Is your little one hating bath time? Mine did too at first. Here are a few tips for how to help your newborn enjoy bath time.
Both my boys learned to enjoy bath time, but they didn’t initially love it. Maybe it’s because they were both preterm babies. I think we tend to underestimate how scary it can be for our little ones to find themselves submerged in water, cold, with somebody scrubbing them.
Bathing my youngest had added challenges because as a newborn my clubfoot baby was often either in foot taping or a plaster cast. He hated being bathed, but the small little tricks I’m about to show you helped him enjoy bath time.
I’ve found there are three main reasons babies may dislike bath time.
They’re too cold
The water is too hot
They are insecure
I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I’m going to share what helped us and maybe it will show you how to help your newborn enjoy bath time.
Tools of the Trade
Swaddling / Receiving blanket
A soft wash cloth
Your favorite gentle bath soap
Warm Things Up
The first thing I recommend doing is by closing all the doors in and around your bathroom. Set up a small space heater on the floor or adjacent counter top. Allow the room to warm up from 10-15 minutes while you prepare other things. Babies equate warmth with security, so the goal is to keep them as warm as possible.
Lay Out Clothes
Consider where you’ll be taking your baby directly after his or her bath. For me, I bathed them in my master bathroom, so I would immediately take them to a changing table on my dresser. I recommend laying out clothes in advance. Get their little outfit out and ready so you can lessen the time they will be naked or cold.
Additionally, lay a hooded towel directly near the baby bathtub for a quick transfer.
Prepare the Bath
Two to four inches of water is all you need. Babies have extra sensitive skin. Dyes and fragrances can sometimes irritate baby’s skin and may contribute to eczema. If this is the case, try opting for a natural fragrance-free, dye free soap. We loved Aveeno.
Pro-tip: Always test the temperature of the water with your elbow. It should feel warm, but not hot.
If water is too hot you can add cool water. Just make sure to swirl it around to eliminate any hot spots.
Undress your baby. Once naked, swaddle in a receiving blanket. Put your baby in the water with the swaddle. The swaddling blanket will not only keep baby warm, but will also make him or her feel more secure.
Always start by washing their face first while the water and cloth is still clean. I liked to think of it as a massage with a towel. I dip it in the warm water and slowly wipe their little eyes and nose like a gentle massage. Save shampooing the hair for last. (I’ve got a great way of doing it) Don’t forget to wash the neck well as milk tends to collect in the skin folds.
Continue washing your baby downward from head to toes. Remove one limb from the swaddle at a time so the rest of the body stays warm while you wash. Frequently pour warm water over baby with a cup to keep him or her from getting cold. Take care to clean well in the folds of skin.
Take your baby out of the tub and quickly transfer to a dry hooded towel. Swaddle your baby tightly to keep him or her warm. Put your baby in a football hold with one arm using your non-dominant arm. Support their head with your hand. Using a football hold will make your baby feel more secure when water is going over his or her head. Shampoo your baby’s head over the tub. Use a washcloth or soft brush to gently exfoliate baby’s head to reduce chances of cradle cap. Pour clean warm water over baby’s head while continuing to cradle. When done, cover baby’s head with the hood of the towel and gently massage hair dry.
Dry your baby well while still in the warm environment. Once dry, consider applying baby oil or rehydrating their skin to help reduce eczema or flaky skin. Make sure they are nice and toasty for a while after their bath, by putting them in warmer clothes (like long sleeves). Babies enjoy bath time a lot more if they are kept warm and secure throughout the process. This bath time only took me about 15 minutes on average.
I hope I’ve shared a few things that will make momming a little more enjoyable. Thanks for reading. Before you go, don’t forget to PIN this post for later or share it with a new mama. Also, be sure to subscribe to my blog before you go.
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Your child doesn’t have to be unprepared for life. Equip them for adulthood. Here are 100 Life Skills to Teach Your Child.
Many people are surprised when I tell them I went to live on my own in Europe at the age of seventeen. I don’t think there was anything particularly special about me. I just think my parents prepared me well for adulthood. At that age, I was well equipped to book a plane ticket and navigate a foreign airport. I made my way across another continent using bus and train schedules in multiple foreign languages – completely on my own. I’m not bragging – at least not about me. If any credit is due, it goes to my parents. Not only did they homeschool me, but they managed to teach me how to not need them.
My parents have never bought me a car. I’ve never borrowed money from them. I paid for college, my wedding and house without their help. If you’ve done a good job as a parent, your children won’t need a lot from you as adults.
Good parenting is working yourself out of a job
This isn’t a lecture for parents. It’s a reminder. It’s so much easier sometimes to just do things ourselves to get it done faster, but we do our “babies” a disservice. They lose out on life lessons. Today, I’m sharing 100 life skills to teach your children.
As I wrote the list, I tried to think of all the things my parents taught me. I am one of three children, but I am the only girl. Our gender did not matter when it came to teaching life skills. My brothers were taught homemaking skills like cooking, ironing clothes, and how to properly clean. As a girl, I was taught how to change a tire, start a campfire, and basic survival skills. We all learned the same life skills.
The simplest way to to teach these skills is summed up in one word: inclusion. My mom loved to repaint rooms every so often. It was the cheapest way for her to redecorate. But one thing I remember is her including us. Instead of sitting us in front of a television to get us out of her way, she handed us a paint brush. She taught us how to open and store the paint and how to stir it. How to mask the trim and paint around corners. She taught us how to properly load the brush and rollers with paint. She’d show us how paint without streaks or splattering. I was able to fix up my first apartment thanks to the skills she showed me. “Everyone has four walls to work with. It’s what you do with them,” she used to say.
As a parent myself, I know tempting it is to brush the kids out of your way so you can get things done. But the best way to teach your children is by simply including them in your everyday activities. Paying for a check at a restaurant? Make them calculate a tip. Washing your car? Give them a sponge and put them to work. At the doctors office? Make your teen fill out their own forms.
The list I provide, is for all age groups. Obviously there are things on the list that should be taught at an older age because of the dangers associated with them – like using a knife or learning to safely make a campfire. However, don’t underestimate introducing things at an early age. Introducing simply starts by talking and teaching your child why we do something a certain way.
Introducing also includes knowing they won’t likely master something until an older age. For example, when my son turned three, I started to include him on cleaning. I let him dry plastic dishes I’ve washed. I make him take his folded clothes upstairs to his room and make him scrub the toilet (I apply the chemicals and he swirls it around). Now four, he has chores every week. I know these things won’t be done perfectly. In fact, they may even create more work for me right now, but this instruction is about creating a habit in your child. It’s also about giving them responsibility, purpose, and sense of accomplishment. Young children especially love to help – so let them!
As a kid, when we went camping, my dad would first give us small unimportant tasks like bringing him the tent poles or gathering wood or kindling. As we grew older, so did our responsibility until finally we were capable of doing it entirely by ourselves.
Start your son off with a blessing. Here is my list for beautiful biblical baby boy names and their meanings.
The joy of naming a baby is unlike any other. It’s a special season as you and your partner search for the perfect name for your new baby.
