Tuesday, January 10, 2017

We Can Do This

I just can't seem to catch up lately.  Everywhere I look I feel like I'm falling behind.  The laundry, groceries, messes, projects, etc.  Since Christmas I can't regain control of my house or life.  I feel like I make a little headway (take the tree down, move furniture, etc) only to have the rest of the house go to complete tornado mode.  I'm beyond frustrated and I'm super unmotivated to keep trying.  Right now, I just want to light a match and go back to sleep. 

I keep thinking I'm going to get caught up and then we'll be fine.  I'm not giving up completely but I just need to say, how the heck are you all doing this?  How do your houses look like model homes and your businesses are just thriving, and you can pay all your bills, and keep feeding and providing deodorant for all your kids? I know no one is perfect, and if you've read any of my posts then you know full well I'm so far off the mark it's down right ridiculous.  Typically, I feel like I'm keeping up for the most part.  I'm only two days behind.  Right now, I feel like I'm two months behind.  The only thing I can think of that sounds appealing is a free vacation to somewhere warm. 

Those last two paragraphs, sadly, sum up my mood currently.  I'd like to think I'm not the only one (misery does love company).  So I've come up with a couple of ideas to help pull me out of the January, winter blues, overwhelming funk state of mind I'm in.  Hope they help you too because I know if I'm not alone and we can feel comfort in knowing we have a sisterhood who can relate, offer advice, and just listen, that will make a difference. 

Here's what I hope/think should help. 

1. Clean Something- I don't know why but lately the one thing that is sure to put me in a bad mood is a mess.   I can't relax, I'm anxious, I am irritable.  I've set up some new chore systems but we haven't quite caught up and it's bugging me!  Adding all the new Christmas toys, clothes etc have tipped the tables and there's just way to much stuff crammed into our small house.  I just took a little break and went and cleaned my bedroom.  I cleared everything off the dresser, vacuumed, and made my bed.  I feel so much happier and whenever I start feeling grumpy I go and sit in my room and take some deep breaths. 

2.Inspiration- I know there's a lot of amazing people out there who post a lot of lovely pictures of their lovely lives/homes and let me just say, "Thank You!"  It is super helpful for me to have a goal to reach for.  I love the inspiration and it honestly motivates me to try and be like them.  Try to spend time with my kids doing fun activities, and look cute everyday, and have a pretty home, maybe even plan a vacation.  The point I'm trying to make is that when I'm feeling down and out, sometimes it helps to see someone who doesn't look all that down out.  It motivates me to try harder, to work at improving just one thing.  I know you can go too far on this, and you can start comparing yourself to others who are only posting their best moments.  But for me, it helps me.  It motivates me and it inspires me to create a few of my own best moments!

3. Read a Book- Sometimes we just need a little escape from our own worries.  The cheapest way to do that is to delve into a good book.  I'm going to go ahead and just recommend THE BEST BOOK I've read in such a long time.  I'm a fairly avid reader; picky, but I love to read.  My good friend Kati Jo recommend this to me and let me just say it was fascinating, horrifying, inspiring, and incredibly well written!  It's called The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.  If you don't love it, then we can't be friends. 

4.  Do Something for Someone Else-  The best way to stop feeling sorry for yourself is to start looking for ways to help other people stop feeling sorry for themselves.  I love getting a package together in the mail for someone.  It completely distracts me from my own problems to start planning something fun to give or do with someone else.  I'm going to start a collection of fun things to share with one of my readers.  I'll post more about it as I further develop my plan but it's going to be a collection of some of my favorite things.  Or maybe I'll do a favorite things swap where each of you get an anonymous swapping buddy and we all swap one of our favorite things.  OK  I need your feedback. Comment below which you would be more interested in, swapping favorite things with each other or entering a giveaway of my favorite things? 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

I'm sure next year will be better....

Christmas is over; huge sigh of relief here.  Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas in theory.  All of the kids snuggled up near the sparkling Christmas tree reading Christmas books together planning all sorts of random acts of service to do.  It's just never actually like that in my world.  And then I feel guilty that it's not and then I wonder what I'm doing wrong, and then I wonder what's wrong with my kids and then I go berserk because the house is cluttered to the max and I'm out of tape again and I forgot about 6 different people's gifts and I over-bought for one kid and completely under-bought for another so I get to go shopping at 2:00pm on Christmas Eve again to try and even things out.

