have my own life. As someone who has struggled with depression, OCD and anxiety for a large portion of my life, I can see how parenting could become an unhealthy obsession.

An obsession where I give and give of myself until there is nothing left. Looking to the future, what’s going to happen when they’re all out of the house and living their own lives? What will I be left with? An empty house, an empty heart, and no friends or hobbies of my own. I can see that being a very dark time in my life if I don’t do things now to combat that. So I try to have things that I do regularly outside of being a mom. I believe all mothers should have hobbies and things that interest them besides their kids. It is so important to not lose your own identity for the sake of being a mother. You are still an individual and when your child grows up, you can’t live their life for them. They will become their own person and if you lose your own identity, then when they find theirs, you will be left with nothing.

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So how do we keep from going insane as a mother and also keep our own sense of individualism? Here is a list of ideas to help:

  1. Go on a date with your significant other
  2. Go to a coffee shop by yourself for a while to read a book or online shop
  3. Have dinner with friends
  4. Go to the gym
  5. Get a massage
  6. Get your hair done
  7. Get your nails done
  8. Get a facial
  9. Go for a walk alone
  10. Go to a movie with your mom
  11. Go shopping without the kids
  12. Have your significant other take the kids somewhere and let you take a nap at home
  13. Go out for a drink with friends
  14. Take a bubble bath when the kids are in bed
  15. Take a local craft class
  16. Take a long drive to nowhere
  17. Have a show that you keep up with (that is not a cartoon)
  18. Have a podcast or radio show you keep up with
  19. Join a local club or group
  20. When all else fails, hand the kids off to your significant other and  go to Target!!!
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What are some things you do for self care and to keep your identity that I didn’t mention? Comment below or email me!

Let’s be friends! Life is so much better when we do it with others.

xoxo,

Lindsey

Life After Kids

Being one of the first to have children in both mine and my husband, Greg’s group of friends we found a lot of them had questions.

A main one was “How does having kids change your relationship?”

It’s a bit of a hard question to answer as everyone’s experience is different. So to answer it for us- it was a little like this.

For us it was, it was basically love at first site. After not being together long at all (only 6 months pre falling pregnant) and only just under a year and a half before having kids, we never got that much time together. So when the time came and the baby bundle arrived we were a little bit over whelmed.

I always tell people after having babies you see the best and the worst in your partner. You may resent they can’t carry the baby, feed or birth when you’re in those really hard times. I hated watching him continue to have a life that was almost the same pre kids. He has the same body, is still going to work, still sleeping through the night, and still hangs out with his friends with out juggling sleeps, feeding and nappies.

It was really hard to adjust to mum life.

On the flip side of that you see the very best. You see the patience with a hormonal wife and crying baby, and the support they can offer. You see them rocking the baby to sleep at night when you’ve had enough, bringing you snacks when you’re hungry and breast feeding, choosing to sit at home with you instead of going out, and changing and playing with the baby while you catch up on sleep.

All these things make you fall deeper in love.

It is 100% a juggle and something every couple will have a different experience with. Nothing is perfect and the most perfect couple will have times that are tough and testing.

The best advice I have is to communicate and ask for help from your partner, as well as family and friends.

Since having our second we have a rhythm. We have more family activities, lots of compromise and more time spent with just us, as a couple. Setting up a calendar is key 👌🏽

Being A Parent Is The Greatest Adventure

Tonight I sat alone on the living room couch, watching my husband soothe our daughter to sleep on the glow of the baby monitor. I reflected on how being a parent is hands down the greatest adventure I have ever been a part of.

Sure, it has its ups and downs. Some days I don’t want to get up at the crack of dawn. Some days I want to pull my hair out in frustration with a baby who won’t stop fussing. And sometimes I wonder if I’m doing everything wrong raising this tiny human…

It’s definitely one crazy ride.

But I always try to remind myself on difficult days that I will never get this time with my daughter back again. I wonder where the time has gone already when I look back on these last ten months.

I remember the first few weeks my daughter was earth side. How quickly she learned I was her go-to person. She always needed me, always wanted me. I was her walking, talking, warm and comforting food source.

I remember I was able to soothe her cries quicker than anyone. I was the person who could whisk her to dreamland with little to no effort. I was the one she stared at with wonder or awe in her eyes. And I was lucky enough to be the reason for her first smiles.

