What is This World Coming To?

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I don’t watch the news. I don’t really read it either. As a journalism major, it doesn’t even pain me to say this. I can’t stand the news. I really can’t. I’m tired of all the violence, depressing stories and celebrity crap no one really cares about (actually a lot of people do because it’s so overwhelming covered).

Sure, maybe some people will say I’m naive (or maybe even stupid) or how can I stay up-to-date on current events but here’s my reply: one, sticks and stones (hopefully you can finish the rest) and two, I stay current on what I need to. Ebola? Yes. I watched and I read. Measles? You bet.

But there are some things I draw the line with. Do I want to hear about some lunatic that killed his entire family and now wants to plead insanity? NO! Do I want to hear about another that put her child in the microwave? NO! Or one who killed two of her kids and put them in the freezer? NO! It sickens me. It really, really does. When it comes to children I can’t handle it, I really can’t. What is this world coming to? What is wrong with people?

I am not here to judge, that is not my job, but it pains me what people do. Why can’t they get the help they need before they commit these terrible crimes? Are their symptoms going completely unnoticed? Do they just snap one day? What is it? The questions rack my brain as I hear about these stories. I recently watched a video that went viral regarding two parents abusing their children (if you haven’t seen it, click here, but be warned it’s brutal). The sister of the mom actually filmed it. I cried. I hugged my baby extra tight that day. Why? These children are innocent. Why? (side note: the parents in that video aren’t being charged yet for child abuse because there isn’t enough evidence…what?!)

I wish I had answers, I wish someone did. But what I do know is this is the reason I don’t watch the news and don’t read about it either. I can’t stomach it. And when I do find myself caught on something (I intently followed the Laci Peterson story in college), I can’t stop. I keep reading, searching and wanting to know the latest updates. As a mom now, I can’t do it. I can’t follow these stories. It’s too heartbreaking.

I pray for justice, I really do, but I also pray for these people. No child deserves this…ever. But there has to be something seriously wrong with these people. I can’t fathom anyone mentally stable doing these types of horrific crimes. There has to be an internal struggle they are dealing with.

I still have hope for the world. I hope that people stop killing and find a way to deal with their issues in a healthy manner. In the end, good will triumph over evil…we just have to continue to hope and pray. So the next time you’re tired of, fed up, frustrated and angry with your kids, try to focus on how much you love them. Children are a blessing to be loved for, protected and cherished no matter what…let us continue to hope that even in the toughest times, parents always remember that.

New Mom Must Haves

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I haven’t been a mom that long but there have been some items I think are really great so I’d like to share with new moms, moms-to-be and anyone else interested! Here are some of my personal favorites in no particular order:

1. Boon Drying Rack. I have the Lawn and I love it. There’s also smaller sizes which include the Patch and Grass. Personally, I think it’s crucial to keep your bottles and their parts separate from your regular dishes and these ones aren’t an eye sore in your kitchen.

2. Boon Bottle Cleaner (Forb). I have used all the regular sponge cleaners, Munchkin, Dr. Brown’s, you name it, and I always ended up with the same results: the sponge on top would fall apart after a few weeks. I also worried about mold (you know, that moldy smell you sometimes get after you wash dishes and realize your sponge needs replacing?). I saw this at Target and couldn’t pass it up. Silicone, BPA free and won’t store water on it! You can also get on their website.

3. Chicco walker. I absolutely love this walker and my daughter does too (check out my videos on her on Instagram)! It has a lot of great features on it including various sounds and little gadgets to keep your peanut busy. It moves smoothly and the wheels also rotate in any direction. There’s also bumpers on the bottom to prevent from rolling off stairs. I purchased at Buy Buy Baby and used a 20% coupon (because it is a little pricey).

4. Fisher Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks. These are one of the few toys my daughter plays with. I have bought a ton of different things but she always goes back to these. They’re great for teething (she currently loves putting them in her mouth), banging them together or on anything she can! They also help to develop early motor skills such as hand-eye coordination. I’m looking forward to the day she can place the shape in the proper place without my help!

