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Monday, November 5, 2018

Stay at Home Mom : Pros & Cons by a Working Mom

When we started trying for our first son, we decided I would be a stay at home mom some day. We knew it wouldn't be with him, but it was on our radar for one day!

We said maybe when #3 was born.
Then we said when we got the house paid off.
And yet we've come to a point not based on either of those things.

We've come across an opportunity for me to stay home while still making a little income. I'll be babysitting for my best friend whose daughter was born in September.

Some days I am ecstatic and cannot wait! I can't wait to take the boys to story time at the library, nature walks, playground and park visits, puzzles and workbooks, plus so many more activities! I can't wait to spend everyday with my littles.

But then I think about the bad days. When Eren needs to nurse at the same time Calvin's having a breakdown about something that seems very insignificant to me. And I think to myself, how on earth am I going to do this 24/7?! And then throw another baby in the mix?! What have I gotten myself into?!

So I thought I'd jot down some pros and cons that come to mind while thinking about this transition. Just to clear my mind and lay some things out in the open here.

  • I will be surrounded by the tiny humans all day, every day! - I've never done this before. I'm an introvert. Will I need more alone time? Will I crave adult conversation and interaction? Will the couple hours each night I get to spend with my husband fulfill that need? 
  • Gas money savings - My commute to work is super short: 10 miles one way. So I don't spend a ton on gas anyway. But will we even save money on gas? If I take the kids to the park a couple days, the doctor another day, grocery shopping another day, I'll be spending the same in gas even if I'm not going to work.
  • Grocery trips - I will no longer be able to stop by the store on the way home from work and grab things without worrying about toting around two little ones. Will I go on the weekends and abandon my husband with the kids. Will grocery time become my "mommy time?" Or will I haul these little people around with me to get the shopping done during the week?
  • My husband will save time. He helps me get the kids ready in the mornings during the week. Without having to wake them up, he'll get to sleep in an extra half hour each morning and not have to worry about the tiny humans while he's getting ready for work. That will be nice for him.
  • Will I have more or less time for YouTube and the blog? Since I'll be spending all week with the kiddos, will it be easier for me to take an hour or two on the weekends to work while my husband hangs out with them? Will I find it impossible to get a spare moment to film or edit during the week? Will I have more or less motivation?
  • Household chores - Hopefully, if I can get my shit together, I'll be able to do the stupid things like laundry and cleaning before my husband gets home, so he'll be able to spend his "off" time actually off and with the family. But will I resent him for never having to do those chores? Will I be able to accept my new job as designated housewife? Or will it be super hard to find time to even do those chores and we'll still be stuck doing laundry all weekend?

And the bigger worries...
What if I'm not any good at it?! What if they drive me crazy? What if I lose my crap every single day? What if I take my frustrations out on my husband or can't get any housework done or my plan for a fun-time weekly schedule totally goes up in flames? What if I'm simply not cut out for this?

Well, all I can say is, you never know until you try, right? :)


Thursday, November 1, 2018

10 Breastfeeding Tips

1. Don't stress. I know it's hard! But being nervous about it only makes it harder! Relax. Find the comfiest spot on the couch and declare it yours.

2. Tell your family they are only allowed to say positive things about breastfeeding. It will be hard. You will cry. But if your husband's over there saying, "why don't you just give them formula?" he isn't helping your journey!

3. If you get a clogged duct, immediately start working on fixing it! A warm compress and extra nursing are the two things that helped me. Take a hot shower and massage your breast. But remember, your baby is the best fixer! He will do a much better job than your pump will. If you're at work, go home sick! Seriously. You need to get that duct taken care of before it gets infected and you get mastitis! Go get your baby and just lay in bed all day nursing until your booby is better.

4. Ask your pediatrician or the nurses if you can nurse in front of them at one of the many newborn doctor appointments you'll go to. They'll either reassure you things are looking good or give you tips about making it better. They might even weigh baby before and after so you know how much milk they just drank.

