You Know You’re a Mom When…

I was laughing with some friends the other day as we compared baby notes. We were in hysterics over how we run towards vomit instead of away from it like we used to. It got me to thinking about all the ways you know you’re a mom. So here, presented in good humor, are 25 clear signs you’re a mother…

  1. You’ve been washing the same load of laundry for three days because you forgot to dry it.
  2. It’s not only normal that you pick up another human to smell their butt, it’s a necessity.
  3. You only shower when you know you’ll be leaving your house, or when you’re expecting company.
  4. All of your fantasies involve sleeping uninterrupted.
  5. Going to the grocery store by yourself feels like a vacation.
  6. You have the ability to hear a sneeze through a closed door, down the hall, in the middle of the night, while your hubby snores next to you.
  7. You wish there was drive through EVERYTHING.
  8. When you don’t even flinch after realizing that you’ve gone the whole day with a mystery stain on your shirt that suspiciously looks like poop or puke, or both!
  9. You get excited about picking someone else’s nose and/or sucking their snot.
  10. Whenever you take a shower, you can swear you can hear your child crying, but when you turn off the water, there’s only silence.
  11. Your kids are dressed beautifully and ready to go, and you’re still in pyjamas.
  12. You make the baby an organic meal, and you’re surviving on coffee and cookies.
  13. You realize you’re swaying, without holding your baby!
  14. You will literally strangle whoever rang the doorbell while your child was napping.
  15. You find yourself talking about poop in public, again…
  16. Your idea of working out is lugging the baby carrier, diaper bag and portable activity center in and out of the car.
  17. You cry at every diaper commercial.
  18. You have entire Pinterest boards devoted to crafts and DIYs and you never actually get around to doing them.
  19. You take it personally when a stranger doesn’t wave back to your baby.
  20. Coffee is now one of your love languages.
  21. You find yourself humming “Old McDonald Had A Farm”, or “Twinkle, Twinkle”.
  22. You know all the words from your kids’ talking toys (“Have you met my friend the red fish?” or, “thanks for calling!”)
  23. You deleted apps on your phone so that you can take more pictures of your kid.
  24. Being in the car alone is exciting.
  25. When CEO’s can learn a thing or two about how much you can multi-task.

REAL TALK: Add your own! What are some of the ways that you know you’re a mom? Share below!

Things I’ve Bought Recently

In my “real life” (the one where I work full-time and have disposable income), I would treat myself nearly every week. There’s something thrilling about a package arriving at the door…almost like it’s your birthday every day! Alas, maternity leave/new house/baby has significantly reduced my weekly treats to exciting things like Amazon diaper subscription and toilet paper from Costco. Wow, I live a glam life!

But, recently, I’ve been itched to do a little “treat yo self” time and have been indulging in some purchases for myself. And OH THE GUILT! No wonder my mom only ever shopped the sales when we were kids, or why I remember her wearing the same dress for all special occasions. It’s because when you’re a mom, you feel TERRIBLE for buying something frivolous (if you don’t, you’re a unicorn, so good for you). Most mommies I know will sacrifice their own pleasures to ensure that baby has everything its needs. And take it from a former-shoppaholic, it has been a struggle to adapt.

That being said, with Spring around the corner and the fact I’m getting used to managing my limited budget, here are some things I’ve bought for myself in the last month.

  1. IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Illumination Concealer. This is the Holy Grail of under eye concealers. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on under eye products and this one puts them all to shame. With a tiny dot of product, I go from looking like the tired-old-hag that I am, to radiant momma. Plus it’s waterproof and it’s crease-proof. See below for photo evidence!

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    Left: Before. Right: After using IT Bye Bye Undereye Illumination Concealer. Same light, no filters. I look so much awake and brightened!
  2. Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream. Keep me young forever! Deep wrinkles have started to appear in my forehead which have left me freaked out and googling where to get Botox (anyone know a good doc?) So to push pause on the aging process, I turned to my fave skincare line, Fresh, for this lightweight moisturizer. It leaves my skin soft and hydrated and has noticeable reduced fine lines.
  3. La Neige Lip Sleeping Mask. This is literally the most delicious lip balm I have ever tried. The cold weather leaves my lips burning and one pea-sized drop of La Neige Lip Mask and they are butter smooth. I put it on at night and the product stays on my lips until morning.

