Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just Look at the Little One

I love my daughter.  I know parents always say they love their kids and that it's a different kind of love, but you have no idea until it happens to you.  There is no way to describe it.  It consumes your soul in a way that you would have never thought possible....

My time today with the wee one was wonderful.  This particular wave of the teething phase is temporarily at a pause, and I have my happy, little girl back.  It was such a fun day.  Then... I talk to adults... old colleagues, friends, my husband.  Instantly, I'm overwhelmed with CRAP.  Their day sucked, so my evening now has to suck.  I get caught up in the nonsense and angry at ridiculous situations that are beyond my control.

I begin to forget about my awesome day.  Then, the baby lets out a whimper in her sleep, and I rush to her side.  I look at her perfect little face, big, chubby cheeks, silly little sleeping grin, and she brings me back.

Taking Advantage of Nap Time

The little one is asleep.  Now, what do I do?  I need to clean, do laundry, wash dishes, and I should probably eat something.  Lord knows I need to take a shower.  Bleh.  I don't want to do any of those things.  I'm exhausted.  I feel guilty, but I want to sleep too....

There are so many things to do when the baby is asleep.  I remember before being discharged from the hospital, the doctor telling me to eat and sleep when I had the opportunity.  Eating was to come before anything else.  And sleep was supposed to be the next best thing.  We all know that doesn't happen.  Eating is the last thing on your mind when taking care of your baby all day.  And sleep?  It sounds amazing until you look at your house.

It's the baby's first nap of the day.  You're looking around, trying to figure out what to do next, and you see your husband's work clothes on the floor from when he came home late and changed the second he walked in the door.  You see the little bit of dishes you left in the sink from last night, the piles of laundry (dirty and clean because you hate to fold), the baby toys scattered across the living room, the vacuum cleaner waiting to be used, and you get up.  I know what the experts say.  Eat and sleep.  I agree that this is what you should do if you're a brand new mom.  However,  after the first week or two, it's time to be realistic.  As much as you need rest, you're going to push yourself, overdo it, and be even more drained.  If you attempt to organize your time, you can make the best of it and maybe work in a good nap.  : )

My baby's naps are generally at similar times each day, but I'm lucky if they last 20 minutes.  These are the goals I set for different times of the day, but I can fit in more activities if I feel ambitious enough.

Morning Naps

  • Throw in a load of laundry
  • Straighten up the house
  • Wash bottles and then any dishes that might be left in the sink (no dishwasher)
Afternoon Nap
  • Me time (whatever I want to do)
  • Maybe a short nap for myself
  • Start planning dinner?
Evening Nap (a few hours before bed time) 
  • Start dinner
  • Dishes (again)
  • Finish laundry
I know my schedule may not be for everyone, but I do believe that trying to organize your time will help you get through the day and feel that you've accomplished something.  Don't try to take on too many tasks at once.  I've done it.  You're just exhausted the next day.  Being a mom is a full time job.  If you try to space out your chores, it's much easier to enjoy the time you have with your little one.  Remember why you're staying at home.  Don't stress yourself out about cleaning and trying to get everything taken care of right away.  You don't want to be feeding the baby and wishing she would hurry and eat so you can finish whatever you were doing.  She won't be this little much longer.  : )  

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Craving Chocolate? Easy/Cheap Recipe

Desperately wanting chocolate and having no sweet treats anywhere in my house, I decided to raid my pantry and create something.  What did I find?  A bag of marshmallows, a box of rice Chex cereal, and a tiny bit of Nutella.

Yummy Nutella and Cereal Treats:
  1. Put a spoonful of margarine in a bowl and add the bag of marshmallows.  Heat in microwave until puffed.
  2. Spoon desired amount of Nutella into the bowl and stir.  I used a heaping spoonful but will use a little less next time.  It doesn't take much.
  3. Stir in Chex cereal.
  4. Spoon into pan and let set.  I put mine in the freezer as I really, really wanted to eat it right away.  
It was pretty good!  My husband loved it.  I didn't have to buy a thing.  Just grab any plain cereal you have in your kitchen, add some marshmallows and Nutella, and you have a simple, sweet treat.  You could even use Fiber One cereal and make it healthier.  : )

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Support for Stay At Home Moms

Spending time with your little one all day is amazing, but if you're starting to feel like your brain isn't working anymore or you are losing your sanity, there are many helpful ideas out there.  I'll share my advice, but I've also attached helpful links throughout this post.  I would never recommend a site that I have not thoroughly reviewed and used myself.