There is a beauty in blessing your child with a biblical name. The search for the perfect name is a very personal one, but I’m assuming if you’re reading this, you’re interested in some biblical baby boy names for your little man. Here are some tips before we get started.
Tips for Naming
Consider if any family members should be honored
For names that are loved by one spouse and not by the other, consider using it as a middle name instead.
Consider if the name will be shortened (example: Jeremiah = Jerry or Jeremy) and whether you want or like that
You may want to consider omitting the names of exes
Say names in full, out loud to hear how it sounds.
Choosing a name can be fun, but it can also lead to disagreements, especially if you are passionate about a name. Maybe there is a name you picked out years ago, but your partner doesn’t like it. That can be a tough pill to swallow. Therefore, I suggest praying before each naming brainstorm. Give your partner permission to veto names they truly dislike.
Lastly, picking a name is a very special event in having a child. Your child’s name will follow him all of his life and may even be passed down. I hope that you enjoy the process of naming your little. Finally, here is the best advice, I can give. Lots of people, family included, will have an opinion about the name you choose. But their opinion doesn’t matter. That’s between you and the child’s father. Don’t let anyone’s comments bother you or rob you of joy.
Biblical Baby Boy Names
Here is my favorite list of biblical baby boy names with the meanings in parenthesis.
Aaron (high mountain, exalted)
Abraham (father of many)
Adam(man, to make)
Barnabas(son of the prophet)
Bartholomew(son of Talmai)
Benjamin(son of the right hand)
Daniel(God is my judge)
Eleazar (my God has helped)
Elijah(My God is Yahweh)
Elisha(My God is my salvation)
Emmanuel(God is with us)
Ethan(solid, enduring, firm)
Ezekiel(God will strengthen)
Gabriel(God is my strong man)
Jadon (he will judge)
Jehoshaphat(Yahweh has judged)
Jehu (Yahweh is he)
Jeremiah(Yahweh will exalt)
Joel(Yahweh is God)
John(Yahweh is gracious)
Jonathan(Yahweh has given)
Joseph (He will add)
Joshua(Yahweh is salvation)
Lazarus(my god has helped)
Levi (joined, attached)
Luke (light giving)
Matthew(gift of Yahweh)
Mark(the Roman God of Mars, warrior)
Micah(who is like Yahweh)
Michael(who is like Yahweh)
Mordecai(servant of Marduk)
Nathanael(he has given)
Noah (rest, repose)
Paul (Small, humble)
Philip(friend of horses)
Raphael (to heal)
Rueben(behold, a son)
Reuel(friend of god)
Samuel(god has heard)
Saul(asked for, prayed for)
Silas (forest, wood)
Simon(he has heard)
Timothy(to honor God)
Titus(title of honor)
Tobias(Yahweh is good)
Uriah(Yahweh is my light)
Uzziah(my power is Yahweh)
Before you go
Don’t forget to PIN this list for later. Before you go, be sure to grab my Baby Registry Checklist. It comes with a FREE printable to get your registry started. Also, in the comments below, I’d love to hear what names you love and why.
If you’re a mama staring at the tornado that is your house and wondering how to get housework done with an infant, this post is for you.
When I first became a mom, I wondered, “how in the world do you get things done with an infant?” Girl, let me tell you – I’ve been there!
Friend, let me tell you… I was totally that struggling mom. I struggled to get even the smallest things done. The first six months was a blur. My dishes were piled up. Counters were dirty. Floors were filthy. Errands were neglected. Laundry was spilling over every hamper. I can tell you, you’ll find what works for you – every mother does. But if you’re a new mom and need some solid advice, I’m here to share what helped me.
These days, I have two kids and I’m proud to say I’m amazingly productive for having an infant and toddler who are constantly vomiting chaos wherever they go.
How to Get Housework Done With an Infant
Include Your Baby
One of the main reasons babies fuss while you’re trying to get things done is because they want your attention. You are your baby’s whole world. The sun rises and sets with you. He or she loves you more than anyone in the whole world, and therefore, they want your love and attention. Let’s be real – when we have a to-do list longer than the Great Wall of China, we don’t care about that! We just want a few minutes to get some things done! Ass you already know, babies don’t want to be ignored. They are living, loving creatures that want engagement and attention. So bring your baby with you.
Your baby also loves to explore! As long as your baby is safe, give them nearby household objects to explore. Sometimes these are better than actual toys! When I do the dishes, I give my little one measuring cups, measuring spoons, a clean sponge, or a pot to bang on. Talk or sing to your little one. These are great teaching moments. Engage your little one by explaining what you are doing.
If you are folding clothes, give them a colorful towel or one of their own clothes. Let them explore it. Play peek a boo when you grab a new piece of clothing. Tell him or her what color it is. Is it rough or soft? Cleaning a bathroom? Give them some bath squeeze toys or some toilet paper to tear up – just make sure they don’t eat it! The point is, that babies love inclusion and they have lots of fun when you engage them.
So, I’m gonna share a deep secret. When I first had my son, my mom witnessed firsthand my total and complete frustration. She pulled me aside and gave me the best advice. Gone were the days when I could wash dishes in 20 mins and clean a bathroom in a half hour. Those days will return one day, but for now, things had changed.
My mom said, “you’re still trying to clean as if you don’t have kids. Things have changed. Once you let go of that expectation, you’ll be happier.” I don’t know why it finally clicked, but a light bulb went off. In all my stubbornness, I had refused to let go of pre-child expectations. I was clinging to old standards. My inflexibility was making me miserable. I had to learn to adjust and embrace my new life. This may not be an actual tip, but I can tell you – you’ll save yourself a lot of anger and disappointment if you learn to adjust to your new normal. Dishes take me nearly an hour and bathroom takes about 2. That’s my new normal.
This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.
Use a Carrier
Sometimes, our sweet little ones just want to be in our arms and they don’t take no for an answer. When that happens, a baby carrier becomes your best friend! Most carriers adjust for baby wearing on your back or in front of you. Depending on the activity, one or the other may be better. Remember never to bend at the waist with your carrier. Babies can fall out even when they seem snug in a carrier.
Invest in a good carrier. I was frugal and bought an inexpensive carrier. When you have a newborn, all carriers seem comfortable. But as your baby gains weight, the quality of your carrier becomes really obvious. Learn from my mistake – buy a good quality carrier that is ergonomic and evenly distributes weight. Your back will thank you. I recommend the following:
Move Them Frequently
Babies get bored quickly. Naw, I never knew that! Haha. If you’re a mom, you’ve figured this out already. Babies and toddlers have a super short attention span. Working against it by insisting that your baby sit with the same basket of toys for an hour will be frustrating to you and baby. Instead, take a cue and change their scenery. If you’re working up high, put them in a high chair with some toys. Putting them at eye level helps to extend the time you can work with. Folding clothes? Sit on the floor with them. Fold one load in the washroom and do the second load in your bedroom. Sometimes babies just want a change of scenery.
Touch Them Often
Babies desire to be in your arms all the time. If it were up to them, you’d never put them down. Get what you can done. When they start to fuss, pick them up and reassure them, continue with your tasks one handed if you can, then after a few minutes, try putting them down again, this time in another place. Often, they just want reassurance. I’ve found you normally get more time by doing that. We forget about things like that when we are scrambling to get chores done.
