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health Uncategorized

Ladies, We Need to Love Our Bodies

I’ve always been a thicker girl. I’m not a fan of that word, but it’s better than “stocky.”

The only time I remember being “skinny” in my 33 years was around seven years old when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and my body was literally in starvation mode. It wasn’t healthy. 

Even as a toddler, my dad would call me Bubble Butt. I was living with a curvy derriere before anyone knew who Kim Kardashian was. 

Soon after I hit puberty at age 12, my curves settled in. Large chest and round butt. It’s not something a child knows what to do with. And it wasn’t long before stretch marks appeared on my breasts and thighs, with cellulite trailing behind. I didn’t look like any of my high school friends. 

I was 14 years old when I tried my first diet pill, provided by a family member. They always had a close eye on my weight. 

Needless to say, I wasn’t comfortable in my skin. With people giving me advice on weight loss and seeing outside cues about what a teenage girl’s body should look like, I didn’t think any boy would find me attractive enough to date. 

This became apparent when I entered college and met my now husband. I didn’t understand his interest in me. I wasn’t one of those skinny girls that strolled around campus. This made me hesitate for months on moving forward with our relationship. 

I spent years, time, and money on diets and fitness regimens to help me reach a number on a scale that I wanted, or a pant size that wasn’t two digits. 

It wasn’t until I became a mom that I grew more comfortable in my skin. There’s something about being in labor on all fours in front of medical staff you’ve never met that will do that to you. My body did amazing things bringing my two boys into this world. 

But recently I’ve been thinking, it doesn’t matter if my body went through the physical demands of pregnancy and labor, it’s still amazing. And while it may not meet the expectations that I have set, or others have imposed, it doesn’t make it unworthy of love. 

It wasn’t until I met with a personal trainer in my early thirties that she did an evaluation and told me that my healthy ideal body weight is around 145 pounds. At 5’3, this was a good 20 pounds or so above the idea number I had in my head for nearly two decades. It bums me out that for so long I held a vision in my head of my ideal body weight that was physically impossible to reach healthily.

Another thing that disheartens me is that most of the comments about my weight have come from family members. From people who should love and support me through anything. Instead, I’ve had to steel myself for snarky insults and backhanded compliments since I was old enough to become aware of their malicious intent. 

So as I sit here, I want to share some reminders and love for any woman who has ever been made to feel less than because of her physical appearance. Ladies, we need to love ourselves.

Love our bodies when others don’t. 

Love our bodies when our jeans are too snug.

Love our bodies when the tiny two pieces at Target seem to be silently mocking us.

Love our bodies when our faces seem fuller than they used to.

Love our bodies when the camera turns to us to capture a sweet moment.

Love our bodies when we enjoy a good meal.

Love our bodies enough to defend them when they became a topic of discussion.

Love our bodies when the weather turns hot and shorts become a necessary comfort.

Love our bodies when you catch a naked glimpse of it getting into the shower.

Love our bodies when your littles like to squish and blow raspberries on your soft belly.

Love our bodies when it seems impossible.

Want more? Follow my journey on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Categories
Gift guide

Mother’s Day 2020 Book Guide

woman sitting on green grass while reading book
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash
12 books for all the moms in your life

Nothing says living through quarantine while raising two young kids at home while simultaneously trying to work like not writing a new blog post for TWO MONTHS!

Coronavirus, am I right?

I truly hope everyone is staying safe and healthy and maintaining your sanity. This has been an experience unlike any other.

But I’m not here to write about COVID-19.

Instead, I wanted to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the launch of my book this month! I can’t believe it’s been a year since Sugar-Free Mom to Be was released into the world, hopefully giving other T1D women hope for a healthy pregnancy.

Since May also hosts Mother’s Day, I thought I would compile a list of excellent books for moms of any kind.

*Please know that this post contains affiliate links, meaning at no extra cost to you, I will get a tiny percentage of any profits of purchased items made through that link. Click the book photo to learn more.

For New and Expecting Mothers

A comprehensive and judgement-free pregnancy companion: Nurture is the only all-in-one pregnancy and birthing book for modern mothers-to-be and their partners who want a more integrative approach. Author Erica Chidi Cohen has assisted countless births and helped hundreds of families ease into their new roles through her work as a doula. Nurture covers everything from the beginning months of pregnancy to the baby’s first weeks.

