I received this product compliments of DockATot.
I get asked all the time how I look like I have it all together so soon after giving birth to Chloe. The truth is, I live and die by the phrase, "Fake it till you make it." Sometimes, I really do feel like I am a zombie - or mombie, if you will. The first couple of weeks I am usually just getting by, scraping together every ounce of will in me to climb out of bed and feel like a functioning, if not productive, human being. This time around especially, I have Caleb to worry about, so "sleep when the baby sleeps" isn't really an option all the time.
I am very lucky in the sense that my body bounces back from pregnancy really quickly. I know that not everyone is so fortunate, but the tips I'm going to give you don't require you to be someone who bounces back quickly. They're simply things that will make you feel like you have some semblance of normalcy while you adjust to your new normal.
The first thing is to figure out what works for you and your baby. While it would be amazing to snuggle all day every day, and you certainly can on days when you feel like it, some days, you just want to feel human again. So figure out what works for your baby. Figure out their calmest hours, figure out what safe place they like to sleep in, and USE IT!
For Chloe, I have figured out that she is calmest in the morning. She eats, sleeps, poops, and falls asleep again once she is comfortable. And where is she comfortable? Right now, she loves her DockATot. The DockATot is a multi-functional lounger and co-sleeper. It's 100% cotton and tested for breathability. I know I can leave her in the DockATot on the bed or on the floor and she is safe and comfortable. And because it envelops them on the sides, it creates a micro climate for them that keeps them even more comfortable.
Once you have figured out what works for you, and what keeps your baby calm and happy, then you can take a little time to take care of yourself!
Sleep When You Can - With Caleb, I used to sleep in after our morning feeding. Once he was a little sturdier, I would put him in bed next to me and we would both sleep really well. Those extra two hours in the morning would help me make up the hours I had lost during nighttime feedings. With Chloe it hasn't exactly worked the same way, but she also gives me longer stretches at night than Caleb did, so my sleep is a little less fractured.
Get Out of Your PJs - You don't have to dress up. But change out of your PJs. If you're anything like me, those postpartum/breastfeeding hormones are doing a number on you. I spend the night sweating. Add to that leaking milk on my PJs, the last thing that makes me feel good is staying in my jammies. Putting on clean clothes, even if it's leggings and a tee, makes me feel a thousand times better.
Shower When You Can - Again, hormones, leaky milk, and postpartum bleeding. A shower always makes me feel like a brand new human, especially when I can wash my hair. On that note...
Do Your Hair - If you normally dye your hair, get it done a couple weeks after delivery. You'll feel like a unicorn mom. When you wash your hair, dry it or style it. For me, that makes it last a couple days longer, and even if I have it picked up in a ponytail, my hair doesn't look messy. Bonus points and extra days without washing if I manage to curl it, too!
Take Care of Your Skin & Slap On a Little Makeup - I'm not saying a full face. But you'd be AMAZED at what some moisturizer and undereye concealer will do for you and how much better it will make you feel.
Get Outside - The four walls of your house can make you feel really lonely. If you're not yet comfortable going places, driving around, etc., at the very least, go for a walk outside. Put the baby in the stroller or carry them in their carrier. The walk will make you feel good because you're stretching your legs. You increase your chances of having human interaction with someone who can speak to you, and the fresh air will do you wonders!
Find Friends Who Get You - Some days, you just need to complain about how tired you are, or how much your nipples hurt. Find friends or other moms in your area who get you. I have found that my child-free friends don't get it when I comment about stuff like that. But any woman who has had a baby in the history of ever will understand what you're feeling - unless they are some kind of freaks and didn't experience it the way the rest of us do.
Utilize Other Caretakers - We are very fortunate that our kids have four living grandparents who live in the same city as us and who basically fight to take care of them (not literally but almost lol). We also have a few other family members who are willing to help out. And we have a babysitter we trust and use as well. Sometimes I leave the kids with Dad and go do what I need to do, and a couple weeks ago, Eddie’s Mom stayed with both the kids while we ran out to enjoy a nice kid-free dinner together.
Don’t Worry About Doing It All - You know all those “super moms” out there that look like they have it all together? Their houses are perfect, they cook dinner every night, so adorable crafts with their kids, and they look perfect themselves? If that’s what works for them, that’s amazing. But don’t let yourself feel bad because you can’t maintain that in your home. Some days I manage to get dinner cooked for everyone, other days we eat leftovers, or sandwiches, or we order out. And the clean laundry typically sits in my bedroom for a week or so before it gets put away. And then it’s time for the next batch of clean laundry. I typically try to empty my sink each night, but sometimes a shower and slee are more important to me that having clean dishes. Do what you can, the rest can wait.
