Hello – Adele (Sleep Parody)

Hello, It’s me.
I was wondering little baby, will you ever go to sleep?
To hit the pillow, would be a dream.
They say caffines supposed to help ya,
Well, then hand me a Venti.

Hello, can you hear me?
I’m mixing bottles, changing diapers…trying every damn thing.
Shut your eyes, baby, please.
I’ve forgotten how it feels to have a solid block of sleep.

My eyes are droopy, yours are wide,
We’ll be rocking through the night.

Hello stars up in the sky,
I’ve counted you a thousand times.
To my dog, I’m sorry, you’re losing sleep too,
But I promise, I’m doing all I can do.

Hello from the night time.
At least I can say that I’ve tried,
To go to bed early and sleep if I can.
Doesn’t matter, insomnia has another plan, every time.

Hello, how are you?
It’s so typical of me to huff and puff, oh my dear, I’m sorry.
The moon, it’s shining bright,
On the spit up in my hair and the bags under my eyes.

It’s no secret, this sound machine
Does absolutely nothing.

So, hello from the night time.
My kid has pooped a thousand times.
And this night, my gosh, will never it end?
But wait, his little fingers just grabbed onto my hand.

Hello stars up in the sky.
It’s almost time to say goodbye.
But don’t worry, I promise, I’ll see you again,
And one day I’ll miss how much he needed me, way back when.

Ohhh way back when,
Ohhh way back when,
Ohhh way back when,
Way back when.

Hello from the night time,
My babes asleep and I survived!
It’s now time for me, to crawl back into my bed,
Next to my husband, who’s been snoring all through this mess.

Hello stars up in the sky,
Good night, sweet dreams, lullaby.
Thank you, my  baby, you’ve stolen my heart.
Wait. Stop. That better have just been a fart – oh help me.

Making the Most of Nap Time

As mom’s we get a few glorious moments a day to do as we please or catch up on what we must. These moments are our children’s nap time or as I like to call it: mom time.

Now that Jack is exiting the world of the fourth trimester, nap time is becoming a luxury. Gone are the days of eat, sleep and poop. The days of Elmo’s Song on repeat, “don’t put that in your mouth” and “ouch, that’s mommy’s hair” are among us. We’re also entering the wonderful world of the four month sleep regression. For the mom’s who have been through it, you know what I mean. For the mom’s not yet there – stock up on the wine.

When I was still adjusting to life as a mom and living on minimal hours of sleep, I’d usually find myself slumped on my couch trying to grasp my new reality. These days, with a little more sleep and a new appreciation of these quiet moments – I go all out.

My favourite nap time mom-moments range from cozying up with a cup of hot tea (key word, hot..unlike that morning’s coffee), sitting in complete silence, or stalking Donald Trump’s Twitter account for his next tirade.

These moments may seem simple to some, but for us mom’s, these moments are our daily dose of extravagance. Below you’ll find other indulgences from well-seasoned mommies. Check it out:

The thing I want to say, I’m not sure it’s appropriate to publish. But who am I kidding, ain’t no body got time for that. 

I sip on a hot tea while watching the Maury Show. 

Take a shower, blow dry my hair, paint my nails. I like to pamper myself! 

Watch those late night shows that are too dirty for little minds while getting into the hidden treats I’m not willing to share. 

I work… and cut up my own apples.  

Then there are the mom’s that aren’t as lucky:

My daughter will only nap in my arms for 30 minutes at a time, so I sit there with her dreaming of sleep. 

Mine don’t sleep! On the rare occasion I’ll nap with them. 

Mine sleeps until I put him down and then BAM! eyes open. 

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Whether you’re indulging in those guilty pleasures or simply trying to survive the day – sometimes it’s the simplest of moments that are the most precious.

How do you treat yourself during mom time?

 

To the Moms Learning to Love Their “Mom-Bod”

There’s a ton of pressure for Moms to “lose the baby weight” as soon as their tiny human’s exit their body. As they stand at the grocery checkout, exhausted, potentially with a baby on their boob, their bombarded with photos of celebs who shed pounds about as quickly as I shed postpartum hair.

I began planning my Kim Kardashian body reveal as soon as I became pregnant. I’d lose all my weight and proudly dance around with a baby on my hip, serving my husband home cooked meals in stilettos.

Hindsight is 20/20.  I often dance my baby to sleep but my feet may never fit in my stilettos again.

Realistically I knew life with a new baby would be hard – but until you’re thrown into the beautifully-wonderful yet especially overwhelming role of mom, you have no idea just how drastically your life and body will change.