For Creative Mamas

“Balance motherhood and creative pursuits! Women and new mothers are constantly encountering the message that they can never do anything for themselves once they have children. This conversational book is like brunch with girlfriends, offering you friendly advice, community encouragement, and tips on carving time out for creative endeavors. Meet women who not only defied the “no more time to be an artist” stereotype but found motherhood gave them focus, confidence, and efficiency in their art and creative endeavors. Becoming mothers renewed a sense of purpose in their creative pursuits, and by prioritizing this need to create, they became more patient and better mothers to their children. Interview questions cover a range of topics, including early days and creative work, community and vulnerability, and tactics for regular creative practice. Whether you read it front to back or pick it up for a 5-minute dose of encouragement, this is the encouragement you can lean on for balancing family life and art in your own way.”

For Loss Mamas

“The death of a child fractures the natural order of the world. No matter the amount of faith, positive vibes, or strength you possess, having your child precede you in death will leave you burdened with questions and threaten to leave you defeated. Armed with kindness, love, and a better understanding of your new battles, this book will present you with artistry to validate your emotions, find your new mission, and create your song of freedom your heart is desperately fighting for. If you are overwhelmed with grief or if you are seeking to assist someone else throughout their grief journey, Still Fighting provides outlets of self reflection, prayer and planning, and profound prospective as you conquer your battles as a bereaved parent.”



Embrace invites us to explore the grief surrounding pregnancy loss. Sharing her own painful experiences, Liz Mannegren gently creates an open and honest discussion about the mess and heartache such devastation creates. As we allow Christ to redeem each uncomfortable ounce of this journey, we find freedom and hope. Each chapter ends with a series of journaling prompts that encourage reflection, gratitude, and healing.”

For Moms Battling Baby Sleep

Bedtime, the Ultimate Battle is a concise and humorous tool that even the most sleep-deprived parents will love. It contains the meat and potatoes of sleep solutions for your baby that you can easily in the middle of the night, without worrying about heartburn.

Bedtime, the Ultimate Battle includes more than ninety tips and tricks and discusses common nighttime hurdles such as:

  • Sleep training
  • Getting baby to nap when they don’t want to
  • Weaning babies who breastfeed to sleep
  • Handling sleep regressions like a champ
  • and more!”

For Faith Moms

Sacred Walk of Motherhood -a 21-day motherhood journal- it seems that the Proverbs 31 woman is who so many of us moms strive to be like. But motherhood is hard. And so often, it feels like, no matter how hard we strive, we will never quite reach that goal.It is my prayer that this journal will be an encouragement to you. To show you that God is walking this journey with you. That He chose you, He hand-picked you. You. To be the mother to your children. I pray that you will utilize the journal pages as a way to be intentional with your prayers and goals. And that you will enjoy the beautiful artwork as you write these scriptures on your heart.”

50 Ideas For A Great Life is a friendly guide to a life packed with fulfillment, love, and meaning. By reading it, you’ll learn manageable steps on what to accept, change, and remove to improve your life. With the ideas and personal anecdotes, you’ll explore strategies to level up your career, health, and relationships.”

 

How Are You Feeling, Momma? is a sigh of relief as you come to realize you are not alone in how you feel. This book is a collection of 31 short reflections giving you a peek into the inner life of Shelby and Lisa as they share all the emotions they’ve grappled with as moms over many years. In each chapter, you will read two perspectives on a specific emotion and corresponding Psalm scripture. One captures the emotion from Shelby’s experience as a Christian mom and the other from Lisa’s vantage point as a Jewish step-mom and grandma. With vulnerability and a hefty dose of wit, Shelby and Lisa will:
-Inspire you to lean into and get real about your feelings
-Give you both a Christian and Jewish perspective on each emotion
-Encourage you to find comfort in knowing you aren’t alone in how you feel
-Help you connect the pleadings in the Psalms to the pleadings in your soul”


“In Present over PerfectNew York Times best-selling author Shauna Niequist invites you to consider the landscape of your own life, and what it might look like to leave behind the pressure to be perfect and begin the life-changing practice of simply being present, in the middle of the mess and the ordinariness of life.”

For Any Mom


“In this book you’ll find heartwarming essays about identity, adoption, body image, miscarriage, friendship, faith, infertility, and more. The Magic of Motherhood is a curated collection of honest stories that weave together the love, joy, and magnificent heartache of motherhood. Instead of offering advice, the writers offer something even better: their hearts.” 

The book sits on my nightstand and I have read it over the past year or so. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve felt connected and not alone in motherhood. It’s an excellent compilation of essays and a beautiful book in its design.