I’ve also found if you frequently touch babies like stroking their face, brushing their hair, grabbing their hands and singing while you work – it helps them feel assured. I’ve found sitting babies in between your legs works wonders. They feel like they are on your lap and they can touch you when they want to. Babies just long to be physically close to you. Sometimes you just need to be creative about it while you’re working.
Break Up Tasks
One of the most helpful things I learned to do was to break up tasks. First, I use a planner. My Happy Planner really saved me when I first became a mom. Keeping a cleaning schedule really helped me. You can read about my planner journey in the post How Happy Planner Changed My Life. But I learned to prioritize my day with 3 things that needed to get done. Then, I would break it up into smaller tasks and work them around taking care of my baby.
For example, I’d start a load of laundry then feed and play with my baby. I’d make my bed. Then take my baby to change the laundry (yes, you do a lot of things with one hand). Then I’d fill up the sink with hot soap water so dishes could sit while I read a book to my little one. Work smart and work small! Learn to take advantage of small clumps of minutes. Over the day, things will get done.
Some people will tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. I always had a hard time with that because it was the only time I could get things done. It’s perfectly okay if you use nap time that way.
Hang in there, mama. This season won’t last forever. I hope I’ve provided some insight with how to get housework done with an infant. In the comments, I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to hear what you are struggling with as a new mama. Trust me when I say, as your child grows things will get easier.
If you need support, advice, and help on how to navigate motherhood and marriage, then this post, 21 Bloggers to Help You Slay Motherhood, is a must-read.
This post, 21 Bloggers To Help You Slay Motherhood, contains some affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through one of the links I provide, I may make a small percentage at no cost to you. I only link to things I love.
I know for me there are times when I feel alone in this game. Maybe I was naive, but I never expected to feel lonely and unsupported in motherhood and marriage. But the truth is, our journey is personal and it can sometimes feel isolating if you don’t have support.
That is one reason, I started this blog. I know I seek reassurance, knowledge and tips on how to be a better wife and mother. I want to feel like there is someone out there that can relate to my failures and problems. Frankly, I want someone in the trenches with me who’s got my back. Today I’m sharing 21 bloggers to help you slay motherhood. Some I’ve recently started reading, but most I have been reading for years! You’ll love them!
Before you leave, please subscribe to my blog (yup, shameless plug) and while you’re at it, subscribe to these lovely ladies.
Farmhouse on Boone
If you’re a fan of Joanna Gains, you’re going to fall in love with Lisa Bass at Farmhouse on Boone. Seriously, I think her and Joanna Gaines are spirit animals. Her site is stunning! She focuses on natural living, minimalism, farmhouse decor and a simple lifestyle. If you’re a crunchy mama you will love her wholesome, scratch recipes, natural remedies, and lifestyle tips. I also love that she provides homemade tutorials like basic sewing techniques (like how to thread a sewing machine and sew a seam), how to make a macrame wall hanging and your own body butter. Seriously, she’s what I aspire to be.
The Time Warp Wife
I’ve been following Darlene Schacht on The Time Warp Wife for some time now. It’s been so long, I’ve forgotten just how I found her. She is a New York Times best selling author. I love that her site is heavily Christian based (no problem if that isn’t your cup of tea). She is a mama of four and one thing I really love is her online bible studies. I love reading them over my morning coffee (and if I get to drink it while it’s still hot, that’s a plus). She also has tons of cute printables on her site. I would say Darlene focuses more on marriage and biblical living than anything else, but I find her posts bring me lots of peace.
The Dating Divas
I love the Dating Divas! I’ve followed them for a few years. Their cheery, happy site is dedicated to loving your spouse in the cutest way imaginable. If you are a mom or wife struggling with date night ideas, this site is for you! At home dates, group dates, sexy date nights, out of the house dates, you name it – they have it all planned out. They have the cutest ideas. We rarely get a date night so the at-home date nights have been amazing for us!
Two women run Rookie Moms. I personally love their product reviews. But they have lots of really helpful articles. From postpartum issues to sleep regression and toddler development, they have lots of informative posts to help you survive motherhood.
I’m choking up just writing this. Affair Recovery is more than just a blog / website. They’re also a retreat center for crumbling marriages, in particular ones that are going though an affair or other sexual addictions. They have lots of free resources, but my favorite is the Vlog series on YouTube. Early in my marriage, my husband had inappropriate feelings towards a co-worker as well as a pornography addiction. For years, I just couldn’t move past the hurt, especially since he continued to work closely with the woman. I watched one video per day, in particular with Samuel because I felt a connection with his words. It was painful to process those feelings at first. But I’m proud to say our marriage has completely healed from this and we have Affair Recovery to thank.
Tabitha runs this great blog, Meet Penny. Her blog is heavily focused on frugal living. I love all her helpful tips to save money. If you’re homeschooling, she has a huge library of free curriculum and resources to help you. Her parenting advice is also invaluable!
To Love, Honor & Vacuum
With over 42,000 subscribers, Sheila Wray Gregoire at To Love, Honor and Vacuum focuses heavily on marriage, marital sex, family, and faith. I found her when I was going through some heavy jealousy with a woman with which my husband works. A few of her posts, gave me some great insight on handling those feelings. I love that she focuses heavily on keeping the spark going in marriage. An author of eight books, she is also a public speaker.
On The Sunny Side of Something
I recently discovered Elease Colcord and her blog The Sunny Side of Something online and I can’t stop reading her! Her writing makes you feel like you’re her best friend and I have to remind myself, I don’t actually know her. Haha! She’s beautiful, entertaining, funny, but most of all – authentic. On her blog she shares recipes, parenting stories (both funny and tearjerking), personal growth, but my favorite section is MILP. Moms I’d Like to Punch. Oh em gee. It’s hilarious and totally relatable! Check her out. She’ll have you in stitches. Follow her on Instagram for more online fun.
Confessions of a Homeschooler
I’ve been following Erica for about 3 years on her site Confessions of a Homeschooler. On her site, she provides curriculum for preschoolers to grade school as well as homeschooling schedules for every grade, menu planning, lesson plans and tons of printables. Even if you aren’t homeschooling, I strongly recommend reading her site. She has a huge amount of learning resources for every age, including how to reduce test taking anxiety, how to take notes, and how to study for tests. You won’t regret it.
The Chic Site
How could I not include this, in 21 Bloggers to Slay Motherhood? If you haven’t heard of Rachel Hollis, you’ve been living under a rock. Okay, that’s harsh. But seriously, this lady is truly inspiring to me. On days when I totally feel like giving up on this blog, she reminds me not to take “no” for an answer. Her amazing book, “Girl, Wash Your Face,” is a best seller and her blog, The Chic Site is equally motivating. When I first found her (before her book), I think she tended to focus more on style, but she has really dug her heels into personal growth topics. I think her writing style is so sincere and authentic. If you haven’t read her book, you can find it on Amazon (link below). Also her new book, “Girl, Stop Apologizing” is now out in book stores. I can’t wait to read it!