Last summer I rocked a Victoria Secret two piece, with flowing blonde hair, and an effortless thigh gap.

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Exactly one year later (lacking the confidence to wear a swimsuit), I rocked an additional 53 pounds, a baby bump and size DD boobs.

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This summer my body gave me the gift of a beautiful baby boy, and with it came stretch marks, sagging skin and a little something I like to call my kangaroo pouch. My body does not resemble the body of Christmas-past. Yet I admit, the body of Christmas-past, one I envy myself for now, is not a body I loved when it was mine, nor a body that was healthy. It was a body I believed was filled with flaws, ones I picked apart and fussed over. Ones I tried to improve on and cover up with make-up and clothing. Ones that were indeed not flaws at all, but all a part of what made my body beautiful. I never felt curvy enough, slim enough, fit enough or pretty enough.

It’s incredible how we allow ourselves to be affected by Body Image. How we can look at ourselves in the mirror and pick a part our flaws rather than celebrate our beauty. It’s amazing how we compare ourselves to others, wishing for their features, while they are wishing for ours.

As a new mom I’ve grown a strong appreciation for what the female body can do. It has inspired me to start the journey towards loving myself, tiger stripes, kangaroo pouch and all. It is why I’m not sharing how much weight I’ve lost since the birth of my son but sharing my plans of being healthy, setting a good example for my child, and loving this new body that is mine.

As women and as mothers, we often compare ourselves to the women and mothers around us. We often find fault within ourselves, we often feel guilt and more often than not, we neglect the temple that gave us our children.

My post-baby body plan isn’t about resembling my pre-baby self, there will be no grand Kim Kardashian weight loss reveal.  It’s about fueling my body with nutrients, walking with my son in the park, finding a routine that makes me healthy and happy. It’s not about the number on the scale but about looking in the mirror and loving the strong, often tired, woman looking back at me.

The internet terms my new body the “mom-bod”, a term I’m not particularly fond of as it categorizes mothers into one body type, yet each of us are so wonderfully different. Today, although still somewhat insecure, I rock the curves, I rock the pouch and I rock the determination to be the healthiest version of myself. Join me, won’t you?

Mom and Baby’s Favourite Things

Jack’s officially been a part of our family for a little over three weeks now. Being that this is baby #1, there has been a lot of trial and error over the last three weeks to learn which baby items work for us and for Jack. Here’s a quick list of the baby items that we currently can’t live without!

