A Taste of Single Parenthood

I have always wondered how single parents do it all. Parenting is already so hard to do as a couple… how is it possible to do it as a singlet? This past year, because of my husband’s job, I was able to experience single parenthood twice for about 2 weeks at a time.

My mom raised 3 kids on her own. She’s always been superwoman to me. Two weeks is nothing compared to what she and other single parents had/have to go through. Like it’s not even a question. But two weeks for me, was a lifetime! Yes, I still worked and the kids were at daycare for most of the day but the times I had them were also the most hectic times of the day and don’t even get me started on the weekends! How?!?! Just how?!

Anyway, I thought I should write about it a little and who knows, maybe it’ll help someone out there or at least give them a laugh or two.

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The Circumstances

The first time A left for about 2 weeks was last year. E was 3 years old and baby bro was 11 months old. A’s parents lived in New York. My mom was taking care of both my grandparents at the time and lived about an hour away from me (45 minutes if I drive ;-)).  I had little help from family because they were either too far away, or our schedules just didn’t match up.

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The second time A left for about 2.5 weeks, was this past June/July. E is now a 4 year old who thinks she’s the mommy of baby bro. Baby Bro is now 22 months with full blown temper tantrums. However, A’s parents has since moved 5 minutes away from us so that was extremely helpful.

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In both instances, the reason I did not go crazy was because friends and neighbors helped me tremendously! Last year, friends came to bring us dinner and/or play with the kids so I can make dinner. This year, friends came to hang out with us and helped me take the kids out of the house to prevent cabin fever.

How My Weekdays Typically Went

For things to run smoothly, I would get up a bit earlier to get ready for work. E and baby bro share the same room which helped a lot. E would distract baby bro until I came in to get them ready for the day.

Morning Routine

Our morning routines were always chaotic because 2 against 1 is no joke. Last year, baby bro crawled all over the place, so I would just place him in his crib while getting E ready. He would whine, but I was ok with that because I’d rather have whining than accidents.

This year, E demanded that she will get herself ready but then cry because she can’t reach the dress she wanted from the closet. She of course would wait while I was changing baby bro’s diaper and then wail that she can’t get her dress. Like, you can’t see I’m changing the diaper of someone who wants to go commando at all times?

After wrestling them into their outfits of the day, we would go to the bathroom and brush their teeth and do E’s hair. Last year was ok because I would still leave baby bro in the crib. This year, I couldn’t do that because the man does not like to be in that crib except for sleeping. Tantrums galore!

So instead, I would give him a toy in the bathroom while I brushed E’s teeth and fix her hair. Then I would brush his teeth while E talks to me about how when she’s older she will do her own hair and makeup and how she will not ask for help at all. Ok.

Then we go downstairs to eat breakfast which is usually cereal or yogurt with granola. Ain’t nobody have time for anything else. Sorry not sorry. While they eat breakfast, I pack their lunches for the day put everything in the car before I finally pack them up as well and take them to daycare before I go to work.

Last year, they went to two different daycares. This year, daycare = A’s parents’ apartment (and no need to pack lunches other than whole milk for baby bro). Woot woot!

Night Routine

After work, I would go home and drop off all my work stuff before I picked up the kids so I had less things to carry. Last year, I would heat up their dinners so by the time I picked them up from daycare, it wouldn’t be too hot for them to eat. This year, we ate at A’s parents house. Sooooo helpful!!

After dinner, I would then play with them a little because when else could I play with them during the weekdays?! Then the bedtime routine would be brushing their teeths, giving them baths, putting on their jammies, reading them a couple of books, singing bedtime songs, some cuddle time and then finally put them to bed.

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It’s just as chaotic as the morning routines, but I was able to basically give them baths together which saved time and crying from either kids. And they slept in the same room so I didn’t have to do two bedtime routines.

Me Time

After the kids are in bed, I was able to tidy up the house a little, wash any dishes if needed and prepare for the next day. I would try to workout if I had any energy left or do something relaxing for myself before getting ready for bed and going to sleep.

How My Weekends Went

I had to get them out of the house. It was no question. If I kept them inside the house, they would go crazy and I would go crazy because the house simply isn’t big enough to get all their energy out. And believe me… they. have. tons. of. energy. I can’t even.

