Welcome Home, Atticus.

Hey friends, 

It's been a minute since I've come to chat with y'all here. Since I've been gone, our family welcomed Atticus earth side, and we've been devouring up all of his newborn goodness since then. We've also been adjusting to having three kids and being completely outnumbered. I think Daniel and I go back in forth between being completely enamored and completely defeated. It wouldn't be parenthood without that reality though, I'm pretty sure, so it looks like we are doing something right. 

Atticus is seven weeks old now! I honestly can't believe it. And while I had a great plan lined up for keeping the flow of work going, it all fell by the wayside once he made his appearance. After what my doctor called a traumatic birth a week before his due date, it took me some time to recover both mentally and psychically. Then once I recovered mentally, okay recovered for the most part, I came into the problem of Atticus never wanting to be put down. Any mamas out there relate to that? 

I decided that I was going to embrace the longer than planned maternity leave, and the slow, exhausted moments of this stage. This is my last baby, and I want to take in every moment possible. I'm already panicking that it's going by way too fast. So you'll see me around here more than I have been lately, but if it's quiet for a few days, you know why. 

All of my love, 

Leslie

5 Easy Ways to Embrace Self-Care After Baby

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If you’re anything like me, the concept of self-care was hard to grasp at first. I was so used to doing everything for everyone else that taking time to pamper myself felt...well, selfish. After talking to a few of my mommy friends, I realized that I’m hardly alone in this regard. Something that I’ve experienced, and had validated by those mommy friends, is that self-care after having a baby is extremely difficult.

You’ve spent nine months growing a little person inside of you and after you’ve given birth, it feels extremely selfish to take time away from your little one to pamper yourself when they’re the ones who need all of the care. However, embracing self-care is so incredibly important. You can hardly be the best friend, mother or partner without taking time out of your busy schedule to make sure that you are okay. The word “self-care” may send off other alarms in your head like Expensive! and Time-consuming! But it doesn’t need to be that way.

Here are five easy and practical ways to embrace self-care as a new momma:

Hot shower

This may seem like a given, but think about it- when’s the last time you had a hot shower or bath? You’ve probably spent more time bathing and cleaning up after your newborn than making sure you’re fresh and clean. As simple as it may sound, a hot shower or bath can do wonders.

Affordable subscription boxes

Everyone deserves a little treat here and there- especially new moms. Monthly subscription boxes are all the rage; no matter what makes you feel beautiful, whether it’s makeup or lingerie, there’s an affordable subscription box out there for you. My favorite is Splendies Underwear. They deliver three pairs of cute, high-quality undies every month- and they are so comfortable.

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Grocery pick-up/delivery

Being a mom takes a lot of energy- don’t burn the last of yours lugging babies around the grocery store. It's an unneeded headache when almost every store has grocery pick up or delivery now. Do yourself a favor and order your groceries online, in the comfort of your own home, and have them delivered right to your door.

New postpartum clothes

Many women don’t want to buy new clothes after having a baby- they’d rather wait until they could fit in their pre-baby clothes. Don't wait to get to the ideal size. Feel good NOW. Your postpartum body will be squishy and harder to buy for, but don't get down on yourself. Find something you feel good in and rock it.

Ask for Help

Asking for help doesn’t make you a weak person and it definitely doesn’t make you a bad mom. Sometimes the best form of self-care is getting a much needed break. Ask your partner, friends or family to watch your baby for a little while, whether it’s to go get coffee with the girls or just catch a nap in the other room.

Embracing self-care as a new mom can be scary, but I can assure you that taking the time to get yourself something nice or pay for a service that can make your life easier is well worth it. Trust me, you have enough on your plate already. Self-care doesn’t have to be an elaborate spa day or a weekend vacation. Instead, it can be a new pair of jeans or delivered groceries. And, speaking from experience, it will feel just as good.