  1. 4mom’s MamaRoo: The MamaRoo is an item that was kindly gifted to us by family at our baby shower. It’s an expensive must-have for baby’s who love to be rocked and swayed. The MamaRoo replicates the natural motion parents use to comfort their baby through five motions and speed options.
    Why Mom loves it:  It’s great for rocking Jack to sleep or keeping him calm while I tidy up the kitchen or sip that cold cup of coffee.
    Why baby loves it:  As the weeks pass, Jack loves to be held and rocked more and more, and when Mama needs a hand-free minute this little contraption does just the trick!
  2. Baby Einstein Caterpillar and Friends Play Gym: This is a toy that I think will be used for months to come. The gym features 6 activities – from rattles to glowing lights, sounds and melodies. The soft play mat is the perfect place to lay baby down for tummy time. The gym also features a musical star which can be removed and attached to a crib, stroller or car seat.
    Why Mom loves it: Easy to clean, easy to assemble, easy to use. We currently use the mat for brief entertainment and tummy time (Jack’s laying on the mat figuring out how to roll as we speak). As Jack gets older the gym will help develop his motor skills and hopefully continue to keep his attention!
    Why baby loves it: Even though Jack is only three weeks old, the Caterpillar and Friends gym has already grabbed his attention. He swats and kicks his legs – unintentionally hitting rattles and responds to sounds. He also loves the musical star, which calmed him to sleep on a five hour road trip this past weekend.
  3. Earth Momma Angel Baby Nipple ButterThis all natural, organic, plant based nipple butter is heavenly. Breastfeeding and/or pumping can do a number on a Mama’s nipples (cracked, bleeding, dry) and this pricey miracle butter is worth the investment! Due to it’s natural ingredients, there’s no need to rinse it off before a feeding – and, it smells like chocolate, added bonus!
    Why Mom loves it: Before I discovered Earth Momma Angel Baby Nipple Butter I was using coconut butter to sooth my sore nipples. The coconut butter was unable to provide the comfort I needed after my intense pumping sessions (every 2 to 3 hours), I needed something more. Although the nipple butter is on the expensive side, you really only need a small amount and it provides instant relief!
    Why baby loves it:  The taste and texture have no impact on the Jack’s feeding.
  4.  Medela Freestyle Double Electric Pump:  This lightweight, double electric pump has met all my pumping needs. It’s portable and chargeable so you can pump anywhere. It also has a timer and back-light which makes it easy to track your night time pumping sessions.  The two phase expression technology encourages more milk production, which has been an added bonus! Our freezer is currently stocked meaning Mama can have a glass of wine every once and awhile. Lastly, the kit comes with all of the accessories you need: tote bag, bottles, breastshields, tubing, membrane, handsfree accessories kit – and it’s compatible with medela nursing bras.
    Why Mom loves it: A few weeks ago I shared my struggles with breastfeeding. When we first brought Jack home he had trouble latching. Jack became dehydrated, Jaundice and lost weight while I nearly lost my mind. I was lucky enough to have had invested in the medela freestyle pump prior to bringing my baby home, so I was immediately able to pump my breast milk and feed it to my son. As soon as I began pumping and bottle feeding, Jack began gaining weight. We’re able to track his intake which helps ease this Mama’s mind as I’m able to ensure he’s getting enough to eat. I wasn’t attached to the idea of breastfeeding but really wanted to feed my baby breast milk if I could, this was the perfect solution for our situation.
    Why baby loves it:  Food. Baby loves food.
  5. Medela Nipple Shield: The medela nipple shield is a thin, silicone shield that is worn on the nipple while breastfeeding. The nipple shield is used when a Mom and Baby have a difficult time securing a latch.
    Why Mom loves it: I was introduced to the medela nipple shield after two weeks of exclusively pumping.  On our first attempt using the sheild, Jack was able to latch. After a week of using the shield, I have been able to get Jack to latch occasionally without the shield. Getting Jack to latch without the shield is still a work in progress, but the shield has given me the ability to breastfeed my baby.
    Why baby loves it: Food. Baby loves food.
  6. WubbaNubb Giraffe:  A WubbaNubb is a nifty little soother with a plush toy attached to the end. You will never lose a soother again!
    Why Mom loves it: Jack hasn’t grown dependent on a chooch but there are times where we use it so he can sooth himself to sleep. We found Jack was over eating because he loves to suck and introducing a soother has solved that problem.
    Why baby loves it: I literally watched my 3 week old maneuver this chooch into his mouth today. The plush toy makes a great cuddle buddy and also helps baby guide the soother into their mouths.
  7. Baby Jogger – City Mini 4-Wheel Stroller:  It took us FIVE visits to Snuggle Bugz to select our stroller. We wanted something that was lightweight, easy to fold, would fit in my Ford Focus, would fit our car seat adapter (Maxi Cosi – Mico AP), could go “off-roading” and wouldn’t break the bank. Well folks, it exists! I give you the City Mini stroller by Baby Jogger. Although not suitable for off-roading, the stroller is all terrain and meets the needs of our family.
    Why Mom loves it: The one hand fold and lightweight of the stroller gives the ability to quickly and easily take the stroller in and out of my car. The adjustable handle is also a plus when my husband is in the drivers seat. The storage bin at the bottom could be a little bit bigger (it only fits a diaper bag), but there are various compartments on the actual stroller that allow me to store my wallet, keys, cell phone, etc.
    Why baby loves it: The shock absorption makes for an incredibly smooth ride.
  8. Live Clean Calming Bedtime Bubble Bath & Soap + Body Lotion: I cannot say enough good things about this product. The live clean calming bedtime bubble bath & soap + body lotion was another gift we received at our baby shower.  Both the lotion and the bubble bath are infused with natural ingredients known for their calming and relaxation properties. It’s also designed to keep baby’s skin smooth and soft.
    Why Mom loves it: The product is made of 98% plant based material, so I feel comfortable and confident putting it on my baby’s skin. In addition to that, the product smells amazing. After Jack’s bath (which he absolutley loves), I snuggle his little body and smell him for hours, love me those newborn snuggles.
    Why baby loves it: I’m not sure if it’s the calming properties in the bubble bath, but Jack is in LOVE with bath time. On occasion he instantly falls fast asleep as soon as his little bum hits the water. The lotion has also been a savior for soothing his dry skin.
  9. Ingenuity Rock and Dream Sleeper: This soft sleeper is perfect for keeping baby close (if you chose to have your baby out of their crib for the first few months of life). It’s easy to assemble, clean and use. The vibrating motion and rocker are ideal for comforting and calming baby.
    Why Mom loves it: When Jack first came home he slept in a bassinet beside our bed. It wasn’t before long that we found ourselves up all night due to an uncomfortable baby. Jack suffers from some minor reflux in addition to gas after feeding. He would wiggle, squirm and wince when he was placed flat on his back at bedtime. The rock and dream sleeper keeps Jack at an incline which helps manage his reflux. It also cradles him in a way that makes him feel safe and protected, just as he was in my tummy. We love the rock and play because it’s easy to assemble and take a part (requiring no tools). We brought it with us on a recent weekend trip which made for easy sleeping arrangements and a happy baby.
    Why baby loves it: He can (almost) get a good night’s rest now – between feeding every two hours.

