New Mum on the Blog

Sharing is Caring! Experiences, insights, advice and tips from one mum to another

Life Changing

It’s funny isn’t it? How as soon as you are introduced into mummy world, it’s like entering a whole new realm you never even knew existed.  Talk about boobs and poops become acceptable topics of conversation, messy buns and yoga pants become your uniform of choice, and daily trips to the store and park are your social scenes. It’s funny isn’t it? How when we have a baby we just sort of forget about all the things we did before. The late night drinks with friends and late morning greasy spoon breakfast, going away for weekends with just one bag packed, last minute dinner plans because there was nothing else to do.

The truth is, once you have a baby all of those things you used to be able to do just sort of dissipate, without a second thought really. Instead of having only a couple hours of sleep because you were out all night dancing, you are on a couple hours of sleep because you were up all night rocking and hushing. Instead of trying to figure out what shoes go with that dress, you are wondering if anyone will notice you have been in pajamas for two days.

I’m not saying this is what it will be like forever, but let’s face it, were mums now. Nights filled with tequila shots, and singing along to Eminem’s latest album is over. Yes, there may be a night or two in your near future where you can feel like your college years again but it’s going to hurt a lot more since your getting up at 7 a.m. with a hungry and charged up baby.

All of a sudden you understand what sacrifice means, what love is, and how patience really is a virtue. All of a sudden your favourite song is Butterfly Kisses instead of Disco Stick, and feeling tired at the end of the day is more of a reward then a punishment.

When I was pregnant, I was told that I’ll never be free to do as I please, that I will forever be tied down and my whole life is going to change. People are always so quick to say that, “your whole life is going to change.” Obviously, your life will change. What they leave out is that your life is changed for the better. Every morning you wake up and get to see this little person smiling at you because they are genuinely happy to see your face, you get to watch someone you created, the greatest miracle of life, grow right in front of you.

So do I miss the person I was a few years ago? No, I don’t. Do I miss being able to sleep in, go out with my friends whenever I want, spend my money on a new purse instead of a new car seat? No, I don’t. I wouldn’t give up what I have now for all the coach purses and greasy spoon breakfasts in the world, even if that meant unlimited eggs benedict and Nutella crepes.

 

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Mummy Brain-GOOD NEWS!

I have been M.I.A. this past week with my blogging because I have been swamped with first birthday party planning! On the weekend we had baby girl’s birthday parties. I say parties because yes, we had two. Since we live in an apartment it was completely unrealistic to think we would be able to have all our friends and family in one spot on one day. So we broke it up. We did her little friends on Saturday and the ‘grown ups’ on Sunday.  We also decided to have it the week before her actual big day because it falls on thanksgiving so we figured friends and family would be busy with their holiday plans. The turnouts were so amazing. We are so lucky to have such great people in our lives, and baby girl is so loved.

So you probably think I have tons of stuff to write about. This week I think I am going to focus on reminiscing about this past year. I mean this time last year I was hugely preggo, ready to pop, and so uncomfortable. I couldn’t even tell I had ankles, and Jon giggled at me every morning I literally rolled out of bed. It’s so funny how what they call ‘mom brain’ can prevent you from remembering where you put your sunglasses 5 minutes ago but you can remember exactly what you were doing this day a year ago.

 Seriously, anyone else having that problem? I have the worst memory these days. From calling someone back, to remembering how Jon likes his coffee after he’s told me 5 times, this mummy brain stuff can really get in the way. This is also why I have started to document everything. I literally carry around a notebook to write down things I think about so I don’t forget. Of course I forget I have the notebook or have written it down…so really it’s a lose-lose situation.

Mummy brain can mean doing things like putting the peanut butter with cleaning products or putting milk away in the tuberware cupboard-both of which I am guilty of. Just really spacing out on things that you normally wouldn’t. I often can be in the middle of a conversation and mid-sentence forgetting what we were talking about. It’s funny that I don’t even really have to explain myself when it happens, I just state, it’s the ‘mommy brain.”

So we can chalk up the mum brain to sleep deprivation, having a little person’s life is in your hands and remembering all the little details that go along with that. I can only imagine it gets worse as you have more kids and more things to remember like soccer practices, dance classes, lunches, school schedules, homework, parties, playdates, dinner…my brain is feeling like mush just thinking about it.

But there is some light to shed on this infamous ‘mommy brain’ syndrome we all suffer from. Being a mom actually makes you SMARTER! Really, seriously, it does. Think about it, although you may forget where you put your keys or that you left your coffee cup on the roof of your car-someone had to be thinking that when we have babies our brains need a little extra room for all that stuff, why wouldn’t be blessed with more smarts.

