Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dirty Little Secrets Of Parenthood

I love the idea of breastfeeding so much and I support women everyday who want to breastfeed or are struggling to breastfeed - I am a lactation consultant so naturally, my plan was to breastfeed at least a year.  When my baby came I hated every moment of it!  I would feel so much anxiety as it got close to time to feed and tense up when I was feeding. It was a terrible experience and I lasted 6 months only because I felt so much pressure to do so.  I am still a lactation consultant and I still believe in breastfeeding, but now I understand another side of it.
-mom an 11 year old

I hate pinterest because it makes me feel like there is always something better I could do and it's exhausting trying to keep up with that.
-mom of two, ages 5 and 3

All my ideas come from pinterest.  I don't know what I did before everything became pinteresting!
-mom of three, ages 8, 6 and 3

I am a graphic designer and my kids tell people I am lucky because I get to use fancy crayons and markers all day, but I won't bring them home to share.  I used to correct them (mostly out of pride), but now I just agree and every once in awhile I will stop at the store on my way home and buy some new art supplies for them to try.
-mom of three, ages 10, 9 and 5

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How To Find Your Own Success

Yesterday I missed a call from a dear friend.  I wasn't able to call her back right away, but I am almost glad I missed it because I could literally feel her excitement through her voicemail and it was contagious (plus it gave me time to think).  At the end of the voicemail she asked me this -   

If you could do anything in the world, what would it be? What would you need? And what would that look like?

I used to have 100 things I could spout off and give 100 reasons why each was a good idea.  I knew what it would look like and exactly what I needed to achieve each great idea.  Before I had a baby, I was doing it all.  I was working toward many of my professional goals {and everyone else's goals} and the sky was my limit.  I would have argued that I could do anything I wanted to do and I truly believed that nothing and no one could get in my way.

Lately I have had a shift in the way I view success and happiness.  In some ways becoming a mom has left me feeling like a super hero.  I mean this is the hardest work I could do and I am in awe of what I am capable of.  But in other ways I am much more aware of my strengths and weaknesses - I no longer believe that I could or should do anything I want to.

One of my favorite blogger/photographers recently wrote about finding that 'sweet spot' where your skills, passions and opportunities all meet.  It is in that place that a person will truly be successful.  She posted the picture below and it has stuck with me all week. 

I am still thinking about what that one thing would be for myself, but suddenly I feel a sense of relief {truly} knowing that I was not made to do it all, instead I can focus on that 'sweet spot' and do it well.  But it's not just about me.  You see we are all in a position where we can encourage others {spouse, children, siblings, friends, etc.} to live in that success as well!

It is often difficult to see our own skills and talents, but those things are easily spotted by a parent, spouse or best friend.  Ask around and find out what you are known for and see if those things are being used everyday.  If the answer is yes then you are probably happy in your work and feel successful, but if the answer is no, you may feel like something is missing.

What would you do if you could do anything?  What's stopping you?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Three Types of Parents Handing Out Advice

Recently my husband and I have had the "privilege" of hearing a lot of opinions and advice about the way we parent.  Perhaps these little pieces of information have been thrown at us all along, but now that we have gotten a little sleep we are more inclined to hear them.  Regardless we have felt everything from gratitude to complete shock as we are blessed with these little gifts of advice.

It has been rather interesting to find that advice typically comes from three types of parents...

1.  The Seasoned Parent

This is the parent who has been there, done that.  They are likely the parents of teenagers or maybe adult children with kids of their own.  They remember the beauty in parenting, the joy in holding a new baby and how fast the years go by.  This group has two subgroups, the precious moments group and the judgemental group.  The precious moments group has valuable advice that comes from a kind heart.  It is, at times, hard to hear when in the trenches of parenting young children, but it should be stored away and considered when you have a moment to think.  The judgemental group doesn't remember the good or the bad of their own parenting experience - instead they remember the ideal and they believe they know the right way and can't wait to tell you how you are doing it wrong.  They are the ones who believe you should be doing the exact opposite of what you are actually doing.

2.  The New Parent

This group is often full of valuable advice because they are in the trenches with you.  They remember the good, the bad and the ugly because it happened yesterday and is on repeat today.  The problem is that it is extremely difficult to get advice from this group because they are tired, busy and {when given the opportunity to get out} would rather talk about something else.  When they are ready to share, this advice often comes out in word vomit because time is precious and they want to share as much as possible in a short period of time.