3 Ways to Pull Yourself Out of a Rut and Crush Your Goals

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3 Ways to Pull Yourself Out of a Rut and Crush Your Goals

Well, crap. You're doing great, movin' and a-shakin', and then all of a sudden you have no motivation to do anything. We all get a bit stuck sometimes. Whether we’re feeling overwhelmed by work or family, or simply haven’t taken enough time out of our days to practice self-care, burnout is real.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve fallen into the habit of taking on endless responsibilities while maintaining the belief that, no matter how much is on your plate, you can handle everything. I hate to break it to you, but you’re not Superwoman- and neither am I. 

Honestly, with everything going on with our home, and being pregnant while juggling two other kids, I have been in a rut a lot lately. I am learning how to cope with it all though, and how to pull myself out of it. 

Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way:

Be nice to yourself

When I get stuck in a rut, the first thing to happen is negative self-talk. "I know I can handle this, so why am I stuck?" I’m better than this, "why am I being so lazy?" "If I can’t get out of this rut, I’m going to ruin everything I’ve worked for."

Negative self-talk is incredibly damaging, but also unfortunately common. It can make me spiral and make the problem so much worse. What I’ve learned is that this negativity never helps pull me out of the rut I’m in.

However, if I practice extra self-care and start speaking to myself positively, I have much more motivation to understand why I’m in a rut and learn how to pull myself out. Try replacing negative self-talk with encouraging statements and I guarantee you that you’ll crush every goal you set for yourself.

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Set achievable goals

One of the reasons that I find myself getting stuck in ruts is because I have too much on my plate at one time. These other Instagram moms and bloggers (though I love being inspired by them as much as the next social media obsessed mama) make it look so easy to balance raising a family, working a full-time job, working out every day and cooking healthy meals, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret: it’s not.

And let me tell you if you are comparing yourself and your daily experiences to someone's highlight reel, you're going to have a bad time. That’s not because you’re not determined and dedicated, but it’s because your goals aren’t realistic and we aren't seeing the full picture on social media. It's just a glimpse of the good moments.  Block it all out, and focus on your goals - not what anyone else is doing. Be realistic about timing, and don't take on more than you can chew when you've already got a lot going on. 

Be honest with yourself

Honesty is the answer to many of my problems in life. When I get stuck in rut, there’s always a reason, but I get so focused on pulling myself out of the rut that I don’t look for the cause. Treating the symptoms rather than the illness is dangerous. When you fall into a rut, be honest with yourself: what’s really going on? Have you been skimping on sleep, are you having marital problems, are you too stressed? All of these can cause you to fell into a rut and, without being honest with yourself and identifying the real reason, you’ll keep falling into these ruts. Honesty can help you overcome your struggles and crush your goals.

No matter how stuck you feel, remember that nothing is permanent. Don’t mistake a chapter in your life for the entire novel; you can pull yourself out of this rut. Getting stuck in life is something that will continue to happen, but if you have the tools to snap out of it, you will always be able to meet your goals and you will come out of your ruts a much stronger woman.

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What Your Baby Needs: From a Mama of Three

  This blog post contains affiliate links from my Amazon account to help support my family, however, please know that all products I've listed here are items that I've chosen from my own experience. I hope you find them as useful as I have. 

This blog post contains affiliate links from my Amazon account to help support my family, however, please know that all products I've listed here are items that I've chosen from my own experience. I hope you find them as useful as I have. 

As we prepare for baby number three, my list of what we need has dramatically changed. It can be SO overwhelming for new parents to know what they will actually need. Now, here's the thing. I live by the parenting motto of, "what works for one family, works for one family." Meaning, just because something worked great for me, doesn't mean I presume to assume it would work the same for yours. 

However, I do love to share tidbits, when wanted, so that other mamas can get feedback on things they've been considering. After all, it takes a village and if my experience can help at all, I'm all for it.  

So, when I'm talking about 'what you actually need,' I mean what has made my life as a mom easier. Lord knows that being a parent has enough challenges, so for me, need means what makes the process easier. This isn't the "you'll need 5 of this kind of outfit, and 6 of this kind" type of post. 

This is a "this item helped keep me sane and I recommend for your sanity, trying it out" type of post. 

So let's jump into it! 

