Tag Archives: motherhood

My Stress Reducing Techniques for Life With 3 Kids

reducing stress - life with 3 kids
This post includes review of a service I received for free in exchange for my personal honest feedback.

Life with 3 Kids

life with 3 kids reducing stress

It’s been awhile since I had a new post, but life with 3 kids is no joke! And I’ve been quite busy caring for and admiring my new baby boy! Seriously, isn’t he the cutest?!

Having a newborn is quite enough work, but having two other kids makes coping with the responsibility and workload a bit harder. However, I’ve found life with 3 kids much less stressful than I was told it would be. That must, therefore, make me an expert on the subject. Haha! I’m totally kidding. But, maybe I’ve hit on a few things that could help ease your family’s transition as well!

Here’s what has helped reduce stress in our household!

First of all…Being selfish. Yep, that’s what I said. All postpartum women are a little whack…we can’t help it. Hormones start to take a nosedive when the placenta is delivered. I recognized that and hogged my newborn baby for 3 full days, asked hubby to bring me every meal, and left our other kids completely in his care. It was such a relief to give myself the time and space I needed to recover without feeling guilty about it!! And it will probably never happen again unless I have another baby. Enjoy it while you can, mama!

Soaking in every moment. Some days I grumble because the baby insists on being carried all day, or wakes up yet again at night. But for the most part, I’m basking in the moments instead of dwelling on my to-do list. It reduces more stress than you could imagine!

I’m relaxing (now and then!). There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to some luxurious down time. Baby will be fine! Get away for coffee with friends and when you get home, your kids and hubby will be cuter than ever. 😉 I promise! You have to take care of the entire family, and that includes yourself!

Sometimes, I take a shower! (Gasp!) Even if it’s only 5 minutes and baby has to cry…You can’t look like a greasy mess and smell of spoiled milk all the time. What’s more depressing and stressful than that??

I’m accepting help from friends. Perhaps occasionally begging for it, haha! 😉 There’s no shame when you have a newborn.

I’m not afraid to flake. I recently had plans to go out with a friend. But the closer it got to girls night, the more I couldn’t fathom getting dressed up and being social. (It had been a rough day with the baby!) But I hated to cancel, and still wanted to see my friend. So I asked if she minded just hanging out at the house in exchange for some homemade cookies. She cuddled my baby while I had my baking therapy and then we ate warm, delicious cookies! It was a win-win situation for both of us! I needed time to breathe before I could be social. If you can’t handle something, be honest.

Prioritizing helps de-stress my days. Baby, older kids, and scavenging for food are my top priority right now! Accomplishing my main goals makes me feel less guilty for the things I didn’t get to.

Cutting back on laundry. I’m re-wearing any clothes that make it to the end of a day with no spit up, and making my kids do the same if at all possible. Because every little bit helps!

I admit I can’t do it all. I’m somewhat distraught by all the disorganization and how long it has been since I cleaned our bathroom. But it comes with the territory.

However, I do my best. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 10 minutes!

I resist feeling discouraged. As long as I’ve done my best for the day and my kids know they’re loved, that’s a worthy enough accomplishment.

Avoiding overcommitment is key! I am minimizing as many unnecessary/stressful activities as possible. It is difficult enough considering how I will ever get the house clean or food on the table. I focus on simply getting by! Remember to stop and smell the roses…or your baby. 🙂

Also, we’ve been relying on freezer meals! It was a huge sacrifice of time and effort while I was pregnant and experiencing sciatic nerve pain, but freezer meals are so worth it postpartum!! Having that extra free time to love on my little guy once he arrived was absolutely precious.

I’m making easy meals when I do cook. Now is not the time to start making all your bread from scratch. Now is the time you get food on the table as quickly as possible, regardless how healthy it is. No vegetable? No problem. We’ll make it up another day. And, FYI, Costco has yummy, fresh, ready made meals!

BUT. I also tried a meal delivery service! Thanks to Sunbasket, my family received two healthy, organic meals with humanely raised, antibiotic and hormone-free meat (one meal had organic tofu instead). My meal ingredients arrived in one carefully packed, insulated box with recyclable packaging!

meal delivery service
The box arrived with all ingredients necessary for two quick, healthy meals!
meal service - life with 3 kids
Look at those fresh ingredients! I was so impressed with the quality of the vegetables!
Life with 3 kids - cooking
See how happy I am to be cooking an exciting new recipe?!?