According to a Time article, the experiences we have picking up toys and singing nursery rhymes is actually stimulating our brains. Before baby I couldn’t finish the words to Mary had a little lamb and Twinkle twinkle. Now I probably know about 50 different songs, and rhymes and can recite most of her books without looking at the pages.

Katherine Ellison, a mother of two, wrote a book called ‘The Mommy Brain: How motherhood makes s smarter.” There is actual scientific evidence that being a mum smartens us up.

Here is bit of the article that stood out: “Craig Kinsley and Kelly Lambert, two Virginia neuroscientists who have done truly pioneering work, have dissected rats’ brains and found that during pregnancy there was a tremendous blossoming of what are called dendritic spines–the parts of the neurons that reach out and form synapses, necessary for new learning. Dr. Kinsley compares it to a computer acquiring extra bandwidth to help it run more than one program at a time. There has also been some intriguing recent research on the impacts of two hormones important to motherhood, oxytocin and prolactin, on mental functioning–specifically, learning and memory and the reduction of fear and anxiety.”

(Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1053659,00.html#ixzz283bYCK8M)

Just try to remember this one little thing- although you may be constantly forgetting you have a load of laundry in the washer, or that you left your keys in the front door- no one else can say that because I am a mum my brain has a little extra room, basically we are all superwomen, so run with it.

 

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Times are a Changin’

Since the first week of bringing baby girl home we have had a nighttime routine. It really hasn’t changed at all except for maybe the time we start it, I can tell that baby girl is ready for a change in the next couple weeks to a month, but like any routine once you have one you don’t want to switch it up. You get comfortable, baby is happy with it, so why change it? People always say when you have babies and kids your whole life is about routines and schedules. I’m the kind of person who is in the middle, I love knowing what to expect but at the same time this last year has been a lot of baby leading the way.

I love knowing that by about 6:30 p.m. every night Aud’s mood starts to slowly shift, she rubs her eyes, and then a big yawn comes. A warm bath gets run, we undress her and admire her cute little tushy, and in the bath she goes. Some nights she loves it, other nights, she can’t wait to get the hell out of there. Of course we inundate her with “this little piggy” and “Old McDonald had a farm….” It works for about 10 seconds before she is halfway out of the bath, pleading for someone to pick her up.

The problem for us is that our apartment doesn’t have a bathtub…I know, cue sympathy. We are still using a baby/toddler bath, to which last night I decided I was either a) going to find a better bigger bath for her or b)start using a large Rubbermaid container (it could work!). We tried showering with her, but she hated it, like screamed the whole time, whole body beat red, anxiety cries, hated it-naturally we are scared to try that again.

So after her bath we giggle in the mirror for a bit, trying to butter her up for the next step. Getting her lotioned up and dressed, the one part of the evening I don’t look forward too. She is a wiggly, squiggly, worm and I have had to retreat to serious distraction toys and objects to keep her still for more then 1 minute. I know I’m not alone here. By the time the last button is done up, most of the time she is screaming bloody murder.

So after the battle of getting pj’s on and the tears are wiped clean, we say goodnight and I nurse her. As I mentioned in my last article (Weaning, hard? Not so much) I am weaning her now, but we aren’t quite giving up this feed yet. She doesn’t often fall asleep while nursing but she get’s groggy and after about 5-10 minutes she is in bed.

In the beginning I used to always make sure we were home by 6:30 p.m. from wherever we were so we could get her routine into play. Obviously there were definitely some evenings where that just didn’t happen. The first couple times I found myself having a bit of anxiety about it. Thinking if she didn’t have a bath she wasn’t going to fall asleep, or if she doesn’t start her feed at exactly 6:50 p.m. she was going to start freaking out.

Luckily it didn’t take a lot of time to realize that it’s ok if she skips a bath one night, or if we are out past 6 p.m.  She will still go to bed. It’s ok if we are out a little longer in the afternoon and she doesn’t nap at exactly 1 p.m. or if she falls asleep en-route  The fact is, if we spend all our time catering to our children’s routines they will never learn to adapt in situations that may cause it to stray.

I’m seeing now that she is able to stay up a little bit later, she likes to have a bit of play time right before bed, reading books, crawling around, playing with her ball. The nighttime ritual we have been following this last year is changing, and she’s leading the way. I’m ok with change. I’ve always been easily adaptable to it, and I think it’s rubbing off on her.