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    My attempt at beauty blogging. This trio of products keeps me glowy and fresh-faced: 1) La Neige Lip Sleeping Mask 2) It Cosmetics Bye Bye UnderEye Illumination Concealer 3) Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream
  4. Jordache High Rise Ankle Jegging. As a new mom, I spend a lot of time at Walmart. It’s my one-stop-shop. And these pink jeans caught my eye as I was dashing out the store to make it home before naptime. I grabbed my usual size (16) and tried them on at home. They are SO stretchy and comfortable! Plus, the high waist sucks in my post-baby tummy and cropped ankle length leaves my legs looking long and lean. And it’s the perfect shade of spring pink.

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    Mom uniform, but make it Spring fashion!
  5. Addition Elle Faux Wrap Printed Dress. Obviously I keep up with what’s going on back at work, and this dress caught my eye bigtime! In fact, you all voted via IG stories that I should buy it, and I did. It’s literally the most flattering thing I’ve put on my body in a while. Hugs my curves in all the right places. But you’ll just have to wait and see it in photos 😉

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    I’ll be wearing this gorgeous dress in an upcoming post.  And hurry! It’s currently 50% off!

Until next time friends!

xo Jen

REAL TALK: Do you feel guilty shopping for yourself? What’s the best thing you’ve bought recently?

SHARE below!

Green Eyed Monster

I have never been a jealous person. Most of my life, I’ve marched to the beat of my own drum. I’ve never lacked for anything and anything I’ve wanted, I’ve gone out and gotten it for myself. I’ve made my own path and never felt the need to compare myself to others. I’m a leader, not a follower. But all that changed once I had a baby…

Throughout my pregnancy, I was obsessed with being “normal.” I had heard such awful stories about getting pregnant, staying pregnant and delivering. Nobody talks about the mundane facts of pregnancy, they only discuss the worst case scenario. I was terrified something was going to be wrong with me. I worried that I would get diabetes, or hypertension, or have to have a C-section and feel everything, or I would miscarry. All I wanted at every appointment was for the doctor to tell me everything was normal. I wanted the baby to develop normally. I wanted the pregnancy to be normal and I wanted the delivery to be normal.

But once baby was here, normal was not a word I wanted to hear. To me, Charlotte is the most exquisite creature in the entire universe. She is one-of-a-kind. The most special, perfect, beautiful baby that there ever was and will ever will be. And everything she does is magical and meaningful. Clearly, I am drunk on mom love here…Anyways, in my eyes she is perfect, and I want everyone to know that. When the doctor checked her over at our first pediatrician appointment, I beamed from ear-to-ear when he said that Charlotte was special – so alert, so sweet, so patient. When she got her first tooth at 3 months, other moms were amazed (I’ve heard early teething is a sign of genius, am I right?) And when I tell other moms how she sleeps through the night, every night, I see their envy.

As a mom, it’s impossible not to compare yourself to others when every book, blog, magazine and podcast is telling you which milestones matter and how to get your child there faster. Competition is fierce and leaves us feeling jealous. I’ve never been more insecure in my life. Am I feeding her properly? Is the car seat installed right? Am I a bad parent if my child doesn’t walk at 8 months? Did I fail as a mother if she can’t yet clap or blow kisses? The constant questioning swirls around in my head most of my waking hours.

Like any millenial mom, I turn to social media to test the waters. But I find myself becoming even more anxious! Some of my friend’s babies are already pulling up and standing and others have mastered crawling (Charlotte prefers army crawl and rolling to get where she wants to go). Instantly my mind goes to two places: 1) Is it normal that my kid isn’t doing those things? And, 2) What did I do wrong as a mother that my kid isn’t doing those things too! Our child is clearly the most special to us, but if they don’t do it first, or best, are they really that special? And if we, as mothers, can’t get them to that point, did we fail?

I recently texted a friend to tell her that I was jealous her baby was pulling up and standing. “Chill,” she said, “There is no ‘normal’…babies do what they want, when they want. I’m sure people are jealous of Charlotte’s eating, or how many teeth she has! I remember thinking I wasn’t feeding baby enough when I saw one of your Insta stories.” I honestly hadn’t looked at it that way, so thanks buddy!

So where does this sense of jealousy and competition come from? What exactly are we competing for? To rush our babies into the next step without enjoying what’s in front of us? The days are long but the years are short, and before we know it, our kids are all grown up and refusing extra kisses and hugs. If Charlotte isn’t yet mobile, that means more opportunity for snuggles and squeezes. I need to remind myself each day that this isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon and to enjoy every moment.

 

Real talk: Do you often find yourself jealous of other moms? How do you deal with the competition between other parents?