In only about 30 minutes, exactly as the Sunbasket site claims, we had a healthy, nutritionist approved meal on the table. Portions were generous; we even had leftovers! Our meals supposedly served 2 adults and 2 kids, but we didn’t want to share, haha! My husband and I ate the leftovers for lunch the next day – and it definitely didn’t seem like a child sized portion.

Life with 3 kids - Sunbasket meal delivery
This was our first meal, and it was amazing. It said FRESH noodles on the package, and by golly, they were! Soft, fresh, delicious noodles!
Sunbasket meal delivery service
Having everything premeasured cut the prep time considerably. It was SUCH a treat for a postpartum mama like me. I love to cook healthy meals, but am struggling to find the time!
Sunbasket meal service
The steak stir-fry bowl was so gorgeous, bright, and colorful! I did add a little extra sauce, but loved all the fresh veg in this stir fry!

I LOVED my meal delivery service and am itching to do it again already! It was so fun creating new recipes with unique ingredients that may be hard to find at the grocery store!

Sunbasket gave me a unique discount code to share with my readers! Use this link : http://bit.ly/2r1ABZU and receive 50% off of your first Sun Basket order! 

One last note about coping with those newborn days…Don’t forget about the joy your older children bring to the family. Of course baby is brand new, and everyone will be starstruck. But avoiding jealous siblings is a huge part of reducing stress when adding to your family!  I’m working on a post about helping your older children bond with your new baby, so stay tuned for that! You can follow my Facebook page to see new posts!

Thank you for reading and good luck with your sweet new baby!

 

 

 

 

How Your Friend with the Colicky Baby Really Feels (And How You Can Support Her)

colicky baby

Hi, my name is Rachel and I had a colicky baby.

I’ve thought several times of writing a post with tips how to survive, tips for soothing a colicky baby, etc. But there are many good resources already, I’m sure. However, I didn’t have time to research them during our colicky baby “adventure”. I had my hands full – literally – with a crying baby nearly every waking minute of the day. Even the non-waking moments.

colicky baby

So I thought today, I would write about how having a colicky baby made me feel. If you know a mom with a colicky baby, read my tips in the bullet points. Maybe they will help you understand and support your friend a little better. 🙂

Looking back, that time for me is a blur. I don’t remember much except feeling miserable and alone. Now, I look at photos of my baby girl and I see how adorable she was. In that moment, my heart swells, and I remember the love and adoration I felt when I snapped that photo of her sweet face. But then I also see that tear, still fresh on her cheek, and I remember what a brief respite from the crying that moment was. That mostly I felt in that moment sweet relief, and an anxious fear that any moment she would resume crying. I felt a desperation to capture as many non-crying moments as I could, but there were so few!

Colic is supposed to last about 3 months, but in reality, I feel like ours lasted much longer. I didn’t relax or feel like I could take a deep, easy breath until she was one year old.

I didn’t have any family in the area to help me, so I never got a break. I was alone all day with a two year old and a crying baby.

If I went out into public, baby would taunt me by being on her best behavior. I felt ridiculous, like if I told people what our days were really like, they would never believe me. Probably the reason baby was so good in public is because I typically carried her in a ring sling or wrap. She loved to be held. While you were standing. And moving. But try doing that all day long on only four hours of sleep and see how you feel!

  • If your friend tells you she’s having a rough day, that her baby cries all the time, that she can’t take it anymore, pay attention. Don’t brush her off as being overly dramatic.

I don’t know how many times I tried to tell people I was struggling, and no one ever seemed to really understand the depths of my misery.

I received help just once. A friend saw a post of mine on Facebook and came over to show me some tips that worked for her colicky little guy. I was never so grateful when my baby slept for the next four hours – the longest stretch ever!! Except then the baby was up all night. I was damned if she slept, damned if she didn’t. Nothing I did mattered, nothing helped, nothing would make it better. I was at my wit’s end.

  • If your friend vents on Facebook once in a blue moon, don’t EVER tell her how blessed she is to have a baby in the first place. That it isn’t as easy for some people to get pregnant. That some people can’t have babies at all.  Chances are, she knows this full well, and feels like crap for not being capable enough, patient enough, or good enough to handle her own life and child.

When I had a colicky baby, I felt trapped. I wasn’t accomplishing anything, just barely surviving. My house was a mess, prepping healthy meals and snacks to get myself back to a normal pre-baby weight was nearly impossible, and I wasn’t able to do anything I enjoyed.