She was completely a mommy’s girl.

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My husband would sometimes become frustrated that she preferred me over him. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t calm her cries as quickly, or put her to sleep as I did.

I understood his frustrations, and every once in awhile, I wished someone else could rock her to sleep so I could have a break.

But for the most part I secretly reveled in the fact that I was her lifeline. I felt on top of the world that I meant so much to this tiny human already, at just a few weeks old…

I remember holding my daughter and crying when she was just a few weeks old, knowing these precious newborn moments couldn’t last forever. She wouldn’t always be so small. She wouldn’t always rely on her mother.

I knew I would never get that day, or any of the precious past days back. She would never again be as little as she was in that moment…

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Then in the blink of an eye, ten months passed. About a week ago, the tables turned.

My daughter suddenly refused to let anyone hold her to sleep other than my husband, not even myself. All of a sudden when she wakes crying in the middle of the night, it’s my husband’s strong, comforting touch on her back she’s seeking. He is the only one who can soothe her wailing and put her back to sleep…

I thought to myself, when did things change so abruptly? When did she turn ten months old and become such a daddy’s girl? She already seemed to no longer need me as much. At least not at this current moment in time.

I’ve heard so many others say babies go through stages. Sometimes they prefer their mother, and other times they need their father. I, for one, can’t wait for my daughter to prefer her mother’s cuddles before bed once more.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to see my husband triumph now! To succeed in the little things when it comes to parenting, as I once did just a few months ago.

But the slight difference in parental preference at night serves as a reminder of just how quickly time passes and changes… How short these last ten months were. How fleeting the baby years are in general.

Even eighteen years of childhood are so very brief when you actually think about it. In the blink of an eye, one day I am my child’s hero, while the next day my husband is. One day I’ll be helping her learn to walk, the next I’ll be watching her head off to college…

So tomorrow morning when my daughter wakes, I will hug her a little tighter. I will embrace every stage of her life. Each milestone in her childhood as it happens, even the difficult ones.

Because one day she will wake up and no longer need me as much at all. And one day she won’t need my husband as much either. That’s the beauty of this parenting adventure. Doing the best you can to raise a little human being in the time you are given.

So soak it all in moms and dads! Do your best to enjoy this fast-paced, chaotic adventure, full of learning experiences and growing pains for all. You’re doing the best you can. You’re not alone.

And just remember, it won’t last forever.

There’s only one part of this adventure that I know will always remain constant. Maybe it’s the most important…

I will always remember my daughter as she is right now. Beautiful. Ever-changing. Full of life. Youthful… My baby, forever.

And nothing will ever change this love my whole heart holds for her. A powerful mother’s love that adapts with each new season of both her life and my own. A love like no other I’ve ever felt before.

This is the greatest adventure.

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Cherishing every season you are in!

Momming is not always easy; pretty sure that’s an obvious statement right!? I always knew being a mom wasn’t all cupcakes and rainbows, but there are some things that people can’t prepare you for. For instance the newborn stage that pretty much turns you into a zombie, or the constant fussiness because your baby has a sensitive tummy and nothing sits well. What about the sleep regressions?! Right when you think you’ve figured it out something changes and you are back to square one! Raising kids is hard! But there’s something that I constantly…try..to remind myself of, and that’s to enjoy the season you are in. 

One thing I wasn’t prepared for when becoming a parent was all the negativity that people will speak over you, your children, and honestly your life. People don’t say these things to be cruel, or because they wish bad things upon you. They say them because it’s what was always said to them and it’s just become a reality. Has anyone ever told you “Say goodbye to your freedom because once that baby comes your life revolves around them”? Or what about “Oh just wait until they hit the terrible twos”? I can’t tell you the amount of things people have told me regarding the season me or my girls are in. When I hear the sayings above, I can’t help but think, “Why can’t they be the Terrific Twos?!” I choose to empower my little ones, and speak life into them. Not putting them in a box. So chances are, mamas, you have heard all of these things and maybe even told another mom some of these, and that’s okay but I want to speak on this for a minute. 

