Friday, March 14, 2014

Unsolicited Advice for the New Mommy

My baby sister just had a baby and he is PRECIOUS...beyond precious, if I am honest.  He is a gift, a miracle and just the handsomest little thing.  I have found MYSELF having a ton of emotions this week.  First, have had some claustrophobic feelings that I've had to name and recognize.  When I held him, after about half hour, my chest started to feel tight and I had the realize I am still reeling from four kids.  The thought of having a fifth at this point in time feels so overwhelming it's paralyzing and I think when I held him too long, it felt too close to making that a reality.  WOAH- insane moment, revealing that I indeed have some more emotions to work through in this whole adjustment period.  Mostly, I have found myself almost in tears at what these next few weeks look like for Katie.  Everyone reacts differently, so I honestly don't know if it will be easy or hard.  I just know it will be a lot of change.  There may be hard moments and there will be moments that are so profoundly beautiful words couldn't begin to describe them.

I was reminded of this post I did years ago called "Unsolicited Advice for the Mommy to Be".  I wouldn't change any of that, but I'd add a couple things for the new mama.

-Take your time nesting and savoring the transition.  You don't have to feel pressured to return phone calls or get thank you notes out immediately.  Just savor the moments both with your baby and the stillness of being alone if he's sleeping.

-At the same time, don't forget who you are.  If friendships are important to you, nurture them, at your own pace, but nuture them.  Laugh, watch a movie with a friend or grab lunch.  It will do great things to your mental health to have moments that feel "normal".  It's easy to be home with baby getting used to life and then look out and feel like the world has moved on without you.  Life has changed, but you can move too- it's okay to get out.

-In the same line of thinking, GET OUT.  It is overwhelming to bundle baby up and load their tiny being into a carseat only to arrive at the mall to find they've woken up and it's time to feed.  Meet a friend there or go to a friends home that is the type of friend that will just sit with you while you nurse.  You can chat and nurse and you'll feel more alive...making the effort to get out well worth it.  Department store bathrooms usually have great nursing areas...hooter hiders work well if you want to meet a friend at starbucks;)

-Play a game or watch a movie, cuddling with your husband.  You'll easily both focus on this new change and both feel like you are grieving your old selves...your still you, just enhanced with one more and the more little ways you make time for your marriage, the easier the transition will be!  Let him hold you when you are overwhelmed and give him space to articulate his feelings on the change you've gone through together...let the experience unite you in a new way.

-Do whatever stresses you the least.  I am a firm believer that one of the worst things for a baby and marriage is a stressed out mom who is trying to live up to other's expectations.  Do your best, but give yourself the grace to not do everything perfectly!  If you need to formula feed, formula feed.  If you need to nap your baby in a swing so you can get a break from holding him/her- do it.  If you need to cosleep so you sleep, do it.  Life is short.  I think the biggest things I've learned as a mom is not everything works for every kid or every mom.  Bad habits happen and you know what- they are all fixable in about three days time.  Not a single mom of a second grader has asked me if I breast fed or used formula, or if I let her cry it out or coslept.  They all seem to be pretty well adjusted second graders and I am pretty sure we ALL did it really differently.

-Open your windows for fresh air when you can and every day put up the blinds.  You need sunshine- you need it.  It's a small step that makes you feel alive- so just do it, 'kay?

-Surround yourself with moms that are rationale and encouraging and distance yourselves from moms that want to sit around and talk passive aggressively competitively.  If someone makes you feel bad about your child or your parenting by touting their own strengths, they are not a friend.  They'll make you crazy.  We are all hard enough on ourselves.  Friendly suggestions are commonplace in friendship, but criticism and competitiveness don't have to be.

-Take people up on their offers to help.  REACH OUT.  People often want to help but don't know how- just ask.  I failed miserably at this.  I wish I could go back.  Let them grab groceries for you, bring dinner, walk your dog, or hold the baby for an hour while you nap.

-Savor, savor, difficult as transition can be, you'll look back on it sweetly.  Life goes by quickly, savor each day as it comes and in the bad moments, rest assured- they too will pass!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Whiney Winter Posts Stop here

I love the little eCard going around that says something like, "2014- The year winter defeated moms everywhere".  I mean lets face it, this winter has been hard.  It is just insane to try day after day to find ways to get out the energy of preschool children, especially when your own energy was depleted somewhere back in September.  Still, is anyone else SICK of everyone saying they are sick of winter.  I mean life is hard enough without every one's negative facebook statuses pulling you further into the pit of despair.  It takes all the energy I can muster to get out of bed and put a smile on my face.  I pat myself on the back for getting through breakfast with joy and then make the mistake of checking email and facebook only to be reminded by all these Negative Nelly's that life is horrible.  Talk about negative influence corrupting good character!  It's hard enough to stay positive people- let's help one another out!