And of course, for T1D Moms

In this memoir, get personal insight into Kendra’s pregnancy as a type 1 diabetic. In search of information on what pregnancy entails for a type 1 diabetic mother, Kendra set out on documenting her own experience during her pregnancy. Touching on topics such as insulin resistance, perinatologist visits, and managing tight HbA1c levels, Kendra hopes her experience connects with other type 1 diabetic mothers and provides some insight on what to expect. This is a personal account of one diabetic’s experience and does not offer any medical advice. This memoir captures the thoughts and emotions of the author during her first T1D pregnancy.


“Thinking about having a baby but worried about your type 1 or type 2 diabetes? There’s a reason for concern: uncontrolled diabetes can lead to health complications for both women and their children. But keeping a tight rein on your blood sugars before and during pregnancy can help reduce if not eliminate the risks. Balancing Pregnancy with Pre-Existing Diabetes explains exactly how to have the healthiest pregnancy possible while balancing the rigors of insulin, diet, exercise, and blood sugar control that are the foundation of diabetes management.” 

I found Cheryl’s book about halfway or so through my first pregnancy and it is a wonderful resource.

Whether you are treating yourself for Mother’s Day or looking to gift a mom in your life who loves to read, any one of these books would be a great gift.

Categories
Uncategorized

I Got a Puppy! Here are My Must-Have Puppy Items

*This post contains affiliate links, which means, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a tiny royalty if you click on the link and make a purchase. That said, these views are my own.

Because I’m certifiably crazy or a masochist, I decided it would be a good idea to add a puppy to our circus. Whazza, whazza, whaaaaa???!!!

Ever since our dear Toby died about five months ago, things just haven’t been the same in our house. Don’t get me wrong, it was kind of nice having just one dog, and she’s very well behaved, but it was clear she needed a companion. She spent all day and night laying around sleeping. In the process, she gained almost ten pounds! Me and baby girl got trim down a little.

I’ve been stalking a dozen or so dog rescue groups and shelters and saw an adorable dog flash on my Facebook feed about a week ago. He was so cute – a mix of Chihuahua and Dachshund. He was small like my husband was wanting, and young. He seemed perfect.

I quickly filled out and submitted an application for him, and less than an hour later a nice lady called me to let me know I was approved. He was located at a small humane society in Kansas, about a two hours’ drive away. I wouldn’t be able to get down to see him for a few days, so they held him for me.

Saturday rolled around and me, my mom, our resident dog, and my four year old piled into the car for a little day trip to potentially meet our new dog and bring him home.

I was worried about how our dog Joey would react. She’s selective of dogs and I’ve never had a small dog, so I didn’t know how it would go with our 60 pound girl.

It turns out that tiny little dog wasn’t a fan of our big girl. I was disappointed but not entirely surprised. I was ready to get back in the car to head home empty handed when one of the shelter ladies asked if I’d be interested in another puppy who would be about 30-40 pounds. This was a larger dog than my husband was wanting, but I decided to look anyway since I had made the trip.

And it was love at first sight for both me and our dog Jo.

Joey and our puppy, Coco, getting introduced at the shelter

They brought out this little black and white girl who was wagging her long, skinny tail and peeing everywhere in excitement.

Jo’s demeanor did a complete 180. She was wagging her little nub of a tail and sniffing and wanting to play with the little pup, who was about 17 pounds.

I knew she’d be coming home with us. My son loved playing with all the toys with her and she loved him right back. It was clear she was the one we had been waiting for.

Coco in her favorite spot on the couch

Yet, when bringing home a puppy or any new animal to your home, you can’t stop your stomach from flopping around and guessing whether you are making a huge mistake. Change is hard. And she was a puppy at just four months old.

It had been well over ten years since I had dealt with raising a puppy, but it is just like riding a bike. Housetraining, chewing, and obedience training has given me a new little project.

I decided to put together this list of must-haves for anyone considering getting a puppy or just brought home their new addition.

Chew Toys

Just like a teething baby, puppies like to chew. ON. EVERYTHING. Except dog babies have razor-sharp dagger teeth. When bringing home a young puppy, make sure your house is stocked with a variety of toys, some specifically designed for them to chew on. And remove any items in your home that you don’t want them to destroy – like shoes. We have moved all of our shoes out of her reach to keep her from chewing on them. This helps eliminate the bad habit of chewing on your stuff and not making a game of chasing your puppy down to snatch it from their grasp.