Every age, season, and phase has its own set of difficulties and rewards. There’s nothing that says because your child hits the two year marker, it means they will automatically turn into a terror. As a mom you are always finding new ways to parent the stage your little one is in! But that season only comes once. My husbands grandma told me something when I had my first baby and it has stuck with me ever since. I was making a comment about how I can’t wait until Charlie can start sitting up. She told me don’t say you can’t wait because one day you’ll be wishing for these times back. It’s SO true! Yes you can look forward to things in the future but cherish the moments you have right now. Soak all of it in. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Soak up every tear, laugh, cuddle, or if you have little girls like mine- every sassy remark. 

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Let me clarify really quick! I am a mom of two little ones and I know parenting is HARD! It’s exhausting, emotionally and mentally draining, and some days I feel like a total failure but I don’t want any mama to fall into the trap of the hard times. I think because we have been told so many times the newborn stage is exhausting, the twos are terrible, pre teens are disrespectful, and those teenage years will make you cry we just go into those seasons believing all of that! Your kids are your kids and however you parent them will determine how they turn out. Don’t let someone else’s words distract you from the beauty in every stage. 

I know it can sound so cliche to say soak it all in and embrace every season but it’s so true. Here are some things I have found helpful for me personally and things I remind myself of constantly. 

  • Our kids are little humans. They have emotions, feelings, curiosity, and independence just like us. 
  • We are not here to be their dictators. We are here to be their guide through life! 
  • I will never get this moment back with my girls. 
  • Breathe, mama, breathe! 

That last one, I tell myself often! When my ten month old is teething and screams literally all day, I take lots and lots of deep breathes. When my toddler is fighting me on every little thing I walk in my closet and take lots of deep breaths. But after those breathes I walk back out and serve my babies. 

God did not make a mistake by making you their mama! You are the best mom for them and know exactly how to parent your kids. Don’t let the world blur your lens of the beautiful season you are in. Being a mom is hard, but I promise you there will come a day you will beg for that “testy toddler” phase back or those teething baby cuddles. Cherish the season you are in with your kids, and go in your closet and take a deep breathe! 

Podcast: Bring On The Holidays: Our Busy Holiday Schedule

Listen on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast and other major podcast apps through here!

 

Co-hosts, Paige + Leslie talk about their holiday schedules witb their kids, and some tips on how to make the hussle and bussle a little easier for their little ones. Paige talks about accidentally telling her step-son that Santa isn’t real.


Show Notes

Co-Hosts: Paige Martinek + Leslie Caruthers

 

What holiday traditions do you have? Comment below?

Traveling With A Little One: My Best Tips And Tricks.

I took my son Asher on his first airplane/out of state trip when he was 7 months old. Since then, he has been on 29 flights and to 19 states! We just visited the Outer Banks the first weekend in November and I always think back to that first trip when I was getting ready to pack and how nervous I was to embark on my first adventure with my infant in tow.

My husband, Casey and I got married at Oak Alley Plantation in Louisiana. We wanted to celebrate our anniversary there but I wasn’t ready to leave my baby over night yet and I was still breastfeeding regularly. Wanting some alone time but not being ready for a baby-less vacation, we invited my mom to come along! I was SO nervous about being a new mom and traveling with an infant. What if his ears hurt? Would people be mad if he cried? What if I had to change a poopy diaper on the flight?!

The plane ride from Denver to New Orleans is almost three hours and I was totally consumed with what those three hours could hold for me. I read all of the blogs and Pinterest tips and was as prepared as I could be.

In the past three years I have traveled regularly with Asher, our longest flight being 7 hours nonstop and our longest travel day being 16 hours. We have had easy flights and we have had downright miserable travel days where we left at 2 am and didn’t get where we’re going for 13 hours. I feel like while it still requires a lot of planning I have definitely figured out some things since then that may be able to help moms who are feeling the same way I was on that first flight!