Live Wise Love Well
I recently discovered Erika at Live Wise Love Well. Can I just say that she is such a beautiful lady, inside and out. She just did an outstanding series on the fruits of the spirit. If you’re struggling in areas like peace, patience, and gentleness, you need her in your life! Her message is beautiful and inspiring. She’s cute too! Like, really cute. If you need a chuckle, read her post, “How the Instapot Saved My Marriage.” She also does regular podcasts so go have a listen and subscribe to her!
The Purposeful Nest
I just recently discovered Ashley at The Purposeful Nest. A former police officer, she is now a stay-at-hom mom and homeschooler. Her lovely blog focuses on homeschooling, DIY and crafts, and family-oriented travel. Give her a read, you won’t be disappointed.
Club 31 Women
I’ve been reading Lisa Jacobson at Club 31 Women for years. One thing I love about Lisa is that she’s an older mother of 8 children. Yes, you read that right, 8. She brings wisdom and experience to her posts. Also, her recipes are delicious. Just sayin’. I love her focus on marriage and child rearing from a woman who’s been through it many times over. But what’s really special is that her husband, Matthew Jacobson has a “sister site” for men. His site, Faithful Man, is equally inspiring and full of encouragement. My husband and I like to read them both.
How To Be a Fun Mum
Just as the title suggests, New Zealander Kelly, wanted to be a fun mom, but wasn’t. That is until she totally turned her version of motherhood around and became a fun mom. She learned to embrace motherhood and enjoy it! Something I firmly believe moms should do. Her site, How To Be a Fun Mum, is dedicated to fun activities with your kids and they are indeed fun. My boys love to do the activities and I know yours will too!
Chronicles of a Momtessorian
Anitra runs a cute educational Mom’s blog called Chronicles of a Momtessorian. On her blog, she provides tons of Montessori based activities for your little ones that you can do at home. What’s really nice is that most activities are very easy to do…and we all want things to make life easier. Head to her blog for great educational resources.
The Measured Mom
A mother of six, Anna is a teacher turned stay-at-home mom. Her site, The Measured Mom, is dedicated to teaching children at home. She has both free printables and a shop. Furthermore, she has tools and resources for just about every subject. Handwriting, spelling, math, book lists, and themed teaching. She has 180,000 followers because of her great learning curriculum. Again, even if you aren’t homeschooling there are lots of resources that can be used to supplement your child’s public school education.
It’s My Sustainable Life
Calling crunchy moms! Suzan at It’s My Sustainable Life provides beautiful online content. Similar to Farmhouse on Boone, she focuses on holistic living. Her subjects include, up-cycling DIY projects, scratch recipes, gardening, food preservation, and natural remedies.
Jessica Plemons Kindergarten
This girl is amazing and I have so much for which to thank her! Her site, Mrs. Plemons Kindergarten offers the best tot school curriculum, baby activities and preschool curriculum I’ve ever come across. We used the tot school curriculum when my son was in the 2-3 age range. He learned so much from these lessons! Best of all they felt like play time to him and the lesson plans have a lot of flexibility. One of the best things is that Jessica runs a Facebook Group to go alongside of the curriculum. Here you can talk with other mothers and get advice strait from Jessica herself. Even if you aren’t homeschooling, you’ll love the themed activities that keep your little toddler’s hands busy!
Real Mom Nutrition
Sally at Real Mom Nutrition is a registered dietitian and mom. Her “no judgement” site is dedicated to getting your kids to eat healthy with her kid-friendly recipes and ideas. I love that she also posts often about picky eaters and provides real ways to get your picky child to try new things.
Mommy Knows Best
Jenny runs her blog, Mommy Knows Best. This blog is heavily focused on postpartum issues primarily lactation. Best of all she provides natural herbal remedies to treat low milk supply. If you are struggling to nurse, I highly recommend reading her blog.
Okay so Shay isn’t a blogger per se. She’s a vlogger on You Tube. But I think she is really valuable when it comes to budgeting, reducing debt and being financially responsible. She also uses the Happy Planner, Erin Condren and other cute methods to make boring household management fun! Hey 26,000 subscribers agree with me. Additionally, she has an Etsy shop with budgeting stickers and tools to make budgeting organized and more enjoyable.
I really hope this post, 21 Bloggers to Help You Slay Motherhood, was helpful to you. Please subscribe to these ladies if you feel like they speak to you. If you have found a blogger you love, I’d like to hear who and why you follow them in the comments below.
If your toddler is struggling to speak, here are some of speech therapy takeaways to help us improve your toddler’s speech delay.
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The terrible twos are hard enough, but they are harder for the mom whose child isn’t talking. There are new levels of tantrums when your toddler is straining for you to understand him or her. I know. I’ve been there. We went through speech therapy that cost about $500 every two weeks. Today, I’m sharing the things that helped us and will hopefully help you improve your toddler’s speech delay.
My toddler was two when I knew something was wrong. We had meltdowns multiple times a day when I struggled to understand him. He couldn’t articulate when he was sick, hurt, or angry. Therefore, these feelings manifested violent eruptions of emotion. I blamed myself. Was I doing something wrong?
But here is the thing, I’m a very hands-on mom. We homeschool. I sit and play with my little one. I read to him, talk to him and engage him. Sadly, I felt judgment from family and mom friends. My son knew his colors by 18 months and shapes by 24 months. He knew his complete alphabet by 30 months. His only delay was speech.
I took him to numerous doctors, starting with our pediatrician. The first specialist we saw was a Pediatric ENT since so many speech delays can be attributed to a hearing problem. Once that was ruled out, we went to a neurologist and neurosurgeon who assured us there was nothing wrong. Both told me they thought he’d benefit from being away from me (more on that later). We started speech therapy but it was ridiculously expensive because at two, insurance doesn’t consider it a true delay yet. While speech therapy didn’t work miracles, it definitely helped and here are the takeaways that helped us. Please know this should not be a replacement for medical advice. I’m not a medical professional. If you’re concerned about your child not speaking, consult a licensed medical professional for a diagnosis. There are physical and mental problems that can create a speech delay.
Focus on Beginning Sounds
When children start to babble, you may notice beginning sounds babababa and dadadada. As it turns out, children learn certain letter sounds before others. The b, m, a, h, p, n, w, t, and d are first sounds and first sounds are easy! Would you believe some sounds aren’t mastered until the age of 8? The J, Z, X, Zh, are some of the last letter sounds learned. Likewise, when children start forming actual words they also start with the same beginning sounds. Therefore, focus on words that start with the beginning sounds.
Consonant – Vowel Sounds
In addition to beginning sounds, children also do better when words are consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel. For example, ”mama” and ”dada” are both consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel. For instance, if your child is struggling to say train, model the word choo-choo instead. Over time, your child will master train.
Hold Things Close to Your Mouth
The speech therapist pointed out my son never really watched my mouth. He looked at my face, but he wasn’t studying my mouth to see how I was making sounds. So she had me hold objects directly to my mouth and repeat the word. The key is to get your child to focus on your lips all day.