Well, there you have it! Our favourite Mama and Baby items during Jack’s first month in our home. I’m sure there’s more but these are the ones we use on a daily basis. Are there any items you would add to the list?

Confessions of an Exclusive Pumper

Our experience in the Labour and Delivery ward of our hospital was outstanding. Our nurses were kind, compassionate and caring. They were my biggest cheerleaders next to Dave and when it was time to say good-bye at the end of their shifts, I felt as though I was saying good-bye to friends. I recovered from birth in the Post-Partum ward, where the nurses were friendly but not nearly as kind, helpful but not nearly as patient.

We were discharged from hospital 24 hours after Jack’s birth. For those 24 hours in hospital the nurses did what they could to help Jack latch. This included forcing his head to my breast repeatedly, even when he showed signs of frustration. When we arrived home, we quickly learned their helpful methods were incorrect and a big no-no to establishing a healthy latch. This resulted in a frustrating start to a breast-to-baby bond with my son.

Jack struggled to latch in hospital and continued to struggle when we arrived home. Our discharge nurse told me Jack “wasn’t going to breastfeed” and sent us home with formula. As a first time mom, I felt completely defeated.

For the next two days Dave, my mum and a hospital lactation consultant attempted to  help Jack latch onto my breast. Just as he did in the hospital, Jack would flip up his bottom lip and suck on his tongue rather than his meal source. The hospital lactation consultant advised us not to intervene with a breast shield, a pump or a bottle. We were encourage to syringe feed our son while practicing “suck training.”

When Jack was three days old we had our first appointment with our family doctor. It was then we would find that our baby’s inability to latch was having larger consequences than we anticipated. We discovered Jack was discharged from hospital on the high end of normal for Jaundice. Sending him home with the inability to latch resulted in breastfeeding Jaundice. Jack was not receiving enough to eat through the syringe method and was nearly readmitted to hospital that day for treatment.

Our family doctor immediately connected us with a private lactation consultant. Within an hour of leaving the doctor’s office Jack was breastfeeding with the aid of a breast shield and topping up with the use of a bottle. Over the next 24 hours he would gain 3 oz. Within two days his Jaundice symptoms began to ease up and within three days he returned his birth weight. We accomplished this by exclusively pumping.

A few people have asked me whether or not I’m breastfeeding my son. We’ve all heard breast is best, after all. The question, which is a sensitive one, especially when a mum’s experience isn’t what she expected, is one I’m addressing today because I believe no mum should be judged for the way she chooses or is obligated to feed her child. Weighing out all of our options (cost, nutrition, benefits to baby and mom) we decided to exclusively pump and feed our son breast milk via a bottle.

The decision to exclusively pump first made me feel defeated. My son and my body weren’t bonding easily like I anticipated and I felt as through I wasn’t providing my son with the best source of nourishment possible. As we’ve transitioned into this new parenting plan, I feel empowered because despite being unable to breastfeed, I’m still able provide my son with breast milk (really, this was my number one priority and goal). Bottle feeding also allows my husband the opportunity to bond with our son and give this Momma an extra hour of shut-eye during some of the late night feeds.

Our decision to exclusively pump is a decision that requires commitment. Although I’ve only been at it for little over a week, here are some highlights from what I’ve learned:

