Postpartum and Beyond

Bah Humbug

Santa or No Santa?

Throughout the holiday season this year, I’ve noticed quite a few parents wondering if they were bad people because they weren’t labeling a lot of presents as “From Santa”. This made me realize that my husband and I hadn’t actually discussed the Santa topic. Luckily Little P is too young to even realize what’s going on this year. So, I was able to raise the question to my husband.

Should we teach Little P that Santa Clause is real?

We decided, after a surprisingly short discussion, that we wouldn’t be teaching her that Santa Clause is real and here are a few reasons why.

1. Christmas is Still Magical

You absolutely do not need Santa Clause to feel like Christmas is magical. It’s great to be able to spend time with family, get time off of school, and/or work. You can still feel like the time of the year is special without believing in Santa Clause. Now, instead of focusing on “What will Santa bring?” you and your kids can focus more on quality time with each other (and extended families that come into town to visit).

2. Santa is a Bribe

Santa is a bribe to get your kids to behave. Not much else to him.
You tell your kids Santa is watching all year round, but especially around November and December, you start reminding them that they need to be good otherwise Santa isn’t going to bring them any presents.

3. Focus is Not Solely on Receiving

If you understand from a young age that some magical man in a suit comes and brings you gifts just because you were good, you realize that someone worked to get you a present, and maybe you want to help that person feel good as well. Maybe instead of focusing completely on what you want, you get something (or make something) for the people who you love as well.

4. They Can Truly Appreciate The Gift Giver

If you put that Santa gave them the present then there’s nothing else to it. They don’t get to say thank you to you. It’s just a gift from Santa because they were good. When they know you gave them the gift, they know it’s because you love them and want them to be happy. Plus, if you both know who gave them the gift, then you get to take credit for it and not feel resentful that Santa gets the credit for your work.

5. Easier to Explain Why Present Wasn’t Received

Maybe one year your kid wants a bunch of things and you just can’t afford it all. It’s a lot easier to ask what the “big ticket items” are and work on making sure those are given and explain that maybe you won’t be able to find all of the items than to try to explain why Santa didn’t bring the items.

Some Thoughts

You’re not a bad parent either way. If you want your kid to believe in Santa, that’s great. If you don’t want your kid to believe in Santa, that’s also great. Either way, I’m sure you want your kid to have a magical holiday season.

Let me know what you think.
Are you teaching your kids Santa is real or not real and why did you decide on that?

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Mental Health, Postpartum and Beyond

Treat Yourself

Self Care When You Have a Baby

Taking care of yourself is always incredibly important. Once a baby is brought into the picture it can become a lot harder to make sure that you continue to check in on yourself. You’re tired, you’re constantly making sure Baby is okay. It’s easy to overwork yourself and neglect yourself.

Now more than ever you want to be putting your best foot forward. Your baby deserves the best you that you are. Here are some ways you can take care of yourself even though you have a full plate.

1. Do Something You Enjoy

Your day consists of doing what Baby wants or needs. You also probably have a lot of other things to do, cleaning, work, cooking, etc. Make sure your day also includes something you like to do.

You probably can’t binge a whole entire season anymore. You might not even be able to make it through a whole chapter of a book, or a whole level in a video game, but at some point in your day, you can squeeze in a few pages, even a few minutes of something else.

2. Keep Hydrated and Eat

It’s so easy to forget to make sure you’ve eaten (something healthy hopefully) and to get some water. Making sure you are hydrated and fed helps your body keep going and functioning properly. Keeping hydrated is a good way to keep your body going and it also helps you stay mentally and emotionally healthy throughout the day.

3. Ditch the Phone

If you only have a few minutes to yourself a day then don’t waste your time scrolling through social media. Live in the outside world. Don’t stay focused on what is happening in other people’s lives. Take that time and do something else that you enjoy.

4. Get Clean

I don’t mean your house, I mean yourself. If you can, take a shower. If you can’t, that’s okay too, wash your face, brush your teeth, brush your hair. Do you need to cut your nails? Give those a trim as well. If you have long hair get some dry shampoo and use it. It’ll work wonders in making you feel more like a regular person.

