How I Stay Sane: a SAHM Guide

Part of the constant struggle of being a SAHM for me is staying busy. Not that I can’t always find a cobweb that needs sweeping or a dish that needs washing or a sippy cup full of spoiled milk that needs tossing, cause I can.

When Cedella was born and I was all alone with her all day I can remember how much I felt the urge to clean everything, always, non-stop. Then when I was IM’ing with friends a week or so ago (Hi Ashley and Nicole!!) I was reminded that in those days, keeping my child alive, fed and clean was priority one. Keeping the house clean was two. Keeping my husband fed and clean was three. And me? Well…I was probably around number 1001 on the list of priorities.

Over the past three years I have really expanded my social circle in Lansing and am so incredibly happy to say that I have real friends here. Friends to go to movies and awesome new restaurants with, that don’t mind if we talk about kids and husbands all night. Friends that are just as nutty and obsessed with baby carriers as I am. Friends that don’t look at me funny when I’d rather give my girls garlic, lemon and honey than antibiotics when they’re sick. And friends that I can trust the birthing of my babies and my kids lives forever after with.

It’s not easy this whole motherhood thing. But knowing that I have these woman, well that helps so much more than I ever imagined it would.

So with this incredible social circle I am able to keep sane on any given week.

What are my other secrets?

Secret #1: Getting out of the house!!!

It sounds simple. But anyone that has a 3 year old will tell you that getting them dressed and out of the door is a feat in and of itself. But add a second small creature (and their belongings) into the mix? Well you might as well be packing for a trek to the moon. So leaving the house with two may be intimidating and even sound counterproductive. But just the act of getting everyone into the car and heading out for an adventure is enough to clear any bad moods and put smiles and giggles back into the day. Fresh air and some fresh tunes on the stereo = happy family.

Secret#2: Get Involved in Local Groups

I go to about 4 or 5 meetings/playgroups a month. Once a week at least. Counting it up that way seems like a lot, but it’s so worth it. Not only did getting involved in a local mom’s Meetup group help me to meet one of my closest friends, Leslie, it brought Cedella her BFF Anna. So thankful that for the small time I participated in the group I was able to meet Leslie (she gets bloggy with it at Pretending to be a Grownup, go visit her so she’ll write some more :)), and from there Katie. And being involved in both the local LansingBabywearers and Delta-Waverly La Leche League has allowed me to meet and befriend so many awesome mamas like Gwen, Cindy, Kristy, Meghan, Jessie, Zaje, Mia and the aforementioned Nicole and Ashley.  Not to mention our amazing birth center (which sadly closed in October) which brought me so many more life-long friends like Annie, Heather, Molly, Clarice and Audra. Finding all these outstanding ladies to connect with has been a life-saver. Knowing that there’s always someone to vent to or get suggestions from keeps me from feeling like my children are conspiring to kill me. Thanks ladies 😉

Secret#3: Getting dressed

Now I love my yoga pants as much as everyone else, don’t get me wrong. I can be found in them pretty constantly when I’m in the house. But I do not wear them in public. Unless I’m literally going to a yoga class. When I leave the house I get dressed like I would have when I had a job. Granted I wear more jeans than I would have to work, but jeans wash anyway sticky kid handprints better than dress pants. And I wear makeup. Full face, definitely mascara, sometimes lipstick (but usually chapstick). Every time. It makes me feel like a whole person and not only somebody’s Mommy. Though it may be hard to find clothes to accommodate both my mama body and my fashion sense (see RANT here) it’s worth it to find fun clothes that make you feel good about your self. Yes, it has meant buying a bigger size than before I was pregnant. But it’s worth every penny to feel cool and confident and ::gasp:: sexy again. Also, by getting yourself in order you project the image that you are organized and have things all together. That leads me to…

Secret #4: Let the House be Messy

Being all put together and fashionable in public no one will ever know or even care that your house is a total disaster. Because if you can put on mascara before a playdate who cares if your sink is full of dirty dishes, right? But seriously this is one of the biggest things I’ve had to let go over the past 3ish years. Since becoming a SAHM there is such a battle over what my actual role and job is. Am I Chief Child Care Provider only? Or Nanny with a splash of Housekeeper? Some days I feel like I’m an all-out indentured servant. But it’s ok, because after nearly a year of caring for a small child and trying to keep my house immaculate I gave up. Toys are always on the floor, there’s always a laundry mountain in the corner of a bedroom and there are dishes in the sink. And you know what else? My children are clean and smart and loving. They have oodles of time to play and learn and laugh with their mama. And that is really more important than spotless floors, no?

Secret #5: Invite Someone Over

But whenever you’re feeling like the entire cluttered mess is getting out of control and you just can’t take it anymore…invite some friends over to play, or better yet, for dinner. Cause then you have to clean the house. And usually you only have like two hours to do it. I get more done in that way than I ever do when I have a full day with nothing on the schedule. And usually it stays that way for days after. I hit every single room (except our bedroom) and the whole house is wonderful for at least a week. I’m seriously considering weekly dinner parties…

Secret #6: Stop doing things that you’re not getting help with.

