Postpartum and Beyond

Utilize your Village

Once to twice a week my parents will take Little P for the day. Usually Friday is my dad’s day and my mom will get Saturday or Sunday depending on her plans and what I have going on. I never thought anything of it until one of my friends pointed out that Little P is with one of her grandparents a lot. Now, that friend probably didn’t mean it in a rude way, but I’ve noticed there can be a lot of judgement thrown around when someone else is watching your baby.

I’ve seen a good number of, “you’ll never see me leaving my baby at my mom’s so I can go do *insert something here*”. I think, for the most part, the comments are directed at people who go out and party consistently or are always doing things minus the baby. To an extent, I see the party point. It would have to be close to a daily type of thing for me to start to judge it though.

It annoys me that comments are being made at all though.

Yes, I’m a stay at home mom currently, and up to twice a week, I take Little P to one of her grandparents’ houses and take the day to myself. I love my daughter with all my heart. I cherish every moment I get with her. I also cherish moments I can get away from her. That doesn’t make me a bad person or parent. It’s nice to clean, relax, and get work done without one eye suspiciously following a seven month old. I mean really, you just start doing one thing and then there’s silence? What has that child gotten into already?

I think once you have a kid people forget that you’re still your own person. You essentially become two people: you and the baby. I’ve noticed this more so with women. However, I’m speaking from experience. I don’t see why a stay at home dad wouldn’t be faced with the same struggles. “Oh, where’s the baby?”, “No baby today?”, or even “Would you like to go do *insert not baby friendly activity here*” which would be directed to the other parent.

Why are my options as a newer parent either be excluded or be judged for taking me time?

I am grateful for my daughter and all the challenges she brings. I’m also grateful for parents who allow me a day’s worth of peace. I’m a parent and that comes first, but I’m also me still. I’m still introverted and value my space. I’m still bipolar and need to take care of myself.

They say it takes a village to raise a kid and I’m happy I have a village I can utilize when I need them. It helps me to recharge and refocus. I get to come back as a better mom and partner every time I get her back at the end of those days.

If you’re a parent and you “don’t need a break” from you kids, then I applaud you. Maybe one day you’ll know what I’m talking about, or maybe you never will, but please don’t go out of your way to make someone else feel bad for taking a break from their kids. We all have our own system and ways to make life work.

All right, I think that about wraps it up for today. Let me know what you guys think! Did it feel like I was getting onto a soapbox? Can you relate?

Have a great day and I will see you next time.

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Postpartum and Beyond

Parenting Success

What to Prepare Before Baby

How exciting, your little one is almost here. You’re nervous, you’re excited, you’re starting to get ready. You’re wondering what you need to get ready. Well, here’s a few things that will make your transition into parenthood a little bit easier.

1. Diapers

Get diapers in a few different sizes. The hospital will have some for you, but it won’t be enough to last. You don’t want to be in the unfortunate position of starting to change your baby only to discover that you are all out of diapers.
Depending on how big Baby is, you might not need many newborn diapers. In general, newborn diapers are up to 10 pounds. Size 1 is 8 – 14 pounds. Size 2 is 12 – 18 pounds. 
Personally, I ended up having roughly 400 diapers of both size 1 and size 2. I ended up having a bunch of leftovers. If I were to go back and rebuy, I would start off with 100 of each size (NB all the way through size 6, I’m a future planner kinda girl). This way I have a base amount and can purchase more at later dates.

Pro tip: Get diapers with the wetness indicator, I’m in love with them.

2. Wipes

Buy a brand and see if you like it. See if you need a wipe holder (maybe those wipes you see for cheap are cheap because they’re a refill pack, a mistake I unfortunately made). I didn’t realize I would prefer one brand of wipes to another. But I do. So, now I have a bunch of wipes that I’m not really happy with but still want to use since it seems like a big old waste to get rid of them or give them to a friend.

Wipes will be your best friend. There have been a few times when I’ve ended up using them for myself (quick hand wash, face wash, wiping sticky things down).

3. Baby’s Room/Bassinet

You don’t have to go all out with decorations and everything, but it’ll be nice to have a changing area and crib set up. You may as well get everything put together now while you don’t have a little one demanding your attention constantly. If you already have kids, it’ll be nice to have this set up that way you don’t have an additional little one demanding attention.

You should also get Baby’s first bed set up as well. The bassinet (or whatever else you’re using for Baby in your room) shouldn’t be too hard to set up. For this one, you’ll mainly be making sure that it fits in your room nicely.

4. Laundry

You’re going to want to get all those cute clothes, blankets, burp clothes, etc. all washed and dried before Baby gets home. This will give you a chance to get everything all organized as well. Take a good look at that organization there, you might not be able to keep those clothes that nice again.

5. Freezer Meals

I didn’t want to cook when we first brought Little P home. It was so nice just being able to open the freezer, pick a meal, and then throw it into the oven and not have to worry too much. You’re still figuring out your new baby, you’re adjusting to a very different life now, don’t also worry about figuring out dinner.
Bonus tip: get crazy, get/make some frozen breakfasts too. Start your day off nice and easy food wise.

6. Your Hospital Bag

You may as well get this all packed and situated while you’re getting everything else taken care of. You don’t want to be in labor and scrambling to find things you need. Speaking of things you’ll need, check out my “Hospital Bag Necessities” post (https://bit.ly/2USqxA5) for the things I absolutely needed with me.

