Experiencing A Miscarriage

I had a miscarriage, and I am ready to talk about it…

This post has been wearing away at my insides to be written, but it has taken a long time bring myself to do it. I hope that now I can write about it without falling apart, but we’ll see how it goes… I had a miscarriage, and I’m ready to talk about it. We should all talk about it! I think that I need to write this for me, but I also want to write it to help break down the stigma that seems to surround it. Almost a shame that hovers over us that we shouldn’t talk about it. Sure, a lot is that we can’t talk about it- can’t say the words out loud without instantly break down in tears. But we need to share our stories, share our sadness, share our grief; in doing so we can help each other heal. If I can help just one other person process their loss then it was worth writing.

Having a baby is truly miraculous. It is the best gift you could ever imagine. And so after you have hoped for it, when you see that positive pregnancy test, you are filled with such joy! You know you are carrying a life inside you which is a love like no other. Then you wait hopelessly for your first doctor’s appointment to see if everything is okay. That heartbeat, that tiny little flicker on the ultrasound screen, allows you to finally breathe that sigh of relief that has been trapped in your chest.

My first pregnancy was honestly easy (as easy as being pregnant can be that is). And I had no problem getting pregnant. No problems during the pregnancy. It was boringly normal. I didn’t imagine it could go any other way. I never knew what it was like to try for months on end with no good news. We got pregnant the first month we tried. And yes, I know how unbelievably lucky we were. And yes, I can’t even imagine the heartbreak of struggling with infertility; my heart breaks just thinking about it. So, it never occurred to me that when we tried to get pregnant the second time that we would experience the heartbreak of a miscarriage. Naïve, I know…

We went to that first check up, and there it was, the flicker- the heartbeat. We had a 9 week old baby. Looking back, I’m not sure the doctor was convinced how healthy it was, because she asked us to come back in a week to get another ultrasound to verify the due date because she said the baby was measuring small for what we thought the due date should be. Right there should have been a clue that something was off for the doctor. But I brushed it away with logic, explaining to myself that since we didn’t know if my period was regular (since I had just gotten my period back) it was possible that we could be off a week or so with my cycle and so it made since the baby was measuring a week behind.

I showed up to that second ultrasound excited to see the baby again, and find out my exact due date. But when the tech started asking me questions I never heard with my first pregnancy, I knew in my gut something was wrong. She asked me if I had been cramping, or spotting which is NOT good. I asked her if something was wrong and she said “sorry, I have to let the doctor talk to you.” RED ALERT! That was not good. The pit in my stomach was coming up to my throat. I asked her if she at least could see if the heartbeat was okay. She starred at me blankly. I asked her again, was there a heartbeat. And she looked at me with sadness in her eyes and said…

*Okay, pulling out the tissues, I broke down here*

She said “No, I don’t see a heartbeat, I’m so sorry. I’m not supposed to say anything, the doctor will talk to you”

Everything after that was a bit fuzzy, I didn’t really pay attention. That lump in my stomach made its way out of my chest and I managed to wait until the tech left to cry. You start wondering if it was something you did, was it something you could have prevented, was it something you could have avoided? How could it happen to you? How could you have a heartbeat one week and then nothing the next?

My husband had been in the waiting room with our then 14 month old son, so they came back and I met them in the doctor’s office. It wasn’t even my doctor since we went to another facility for the ultrasound. My husband didn’t know what happened but saw me crying. I had to tell him the baby didn’t have a heartbeat. It took him a minute to realize we lost the baby, that I had a miscarriage. The doctor tried to reassure us that nothing was our fault, that it was nature’s way, that it happens because the baby was not developing properly, and that we shouldn’t feel bad. That’s hard enough to process, but then they tell you what options you have and I didn’t know how we could possibly decide what to do in that moment. Do we have a procedure to remove the baby? Do we wait it out for it to happen naturally? Both have risks, how do you decide in that moment of sorrow? I just hugged my son tight and kept wiping my tears. I could tell he was confused and knew mommy crying was bad. But he took a tissue and wiped away my tears. It was the sweetest gesture.

*Don’t mind me, just crying again *

We went home to think through our options, in a haze. I realized that we needed to tell everyone what happened. We had told our families, and like fools we had posted to our friends on facebook after the first ultrasound showed a healthy baby. I didn’t know how I was going to tell anyone we lost the baby. I had barely processed it myself and was still in disbelief. I didn’t know how I would even manage to get the words out of me to tell someone what happened. We got home and I called my mom to tell her and I started crying as it rang; I barely got the words out as she answered, I am pretty sure I had to say it a few times for her to understand me through the tears. I left it to her to tell our immediate family because there was no way I was about to call everyone and go through that again.

The next few days were frazzled. I remember thinking that I still felt pregnant. If not for the ultrasound I never would have known what happened. I would just get a wave of emotion over the smallest thought. Most thoughts brought on a sadness, a numbness, a sense of profound grief and loss. There were many tissues and very puffy eyes for those first few days (weeks really). It was also the strangest feeling to know that you had lost a baby but that the baby was still there inside you. How could it be lost when it was right there?