And there you have it. How I manage to maintain some semblance of sanity as a stay at home/work from home mom. What else would you add to this?
Want to try the DockATot for your little one? Follow this link for $10 off your purchase! (Your purchase through this link helps me earn a little something to keep the blog going.)
A couple of weeks ago someone posted a photo on Facebook, asking how many other moms looked like a hot mess while their little ones looked photo shoot ready every day. So many other moms commented (myself included!), "Yes!" "That's us over here, too!" "Heck yes, everyday!" It got me thinking about how often I really put together an outfit for everyday. It's definitely NOT everyday!
I would say that 80% of the time I am in yoga pants and a tee shirt with some funny mom quote. And that's fine, because why am I going to waste a cute outfit if I'm not going to really see anyone that day? But there are days when I have stuff to do. An appointment, lunch with friends, whatever - and I want to look put together. Actually, this week I spent more time out of yoga pants than in them, but I would definitely say that's a rarity! Anyway, on those days, I want to look cute and put together, but I also need to be ready to chase this guy around, because let's face it - just because I have stuff to do doesn't mean he's going to behave perfectly.
So here's a look that you can put together in a hurry, when you need to look put together, but still be comfortable enough to chase after your kids.
I'm a jeans girl. I will probably always choose jeans over anything else if I know I won't suffocate in them. They're easy, and if you get the right pair, they are comfortable and flattering and make you feel good in them. I typically have 2 or 3 pairs in rotation, including a pair of "nice" jeans that I save for the weekends. So this was an easy look to put together once I threw the jeans on. It's just a sleeveless tank with a pretty chiffon detail at the bottom. I think I paid $5 for it at the New York & Company Outlet last summer. The lace bomber jacket and jeans are from New York & Company (the jacket is actually on sale right now and the jeans are buy one get one 50% off), and I ordered them recently. I love the feminine, yet laid back feel of the bomber jacket, and it makes me feel put together. Jackets are always an easy way to polish or update a look, and this one is no exception. The other thing I love about jackets is that they help to cover up any problem areas (or perceived problem areas, right, ladies?).
I paired this look with a statement necklace (that I also got from New York & Company, years ago), my beige Vauva Pack (so I can be hands free), and a comfy pair of pointy toe flats. Pointy toe flats are another one of my favorite ways to dress up a casual look. They pair great with jeans of all lengths, so they are definitely a go to when I want to look a little more chic than when I am in my sneakers.
There you have it - easy, comfy, and put together! It takes just as long as it does for me to put on yoga pants and a tee shirt, and I don't feel like a slob if I run into someone or end up having an unplanned lunch with a friend. And as usual, my makeup gets done in the car, and is very basic.
Get your style on, momma.
This post is not sponsored. I actually really love New York and Company and could probably be a spokesperson, but I bought all the pieces here and received no compensation for them.
Some days, going outdoors isn't really an option. Whether there are sickies in your house, the weather is crummy, or you just don't feel like putting on pants (hey girl, I feel you!), sometimes you need to keep those kiddos entertained indoors. And while I am the first to admit that I use my TV pretty often, I also like to have Caleb do engaging activities that hold his interest for a little longer than 5 minutes.
Sensory play is anything that engages your child's senses. Sensory play is important in helping your child explore the world. It also helps them to naturally use scientific processes, problem solve, and develop skills such as fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. PBS Parents has a really informative article on why sensory play is so important.
Most of these activities require little prep, and I actually keep everything stored in a box and just pull it out a couple times a week. Once you have all the tools it's actually fairly easy to incorporate these activities into playtime a couple times a week.
If you check on Pinterest, there are hundreds of activities you could do with your little one. I'm only focusing on five that are tried and true in our house..
Sensory Rice Box
I bought an underbed storage box, filled it with rice, and bought a couple of tools so he could play. The same tools are actually used for multiple activities. There are: measuring spoons, fine motor skills tool set, plastic tongs, and little construction trucks. He's snuck a few other toys in there over the months but those are generally the tools he uses in there. I know many people do this using beans, but when we started doing it, Caleb was still pretty small and putting everything in his mouth. Even if uncooked rice would give him a tummy ache, it wasn't a choking hazard, whereas a dry bean could be.