5. Appreciate What You Can Get

Do you only get a couple minutes to yourself? Is that the time when you manage to go to the bathroom?
Enjoy that time!
I wake up before my husband and baby every morning (Little P sleeps through the night, my body figured it out, but still wakes up early now), and I go into the bathroom. I do what I have to do and just hang out for a little bit. I put on a song I want to listen to and get a few peaceful moments to myself.
It isn’t much, but it helps get me through the day.

Thoughts

Keep it simple. Don’t make yourself feel worse because you aren’t doing more for yourself. If you can’t get yourself to do your hair all fancy, or do your makeup, then big deal. You don’t need to have a full-blown spa day to take care of yourself or go on some vacation.
Self-care can be as simple as making sure you give yourself a little TLC throughout the day as well.
Remember you can do this.

So, let me know what you thought.
Do you have any short self care tips that help you when you’re having a tough time?

Postpartum and Beyond

Help Me Help You

How You and Your Partner Can Stay Partners

When you first bring Baby home from the hospital you may think that there will be no problems between you and your partner. You’ll probably think that you have a strong relationship and that everything will just fall into place. If you’re lucky enough that everything works out then I’m so happy for you. For me and my husband it took a bit of figuring out. A few months into Little P’s life I realized that not only did I need some extra support, but so did my husband.

Since I’ve finally come to that realization, I wanted to compile a list of things that you can use to help you and your partner continue to help and support each other at least throughout Baby’s early months.

1. Talk to Each Other

It’s my favorite piece of advice.
Take time out of both of your days and once Baby is asleep talk to each other. Try to keep it to adult stuff, weather, politics, how you’re doing, whatever. You’re still people even though you have a baby now. It’s okay to spend some time in your day talking about something other than how many poopy diapers you had to change.
If you need to you can also add in a day where you talk about things that are bugging you (more specifically about what the other person does or how to raise Baby). Maybe you need more help doing laundry or what have you, bring it up during that time.

2. Have a Specific Daddy Day or Mommy Day

If one of you works, the one who stays at home probably feels like they need to do a lot of the childcare stuff. Maybe you both work and one partner is still picking up more of the childcare stuff.
It’s very important that both of you gets a complete day to themselves to just relax. If only one parent works, then choose a day (or even a few hours) that is completely up to the working parent to take care of the baby. This gives the one who stays at home a chance to be by themselves (trust me, you will need at least a little bit of time).
If you both work, then give each of yourselves a day. Maybe one parent takes Saturday and the other takes Sunday.

The main thing is that you’ll both know your roles on that day. One of you will get a bunch of time learning your baby and the other will be able to relax for a little bit.
Plus if you’re both home, you will both get to help each other if needed.
The goal is to get a break, not to completely abandon your partner on this day!

3. Get a Safe Word

When you are completely overwhelmed while taking care of Baby, figure out how to tell your partner. Obviously with a newborn, you can very easily just say something along the lines of “Take it, I can’t do it”, but if you have a child who can understand a little more, that’s a rude thing to say.
Get a phrase that you can say to your partner to let them know that you are at the end of your rope and you need them to step in and take over while you collect yourself.

4. Neither of You Can Do It All

You are both here to help each other. Try not to get caught up in keeping score or assuming your partner can handle whatever they’re dealing with.
Maybe you’re better at figuring out why Baby is crying, maybe they’re better at getting Baby to sleep. Offer help to each other! If you see your partner is struggling, then ask them if they need help. You’re both going through this together, don’t just leave your partner struggling because you assume they can do it.

5. Show Each Other Affection

If you’re staying at home with Baby all day I know it can get exhausting being in constant physical contact with someone.
(Don’t think so now? Just wait, your time may be coming.)
Maybe at the end of the day, you just don’t feel like being touched. That isn’t fair to your partner, or to yourself.