We decided to try and let my body do what it needed to naturally. I trusted my body to process this how it needed to and actually miscarry. But it never did. Two weeks and nothing happened. It was like waiting for a firework to go off; you know you lit the fuse, but it hasn’t gone off yet and you’re holding your breath for it to explode at any second. Two weeks knowing that my body was harboring a body inside it that needed to come out.

My doctor scheduled a procedure for the following week to give my body a little more time to do something. But my procedure date came and still nothing happened so I found myself being admitted to the hospital. It was a bit of a relief to know that it would be taken care of for me so that my body, and my heart, could begin to heal. I chose to be put out for the procedure even though I guess most women do it under light sedation in the doctor’s office. I knew I did not want to be awake for it though, as I had already had enough suffering and didn’t want to endure any more than I had to.

*Okay, brief moment of tears and moving on…*

I woke up and it was over. I mean, not really. It will never be okay, and it will never be forgotten, but physically, it was done and that did bring some sense of relief.

All through this process, family and friends want to be there to be supportive. And that in and of itself is wonderful, but it doesn’t really help ease your grief. It is comforting to know they are there for you, but it still hurts to talk about it with anyone. And it is like reopening a wound every time someone asks how you are. Or worse is when someone doesn’t know what happened and you have to keep it together to tell someone else all over again. Would you believe that I had talked to one of my husband’s cousins a few days ago (who we don’t talk with often) and she hadn’t heard the news even though it has been five months or so. She thought I was calling to say the baby came early. I was holding back tears to tell her that we lost the baby a while ago.

I think that one reason women don’t talk about having a miscarriage (in the beginning anyway) is that it is just too painful to talk about! But there is still a feeling that maybe you shouldn’t talk about it, because you don’t hear people talking about it. The funny thing is that it does help to talk about it when you are ready. And when you share your story, you would be amazed at how many women tell you their story. Most women have experienced the same thing you have. Someone else knows exactly how you feel! And the odds are that many people close to you have been in your shoes! Realizing that makes you feel not quite so alone in it all. So, if you read through this having suffered a loss, know that you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to share your story. There is nothing to hide, and nothing to feel ashamed about.

If you are reading this knowing someone close to you had suffered a loss, know that just being there for that person is enough. You don’t have to do anything special to help; just show your love for them and know that they are hurting and will hurt for a while (and that’s okay). Let them talk if they want to talk, let them go about their day like nothing happened if that’s what they need to make it through another day without crying.

It has been about five months since we lost our second baby. It still hurts. I’m sure that it will always hurt. But it hurts less and less as time goes by. And there will always be a memory of the child that would have been. And there are still triggers that bring sadder days than others (missed due dates, finding the big brother shirt you bought in the dresser, getting a hospital bill for your visits). But hopefully, those sad days will become fewer and far between. No matter how okay I become with it, it will never erase what happened though. The baby we lost will always be my baby.

Let’s start talking about miscarriage. Let’s start talking about ALL our babies; the ones we can tuck in at night, and the ones we never held.

Why I Take Toys Away At Christmas

So, before you start to think I am the biggest Christmas Grinch ever, let me explain…

I feel that in our society today, kids can become so easily influenced by marketing and materialism that they can inadvertently get into the mindset of “I want” instead of “I have”. They make lists of wants to give to Santa and their family, knowing that they will magically have presents under the tree for them on Christmas morning. They are not old enough to go out and buy gifts for other people on their own yet and can miss the lesson of giving and receiving. But I have devised a plan to (hopefully) avoid this with my son as he becomes old enough to understand Christmas.

“Our family will write a wish list AND a ‘give list’ for the holidays”

Teaching my son the lessons of giving rather than receiving, and to be grateful for what you have, is my end goal with this plan. (Now mind you, he is only 13 months so this won’t be something we do this year, but plan to when he understands it). At Christmas time when he becomes excited for the newest toy or trinket that everyone has to have, I hope that he can take a minute to look at what he already has and be grateful for it. To see that he already is blessed with many toys that some kids are not fortunate enough to have. So, when he makes his Christmas list for what he wants, he also has to make a list of what he gives. Every year, if he wants to receive toys, he must give away toys. Our family will write a wish list AND a ‘give list’ for the holidays.

Here is how it will work. His wish list to mom and dad must contain 5 kinds of things: a want, a need, something to wear, something to read, and something to do (thank you Pinterest for the brilliant idea!). For every few ‘wants’ he puts on his wish list, he must put one toy/item (something that he already has) on his give list. There may be a toy he has outgrown, or something that he no longer enjoys playing with. That toy will now be a gift to give to another. The items on his give list he will then take himself and donate for another child to receive for the holidays.

Hopefully this will do two things. First I hope that it will instill in him a love to give to others, perhaps those who are not as fortunate as he is. To have him acknowledge that giving to others and seeing the joy it brings them is sometimes the greatest gift of all. Secondly, I hope it will give him cause to reflect on what he really wants and what he already has. Maybe that new toy looks really cool but when he knows he will have to give away one of the toys he already has, it may not be worth it after all.