Baby Sign Language
Studies show that babies who utilize baby sign language have an easier time transitioning to words. Baby sign language is not ASL, although there are many similarities. Many of the hand movements are simple so that a baby can do it easily. Baby sign language helps your child in different ways. It first teaches them they must communicate to get what they want. Grunts, pointing or whining will not make themselves understood – they can speak or sign. Intergrate signing into your everyday routine. Continue to say the word as you sign. Help your child by doing hand-over-hand teaching. In other words, grab your child’s hand and teach them how to make the sign. Signing helped us in the interim. It reduced tantrums because if he couldn’t say the word, he could sign it. Here are books I recommend for learning baby sign language.
Short & Sweet
Many people will tell you not to baby talk to your child. However, many children need things simplified into keywords only. Some children have a difficult time distinguishing where words begin and end in a sentence. To them, the sentence is just a rapid cacophony of sounds. For example, instead of saying, “Okay let’s go to the car. We need to go to the store and get stuff for dinner before daddy gets home” simply say “Bye Bye. Car. Store.” Let them clearly hear the key words. Over time, you’ll add additional words.
Say One, Add One
Which brings us to our next point. As your child says words, you will add an additional word. By modeling this, you demonstrate how to combine words to form sentences. For example, when your child points to the fridge for a snack, you might just model “open” at first because that is the most important word. Once your child masters “open”, you say “open fridge.” Once they can say “open fridge,” you might model, “open fridge please” or “open fridge snack.” The point is, once your child masters the word, you’ll add an additional word.
You read that correctly. I know what you’re thinking. Believe me, I had the same thoughts. I corrected my son all the time. He would say bapple instead of apple. So I would correct him and say, “no, it’s apple.” Many kids who are non-verbal also have confidence issues. They are less likely to talk if everything they DO say is wrong. The speech therapist said to model it correctly, but in a positive way. For example, “Okay, I’ll get you an apple.”
This might seem like a no-brainer. But many non-verbal children aren’t that interested in books. In fact, when a child is watching TV, they hear 300 words less per hour. My husband and I are both avid readers. I read to my son every day as an infant. But once he learned to walk (12 months), he was no longer interested in sitting – especially for a book. I was so discouraged, but I kept reading to him. Well, it was more like “at him” and “over him.” Even if he was playing with something else, I read.
I got him reinterested in books, by finding “lift the flap” books, sometimes called “peek-a-boo” books. Books that kept his little hands busy as we read. He was bored otherwise. The other thing I did was just point to the pictures and say the word. In other words, instead of reading it verbatim, I’d point to the pictures and say “Dog. Dig. Grass.” Focus on the most important words.
Play Time Is Learning Time
Playtime is a great time to teach your child because they don’t realize it’s a speech lesson! For instance, if you’re playing cars, drive the car along the track and say, “go, go, go. Stop!” If you’re playing with a baby doll, you can model words like eat, night-night, baby, etc. The important thing is to say the word over and over. Remember, stop and hold the doll or car up to your mouth occasionally when you say it. Stacking blocks? Use the words “up and down.” Take every opportunity to focus on vocabulary building. Submersion will ultimately help improve your toddler’s speech delay.
Even snacks can serve as teaching time. Instead of giving your child all their snack, give him or her a little bit and withhold the rest. This is a great time to teach the word and sign for “more.”
Outside Speech Help
As mentioned previously, there are lots of causes for speech delays, including hearing problems and mental delays. Children learning multiple languages (like English and Spanish) also can be delayed. You should definitely consult a doctor if you are worried about your child not talking. Speech therapists can work directly with your child, but it’s up to you to do the “homework” they give you. Ultimately, it’s up to you, the parent, to do this kind of teaching all day long. The public school education system also has resources for speech delays.
Today, my son is doing really well. He has made incredible improvements over the last year. Doing these things have helped exponentially! The last thing I want you to know is that it isn’t your fault. Sometimes there are no reasons. Children develop later than others. You’re doing a great job mama. I sincerely hope this helps you and your little one. Even if it isn’t on your time table, your little one will learn how to talk!
The post, How to Improve Your Toddler’s Speech Delay first appeared on My Beautiful Mess
Please give a warm welcome to guest blogger, Jessica Schweikardt. Jessica’s blog, Forever and Evie, focuses on the highs and lows of motherhood and the things less talked about. Please be sure to follow her on social media and like her Facebook page. In this post, she guides us through covering our kids in prayer.
As parents we all want to raise good people to leave for this planet. If you’re like me then you are a little bit scared that you’re doing it all wrong and you’re going to mess them up forever and whose idea was it to put these precious kids in your care anyway??
Well the answer is simple, God did. God gave you these little ones to raise and mold into kind and caring adults. He has entrusted them to you that you might bring them up in His word and teach them about His love. This is no simple task, especially in this day and age when this world is just waiting to pull our kids down with its dark weight. I, for one, know that I need help. I can’t do this alone, and even though my husband and I share the exact same goals for what we would love our children to become, we know that we are fighting against a force that we just do not have the power to battle without the help of the one who created everything.
Covering Our Kids in Prayer
So, I pray. I pray for my kids every single day. I pray for things that we are currently dealing with, situations that may arise in the future, and I pray that a love for God is sparked in my children and that they always seek to know and please Him. I pray against sickness, heartache, and anything that might be bring harm or pain to my children’s lives. I pray for their future spouses, future children, and for their future careers. I pray for next week, next month, next year. That my kids continue to grow up strong and healthy, and that they continue to learn and try new things.
Some of my prayers come from within my own head, and things I think about when they come up, but I also get a lot of my prayers from a couple books written by Aaron and Jennifer Smith. I highly recommend them. A few years back my husband and I started a 30 day prayer challenge, also written by the couple. So when I heard that they had written prayer books geared towards parents who want to pray over their children, I quickly snatched them up.
These books have a prayer for each day, for 31 days, as well as challenges and spaces to write down prayers of your own or any thoughts/gratitudes you might have. My plan is to use these books over and over throughout the years while adding in my own thoughts and prayers and I know that God is listening to my prayers for my children, and if it is His will, that He may bless us with all that we ask of Him.
Some things I pray for that we currently face:
That both of my children continue to grow and develop and that I gain the wisdom to guide them through new life skills
That illness does not touch them this flu season, and if it does that I have great knowledge and discernment when taking caring care of them.
For my sharp tongue when I get frustrated or run out of patience. That I am always correcting and disciplining out of love, not anger. (I fail at this way more than I would like to admit)
That I am quick to apologize when I am wrong and that my children are quick to forgive my mistakes now and the many in the future I will surely make.
That I can step out of the way more often, and let my daughter learn by trying things on her own.
Prayers For Their Future
That my son is respectable and upstanding, that he seeks and loves God, also seeking his council when starting a family of his own and values his wife and children above all humans or possessions.
That my children are quick to forgive family/friends but also capable of standing their ground and speaking out for themselves or any injustice they may see.
That the anxiety that I face every day not be passed on to them but rather they first seek Jesus and his peace in every situation, and not worry about the outcomes.