Level of ease: Very easy once you have the tools, but cleanup can be a nightmare if you don't prep for it. Pro tip: use a fitted sheet with the ends propped up on the sides to keep the rice contained and make for easy cleanup!
We did this just yesterday, with zero prep or advance thought. I realized I was out of paper towels and decided to do something with the roll since I had a cranky toddler. I cut the roll in half, and covered one end of each with paper. I had him fill them about halfway. We used garbanzos and couscous because that's what we had on hand, but you can use rice, pasta, any kind of dry bean, cheerios, etc. With the garbanzos, I also practiced counting with him. Once they were filled, we covered the other end and had a dance party! A friend also reminded me that this can be down its water bottles, which probably makes it quite a bit easier!
Level of ease: Easy. But not very independent. If you're looking for something to keep them busy without you having to work, this isn't the activity for you. lol
Pom poms keep Caleb entertained for over an hour. There are so many things you can do with them: counting, color sorting, size sorting. He likes to transfer them from one place to another. A lot of times I will pour them all into a big mixing bowl and give him the muffin tin and his fine motor tool set and let him do as he pleases. This day I just put some on the floor and some in the muffin tin and let him use the tools to move them around as he pleased.
Level of ease: SUPER. Literally just dump everything and let them go.
Strainer & Pipe Cleaners
This is another super easy activity. The strainer is in my kitchen, so I just thread a few pipe cleaners through the holes and have him do the same. Sometimes he does it, sometimes the game is pulling them all out, but it keeps him busy for a little bit.
Level of ease: Eh. Doesn't keep him busy for a super long time, and threading those pipe cleaners can be a pain in the ass.
No Mess Painting
I fill Ziploc baggies with some paint, tape it down to chart paper, and put the chart paper on the window. Taping the baggies down keeps them in place, and I love the effect of the light coming through the paint, which is why I attach it to the window.
Level of ease: Semi-easy. Requires a little bit of prep with the taping and such, but I typically leave this up for days.
There you have it! Five sensory ideas that will keep your kids busy for a good amount of time! Incorporate them as you feel your child needs it - one a day, a couple a week, once a week. Below is a photo of how I store the tools, pom poms, and rice. I usually have the pipe cleaners in there too, not sure where they are at the moment. haha
What other fun activities do you do with your kids around the house? I'd love to hear about them! Drop them in the comments below!
This is not a sponsored post.
Before you start reading, this isn't going to be one of those funny breakdowns of my day where I tell you I had to reheat my coffee three times and I still drank it cold (I actually drink my coffee hot most mornings thanks in part to Disney Junior and a good breakfast for Caleb). But anyway, read on to see what I mean.
If you follow me on Instagram and check out my stories, you might have seen me post this list yesterday. I was cleaning out my nightstand, and tucked into an old notebook I found this list. What is this list, you might ask? Well, apparently, I had very lofty (and quite delusional) goals when we decided I would be a stay-at-home mom. I also clearly did not have a child at that point or realize how much of my day would be consumed by a tiny tyrant. I mean, look at that list. I had photo shoots on Mondays, but never once accounted for the hours I put into editing. I had a field trip one day a week. Get out of the house ONE day a week? That's it? I would have lost my damn mind.
When I showed this list to Eddie last night, we had a good laugh, and he said, "So how's that working out?" When I responded that I must have been delusional, he said, "It's okay - you're doing a damn good job of keeping this house together, regardless of whether or not you have stuck to a schedule." Hey, I'll take that!
So I'm going to break down for you how my typical chores get done. It's not super organized and it isn't fullproof, but it works for me and I typically get most of the stuff I need to get done, done - without being a slave to my home or chores.
Cleaning - I'm going to be totally honest, I have a cleaning lady who comes every other Friday and does the cleaning in my house. So I can't give you a deep cleaning schedule. But I do maintain the house in between her visits. That means that about two or three times a week I clean my floors (they are the most unforgiving floors aside from white floors so I always feel like they are dirty - and I can't vaccuum because Bella goes nuts). My kitchen gets wiped down on a daily basis, because I basically wipe down all the countertops and clean the sink every time I cook. Bathrooms get the wipe down when they look like they need it, or when people are coming over (we have a half bath for guests and we almost never use that, so it's always pretty clean). I use a wet dust rag once a week to wipe down the other furniture surfaces, and that's about it! Floors are the biggie for me.