The magic of Christmas is not the presents themselves, but the joy the present brings. As I have grown, my favorite part of Christmas is seeing the reactions on everyone’s faces as they open their gifts. I want my son to have joy on Christmas morning when he opens his gifts under the tree (because that will be the best gift he could give me). But I also want him to know that he brought that same joy to someone else.

What do you think of doing a ‘give list’? Is there a similar tradition you have in your house for the holidays? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Baby Sleep Advice (from a sleep expert)

The most common theme throughout motherhood seems to be sleep. When you are pregnant people tell you to sleep now while you can. When you have a newborn people are obsessed with asking if they sleep through the night. As a new mom you always get asked if you are sleeping okay or if you are getting enough sleep (ask again in 20 years right?!?). As a new mom you hear about swaddling, sleep training, sleep methods, co-sleeping etc, etc, etc. You get the idea… sleep is a hot topic when you have kids!
In an effort to help you new moms (and dads) out, I have asked certified sleep consultant, Susie Parker, to answer a few burning questions for us about your little one’s sleep! After all, we know that baby sleeping means you can sleep. If you feel that you need help getting your little one to bed then Susie offers consultations and assistance to sleep deprived moms and dads. Check out her site Sleep Baby Love for more info!
Here were my 5 questions to Susie and her answers:
1.  There seems to be an endless discussion about whether or not to let babies cry-it-out. What do you think about this method, and do you know if it really causes any trauma/negative effects?
“CIO is only one component of sleep training and is not necessarily the only method out there… so parents need to become informed which would work best for them and feel confident in their decisions.  There is a great study out there that shows that babies that were sleep trained were not any different from their non-sleep trained peers at 5 years old and just using common sense of those that you know that are sleep trained, there is no long lasting harm or effect.
If you’re even going to consider sleep training, I suggest taking a look at this article first, since it breaks down everything you need to know.”
2. What would you suggest to transition away from nursing to sleep, and teach baby to self-soothe? Especially when the baby does not take any item for comfort (pacifier, blanket, etc.) except mom.
“Until you’re ready to dive right into sleep training, for a baby who doesn’t know how to fall asleep independently, you just have to think of everything as practice.  So, keep working with your baby to fall asleep independently.  The biggest misconception that I had is that my baby shouldn’t ever cry… and I took that literally.  So every time she squeaked, I went in to soothe her.  If you give your baby a little space (even if it’s a minute or two), the act of self settling becomes a little easier.  The pick up/put down method is also a great way that you can start gently giving your child independent skills.”
3.  Is there anything that can be done to help with sleep regressions, most notably the dreaded 4 month sleep regression?
“There will always be set backs with sleep, even for the best sleepers!  The 4 month sleep regression is so substantial because it’s due to developmental changes in your baby, most notably your baby becoming more aware.  So if you’re nursing or rocking your baby to sleep you may find that it takes much longer to get into that deep sleep.  So now is a great time to keep working on independent skills and having your baby sleep in their own room.  I have other great advice (and don’t forget to download your survival guide).”
4. What is your favorite piece of advice you love to give (about sleep) that most people don’t know?
“Sleep challenges don’t end with babies!  For many parents (even though they had the best sleeper), there are many reasons that sleep can take a nosedive once they become a toddler and preschooler.  The same techniques that I use for sleep training can be used, but you have to incorporate your child into the plans that you make for the best success.  For example, you can create a great bedtime routine that your child has some say in to make sleep fun.  Always keep the positive spin on sleep.  Make sure to get your preschooler sleep made easy checklist.”
5. What is the one thing you get asked about most, and what is your response?

“There are many questions about sleep!!!  But, I think that regardless what the answer is – I always say do what works for you.  If sleeping with your child is working for your family, no worries.  If getting up many times throughout the night works, don’t worry about it!  It’s when it stops working and people ask for advice, they don’t always like the answers I give (since it involves some type of sleep training and people don’t realize that there are gentler methods out there).  Regardless, as a parent you should never do something because a sleep consultant, friend or family told you to do something.  Do it because you believe it’s the best way to make your family happier and healthier.”

 

I hope that Susie’s Q&A helped some of you! If you feel like you still have burning questions or really need some one on one help, visit her website Sleep Baby Love, she will be so glad to hear from you! You can also follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram

Sweet dreams tonight everyone…

Overcoming Negative Self-talk As A Mom

This post was written by Sneha J at Kaizen Mommy where she gives actionable tips on how to use self-care and mindfulness for a positive motherhood experience. She is an industrial engineer turned blogger who plays superheroes all day long with her two boys under 5, loves good food, spirituality and mommy time. She will be genuinely happy to hear your feedback on her blog! You can also follow her on social media: facebook, pinterest, twitter, instagram 

 

Moms, when you wake up in the morning, what mental dialogue goes on in your head? Let’s see if these examples resonate with you:

Oh, we are late again. I never can do anything on time these days.

My son does not eat anything. It is my fault, obviously.

I look awful today.

I just keep getting fatter and fatter.

I can’t remember what I wanted to do today. My memory is getting worse.