Her first nap is even getting shorted in the morning, no long an hour to hour an a half, sometimes it’s only 45 minutes. It’s going to be a big change for us all when that nap get’s dropped…

The point of this post is that although you may have a great routine going, and you have everything scheduled down to the minute, just know that in a couple weeks, months, even hours it all will change, and it’s ok. Be the one that shows your little one change is good, it’s good for us all. If you can find the happy medium between routines and going with the flow, transitions will be easy for everyone involved.

Update: From the time I wrote this to when I posted it I opted to try a rubbermaid tub for a bath….I think it’s genius…I’ll keep you posted!

 

 

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Just to fill you in…

Does your spouse come home at night and say to you “Ok so give me a play by play of what you did today? I want details-new sounds, new foods, new gestures?Fill me in!” If so, then congratulations you found a diamond in the ruff. But for those of us whose husbands and boyfriends come home, probably exhausted from a days work (because remember your at home doing nothing all day), and ask the general “how was your day?”  question while sitting on the couch watching Storage Wars, Shipping Wars, Whale Wars (what is with these shows?) then this latest post is for you.

I got an email a while back about how oblivious men are when it comes to women being at home with the babes and kids. I can’t remember the exact wording of the email so I will jot down the just of it.

Dad comes home every night to a clean house, laundry done, kids in bed and dinner on the table, and like most men have no idea what it takes to get all of this done whilst taking care of 3 children, all toddlers no less. Not to mention things like grocery shopping, bath time, pick ups and drop off’s…you get the picture. Well one night he came home and asked his wife, “So what exactly is it you do all day?” with the sort of sarcastic tone as if he is running the country all day while mom is at home painting her nails.

So the next evening hubs comes home. The house is a mess, laundry stewn all over the house, the floors are covered in mud, the kids are still up and running around the house, dinner is not made…hubs asks, ” Honey! What happened today?” to which the wife replies, “Well you asked me what I did all day? Today I didn’t do it.”

You know exactly how this story feels don’t you? Why is it men think when we have babies we just get a free year off, or if we decide to be stay at home mom’s we don’t do anything but playdates and bake cookies. I know, I know not all men think this way, and don’t get me wrong I’m not targeting my spouse in this post either, I’m just simply stating the facts. Men really have no idea what it is like to run a household, take care of the kids. It’s like that status update you see on Facebook every once in a while,

“I am a Mum! That makes me an alarm clock, cook, maid, waitress, teacher, nurse, referee, handyman, security officer, photographer, counselor, chauffeur, event planner, Hairdresser, personal assistant, ATM & I scare away the boogie man. I don’t get paid holidays, sick pay or days off. I work through the DAY & NIGHT. I am on call 24/7 for the rest of my life. And that’s just with being a Mum.. !! I may not be anything to you but I am everything to someone! Repost if you agree.”

It get’s a bunch of likes and a couple moms repost as if secretly hoping hubs will see it and have an epiphany. Ladies, instead of posting this on Facebook post it on every wall in your home! Remember, men are not mind readers! (Read I hate to break it to ya…)

Don’t worry guys, I’m not going to leave the posting like that. I do want to give credit where credit is due. We appreciate and understand that you have to go to work everyday to bring home the bacon. That you might miss important milestones like the first word or first step, and that you probably only get to spend the most time with your kids on weekends, I totally get that you might feel out of the loop or a bit behind when it comes to baby. Maybe just ask more questions, ask for the details, don’t let her stop at, “it was a good day, how was yours.” Trust me, we would love nothing more then to talk to you about it all, but like you we are tired after a days work.

On the weekend Jon had to watch Aud for most of the time because I was busy running around. He called a couple times to ask me questions about when to give her a bottle, when to feed her dinner, what outfit would I like her in for the day…at first my reaction was “Are you kidding me? How can you not know this stuff?” The truth is, he wouldn’t know. I realized that maybe I need to fill him in more on our day even though he might not ask for the details, that maybe I need to leave him with her more often and not scold him when he asks me how much milk should be in her bottle.