3.  The Perfect Parent

This group has a lot to say.  They are easily found and know more about the right and wrong way to parent than any other group.  They know the latest research.  They are the first to answer any question you have.  And they are easy to spot because they are well-rested, have flexible schedules, excessive free time and NO CHILDREN.

Here is my advice on parenting.....Keep on keepin' on!  And my hope for you is that this weekend brings something wonderful - maybe a little more sleep, a night out, or just lunch before 2:30!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Oh Valentines Day

This year I had wonderful plans of creating a special day full of cheesy Valentines themed junk.  We had festive clothes, little gifts, and the hope of yummy food throughout the day.  My husband worked nights this week so the girls woke up Saturday morning and let him sleep in.  As I started thinking about brunch, our little one decided she was ready for a nap, but she just wouldn't settle.  I tried everything (for two hours), but she continued to scream.  Finally, I was at the end of my rope so I threw my plans out the window and we got in the car to go for a drive.

Within minutes she was fast asleep and I could take a deep breath and enjoy the drive.  I stopped for some heart shaped donuts and got home just seconds after my brother and his friend pulled in and just as the babe was waking up.  Instead of breakfast in bed, my husband got an extra 30 minutes of sleep and a yummy donut AND our visitors made our day!  Plans didn't work out as hoped, but guess what.....everyone was ok.

The next day I tried again and had much more success!  We had a great day relaxing, made our guy breakfast in bed, ate lots of chocolate and took too many pictures.

Valentine's Day is about showing love to the ones who matter most and, when I take a step back and look with fresh eyes, I can see that goal was achieved without any extra fluff.  So I guess spreading it out all weekend was just an added bonus.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Creating Holiday Memories In The Hospital

Creating a festive backdrop for pictures is an easy way to provide some normalcy within the hospital and a unique opportunity for parents to have a picture without the typical hospital equipment taking away from their beautiful little one.

What you will need:

2 white sheets (one to cover the wall and another for the floor)
       I used streamers, a banner and paper fans, which I found for less than $5

Use a wall where the most natural light is behind the photographer and (in a well lit room) don't use the flash because this will often create shadows or make pictures too bright.  Consider the size of the children who will primarily be using the space when hanging decorations - if the decorations are too high they may be cut out of the picture or if they are to low they may seem misplaced.   

If a quality camera and printer are available, pictures could be taken for holiday activities or just to ensure each family has a copy.  It is also the perfect opportunity to let mom and dad take pictures with their phones, tablets, etc.  Just remember, not every parent is as comfortable with taking pictures so don't be afraid to assist especially when it comes to filling up the space and getting down so you are level with the child.
Plan ahead so you can leave the backdrop up for a few days - this way patients and families can come at a time that works best for them and bring festive clothes if they want/are able, but have some props or save items from donations for families who do not have the option of returning home for clothes.  And, since this activity is so easy and low cost, it can be taken bedside when isolation precautions are a factor.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

8 Months

8 months is an exciting time!  This little's personality is coming out more and more which means building lots of towers to knock down, constantly saying "gentle hands" and sharing tastes of any food possible.

Friday, February 6, 2015

One Year Ago...

One year ago we found out we were having a girl!

This picture was taken just a few days before my 20 week ultrasound.  My mom and I went to visit my brother in Daytona Beach.  I couldn't wait to get back to the snow and freezing temperatures to go to my appointment {now a year later, I would do anything to go back to the beach!}. It seems like a lifetime has gone by since this moment and in many ways it has.

This new life is more exciting than I could have imagined.  Those of you who have been following my journey know it hasn't been easy, but it has been wonderfully worth it!  This sweet girl has brought so much joy into our lives and we can't wait to see what else is in store.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Dirty Little Secrets of Parenthood

My son came up with this idea (all on his own) that the tooth fairy only came to get teeth that were perfectly brushed and healthy.  He would brush his teeth three times a day, floss and rinse without ever being asked. I never told him any different and he shared his knowledge with his younger siblings who all jumped on the same bandwagon.....except my youngest who I still hve to remind to brush his teeth.
-mom of four, ages 22, 20, 17 and 15

I order my groceries online so they are ready at exactly 4:30, but I leave my house at 3:30 and sit at Starbucks for an hour with a good drink and my book before picking them up.
-mom of two, ages 10 and 7

I was scared to death to have another baby because it took so long for me to bond with my oldest.  Well I thought I was scared, but if I really was I guess I would have remembered to take my birth control.....I instantly bonded with my second and had a renewed sense that I could be a great mom if I just cut myself some slack.
-mom of three, ages 11, 9, and 8