1. Zip Up Onesies

Let me say this one with emphasis. ZIP UP ONESIES. Do you know how many diapers a baby goes through? SO MANY. By the second diaper of the day (or better yet at 2 am) you will not want to spend an extra 5 minutes on buttoning 17 buttons per onesie. My favorite ones are from Boody Baby. You can grab them here

2. Diaper Pail

I don't care what anyone says, having a diaper pail was clutch with Amelia and it's the first gift I sent to my BFF when I found out she was pregnant. Why? Because nobody has time to take every diaper out to the dumpster and I don't want to waste garbage bags by having to take unfull ones out every night. Put those stinkers in a diaper pail and save yourself some time and energy. 

I used the Diaper Genie with Amelia and it worked well, especially for the price. There are several options out there though. 

Get yours here, here or here

3. Owlet Baby Monitor

This isn't your typical baby monitor, so don't let the name fool you. There aren't other products out there like this one, and it's worth the investment. While I still use a traditional baby monitor for viewing my little one when I'm not in the room, there is no comfort like Owlet comfort. Let me tell you why. 

If you're a first-time parent, you might not realize this yet, but you're going to lose a lot of sleep - and no I'm not talking about all of those precious middle of the night feedings. I'm talking about all of the other times when your sweet little baby is fast asleep and you, my friend, will be awake checking to make sure your baby is still breathing. 

I know it sounds absurd now, but SIDS is real, and so are the horror stories of babies who stopped breathing because they covered their face, somehow rolled over, or just stopped for no known reason. There are times I still check to make sure Amelia is breathing. And you know what, there isn't a mom I've spoken to that doesn't do the same. 

With baby boy, I don't want to be up when I could be sleeping. I love this product so much that I'll be doing a full review of it soon, but in the meantime, what you need to know is this. It's a little sock that goes on baby's foot, and it tracks their oxygen levels and heart rate. If something isn't right, it will notify you immediately.

Worth. Every. Penny.

Get yours here.

Also be sure to check out their disclaimer before purchasing. 

4. Snuggle Me Organic Sensory Lounger

So here's the thing about babies. They are used to being tucked all warm and cozy in mama's belly, and they like that security. If you take them straight from the womb and move them to a crib or bassinet without any other comfort, you're going to have a bad time. 

Enter a baby sensory lounger. Don't roll your eyes at me. That's what they are called, and as a mama with a child who has sensory issues, I'm all for starting them out feeling as comfortable as possible. It's basically a little pillow like lounger designed to hug your baby, keeping him or her feeling safe and secure like they were being held. 

Get yours here

5. Foldable Baby Tub

With my first baby, I wanted the coolest tub I could find. I thought it would be so cute to see her sitting in a little tub all of her own, and it would save water! Y'all. They are SO fricken impractical. What actually happens is you have a big piece of junk that 96% of the time you don't know what to do with or where to store and the pros absolutely do not outweigh the cons. 

Do yourself a solid and buy a foldable baby tub that can easily be stored when not being used. There are so many options out there. You can get them with a little plastic that still folds semi-decently, or you can get ones that you can just put in your sink and fold away when you're done. 

Check out some options here, here, and here

7. A Crib

I know some parents choose to co-sleep, and you won't find any judgment from me on that. Again, I'm a do-what's-right-for-your-family type of gal. That being said, I think even for the co-sleeping fams, a crib you love is essential.  There will be times that baby needs to sleep during your non-sleeping hours and you'll want to get things done in peace without fearing that they will roll off the bed. 

Cribs are one of those baby items that are super versatile because there are so many options out there to fit your families needs. Maybe you want one that can transition into a toddler bed. Or maybe you just want a super cute bassinet to start out with. Or maybe you want a mini crib to put beside your bed in your room. There are so many options. Find one that is right for you. 

You can check out some options here, here, and here

There you have it! My must-have items from a mama of three. You'll absolutely be finding all of these items in my home shortly (as soon as we are done rebuilding - womp, womp). But don't get it twisted, I have a whole other list of items I just really want that I'll be sharing too. Hey, even mamas of three like fun little non-necessity things. 

Until next time, 

Leslie

5 Ways to Be Unapologetic in Motherhood

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The other day I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about a situation she's been facing more frequently lately.  I won't go into the personal details out of privacy for her, but after our conversation, I immediately knew I needed to write about the generality of it because it's such a common theme we face as mothers. 