When I got home he actually said to me, “babe, I totally get how hard it can be taking care of everything at home all day with baby girl, I don’t know how you do it everyday.” *melt*

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Happiness Is…

This morning I wasn’t sure what I was going to write about today. These last couple weeks have been a whirl-wind of different things happening. Aud has been a little under the weather, I have been planning two major events in her life (baptism and 1st birthday), most of my amazing mum friends went back to work, I’ve had interviews and meetings trying to figure out what I am going to be doing in a month’s time, oh ya, I started my blog, and am writing for two other online blogs, and not to mention I still have my domestic duties like housework, cooking, and being the best mum I can be to my baby girl. Remember when I wrote that post about having me time, well I can honestly say this last little while I haven’t felt I could squeeze it in! We all have those moments right? Moments where a whole day, week, even an hour goes by and we wonder where it went, what we did? I think it only gets harder as we have families, get older, priorities change, goals get bigger. This post will be about a couple different things so stay with me because I’m feeling inspired this morning and I need to share it, you know my motto, sharing is caring!

Today I started to write a list, I should say a new list, because I have about 100 “to do” lists around my house, just waiting to be checked off. So today’s list consisted of everything I need/want ‘to do’ with no timeline. Included in that list- get out scrapbooking stuff, start scrapbook, organize front hall, organize closet, sort through Aud’s clothes, sort through pictures on computer, figure out stain remover for babies clothes, organize kitchen cupboards, pick up birthday invitations…you get the picture, a smorgasbord of things to do. Behind that list was another list of things to do for her baptism, pick up decorations, confirm guests, pick up cake, pick up catering, go to costco, decorate and set-up ect, ect…I can say I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the amount of work I have given myself for the last little while. I know you’re thinking what about Jon? Well he works, he’s the breadwinner, besides I love the man but he just learnt how to turn on a vacuum let alone be able to use it properly.

As women we automatically assume the need to be a multi-tasker even if it means putting ‘me’ on the back burner. If I were in an interview and they asked what my biggest strength is, that would be it, but it is also my biggest weakness. I take on a lot at once, I am a people pleaser so if someone asks me to do it I will, even if I have a million other things to do. It’s just the way I am. I like to make people happy, who doesn’t? These last few days I have had some major mood swings and poor Jon has been on the receiving end of those. You could say it’s stress, or exhaustion, or busy mummy brain, but I think I have figured out the root.

Happiness. As I’ve mentioned before I am a bubbly and positive person in life, I have lots of friends, a great family, a beautiful baby girl, I’m healthy, you know all the staples to leading a happy life. I guess some day’s I forget. Some days I let the moment’s of true happiness pass me by, forgetting to focus on the things that make me happy. I think as mums we can all relate to this.

I came across this blog I used to read that I had forgotten about in the shuffle of life. He writes about the 10 things that always bring happiness. I read through each one carefully and have hung onto every word. It was so soothing and inspiring to read. It just takes one moment, one action, even one post to read to bring you back to that place. I’m realizing that all these things I have to do, all the tasks I need to check off my lists, I’ll get to it. I know this post doesn’t quite jive with my others but I just felt the need to write about this. I’m going to leave you guys with one of the things he writes about in his blog:

“Focus on things that truly matter. The simple fact that you are even here, alive, on this planet is a divine miracle. You should not spend the time you have being busy, being miserable. Every moment you get is a gift, so stop focussing on unhappy things, and spend your moments on things that truly matter to your heart.”

Taken from www.marcandangel.com

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I hate to break it to ya…

When Jon and I found out we were pregnant it was a day of mixed emotion. Although we were over the moon about having a little baby boy or girl, a million questions ran through my head. Are we ready? Do we need to get married? Can we really raise a child at this point in our lives? Am I ready to have a baby? I did always know I wanted to be a mom, I did always know that one day I would have a big family and since meeting Jon almost 5 years ago I knew it would be with him. But like any relationship we had our ups and downs. Little did I know the 9ish months I would be growing our little baby girl in my belly would be the same year Jon and I went through some of the hardest part of our relationship.

I thought that we would be the happiest couple in the world and that we would be in total bliss while I was pregnant. Yes, we were so excited to have her, and yes we knew this was what we wanted but for some reason I felt alone, I felt like he didn’t share the same emotions as I did, that he didn’t understand what I was going through, how I felt. Notice the word “I.” Of course I was being selfish in my feelings, why wouldn’t I be. I was the one who was pregnant, I was the one who had to worry about perfectly growing our little girl, not him. He didn’t get it. Come on, I can’t be the only one who felt this way.

My pregnancy was pretty textbook, morning sickness, back aches, headaches, moody, crampy, tired, up, down, up, down. My relationship was suffering; we weren’t talking much or really spending any time together, supporting each other. We were together but not present for each other. We were fighting more than ever, I would of rather snuggled with my Snoogle pillow then him and he slept on the couch almost every night towards the end of our pregnancy. Don’t get me wrong, there were days where all I wanted to do was be with him, talk to him, let him know I love him, but I didn’t. I didn’t think I had too. I assumed that he knew how I was feeling, that he knew I was a huge, and I mean huge, ball of mixed emotion. Can’t every boyfriend read minds?