 

 

On Burnouts, Comebacks & Imperfection

Hi. It’s me. Remember me? Your friendly neighborhood supermom. The one with the curated Instagram, the sponsored posts and all the right hashtags. Well friends, I have news for you…that chick is gone! She burnt out back in November and now she’s been replaced with someone a little less “perfect.”

Back in November, my life was upside down. We had sold our house in 72 hours and had 90 days to find a place to live and no hope in sight. We kept getting outbid on places we loved and the housing inventory in the area we wanted to live was non-existent. My dad is a real estate broker with a million years experience and he had never seen anything like this. Panic set in.

Not only we were homeless, but I was still getting used to my role as a mom. Charlotte was 5 months old, and even though we had started our fledging routine, that shit is TOUGH! The anxiety that I had experienced in my 20s flared up like a giant beast. The smallest task (like packing, or texting someone back) seemed insurmountable. My heart would literally race when I got a text message/email/DM that required an answer. The thought of blogging exhausted me. It felt like an impossible mountain to climb. And every day that I procrastinated, the mountain seemed a little taller and steeper, until it grew into an impossible Everest.

And then I’d get mad at myself and start to pick myself part. “I do this for a living, why is this so hard?” Or, “You aren’t pretty/funny/cool enough.” But, the thought that was the most self-destructive was: “No matter what you do, nobody will follow you. You aren’t that interesting.” Super mean, right? We are our own worst critics!

Here’s the thing that no one tells you about blogging…creating content and coming up with new ideas is hard! Starting up your own site and creating a “pretty” Insta with beautifully curated pics is cute, but actually producing content is a full-time job! The pressure of having “perfect” pictures, constantly coming up with new initiatives and new sponsorships was more than I could bear. At work, I have a giant team and huge budget to create content. Little ol’me with my Iphone and a laptop just isn’t the same thing. If I couldn’t even answer a text back, you can imagine how daunting the thought of dressing up, putting on makeup and organizing a baby-and-me photoshoot was!

So what changed you ask? Well, we found a house which we love, I went on a digital hiatus and we took a month-long vacation in Florida. It was revitalizing. To get out of your negative headspace, sometimes a change of environment is the best. Plus, built-in babysitters (thanks Mom & Dad) allowed me some headspace and free-time to have much needed conversations with myself. With a lot of the life stress out of the way, I found myself fantasizing about the blog again. I wrote down blog ideas and started to want to create and connect. It wasn’t overnight (hell, it’s friggin March as I write this and I got back from vacation Jan 31!) but that desire to reach out to others and share my journey is back.

There will be one noticeable difference from pre-burnout to now. Here’s what I promise:

I promise to not be perfect. I promise to be messy, unfiltered and random. I won’t hold back on posting a pic because it doesn’t fit an Instagram aesthetic. I won’t gloss over the yucky stuff. I will be vulnerable. I will be long-winded if I feel like it. I will be gentle with myself and let my flaws shine through. I will focus on telling my story, not accumulating followers. I will be real, grounded and 100% authentically me. I’ll focus on what I’m doing & not look over my shoulder at others. 

And to everyone who has stuck around, thank you. The internet can be an asshole, but you’ve been supportive as hell and I appreciate it so much. Thank you for being my cheerleaders!

Real talk: What’s holding you back? Share below & let’s start a convo!

(P.S. Thank you Jamie for the pep talk. It sparked a conversation with myself that needed to be had)

A Tale of Two Teeth

How did I not know that teething was a major milestone?! It’s not that I didn’t know that baby get teeth, I just didn’t realize what a disruption it would be to our fledging routine.

Seemingly, out of nowhere, at 3 months, Charlotte started drooling as if someone had left a tap running and shoving anything possible into her mouth. I was in total denial! She was much too young to start teething – don’t babies get teeth at 6 months? WRONG! By 4.5 months, Charlotte has her 2 bottom teeth and is working on the top two. Talk about an early over-achiever!

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Obsessed with this picture because you can see her little tooth poking out the bottom!

How did I survive? Good question…I’m still learning how to! But there are a couple of strategies that have helped us feel more in control and ease Charlotte’s discomfort. Because teething is PAINFUL for babies (and parents!) Any adult who has ever had dental work can sympathize. Now imagine not being able to express your discomfort. Fun times! Teething babies are whiney, fussing messes and their sleep becomes disrupted and irregular. Some babies are just more sensitive than others. Charlotte happens to be extremely teething sensitive.