I am not sure if I am raising my kids right.

I am not a good mother.

And then when you are going to sleep, what happens. You are unable to sleep because your mind is still consumed with thoughts. You are thinking about all the unfinished tasks. You think:

I am so exhausted.

I just don’t have the energy anymore.

I am getting older.

I am so slow these days.

I am not as blessed as the other person/mom/friend. Everyone helps her out. No one likes me that much.

Effects of Negative Self Talk

How does it feel to read your mental dialogue out loud? So exhausting, isn’t it? How are you going to be a happy person if you are constantly telling yourself in all kinds of ways that you are not enough? Can you promise me, please, that today you will consciously hear yourself talking to yourself?

Negative thinking puts you in a mode of self-doubt. Self-doubt is the biggest productivity killer. How many times have you seen yourself wanting to talk to a fellow mom but you cannot because you think you are not good enough?

How many times have you seen yourself wanting to take on a project or volunteer but you did not because you kept thinking you could not handle it?

How many times in a day do you think that you want to run away from everything because you think you don’t have the capacity to handle whatever you have on your full plate?

Slowly but surely you are sabotaging your mind. You are creating unnecessary fear in your mind and in turn, creating a less confident you.

Do you need that? You have children around you who listen and copy you. What do you want to portray in front of them? A confident, loving person or a person who doesn’t think they are good enough? Have you considered how your kids can pick these things from you and grow up to be self-doubting people?

How To Change Your Negative Talk Into A Positive One

I will tell you it is super easy to change what you tell yourself, but it requires conscious practice.

Here are six steps to challenge your negative thinking and nip it in the bud:

  1. Be aware of your negative thought. As soon as you hear yourself saying something against yourself, snap your fingers and say, “this is negative self-talk.”
  2. Now write this negative thought down and read it carefully.
  3. Then it is time to dig deeper. Why are you thinking so negative? Is there any truth in your self-sabotage or are you just angry or upset with your current situation?
  4. Now write down one step that you can take consciously to change your situation.
  5. Turn your negative talk into positive by joining the thought and action by “but if.”
  6. Now say the positive thought loudly.

Example

Let’s learn it from an example. I am not smart enough to talk to that mom.

  1. Be aware and say this is negative self-talk
  2. Write down “I am not smart enough to talk to that mom.”
  3. Find out why you are saying this. Is this because she did not pay attention the last time you talked to her or someone else did not talk to you and you feel the same about this person. Is she lot more educated or better in appearance or very popular?
  4. Now write down what step you can take to start talking to this person. The one step I can take to feel smart enough is to read a book that mom likes or be a part of the PTA and help out or just take a step and get to know her to understand what subjects I could talk to her about.
  5. I am not smart enough to talk to that mom, but if I read a book that mom likes and join her book club, I will be able to talk to her and then I will be just as smart. I am not smart enough to talk to that mom, but if I tell her more about myself, she will know I am just as smart. I am not smart enough to talk to that mom but if I join PTA and help with volunteering she will know I am just as smart.
  6. Now say these sentences loudly and take your actions. Your determination of taking action will turn your negative thought into positive.

 

How to form a positive “affirmation journal” routine

I recommend creating a diary or a journal. Write down all negative thoughts you have as soon as you are aware of them. If you are very busy, schedule a time in the calendar for ten mins to go through your negative thoughts daily or once in two days. Once you schedule this time in the calendar, you know that you have some time to focus on changing your mind into a more positive one.

So moms, are you ready to see the world through a more positive outlook?

Today’s challenge: Become aware of at least one of your mental dialogue that tells you-you are not good enough. Follow the six step process. Get your affirmation and tell me in the comments how it changed your perspective.

For the overachievers: You take care of 5 thoughts today but do not blame yourself not to be able to do a ton.

 

This post was written by Sneha J. who gives actionable tips on how to use self-care and mindfulness for a positive motherhood experience at Kaizen And The Art Of Motherhood

30 Day “Me Time” Challenge For Burned Out Moms

Are you a burned out mom? Then I challenge you!

As a new parent it is understandable that your time is now dedicated to taking care of your precious new baby. Maybe WAY MORE time than you could have imagined… It is so easy to put yourself last with a new baby (or any aged child really), but it is so important to dedicate some “me time” for yourself now more than ever!

Does this sound familiar; you are tired from getting up all night, you have not showered in a few days, wearing an oversized T-shirt and pajama bottoms, and have your greasy hair pulled back in a ponytail? Yes, I may be describing myself at the present moment, but I know that there are too many other moms who can say the same (please tell me I’m not the only one!!!). So in my own efforts to regain some sanity, I have created a 30 day “me time” challenge for burned out moms to help promote self-care and let you recharge your batteries. After all, you can’t take care of a baby if you haven’t taken care of yourself first and foremost.

As a full-time mom or dad (especially of an infant or a high needs baby) we really don’t get a lot of free time during the day. At 9 months, my little man really does demand a lot of my time because he does not want to be left alone for more than about 5 minutes; and when he was really little he did not want to be put down at all… I recently found myself waking up every one or two hours at night with him thanks to one of his lovely sleep regressions, but it seemed to last for many many weeks (thankfully he is sleeping better than ever- blog post about our sleep training success to follow). I was exhausted during the day and was giving up the time in the evening I took for myself in order to get in bed asap before he woke up again.