That my daughter knows how valuable she is and that any man who is worthy of her, that seeks her attention, will first seek after and love God more.
That my son is respectable and upstanding. That he seeks and loves God, also seeking his council when starting a family of his own and values his wife and children above all humans or possessions.
That both of my children bring up their own kids in the word of God, and they pray these things over and over again for their children, just as I have done. (And will continue to do for my grand babies as well!)
That both of my children know the value of hard work and dedication. That they work hard to provide a good life for themselves, not expecting anything to be handed to them.
That my kids are kind and loving, sweet and caring individuals that love others and will pray for and help anyone they can. That they are never intentionally mean to someone, or try to belittle or bring anyone down. That they are always uplifting and always a source of joy to others.
These are just a few examples of the prayers that have been/will be said for my children. It is so important to cover them with prayer, and speak life into them. I highly recommend the books 31 Prayers for my Son, and 31 Prayers for my Daughter by Aaron and Jennifer Smith. The prayers are more specific and more encompassing, and can be used over and over throughout the years, as I plan to do!
Before motherhood, I just assumed that Postpartum Depression was simply feeling down after giving birth. I had no idea just what it caused you to think, feel, and believe about yourself and your child. Today, I want to share with you what no one tells you about postpartum depression.
I’ve suffered depression my entire life. As a bi-polar patient, I was at special risk for postpartum depression. When I was pregnant, doctors talked to me about weepiness and sadness after giving birth. But I never realized just what postpartum depression caused me to think and feel. Early in my motherhood journey, I was surprised to learn what no one tells you about postpartum depression… that it rears it’s head in feelings of irritation, frustration, inadequacy, futility, and loneliness.
You May Not Feel Love or Bond With Your Child
When I was pregnant with my first son, I spent hours daydreaming of his little face. I couldn’t wait to hold him, kiss him and love on him. I’m sure there are women who instantly bond with their child. But I didn’t and post partum depression had a lot to do with that. About 3 weeks after giving birth, I felt like I was holding a stranger. I didn’t know what his cries meant.
I just assumed everything was instinctual – that you just magically know and understand your newborn as soon as they come out. Maybe I was naive. However, I never expected to feel completely overwhelmed, flustered, and frustrated. Who knew depression would increase those feelings exponentially?
Depression maybe a mental condition, but it distresses the heart. It directly interfered with my ability to fall in love with my little boy. It took a while for me to truly feel that loving warmth. Don’t get me wrong, I cared for him. Logically, I loved him, but I didn’t feel the crazy, obsessive kind of love I feel now. If you’re struggling to dote and love your newborn, you may have postpartum depression. The cure? The more you hug and hold your baby the closer you’ll feel…sooner.
You’ll Cry Over Nothing and Everything
With my first son, I was determined to breastfeed. My son was born prematurely and it took 6-7 days for my colostrum to come in. I was so sad that my little guy was having to take a bottle until my boobies got their act together. My weak little boy was burning too many calories trying to nurse and was quickly losing weight. Therefore, doctors suggested I pump for the first month and supplement with formula. I was heartbroken.
There is a saying, “there is no use crying over spilt milk.” I don’t know what the etymology is, but I’m willing to wager it had to do with breastmilk. This stuff is liquid gold! At about two weeks postpartum, I had spent the entire day pumping frequently. I squeezed out 2 oz making a total of 5 oz for the day. While I was taking the flanges off the pump, I accidentally hit and spilt all the milk. Every. Last. Drop.
I shrieked so loudly, my husband came racing down the stairs. My mother came running in. “No! No!” I wailed in a blood curdling cry, like when someone gets word someone has died. That’s what my husband thought had happened. That someone had died. My whole body shook as I sobbed and clutched that pathetic empty bottle to my chest. When I finally calmed down, I explained to them what had happened. They didn’t understand. They stared in confusion, surprised by my dramatics.
No one told me postpartum depression would cause every set back or failure to seem futile. Small problems yielded big reactions. You might think depression makes you quiet and despondent, but depression actually unbalances all your emotions. My reactions were excessive, dramatic, and desperate. In those long eight months of depression, I cried over anything, everything, and nothing.
You May Wish You’d Never Become A Mom
This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to admit. It makes me cringe just knowing I had these kind of thoughts. It’s surprising to learn other moms have this thought too. As a new mom, you can feel so inadequate. The first night I brought my son home from the hospital, I had this thought. He cried for three strait hours and when I couldn’t comfort him, I felt as if I’d made a huge mistake. Maybe, I’m not cut out for this. He deserved someone better. Someone who knew what she was doing.
Learning your newborn can be incredibly frustrating. Don’t listen to the hype. Food, sleep, burping, or a clean diaper are just a few things your child wants. They can cry for thousands of reasons and when you can’t soothe them, you can feel like you have no business being a mom. I was very grateful to have my mom after delivery. But when she’d swoop in and take over, it left me feeling even more useless and incompetent.
Depression can make you have all kinds of hopeless thoughts. I had a few miscarriages before I gave birth to my oldest son. So when this thought crept in, it made me feel even more guilty. After all, I wanted this. Now I know, depression causes these thoughts.
You May Feel Isolated and Lonely
Having a child changes your life. A child ties you down. If you’re a new mom, you may even feel anxious about leaving the house with your baby. Routine can be helpful, but monotony can add to depression. Be aware of how much you shut yourself inside.
I remember posting pictures of my first son on social media. You would’ve never guessed how sad and isolated I felt. I was so lonely. The days seemed long waiting for my husband to return home. If you are not returning to work, you may even feel more alone. Work friends move on and suddenly your spouse becomes the sole provider for your social life. That’s not healthy!
Challenge yourself to get out of the house. The more cooped up you are at home, the more isolated you’ll feel. I share the things that helped me in the post How To Stay Sane As A Stay At Home Mom.
You May Feel Anxious or Angry
Postpartum depression includes anxiety. Who knew? Well, technically it would be postpartum anxiety, but doctors don’t really discuss it and most moms I know, experienced it alongside depression. Anxiety often includes unrealistic fears. One mom I know said she was terrified to be left alone with her baby – like her baby was safe with anyone except her. There is a “what if something happens I can’t handle” sort of sensation.
But here is the real shocker: irritability, anger, frustration are components of anxiety. I couldn’t believe I had feelings of anger when my baby cried. I was short with my husband and my other child. Furthermore, I snapped at friends and made snarky comments over the stupidest things. I was irritated all the time and it actually took me losing a friend to grasp how badly out of control I was.
You May Need Therapy or Medication
Postpartum depression is both chemical and situational. It’s a fact, chemical and hormonal changes occur in the body after childbirth. Your body undergoes amazing, but drastic changes to give life to another person. If you choose to nurse, your body suddenly belongs to another person to sustain their life. You may need medication to help supplement or balance those changes. THERE IS NO SHAME IN TAKING ANTI-DEPRESSANT MEDICATION. You’ll be shocked to learn just how many women take them and it’s a shame they feel they must do it in secret.