Now, I’m not saying you should force yourself to get into the mood, but take a few minutes to hug your partner or something similar. Hold their hand, snuggle up against each other, give each other a kiss. Just take a moment to remind each other that yes, you’re both tired, but you do still care for each other.
Saying I love you is great, but every once in a while, a hug really goes the extra mile in giving each other comfort.

6. Be Understanding

Don’t get mad that you can go a whole day without help from your partner and your partner always seems to need help with Baby. Don’t be upset that you go to work, come home, and the dishes still aren’t done.

You’re both going through things. You both have different tolerances for what they can handle with Baby or dealing with their work days. If something isn’t done, don’t just be angry with your partner. Ask if they can get to it now, or if they’d like you to take care of it.
Also, if your partner needs help with Baby, don’t be upset! You had to figure out Baby too, if you’re more in tune with what Baby needs then help your partner figure it out as well.

Just try to take a second to put yourselves in their shoes.

Thoughts

As long as you both are trying to do right by Baby and to each other, then you’re doing good. Try to cut each other some slack and really get your communication skills going. Don’t shut the other person out because you don’t want to make their day harder. If you’re having a tough time, tell your partner. Maybe they just needed to hear you were struggling to realize they needed to help out more.
You were partners before Baby and you can keep being partners with Baby!

So, let me know what you think.
Do you think I oversimplified things? Do you have tricks on how you and your partner stayed partners throughout Baby’s early years?
Let me know!

Postpartum and Beyond

Resentment

When You Feel Like You’re Doing it All

Before me and my husband had our baby I did a lot of reading and had heard a lot about how the relationship would change, the dynamics would change, and that the first year with your new baby is really hard.

I was convinced that there was no way mine and my husband’s relationship would be impacted negatively. We were a team and there would be no tough feelings towards each other. A few months into it I realized that I was pretty naive. There were days when I just wanted to punch my husband, and I’m pretty sure that there were days when my husband probably wanted to punch me (or at least yell at me).

Your relationship will change, but you need to realize how to deal with the tough days and how to go about resolving them peacefully with your partner. Another big point here is that it’s so important to actually resolve any issues with your partner.

Today I don’t have a big list of things that you need to do to deal with this. Ultimately, it’s really simple:

You have to talk to each other.

If you’re frustrated that you aren’t getting help, tell your partner. Tell them calmly. Don’t yell or belittle. It’s very important that you’re able to get your point across without sounding like you’re better than the other person. I know, you may be bustling around doing everything around the house and taking care of the baby, and the other person is playing video games or doing everything other than helping.
Wait until you’re calm and explain to them how you’re feeling. You can even ask them for help while you’re doing things. “I’m doing the dishes, could you please fold the laundry for me (insert whatever you need here)?” Then, explain to them afterwards how you’re frustrated and feeling like you could use more help.

Are you the one who’s always getting up with the baby? Tell your partner to take a turn at night. Do they agree and then they still don’t wake up? Try waking them up. Wake them up and remind them that they promised they would take care of things tonight.

Don’t. Suffer. In. Silence.
No one is a mind reader. Sure, you can show your annoyance by stomping around doing things, maybe huff and puff now and then, but that doesn’t solve anything.

I know it may end up feeling like nagging. I don’t like reminding my husband to do things constantly, but I also don’t like feeling like I have to do everything around the house and take care of the baby. So, would I rather ask my husband to take out the trash (sometimes multiple times) or not ask him (or not remind him) and have him not do it? So, then I’m stuck with an overflowing trash can or getting Little P in the BJorn, grabbing the trash, walking downstairs, and down out to the trash can? 
I’d much rather ask him to take out the trash and I honestly do ask him multiple times for everything. I ask him when I first think about it and if he takes too long to do it (when I ask I mean now, but he doesn’t realize that) I ask him again. This time I phrase it, “You were going to do (blah blah blah) right? Could you do that please?” And it gets done.

Maybe one day I won’t have to nag. Maybe one day he’ll know that the floor needs to be vacuumed, the dog taken out, etc. But, until then, I will get over my annoyance at having to nag and having to ask for help. I will keep the conversation going that way my partner knows I need help and how to help.

