The Honest Truth

The first time I held my son

The first time I held my son

While I was in labour I kept asking my nurse why women have more than one child. I could not understand why anyone would go through that a second time. In those moments I was not even sure why I was putting myself through it. She thought it was funny and laughed at me, I guess she knew the answer, she had been in my position before. I didn’t appreciate her laugh then but I understand it now, she smiled but her eyes knew, and she said nothing because I was about to know.

Have you ever been told, “you will forget all about the pain” when someone is referring to childbirth? I think it is everyones favourite thing to say. Honestly, it is bullshit. Who do these women think they are fooling? You never forget and it is horrible. We need to invent something to stop people from saying this. It really gets on my nerves. Maybe I am the odd one out but I would rather have someone tell me like it really is. I felt like there was so much I had to discover for myself with the birth of my son that a little honest warning would have been more appreciated. The fluffy whimsical fairy tales people like to tell about pregnancy, birth, and motherhood isn’t helpful.

I will never forget the pain that came with the birth of my son, I will never forget what it took to bring him in to this world. I do not even know how I made it through that thinking back on it. Would I do it again? In a heart beat. The moment he was out the pain eased and all I could concentrate on was knowing if my child was okay, that I wanted to see and hold him finally. That my friend, is the honest truth. You don’t forget, it just doesn’t matter any longer.

 

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Relax, Have a Cup Cake.

Cup cake with text that reads: "Relax, eat a cup cake."

This past weekend I actually  had some fun, like real adult fun! Can you believe it? I can’t. My friend came over and we drank and played silly games, it was a blast. I have not had the opportunity to drink or just relax with friends since before I even got pregnant. This was a real treat, we have decided we are going to make it a somewhat regular thing.

It made me realize how little time I spend having fun ( I obviously enjoy spending time with my son, you know what I mean though). I know I am never shy to say how hard I work, how stressed out I am, or how lonely being home alone every day can be. Especially when I am often stuck at home even if the opportunity to go out arises with some health conditions of mine. After Saturday night though, I felt it full force. It hit me, I felt the full emptiness that comes with the realization that I am so very often completely alone. It’s kind of sad sometimes. I will call my grandma or my Mom for no real reason, just to hear an actual grown person speak to me. Even if only for a minute because we really had nothing to say. Not that I am writing this to tell you how pathetic I am, it is just relevant to the point I am about to make; I promise. 

I felt the need to state again to all of you how important it is to take care of yourself in every way. Even in ways we sometimes forget are good for us. It is important to be social, have friends, do things you enjoy, and be silly when you can. I am so type-A I cannot even stand it half the time, it is hard for me to let go and just have fun. Honestly, I think I forget how to do it. I did a good job of it Saturday night though and it was such a relief. I actually felt like a proper 23-year-old. Is that a thing? I feel like I am much older than my peers most days; I don’t feel like I had the same experiences as them. I was never one to go out and be stupid, I never went to a party as a teenager, I didn’t make any real or close friends in college (both programs I attended), and I generally kept to myself. It was probably my own fault but it took away from my ability to do it now; my ability to let loose. Now being a Mom my work day never ends and that takes a toll all its own. I have realized that by taking small steps and carving that “Me Time” out for myself allows me to have my cake and eat it too. The secret is to just make cup cakes! I think of it like this; with a box of cake mix you can either make one cake or lots of little cup cakes. What better way to think about having it all, right?

Set time aside for yourself, I know it can be difficult most days. It can feel impossible every other day but it is vital. You cannot care for others if you first do not care for yourself. Being a parent is stressful, you deserve time to unwind. Please take it in any way you can. Even if it is just 15 minutes a night after the kids are in bed; read a book in the bath with a glass of wine or invite a friend over to watch a movie. Just do something for yourself, you are important and you deserve it.

Let me know how you like to spend your time! Also, if you are interested in the Cup cake picture above it is one of three different cup cake prints available on my Society 6 store. They can be prints or put on things like t-shirts, pillows, and mugs! Check it out here (They also have free world-wide shipping going on until January 25th, 2015 at Midnight (PST) )!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Re-springing Your Step.”

Parenting Resolutions

This was not my first New year as a parent but I spent my first one in a bit of a haze. My son was only a few days old and we were all having a rough time. That happened to also be the night we ended up in the emergency room to find out that we were having some serious trouble with feeding. Clearly, resolutions were the farthest thing from my mind.

This year I was able to actually focus and feel as though I could work towards some goals. I have a long list of them this year. I wrote them out in my 2015 Smashbook so that I could keep track and document my progress, I thought it would be a great way to stay focused. Once I had finished writing out my list I noticed that I had naturally added in goals for parenting. I have never heard of people making these kinds of resolutions; maybe they do not share them or maybe I am just too new or not privy to this whole parenting thing to have realized. Either way it is an awesome choice to consciously make goals in regard to how you parent. If you have children that are old enough to actually have a conversation with them then I would go ahead and ask them what it is you can do better and what they would like to see you do.

My list included some educational and bonding activities such as reading together everyday, spending an evening a week doing a family activity, and working on numbers, letters, colours each day. We have been doing well with the reading and my son got a lot of new books for Christmas and his birthday to help with that. We just started introducing the alphabet by singing “ABC’s”.

Oh look! There is also a YouTube  video. Check it out to find out my tips on how to achieve your goals as well as parenting resolutions!

The Practical List of New Born Needs

My son as a new born

My son as a New Born

Having a baby come in to your life can be overwhelming, especially if you are doing it for the first time. There are thousands of products that claim that you simply cannot have a baby without them. They are a “must need” for your new bundle of joy.