  1. ADVIL. Invest in industrial amounts of pediatric Advil drops. Teething pain is due to the inflammation of the gums. Tylenol will not help ease the pain – stick to Advil instead as it’s an anti-inflammatory. And make sure you are dosing correctly.
  2. Teethers. There are a million and one teethers out there. After much trial and error, Charlotte was devoted to one – Sophie la Girafe. There’s something about the big black eyes and the smooth, rubbery skin that kids go crazy for! Also, since she grabs EVERYTHING and put it in her mouth (including my hair, fingers, shirt, etc), I tried out teething jewelry and Charlotte loved it. I got a cute necklace and bracelet set from my friends at Tic Tac Bow Kids. They are 100% silicone, non-toxic, BPA free and can go in the dishwasher. Plus, they actually look cool. Winning!

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    Wearing a Teething Necklace & Bracelet from Tic Tac Bow
  3.  Camilia teething drops. Some people swear by this homeopathic liquid, others find it doesn’t work. I’m somewhere in the middle. On it’s own, I found no effect, but paired with Advil, it helped with the liquid poop aspect of teething (oh yes, this happens!)
  4. Drool bandanas. SO. MUCH. DROOL! The front of any outfit was immediately soaked through. I find traditional bibs unattractive, but a bandana bib – that’s perfect for my little fashionista! Plus, she likes to chew and suck on it. Tic Tac Bow hooked me up with their adorable drool banada set – it’s soft, with nubby-fleece lining on against baby’s skin and cute pattern on the outside. And of course, matching bow and teether comes with!

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    Always moving too fast for a pic! Bow, bandana and teether trio HERE

With 2 down and 18 more to go, we are bidding our time and bracing ourselves for the next teething phase. Most of parenting is about learning on the fly. I guess we feel moderately well-equipped to deal with what’s coming, but you never know…the next 2 teeth could be a small blip on the radar, or a giant cranky explosion. Only time will tell!

To celebrate Charlotte’s 2 teeth and her 5 month birthday, I teamed up with my friends at Tic Tac Bow for a contest! Click HERE for all the details!

 

Learning to Sleep

“To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub.”

Any mother with an infant knows what Shakespeare was talking about. After carrying a tiny being inside of you for 9 months and going through labor and childbirth, all a mom wants to do is sleep. She deserves a nap, at least! But between round the clock feedings, 100s of diaper changes and learning how to care of a demanding little human, there’s no rest for new mommies.

As I mentioned in a previous post, sleeping is all I think about – for both baby and myself. All the books said that at 3 months, my baby would start to get into a nighttime routine and sleep longer lengths, but for us, it seemed to be getting worse. Charlotte was waking every 3 hours demanding to be fed. She slept with a pacifier, which put her to sleep immediately, but as soon as it fell out, she would yell until I plugged her back in. We had her in a cradle in our room, and she would wake at the slightest creak of floor, or sniffle of nose. I felt like a prisoner. I was a walking zombie, impatient, cranky, and frazzled.

Enter Ayleen Gelbart, RN. We met through my mom group, Perfit Moms, when she came to talk to the group about sleep learning. At the time, I half listened – Charlotte was 10 weeks old and still in her sleepy newborn stage (silly me, I thought that would continue forever haha). When I began to consider sleep training, I reached out to her and I’m so glad that I did! Ayleen has serious credentials – she’s been a Sleep Learning Specialist since 2006 and licensed Registered Pediatric Nurse since 2000. She’s also taken courses in Child Development, Infant feeding, and Pharmacology (to name a few) and she applies that knowledge when working with families. Through her company, ABCSleepyTime Inc., she’s helped countless families with nighttime sleep learning and daytime nap learning. SIGN ME UP!

First, a few points to make about sleep learning…

  • Charlotte was 3.5 months when we began sleep learning. Contrary to popular belief, this is not too young! You can start teaching good sleep habits to newborns and at 10 pounds, you can start teaching baby to sleep longer stretches of time. At this weight, they have enough reserves to sustain them through big stretches and ultimately, the night.
  • I do not believe in “cry it out.” And fortunately, neither does Ayleen. I wanted to teach Charlotte how to sleep at night without having her go into meltdown mode. I can’t handle the tears, it breaks my heart! Ayleen’s method is incredibly gentle, with minimal crying. Some tears are inevitable though as you are changing the baby’s routine.
  • GET RID OF THE PACIFIER FOR SLEEP! This was the toughest habit to break. We ended up going cold turkey and braced for a few days of bad sleep. But once she got used to the “new normal,” her sleep was so much less disrupted!
  • You have to be prepared to temporarily give up some freedom. The first few weeks were a major adjustment – bedtime was at 6pm and I tracked everything from awake time, sleep time, poops and feedings. The time between awake and asleep can be quite short depending on the age of the baby and requires dedication and routine. This really limited what I could do during the day (temporarily), which I found frustrating at first. But once I saw the results – it was worth it!