Your situation changes after childbirth. You don’t have time for yourself. You don’t sleep. The weight of the responsibility may burden you. Your sex life becomes non-existent. You may be staying home by yourself with baby. Lastly, expectation versus reality may be shocking to you once baby arrives. There are lot of life changes and you have little time to process what that means. Therapy can help you work through those changes. If you are struggling, seek medical attention. Seriously – babies get shaken when you don’t seek help.
You May Struggle To Do Basic Tasks
I was unprepared for this. To clarify, I didn’t realize this was happening for while. I remember when my son was three months and he had a blow out in the middle of Target. It suddenly became a monumental task to change his diaper in a public place. I struggled to work a coffee pot and to get chores done. I felt confusion and perpetually overwhelmed, even clumsy.
Some women refer to it as “mom brain” but honestly, I think it has to do with postpartum depression. Difficulty functioning or being overwhelmed by small tasks might be a sign you are struggling with postpartum depression. No one told me that. Don’t feel ashamed asking for help – ever.
The post, What No One Tells You About Postpartum Depression, first appeared on The Unsanity Blog
This post contains affiliate links which I recommend. If you make a purchase using the links I provide, I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.
Having a baby with reflux is exhausting. I’ve compiled 10 Sanity Saving products for your reflux baby to help you get through this tough season.
I should know. Our oldest son was born prematurely at 35 weeks. He didn’t need a NICU stay, but after a few weeks of being home, we noticed something was wrong. He cried every time we put him down. As new parents, you go through the standard reasons for crying. Is he fed? Diaper changed? Hot or cold? Burped? Sleepy? But nothing made him happy. Except for being held.
Even more horrifying is that it was getting worse every week. I felt like the worst mother. I couldn’t comfort my baby. We didn’t know why he would scream and writhe every time we put him down on his back. We didn’t understand why he would arch his back. He’d act like he was drowning when he ate, even on a slow flow nipple. Even after he’d eaten, it would all come oozing back out of his mouth like a faucet. And then….the screaming. The terrible screeching sound that filled our house for hours. We made several trips to the emergency room because the screaming was so intense. I stopped nursing and tried multiple formulas. I bought nearly every bottle type I could find. Nothing helped. I had no answers.
One night, my husband and I were on the verge of tears. Neither of us had slept in weeks. I felt delusional, like I was going mad. In a fit of frustration, I took to Facebook, begging for help, ugly crying with every keystroke. My cousin’s wife responded and asked me a few questions. “It sounds like reflux. Our son had it too.” She proceeded to give me a list of things they used that helped them. We went to the doctor and it was finally confirmed as reflux (also known as GERD).
I never even knew children could have acid reflux. It’s painful and their little sphincters just can’t keep food down. If they are being held up, gravity helps it, so it isn’t so bad. But if they are moving around or laying down, particularly on their back, the acid, bile, and partially digested food makes its way back up. I can’t stress enough how these items saved us. I don’t know if we would have survived that first year without these solutions.
Our second child had reflux too. I can’t tell you how these products have helped us. Despite having reflux and a club foot, our second little guy is an easy baby. This time we prepared ourselves with the right gear. So if you’re a mom whose child has just been diagnosed with reflux, I sincerely hope this helps. You aren’t alone. Hang in there, because I will also tell you that once they are past the 6 month mark and eating a good amount of solids, you’re almost out of the woods. Believe me when I say, it gets better. I promise.
Fisher Price Rock and Play
Before we found this amazing inclined sleeper, we were “sleeping” in our glider with our son. Of course, we didn’t really get sleep because we were so worried about dropping him. This solved that! We had tried putting things under our son’s mattress to prop it up but nothing worked until he was older. This amazing sleeper is great for under 6 months. It keeps him upright, but maintains a natural sleeping position. Because it is gusseted, they also can’t roll over to their tummy. It includes breathable mesh sides and strap to secure your infant.
2. Dr. Brown Bottles
I’m not joking. I tried every bottle in the early days of my son’s reflux. I spent hundreds of dollars and nothing helped. Nothing, until I found Dr. Brown bottles, that is. I can’t stress enough how good they are for colic and reflux. They have a special vent system that breaks up air and controls the flow. If you have a reflux baby, don’t settle for anything less.
3. Angelcare Movement Monitor
Once your little one outgrows the Rock and Play, you’ll have to make the transfer over to the crib. This is definitely optional, but making the transfer was scary for us. We were worried he could spit up at night. With babies sleeping on their back there is always the worry of choking. So this movement alarm gave us peace of mind. It’s very sensitive and it senses if your baby has stopped breathing. After a few seconds, a sound alarms. It can be used all the way up to toddler years if still in the crib. You also need to purchase an additional wooden board that helps keep it accurate.
4. Owlet Smart Sock Baby Monitor
An alternative to the Angelcare is the Owlett. Again, this is totally optional, but it does help your peace of mind. Your child wears it like a sock and it transmits information to your phone. It measures your child’s breathing, in particular their oxygen levels It also measures his or her heart rate. Any concerning drop in vitals sounds an alarm. It’s extremely sensitive, but it’s also a little on the pricey side. This really helped us sleep better at night.
5. Similac Spit-Up Formula
I would absolutely consult your pediatrician regarding formulas, but this formula helped us tremendously. It was the only formula, my second son would drink. Before that, every feeding was like a battle of the wills. He would struggle and spit up most of what he drank. This formula saved us since he wouldn’t eat the hypoallergenic one. Its available in powder and 32 oz ready to feed bottles.
6. Enfamil AR Forumla
This was my first son’s formula. Like the Similac Spit-Up formula, it is contains a rice starch which makes the formula heavier and harder to come back up. It’s available in powder form and 8 oz 6-packs.
7. Similac Alimentum Formula
Again, consult your physician before changing formulas. Doctors may ask you to try a hypoallergenic formula like Similac Alimentum. Our son didn’t care for it and wouldn’t drink it. It has a vitamin kind of smell and taste. But a friend of mine had a son that did amazingly on it! It may not be tasty, but doctors use this hypoallergenic formula to help manage reflux with great success.
8. Ergo Baby Carrier
One thing you’ll have to accept is that your reflux baby will need to be carried a lot. That can be really hard, especially if you have other kids to tend to. But having a good carrier makes all the difference! This definitely kept me sane. I was really hesitant to spend the money. I actually went through two cheaper carriers before finally splurging on this. It was worth every cent! As your baby gets heavier, you’ll need a quality carrier. Trust me, your back and shoulders will thank you.
9. Dr. Brown Formula Mixing Pitcher
If you plan on using powdered formula, this is a Godsend! It is a pitcher with a built-in manual blender. Because it’s made by Dr. Brown, it’s designed to mix your formula without introducing extra air. Then you just pop it in the fridge and pour from it. It holds about 36 oz comfortably. It’s also dishwasher safe.
10. Extra Absorbant Cotton Padded Burp Cloths
Before I had my son, I had the cutest little burp cloths that matched outfits. But honestly, they were no match for my son’s projectile spit up. They were too thin and not absorbent enough. If your baby has reflux, you’ll soon learn everything will get covered in spit up. These burp clothes are great and they have extra padding to catch spit up and vomit.