First off, planning ahead helps so much. When Asher was a newborn he mostly slept on flights which was great for both of us! But, that doesn’t always happen. Here is a list of things I would say are must haves for little ones:

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1. Diapers and wipes.
2. Hand sanitizer.
3. A blanket to lay them down on the floor in the airport so they can play or get changed. (I try to always fold it so the side that is on the ground is always folded up inside and is always the same side on the ground, that way they aren’t playing on the dirty side.)
4. Another clean blanket for covering them up in the plane, stroller, car seat etc.
5. A couple changes of clothes. That first flight to New Orleans, Asher had a major blowout and there was no changing table on the plane. My husband and I cleaned him while one of us held him up midair and the other one washed and changed him. It wasn’t easy, but it was feasible. Extra clothes are a must for kids and sometimes adults.
6. Small toys and books.
7. A bottle or sippy cup for take off and landing for their ears, if they are not breastfeeding. (I recommend nursing or giving them something to drink when you take off and descend to help relieve ear pressure. This worked great for us every time and often helped put him to sleep).
8. Stroller.
9. Baby-wraps (Keep in mind if your baby is in your baby wearing wrap at security they will make you take him/her out. Same goes for the stroller but they are great to have for the rest of the airport).
10. Snacks for you!

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Older babies and toddlers

I have added and changed some stuff on the list. Extra clothes and diapers are a must but we bring a lot more toys than we did when Asher was a baby. My absolute favorite airplane toys are slime and putty! They keep Asher busy for so long and they are less messy than playdough. Make sure they are under 3 oz because airport security considers them a “gel or liquid” and they will take them if they are more than 3 oz. I also love to bring coloring books, magnet play sets, reusable stickers, and small games like memory cards. Amazon has great reusable sticker activity books.

We bring Asher an iPad for long flights. We only let him watch the iPad on airplanes. We do this because we feel like it makes it special for him and gives him something to look forward to. Since he isn’t allowed to watch it at home, it is a lot more fun for him to have something that is just for airplanes. We also use it as a last resort. Once we have played all the games, read all the books, and eaten all the snacks – he can watch his iPad. Some parents let their kids watch their iPads the entire flight and I am all for that as well. If that works for you and gets you through a tough travel day, I call it a win.

We hit bad weather flying home from Georgia this spring and had to be rerouted to a nearby state and were stuck on the plane for 4 hours longer than planned. I can’t imagine the meltdowns we all would’ve had if Asher didn’t have a movie to watch. Asher wasn’t into videos until just recently so we haven’t used that as our main form of entertainment. It’s also nice to have backups in the event of a dead battery, or no WiFi, etc.
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My other bit of advice when packing is to always bring a reusable water bottle and snacks, especially if your child has any dietary restrictions. Finding food at weird times and in a hurry in an airport can be challenging and stressful when you’re hungry so it never hurts to have a backup snack.

Car seats

When we plan to rent a car at our destination, I always bring my own car seat. We have rented them a couple of times and I always prefer to have my own. You can check your own for free at ticketing and it will arrive in oversized baggage at your destination. I’ve had to use rented car seats that are filthy. They have been out of infant or toddler seats and we have had to wait while they go get one from another rental facility (which is the worst when you’ve been traveling all day already), and they are usually expensive to rent.

Strollers

We always bring our stroller to the airport and check it at the gate. You just have to get a stroller tag at your gate and leave it right before you get on the plane.

We have always been really lucky with Asher on the plane. He enjoys it and is usually really good, but if your little one does have a meltdown or cries uncontrollably, just remember that a lot of the people on the plane have kids of their own and have been where you are. They know it’s hard and you’re trying your best. Flight attendants are often awesome with kids and will try and help you calm them or redirect their attention. If you know of something that may help, ask them. I can almost guarantee they will do it. If nothing helps and people are starting to give you snarky looks or making comments, remember that they are grown adults and they should’ve brought their noise cancelling head phones. No one wants their child to cry on an airplane- just try your best to stay calm and know it’s temporary.

Taking your kids on trips can seem overwhelming and be a lot work, but after that first flight, you will feel like a pro. Traveling with Asher has been my favorite thing. We have seen so many things together and at just three years old he has met so many wonderful people along the way. I know that all of those red eye flights and late nights packing and planning have been completely worth it. Take the trip! You will be so glad you did.

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Not The Nanny

I found myself in unfamiliar territory not that long ago. A sweet, young grandma asked me if I was the nanny to my twins. I figured this was bound to happen at some point. Perhaps it’s surprising it took this long. From the outside looking in, anyone could make this mistake.

You see, the twins are about as white as snow with the most stunning sea-green (yet sometimes blue) eyes. Their hair is wavy dirty blonde like their Dad and Valentina has the same dimple placement as her proud Papa. For the record, I really want to believe that Valentina and Victoria have my nose. And that’s about it.