Our children are a blessing.  I know...I know, it's March 3 and freezing cold...but it still remains true.  Just say it a few times out loud if you need to.  (I am thinking about writing it in lipstick on my mirror, myself.)  Our lives aren't as easy as when they get outside, or as when WE can get outside. But we can't really do anything about that and complaining doesn't help that much.  I personally found the more I complained about this crappo weather, the worse I feel.  Soon, I found so many swear words running through my head the minute the gust of cold hits me in the face on my way from the house to the car.  This is no way to live life.  We've all read 10,000 Gifts or at the very least have seen Oprah's episode on gratitude, and let's not fail to mention that the Bible, our guidebook to life says, "Give thanks in ALL circumstances", so how 'bout we help each other out and start spreading some positivity.   Gray attitudes certainly don't make winter any less bleak, but sunny attitudes just might.

So here are a few things I am thankful for this winter:
1) Hot tea
2) Our fireplace
3) Warm bubble baths
4) We never feel like going outside, so my husband and I have been cultivating date nights in...and lets just say our marriage is going VERY well this winter and we are finding ourselves plenty warm
5) My garage...we lived in the city for far too long to EVER take an attached garage for granted
6) My kids Swim School- it is so warm inside that it feels a little like a vacation every Monday evening
7) Clothes- I like winter clothes. I especially love my Northface Jacket I got last year on clearance and my warm boots...They are cozy, cozy.
8)  Drivethrus
9)  Warm soup and bread...I mean really, it's hard to beat on a cold day, isn't it?
10)  Children with cold, pink cheeks- it's adorable, it is just adorable.
11)  Christian saying, "Co" (his word for cold) EVERY time we go outside...and he make an adorable fake shiver every, EVERY time he says it.  I will miss it when it's hot.
12)  This Let it Go parady I saw this morning from WGN...made me happy as a snowman.
13)  Big giant snow flakes falling- it's mesmerizing and just beautiful
14)  Pizza Delivery Men
15) Pea pod (grocery delivery)
16)  I find it incredibly endearing and romantic that without fail no matter how cold it is my husband snowblows and shovels not only our drive way but the single woman's next door...his servant attitude warms my heart
17)  My kids NEVER seem to complain about the cold and get excited EVERY time it snows
18)  The cute snowman in our yard...his presence has been outside our dining room window for so long, I think I really will miss the fellow
19) do amazing things with them...amazing things with them.
20) Toys and Books...There are so many kids in the world without such things, so if we have to be stuck inside- I am seriously glad that we have our pick of things to play with.
21) Pinterest-  I have a love/hate relationship with pinterest, that is no secret.  But there are some GREAT ideas on there for inside activities.
22) Baking with kiddos...sure it is bad for my weight watchers plan, but I love it and the kids love it and it smells good AND is yummy
23) Cuddling on the couch watching movies
24) Watching Winter Olympics with my littles and then watching them pretend to ice skate or ski (I SOOO remember doing that myself as a kid...okay, perhaps I also do it as an adult;)
25)  Wii...we limit video games, but family Wii night is just hilarious and fun, particularly when your children are 7 and under.  (Chloe drives Mariokart backwards without fail EVERY time.)
26)  Toddler speak for Hot Cocoa...I believe it would be spelled something like, "Hot Cockolate"
27)  No need to mow lawn or do yard work in the winter, so aside for the mornings Marc has to snow blow, I think we have more family time in the winter.
28) sledding
29)  Guilty pleasure- the you tube video of the dad recording kids slipping on ice while waiting to pick up his daughter...I mean, this wouldn't be possible without ice,people.
30) Curling up with a good book and blanket.
31)  There are no mosquitoes in winter and therefore no itchy bug bites
32)  Minimal allergies in winter
33)  Darker mornings and therefore kids who sleep in much later (on most days) than they do when the sun is up at 5 am
34)  If you don't have time to shave your legs, there is no need to panic- no one knows!
35)  The feeling of coming to a warm house after being cold...such a comforting feeling.
36)  If I run out of room in my fridge, I can use the garage
37)  The school pick up line- don't even have to get out of the car- Yippee
38)  Valentines and Christmas were in winter--- they're my favorite holidays;)

Okay that's a 'bout you?  What are you thankful for this winter?