If this sounds like you, and you are needing to focus on some self-care, then I challenge you to join me in my 30 Day “Me Time” Challenge for Burned Out Moms! (your sanity and your spouse will thank you)

Here’s how it works:

I have created a list of “me time” activities/ideas; very simple ways to put yourself first during the day in hopes to help you recharge your batteries. Complete one task each day, do them in any order you want, until they are all complete. If one of the activities isn’t up your alley then substitute it for your own idea, because it is not so much the specific activity that’s important but the fact that doing it will bring you happiness and make you feel good!

Each day, along with doing one activity, you should also take a few minutes to journal. Give a different answer to each of the following questions every day: 1. write something you are thankful for, 2. something that makes you happy, 3. something positive about yourself, and 4. what you did for yourself that day. This part of the challenge will help you appreciate what you have in your life, help you focus on the positive, and remind you of things that bring you joy.

Next, make sure when you start you tell your husband/spouse/significant other. This is important for two reasons. First, it will ensure they understand what you are trying to accomplish and can help you! Second, telling someone a goal will drastically improve your likelihood that you will follow through and accomplish it.

Last but not least, I want to hear what you are doing for your “me time”! Leave me a comment below, or find me on social media (links on main menu) and share with me any thoughts/feelings/feedback throughout your challenge or pics of you enjoying your time! Tag me in your post or use the hashtag #30DayMeTimeChallenge. I will also be sharing my journey through the 30 day challenge on social media so be sure to follow me on twitter/facebook/instagram to hear about it.

It takes at least 21 days to make something a habit. My hope for you at the end of this challenge is that it will become a habit for you to think of yourself during the day, and to focus on the positive in your life!

Without further ado…

Here are your daily “Me Time” challenges:

  1. Go outside in the sunshine. Get out of the house!!! Don’t become a hermit; take a walk, have a picnic, and soak up some vitamin D.
  2. Read a book or magazine; take an extra-long bathroom break with a magazine, read for 15 minutes before bed, or read while baby naps.
  3. Call a friend on the phone/video chat. Remember to stay connected to the outside world and to have adult conversations with people who can talk back .
  4. Do something creative; color a page from an adult coloring book, color a mandala, do a zen doodle.
  5. Take a nap (without baby). Usually my little man has to nap on me and sometimes I will doze off too, but take a nap without baby so you can sleep properly and uninterrupted.
  6. Sleep in; let daddy take baby in the morning.
  7. Take a long shower or bubble bath; wash/condition your hair, shave, pull out all the stops that you usually skimp on because baby is waiting for you.
  8. Have a date night with hubby while someone else watches the baby. It doesn’t have to be a long outing- go to a movie, grab some dinner, or even stay in if you’re not comfortable leaving home without baby yet (but at least go in another part of the house from your sitter)!
  9. Treat yourself to a favorite dessert or sweet treat.
  10. Get a haircut, or style your hair for the day. Nothing makes you feel refreshed quite like getting a fresh hairdo.
  11. Have hubby give you a massage or go get one at a spa. Holding a baby all day can be quite a work out so let someone relax you.
  12. Eat a special meal; take the time to make something you love (not something that has to be defrosted, reheated, or delivered) or splurge and grab a bite to eat out.
  13. Try to take an afternoon or even a day “off”; someone takes baby as often as they can between feedings if breastfeeding, or when baby really needs you.
  14. Take a picture of yourself that makes you feel beautiful so you can look back at this time and feel good about yourself.
  15. Make sure the house is clean and organized so you don’t feel overwhelmed in a mess; peaceful surroundings makes for a peaceful mind. I know what you’re thinking, cleaning is not your idea of “me time”, but it is about the effects of having a clean house that will bring you joy rather than the task of cleaning. You can even hire someone to come in and clean for you 😉
  16. Paint your nails/get a manicure so you feel pampered.
  17. Write a letter to your baby to give them when they are grown, and write your birth story down so you don’t forget it.
  18. Write down any worries/fears/frustrations/anxieties and then destroy the paper (*please be very careful if you burn it, I am not advocating any action that will be dangerous, and for goodness sake don’t do anything like this with baby close by)
  19. Find a mom group to join, and/or reach out to another mom to make a mom friend. You can find lots of groups on facebook or meetup that have regular outings and play dates to join.
  20. Treat yourself to something you want, not need. It does not have to be something huge or expensive, but something just for you.
  21. Do something to make your bedroom more peaceful and comfortable; you are not getting much sleep so the sleep you do get should be enjoyable! You could treat yourself to new sheets for your bed, a new pillow, or comfy blanket. You could use aromatherapy like lavender to create a tranquil space; you can buy lavender sachets or lavender pillow spray. Also, just cleaning your room and putting out things that you enjoy (pictures, trinkets, fluffy pillows) can go a long way in creating a restful space, as well as rearranging your room so that it feels different and new.
  22. Enjoy a hot cup of tea or coffee.
  23. Put on your favorite music, sing out loud and dance no matter how silly you may feel.
  24. Buy yourself fresh flowers for the house.
  25. Write yourself love notes/words of encouragement/inspirational quotes, and leave them around the house for you to see through the day.
  26. Meditate.
  27. Work out.
  28. Find a park near you and take baby for a walk.
  29. Unplug for an entire day; forget social media, just have a day where you focus on you and your baby.
  30. Take a day trip out as a family; you don’t have to go far but just get out of the house and find something fun to do together.