So after their morning routine, I would pack up snacks and the diaper bag and take them to the park or the mall’s play area or anywhere they can run around and get tired.

We’d come home for lunch and play a little before baby bro’s nap time, and E’s quiet time. She would either color, or play with her toys quietly. I find that she liked quiet time because baby bro isn’t all up in her grill. She’s pretty good with occupying her self while I cook, do laundry, or rest a little. (PSA: Crockpots and pressure cookers are life savers.)

After baby bro wakes up, I would let them run amok in the house or we would go outside and go for a walk. If friends come over, it’s even better because we would get to do things that are more fun. For example, this year, we went to the pool! Whatever I could do to tire them out, I did.

After that, it’s our regular nightly routine.

What I Learned

Single parenthood is no joke. Props to all the single parents out there. Mind you, in each of the 2 weeks that A was gone, I didn’t do bills, nor any major housework. So how do others make time for that without help?

Planning is key. And back up plans are a must. However, flexibility within your plans are life savers. You just never know with kids. Usually, baby bro naps for 2 hours. But if he doesn’t, I’d have to be ok with not doing the laundry right away and putting it off after their bedtime. Or if after you’ve dressed both of them in the morning, and brushed their teeth, baby bro decides to grab cup of water from E and pour it on himself – it’s ok. Just had to change him again real quick and move on because in this case, you choose your battles.

Lots of patience. Patience does not come easy to me. But I learned that deep breathing really helps with patience. Yes, you’ve told E not to build her magnetic blocks into an elaborate house while baby bro is awake. Yes, baby bro ran to her structure and pummeled it. Yes, E screamed and cried and threw a fit. Yes, baby bro came running to me because he was scared and started crying. Two crying babies are not the funnest. But deep breaths help so you don’t go cray on them and so you can comfort them accordingly.

If you can get them out of the house, do it. I was very nervous because both of them are very mobile so I always had a fear that one of them will go running off somewhere and get kidnapped! But luckily baby bro and E like to stick together for now so that worked in my advantage.

Accepting friends’ help is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your sanity. This year, since baby bro and E go to A’s parents while I worked, I did not want them to have to take care of the kids over the weekend. Enter friends.

I have wonderful, lovely, caring friends who were more than happy to spend time with me and the kids and I will forever be grateful for them.

Though I tried to express to them my gratitude, I don’t think I can say in words how touched I was when they gave up their Saturdays or Sundays to hang out with me and the kids. <3!

I learned that I am stronger than I think when I put my mind to it. I am always nervous when I hear that it’s that time of the year when A would have to go out of town for a bit. It’s not like I have much for a choice right? I’ve got two little ones who depend on me for their survival. So I had to just woman up and be that parent. So with lots and lots of prayers and lots of self-pep talks, I really do feel like I grew as a parent each time I had to the whole single parenthood thing.

Lastly, I learned to appreciate A more. Single parenting is hard AF. I don’t know how my mom did it. I don’t know how any single parents do it. All I know is that when A is here, things are much much much easier for me.

So cheers to parents, especially single parents out there. Keep it up! You guys are amazing!!

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

(all gifs are from giphy.com)

Becoming a Mom (Part 2)

If you haven’t read part 1 (Ella’s birth story), click here. You know, you’d think after the first birthing process, you’d be like “I’m an expert” when it comes to number 2. Boy, was I wrong! Not to be outdone, here’s Isaac’s birth story. My story of becoming a mom… again.

Isaac’s Pre-birth Story

Whoever said that you feel sicker during pregnancy when you’re having a girl was totally wrong. I was sick the whole time I was pregnant with Isaac. Props to the hubs because he pretty much was a single parent to Ella since I was just a log on the couch the whole time.

Since Ella’s birth was via a C-section, I fully intended to do a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarian) with Isaac. The catch was that the OB wouldn’t give me pitocin and we would just wait it out. He did give me the option of scheduling a C-section in case Isaac decides to stay put like Ella did.  I chose a date 4 days before his due date. I just felt so sick and miserable that if he did not come out by then, I would opt for the C-section.