The last month of my pregnancy we were getting better, we were both getting so excited to meet our little girl that all we could talk about was what it will be like when was here, what she would be like, who she would look like. Then the time came. On October 7, 2011 at 9:38 p.m. Audrina had arrived! She was beautiful, just perfect. We both were filled with so much love and emotion, I really can’t explain the feeling. She was here and it was perfect. My little family.

This last year I’m not going to say was perfect, our relationship definitely had its up’s and down. In the 5 years we have been together I think we have been through what a couple would go through in a life time, but we are still here. We are still together. And now more than ever we are present for each other. I don’t want to say it was Audrina that helped our relationship, because it was a variety of different things that have brought us closer, but she definitely helped us realize that our family is the most important thing in our lives and being happy together for her and for us was just as important.

I wanted to write this because although pregnancy is an incredible gift,  it can be one of the most challenging events a couple will go through. So my advice to anyone who is going through what I went through is don’t give up, try to see the light at the end of the tunnel and when you do run or waddle towards it. Talk to your spouse more, cuddle with him instead of the amazing Snoogle pillow, remember that he is probably just as scared sh*tless as you, and ladies don’t ever assume that he is a mind reader because I hate to break it to you, NONE of them are.

For valuable tips and resources from pregnancy and beyond visit www.thebabyandchild.com

 

 

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The Start of a New Lifestyle

The week I found out I was pregnant I was also just 10 lbs away from my goal weight after being on Weight Watchers for about 7 months. I had lost about 50 lbs and just had a few more to go.  Although I was incredibly happy to know that in a few months I would meet the love of my life, it was a bitter sweet time for me. I was reading all over the internet women can gain anywhere from 15 lbs to 100 lbs while pregnant. Of course, I never thought I would be one of the women to gain more then 25. HA! Could have fooled me. I gained a total of 60 lbs while I was pregnant. I want to say it was all baby, but I think we all know that’s not true! I ate whatever I wanted (except for the  few things I couldn’t stomach or were off limits). I remember my doctor actually telling me at one point that when someone asks me if I would like another cookie, I should gracefully decline. If I had a nickel for every time friends, family, even people I didn’t know would say to me, “are you sure you’re not having twins?” or “she’s going to be one big baby!” I would be well on my way to riches. Needless to say I was determined to get back in shape and get my pre-baby body back, and even lose that last 10lbs I was so close to doing before!

As of August 1, 2012 I have lost a total of 70 lbs and counting. I will be writing a few articles on how I was able to reach my goals and share tips and insights that you may find useful. Please feel free to comment on any tips and tricks you may have, as well as any questions you’d like to ask.

First off I will start by saying I lost about 15lbs when I had Audrina on October 7, 2011. I remember going home and stepping right on the scale (not recommended) just because my curiosity got the better of me. After that day I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again until I was ready and dedicated to getting back in shape. That day didn’t come until January 1, 2012. I know it sounds so cliché to say my New Year’s Resolution was to lose weight, but it was! That day I signed up for Weight Watchers, again, and started my new lifestyle.

Which brings me to what I think is my most important tip, don’t call it a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. There’s just something about the word ‘diet’ that seems to deter people from starting and sticking to a healthy living plan. For me diets seem to be a short-term solution where as this was going to be a new way of living my life and hopefully help my partner to do the same. A lifestyle change doesn’t mean you have to go and throw out every cookie, every chocolate bar, every candy (yup, I have a major sweet tooth) in your house. It just means take the time to make better choices, and to take responsibility of the choices you make.

Don’t give up because you had a ‘bad day’ of splurging or a week of guilty pleasures. Just remember tomorrow’s another day and fresh start. There are definitely days I sit on the couch with a jar or nutella in one hand and a spoon in the other and of course I feel defeated after the first bite; but I never unsubscribed from my program or think that I failed because I’ve eaten all my WW points in one sitting.  I just make sure I a) Go for a walk and b) start fresh the next day with the mindset of “Ok I had a bad day yesterday, but today I’m going to make up for it and it’s going to be a fabulous day!” Believe it or not, I really do give myself that little pep talk, at least now I’m not talking to myself and have my wee baby girl there to smile back as if she’s saying “Way to go Mom!”

-M

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