Why as mothers are we always made to feel guilty for our decisions? 

From the day I gave birth to Ava, I immediately was put on the defensive. I was young so I immediately felt the eyes on me. I didn't go out, I didn't make irresponsible decisions (for the most part), and I was focused completely on building a better life for her and me. But it wasn't enough. I was constantly questioned. I took it personally because I was young and thought that was why. 

But the truth of it is, mothers are judged constantly regardless of their age. For what they are doing, and for what they aren't. By society, by other mothers, by fathers, by friends, and even by family. What we are feeding them, how we are diapering them, sleepovers or no sleepovers, single mothers or married mothers. Everyone thinks they know best when it comes to how a mother should parent her child, and let me tell you, I'm OVER it. 

As my friend was talking and telling our group of friends about the situation, I heard her making justification and justification as to why she was making her decision and I realized we all do this. We all feel like we need to explain why we are making the best choice for our family or our children. But why? 

WHY. 

Let me tell you, mamas, I'm not here for it. I'm not here for the judgement, the snide comments, the side-eye, and the superiority or audacity of someone thinking they know how to parent my child better than I do. If you are my husband, you get a say. If not, you're irrelevant to the decision.

Harsh? Maybe. But after 12 years of it, y'all, I'm not here for it, and you shouldn't be either.

Here are five ways you can become unapologetic in motherhood. 

1. Learn to be confident in your decisions

This is the number one thing I want to see more mothers embrace (myself included). More times I can count, I've been brought to tears by another woman who felt she had a right to judge my parenting. After talking to friends, I learned I wasn't alone in that.

Ladies, mother to mother, this shit is hard. Why on God's green earth are we torturing each other? You can be supportive and give advice (when it's asked for) without belittling. 

And mamas, regardless of what Susan thinks, you know your child and you are a good mom. I don't care if you give your child sugary cereal or just haven't gotten bedtime on lock yet. You are a good mother, and you don't have to justify anything to anyone. 

2. Stop explaining and stop apologizing

This is one of my biggest faults. I feel the need to explain everything. Even when it's something as silly as wanting to order myself a kids meal. I feel the need to make people understand why I did what I did - like I did something wrong. WTF is that? Newsflash, they don't need to understand it. Unless you have hurt them or done them wrong personally, your decision is your decision. If they don't agree, it's okay. 

3. Remove negative or disrespectful people from your life

This was a hard one for me. I forgive easily, but there have come times in both of my children's lives when I've had to say, "This is my parenting decision, and if you can not accept it, we will remove ourselves from your company."

Family, friends, co-workers - whoever. There is no one in my life as important as my children, and to insult my ability to mother them is the greatest insult of all. It's been hard for me, when I've had to do it. I've cried and felt sick over it because I hate confrontation and I hate being at odds with anyone, especially people I care about. But I hate being walked on more, so if I've made my decision clear, respect it. 

4. Forgive yourself

You're going to mess up. You're going to feel guilty. Your kids will probably say something mean to you or about you at some point because they are human. Just like you. We make justifications for our mistakes when we don't need to. Learn from them, and do better next time. Don't hold on to it. You are worth more than that. Trust me. 

5. Support other mothers

The more you open up your mind to the different ways of parenting, the more confident you'll be in your own decisions. It's okay for Susan down the street to only use reusable diapers, feed her kids organic perfect meals, and never ever forget anything. It's not your style but she's a good mom. And it's okay for you to use disposable diapers, pick up fast food on the way home, and what's that? Oh yeah, you forgot the kid's permission slip... again. It's not Susan's style, but you're a good mom. 

Susan might look like she has it alllll the way together, but she doesn't. Just like you don't have it all the way apart. We all feel like a hot mess express more often than not, and question if we are doing what's best for our kids, and hope and pray we somehow don't screw up this little life we love so much (most days). 

Support each other. We all need it. It's good for other mothers, and it's good for you. 

That's about all the preachy-ness I have in me for the day. So, mamas, I hope today you go out there and be your bad self, no apologies necessary. 

xo, 
Leslie

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