At 39.5 weeks, we go to the hospital for our scheduled C-section. I remember being sad and thinking maybe I should cancel and wait it out. I really wanted to do a VBAC. The doctor came in and said he doesn’t think Isaac will come naturally that day and asked us if we are ok with going through the C-section. Andrew and I agree this time. Yes. My mom was with us and my brother had gotten into town already and time-wise, it was the best choice so that we could have help.

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Ready to get this 2nd baby out! =)

Isaac’s Birth Story

They prep me for the OR. The anesthesiologist give me the epidural or whatever drug, the same way the epidural was given – via my spine. They bring Andrew in to be by my side as I lay down on the table.

Since we both thought we knew what was gonna happen, we were pretty calm about the whole thing. I remember that I wasn’t shaking as much and I thought that maybe they gave me a different kind of medicine.

The doctor comes in and gets ready for surgery. He pokes at my stomach and he asks if I can feel it. Ummm yes. Yes I can feel that. He says “Don’t worry, I won’t do anything until you don’t feel  anything but pressure.” Uhh thanks? Somebody better give me more meds!

The anesthesiologist gives me more meds I guess and finally I only feel pressure when the doctor asks me if I could feel anything. He, again, talks us through the process and I’m not sure why but I start to feel more than pressure in my stomach as the surgery continues. I tell Andrew I feel more than pressure and he tells the anesthesiologist. She asks me if i’m feeling pain and I go “well, it’s definitely more than pressure, so I think so?” I didn’t want to be rude, but like why would I say something if it didn’t hurt?!

So she ups the meds again. And I remember the room spinning.  I’m confused as to why I was feeling woozy and why the lights in the room were moving. I remember saying sorry twice because I thought I was asking for too much. Later on Andrew told me I said sorry the whole time I was on the operating table. I guess I was pretty hiiiiiggghhhh.

I remember snippets of what was happening – Isaac crying, the nurses saying he weighed 9 lbs 2 oz and me thinking, “well I guess it’s good I didn’t try VBAC.”  Then I remember Andrew bringing Isaac to me which is funny because I don’t remember him getting Isaac at all. Then I thought I was really high when I saw Isaac because legit I was like “Ella?” He looked exactly like her – swollen, red, and hairy.

Isaac’s Post-Birth Story

I get wheeled into the recovery room and they finally put Isaac on me and I remember crying uncontrollably. I remember thinking I felt so high on meds that it must have gotten to him and now something is wrong because he got some of those meds. There was no way I could explain it at the time but I wanted someone to tell me that he was ok.

The nurses and the doctors finally assured me that he was ok. I still felt so sick from the meds but I felt completely lucid by the time they wheeled me to the maternity ward.

All of Isaac’s tests were normal. He didn’t have to go to the NICU like Ella did (I was worried since he was also a large baby), which made me so happy.  The lactation consultant and the pediatrician realized he had a tongue tie so with our permission, they cut the lingual frenulum which made breastfeeding less painful.

The rest of our hospital stay was filled with visits from family and friends and me learning how to breastfeed Isaac… every hour… morning and night.

Becoming a Mom (part 2)

This time around, I knew that it was going to be hard. We weren’t going to be sleeping and I knew that breastfeeding is hard. I told myself before Isaac was born that if breastfeeding didn’t work out, I will not feel guilty about giving him formula.

I think that because I expected those things, I didn’t get the baby blues at all. On top of that, Isaac slept like a champ. I do remember that he would fall asleep on my boob while feeding and when we checked his diaper, he would poop but not really pee. So I supplemented with formula. And I was ok with it. Becoming a mom again for the second time was gonna be just fine.

Everything was going great until a week before he turned 2 months old. He stopped eating and just slept all morning. He had a fever and though we tried to wake him to feed him, he would suck the bottle for 5-10 seconds and go back to sleep. I got worried and called his pediatrician who told us to go to the ER.

Hospital Stay

They bring us back pretty fast and they start to run tests on him. He got poked with so many needles because his veins were so small. He cried so much to a point he just stopped crying because he was so tired. The ER doctor comes and says because Isaac seems inconsolable they are going to do a spinal tap. What….