I ordered this chew toy that is specifically designed for puppy chewing. It’s small and a softer material that the regular hard plastic bones. Both my new puppy and my older resident dog LOVE it. But note, it is designed for puppies and NOT large dogs who are strong chewers. My older dog has chewed off one end already, so we have to monitor when the puppy plays with it.

This teether is actually one designed for a baby, but I had it in my cupboard and it was no longer being used so I decided the puppy could have it. And she loves it! The wood ring is perfect for her to sink her puppy teeth in, and the cloth is added fun. Puppies love wood since it is softer than hard plastic – think table legs and baseboards they love to chew on. Since it isn’t a puppy specific toy, I monitor her closely when she chews on it, but so far she hasn’t destroyed it. There are bite marks in the wood, and the cloth has held up nicely.

Kong toys are also great options for a dog of any age. They are fun to stuff with treats to provide a little bit of stimulation and play to your pup. They are also great for sticking in the freezer to give your teething puppy something cool to chew on. These small Kongs are designed just for puppies and come in cute baby colors!

Sleeping Arrangements

Unless you want your puppy to sleep in bed with you or on the couch, you need a comfy place for them to lie down.

Our puppy was used to having a dog bed in her foster home, and she loves lying there often during the day.

This bed is perfect for her size, comfortable, and is machine washable! Even better, it fits perfectly in her kennel, so she has a nice soft bed to sleep and relax on when she is crated.

We happened to still have a kennel from our other dog, but this one by AmazonBasics is similar and at a great price. All the dogs I’ve ever had have been crate trained, and my older dog still loves spending time in her kennel. A crate with a comfy bed and some toys helps make a puppy feel safe and secure, and keeps them from destroying your home when you’re sleeping or away.

Fine Dining

Puppies love to eat. And they’re growing little bodies need good food to restore their energy. I’m a huge fan of Taste of the Wild dog food. It was one of the only brands I could feed my older dog, Toby, that wouldn’t upset his stomach and calmed his allergies. It’s high quality food, so I wanted the best for our new puppy too. I’ve tried a variety of flavors in the adult food, but the salmon I think remains the favorite in our household.

Elevated food bowls are good for a puppy’s spine and digestive system. The elevated feeder below is great for your growing puppy, as it adjust to three heights.

Training

Since I’ve been an adult, I’ve never had a young puppy. Both of my previous dogs were closer to a year or older when I got them and already had some bad habits that proved to be unbreakable. I wanted to get my puppy off to a good start behaviorally, so I’ve been working every day on training her. Socialization to other dogs, people, and places, and basic obedience is very important to me for our new puppy. And with training comes some needed supplies. Most dogs are strongly food motivated, so training treats are a must have. I love these from Blue Buffalo. They are a good size and must be tasty!

Along with using command words like “come” and “sit,” I’ve also been using a clicker to help train our puppy. This gives them another sound to associate a command with. I love this clicker because it has a little strap that goes around your finger, so it just lays nicely in your palm while you are working with your pup.

And of course you can’t do any training outside your home without a collar and leash! Dogs should have a six foot leash, NOT a retractable one! I personally hate retractable leashes and avoid anyone who uses them. They’re terrible, especially for larger dogs. You as the owner need to be in control of your dog, and a retractable leash just doesn’t let you do that. This leash is a basic six foot leash and perfect for training.

More than anything, a puppy needs love and patience. Give them time to adjust to your home and your family. New surroundings can be exciting and scary, and they are learning what you expect of them. Make sure you give them enough play time during the day to burn off some of that envious puppy energy and you will have a companion for life!

Just doing some work with a puppy on my lap

Follow me on Instagram to stay up to date on all things new puppy!

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Uncategorized

What a Mom Really Wants for Valentine’s Day

So V-Day is coming up, and while I am not especially interested in gifts, I have made a list of what I would LOVE to have Cupid bring me. Made by a mom, for moms.

You all know how much I complain about my lack of sleep. It’s a vicious circle. My anxiety affects my sleep, which in turn causes me a lack of sleep, which gives me more anxiety. And the cycle repeats.

I recently made an appointment with a psychiatrist to see what deeper issues are at play here besides my kids who wake me up about twice every night. While I’m already on a mild dose of Zoloft, maybe a sleeping aid will help. I don’t know. But I’m thinking a psychiatrist is my next step.

Until then, I’ve rounded up some items that I think would help me relax and possibly improve my sleep. If you’re a tired mom like me or struggle with anxiety, check out my list.

