Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How Things Change (Once You're a Mom)


I am eternally grateful for my two little children, no matter how frantic I become.  I more than love them.  As Woody Allen might say, "I luuurve them."  But there are certain aspects of pre-baby life that virtually vanish (and/or commence to be rare luxuries) when one becomes a mother of young children.  There is no preparation for these changes.  Some happen suddenly; others disappear without us realizing it for several months.

Here are just a few vanishing acts:

Anything labeled "Dry Clean Only"
Shaving your legs more than once a week
Getting your nails done
Reading a magazine cover to cover in one sitting
An uninterrupted phone conversation
A leisurely walk (make that anything leisurely)
Flossing
Sleeping past 7 a.m.
Spending less than $100 during a Target visit
Watching the entire Oscars
Closing the bathroom door
Anything "Deep Conditioning"
Kardashian marathons on Sunday afternoon
Exclaiming "Happy New Year" at midnight
A clean kitchen floor
A clean car
Happy Hour
Coming home to a quiet house

A lot changes for us when we bring babies into the world, most of which we cannot prepare ourselves for.  The most earth-shattering change, I think, is that we are no longer only responsible for ourselves.  Caring for our babies becomes our greatest responsibility.  We give up so much from our parentless days in order to commit to our new roles as mothers.  Life is never the same once we have children, but it is often the small vanishing acts (see above) adding up that make us realize just how far we have come.

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

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Clash of the Couples is now available!  Check it out on Amazon.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Useful Baby Products

*Updated Winter 2014

If you haven't had a baby yet (or are pregnant again but feeling clueless) and are overwhelmed with the amount of baby products that you "must" register for, I thought it might be helpful to throw in my two cents.  Go ahead and register for a few fun decorative gifts.  But when it comes to gadgets, gear, etc., here are the few I found to actually be useful for both of my children.

1.  Boppy or "Brestfriend" Pillow.  Whether you are nursing or bottlefeeding, these pillows are immensely  popular for a reason.  They make feedings more comfortable for the mom.  I keep one in my bedroom and one in the family room.

2.  A Bouncy Seat.  You have to put the baby down occasionally.  These little seats give you a place to do it.

3.  Lots of Blankets.  Babies poop and spit-up a lot.  You can put swaddling-size blankets over your Boppy, on your changing table, on the floor, in your diaper bag, etc.  You will quickly find out why you can't have too many.

4.  A Baby Carrier.  I like the Bjorn best, because it's fun to let the baby face out when they are big enough, but I know there are fans of the Ergo too.  Whatever you choose, you will be glad you have one.  My son hated the stroller, but-- thank the Lord-- enjoyed being in the Bjorn. It frees up your hands, and it helps you get out the front door for some air.



5.  Halo Swaddling Sleep Sacks.  Do you like to sleep?  Me too.  Halo Swaddlers might help you eek out a few more minutes of precious rest. With my son, we tried the Miracle Blanket and other swaddling brands, but he always sguiggled out and woke himself (and us) up.  With the second baby, we weren't messing around.  We stocked up on the the best, easiest swaddler out there, and used them for months!

6.  Sleep n' Play Outfits.  Because at 2 a.m. you won't be reaching for that tulle tu-tu Grandma gave you.

7.  Coffee.  This is for the parents.  Yes, even if you are nursing.  All things in moderation.

8.  Beer.  See above.

9.  Food.  Not gear per se, but if someone asks how to help, I think one of the best gifts for a new parent is a ready-to-heat meal.  It is incredibly helpful and thoughtful.

10.  Pack n' Play.  These are so great for those first few months.  Both of my babies slept in one in our room (well, okay, truth be told, my daughter was in one in our big closet!  Sounds crazy, but it meant she was close enough that I could get her right away, but not so close I heard every little snore :) ) until we moved them into their rooms.  Once they're done sleeping in it on a regular basis, you can use it for travel or as a playpen so you can actually take a shower while they are awake (something I didn't do until my second, but so worth it).

10.  Something free that is perhaps the best gift of all?  The gift of TIME.  Having a friend watch the baby and/or your older child for a bit so that you can rest is generous and so, so helpful.

Please share your own must-haves in the comments or on my Facebook or Twitter page!

~Julia @ Frantic Mama

P.S.  I'm so thrilled! Clash of the Couples, a hilarious anthology I contributed to, is available on Amazon!



Monday, February 4, 2013

Expecting a Second (or Third)?


Let me be the first to say, I'm no expert on having multiple children.  My second is now 9 months old, so I'm certainly not an old hat at this.

But in case any of my readers are expecting their second bundle of joy (and the accompanying excitement and nerves), I thought I'd share a few tips that my husband and I found helpful this go-around.

1.  Make or buy lots of pre-made frozen dinners.  Or, better yet, if friends offer to help, ask them to bring food!  It's surprising how helpful it is to have healthy, nourishing dinners ready to pop in the oven after a long day of taking care of toddlers and babies.  A Let's Dish session is a great option before you have the baby.

2.  Stock up on your paper products, diapers, wipes, etc.  You will NOT want to waste what little energy you have on Sunday afternoon running to Target for toilet paper.

3.  Hire help.  You've seen me thank the Lord for sitters in past posts, and I guarantee you'll see it again.  Unless you are one of the lucky few with family close by (and at your disposal), you will need an extra pair of hands (at least) a few hours a week during the day to help you with the baby or toddler once Daddy goes back to work.  Postpartum doulas are wonderful (Minnesota readers, check out: www.motherbabydoulaservices.com), but you will thank your lucky stars if you even just plan ahead for a once-a-week mother's helper when you haven't slept more than 2 hours at a time, are living on leftover chicken nuggets, and are covered in spit-up (sorry, but true.).

4.  Go easy on yourself.  The first months after welcoming your new baby are not the time to "lose the baby weight," attend cocktail parties, answer e-mails, keep your home spotless, or frankly, write a bunch of thank-you notes.  In the little downtime you have, this Frantic Mama gives you full permission to put your feet up and watch old episodes of Modern Family.  After all, there's no harder job than raising young children, and you deserve some rest.  

As I try to remind myself on a regular basis, the only way to give your kids your best is to treat yourself well too.  

Best wishes to any readers welcoming new babies!  

Until next time...
~Frantic Mama

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