Own It
First of all, don't let anyone make you feel like less of a person for choosing to stay at home with your children.  When people ask what I do or if I'm still teaching, I almost cringe at the thought of answering.  I know I should not feel that way, but there are those ridiculous mothers who think I'm wasting my education and talents by staying home.  If someone isn't a mother and they criticize me, I genuinely do not care.  Other moms though?  As much as I don't want to let their comments bother me, they do.  However, those nay-sayers probably have no concept of just how much work is involved in what we do.  They also have no idea how rewarding it is, or they wouldn't make those faces or share their negative opinions. Perhaps they're even jealous.  Not all moms are cut out for this or have the opportunity.  This is who I am.  This what I do.  It's hard... and I love every spit-up covered, smelly, crying second of it.

Maintain Strong Friendships
You won't believe how lonely you will be on certain days.  Sure, you have the little one(s) to keep you busy, but as much as you talk to the babies, they can't really talk back.  Although, sometimes I think my daughter tries.  : )  You need to have at least 1 close friend you can lean on.  Your partner is obviously part of your support system, but if you're staying at home and the partner is working, you need some one else.  My husband works 12 hour days and is exhausted when he gets home.  The first few weeks, I bombarded him the second he walked in the door.  I needed to talk.  I needed to hear about his day and engage in stimulating conversation.  He needed to relax for a minute.  I need other friends to chat with.  You will too.

Tips:

  • Make time each day for a phone conversation with a friend or a personal visit when possible.
  • Take advantage of unexpected visitors.  Trust me, you'll have plenty of knocks on the door.  Babies draw crowds a mile long.
  • If you have not already made a facebook account, do so!  You'll be surprised by how much support you'll receive from messages and posts.  : )
  • Let family and friends help you when they offer.  Don't try to be Super Mom and do everything yourself if you don't have to.

Get a Hobby
Yes, you will be crazy busy with a new baby, but you need to find a hobby just for yourself.  When you do have a minute to entertain yourself, do something you enjoy.  Learn a knew skill, read a good book, reignite your love for drawing or whatever you like to do.
I've been trying to learn to cook.  : )  There will probably be posts about recipes, successes, and failures in days to come.

If you feel like you need more support, you can always join a moms' support group.  I've looked into a few, but the International Moms' Club looks promising.  There is a yearly fee, but it is affordable, and you get to meet with other moms in your area.

Additional Helpful Links:
"4 Things Every Stay-at-Home Mom Needs to Know"
Christian SAHM Support

How I Told My Husband

Probably not the most original way to tell my husband we were expecting, but I had all of 3 minutes to prepare....

You see, old Aunt Flow should have arrived about 3 weeks before I decided to take a test.  My husband and I had been trying to conceive for a while (story in another post) but didn't think it was going to happen.  We decided to stop consuming ourselves with the realization that we were never going to be able to have children and just let God take over.  Whatever was meant to be would be.  Well, after 3 weeks of waiting for my cycle to run its course, I thought a pregnancy test was worth a shot.  I sent my husband to the grocery store to pick up something and took the test while he was gone.

I don't know how I managed to restrain myself and wait the couple of minutes for the test results to be clear, but I did.  It was positive.  I couldn't breathe.  How was this possible?  I sat for a few minutes, unable to move.  Then, I thought about my husband.  He was going to be home any second, and I couldn't just tell him.

I ran to my pile of scrapbook stuff and grabbed a little piece of bright yellow card stock, folded it in half, and made a tiny card.  On the front, I drew a cartoon baby face and wrote "Hi, Daddy!" above the smiling baby.  On the inside, I wrote a little message.  My husband came home, groceries in hand, and I waited for him in the kitchen.  I told him to take a deep breath and gave him the card.  He covered his mouth and broke down in tears.  : )

The little card still sits on his night stand.  Eventually, it will go in our daughter's scrapbook.  : )

For those of you who are looking for more unique, exciting ideas, check out BabyCenter.  You will find tons of interesting ideas for sharing the news with your partner, family, and friends.

Welcome!

Welcome to my new blog!  I never thought I would do anything like this, but here I am.  :)  In the past few months, as I have settled into the groove of being a new mother, I have jumped at every opportunity to research mom stuff.  I've reviewed tons of sites and am overwhelmed with the amount of available information.  Soooo... I've decided to help other moms out there by consolidating as much information as possible into one site.  I hope to provide you with honest stories about being a new mom, useful and honest site and product reviews, and generally as much (hopefully) good advice as I can.