I’m not a squeamish person but when they were about to do the spinal tap, I could not breathe. The doctor and two nurses came in and that room is not big. They ask me if I would like to stay or step out. I wanted to hold Isaac but I knew they are trained better than me and I would just be in the way. I tell Isaac I will just be in the doorway and give him a kiss.

Another nurse sees me stand in the doorway and as Isaac starts screaming, she walks to me and gives me a side hug as I finally break down and cry. She assured me that I did the right thing bringing him in and that they will help him as much as they can. She had no idea how much that meant to me.

A minute or two later they are done and once they give me the green light to come back to the bed, I scoop Isaac up and he stops crying and just rests his head on my chest as I apologize to him profusely. We sit together, and wait for results.

I don’t know how much time passed but the ER doctor finally comes in and says that Isaac had meningitis and has to be admitted into the hospital. My heart drops. I call Andrew to let him know we have to get admitted. He puts Ella to bed and arranges for a sitter to be with her  so he can come join me at the hospital.

We finally get a room in the pediatric unit. They tell us that we have to wait until they can grow a culture from the spinal tap to figure out if it’s bacterial or viral. If it was viral, he should recover pretty well – the prognosis would be good. If it was bacterial, it could be fatal if they don’t start treatment right away. So they start it just in case since it would take 2-3 days for the culture to grow.  More needles. My poor baby boy.

Andrew and I take turns at the hospital. Wonderful friends come and play with Ella during the day so that one of us could nap before going back to the hospital. They also came to drop off food so that we didn’t have to worry about cooking.

After 3 nights and 4 days at the hospital, we finally get the results that it was viral meningitis. Isaac was waking up, smiling, and eating again. He was still lethargic but much better than 4 days before. The doctor said that it could take him up to a week to go back to normal but he is doing well enough to let us go home.

Finally Back Home

That night, when we were all home, I was finally able to breathe.

For part 1 of this series, I said to make sure to ask for help if you need it. Before this happened, I was that mom who tried to do it all. If people helped, cool. If they didn’t, totally ok with that as well. Never wanted to be a burden to anyone. Still don’t. But this incident made me realize that the term “it takes a village” really is true.

We wouldn’t have known what to do if our heroes didn’t step up to help care for us and pray for us. Help from friends nearby and words of support/prayers from friends near and far got us through one of the most difficult times of our lives. For that, I am forever grateful.

I’d learned an important lesson at that time. Accepting help made me a better mom. I’m still learning tons every day. I pray and hope that nothing bad happens to my children. But if something does happen, I know that there are people there that I can rely on always, that will help me become a better mom every day.

Thanks for reading and Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

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(all gifs from giphy.com)

Becoming A Mom (Part 1)

Well since Mother’s Day is coming up, I thought I might share Ella’s birth story. She is my first baby after all, making me a mommy for the first time in my life. I write this sort of humorous, but genuine, entry in hopes that it will brighten up your day if you’re going through a tough time while pregnant, or if you’re just having a tough time period. Here’s my story on becoming a mom.

Ella’s Pre-Birth Story

To start off, Ella is 4 now and is a healthy, thriving, happy little girl who loves dresses and sparkly shoes and bows/hairbands on her head. Despite what you may think while reading the rest of this article, I love this kid to death and she has filled our lives with laughter, joy and love.

Ok, now that we got that over with. Real Talk. This baby was late. I mean laaaaa-aaaate! Friends who were due either the same time as me or a little later than me, all had their babies 1 week and a half before me! I was an angry pregnant woman when the 3rd friend texted me that she had given birth. Ok, well I mean I was happy for her of course, but angry that Ella was still in my uterus pushing up on my belly. Get. Out.

The doctor would not induce until almost 2 weeks past my due date. So, 1.5 weeks after my due date, Andrew and I go to the hospital to get the baby out! We got there at 7am, induced by 8am, epiduraled at 10am, broke the water at 11am, and 9 cm by 4pm. I was progressing well the doctor said.