5. BabyGanics Moisturizing Daily Lotion. I just love this lotion! I know everyone has a preference when it comes to this, but the best thing about this lotion is how thick but non-greasy it is as well as being fragrance free (they do have fragrance ones as well but Emma’s skin a little sensitive like mine so I didn’t want a smell). Here’s some other great things about it:

  • Created with the Plant-Based Ingredients including Shea Butter, Olive and Avocado Oils
  • Non-allergenic formula that is extra gentle on skin
  • Pediatrician & Dermatologist tested
  • Exclusive 100% natural NeoNourish Seed Oil Blend to help nurture and support baby’s skin
  • No: parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, petrolatum, artificial fragrances or dyes
  • Never tested on animals

6. Aden + Anais swaddle blankets. I really do love everything Aden + Anais. Not only do I have their swaddle blankets that we used the first three months of Emma’s life, but I also have their thicker blankets as well as towels, wash cloth sets and bibs! I truly love their products. You can get at most baby stores. Target has a line created especially for them that they carry (I prefer Buy Buy Baby because of the coupons).

7. MAM teether. I love this teether! It took me a while to find one that Emma really liked and this was it. It’s easy for her to hold, it doesn’t get too cold and she loves biting on the top bristle part as well as the sides. It’s by far her favorite (she also loves this strawberry one too). Obviously every baby is different, so you might end up trying a bunch (like I did!) or finding a good one your child loves right away. This one is definitely my recommendation.

8. Baby Ecos laundry detergent. I wanted something that would be good for Emma’s sensitive skin and since I use Ecos already, I was super happy to find out that their was a baby version! It’s hypoallergenic and keeps clothes soft with a built-in fabric softener. I actually get mine from Home Depot (surprisingly!) because it’s cheaper than any other place (Costco, Sam’s Club, you name it, I’ve checked them all!). They also make a stain remover that I get as well. Shipping is free for orders over $45!

9. Dr. Brown’s Microwavable Steam Sterilizer Bags. These are awesome! And they aren’t just for Dr. Brown’s bottles, you can put any kind in here. My girlfriend told me about them and since then I’ve been using. They’re perfect for traveling and I feel really comfortable about my bottles being ‘clean’ (I should note I soak them in hot, soapy water first then sterilize afterwards).

10. Wine. Lots and lots of wine! 😉

 ps. I was in no way endorsed to promote any of these products although I should be;)

Will I Ever Stop the ‘Breathing Tests’?

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Since the day my daughter was born I have been doing the ‘breathing tests’. You know, the one where you either place your hand gently on their chest to feel it going up and down or listen to hear their actual breathing. Or, maybe you zoom in as far as you can on the monitor to see their breathing movements. I remember in the early months checking on her every hour or so as she laid in her bassinet next to me as well as jumping up multiple times during the night because I felt like it was too long without hearing any crying. Yes, those tests.

I still check the monitor during nap times and at night as she curiously makes her way around the crib, bouncing and babbling until she eventually tires herself out and falls asleep. And when it’s finally time for me to go to sleep, I check it once more, turn up the volume just in case (we have a bungalow so her room is downstairs and ours is upstairs) and then if I wake up randomly during the night I’ll check it again just to see how she’s doing.

I’m not sure if this is a ‘mom thing’ or I’m just a paranoid nut but all I do know is it gives me some sense of peace. I know I have no control over her life. While my job is do the best I can to provide her with love, security and safety, God has a plan for her that is out of my control. And I am okay with that…in fact, I am more than okay with it. However, there is still a part of me that worries. A part of me that thinks, what if she stops breathing? Maybe that feeling will never go away because as moms, I think we will always worry. We will always worry about the safety and well-being of our children. How can we not? They are these little miracles that we created!

So while I may be overly checking on the breathing patterns of my child, I have to say that watching her sleep is one of my favorite things to do. Seeing her curled up (the above picture is usually how she sleeps) and just quietly reflecting on how much she’s grown and continues to grow brings the biggest smile to my face. I helped make her….and she is mine, and I am hers :).

The Juggling Game

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Whether you decide or must go back to work after maternity leave, it is never easy. You become a juggler. You are figuring out how to work and how to be a mom at the same time along with doing all the other everyday things in your life. The first three months home is an adjustment period filled with no sleep (which truly tests your sanity), figuring out what to do with this new life you’re now responsible for, how to ‘be’ a parent with your spouse or significant other, how to still be a wife/husband/partner with your newly added family member and really just trying to survive each day while the time to return to work adds on a new weighted ball to throw up into the mix.

I had a relatively great pregnancy and despite my long labor, it was all worth it when I heard the doctor say ‘it’s a girl’ (we left the sex to be a surprise!). The first week home felt like the most exhausting and difficult time in my life. I’m a mom, now what the heck do I do and how the heck do I do it? I never felt more insecure and questioned my ability to anything and everything. It’s like someone dropping you off in the middle of the ocean and you trying to find your way to shore with your eyes closed. You don’t know what you’re doing but all you know is that you need to keep your head above water and swim and eventually you’ll get there. Eventually, I will get how to be a parent, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself!