What To Take Away

Keep talking to each other.
Don’t shut down and just do everything because you’re mad your partner isn’t just helping.
Tell them how you’re feeling, calmly, and ask for help.
If you have to nag and that starts getting to you as well, tell your partner that too. You will most likely still have to nag a bit, but hopefully you and your partner will be able to work some sort of system out.

Some Thoughts

What do you think? Is there a way you manage to get your partner to help you on the first try? Does your partner actually know what and when to do things? Did you just give up on the nagging?
Do you have any tips on keeping calm when you’re angry with your partner and overwhelmed?
Let me know!

Postpartum and Beyond

Being Productive With Baby

i’d rather hang out with you, but these dishes aren’t gonna do themselves

The laundry isn’t done (all right, they’re clean, but you know you have to put them away now), your dishes are beginning to pile up, and there’s various clutter all throughout your house, but your baby doesn’t care about any of that. They want you to hold them and play with them. How can you say no to those big old loving eyes anyway?

Well, today we’re going to take a look at how you can still get all that tedious stuff down around your house when all your baby wants is to hang out.

1. Take Baby Along

Your options don’t have to be ignore baby and do work, or ignore work and take care of baby.
Make sure your baby is fed and changed before you start and then take baby along. My husband and I have both a Baby Bjorn and one of those wrap carriers. We have both because I thought I’d like the wrap carrier more, turns out I like the Bjorn better. Little P likes to look around now and I haven’t mastered a good way to hold her safely with the wrap.
The point here is, take baby with you. You’ll get work done and they’re so young they might actually have a good time doing some boring stuff with you.

2. Stand Up

If you need to get work done on the computer try to stand up with your baby. Little P got so bored just sitting around, so I held her so she could look over my shoulder and stood up while I worked. It’s a bit tiring on your feet, but baby was calm, I was getting work done, and I turned it into a work out so I was technically extra productive at this point.
Now, if your baby doesn’t really like when you’re standing, give sitting down a try. Rinse and repeat.

3. Work during Baby’s naps

I would do this during Little P’s longer naps in the afternoon. I picked things that wearing her would be a pain (think lots of bending, possible but annoying) and did those when she had her lunchtime nap.

4. Try to Break Up Your Tasks

Don’t leave everything to be done on one day. Do laundry one day, vacuuming another, etc. Also, you could try and do certain tasks while your significant other is around or on a day where someone else is watching your baby.
You don’t have to get everything done all at once! Do what you can and don’t overwork yourself.

5. Be Happy With What You Can Do

Did you manage to get those dishes done today? Celebrate that! It really can be hard having to watch Baby and having to clean up and making sure the house is looking decent. Be happy with some of the smaller things you can accomplish, as long as you’re getting something done don’t stress too hard about what you haven’t gotten to. The laundry will still be there tomorrow, and if I’m being honest with you, it took me days to fold laundry even when I didn’t have a baby.

some thoughts

Baby-wearing literally saved me. I work a lot on the computer and when Little P got more active, I couldn’t hold her and type at the same time. I need both my hands to type otherwise I just can’t work. So with computer work alone, baby wearing was my savior. The rest of the things I needed to get done I was generally able to do during her naps.

Another big thing, don’t get overly down on yourself if you can’t get to everything. If you can, try to do little bits of everything (fold a couple things of laundry, do a couple of dishes) throughout the day. You’ll still be making a dent in what you need to get done, you’re still being productive, it’s just adjusted for having to deal with both Baby and chores. But don’t beat yourself up! I got stuck in a rut because I felt I wasn’t doing anything throughout the day. I needed to remember that taking care of a person all day is doing something and that what I am able to do as far as chores is an accomplishment!

If you are baby-wearing while you’re doing chores you can turn it into a game. Sing a song, talk super extra about everything you’re doing. Maybe it’ll make it less boring for you and Baby will be into it. Make chores fun for them (and you) before they realize that chores are pretty awful.

Tell me

Let me know what you thought!
How do you keep productive with your baby throughout the day? Any other tips or suggestions that I haven’t included?