Or perhaps my most important tip for household woes. When my husband stopped putting his dirty clothes in the hamper (cause I’m not his mama and refuse to pick his dirty drawls up off the floor two feet away from said hamper) I stopped doing his laundry. One day he had no clean underwear. He was a little pissed. I was more pissed. For the most part he’s pretty good about getting the things in the hamper now. And doing dishes. And every once in a while he surprises me by taking the garbage out before I’ve removed it from the bin and propped it up against the back door. It’s the little things…

Secret #7:  Alone Time/Mom’s Night Out

And my above all gotta-make-time-for-it secret is to get out of the house with only other ladies in tow and have some fun!! It could be dinner and a movie or dinner and drinks or just dinner. Huh. Apparently my girl’s night outs always have something to do with food. Or drinks. Well, let’s be honest, that’s a great place to start. Whatever you do make it a regular thing. I still go to the book club at my old library, driving over an hour in various weather conditions once a month to see my amazing book-loving friends. Not just because I can’t find another book club but because it’s my thing, my regular monthly night to talk to other adults. It is like air to me at this point. Plan these things in advance and just do them. If someone asks you to go do something without your children for heaven’s sake just. say. yes. And at the end of the night, when you’ve had a great time, schedule the next one!

Hope that some of this Mama wisdom is helpful to you. As always take it with a grain of salt and use whatever works for your family. But please, remember, your family only runs well if it’s engine, it’s brain, it’s soul, it’s Mother, is doing well. Take care of yourself and everything else will fall into place. We as mothers and women need to start treating ourselves with respect and loving ourselves. Cause we really do make the world go round.

Love to each and every one of you who reads this.

Photo from one a Ladie’s Night Out last summer. These ladies. They help me stay sane by getting a little crazy. If you know what I mean 😉

 

 

 

 

 

Wordful Wednesday – Happy World Breastfeeding Week

*WARNING – Boobs and Nursing Pics to follow. But no nipples. I don’t do nipple pictures. It would be a bad latch if you could see them…

Today marks the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week. Something all of you know I am very passionate about (or should know if you’re new :).)

I have hailed the benefits of nursing Cedella, how important a bond it is, and how, even past two years old, it is one of the best nutrition I have ever given my children.

But I haven’t really talked much about Isora nursing probably because it’s just so normal and comfortable. And thankfully we have had no issues with nursing. She latched on a few moments after being born and has been sucking her way to good health ever since.

Isora nursing mere moments after she was born while we were still in the tub.

Though I want to believe it goes without saying that breast milk is the most perfect food you can give your baby I know that many people think that formula is just as good. It’s not. It’s adequate and will get the job done, sure. But it’s not Liquid Gold. Don’t believe me? The World Health Organization can school you.

I know that in so many circumstances many women can’t breastfeed (or continue to do so) often due to having to return to work so soon after having their babies. Or after having health problems or complications from giving birth. That sucks. On both accounts. But I understand.

What I don’t understand is having a free and infinitely better food source at your disposal and not using it. I like free. And healthy. Free and healthy? Yes please.

I know, I know, there are lots of other reasons women don’t or can’t breastfeed and I’m over-simplifying the issue. I feel this is an individual choice to be made and not regulated or legislated, but common sense should prevail and yet it doesn’t.

It’s hard to know what is more often the case. Is it that many women don’t have the information they need about why breastfeeding is so important? They are lacking help and support in starting and continuing their nursing (including help figuring out their right to pump in their workplace)?

Or is it that formula is just so much easier to use? Cause my ‘bottles’ are always warm and ready, and nothing’s easier than whipping out a boob. (Just ask Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty ;))

Simply put my Breastaurant* is always open and there’s only one (well, sometimes two) customers. (*Thanks Aunt Jacqueline for that term!)

Isora is an amazing little nurser. She can empty a breast in five minutes flat and tanks herself up during the day so that she gets about an 8 hour stretch of sleep every night. Yes, my nursing infant sleeps through the night. It’s not just an myth.

Izzie nursing on the beach. She then fell fast asleep. Nursing Champ.

Nursing with Cedella was something I did a lot of research about and made an informed decision. And it was HARD.

Though she nursed right away it was hard knowing when to feed her and wondering if she was ‘getting enough’. Don’t we all?

When my milk came in I was so engorged and sore for days that I would just cry and cry while she nursed cause it hurt so bad. I remember milking myself like a cow in the shower to relieve some of the pressure. It sucked.

Sore nipples for the first three months? Yep. Had them. Thought it was normal until I asked my friend Kelle about it. It was NOT normal. It was a bad latch.

Bitten nipples? Ugh. Those were the worst.

Leaking nipples at the most inopportune times? Man. This has happened more times than I can count. I have always completely forgotten about nursing pads. Oops.