*This post contains affiliate links. By clicking on the link AND purchasing the item, I receive a small profit.

Olly Sleep Melatonin Gummy

OLLY Sleep Melatonin Gummy, All Natural Flavor and Colors with L Theanine, Chamomile, and Lemon Balm, 3 mg per Serving, 25 Day Supply (50 Count)

I have actually started using these and have found them significantly helpful to my sleep. I have ZERO problems falling asleep. My troubles lie in staying asleep. Like I mentioned, my boys wake me up about twice every night. On top of that, I was tossing and turning, and finding myself waking up several times in the night for virtually no reason. Then it would take me a little while to get back to sleep. This is torture when it happens. I wake up so groggy and feeling like I got no sleep at all. I’ve found that if I take two gummies right before bed, I sleep soundly until I hear the kids hollering at me. Even then, I can fall back asleep easily, and I have been waking up more refreshed.

At $11.99, you can’t beat the price for better sleep.

Therapy Putty

The Squeeze Aromatherapy Therapy Dough Lavender 100% Pure Essential Oils

So I’m a huge fan of sensory stuff. While my sister bans Play-doh or anything like it from her house, I gladly welcome it. I enjoy squeezing and molding the dough as I find it soothing. I recently learned there is such a thing called therapy putty or therapy dough! I cannot be more excited. Because of all the typing I do (and my diabetes I’m sure), I’ve been having issues with stiff joints in my hands and fingers. Being able to squeeze putty is soothing and relaxing for my hands. Even better, you can find scented therapy dough to add a little extra relaxation. This lavender one tops my list.

Under Eye Mask

BrightJungle Under Eye Collagen Patch, 24K Gold Anti-Aging Mask, Pads for Puffy Eyes & Bags, Dark Circles and Wrinkles, with Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrogel, Deep Moisturizing Improves elasticity, 16 Pairs

I’ve been cursed with dark under-eye circles that just won’t quit. Obviously, my poor sleep makes it worse and I’ve found myself layering on the under-eye makeup as thick as I can without looking cakey. I’ve tried a few under-eye creams with no success, but have yet to give eye masks a whirl. These golden under eye masks look promising, with 1600+ largely positive reviews. People claim they are “soothing and cooling”, and help skin look firmer. With 16 individually wrapped pairs in the box, you get a lot for only $9.99. And the gold just gives it an added luxurious feel!

Shower Bombs

Cleverfy Shower Bombs for Valentines Day – [6x] Shower Steamers With Essential Oils For Aromatherapy And Stress Relief – Great As Birthday Gifts For Women, Gift For Mom, Unique Gift For Women

Before having kids, I was a bath gal all the way. There was nothing better than a hot bath, even in my modest, standard tub. Then motherhood hit and now I have two kids who refuse to give me two minutes of privacy or quiet to enjoy such a luxury as a bath. Instead, I have turned to scalding hot showers to ease my tired mama bones. And I’ve recently learned (I’m sure I’m about 50 years behind the times) of shower bombs. Just like a bath bomb, a shower bomb relies on the spray and steam from the shower to release soothing scents while you shower. Just put it in an area on your shower floor where there is a light stream of water, and you can enjoy multiple uses! I love eucalyptus and lavender scents, and this box of six includes both! This makes a perfect gift for busy moms and is a top seller, with 400 overwhelmingly positive reviews. If you can’t take mom to the spa, bring the spa to her.

Foot Peel Mask

2 Pairs Foot Peel Mask Exfoliant for Soft Feet in 1-2 Weeks, Exfoliating Booties for Peeling Off Calluses & Dead Skin, For Men & Women Lavender by Bea Luz

Listen, we are in the thick of winter and my feet are looking and feeling a little rough. I would love a little pseudo-spa treatment and for my feet to feel 20 years younger. With more than 3800+ overwhelmingly positive reviews, this foot mask seems to breathe new life into your crusty feet. Yes, please.

Casper Sleep Hybrid Mattress

Casper Sleep Hybrid Mattress, Queen 12″

I’m going to end this list with a bang! I’ve been on the hunt for a new mattress for a few years now. Ours is a decade old pillow top, which seems not to provide the amount of support I need as I get older. Memory foam mattress are a big thing now and something I’m definitely interested in. I got a memory foam pillow last year and I love it!