In case you haven’t seen me in the flesh, I have tan skin, dark brown hair and eyes. Big sis, Gabriella is my spitting image. My “mini-me” in every way. There’s no mistake she’s my daughter. When we’re together I get the sweet sideways glances from strangers who seem to say, “Awwww, look at that cute mother-daughter duo.” I relish that we do look so much alike.

When I was pregnant, Ben and I would joke back and forth about how one twin would arrive looking like him and the other like me. I didn’t give it a whole lot of thought because it really wasn’t that important to me. I had bigger things to worry about with the twins impending arrival.

Back to this sweet grandma on a random day this Summer. The twins and I were having fun at an indoor gym and a light-hearted conversation started between the two of us. After the usual exchange of niceties, she socked me in the stomach when she asked, “Are you the nanny?” I like to think I’m not easily offended, but it did sting just a bit. And I know this is just the beginning of many times ahead when I’ll be in this same situation. Do I need to buy the matching Lily Pulitzer Mommy-Daughter dresses to send the message loud and clear?

I think most people are perplexed when they see the twins and I together. Working out in their minds if I’m the nanny or the Mom. If Ben happens to be around or come around later it’s almost as if there’s a collective “Aha” from the on-lookers. Now it makes sense!

You may be wondering what my response was to this unassuming lady who just sucker punched me. I said, “Nope, I carried them for 37 weeks and 4 days to be exact.” After the blood drained from her face, we laughed and I told her not to feel bad. And I meant it.

While the physical likeness between the twins and I is almost non-existent, I hope that the intangible mother-daughter bond between each of us supersedes any doubt of my role as their mom. They remind me everyday, that no matter how I look (which is usually pretty tired), I’m their mama. Not the nanny.


 

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Lillian Sowles is a wife and mom to 3 girls, residing just outside of Charlotte, NC. She enjoys reading fiction, having fun with her family, trying new recipes and sipping hot coffee. You can read more about her here!

Your Life Doesn’t Have to Be Over: 5 Ways To Reclaim Your Life After Baby

I hate to admit this, but I’m one of those girls who thought she had it all figured out BEFORE she had a baby of her own. I wasn’t so bad that I said my child would never use an iPad in public or would only eat organic food… I know better. But I thought I knew what life would be like—what I would be like once I became a mom. Spoiler alert: I had no idea.

 When we found out I was expecting, my husband and I talked about it and I decided I would quit my job and stay home with our son. I had wanted to be a stay at home mom for a while, and my husband was very supportive, so we figured out a way to make it work. Bryant was such an easy baby; Sleeping through the night at just one month old, really only crying when he was hungry or tired, and settling into his routine fairly quickly.

I on the other hand… did not adjust so well. I had zero routine. I was somewhere between going with the flow and getting run over. My husband would call me during his lunch break and ask what I had been doing, and sometimes my answer would be 100 things before 10:00AM! And other days, all I had done was watched Real Housewives and eaten a bowl of cereal.

I was constantly criticizing myself, feeling like a failure at the end of most days. Did I read Bryant enough books? Did he do tummy time for long enough? When was the last time I showered? What’s for dinner? I felt like the days were going by and Bryant was growing up, but what was I doing with my life? Was motherhood the only thing that defined me now? Did staying at home mean my life was truly over and all about Bryant?

I knew had to get some semblance of control back, but how would I do it? I decided I would set some non-negotiable “daily rules” now that I was staying at home. I do these things consistently, every single day, and I think it has made me feel so much more confident in my choice to stay home, so much happier as a mom and just makes me feel successful day in and day out!

1. Wash your face and brush your teeth.

I do this every morning before I get Bryant out of bed. In 20 years, your baby is not going to tell their therapist about all the times you didn’t go get them out of their crib the moment they woke up. He/she will survive you taking 3 minutes to practice a little personal hygiene.

It just makes me feel alive and awake and ready for the day ahead!

2. Get dressed.

I don’t mean get dressed up, by any means! If I’m being honest, sometimes I just change out of a pair of pajamas and into a pair of leggings! But some days I do put on a bra and a cute top. It just depends on what that day holds! But this is just a simple way I can feel like I accomplished something.