  • To establish a good supply you will want to pump every 2 to 3 hours for 15 to 20 minutes (for the first three months).
  • Your body produces the most amount of milk between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. Try to pump between those hours if you can!
  • Stay hydrated! You will require lots and lots of H20 to keep your supply up.
  • Continue to practice skin-to-skin contact. It will help you gain some of those hormonal benefits for yourself and baby without actually breastfeeding. If you feel ambitious, you can also try latching your baby to your breast during this time. Jack and I give it an honest effort a few times a day. When he becomes frustrated, we stop.
  • Invest in a good pump. I love the Madela Freestyle.Madela It is a lightweight, rechargeable double pump.  Some insurance companies will cover the cost of your pump, so be sure to check with them!
  • Massage your tatas while pumping. The last thing you want is to develop a blocked duck. Massaging will help you with your let-down and milk production.
  • Invest in good bottles. Bottle fed babies are more likely to suffer from gas and colic. We are using a slow-flow nipple head provided to us by the hospital on our medela bottles. The slow-flow nipple head controls the flow of milk into the baby and helps establish a good suck. Your baby is more likely to transition onto your breast while using a slow-flow or natural-flow nipple head because it mimics the flow of breastfeeding more accurately.
  • Remember the 6, 6, 6 rule. Your breast milk will last:
    • 6 hours at room temperature
    • 6 days in the fridge
    • 6 months in the freezer

As a new parent, you have many important decisions to make. One is to choose whether to breastfeed or formula feed your baby – make the decision that works bets for your family in consultation with a health care professional. Coming to the right decisions can take time and can be frustrating. Whatever decision you make, stand proud by it and don’t let anyone make you feel like you’re doing anything less than your best – you’re one strong Momma!

Exclusively pumping is something that will be a big part of my life, so you can expect to hear more about this topic on my blog!

Feelings of a First Time Mom

This morning I found myself tuned into a talk radio show on pregnancy and parenthood. Like anything these days that has to do with parenting, my ears perked up and my attention was drawn. One of the hosts was weeks away from her due date and sharing her excitement of becoming a first time mom. My heart smiled. I feel you, sister. Her co-host laughed, quickly deflating her optimism with some real-life advice:

“Parent’s lie about how wonderful parenting is” he began. “We want other people to be sucked into our misery.”

The insight to the chaotic reality of parenting went on for minutes, officially ending with an awkward laugh from the pregnant host. For first time parents, the “end of life as you know it” comments are a dime a dozen. And as naive as we may be to the demands of parenting – in this moment, as our baby is safely swaddled in our wombs, we’re elated…and we’re terrified.

I remember the exact thoughts I had the day Davey and I found out we were going to become parents.

I can’t believe this is happening. 

Holy shit, a product of my broad-shouldered husband has to make it’s way out of my body in 9 months.

Who decided we were adult enough to be the sole providers for a human life? 

My life and my heart are officially complete. I’m so in love. 

And since that day, the feeling has relatively stayed the same.

20160511_215058The idea that the actions, words and decisions my husband and I make will form the development, safety and happiness of a human is daunting. The thought that we chose to bring a life into this world and are now responsible for the stable upbringing of a child is immensely overwhelming. I often question my ability to be a strong mother. Wonder how the hell my belly can grow any larger without exploding. Mourn the loss of Dave and I being “just us two”. Fear the pain, discomfort and unknowns of labour.

On the flip side of this fearful wonder is breathtaking thrill. A keenness to explore the world through a new set of eyes.  An appetite to teach our child about humanity and hopefully raise him or her to be compassionate. A wonder and imagination for the traits we’ll share and what they will look like. A dream about our new adventure as a family of four (we’re counting Louie).

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Between all my doubt, anticipation, wonder and excitement there is love. An emotional equation I believe all parents experienced their first time around. And although seasoned parents may snicker at my naivety – I know there is no shame in the naivety I hold.

I trust parenting won’t be easy. I trust my relationship will change, that I’ll go days un-showered,  live solely off caffeine and fondly reminisce the days of freedom. However, the concept of becoming a mother makes me so excited I could pee my pants (if I wasn’t already peeing a little from my baby’s pressure on my bladder).

So ease up, folks. Let us first time parents be naive. Let us be optimistic. Let us learn the hard way. We’re already afraid of what we’re losing yet so eager for what we’re gaining. In those moments of weakness, those endless nights of crying, we’ll need you to reminisce with us. We’ll lean on you to soak in those moments of chaos. But for now, just like we’ll live the world through a new set of eyes, relive your first time in becoming a parent through ours. Because for us, it is pure magic.

 

 

 

 

Breast to Work

Empowering Woman: Tineke

It took me quite a while to get breastfeeding well established and to really start enjoying it. In the first months it was quite difficult (understatement..), not only painful (don´t get me started on cracked nipples or mastitis) but also the pressure of an underweight baby who needed to eat very often (and took his sweet time meaning you were basically only having 1 hour breaks in between feeding sessions) and not knowing how much milk you actually have and whether he was eating enough. By now I can say I loved breastfeeding but it took quite some tears and screams to get there.