  • If your friend smiles and tells you she’s doing ok, don’t believe her. Never give her the benefit of the doubt. Offer to take hold baby. Get the woman a cup of coffee. Of course she can do it with one hand, but she would like to feel a surge of freedom now and then. 🙂

By evening, when hubby got home, I was exhausted. But my day wasn’t over because colic gets worse in the evening. And forget sleeping soundly…my baby was fussy even in her sleep. I could hear her rustling, crying out, whimpering during the night. And then she would wake to eat more often than necessary, sometimes only 45 minutes after her last meal. She didn’t like to take a bottle, even if I actually found the time to pump her milk.

Being on call 24/7, with never a restful night’s sleep takes a toll on you mentally, emotionally, and physically!

My daughter also liked to comfort nurse – I was her pacifier! More often than not, me and my boob were the only path to happiness and harmony. This is incredibly draining (no pun intended, ha!), and puts such a great weight on one’s shoulders.

What would have helped me back then was a listening, non-judgmental ear.

I also could have used a friend who let me dash out to the grocery alone while baby napped. Someone who would hold and walk with the baby while I took a shower. I was desperate for peace and quiet, with time to do something I loved – cooking or baking. I daydreamed about cooking giant meals and decadent desserts for anyone who would come and hold my baby for awhile.

  • Moms of colicky babies don’t need your judgment. They need your help to keep their sanity.

I loved my baby, but I couldn’t take her constant crying and need for attention. People would tell me, “They grow up so fast; enjoy the cuddles while you can!”. But how do you enjoy non-stop kisses and snuggles while your house falls down around your ears? When you never get to talk to your husband because you can’t hear each other over the noise? When you look in the mirror and all you see is a fat, tired, slob?

When people made those “enjoy this time!” remarks, it only made me feel guilty and even more downtrodden than I already was.

At age 2.5, my daughter is still a more difficult, dramatic child than my first born ever was. But she is also the sweetest, cuddliest little cupcake you ever did see. She is funny and spunky and full of life. And I can totally see how she was a colicky baby. She was a needy, high maintenance baby just as she is a needy, high maintenance toddler.

I wish I could have seen then what I see now, and comprehended her personality a little better. Because it all makes sense, now!

But what matters is that one way or another, we somehow made it through the colic. We all survived. And hopefully now, both you and I can help someone with a colicky baby someday. 🙂

Being a mother means…

Being a Mother Means...

My observations on what being a mother means…

Being a Mother Means...

Being a mother means….

You forget what personal space is.

You eat cookies in the closet because you don’t want to share.

Sometimes the most unattainable dream is simply having 5 minutes of pure, blessed silence.

And if you ever get those 5 minutes of silence, you’ll rue them when you see what havoc the kids have wreaked in your absence .

You just might discover that you know every word to the most popular Disney songs….and you love belting them out!

The days of listening to grownup music are fading fast…because you either don’t want to explain the adult lyrics, or the demands for Disney songs (see above) are too overpowering.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Literally. Read your talkative four year old a book and you’ll find you can barely get past the first illustration…”What’s that? What’s he doing? Why is she wearing that? Where are they going? Is that a boy or a girl? Why are they carrying a backpack?”….

Dinner is quite possibly the most stressful time of your day – from making it, to eating it, and to cleaning up the mess afterwards.

You forget what your living room floor looks like.

You wear the same clothes until they get snot or poop on them to cut down on laundry.

Shopping becomes an Olympic Sport, involving intensive training (be quiet, don’t touch, stay with me, etc.), hard work, sweat, tears, and moving as rapidly as you can to get down the aisle and out of the darn store.

Before kids, you were young and carefree. Now you’re old and curmudgeonly, and your favorite word is, “No.”

Being a mother also means….

You don’t sleep in any more, even on weekends, but oh those early morning snuggles!

So many kisses and hugs. So. Many.

As frustrating as the plethora of toys in your house are….you can’t resist buying new ones you’re certain your kids will love and cherish forever (or at least a day or two).

Any time you need an excuse to stay home, you’ve got it, baby! Same goes for anytime you need an excuse to get OUT.

You’ll take personally the compliments directed at your little one…What an adorable little girl? Why thank you, I’m her personal stylist!

You’ll gain the utmost joy and pride in another person’s accomplishments…rolling over, taking steps, and peeing in the potty never seemed so miraculous and brilliant until now.