If you have chosen to take the challenge and I am so excited and hope it helps give you a little more time to yourself! Can’t wait to hear from you on your journey, and feel free to share with any other burned out moms you know 😉

As a thank you, here is a FREE Printable to easily keep track of your challenge.

15 Life Lessons I Want To Teach My Son

As a parent, one of my biggest aspirations is to instill a sense of values and morals in my son and teach him everything I can. You want to impart the best of everything you know in them so they can grow up to be a wonderful person. Even though my son is still an infant, I already know there are certain lessons that I want to teach him and hope that he uses to become a great man one day. Here are 15 lessons that I want to teach my son as he grows.


1) I will always love you no matter what.

Your dad and I will always love you unconditionally. All your triumphs and all your mistakes can’t change our love for you. You have changed our hearts forever and nothing you could ever do could take that away.

2) Know that you can come to me and your dad for anything at any time no matter what it is or how old you get.

I never want you to feel scared or afraid to come to me about anything. No matter what you may have done, or may be feeling, I will always be here for you. And not just when you are little, but for your whole life. No matter how big you get remember that you will always be my little boy and you can come to me with all of your joys and sorrows.

3) Always treat others as you wish to be treated.

If you would not want someone to do something to you, then do not do it to someone else. This works in the reverse as well. If you know that you enjoy something or that something makes you happy then odds are that it will also make someone else happy. Do things for others that you would want done for yourself. Giving joy is just as great as receiving it.

4) Show empathy and respect to everyone.

Having empathy will allow you to relate better to others and therefore treat them with care and kindness. Try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand how they are feeling or what they are going through. You also need to respect everyone. This does not necessarily mean that you have to agree with everyone or look up to everyone. Rather, it means showing them the respect that they deserve as a human being with beliefs and thoughts, even if they may be different from yours.

5) Never change yourself for someone else, always be true to who you are.

There are a lot of influences in this world telling you to be like someone, act like something, or do something a certain way. It can be hard to fight what society tells you to be sometimes, but remember that you don’t have to be someone you aren’t. In some cases it is harder to be true to yourself but it is always the most rewarding to do so.  Never change who you are just to fit in.

6) Find what makes you happy and surround yourself with it.

I hope that you are always happy. Having a happy life and happy surroundings is so important. Try new things, experience new adventures; take that in life which makes you happy, and surround yourself with it. Maybe it will mean living in a certain city, hanging your favorite photograph/art in your house, stocking your fridge with your favorite dessert, playing your favorite video games (like your daddy), or just reading your favorite book.

7) Always think positively.

Having a positive mind set is a choice. Sometimes it is a hard one, but that is when you may need it the most. Being positive and having a positive outlook on life is vital to happiness, living stress-free, and finding peace. If you focus on the negative and surround yourself with negativity (this includes people) then it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Negativity can drag you down and eat away at your soul. Try to look at the world with a positive lens.

8) Respect women in all regards. Period.

Treat women like your equal (because they are). Know that a woman can do anything you can do (and maybe do things better in some cases). And when it comes to a woman you are dating, you are to treat her with respect at all times; respect her mind, respect her body, and respect her wishes.

9) Chivalry is never dead.

This is not to say that women are inferior. Nor does it mean that if you show women chivalry that you are inferior to them. Rather, it shows that you are kind, that you care, and that you are a person who can go out of their way to help. Treat women like they are special to you, because they should be.

10) Don’t follow blindly.

Don’t let others make up your mind for you. Take enough initiative in life to experience/learn/investigate things on your own to make decisions for yourself. Question things in life; ask “why”. Don’t adopt the thoughts of others because that is what you are familiar with, or that is what is convenient, or you don’t want to go against someone. Be true to yourself and form your own opinions and beliefs.

11) Be responsible with money.

Life is not just about money, but money can make you comfortable. It is important to be careful with your money so that you can do what you want in life. Always be responsible with the money; make budgets and stick to them, always keep an emergency savings fund, pay your bills on time, and never go into debt to buy things you want but can’t afford.

12) Know how to do all the chores in the house.

You won’t live with me and your dad forever, and we won’t be doing everything for you when you get older. When you are on your own you will need to know how to take care of yourself and your house. Even when you get married, men and women should share the responsibility of housework equally; you never want to have to depend on anyone anyway.

13) Live in a clean house, don’t be dirty.

Your surroundings effect your emotional and mental state so surround yourself with a clean, fresh, and inspiring home. Living in a dirty, messy house just creates chaos and you won’t be able to enjoy your time there. Your house should always be a place of relaxation, serenity, and calm.