3. Set up a cleaning/laundry schedule.

This has saved me. I am a extremely distracted person, so having things planned out and written down is VERY helpful. At the beginning of this year I wrote out a cleaning schedule and stuck it on the fridge and it has been so helpful! Each day I clean one room in my house during Bryant’s naptime. For clarification, this isn’t a deep clean. I just do the basics: dust and vacuum and pick up clutter. But it helps! And it feels like I really got something done, and there’s usually still time to watch an episode of Law & Order before the baby wakes up!

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4. Meal Plan

I’m not big into meal prepping, but I ALWAYS meal plan. This is something that just makes me feel like I have a little bit of structure to lean on when the days are chaotic. I start at the beginning of each month and write down anything going on that month, and then plan meals week by week. That way I can see our schedule at a glance, and then plan supper around anything we have going on. I try and plan ahead for eating out and picking up fast food, too!

5. Journal

This is not something I did pre-baby, but I wish I had. I take time each day to write down something—anything! It doesn’t have to be a page full of your deepest hopes and dreams, but just what you’re feeling or what you have planned for the day. I usually do it in the morning, but doing it at night could be cool as a way to reflect on the day before you go to bed. I think journaling is just an easy way to feel connected to your life, especially when it feels monotonous.

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Of course, you don’t have to follow all of my “rules” – in fact, you don’t have to follow any of them! But when I felt like my life was spinning somewhat out of control, these are just some of the ways I found helpful to take back control. What about you? What “rules” have you set to make life run a little bit more smoothly day to day?

 


 

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Laura Beth Harpe is a wife and mother, living in small-town Georgia. She loves connecting with other mamas as they stumble through the new season of motherhood. She loves shopping and binging Bravo and Law and Order: SUV. Learn more about her here!

It’s Okay Not To Be Okay: To The Mom On The Brink

I often find myself lying awake after a late night feeding coupled with a pumping session and my mind tends to wander. I always end up questioning myself, am I a good mom? This is the burning question that every mom has thought about at least once. Are you a good mom?

As a mom with two littles, I am always on the go and find little time for me lately. And honestly, sometimes I need a break while they are both awake – and you know what, I have come to realize, that’s totally okay! We do the best we can as moms, working or stay at home. But mom burnouts are real. Being a little selfish is okay and encouraged. There is no way you can make your kids feel their best if you don’t. They are little monkey-see-monkey-dos. So if you are feeling down, chances are your kids will catch on and might even act out to seek your attention. I know my son mimics me all the time, from taking my pumping parts and pretending to pump to simply pointing at the cats and yelling “no”.

I can’t emphasis this enough – it is so important to take care of yourself. You deserve it! I mean, you grew a tiny human inside you after all. That is hard work. Trust me, I know, it’s exhausting and I bet most of you worked while doing so. So go get yourself a pedicure, splurge on that pumpkin spice cold brew, and get that top from Old Navy. You deserve it girl! The moral here is that it is okay to be selfish, especially if you feel a burn-out coming on. If you need help, reach out. Even if it is just to your mom. We all have been through it, are currently going through it and or eventually will go through it and what we feel matters. If you need a little break, it’s okay. No shame on taking a little me time! I know I do when my husband comes home and after the kids go down, I go downstairs and walk on the treadmill while I watch YouTube videos and if the kids wake up, he knows I’m having me time and he will go and check on them.

Some days you might feel like you’re crushing it. Balancing kids, your job, and what have you. You’re doing everything right, riding high on motherhood and just like that, poof…that time has passed and you feel no good. I feel you and I see you. I’ve been there. That’s a mom burn out and it is okay. The tricky part is that we still have to keep going. We still have to do the dishes, fold the laundry, make breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, mop the floor, smile at our kids, answer emails and etc. It is hard, mamas! So hard! But the next time you feel a burn out coming on, it’s an alarm telling you to put your own needs first! For once. Because after all, you deserve it!

Motherhood is a journey and us moms sometimes need to stop and pause for a second to take it all in. We have real emotions, real blood, real sweat and real tears. We are stronger for it, but we also need to treat ourselves. There is only so much we can handle and taking a step back and doing some things for ourselves is just as important as giving your baby belly raspberries or making silly faces at your toddler to the point of you both laughing so hard you tinkle. I hope you can recognize just how much you are managing. How much you are accomplishing from sun up to sun down. You are a warrior, but even Wonder Woman gets burnt to a crisp. As strong as you are, you have to take care of yourself too. The best part is that everyday is a new day and everyday is a new start. You got this!