Food - Okay so I suck at meal planning. I have tried it. I typically have an idea of what I will make in the week, and I don't usually do anything super complicated. I may write a rough outline in my planner of what meals I'll make for the night, but its usually meals with few ingredients that are easy to put together - typically a protein and a veggie, sometimes a starch of some kind will be thrown in there. If it's too complicated, I won't do it, so KISS (keep it simple, stupid) is my motto. I try to get to the grocery store early in the morning, early in the week. If later in the week I realize I have run out of something, I use Shipt and have it delivered (follow that link and get $10 in free groceries and two weeks free). It gets rid of the temptation of stuff I don't need and I don't spend extra money.
Laundry - This is my biggest hurdle. I don't mind sorting, washing, or even folding. I hate hate hate putting laundry away. Sometimes it will sit on the couch in our room for over a week before it gets put away (whoops). But it's clean, right?! I usually spread laundry out over the course of the week. Caleb's clothes on Monday and one load of ours (usually darks since this is what we wear the most). Tuesday I'll do the rest of our clothes. Wednesday is towels and bath rugs. Thursdays is bed linens. I'm also guilty of having to wash clothes a second time because it never got transferred to the dryer. Hey, just putting it all out there.
Ironing - I don't do this anymore unless I have Caleb out of the house for an extended period of time. It's just too dangerous. Anything that needs to be ironed just goes to the drycleaner.
Picking up - I try to pick up as much as possible in the evenings. Once Caleb has gone to sleep is the easiest time to get it done. When I do this it also makes for a smoother morning because I don't feel like I'm walking through a war zone first thing in the morning.
Bills/E-Mail/Editing/Blogging - These usually get done first thing in the morning, while I'm having coffee and Caleb is having breakfast. Whatever I don't get to gets done during naptime and during any downtime we may have throughout the day.
A great tool I have found to help me keep track of chores is Any.Do. It's an app that syncs up with my calendar, lets me know what tasks I have to complete, and since I love to check things off, it's a really helpful visual tool for me. Sometimes the weeks blur together and I don't remember if I have washed the towels, but this app helps me keep track of what I have and haven't done. I can put tasks on a weekly reminder so I don't have to enter them all the time. It's really convenient, and can be installed across several devices!
So there you have it. My fantasies versus my reality. I wouldn't have it any other way, but it is certainly not what I pictured! I hope this helps you if you are still struggling with being a "perfect" stay-at-home mom (newsflash: there's no such thing! You're amazing!).
Have any more tips on how to get your household duties done? Leave them in the comments below!
The end of a year always brings on reflection of the past 365 days. This was a year filled with adventure and growth. We traveled more than I ever thought we would - it felt like every month I was packing for something or other. I wouldn't trade the adventures we have had as a couple or as a family for anything in the world.
It was also a year of growth in many ways. We grew in wisdom as parents. I no longer feel like I am so reliant upon the opinions of others. I know my son and we as his parents know what is best for him. This also means we grew in confidence when it comes to Caleb and our parenting decisions.
I grew my photography business, even though I didn't have plans to do so. It ended the year on a really high note.
Finally, I started this little labor of love and it has been a far greater and more fulfilling endeavor than I ever thought. I started it thinking that not very many people would be reading it, but knowing that I wanted to write about motherhood and life in general. I never imagined the feedback I would get and the number of people who would tell me that they loved reading my blog. I have had moms of toddlers, women younger than me who don't have kids yet, and women of my mom's generation alike tell me that they love reading what I'm writing. It's been so much fun and it's been incredible to hear that kind of praise for something that truly comes from the heart. So thank you, dear reader. Thank you for your shares, your likes, your comments, and for sticking around and hearing about my journey through motherhood!
My goal in the new year is to post more consistently, but also to maintain great content. It's important to me to keep this blog true to how I started it, maintaining authenticity and quality content and writing.
I'm looking forward to all the incredible things 2017 will bring our way. May the next year be filled with peace, love, and prosperity for each and every one of you!
I hadn't done one of these in a little bit, and I wanted to share a few things I'm loving this week!
1. This Alley & Rae t-shirt! Caleb has given me a hard time in the sleep department this week, and it's nice to be able to throw on this shirt and not have to explain the bags under my eyes or why I'm only half-awake most of the day. Praise Jesus, last night went way better, but I've got some catching up to do in the sleep department! But seriously, Alley & Rae has some of the cutest shirts, and they are so soft. And if you order before November 30, use the discount code topknot for 15% off your order!
2. Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water - it removes makeup without any harsh chemicals, doesn't leave an oily residue, and doesn't need to be rinsed off. It's also really gentle on my skin.
3. The Super Mom Myth by Becky Kopitzke - I read this book a while back, and after a couple of rough weeks, I decided to flip through it again this week. It's a biblically based look at some of the "villains" we encounter in motherhood, and how we can become this not-so-wonderful version of ourselves. I know reading is hard when you have little kids running around, but this book is definitely a must-read. If you seriously don't have time, just pick the chapters that you think you need the most help with and focus on those at first. Get to the rest when you can.
4. These Pumpkin Cranberry Crisps from Trader Joe's are the definition of fall yumminess. They are crispy and savory and sweet. They are delicious with cheeses and on their own. Caleb loves them too!
5. DoTerra Clove and Cinnamon Bark oils - let's get real, in South Florida we get excited when the temperature dips below 70 degrees (TODAY IS ONE OF THOSE DAYS, GUYS!). "Fall" as the rest of the U.S. knows it is basically nonexistent here. So I make sure my house smells like fall inside, and these two oils, diffused, make my house smell like I've been baking up fall goodies all day.
6. Little Roseberry Hair Gel - I've posted about this on Instagram before, but Caleb is due for a haircut right now and I've been slathering this stuff on (hehe). It has a decent enough hold but it doesn't make his hair stay stiff all day. I like that it's made with Aloe and not tons of harsh chemicals.
There you go!
Have a spectacular Friday, lovelies!
This post is sponsored by pediped.
Earlier this year, my parents came over all excited because they had found these great shoes for Caleb. They were adorable little sandals from pediped. Honestly, my biggest draw was that they were machine washable. When you have a toddler who loves to get dirty and be outdoors, machine washable is definitely a win. But the more I discovered about the shoes, and the more Caleb used them, the happier I was that my parents had decided to purchase a pair for him!
Before I say a word, I want to make something really clear. I know that I am incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom. I know how many women would love to be in my position. I do not take for granted the amazing gift I have been given, and I really try not to complain about this. That being said, being a stay-at-home mom is probably the most tiresome, nonstop, and lonely job I have ever held.
I worked for a few months after maternity leave while I was finishing the school year. It wasn't a long time, but I can say that I have experienced both sides of the coin, even if just for a little bit. I know what it feels like to have to leave your baby every day. I know what it feels like to know that someone else is snuggling with your little one and experiencing their milestones while you're out there hustling. I know.
Yesterday morning, I got a text message from my dad. He explained that my mom wouldn't be home until late and if we wanted a last minute date night, that he was available to watch Caleb for us. Naturally, we jumped at the chance, because duh, free babysitting. We decided on a movie (Jason Bourne, so good!) and dinner. Since we were doing something a little more low key, I figured I would keep it casual.
I have made a truly conscious effort to be intentional about what I feed my son. I figure my system might be addicted to all the bad things that I shouldn't be eating, but I want to set him up to make good choices when it comes to his eating habits. This is going to be the first of a few posts in regards to meals and what I feed my little guy. I've included photos from 7 of our breakfasts, which gives you a week's worth of ideas. There is nothing spectacular here - nothing fancy, nothing gourmet. Most of these I put together in 10 minutes or fewer.
I have found that toddler preferences vary from one day to the next, so I'm constantly having to try new things. But I have found a few things that are tried and true, and I try to incorporate at least one sure thing into each meal so I'm not frustrated that he isn't eating enough.
He loves fruit, so breakfast usually consists of at least one kind of fruit. He also loves cheese and yogurt, so I make sure that dairy is in there as well. Most days I include some kind of whole grain.
He also likes to feed himself, and self-feeding is very important to me. When children self-feed, they learn to stop when they are full and they start to give us cues as to when they have reached their point of fullness. Caleb, for example, begins to throw food on the floor once he is full. When he does that, I know he's done. If I were spoon feeding him, he wouldn't be able to give me those cues, and it's highly likely he would be overfed more often than not. His self-feeding also gives me time to have my breakfast and more importantly, my coffee, in the morning while he is entertained and eating (we actually sit facing one another and eat breakfast together most days).
There you have it! Some ideas for toddler breakfasts.
Have more ideas? Let me know - I'd love to hear from you!
About this Mom
A Miami wife and mom documenting her days with her toddler and all that comes along with it.