What exactly does a new born baby need? I guess for much of this question the answer would be, “Well, how do you intend to parent?”

Here is my (I think practical) list of needs for a new born:

The size difference between a newborn diaper and a size 4

The size difference between a newborn diaper and a size 4

* Diapers and wipes- This is a give-in. You need to cover your baby’s behind whether in disposable (think Huggies, Pampers, etc.) or reusable (washable). The choice is yours! They both have their pros and cons. We chose disposable this time around because cloth was too expensive of an initial investment (although cheaper in the long run) and we live in a building with common washers and dryers. If we live in a house next time around, I would love to give cloth a shot, I know a few parents that do and they love to cloth diaper, it is much better for the environment as a bonus! Diaper cream is also something to keep handy, there are natural alternatives to this as well if you are interested. I have used breast milk and that has worked but the medicated stuff is useful.

* A way to feed your (always) hungry little one- For those of you planning on breastfeeding you may be wondering what could you possibly need? I would suggest a breast pump, it can be a life saver, as well as some milk storage bags. Also, some bottles in case someone else needs to feed baby. Nursing pads were really handy for me as well, I preferred the washable ones over the disposable because they were thinner and more comfortable.Some nipple cream may come in handy if they get sore and cracked and some people like to have a nursing pillow, I was going to make my own and then had one given to me. Honestly, I tried to use it and it just got in the way, I ended up using a normal pillow because that worked for us. If you plan on formula feeding consult with your baby’s doctor about what kind is appropriate and have that on hand along with some bottles and I got great use out of a bottle scrubber.

* Laundry detergent- You do not need to go out and buy the specially made for babies detergent. It is very pricey and you have a cheaper alternative! You can purchase dye and scent free detergent ( something that is Free and Clear) and it does the same thing. Babies have sensitive skin. The world is much different than the womb, they are not use to the feel of fabric or rough things, they do not understand things like clothing tags. They just know that it does not feel good.

*Gentle baby soap and soft face cloths– for the same reason you want to get free and clear detergent, baby’s skin is sensitive!

Baby wearing

Wearing my son

* Be a baby wearer!- Do it! Just kidding, you do not have to but it is a wonderful way to have both hands free and still have baby close to you. They crave the closeness and comfort, your heartbeat was all they knew for the longest time. Skin to skin and closeness encourage a baby’s growth and comforts them. It is really lovely and quite practical. I suggest starting off with a baby wearing group that has a library for you to try out. Not every baby loves every carrier and you will not either. I bought one while pregnant and my son absolutely hated it, screamed anytime I put it near him. During an outing my friend let me try hers and my son and I were in love. I ended up having to search for one online because that particular style had been discontinued. We found one and we use it often. When I take it out now my son runs over to me and asks to get up (by shoving his hands in the air while laughing). I have found a lot of use for it while taking public transportation since not all our subway stations are accessible.

my son in his crib for the first time

Testing out his crib for the first time

* Somewhere for baby to sleep- They may not want to leave your arms but they will have to. At first we used a Pack ‘n Play with the newborn insert and when he was a few months old we bought him a convertible crib. So, you do not need to start off with a crib. In our tiny one bedroom apartment this was a much easier start for us.

My son in his car seat

Snuggled up safe and warm in his car seat!

* Weather appropriate clothing and Sleepers- This one is self explanatory. I do suggest you invest in full sleepers with zippers instead of snaps. The buttons are difficult to do, especially when baby gets older and more wiggly. The sleepers are easy and comfortable for them. They also do not need extras like socks when they are wearing them. My son always hated socks. I still cannot keep them on him. Also, hats.

Big Stroller

Our big stroller

* Stroller and Car seat- Again pretty self explanatory. I would also suggest that you have a car seat canopy as well as a cover for the stroller to keep the wind, rain, and snow away from the little one. We started off with a big stroller that has big tires with a tread (because we live in Canada and the snow is an issue) I think it is actually a jogging stroller. It is wonderful but it is huge. It would not fit in a trunk properly and we had a lot of appointments right after my son was born. My grandma ended up getting us a Snap-N-Go by Baby Trend. It is basically a small base with a tiny basket and wheels that you strap the infant seat in to. It was a life saver. It was only practical until he could not use that car seat anymore but we still have it and it is awesome.

Car seat canopy my Aunt hand made

Car seat canopy my Aunt hand made

* Diaper bag- You are a Mom now; look the part. Babies need a lot of stuff, you need something to carry it all in. You do not have to use something big or even a conventional diaper bag. I used a small one that Nestle sent me ( I still do) but I have also used my big TNA gym bag purse thing, as well as a back pack. I find the back pack useful when I am going to be out for a while and I am wearing my son.

Receiving blanket

Always using those receiving blankets!

* Receiving blankets- They are super useful. I used them to swaddle my son as well as for burp cloths and whatever else I could think of. Really, they were great. They are nice and thin and soft, perfect for baby. My son often played with one in his car seat while we were out because I would always have one with us.

* A CAMERA- No matter what you have for your new baby, you are going to want to document those tiny little toes! They grow entirely too fast, try to enjoy every second of it that you can!

This seems like an exhaustive list but babies need a lot of stuff and they are not cheap. I paired this down as best I could to give new parents a starting list of things I found essential. Two things I did not mention in there because I thought they would be more optional for some people are: A swing ( babies love these things and sometimes you need a minute without a baby in your hands) and books ( I found that reading to my son was a great way to bond from the start, they just like hearing your voice).

My son enjoying his swing

My son enjoying his swing!

I hope this was helpful! I want to hear what your list of necessities for a new baby are down below!

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