But the past is in the past and I'm sure next year I'll have budgeted $6000 so I have enough money, and I'll have a graph to keep track of equality, and I'll have two trees.  One that's pretty and blog-worthy, and one that's homey and has all the sentimental, homemade elementary school ornaments draped unevenly on it.  Because I'm going to be amazing next year and it's going to be AWESOME.  But I'm so flipping happy right now because I finally got the last of the Christmas crap put in my garage (Dan cleaned the garage and I could not be more in love with him for it) and out of my house and I feel like a new person.  Plus the kids are back in school.  Happy Day!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Just Take My Word For It

Just Take My Word For It

A Misinformed First-time Mom and How To Not Be One

Little Black Heels
What I brought to wear home from the hospital the first time: black high heels, nylons, a black skirt, a blouse (insert 300 laughing-cry-face emoji's).  Hashtag- misinformed.  I also lunged a huge bag full of candles, a stereo/mixed tape (I realize this dates me) filled with "calming songs"  to play in the background etc all with intentions of creating an ambiance for the birth of our baby (pretty sure it's against hospital policy to have open flames).  If you're not rolling on the floor laughing at me then you've probably never actually had a child and all of these ideas seem reasonable.  Since I've got 5 kiddos worth of birthing experience I'm giving you all the ins and outs to help make your experience more smooth sailing than mine.  First note-worthy tip.  Don't bring high heels to wear home. 

Now that I've given birth 5 times, I've learned a thing or two about what is actually helpful and necessary and what is absolutely fluff.  I want to help you avoid some of the mistakes I've made and make your transition to motherhood a little more comfortable, aka, I want you to be prepared/realistic about what's coming.

No Special Certificate If You Forgo Pain Meds
A few things I didn't realize despite all the "Mom" articles I read were that after birth things get swollen.  It makes sense thinking about it, but I just didn't think about it- because no one ever mentioned it. You just pushed a very large bundle out a very small opening.  That combination will make for some swelling.  I just want to assure you that the swelling will go down.  Things will return to close to normal eventually.  Take your pain medication.  Sure, you are still numb so you don't need any meds because you can't feel anything.  That will change.  If you are in intense pain, it will be hard to take care of your baby.  It will be hard to visit with family and friends.  The pain medication is offered for a reason.  You don't get a discount, or a special certificate if you forgo your meds.  All you get is misery.  Nursing is not easy.  Your bosoms will expand with healthy fresh milk that your baby needs and it hurts.  Also, having a baby suck vigorously on your nipples will cause levels of pain that you'll wonder if you could also get an epidural for.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm a pretty big fan of nursing (I've nursed 5 kids for about 2-3 years each).  If you do the math I've got about 12 years of nursing experience under my belt.  I didn't start out as a natural nurser it was a rocky road to start off but I got the hang of it and became an experienced milk-maid.  Now I'm a huge proponent of getting educated about breastfeeding in order to be successful.

Now that I've been through this circus called childbirth 5 times I've created a list of things you actually should bring. 

Flip flops, slippers, or socks and ginormous maxi pads.  Remember when I told you about how your lady parts will be unrecognizable? That's because you just pushed out a baby that is much larger than the hole it came through.  That also means you're going to bleed.  More likely than not it's going to get on the floor.  Especially when you go to the bathroom (which they will make you do even if you're as scared as we all are.  You must at least pee and hopefully poop before they will release you, Dr.'s Orders).  Think about how many mothers have bled, thrown-up, etc on that very same floor.  Just think about it. And now pack some easy slip on shoes or slippers to wear while you walk around.  You cannot wear tampons postpartum so maxi pads it is.  They will provide you with plenty at the hospital but you'll need a bunch once you checkout so make sure you're stocked up.

Stool Softener.  Remember how about 2 sentences ago I told you that they will make you go poo and you will be scared.  That is most likely due to the fact that your parts are swollen, bleeding, and sore.  Also factor in that your poop has become a rock solid mass that is content to stay where it is.  Enter stool softener.  Yes, they will have this available at the hospital and will give it to you.  But you will be going home soon and you will need this like a 2-year-old needs their Spidey videos and blanket. You might even carry it around with you like a 2-year-old with a blanket.  Just saying, stool softener will be your best friend. 
Shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush.  Although your spending approximately $3,000 a night for your accommodations that, somehow, does not cover luxurious amenities. So yes, they do have a tiny bottle of cheap shampoo but my hair felt awful after using it. And it was only enough for 1 use.  Depending on your circumstances you could need more than 1 shower and you definitely will want fresh breath.  And smelling and feeling clean can not be overrated at this point. 

Food.  This may be something that only I need but I'm going to include it in case you're like me.  After my baby was born, approximately 15 minutes later, I was starving.  Probably had something to do with the fact that I had been brunching on ice chips for the last 15 hours.  I was ravished.  They immediately brought me some food and I devoured it.  Then I threw it all up.  All over.  Now, don't get me wrong, one of the best parts about having a baby is sitting on your propped up hospital bed snuggling your delicious nugget and picking up your phone to order food.  I'm not kidding, if I ever change tax brackets and get super rich, I'm totally hiring a cook.  One I can call from my bed and order things like "Tex Mex Breakfast hash, grape juice (think stool softener), and wheat toast with grape jam."  I LOVE this part about having a baby.  But you only get three meals a day.  If you're nursing, you will need about 7 meals per day.  My suggestion is, at least bring a few of your favorite snacks to hold you over while you wait for your "Tex Mex Hash" to arrive or to fill in if you've puked your last meal up.