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Here I am waiting to be induced so I can be a mom 😉

Nope. Legit this baby did NOT want to come out. I was at 9 cm from 4 pm to 11pm. My doctor came in, measured and said that my cervix was getting a little swollen. He said we could wait 2 more hours and give me more pitocin (the drug that induces), OR do c-section. Andrew and I said different answers at the same time. He said we can wait and I said C-section. Who do you think won that battle?

Ella’s Birth Story

We get prepped and ready to get our C-section on at 12:00am the next day. The anesthesia they gave me – so I couldn’t feel them cut me open – was strong. I felt nothing but tugging and pressure in my stomach area. However, the side effects included uncontrollable shaking. If this happens to you ladies, do not try to suppress it. That makes the shaking worse. Just breathe through it. You can do it!

I was lucid the whole time. I heard the doctor say “Ok here we go” as they cut open my uterus. Then I heard him say “whoa! I’m sorry the first thing you see in this world is my ugly mug!” Oh, the doctor got jokes. Ok. Apparently, Ella had turned around sometime while I was waiting to deliver and was facing forward instead of the favorable facing toward the back. That’s why she didn’t come down.

The doctor then said “ok we’re going in so we can get her out.” And I felt this heavy pressure pushing up into my lungs and I couldn’t breathe for a good 10-15 seconds. They were reaching inside the uterus to get a good hold of Ella, but that created a lot of pressure upward and so I felt like my lungs couldn’t take in any air. I couldn’t breath y’all!

I then hear the doctor struggling and saying “Come on little one! Come out! She does not want to come out!” I’m telling you… he’s got jokes. Finally I feel the pressure release and I hear Ella cry. I remember a tear dropping from my left eye. Although if it’s from hearing her cry, or the drugs, or the fact that I didn’t die cuz I could breathe again, I don’t know. But I was happy it was over.

They weigh her and I hear the nurse say “9 lbs, 11 oz.” I’m 5’1 and 120 lbs pre-baby. My doctor says “9 lbs 11 oz?!?! there was no way you were going to push her out! You would’ve broken something!” Jokes. They get Andrew to come get Ella while they were sewing me back up. Andrew comes back with Ella in his arms and you can tell that it was love at first sight for him.

When I see her I think “Whose baby is that?!?!” Ella was swollen, red and hairy! Like so hairy! I remember saying “oh hi” and Andrew bringing her close to me. I smelled her. Ladies, they do not smell like babies right when they come out. I have no idea what smell that was – almost like the smell of iron, I guess maybe from the blood or placenta –  but it was not the baby smell.

Ella’s Post-Birth Story

Growing up, people have always told me I’d be a great mom someday.  I loved kids that’s why. Then Ella came and I have never felt like the worst mom ever than during the first couple months of her life.

She was such a large baby that her blood glucose levels were not normal and she had to go to the NICU. Because of my C-section, the milk didn’t come in fast enough, and I never had enough milk for Ella. Breastfeeding was a huge fail. I couldn’t sleep because she kept waking up screaming every hour. I would put her on my boob and she would fall asleep again and then scream again less than an hour later.

We took her to the pediatrician when she was 3 days old and she said that Ella had lost more than 10% of her body weight. I didn’t understand because she was on my boobs 24/7. When she wasn’t on my boobs, I pumped. My boobs were raw and bleeding and I cried every night because it hurt and she kept crying, but she still lost weight?!? I was so confused and angry. The pediatrician said we would have to supplement.  Ok fine.

That actually helped me to hear that she didn’t have to rely solely on my boobs. I pumped instead of breastfeed so that my nips would heal. (I meant it when I said that nips deformation could happen post pregnancy here.) When they healed, Ella wanted nothing to do with my boobs so I just continued to pump instead of breastfeed. Definitely felt like I failed there. No sleep, not meeting expectations, and whack hormones did not help with the feelings of inadequacy. It would take time for me to feel like a mom.

Becoming a Mom

Before Ella, I wanted to be a stay at home mom to be with my babies 24/7. The first 6 weeks of Ella’s life, I couldn’t wait to go back to work. I would wait for Andrew to get home from work, give him Ella, and go cry in our room or just sit on the couch and space out.