So to answer that silly question, YES you are a good mom. You are a rockstar. You are enough. You are a living Wonder Woman. You just need a little me time to accomplish it all. The next time you even think of questioning yourself, just remember – we all get burnt out and that it is okay and tomorrow is a new day, a fresh start. Motherhood is weird, it has so many ups but also so many downs. It’s raw, but you hold it all together like the stickiest super glue. You are a great mom!


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Rachel is a wife and SAHM of two, who lives in the suburbs of Chicago. She loves baking, gardening and all things DIY. She enjoys writing about life with 2 kids under 2, the stresses the NICU has on mothers and the ups and downs of her breastfeeding journey. Learn more about her here!

13 Labor And Delivery Tips For A First Time Mom

The thought of giving birth can be terrifying, but it doesn’t have to be. For me, the first time I had a baby the thing that scared me the most was not the pain but the fact that I didn’t know what to expect.

I asked a group of women who recently had babies what kind of advice they would give a first time mom who is ready to pop. Here is what we came up with.

Don’t panic!

Things are not going to be exactly what you’ve planned, so be prepared to roll with the punches. No matter what happens, the least helpful thing you can do is panic.

Have your support person know your wishes

You may be too medicated to be able to make those decisions for yourself.

Things can change at the drop of a hat

You may have a textbook pregnancy your whole 40 weeks, and then while you are in labor and delivery, things can change.

The epidural may not work.

Don’t rely on having a epidural for pain management because sometimes they may not work. Even if they do work, they may only work on half of your body, or they may work for a little while and then completely stop.

Educate yourself on coping methods

Even if you do plan on having an epidural take a birthing class or at least watch a video on YouTube to help learn breathing techniques and other coping methods. Epidurals may not always work, or you may not have time to get one.

Do not feel ashamed if you end up getting an epidural

If you decide throughout your whole pregnancy that you are going to have an unmedicated birth, it’s okay to change your mind!

Have a birth “wish”, instead of a set in stone plan

Birth plans are great. They help put in writing what your wishes are and help keep your care team aware. Just know that sometimes things change, and not everything in your birth plan may be feasible. You may need to be flexible. You’re birth plan may say “no Pitocin”, but if you aren’t progressing naturally, well then Pitocin may be needed if your water has broken. In most situations, you have 24 hours after your water breaks to get that baby out!

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Don’t be embarrassed by anything

OBGYN’s, midwives and L+D nurses deal with bodily functions on a daily basis. One of the biggest worries many women have when thinking about giving birth is worrying about pooping on the bed. Chances are you are going to be so focused on getting that baby out that if you do poop while pushing, you are not even going to care. Nurses see it happen ALL OF THE TIME. They will quickly switch out the liner and you may not even know it happened!

Consider hiring a photographer or have a friend of family member take pictures.

You are about to meet the love(s) of your life and like your wedding day, pictures are a great keepsake!

You do not need to pack much in your hospital bag

Keep your hospital bag to a minimum, You are going to have lots to carry out, especially if you have visitors and they bring gifts for the baby

You may swell up

Sometimes the IV/ medications mixed with labor will make you retain water and start to swell up. If you have rings that fit you, or any tight bracelets, make sure to take them off before leaving for the hospital. They may be hard to take off if you start to swell, and swelling will most likely not be something you are thinking about while in labor.

Take off your bra when you get to the hospital

It may make things easier if you decide to get an epidural. Even if you don’t want an epidural if you become uncomfortable and want it off, the nurses will have to unhook your IV so the strap doesn’t get caught in it. Also if you wear a sports bra or a bra without a clasp it makes it even more challenging to get off. Believe me, when you’re ready for that epidural, you do not want to have to wait any longer than you need to, especially if its just to take your bra off!

The goal is to have a healthy baby, healthy mom

The rest is just a bonus!

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What pieces of labor and deliver advice would you give to someone who is about to have a baby?

 


 

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Paige Martinek is a SAHM to her stepsons, son and daughter. She enjoys road trips, long drives along the lake, writing, reading and talking about anything pregnancy related. She is an infertility awareness activist and plans on going back to school to become a L+D nurse. You can read more about her here!