But I’ve heard conflicting things about memory foam mattresses, saying that some can wear out after about a year. Casper has been in the bed-in-a-box game for a while now, so they are a trusted brand. While they sell a complete memory foam mattress, I’m intrigued with the hybrid mattress as it seems to be the best of both words and may last longer. So, if my husband hits the lottery in the next week or so, he can order me one of these and win as the best gift-giver of a lifetime (even though he already does).

Whatever you end up getting for Valentine’s Day, I hope it shows you how much you are loved and appreciated!

Categories
Freelance writing

Launch Day

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Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

Since I feel like I never have enough to do [insert tired, manic laugh here], I decided to start up yet another website. Along with trying to check in here regularly and writing on Medium, I have now launched a professional site dedicated to my freelance writing business.

I write every day. Whether it’s for one of my sites or work, I feel like I am always typing. And my fingers ache. But it’s so worth it.

Within about a month I am taking a huge leap of faith and leaving my full-time corporate job to kick start my freelance business. Yikes. But the timing was right.

I am very excited to be more in control of the work I do and work when I want. With two young boys at home, I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to spend more time with them while I can.

So this is exciting stuff.

Shameless plug here, if you or someone you know has a business that is in need of writing (blog posts, articles for pitching to publications, and website and social media copy, please think of me.

I also have a Facebook page, so if you feel so inclined, give me a like!

I wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving and best wishes not losing your minds this holiday season.

Categories
parenting

Having a baby changes everything in a marriage

drew-hays-7tGqLzHcjZ8-unsplash
Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash

*This article originally appeared on Her View From Home.

I know you’re nervous. I know you’re excited. I know you’re feeling a love you never thought possible. A newborn baby, or a child placed in your arms—your child.

You’ve been overwhelmed by polite smiles and unsolicited “words of advice” about how to care for your new child. Most of these you can take with a grain of salt. Every child is different, and you will figure out what works best for you and your family.

But there’s one that I have to underline: kids change everything.

If you birth a child, your body changes. Any disposable income you had pre-kids will now go toward diapers and footie pajamas. Your once tidy home will become a bottomless pit of laundry and baby bottles waiting to be washed. It’s true—kids change all of these things.

But there’s something else lurking in the shadows—your relationship with your partner. It’s the elephant in the room. Everyone knows it but they don’t want to acknowledge it.

Remember that person you loved so much it actually hurt your heart to be away from him? Remember that person you spent hours and hours talking and laughing with? Remember that person you walked down the aisle toward and promised to love and cherish forever? When kids arrive on the scene, your relationship will be challenged like it never has before.

Raising kids is hard. The sleepless nights (or years) of babyhood. The constant touching as little ones climb on and cling to you. All of the things you must remember: When did the baby last eat? What time is the doctor’s appointment next week? What are we having for dinner tonight? The feeling of being so needed will burn you out like you’ve just ran a marathon 10 times over.

Kids are excellent at siphoning out your energy. ALL. OF. IT. And parenting is work—a labor of love. With all of this extra devotion going toward a new dependent person, your romantic relationship with your partner often hits the brakes.

And no, I’m not just talking about sex. If you’ve recently had a baby, are still nursing said baby, and/or struggling with postpartum mental health, sex is probably going to be the furthest thing from your mind, and that’s more than okay. But that quality one-on-one time you enjoyed spending with your spouse before having kids is suddenly replaced by a crying baby or hyper toddler who refuses to sleep.

Kids bring an added commitment. You’ve added another title: Mom. Of course, children will often be a priority for you, especially when they are small and so dependent. But my advice is this, don’t forget you have another relationship that requires some TLC—your marriage.

I say this not to add to your already overflowing plate, but to make a conscious note of it in your mind. And certainly it isn’t all on you. Relationships are the culmination of two people—two parties responsible for putting in the work.

What I’m saying is that kids change a marriage. Things will never be as simple as they were before kids. But the addition of children does a beautiful thing: it brings attention to what made you fall in love with your spouse in the first place. You see your partner in a whole new light.

When kids come along, you must find a way to connect to your partner. Find out what love languages he speaks and communicate what speaks to your heart. Make the time to be together now. Don’t wait until the fog of parenting has lifted and you realize you’ve simply become parents and not lovers.

Gestures don’t need to be of the grand variety. Little things go a long way. Sincere I love yous spoken softly in the dark. Bodies brushing up against each other as you move around the kitchen. Holding hands when you finally venture out of the house. Little love notes and “I miss you” texts throughout the day let each other know that while there is a new responsibility demanding your attention, your spouse still has a deep-rooted place in your heart.