5. If the latch isn't working, Google it. There are so many helpful articles about latching babies. HERE is a good one. You might even be able to find videos. Remember, it's just a nipple! Don't be shy about watching someone else showing you how to get a good latch. One thing that really helped me was the "Breast Sandwich" where you kind of flatten out your boob so it's easier/smaller for baby to latch on to. Both of my boys struggled with latching, so I know how hard it is!

6. Last resort: nipple shield! I know there are differing opinions about this one, but I used one with my first son for the first 7 weeks and I can honestly say that I'm unsure we would have been so successful at nursing if it wasn't for that darn shield. We had a love/hate relationship, but in the end, it was what worked best for us.

7. Newborns can be super tired. You might have to force them to wake up to eat. Tickle their feet. Nearly yell at them. Hold them up like baby Simba. Take all their clothes off. Blow on them. Seriously. Newborns can sleep through anything and if they're not gaining enough weight, you might just have to force them into waking up for the boob.

8. Healthy eating helps your milk supply. Oats, nuts, seeds. It's good for you and it's even better for your milk.

9. Learn to nurse in the side-lying position. It will make nighttime feedings suck less.

10. Let your nipples "air out." Apply some breast milk or balm and just let them be bare for awhile. In the midst of the early breastfeeding journey, even t-shirt fabric feels like sandpaper. Letting them be free can be a bit of a comfort.

Monday, October 22, 2018

A Touched Out Momma

Being an introverted mom is hard. But I definitely don't think this is a problem just for introverts. All moms must experience some level of it. Feeling 'touched out' is very strange. Today I felt it because I cared for the children alone the previous day while my husband was just right outside our window, building a shed in the backyard. Then I was dog sitting today. Dog sitting in itself is a pretty easy task, but as someone with two tiny people to care for and personally really very much being a cat person, it was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. That dog apparently likes me. He followed me all day. Sat at my feet while I edited videos, stared at me while I ate, and stood right underneath me as I cooked for my family. 

I immediately took a shower after dinner instead of waiting for the boys to go down, just so I could have a moment to myself. Maybe I even cried in the shower. 

When I returned from my shower, my toddler was making growling sounds as he played before bed. And no matter how many times I asked or told him to stop growling, he didn't and I couldn't handle it anymore so I ran upstairs with the baby to finish his bedtime nursing session. Those little noises were driving me nuts. Then, no joke, my cat was sitting on my desk chair next to the bed, licking herself. I had to stop nursing the baby, get up, and throw her out of the room because the sound of her tongue was making me lose my mind. And I'm actually typing this post right now from my phone while Eren's falling asleep on the boob. I am so ready for bedtime. 

I feel so extremely touched out today. And honestly, I don't think I get that feeling all too often, I can think of maybe two other times I've noticed it in these 2.5 years of motherhood. But today it came on strong. It's different from the usual end of the day exhausted feeling of everyday motherhood. It's exactly what it sounds like, feeling touched out. I just want my space, I want everyone out of my personal bubble, I don't want anyone clingy to me anymore.

And, just like so many other parts of motherhood, it's a strange feeling. I feel so bad afterward for avoiding my children's affection. I know they just want to be loved and held and I know all too well this isn't going to last much longer. Calvin already hardly ever sits by me and cuddles anymore as it is. I need to be basking in this cuddly love, but today just wasn't one of those days. I guess we'll try again tomorrow.


Monday, October 15, 2018

5 Tips for Pumping at Work

1. Don't pump too little! Every 3 hours is a great guideline to follow. Pump until you don't keep feeling letdowns or your milk stream slows. Personally I pump 3x a day for 15 min each. If I'm in the middle of a letdown or still getting a decent amount of milk when my 15 min is up, I'll pump for 2-3 more.

2. Look at pictures, or even better, watch videos of your baby! Believe me, it helps your letdown come faster.

3. Wear nursing appropriate clothes with easy access.

4. Don't stress. Don't worry about how much milk you need. Don't worry about someone walking in on you. Just relax. (I know, easier said than done!) Anxiety will not help you get adequate milk.

5. Start a little freezer stash before you return to work. If you have a few days of wiggle room, you won't feel so stressed out about needing to pump exactly how much breast milk your baby is going to be using the following day.

I hope these were helpful!