You’ll become a pro at terrorizing young children that are mean to your kids. Don’t worry about it; they have it coming to them.

Both rational and irrational fears will abound. No matter how rational you were before you had kids.

You may begin to wonder if you have an undiagnosed anxiety disorder. Or need anger management classes.

Your constant companions are surefire conversation starters. Great for making new friends!

For the next few years, you will live with the cutest little comedians you ever did see. Daily shows, free admission, just sweat and tears to get in!

You will hear the words, “I ‘lub’ you so much” and know that it is the truest, sweetest, purest form of love ever bestowed upon any human.

dark-pink-heart

My Week Of Healthy Breakfasts

I’ve realized if I’m going to survive motherhood, I am going to have to give it my best shot. Most of us do that already, but there’s always room for improvement! There are many things on my “Better Mommy To-Do list”, but the one I’m going to talk about today is healthier breakfasts…

The many health benefits of eating breakfast are no secret- I’m sure nothing I could say on the topic would be news to you! For myself, I’ve seen firsthand how irritable I get when I don’t eat a filling, nutritious breakfast and how evvvvveryone around me suffers as a result. When I eat breakfast, I spend less time on social media and more time cleaning. Or interacting with my kids. Or planning meals. I have way more energy! It puts me in a better mood for (most of) the day. My husband has said that it’s a good thing humans don’t eat their young…because our kids would have been goners. That’s probably because I was hangry! (see definition-it’s a real word)

hangry

So, I know by now you all are aching to know what I typically eat for a healthy breakfast. (haha!) Well, here is everything I ate for the past past week, recipes linked!

My Week of Healthy Breakfasts

First up is my absolute favorite healthy breakfast, and believe it or not, it is made with chickpeas. I beg you not to turn up your nose at the oddity of that- give this Vegan Cookie Dough Bowl a try! I tried it only out of desperation and a plethora of chickpeas, but I love it, and my kids love it! Chickpeas are like a blank canvas! Dinner, breakfast, appetizer…the possibilities are endless. In this recipe, I pulverize peanuts first to make the peanut flour, and I leave out the chocolate chips. Honey or maple syrup works for the agave if you’re not vegan. I double or triple the batch and have enough for several days of breakfast. Between the nuts and the chickpeas, a small bowl of this will keep me full until noon, every time!

Next up is Pumpkin Spelt Muffins. Now, if you don’t collect ancient grains like I do, don’t worry- whole wheat can be substituted. These were quick and easy to whip up. Plus, my girls loved them, so it fed the whole family! My only complaint is that they were eaten up too quickly!

Another slightly strange one, but also a favorite- Overnight Buckwheat Parfait from Oh She Glows. It’s totally worth buying a bag of buckwheat, due to its versatility. Easy to grind up in a coffee grinder and use as flour in baked goods, or use whole for a slightly nutty crunch in recipes like this one! Buckwheat is gluten free and high protein. What I love about this recipe, is that you prep half of it the night before and even that only takes about two minutes. In the morning, rinse off your buckwheat and throw everything together, topping it with your favorite fruit(s). I leave out the banana in this, because they’re gross. I sweeten it with a bit of maple syrup. I like a warm breakfast sometimes, so I like to nuke this for 30 seconds or so- especially good when strawberries are in season! Mmm…warm strawberries….

On the weekends, hubby often makes me a bagel, egg, and cheese. No recipe needed! I consider this healthy because well…it’s an EGG, and we only use half a bagel, usually whole wheat. Plus calcium…we all need calcium! I love that my hubby does this for me!! ♥

Last up, Pumpkin Coconut Flour Pancakes. I bought coconut flour to experiment with and still have some to use up. Not a huge fan, mostly because it soaks up the moisture in everything and you need to use a TON of eggs for any recipe. If you follow a grain-free diet though, this isn’t a terrible option. Coconut flour is high in protein and fiber, so it helps you stay full! This recipe makes 12…it barely fed me and two toddlers, but I have a one year old who can eat like a man. Ha!

A whole week down of healthy breakfasts, and I’m starting over tonight with my overnight buckwheat parfait already soaking in the fridge. Yum! For more breakfast ideas (some healthy, some not), follow my Breakfast board on Pinterest! Take care of yourself, and your family will thank you! Actually, they probably won’t…most likely they’ll continue to be ungrateful wretches. But you never know. If you are nicer, maybe they will be, too.  🙂

Follow Me on Pinterest

What’s your favorite breakfast that keeps you going?