14) Unplug.

I know your generation will probably do everything from a wireless device permanently attached to your body, but unplug as much as you can. Remember to get outside, read paper books, write in a journal with a pen, look people in the eye and have a face-to-face conversation. The world will not disappear if you turn your phone off, and the world can also get by just fine if you don’t share your entire life on social media.

15) Learn how to cook for yourself.

This one should be fairly easy. Because your dad is a chef I am sure that you will learn all kinds of skills to be a great cook in the kitchen. Don’t rely on eating out for your meals. Cooking will allow you to eat more healthy, and also create meals that you love! Take it from your mom who is a terrible cook (even though your dad tries hopelessly to teach me) that cooking a delicious meal for yourself is a great skill.

 

To My Husband On Your First Father’s Day

This year is the first time you will get to celebrate father’s day as a daddy. I know that little man is too tiny to really tell you how he feels, but I know that he is beyond lucky to have you as his papa. Even though he can’t say it, he can show it. I can see it in the way he looks at you, in the way he lights up when you come home from work, in the way that you make him laugh like no one else can, in the way that he just wants to be in your arms because he missed you while you were away. We don’t need father’s day to let you know how special you are, but I am going to take the opportunity to make sure you know.

You have been my only love, but you have also given me my greatest little love. It fills my heart with joy to see my boys together. Watching you become a dad has been such a special gift and I love you even more now if that is possible. I knew you would be an amazing dad long before we had a baby, and you stepped up to the role so effortlessly and with such ease. It was so natural for you to be a dad; not because you had so many younger brothers and sisters and were used to babies, but because this was your son and it was meant to be that you were his daddy, like he was just an extension of who you were.

In some ways he is an extension of you (of both of us), because he is part of you. I see you in his appearance; he has your nose, your toes, and the pointed spot behind your ears. But I also see you in his heart all the time. I see you in the way he laughs, in the way he smiles a goofy grin when being silly, in his constant high energy and happy spirits, and in his gentle soul. He is definitely his father’s son.

Little man and I are so lucky that you love us. Thank you for being such an amazing father. You do so much for our little family and it definitely is noticed and appreciated (even if I don’t always say it). Thank you for working so hard to provide us with a home and allowing me to be a stay-at-home mom. Thank you for always making time for us after coming home from a 10 or 12 hour work day. Thank you for taking the lead after little man was born; for letting me rest and heal, for changing ALL the diapers the first few weeks, for finding the perfect ways to calm him down when he was fussy. Thank you for always being excited to play and for literally running and jumping through the house to entertain him. Thank you for all that you do for our new family.

We love you, happy father’s day!

Self-Care For Moms: A Necessity, Not A Luxury

This post was written by Suzanna at One Hoolie Mama, where she blogs about family fitness and food. She is a dog lover, amateur cook and photographer, and always tries to offer words of encouragement. Stop by her blog and say hi!

 

As mothers, we spend so much of our time doing things for others and caring for those around us. We give and give, and if we’re not careful and intentional about filling up our own cups, we will run dry. What we must remember, though moms, is that our self-care is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

But what do you do if you don’t have any extra time in your schedule? What about all of those other things on your never-ending to-do list? Consider these simple tips for ways to take better care of yourself:

Have a hobby and take time to enjoy your hobby on a regular basis. Maybe you like to read or take pictures. Maybe you enjoy baking or running. Whatever your hobby is, make sure make the time to spend a few minutes each week on yourself.

Take a bath or a hot shower. Go get a pedicure or paint your nails at home. Get a real haircut or spend an extra five to ten minutes and give yourself a facial or put on a hair mask. Even if you only have ten minutes to yourself, you can do a little pampering.

Tell your significant other when you need a break. Ask him or her to do the dinner or bedtime routines so you can take a walk, have a cup of hot coffee or tea, or spend fifteen minutes doing whatever recharges your batteries. If your significant other isn’t available or you don’t have a significant other to help, make sure to take some time to yourself after your little one falls asleep. There will always be dishes to do or chores to be done, but taking ten or fifteen minutes to yourself will help you be more productive and focused throughout the rest of your day. Make yourself a priority.

None of us want to be a cranky or stressed out mom, so we have to remember that the time we take to care for ourselves has to be a priority. We must fill our own tanks so that we can continue to nurture others. Mama, you must take a few minutes each day to take care of yourself.

What is your favorite form of self-care? When was the last time you took a nice, hot bath?  

 

Written by Suzanna at One Hoolie Mama

Breastfeeding In Public

I Am More Uncomfortable Than You Are While Breastfeeding In Public

Imagine you have friends over at your house and you feel like eating a snack. You go to your kitchen and grab something to eat. You then sit down to enjoy whatever snack you took and eat it while still visiting with your friends. Does someone tell you that you can’t eat in front of them? Do they make you cover your head so they can’t see you while you eat? No… that sounds ridiculous right! So why do we do this when it comes to breastfeeding. While breastfeeding in public, some moms are made to feel bad about feeding their babies and insecure because it is “gross and unnatural” to some people.