So when it was time for me to return to work (I was lucky enough that my husband and I made the decision I would return part time), I wasn’t ready. How could I leave my three month old? How could I be apart from her for 9 hours a day when she hasn’t left my side since she was born? How could I focus at work when all I’ll be thinking about is how much I miss her, how is she doing, what is she doing, is she adjusting and will she be okay? It became an internal battle filled with guilt for leaving but also a little bit of relief to get a break from motherhood and back into the working world.

My first week back was awful. I cried at least once a day in the office. When someone would ask me about her my eyes would immediately well up and I found myself apologizing and feeling completely silly. However, I feel most people, parents or not, are sympathetic to the situation and understand that it’s hard to leave your child. I was eventually able to focus on work and it did feel good to be back, but a part of me still felt guilty as if I was abandoning my baby. I had to tell myself though that this is life and not many people have the ability to be a stay-at-home mom which I feel is just as difficult (if not more) than a working (at an office) mom. So, I checked in often (probably a little too much!) and told myself it will get easier (along with a lot of supportive mom friends who said the same thing).

And it did, it got easier. Now, I enjoy my time away from my daughter but can’t wait to see her when the day ends. Although my time with her on those days is short lived by the time I get home to when her bedtime routine starts, I cherish each moment. Of course I am completely exhausted starting those days at 5:30am and ending around 10pm when all the clean up is done, diaper bag is packed for the next day and bottles are washed and made but it’s worth it. She is worth it. And even though I still don’t feel like I completely have a grasp on this juggling game, I know time and experience will help me to get there or I’ll just fly by the seat of my pants and hope for the best!

Being a Mom…I Get It.

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I love being a mom, I really, really do. I love watching my daughter grow and I simply adore her…but being a mom is so different than not being one. I didn’t really begin to comprehend it until I had my daughter. In that moment, everything changed forever.

When I was single, I didn’t really ‘relate’ to my friends with kids. When I got married, I didn’t ‘understand’ my friends with kids. It was almost like they lived in a different world. A world of play dates, babbles, baby voices, bath time, birthday parties, Disney, Dora the Explorer, kid friendly trips and so many things I couldn’t wrap my brain around. Maybe it was because I wasn’t ready for kids, or maybe it was because I didn’t have them. We’d catch up (because sometimes we wouldn’t talk for a while), but our conversations would be the craziness in my life (relationships, break ups, new relationships, going out, going on vacation, etc.) vs. the craziness in theirs (having kids, taking care of kids, lack of sleep, more kid stuff). I love them all dearly, always will, but I didn’t understand it.

Well, now I get it. I get how your life completely becomes about your children, and not because there’s nothing else for you to discuss, but because it’s what your lives start to revolve around. People ask about your kids, you share stories, you talk about what they’re doing, how they’re growing, you share pictures, videos and you can’t stop smiling. You’re proud, thankful, grateful, over the moon and madly in love but sometimes you’re also overly tired, stressed out, clueless, paranoid, out of patience and just plain frustrated.

To all my single friends, or even my married friends without kids, I love you, I really, really do. But I don’t think you understand my life now. I don’t think you get it. Maybe you think you do, but honestly, I don’t think you can. I don’t think you can because kids change everything. Kids change your views on the world, how you see yourself, your husband and others with children. You ‘get’ your friends with kids, in fact, you rely on them so much you’d be lost without them. Again, this isn’t to offend any of my friends sans kids, it’s just that I was once there, I was once you and it wasn’t until I wasn’t you that I really saw, understood and felt what all my friends with kids were talking about. I still had great relationships with my friends with kids when I didn’t have them, but now I feel like I have even greater ones.

There are those that will never have kids. Whether it’s by choice or not by choice. And we will still be friends with those individuals because friendships aren’t based on your family status (married, single, married with kids or married without). But those friendships might change, and not intentionally but simply because of where you are in your lives.

Some days I miss my life without Emma. I miss my selfish time, not having someone rely on me 24/7, the ability to sleep in and essentially ‘have a life’. But then I think about her sweet little face and know that she is my life, she’s the light of my life. She’s the second best thing that’s ever happened to me (husband is first!) and I thank God for her every day. Right now, I am a mom, I will always be a mom, and finally, I get it.