I know. It sounds miserable. But for all of the issues I had with Cedella as soon as I found support it was like all of those issues started seeming smaller, or at least, more manageable. By the end of my first La Leche League meeting (which I’m sure I cried at) I felt a rush of relief and a renewed sense of purpose and strength.

I continued attending the Series meetings throughout my pregnancy with Isora. Helping to set myself up to start a strong nursing relationship from the beginning. And crazier yet, setting myself up to tandem nurse a toddler and a newborn (tandem referring to two children nursing from the same mother NOT necessarily at the same time. Cause I haven’t gotten that desperate to silence them both simultaneously yet).

And you know what? It worked.

Nursing the baby while comforting the toddler. Don’t I look thrilled? All in a day’s work.

Sure, I had engorgement, and it hurt like hell. But it was much better than the first time and didn’t last as long. My nipples are fine and not even a little bit sore. And leaking still happens. Because I’m lazy forgetful Mom of two and you’re all lucky if you see me out and about and my teeth are brushed.

If you’re pregnant or thinking about starting a family please consider breastfeeding your children. There are so many incredible benefits that far outweigh the challenges. And there is so much help and support out there if you need it. La Leche League International and WIC are great places to start.

In fact, just ask me. Me and my kids are down with the Boob!!

My Isora…a total Boob Man. 

Happy World Breastfeeding Week! And Happy W Wednesday too!!

 

 

Review & Giveaway: green.made.simple

*UPDATE – Giveaway is closed for entries. And the winner is? Click HERE to find out…

To those who were wondering about the radio silence for a week or more well…we’re back! And not only are we back from our travels to the beautiful beaches of Lake Huron or ‘Up North’ as us Michiganders call it, but we’re back with a little something from one of you lovely readers!!

When I moved to Lansing nearly three years ago it was really hard. All my family and friends were in Detroit, and though it’s only an hour away I felt so incredibly alone being pregnant and then bringing Cedella into the world without my usual support system.

So when I stumbled bleary-eyed and nervous into my first Lansing Babywearers meeting I was just treading water in the Lake of Mommy Despair. Everyone was so nice and welcoming and they didn’t think my parenting or lifestyle choices were weird and they just made everything ok.

But Lansing Babywearers was only the gateway drug. We only meet once a month. And I needed more. So next came the La Leche League meetings at Delta-Waverly. Where all my Babywearing friends (and more lovely pro-boobie mamas) met up a couple more times a month.

It’s at one of the LLL meetings that I met my lovely friend Cindy and her beautiful daughter Vada. Her warm smile and the soft and constant clicking of knitting needles are instantly friendly and comforting. She is a master sewer and all-around crafty gal. It was just so easy to become friends with Cindy, especially when she’s willing to hold your baby as you stuff yet another brownie into your postpartum pie-hole 😉

So when she started her new Etsy shop green.made.simple many of us were drooling over the possibilities of what she would come up with for her store.

Though many more earth-friendly housewares are on the way to her shop (like Un-Paper Towels) her first big project were making several dozen wipes for family cloth/cloth wipes. She still has several sets of wipes available like these adorable little heart ones.

Or these fun little froggies.

But she doesn’t just make cool, green, functional housewares. She makes these beautiful teething necklaces too.

How cute are those polka dots? These necklaces are all made with cotton fabric over untreated wooden beads. Babies love to suck on and chew on these things.

And the best part? You don’t have to be a mom of a teething baby to wear one of these lovely items…no one needs to know it doubles as a baby soother!

Sadly I have no pictures to prove how much Izzie loves to chew on this thing (because she’s usually buried in the Ergo carrier while chewing on it or I’ve got my hands full with dinner, or the ipad or while talking on the phone) but trust me when I say, it’s getting a lot of use!

Here’s me and my thumb-sucking, hand-chewing, put-something-in-my-mouth-already 3 month old.

And this is the gorgeous turquoise necklace Cindy made just for me…

So, now that I’ve tempted you…don’t you want one for yourself?

One lucky reader is going to win one of these lovely necklaces. And it could be you.

Now for the nitty gritty details: 
Go to green.made.simple at Etsy.com and pick out which necklace you’d like to win. Next go to Facebook and like green.made.simple and Babies & Bacon (if you already have ‘liked’ us then by all means tell me so!). Then come back here and tell me you ‘like’ us and leave your necklace choice in the comment section. The giveaway starts today and runs until this Friday 6.29.2012 at midnight. A winner will be chosen using Random.org and notified via facebook and email that they’re the big winner!!
But if you just can’t wait and really need to have one of those necklaces right now, or want to buy one for a shower gift (cause it would be such a cool and unique present to give) or you need some more wipes for your stash, Cindy is giving Babies & Bacon readers 15% off of their orders using the code ‘bbgiveaway’ for the duration of the giveaway.
So what are you waiting for? Somebody’s going to win! And wouldn’t it be great if it was you? 😉
I was given a beautiful turquoise necklace to facilitate my review. But these opinions are mine and mine only darlings.