Staying home is a big decision for any woman. It’s hard to stay sane as a new stay at home mom. It doesn’t matter your background, although I think the more you’ve invested in your career the harder it is to give it up. Some women can’t stay home. It takes two incomes to make ends meet and there are some mothers who view staying home as giving up their independence. I’ve learned, it couldn’t be farther from the truth. You actually have to be extremely independent to be at home. It can be a very lonely road. There are no awards or commendations. No raises or promotions if you did an extra good job this year. And truly no sick days! I’ve learned it takes a very special person to do this and enjoy it.
When I first became a stay-at-home mom, I left a 50-hour a week job. It was a very stressful job full of confrontation and lawsuits. Moving from the corporate world to being at home was like shell shock but after lots of trial and error, I’ve learned what works for me. Here are some practical things that helped me stay sane when first started staying home. I hope they help you find your own way.
Create Routines and Schedules
My job was appointment based and so while I was working, I lived by a planner. When I quit my job, I threw it out. Who needs a planner at home, right? My first 6 months at home were awful. Let’s just say, I couldn’t get a handle on anything. I couldn’t keep up with chores. Laundry piled up. Dishes were stacked in the sink. I’d double booked myself or forgot appointments altogether. I felt unaccomplished and overwhelmed.
Then I discovered a Happy Planner. It’s a planner, except you can customize and decorate it. You may not be a planner person and that’s fine, but I will tell you that creating regular routines are good for both you and baby. You choose how stringent or relaxed you want it. Babies and toddlers do well on routines. It’s good for their circadian rythyms. When they know what to expect, it reduces anxiety and tantrums. They feel secure and you can better manage responsibilities without feeling frazzled.
Leave The House Often
I get it. I know how awful it is to leave the house with an infant. You feel like your packing for a 2 month trip across Europe. But the more often you go out, the more confident you’ll get doing it and eventually, it won’t even seem like such a big chore. This is key to staying sane as a stay at home mom. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. It’s easier to stay home, but I promise it will do both you and baby a world of good! You’ll feel like a prisoner in your own house if you don’t. I recommend one outing a day.
Meet your husband for lunch, visit parents or in-laws, or have breakfast with a friend. Take a walk with the stroller. It doesn’t even have to be outdoors. Walk a mall or shopping center. Target seems like stay-at-home mom hangout everywhere. You can stop at a coffee shop or schedule a play date with another mom. If you have shopping and errands to do, I recommend spacing them out one per day. You get a break from your house and one outing ensures it won’t be overwhelming. If it’s a very quick outing, make it easier on yourself by just bringing a diaper clutch. It’s scary at first, but over time it will become second nature.
Find Support With Other Moms
The most shocking thing about being a stay at home mom hit me at about six months. My phone stopped ringing. Maybe you’ll have a different experience than I did, but I was absolutely shocked by this. I was very quickly forgotten by friends and colleagues after a few months away from the workforce. I’m not blaming anyone.
When you have a baby, your life changes. It’s common to stop accepting invitations shortly after giving birth. After all, you’re not sleeping and you’re trying to find your feet. After a while, people stopped inviting me altogether. Severe post-partum depression compounded my loneliness. I didn’t have any friends in the same stage of life as me, but then I’m an older mom. Sadder still was that my poor husband, although supportive and attentive, was suddenly solely responsible for all my social and emotional needs. If you want to strain your marriage, this is a great way to do it. No one person can be your everything.
I needed friends. Not just any kind of friends. Friends who understood why it took me a couple of hours to leave the house and was still late. I needed friends who understood all the doubts and second guessing you do as a mom. Friends who force me to leave the house and have some fun. I needed mom friends. These days, if you don’t have any you know personally, you can find play date groups in Facebook groups, Meetup.com, churches, and local websites. I can’t tell you how my life changed when I made non-judgmental, supportive mom friends. I found out I wasn’t weird, inadequate or a failure.
Only in the last 50 to 60 years have women been in the workforce. Before that, all women were at home and had the support of other women at home. Your mom, sisters and neighbors were all at home too. They’d talk over the fence while they hung laundry on the line or did gardening. Women didn’t have to look far for support. Now women are divided between home and work. Those who choose to stay at home may feel alienated because we no longer have the support system we once did. But some awesome women out there have created mom and play date groups to help, so go join one!
Make Your Wellness a Priority
When my oldest son was about 8 months, I felt miserable. He was sleeping through the night, but I was still perpetually exhausted. If I’m being very honest, I had no joy either. I felt depleted in just about every way you can. That’s when I realized I wasn’t taking care of myself anymore. When you have a child, your focus goes from yourself to another person in an instant. That’s good, but don’t forget that you need to take care of yourself and you have to make it a priority. If you wait for it to happen organically, it won’t. Trust me. Don’t give yourself crumbs either. Make it a priority.
This means being deliberate and purposeful about making time for yourself, even if you have to pencil it in a planner. Talk to your partner and get them on board. Whether it’s exercise, a mom’s night out, or a long bubble bath, do things that bring you peace, restoration and fun. There are lots of ways to take care of yourself and I’ve written another post with a free printable if you need ideas. I used to think that “love thy neighbor as thyself” was just about another person. But it’s actually two commands in one. You can’t give what you don’t have and you can’t teach what you don’t know. Practicing regular self-love is about caring for yourself, so you can care for others.
Bloom Where You’re Planted
Attitude matters. When I was working, I went through a season of joylessness. I was working in insurance and was very unhappy that I wasn’t working in my field of study – psychology. But that’s when God revealed to me that I was using it, just not in the capacity that I had planned. Everyday I helped people recover when their house burned to the ground or was completely flooded. I was there when family members died. I was, in fact, doing the very thing for which I trained. Everything is a for a season, and it’s up to us to embrace the moment. To put it plainly, your happiness is up to you.
Some days you’ll have to dig deep to find it. It’s hard to remember there should be joy in this. It’s hard to remember why you’re doing this when the house is a mess, babies are fussy and toddlers are on the ground in a full blown fit. You’ll find yourself fantasizing about how perfect working was, even though it’s completely untrue. You had bad days there too. There will be days you need to adjust your attitude. Learn more about how to stay sane by Resetting Your Day as a Mom. Our kids grow up fast and these will one day be “the good old days.” The small things you do everyday are our children’s memories. Make it count, because their lives will be spent away from you longer than they were with you. Enjoy this season and bloom where you’re planted.
Give Yourself Grace
I saved this for last on purpose because it’s the last thing I want you to hear (or read, that is). We’re on our own journey. Your life should look like your own – no one else’s. It’s perfectly okay if you don’t homeschool and bake pies. It’s okay if your life isn’t Pinterest worthy. Trust me when I say Facebook, Instagram and other social media are full of moments that only make the highlight reel edit. It’s an illusion of perfection. Comparison will suck all the joy out of life. Don’t do it.
Don’t be hard on yourself. Give yourself grace for mistakes and learning. Make forgiving yourself a habit. Allow yourself to be human. Progress is more important than perfection. Just when you think you have the answers, children will change the questions and the learning begins again. Some days are going to be incredibly hard. Keeping little humans alive might be the only thing that gets done and that is perfectly okay.