 

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Uncategorized

I Gave Birth to Barnacle Babies

Photo by mauRÍCIO santos on Unsplash

I live smack dab in the middle of the country, no oceans around for more than a thousand miles. And yet, I have barnacles.

I took sail on my mother ship not knowing what to expect. I had an idea of what my course would look like, but you never truly understand motherhood until you are living it.  While I always imagined a close, loving bond with my children, I had no idea the severity of attachment would be so strong.

To my surprise, I was born not one, but two barnacle babies.

I don’t adhere to any parenting type (helicopter mom, tiger mom, crunchy mom, etc.). I’m just going with my gut and doing what I feel is right for me and my kids. Apparently feeling my way through motherhood has resulted in securing a strong attachment with my boys. I’d never even heard of attachment parenting until a few years ago when I started to research why my first baby wanted to be near me 24/7.

He started screaming at daycare drop off when he was four months old and didn’t really quit until he was well over two. Yikes. It split my tender mom heart to pieces every time I left him.

At almost four, he’s still very much attached to me. And his little brother? Possibly more so. If it isn’t me or his familiar daycare ladies, he will cry and/or run away. If I’m in the kitchen trying to prepare dinner, he’s usually right there, clinging to my leg. I sit on the floor in the living room and both boys fight with each other who gets to sit in my lap, despite me having two (large) legs – one for each kid.

I know there are people out there who will tell me “Enjoy it while I can.” “They don’t stay little for long.” Blah, blah, blah. And I love my boys and how much they love me. That is no question. But here’s the thing: being so needed is so exhausting. Being climbed on and whined at WEARS ME DOWN. When they finally go to sleep, all I want to do is crawl into bed and enjoy my personal space while I have it. Because I know only a few hours later, the cycle will begin again.

Here’s the thing, moms, if you have kids who want to be with you, near you, on you, you don’t have to love every second. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. Don’t let anyone guilt you about desiring some space – a single moment to yourself to catch your breath. It doesn’t make you a bad mother. We all know that we love our kids more than anything, but raising kids is hard. It’s physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. And if you’re an introvert like me, so much talking and physical touch zaps your energy.

I’m learning so much as a mom, about myself and what’s really important in this life. And the fact that my boys love me so much that I’m the first person they run to for anything is a blessing. I hope to always have a close bond with them.

So while my babies’ attachment may have caught me by surprise, I will nurture that bond and reinforce that I’m their safe space. Unconditional love will radiate from this mother ship right onto those barnacle babies.

 

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There’s nothing quite like the magic of babyhood

*This article originally appeared on Her View From Home.

Big brown eyes bordered by long delicate lashes lock with mine. Chubby cheeks grow rounder as a toothless smile spreads across his face. His feet kick excitedly and his arms reach out toward me. If I could freeze time, it’s moments like this that I’d keep forever.

There’s nothing quite like the magic of babyhood. But it is so fleeting. Pink, squeaky newborns quickly turn into soft, chubby infants, who become mobile masters of mischief. Then, before you know it, you’re blowing out a first birthday candle, celebrating your baby’s graduation into toddlerhood.

And after all the late-night feedings, early morning snuggles, fevers, colds and coughs, first foods, and oh so many diapers, you’re left with the realization that your baby has grown, and you find yourself surprised that you miss all of the difficult and not so pleasant parts of caring for a baby.

The love for my kids hit me like a ton of bricks when my first was born. It was shocking. As someone who believed she was strong and independent, my love for that baby brought me to my knees. He was mine and my purpose was to love and protect him.

I soaked up every moment with my first, experiencing all the newness of babyhood like a new mother does. Every milestone he met was an exciting new adventure.

Things are different with my second child. As I’ve watched my first baby grow into an active, conversational 3-year old, I fully understand how fast time really goes. And despite my best efforts, the universe has not granted my request to slow down time.

So I look at my second baby and know how fleeting this stage is. His soft, round cheeks will soon be the slimmer frame of a toddler’s face. His chubby hands that grip my fingers will roughen with play. His drooly baby babbles will someday form the coherent words and sentences of a pre-schooler.

While I’m excited to watch him reach all the milestones that an infant sees in his growth, it also tugs at my heart. Because I know that this baby is likely my last baby.

There’s such a bittersweetness of the last of the firsts. The last first smile. The last first crawl. The last first baby giggle. I would bottle it up if i could, to breathe in as time continues to transform my babies into boys, and one day, men.