Some Thoughts

Remember not to stress too much! This is an exciting time. Don’t spend so much time worrying about all the things that need to get done and remember to (try) and enjoy yourself. Getting these things done will help you keep busy and make things a little bit easier for you once Baby does arrive.

Let me know what you think! Was this list helpful? Do you have any advice on what to have ready before Baby arrives?

Pregnancy

Hospital Bag Necessities

Before my daughter was born I was obnoxiously prepared. By the time I made it to my third trimester I had her nursery all set up, clothes washed and put away, I read books, cleaned and organized bottles, and had organized the diaper bag.

So, come those last few months I was bored out of my mind. I became obsessed with making sure that my hospital bag was perfect. I organized and repacked sporadically up until the day I gave birth. Once I got to the hospital I realized that I had completely wasted my time. The hospital provides pretty much everything you need. On top of that, I didn’t account for people giving gifts, so I had way too much to take back.

Looking back at it now these are the items that I would have included in my hospital bag.

1. Chapstick

Honestly, if I could go back I would pack a handful of Chapsticks. By the time I got to the hospital my lips were so chapped they hurt. My husband (of course) didn’t have any Chapstick either. When our family arrived I hadn’t even thought to ask for Chapstick because by then I was just tired and hungry.

2. Fewer Clothes

For both me and Baby. I had this image in my mind of putting Little P in a different outfit every day we were there and me switching clothes each day. I was scheduled for a c-section and ended up having a natural birth beforehand. So, if you consider my packing for a c-section, I packed an okay amount, but once it ended up being natural, I was way overpacked. Either way, one outfit probably would’ve been fine. The hospital provides outfits for your little one and nice meshy underwear for mom. You’re probably not going to want to do much changing into fancy, cute outfits while you’re there and you shouldn’t feel the need to. Also, my main concern was just figuring out Little P while I was in the hospital. She looked just as cute in all the hospital baby clothes.

3. No Makeup

Who was I kidding? I wasn’t going to put makeup on to take pictures while I was in the hospital. I also didn’t care about how I looked in my “going home” pictures. I just wanted to go home.

4. Phone Chargers

This one is a given. Thankfully I managed to remember to pack these. You’ll want to take pictures, make calls, post to social media, etc. Plus you can play your own music and if there’s nothing on the tv you can watch your own movies or shows.

That’s it.

Honestly, you don’t need much more. Chapstick, an outfit to go home in, an outfit for little one, and phone chargers. My hospital provided a toothbrush and toothpaste, lotion, shampoo, and soap. They also have everything you need for your little one. If you want to pump they also provide a breast pump for you. I think anything else you want to bring is more for comfort. It’s nice having certain things from home, but just remember you have to also take it all back and now you’ll have a baby with you. Also, for some reason when packing it never all goes back in quite the same way.

As usual, let me know what you think! Did you overpack or under pack your bag? Did you spend too much time packing your hospital bag like I did?

Updates

Motherhood Changes

Without a doubt, becoming a mother was the best thing that could have happened to me. I had my daughter and she helped me realize that I needed to change. I had no real purpose before her. I bounced around from job to job and while I was nice, I had a really short fuse and showed it. In the months following the birth of Little P, I was able to look at myself and things I wanted to change in my life and finally make those changes.

I don’t think babies are a cure for your life troubles. They’re not a BandAid to fix a relationship or to turn you into a better person. I did not have my daughter and then magically become who I’ve always wanted to be. I still have numerous flaws and I’m still working to maintain the positive changes that I have made. It took me a month (possibly even two or three) to recognize that it was finally time for me to be more than I felt I was.

I’ve become more understanding since becoming a mother. It was easy for me to feel like I was understanding before. Sure, I understood that you had a bad day or maybe the dog didn’t quite understand what I was trying to get him to do, but it was so easy for me to snap and get angry even though I “understood” what was going on with the other person.

Since having Little P, I get it. It’s not a baby’s fault that the only way they can express things is by crying. It’s not always a person’s fault if they’re snapping at people either. As adults, we should know not to snap at people if they didn’t do anything wrong, but it’s also bound to happen because we’re not perfect.

I have also noticed that I tend to take my frustrations out on other people. I’m learning to watch the tone in my voice and learning not to just lash out at people. I want my daughter to be able to have pleasant interactions with people even if she isn’t in the best of moods. I want to be able to model that behavior for her.

Being a mother has made me both more determined and more flexible. Am I going to get her to stop crying? You’re damn right. I’m also going to help her however she needs. If my feet hurt but she wants me to walk her around, then I guess we’re walking. It seems like a given applying it to my child, but the same goes with other things. My husband in a bad mood and I want to cheer him up? Guess what honey? You’re going to be in a great mood, but what do you need me to do to help you get there? Am I going to get the dishes done? Yes. Will it be now? Maybe not, Little P needs attention right now and that’s fine.

Becoming a mother has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. It is an eye-opening experience (as I’m sure becoming a father is). For me, it has helped me make changes to myself so I can be better for my daughter. This has become an opportunity to not only watch how my daughter grows and prospers but to see how I have also grown throughout the months and years.

Some Thoughts

I want to reiterate that having a child is not a magical fix all for any problems. It’s not a baby’s responsibility to make your life better. This is just a personal account of how having a child inspired me to become something more.

So, what are your thoughts? Did having a baby inspire you to make any changes in your life or make you more aware of some less positive aspects of your personality?

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!