So when my 16 weeks of maternity leave were over I definitely wanted to continue breastfeeding for a little longer. I guess my situation was quiet luxurious in the sense that I work 4 days a week of which 2 from home. So the 2 days from home were easy to cover: until midday when my partner was taking care of Lucas at home I would plan my breaks from work around feeding Bottletimes and in the afternoon when he was with his grandparents I had to extract milk once and then the evening session was live with mommy again. However, the days that I did go into the office were much more complicated. I have a very long commute to my office (2,5hours) so I would leave the house a little before 7am and come back only after 8pm. In the beginning I still did a morning feeding around 6am but once Lucas got a better sleep rhythm he wouldn´t wake up before 7 / 7.30am anymore meaning that I was not home for any of his feedings. Then my challenge was where and when to extract in the office or even on my way to the office.

When you have a baby, sleep is not a commodity anymore so there were some trade-offs involved. This basically meant that I could choose between getting up 20 minutes earlier to extract milk or leaving my first pumping session for the commute… Yep, sleep is scarce so I chose the second option. So I would extract milk in the train under a huge scarf hoping and praying that the passenger sitting next to me would keep sleeping (advantage of the early morning train!) or working and at least not notice that something was moving under that scarf.

Then the next challenge came with the fact that in my office there was no nursing place. Our “office” is basically a little village with over 10k employees divided over different buildings and we have loads of convenient services in the village (gym, childcare, pharmacy, doctor, dentist, optic, travel agency, supermarket, Starbucks, hairdresser, and the list goes on) but no nursing room to Pumpbe found. So that left me with the option of the toilet (which was very cold because of no heating system, and let´s not get into the background noise) or booking a meeting room. The inconvenient part of meeting rooms is that most have windows so there were only a few I could work with. I would try to book these meeting rooms that had no windows or at least windows at strategic locations so I could set-up my “extraction station” with a barrier on the table from my bag, laptop and my notebook standing up open so that if somebody would come in, not too much would be visible. After a few months with the combination of toilet and meeting rooms, I finally found out that the reception had a closed printing room behind them and although it had no chairs I did use that option for the last weeks of breastfeeding. On the commute back home at night I would repeat the scarf trick.

All of this involved quite some logistics, not only the choice of scarf but also to bring your small cooler bag, make sure you put it in the fridge as soon as you arrive, don´t forget it in the fridge when you leave, getting the milk from the toilet / meeting room to the cooler bag in the fridge without everybody noticing what you´re doing and most importantly, keeping that cooler bag stable in your backpack on the commute back home. I did come home one night noticing a lot of little white spots on my black boots, yep, one of the bottles with extracted milk had opened and spread through my backpack…. The worst part was that my immediate thought was not “uh oh my laptop” but “noooo, after all the effort 250ml down the drain…”.

Meme

Another challenge is when to pump. When I had relatively ok days with some meetings here and there I would just block my calendar every 3 hours for 30min but when you have full-day workshops or team meetings it gets a bit more complicated because obviously the breaks there are never on convenient times for your pumping schedule. So I would sneak out a few times a day with my grey Medela bag. (Also in Spain you never know when a break will actually happen, because hey who needs an agenda or if there is one why stick to it, so of course I would often go out in the middle of a discussion and 2 minutes after I came back they would break..)

After 4 months of this, when I had some business trips coming up and when Lucas had started eating solid food and therefore only has 2 milk feedings left I decided it was enough, but it definitely has been an interesting experience! The downside of stopping with breastfeeding is that it gets a bit depressing to look at your “new” breasts in the mirror (You would almost understand why in Spain they tend to keep breastfeeding for years!). Also I am already a bit nervous for Lucas´ next monthly check-up and the speech that I am going to get from the breastfeeding-taliban-nurse, but that´s a whole other story!

Photo credit Medela: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/dharder9475/23919221670/”>dharder9475</a&gt; via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com”>VisualHunt</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>CC BY-NC</a>

 Photo credit extracting in office: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/cafemama/118317846/”>cafemama</a&gt; via <a href=”https://visualhunt.com”>VisualHunt</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-SA</a>

About Tineke

Tineke I am Tineke, a Dutchie living in Spain, happily not-married to César and mommy of Lucas. Before becoming a mom I always thought I was busy, however since we have Lucas the term “busy” got a whole new definition! Trying to juggle two demanding jobs, a busy social life while squeezing in some sports, keeping the house somewhat liveable, pursuing both of our entrepreneurial ambitions ánd having sufficient family time makes me wonder how I ever thought we were busy. And all of that in a country which is not my home country and therefore causes quite some cultural clashes in this whole motherhood thingy.