While others are rushing around life, I’m desperately trying to grab a hold to slow it down. So if you’re wondering where I am, you will find me soaking in every moment of my last baby. You’ll find me doing the sleepy-eyed shuffle to the nursery to feed and comfort my son while others are sleeping. You’ll find me laying on the floor while my baby crawls and drools all over me. You’ll find me holding his sturdy, soft body until it feels like my arms will break off. You’ll find me so overwhelmed with love that I look at my kids and wonder how did I get to be so lucky?

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Photo by Julie Johnson on Unsplash

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I tried a weighted blanket. Here’s what happened.

Turns out weighted blankets aren’t miracle workers. At least not for me.

I believed weighted blankets were the unicorns of the sleep world, and catching one would surely grant me immediate access to an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

Oh, the things you believe when you’re exhausted.

Weighted blankets have become a trendy thing. With me, it started last holiday season. Target had them as a Black Friday deal for only $50. Weighted blankets, at least high-quality ones, can run upwards of well over $200, depending on the size you get.

I didn’t manage to snag one at that price, so I let it go for awhile. Then, recently my co-worker introduced me to the website Meh.com, which featured a weighted blanket for only $35! Being suspicious of it’s price, I ultimately went over to Amazon and found one for $50 and decent reviews. So I bought it.

I waited anxiously for my magic blanket to arrive. When it did, I was like a kid on Christmas morning.

I couldn’t wait to go to bed that night and try it out. My thought was I’d throw that 15 pound blanket on me and it would wrap me in its heavy hug and put me to sleep and keep me there all night, trapped like a happy little hostage.

My husband watched me with reservations. He only sleeps with a paper-thin sheet that he’s had for probably at least 15 years, and he’s also claustrophobic, so the idea of a weighted blanket being on him to sleep was not appealing at all. He told me I was going to get too hot.

I didn’t want to listen. No one should speak ill of my magic blanket.

The first night it was an odd sensation having 15 pounds of beads and material draped over my body. I kept my arms out and pulled the blanket down to just below my shoulders. Even in a camisole and shorts, I was getting warm.

I kicked a leg out to cool myself. Surely, I just needed to get used to it.

Night One brought no magical sleep. I would try again.

Night Two, I was less enthusiastic for sleep. It’s like I knew it wouldn’t be what I hoped but was in denial.

After two nights of feeling like I had a sprawled out toddler on me, heating my body like a little furnace, I threw in the towel. Weighted blankets are not magical wizards of sleep.

The next day, I folded it up and returned it to it’s package. I had also purchased a minky fleece cover that I never even opened (can you imagine the scorching heat?!).

So I returned the weighted blanket and cover, and in my never-ending quest for sleep, I purchased a memory foam cooling pillow, which I love. Next up, a new memory foam mattress. I will sleep well one day, right?

 

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Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

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My mom bod is a gift

*This post originally appeared on Today Parenting team

I look at a photo my husband took of me and our boys at a recent outing. Like most pictures of myself, I let out a heavy sigh as I analyze how I look in the photo. Our boys are so beautiful I often feel like I blemish the moment captured on camera. My mom bod sure isn’t the same that it used to be.

My mom bod has some extra pounds than my pre-kid body did.

My mom bod has thicker thighs and rounder arms.

My mom bod has a softer tummy and wider rear.

My mom bod has grey hairs and dark under eye circles.

My mom bod doesn’t fit into tight clothes like it used to.

My mom bod is tired, but it is oh so happy.

Those extra pounds came from growing and carrying two babies, and nursing them for over a year.

Those thicker thighs and rounder arms provide the support and shelter of mom’s arms.

The softer tummy provides the perfect comfort for snuggles.

The grey hairs and dark circles are reminders of late-night lullabies.

Form-fitting clothes have been swapped out for clothes that give me the comfort to chase around my two little boys.

My mom bod isn’t what I imagined it would be, but it’s a gift.

I was blessed to grow and deliver two healthy babies. I was able to provide nutrients for my babies for well over the first year of their lives. My body reflects this journey, and for that I am grateful.

As a woman with type 1 diabetes, I wasn’t sure what my motherhood journey would look like. I wasn’t sure if healthy pregnancies were possible. But I worked hard to be as healthy as possible for my babies. My body gave me two precious gifts, so how can I be mad at it for giving me everything I had ever hoped for?

Your mom bod might not be what you imagined, and maybe you don’t always like the way it looks in pictures, but it worked hard to make you a mom. Maybe it’s time we start cutting our mom bods some slack.

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