The first 6 weeks of Ella’s life, I was just in survival mode. All I remember was that I needed to keep her alive and healthy and not go crazy when not getting any sleep. Then one day, I remember looking at Ella and thinking “Wait… you’re my daughter! I’m your mom! This is crazy!” I’m not sure what happened, but full blown mama bear mode just hit me. Everything I did from then on became purposeful. Instead of just surviving, I wanted her to thrive. I wanted all of us to thrive. I felt like I was becoming a mom for real.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a continued learning process. We still had and have tons of tough days. There are days when my patience runs out, days when I get no sleep, days when all I want to do is get the kids to bed so I can have my “me time.” But the desire for all of us to thrive has stayed. My love for Ella (and Isaac) has only grown since I first became a mom. I mean these kids are cray, but this mama got their backs no matter what.

Lastly, I just wanted to let you all know that everyone’s experiences are different. Yes, you may fall in love with your baby at first sight. But if not, don’t feel bad! Hormones make you feel all sorts of things! If you are having a rough time, ask for help! People sometimes don’t want to step on toes or cross boundaries, but they do want to help. So just ask! Parenthood is something I cannot explain. It is definitely not easy, but when my babies come up to me and give me hugs and kisses for no reason other than the fact that they love me… that, is priceless.

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Photo by Candice Mapa Photography

Happy Mother’s Day Everyone!

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Photo by Arpasi Photography

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!

 

(all gifs from giphy.com)

6 Ways To Help Parents Wind Down

I don’t know about you, but by the time the day ends, I need a way to wind down.  Most of the time, I sit on the couch and watch TV.  After a couple of shows, it’s time to get ready for bed. However, I don’t really feel relaxed. I feel anxious for the next day and I feel like I didn’t really do anything for myself. Does that sound familiar to you?

Why do I feel anxious? Because when I watch TV, it’s like time flies by so fast and it’s time to sleep and then start the day over again! Where did the time go?!

Daily Routine

This is an example of our daily routine.  You wake up, get ready for work, kids wake up before you finish getting ready, you rush to finish, then you get the kids ready. After you dress them and brush their teeths, you make them breakfast. One kid is screaming because he is hangry and wants food now, the other kid is whining because she doesn’t want pancakes for breakfast – she wants bread. You feed them, if you’re lucky, you stuff your face with whatever they may be eating while packing up their lunches.

You finish packing up their lunches and then it’s time to get them into the car. Need I say more on that?

You go to work. If you’re lucky, work goes well. You may even get a breather if you don’t have a busy day! In our case, that’s highly unlikely for the hubs who is always busy. I’m a little luckier at work because there are times when work isn’t as busy and I can breathe! Then work is over and it’s time to pick up the kids! We pick them up, make dinner or heat up leftovers. Eat dinner. Play with the kids. Start their bedtime routine. Put them to bed by 7:30pm. Then wash the dishes, clean the kitchen and then if there’s time, wind down right? Right??

Ways to Help Parents Wind Down

Disclaimer: All of the stuff I mention here, I bought with my own money, or were gifted to me by friends. I am not affiliated with any of these items nor am I getting any kind of compensation for mentioning the products.

OK! So you’ve had a long day!  It’s time to relax! Watching TV just seems to make the time go by faster and by the time you need to go to bed, you may still be wound up. Here are some simple ways to help wind down your body, mind, and soul in the comforts of your own home.

Body

 
1) Warm bath: Ok, so I’m not a bath type of person. I like showers because I feel like bath time takes too much time. But I’ve found that baths are actually pretty relaxing because it forces you to just stop everything (it could actually be good for your mind, body, and soul). The warm bath can relax your muscles and help relax your whole body. To make it more fancy,  add a bath bomb and it’s like you’re in some wonderful vacation!
I used a Bhe Refined bathbomb made by a friend of mine. The base scent for all her handmade/homemade bathbombs is a mix of eucalyptus and lavender! And it smells awesome y’all! The fancy ones have different types of flowers/plants that will float around in the bath if you’d like – rose, marigold, lavender and chamomile. I have pretty sensitive skin/eczema and I’m happy to report that these bathbombs didn’t irritate my skin =) woot!! (A friend and I are gonna do a giveaway which includes these awesome bathbombs! Like this post and head over to my instagram for a chance to win!) [now closed. Winner selected]
2) Facial Masks: Listen, I know some guys don’t do face stuff, but real talk. They’re awesome. What body parts are the most exposed during the day? Hands and Face. Take care of your face people! Facial masks also feel real good and it relaxes your facial muscles in case you were frowning all day or fake smiling at your coworkers 😉 jk jk.
I tried Nature Republic Real Nature Mask Sheet. As I said, I have sensitive skin. So I’m always scared to put things on my face for fear that I will breakout. But this one was great! It felt refreshing while it was on and my face felt moisturized but not greasy afterwards. The next morning, no breakouts! So I think these are pretty safe to use (at least so far ;-)).