 Want to read more about my adventures as a working mommy abroad?

Workingmommyabroad.wordpress.com

Instagram: @workingmommyabroad

Twitter: @tinekefr

 

Things I Will Never Do for My Kids

Empowering Woman: Fran

Before I became a parent, I had certain ideas of what kind of a mother I wanted to be. Those ideas were fairly vague initially, but nonetheless I had a list as long as my arm of things that I knew I would NEVER do. I wasn’t going to be THAT mum. I wasn’t going to be a slave to my kids. Nope. Not me. There was going to be rules and those rules would be followed. So here are some of those things that were on my list of things I wouldn’t do.

  • Give in to their begging for sweets. Not going to happen. I will not be blackmailed by a 3 foot Tyrant! Cry all you want. You think you’re persistent? Guess whom you got that from! That’s right!
  • Follow you around the house bowl and spoon in hand trying to feed you. If you are hungry, you’ll eat sitting down at the table like a normal person! Else, you go hungry.
  • Get drawn into your fashion allures and the whole circus around it. You are 3 years old. You will bloody well wear what I picked out for you!
  • Co-Sleeping. What do you think I bought that cot for? That’s where you will sleep. That’s what the book says.
  • Cook more than one dinner. Are you high? You will eat what everyone else is eating. You get what you get and you don’t get upset. Isn’t that what they teach in school?
  • Molly-coddle you past the age of, let’s say, 5? That’s the cut off. After that I have expectations of self-sufficiency. Maybe you could get yourself a part-time job or something.

…..and then I had kids.

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And that’s when everything changed. My world was turned upside down. Theory met reality. The more kids came along, the more the rules went out the window. The more I started free styling. Partly by choice. Partly by necessity. Did I say I wasn’t going to give into your begging? Go on. Just say “Pleeeeeeeeeeease” again with the cute face and that big smile of yours. I know you are trying so hard to win me over. You know how to play me and you know you have me wrapped around your little finger. I guess in the perseverance competition you win hands down.

And yes, I have run after my baby, bowl and spoon in hand, when he just refused to sit in his high chair. We all know that food equals sleep. The more he eats the longer he will sleep. At least in theory. So Mother will do what she needs to do to get that food into him.

Baby – 1

Mama – 0.

Fashion allures? Well, unless it has Minions, Batman or Turtles on it, the boy child won’t wear it. He has his own ideas of what he likes and how he wants to look. I have tried to be persistent and enforce that what I say goes, but another very important lesson in the parenting game is “Pick your battles”. I am not going to get upset (again) or upset the child over a silly T-shirt. Today he has chosen to wear all 3 of them. Batman, Minions and Turtles. Who am I to argue with that.

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Co-Sleeping. When I started co-sleeping with my eldest child, I explained to him, that he needed to sleep by himself like a big boy. His reply to me was “But, Mama, you don’t sleep alone!” Good point, and so well made. That got me thinking. No-one likes sleeping alone. We have co-slept with all of our children. By choice. Then choice became habit. While there are days where I wish we had our bed to ourselves and that one of us wouldn’t always end up in the spare room or on the floor, I know this is for a short time…..relatively short time. I mean it’s been 5 years give or take. But this isn’t going to last forever and I know that the kids sleep peacefully and happy and will (hopefully) grow up to feel secure and loved and close to both parents.

I’ve been cooking more than one dinner for the best part of my parenting tenure. I have had two very fussy eaters and I have tried the approach of “You’ll eat what everyone is eating” and failed. I chose the easy way out because (see above), you have to pick your battles. Now one of the fussy eaters is nearly 5. I can reason with her. I can tell her about food and the importance of eating her vegetables and coax her by telling her about the poor children in Africa. She gets that now and we are on the way to one meal for the whole family. (Can I get a whoop whoop please!)

I mollycoddle all of my kids. Mum-turned-Slave will do everything a lot for them. I will stand outside the shower, holding the towel for my 9-year-old. I will make sure his hair is brushed and that he changes his socks. I will clean up after all my kids and do their jobs for them. I know. Sometimes it’s just easier. Sometimes I get a fit of “This is it!” and “Things are going to change around here!”… Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll start putting my foot down.