Well, I can tell you that as a breastfeeding mom, it is the most natural thing in the world. “Normalize Breastfeeding” has become a big movement and I believe that it is very important for women to be able to breastfeed in public as they need. It should not be anyone’s business what a mom does to care for her child. We see more skin in a lingerie ad or more nudity in an episode of anything on HBO than you will ever see while a woman is breastfeeding. However, I can also tell you that while you may be uncomfortable seeing me breastfeed my son (completely covered mind you), I am even more uncomfortable than you are! I know that some people really are not modest and they don’t care if they whip out a boob for the world to see; which is their right to do so and kudos to them for the confidence. But I am very modest, and I do not want anyone to see me, even if it is to feed my baby! To anyone who may feel uncomfortable watching a woman breastfeed, let me assure you, I am more uncomfortable to be breastfeeding in public than you are watching.

Whenever I go out with my son, I plan my trip around his feedings; I exclusively breastfeed, so when we go out if he is hungry then we breastfeed. I try to plan simple errands between his feedings so that I don’t even have to worry about it when we are out. For longer outings, I try to plan ahead and stop near or at places that I know I can feel comfortable feeding my son. When it comes down to it, I will feed my son anywhere I have to if he is hungry, period. But, I will try my best to make sure that I can have convenient and private places I feel comfortable nursing in already built into my schedule when I go out. For example, many malls and shopping areas have a nursing room, family area, or baby room. You may actually be surprised to learn how many places have a nursing room for moms, something I never knew until I started looking and asking. And there is always the fall back of nursing in the car (when it is not too hot outside); that is the one portable nursing area I can take with me.

Of course it is not always possible to have a private area to nurse in. There have been a few times when I had to breastfeed in public that made me uncomfortable (even though I am sure no one cared). The first time I found myself in such a situation was while out with a fellow mom and friend for lunch. I was in the middle of a delicious meal and enjoying some grown up company when little man was hungry; he went from zero to sixty really quick, he wanted to eat NOW… So I sat at the table with a blanket covering me and nursed him while I visited. We were in the back of the restaurant and there were only a few tables next to us, but it still was uncomfortable for me.

So the next time you see a mom breastfeeding in public, before you start to feel uncomfortable, remember that she may be even more self-conscious and uncomfortable then you ever will be. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable seeing a woman nurse, and that is okay… Simply turn your head, no one is forcing you to watch! She will probably prefer she not have an audience anyway.

How To Be The Best SAHM

This is a guest post that was contributed by Pam from Wine and Lavender! She is a mom to three precious little ones and believes there is nothing a little wine and lavender can’t handle. She blogs about being a mom, frugal living, and health. Get to know her a little bit better by checking out her blog!

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“Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Worry about yourself.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this in my life and I can tell you that my kids hear it all the time, too.

I like to believe that us SAHMs [stay at home moms] do what we do for the good of our family, but I’d be lying to you if I told you there wasn’t an element of “I care what other people think” in there. We’re all on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or whatever form of Social Media poison you take- perusing the victories posted by other moms.

This one posted a pic of their redesigned (and awesome!) playroom. That one has 5 kids and managed to get them all together, dressed perfectly and looking happy for portraits. (How did she do that?) They went where?! That looks like so much fun, I wish we could go! OMG- she just had a baby 2 months ago- you’d never know! Look at that gourmet meal…

It makes us re-evaluate ourselves. What am I doing wrong? If “she” can do it, why can’t I? Where does “she” find the energy? I’m sure we’ve all asked ourselves these questions at one time or another. But we never see what’s really happening on the other side of the screen. We shouldn’t assume that all is perfect in their world, as is true with our own.

For the most part (I say MOST because there are some crazies out there) people only post their victories on social media. No one posts a picture of themselves after taking care of three sick kids with stomach viruses and diarrhea. You rarely see action shots of Mom in a vulnerable, frustrated state yelling at the kids.

On my blog, I post mainly positive and helpful hacks that I’ve learned through 3 kids and 7 years of “mom experience”. It is not all wonderful, friends. I promise you. There are weekly, daily – even hourly struggles that we have. I don’t like to be “negative” on my blog because well, we have the news for that. I want my readers to see what worked for me- something that they might try and have work for them. I want to be a solution, a resource, not negativity wrapped in a WordPress theme. But I’m not trying to hide behind a perfect façade.

Perfect is the last word I would use to describe me and/or my family. And I’m PERFECTLY okay with that. I am doing the very best I can. We all are. I am being the best SAHM I can be. You are, too. We don’t need to prove it via small victory posts on social media. If we see a fellow Mom doing great- feel happy for her, not sad for you. Don’t rethink yourself. You’re doing great and your victories will come, too.

We’re all searching for solutions to our problems- working to be the best Mom out there and overextending ourselves because the other Moms look like they got it all together. Let’s stop that. Let’s accept what is and be happy with the progress we’ve made. That’s how you become the best SAHM. (Oh- and a little wine and lavender in between helps, too!)

 

Post written by Pam at Wine and Lavender