Sunday, January 6, 2013
The ABC's of Mama Survival: A-E
Ask for help, apps, accept, activities.
Phone apps are really helpful in the early days of baby care. I used an app that tracked breastfeeding (how much time spent on which side and how much time in between feedings) and diaper changes (what type of diaper, time between changes and how many each day). It helped me keep my sanity so I didn't have to rely on my exhausted brain to remember these important details.
Kids change your life. The stages they go through change life, too. It's better to accept the season of life you are in rather than try to fight it which only results in frustration and stress. I've had to accept that my house will not be organized and clutter free any time in the near future. I've had to accept that the many projects I want to do cannot be done right now. By accepting these things, I can sink into this season of life and be more present. I don't need to concern myself with the guilt of a messy house or undone projects. It's just life right now.
Google and search Pinterest for kid activities. There are loads of ideas out there. Pin the ones you want to do and do them with your tot. Activities help kids learn and develop fine and gross motor skills. Having some ideas on hand will ward off boredom and the related whining. Activities are also really fun for us as moms because we get to see their personality and reactions. It's a fun way to spend an afternoon or to do during a play date, as well. Check out this one and this one. Ooo and follow this Pinterest board for a jackpot of ideas.
Breathing, breastfeed, baby-led weaning, busy hands.
Breastfeed if you can. It's free and there is zero preparation. No mixing and warming bottles at 2am. It also helps you shed the baby weight faster! Aside from the health benefits, it's just plain perfect. Oh and the bonding, it's so sweet.
I used the baby-led weaning method of introducing food to my two tots. I did a ton of research before using this method. The idea is to skip over pureed baby food and go straight for real food. It helps them explore and learn about the taste and texture of real food. I read this book and it was an awesome and informative resource. It cut down on my food related stress. They eat what we eat. No need to spend money on jars of baby food or prepare a separate meal. It makes meal times fun and baby is included at the family table. In my opinion, it makes them more adventurous eaters, too!
I survive diaper changes and grocery store trips thanks to busy hands. On the way to the changing table I grab something for my 10 month old to play with so I can easily change his diaper. A wooden spoon, a small cup or the baby remote control helps distract him. I keep snacks in my purse so that when my toddler gets restless at the store, I can hand him a baggie of dried fruit, cereal or apple slices and he settles down. It's like magic.
Co-sleeping, create, cook, calm.
Being creative in any fashion from cooking and clothes to organizational storage and blogging is priceless for a mother's soul. For me, it's this comforting, energizing, refreshing and fun way to keep my individual identity alive. I need to create. I need an outlet to allow me to express myself. It's a mood booster and a soul soother.
Cook your meals at home. Avoiding the drive-thru has helped keep our family eating healthy foods. I look at cooking as a bit of 'me time' because my husband plays with the kids while I prepare the meal. When the kids are older I plan to include them in the preparation. It's fun and it gets the kids in the habit of trying new things and eating healthy, always a plus.
Finding ways to stay calm helps in countless ways. When you find that method or thought process that helps keep your blood from boiling over and your voice at a socially acceptable volume, hold on to it. It will get you through temper tantrums in the mall, potty training and the lovely 'no' stage that comes with toddlerhood. It might be doing a daily yoga practice before the kids get up in the morning. It might be a mantra or a breathing exercise or unwinding at the end of the day. It could even be the mommy time out.
Dance, dress up, drive, date.
DO NOT let yourself get stuck in the rut of wearing your yoga pants and tanks every. single. day. Mix it up at least 2-3 times a week. Put on some real pants and shoes with straps or laces, put on makeup and do up that hair. It works wonders on your level of energy, productivity and mood. How do you do this with a toddler and a baby tearing up the house? Get up before they do. Set the alarm for 6:15, get up and dress up. Maybe even put on some lip stick. I know....whoa let's not get ahead of ourselves here.
Going for a drive changes our environment and gives us something else to focus on. The sound of tires on the pavement, the wind coming through the windows and the sun. Something about it helps kids calm down, go to sleep even, but I find it refreshes my mood. I try and get us out of the house daily to avoid cabin fever. It works!
For goodness sake, call up Grandma and ask her to watch the kids this Saturday night while you and your husband go to eat at an establishment that does not have slides or dollar menus. Consider going to a movie as well. Set a date night at least once every 6 weeks. Make it a priority. For me, it gives me a chance to be amongst adults and I get to miss the kids. I come home eager to be home.
Exercise, explore, eat healthy foods, enjoy.
Get out of your comfort zone and explore everything with your kiddos. Try exploring new activities, materials (like dry oatmeal or dried beans), books, music and sound, foods, places, people and groups, classes (like gymnastics or music) and your city. It really helps break up the day/week. You never know who you will meet or what places you'll fall in love with.
Let your kids see you eat healthy foods. It does a world of good for you and your body, of course, but it goes a long way in getting the kids in the habit of eating healthy. Introducing them early on to a mostly plant based diet will help reduce food battles in the future.
It's easy to enjoy the laughs and smiles of raising kids. It's important to remember, though, to enjoy everything, even the tough moments. When things aren't going my way, I have to remind myself that it's okay. They are only little for a short, fleeting time. It goes by too fast. I will miss these times, happy or otherwise.
So, there you have it. The A-E installment of Mama Survival. Do you have anything to add?
Thank you for joining me and be sure to check out the other contributors the ABC's of....series!
MAMA TIPS & TRICKS - The ABCs of ...
Jamie at Hands On: As We Grow
Connecting with Your Kids / Ness at One Perfect Day
Fun Healthy Snacks for Kids / Akane at Juggling with Kids
Kids’ Party Ideas / Jane at Mama Pea Pod
Mama Survival / Mel at The Dizzy Mom
Mom-Tot Yoga / Jenni at Jenni Fischer
Printables / Melissa at Mama Miss
Raising a Healthy Kid / Beth at Living Life Intentionally
Raising a Thinking Child / Chrissy at The Outlaw Mom
Raising a World Citizen / Leanna at All Done Monkey
Raising Boys / Stephanie at Boy Mama Teacher Mama
Raising Eco-Friendly Kids / Jennifer at Kitchen Counter Chronicles
Raising Girls / Vicky at Mess For Less
/ Kendall at Home Learning Journey
Simply Celebrating Holidays as a Family / Mari at Inspired by Family Magazine
Teaching Kids about Money / Marnie at Carrots Are Orange
The Family Dinner Table / Gina at Connecting Family and Seoul
Tina at Mamas Like Me
Trying A New Experience with Your Children / Danielle at 52 Brand New
Values for Children (Character development) / Janine at True Aim Education
Check out the rest of the categories here.