Note to self:

1625748_10152050181536704_320173756_nMaybe the things all critics and I think of as parenting mistakes aren’t really ‘mistakes’. Maybe they are a chance to learn to trust ourselves, to trust our instincts and to do what we feel is right at any particular point in time and enjoy riding the waves of parenting. Without the need to constantly second guess ourselves. Everything we do, we do by choice. It is OK to back down from the society-imposed or self-imposed parenting expectations because we know what is best for us, for our family and our children. No-one else knows what we know. No-one else knows our children like we do. No-one else is walking in our shoes. All that matters is that we care about our children and that is why we walk the extra mile bent over backwards to make sure we give them all they need…..and much, much more.

What are the things you said you would never do and have done when you became a parent?

 About Queen of My Castle: 

I am a thirty-something parent and lifestyle blogger passionate about parenting (fueled by wine & coffee), art, DIY and interior design. I’ve four children aged 1, 3, 5 and 9. Recently having gone through a career transition from Customer Service Manager in a multinational company to family manager, I am looking for a new sense of presence, possibility, and creativity. I am the “Queen of my Castle” riding the waves of parenting and I write about stuff that stirs our motherly souls while trying to survive life that’s never boring (or relaxing for that matter), with 4 kids running circles around me. Embrace yourself for tales of toddlers, tantrums & triumphs as well as the joys and frustrations of parenting.

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Managing Guilt as a Working Mom

Empowering Woman: Ana

As a working mom I feel like there is always this guilt of leaving your baby to go to work.  As much as you might love your job, there is no love like the one for your son/daughter. While I was on maternity leave I honestly couldn’t wait to get back to work and my “normal” life.  I thought I wouldn’t miss my daughter that much, after all my mom was the one that would be babysitting.  Boy was I wrong!

The first couple of weeks after I returned to work were great! I felt like the “old me”. I missed my daughter but I knew she was in good hands at home with my mom.  I received a few pictures and videos throughout the day and I was fine.  Fast forward to 3 weeks after maternity leave and one day it just hit me out of nowhere.  I missed my daughter so much, I felt so guilty and nearly wanted to cry.  I just wanted to go home to her and hug her and kiss her.  But I couldn’t, because you know, I had to be an adult.  Ever since that day I have this constant guilt that I am not sure it will ever go away. Every time I leave to work, I know I do it to keep sane, but also because I want to provide a better life for my daughter.  It is a crazy concept.

Like I said before, I am blessed that my mom is able to care for my daughter.  There really is nobody else I would trust. In the beginning I remember having to tell my mom how Cami liked being held, how she liked being rocked to sleep, her schedule, etc… But now, she is the one that has to tell me how to be with my daughter. It breaks my heart. It is only natural tho, Cami spends most of her time at grandma’s. When she gets home its play time, nap time, bath time and her night time routine to get to bed.  My time with Cami is so limited. So even on days when I get to workout, ugh, it is hard! I feel like such a bad mom or even selfish for taking time away from her.

So there is this love/hate battle I have within me about loving and hating how much Cami loves spending time with grandma.  Sometimes feeling like I am not enough.  What if she doesn’t realize that I am her mother?  What if she thinks that my mom is her mom? Does she feel more comfort in my mom’s arms? Man, am I the only one that feels this way? Am I bad daughter for feeling this way? I don’t know. I would so love to be able to stay home with Cami every day and not have to worry about leaving her, or wonder if she knows who I am.  But that is just not possible for our family at the moment.  Although, I was able to move my work schedule around and reduce the amount of hours I work, I feel like it is just not enough.

Then there is the issue about how my husband and I want to raise her vs. how my parents would want to do things.  Obviously, they are the grandparents so they want to spoil her. So having to tell my parents to not do this or that, or do things a certain way is not the most pleasant thing. They have more experience at parenting than us, yes, but Cami is ours and sometimes having different parenting styles can be difficult. Having to say “no” to mom and dad is hard, especially when she is spending most of her time with them. However, I know my parents try, for the most part, to do things the way we ask, and it is so appreciated.

 

I realize that all these feelings I have may be normal.  I just never expected to feel this way. Deep down I know Cami knows I am her mother and loves me. She is just  growing so fast and I just hope to be able to experience all her firsts. I am very grateful to have such a loving and caring family that support us in every way possible, and that Cami will grow surrounded by so much love!

About Ana: 

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Hi there! My name is Ana, I am a 26 year old first time mama to a baby girl.  In my blog, The Blushing Mama, I talk about my experiences as a first time working mama, as well as health and fitness.  I love my job as a Paralegal, but most of all I love being a mama! In my down time I love spending time with my family discovering new places, working out and hey why not, catching up on some Netflix. The Blushing Mama is dedicated to my fellow mamas and women in hopes of creating a positive space to support and encourage each other in this crazy amazing life.

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