A Hair Dresser/Make-up Artist.  You think I'm being ridiculous or joking.  I'm not.  I don't really mean bring in a professional to do this, but you need to ask a trusted family member or friend to come and gussy you up while you're at the hospital.  You will be too tired to hold up a hair dryer.  Your fingers will be too shaky to properly do eye-liner.  Besides, make-up and hair are beyond your husbands realm of expertise.  He can sit in the corner and hold baby while someone can help you look like the normal you.  This cannot be over-emphasized.  Family and friends will be coming by, gobs of photos will be taken.  Your pride and vanity have not evaporated just because you have a  baby.  The more you look like yourself, the better you will feel.  I promise. And whomever you ask to do this will feel very special and honored to be there for you at this special time. 

Comfy, stretchy clothes.  You won't want your maternity clothes (you will want to burn them) you won't want heels and nylons (just take my word for it) what you will want is something cute-ish (you'll likely be taking pics of this joyous occasion) but comfy (you will be feeling worn out and anxious).  A soft, loose tunic and some stretch pants are my suggestion. You can still look good while feeling comfortable.  It's laughable to look back and remember gingerly removing my hospital gown and pulling out nylons, and cunning little heels for my drive home from the hospital postpartum. (What in the heck was wrong with me?)

A really big, baggy bra (no underwires).  Your nursing boobs will get a lot bigger than you think.  It's kind of amazing, and also painful.  The last thing you want is anything tight squeezing them.  If I wear any kind of wire-bra while nursing I get a clogged duct within 24 hours.  By the 2nd child I stopped using nursing bras.  I just pull down the side, latch that little ravenous mouth on and I'm good.

Phone (with a lot of open storage space), phone charger, camera, batteries or battery charger, an empty camera disk.  This is the greatest moment in your life.  It happens very quickly (if you're lucky), you don't have time to go and get your charger at home, or to the store to get new batteries.  This will cause you a lot of emotional grief if you don't document these moments as a new family.  You also don't have time to delete a photo every time you want to take another one.  

Pillow and blanket.  If you have any sort of preference about texture or denseness you'll want to bring your own.  The hospital pillows are pretty scratchy and too fluffy for me.  You need to get as much sleep as possible and since they are going to wake you up every couple of hours to take your blood, check your bleeding, and deliver your pain meds, it's nice to not have to toss and turn for another hour because their pillows are crap. We all have different temperature preferences.  I tend to get cold in hospitals so I have a much more comfortable stay if I bring a blanket from home to snuggle up with and add extra warmth.

Personal Quirky Items.  I live in a very dry region and can't stand to have dry hands or lips so for me Baby Magic lotion and chapstick are a necessity.   If you're reading this Baby Magic CEO's, I will gladly accept a sponsorship from you.  I love you beyond belief.

Nipple-Shield.  Most-likely you've never heard of this.  I know I hadn't.  Luckily, my sister-in-law gave birth about 9 months before I did and offered this suggestion after I was failing miserably at nursing the first time around.  I was sitting on my toilet at 2 am pumping my severely sore boobs and then tip-toeing to my bedroom (my Mom was asleep on the couch) to bottle-feed my breast milk to my screaming with hunger newborn.  Super fun. It took forever to first pump, then feed my little girl. I couldn't get her to latch on properly and I was bleeding and so sore that I couldn't feed her.  The nipple shield is basically a thin latex cover that helps the baby latch on and can be removed once your initial "let down" is over.  It worked like a charm, helped my nipples heal, and I was able to stop using it after a couple of weeks.  Problem solved.   

Leave Your Stilettos Home
Giving birth is a stressful experience.  I don't care if you've got a Douala and your having a water birth in your front room. If you've taken la mas classes up the ying yang (pun intented) you're going to experience stress.  Even if you have a fully-planned, fully-numbed c-section.  You will be stressed!  There's no way around it.  The stress comes from wanting your baby to be healthy.  That is all you care about.  You want your baby to come out with all the normal parts, to not have any health issues and that is where the stress lies.  Hoping, waiting, and sometimes finding out that not everything is as you hoped and prayed it would be.  Enter, stress.Having a few items of your own and having a plan in place will help alleviate some of that stress.  So, leave your stilettos and tummy sucking nylons at home. And pack plenty of ginormous maxi pads, stool softener, big bra and nursing pads. 

Let me know if I forgot anything that you know to be a necessity!  I'd love to hear.