 Mind

 
1) Podcasts: If you turn off the TV and your eyes aren’t focused on anything and you’re just listening to something, it actually feels kind of relaxing. While you’re chillin’ in your awesome warm bath, listen to something fun or relaxing. I recently just got into Jonathan Van Ness’s “Getting Curious.” The man is a genius and is hilarious. I don’t know, it felt nice to relax my eyes and just listen. It felt like my mind was more focused and still relaxed – maybe because it was taking away the sight stimulus? I don’t know man, I am not a psychologist.
2) Reading: I’m thinking something that doesn’t make you too anxious. My favorite is J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I’ve read those books at least 3 times through. Find a book you like or something that will help your mind to just wind down. Something that won’t make you think too much. Give your mind some time to relax.

Soul

 
1) Meditation: There’s apparently tons of things you can do in a warm bath. Put on some relaxing classical music or turn on some nature sounds and close your eyes and meditate! Clearing my thoughts and just enjoying my time in the warm bath helped to refresh my soul.
I also found out that there are meditation apps you can use! I just read HelpMamaMeditate‘s blog about her top 5 meditation apps for 2018 and found the article interesting! Check it out!
 
2) Reading: Ok, so, I’m talking about a different type of book here. Something that will feed your soul and make you feel “new” again. There’s tons of “Chicken Soup for the ____ Soul” books out there. For me, as a parent, I’m currently reading “The Power of a Praying Parent.” This book talks about giving the worries that you have for your children to God. For me, this gives me peace in my soul that my children are in good hands and that a higher power is helping us to raise them. Whatever book you choose, find something that will give you peace and that will feed your soul.
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So there it is folks! These are just 6 ways to wind down after a long day of being a parent. I hope that you find any of these tips helpful and that you are able to have some time for yourself because “me time” is so important! Hopefully, you’ll feel well rested and be ready for the next day!
What do you do to wind down at the end of the day?
Thanks for reading and hope you have a great rest of the day!
(all gifs are from giphy.com)

6 Tips That Helped Us with Sleep Training

Tired moms and dads out there have their work cut out for them trying to find anything on sleep training their babies. There are so many methods out there now and some of them contradict each other that you just never know which one to follow! I am by no means an expert on sleep training, but I now have 2 kids (ages 4 and 19 months) that sleep 10-12 hours at night so I thought maybe I can share with you my experiences in hopes that it would maybe help you.

Please remember that every kid is different and that you’re the expert when it comes to your own child. Here are some sites that may help you if you would like to do further research (I am not affiliated with any of these sites, I just found them helpful when I was perusing before I decided to write this):

  1. The Bump
  2. Baby Center
  3. Parent

Every Kid is Different!

 

Here are my two lovely little boogers. They are the joys of my life… most of the time. Just keepin’ it real. Sometimes they can be a real pain especially when they decide to throw tantrums at the same time! But I digress… this is about sleep training after all.

Although controversial, I did the Cry It Out Method with both of them. Very different experiences from two very different kiddos. We started the CIO method with Ella at 8 months and the first night was a nightmare. She cried and whined on and off (not straight through I promise) for 40 minutes before she fell asleep. We started with Isaac at 6 months because he was sleeping long stretches already. He whined for 15 minutes and then fell asleep.

Ella doesn’t like to sleep. She doesn’t nap at home but will nap in daycare for some reason. She would always “fight” it when it’s time for bed. After the 1st week of the CIO method, she would no longer cry but she would play and roll around in her crib until she finally went to sleep. She still does that now. She’ll look at books, roll around, and play with her stuffed animals before finally sleeping.

Isaac seems to like sleep. He’s a great napper in the afternoon. We’ll put him down in his crib, and most of the time he won’t cry and just go straight to napping. Sometimes, he will cry 10-15 minutes, and then nap. At night, he will stand up and walk around in his crib, yell for Ella (if she’s not in the room), and then sleep. Unless he poops, then he’ll bang on the edge of the crib and that’s when we know the little man needs his diaper changed. I don’t know how that happened. Technically, he trained us to come when he bangs on the crib ;-).

Anyway, both of them seem to be doing well. At least it doesn’t seem like they hate us for leaving them in their beds while still awake. They do share a room now. Once Isaac slept through the night, we put them in the same room. It seems to work well for them because they seem to still like each other. We open the door to two smiling little ones in the morning unless Ella runs into our room first yelling “IT’S WAKE UP TIME!!!”

6 Tips for Sleep Training

Desperate for sleep when I was a first time mom, I did some research online for tips on sleep training. There are a lot out there! Here are what I found most useful for our family.

  1. Schedule: I read early on that having a good sleep schedule helps kids go to bed. So even before we tried the CIO method, I was already so anal about scheduling naps and sleep time for both kids. Since I worked full time, their day care actually helped put them on a good nap schedule. From 0-3 months, I read that they should really not be awake longer than 2-3 hours. So once they woke up at 7 am, I put them down for a nap at 9am. Earlier on, they would have longer naps in the morning (9-11am). Then awake from 11am -2pm. Then nap from 2pm to 3 pm or 4 pm. Then awake for 2-3 hours, and then we start their bed time routine. Later on, the morning naps decreased and the afternoon naps increased. Either way, there was a 2-3 hour period of wakefulness in between the naps and sleep times. It seemed to work for both kids.
  2. Bed time routine: I read that this helps cue the babies that it’s time to sleep. So we would bathe them, put on jammies, pray with them, read 1-2 short books, turn the lights off, sing a couple of songs, then put them in their beds and stay with them for 5 minutes (longer when sleep training them, we pretty much stayed with them until they were drowsy), then leave the room. We only came back in if anyone cries hysterically. Ella seems to have nightmares once in a while. That’s when we would come in and soothe her.
  3. Setting up the environment: Dimming the lights, and turning on the white noise. We never did the white noise for Ella because we just didn’t know. But it worked like a charm for Isaac. White noise machines are like magic, man. Since they share the same room now, Ella also seems to like it. It also helps drown outside noises and since they sleep pretty early (7:30ish), there’s still a lot of noise outside sometimes.
  4. Wubanubs Pacifiers: This is genius really. I mean only if your baby likes pacifiers. But these pacifiers are attached to very small stuffed animals which makes it easier for them to grab as a baby. Or easy for you to find if you decide to go in and give them the paci. Of course, this would only work if your baby likes pacifiers.
  5. OK to Wake Alarm Clock: When Ella was old enough to get a big girl bed (around 3 years old), she would sometimes wake up at 4 am to pee and think it’s morning time. She would then come into our room and yell “IT’S WAKE UP TIME!” So I read about this clock where you can set it to change the color of the light to let your child know when it’s time to wake up. Ella seemed to like it and would go back to bed until the yellow night light turned green. Then she would run to our room and yell “IT’S WAKE UP TIME!!” 
  6. Stop Comparing: If you’re not gonna read anything else in this page, this is the one thing I would like to tell you. Stop comparing yourself to other parents. Everyone has different stories. You’re going to drive yourself crazy if you compare yourself to other parents. Who knows? They’re probably lying anyway and is also as sleep deprived as you are. Just kidding. Maybe. Ha! But for real, you do what you need to do to get sleep for you and your baby (babies).

That’s all I got. You can read about the different methods in one of the links above. There are tons you can choose from. Choose what works best for you and your family. Try them all if you must. In the meantime, take a deep breath, you’re doing just fine and if things are really hard right now, know that it will get better. You can do this!

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!

 

(all gifs are from giphy.com)