The first thing Ayleen did was to do a thorough analysis of Charlotte’s environment and overall behaviour. From there, she gave me a personalized plan to follow as well as daily support during our 3 weeks working together.

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Outfit & hair band from TicTacBow

Charlotte’s main issue was that she wasn’t getting enough daytime sleep, which was accounting for her frequent wakings at night. So my goal in the first week was to get her to nap as much as possible during the day. At the time, this meant limiting the amount of time she was awake. I honestly felt like I was always putting her to bed! We did 4 naps a day until we got the 4-5 hours of day sleep that babies her age need.

The second issue was the multiple feedings at night. Ayleen asked me why I was nursing her each time she woke up and I said it was because I assumed she was hungry. Wrong! Charlotte was waking out of habit, for comfort and because she had not yet learned HOW to sleep on her own or put herself back to sleep on her own. Babies wake multiple times through the night, but they put themselves back to sleep (much the same way adults do). So the goal here was to teach Charlotte how to sleep and fall back asleep without me intervening.

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Creeping on my kid while she sleeps. If you’re going to sleep train, invest in a video camera for peace of mind!

This wasn’t easy, but Charlotte took to the structure and routine that Ayleen offered right away! Rather than rush in as soon as the baby squawked, I waited the amount of time that Ayleen advised. If Charlotte fell back asleep then she wasn’t really hungry. If she started to whine and it built into a certain kind of cry, I could check in but not pick her up. FYI – this is an extremely simplified version of the “routine” – I promised Ayleen I wouldn’t give away all of her secrets 😉

Sure enough, within 2 weeks of sleep learning, Charlotte started doing 10-13 hours nights without waking. Every morning, I was greeted with a big smile and giggles. She’s also learned how to nap very well on her own and typically sleeps for 1-2 hours per nap. Though they can be a bit wonky (damn you teething!), overall, my happy baby is well rested and so am I! My anxiety and exhaustion has decreased and I feel so much more patient and relaxed. Developmentally, at 4 months, Charlotte has cut her first tooth, can roll over, “talks” to us, laughs, smiles, grabs at objects she wants and is learning how to crawl. I attribute all of that to a well-rested child.

Charlotte didn’t come with a user manual, but with Ayleen’s help, I managed to figure out how to hack the sleep game.

 

Need sleep help? Ayleen of ABCSleepytime Inc.  works remotely, so she’s able to help tired families all over the world!

Click HERE to visit her website for more information and LIKE her Facebook page!

 

Are you a tired mom? Want to commiserate? Or, do you have a burning sleep question? Let’s talk in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons I’m Thankful for Charlotte

‘Tis the season to be thankful and my heart couldn’t be more full of gratitude. 2017 has given us the beautiful gift of Charlotte, the luxury of enjoying our time with her, a new house and has changed our marriage in so many profound ways.

 

There are probably a million reasons why Patrick and I are so thankful to have Charlotte in our life, but here are the top 5 that my grateful, love-riddled mind came up with.

(Scroll down for bonus reason #6 to be thankful! Hint: it’s a coupon code to shop Charlotte’s outfit, courtesy of Petit Atelier Enfant!)

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Shop Charlotte’s outfit courtesy of Petit Atelier Enfant
  1. She brings us so much laughter. I don’t think Pat and I have ever laughed as much as we have with Charlotte. Sometimes her expressions or sound effects are so hilarious, it literally makes us laugh-cry. You can’t help but smile when she throws you a gummy grin! And when she starts to giggle uncontrollably, her infectious laughter makes us double over.
  2. She has taught me the power of my own strength. I never considered myself an exceptionally brave or strong person (I’m stubborn, there’s a difference). But going surviving childbirth, sleep deprivation and chomped up nipples has made me feel powerful and strong, like I can do anything.
  3. She makes me feel like I’m the most important person in the room. All you parents will agree…there is nothing like your little baby grabbing your face and staring into your eyes. Charlotte will stroke my cheek and gaze into my eyes and the world melts away. I love the way that her eyes search for me when she’s being held by others, or how she tracks my movement when she’s sitting in in her activity chair.
  4. She has changed our days so profoundly. Honestly, we don’t even remember what we did without her. Seriously, what did we do with all that spare time? How did we have any fun before we worked book-reading and tummy time and baths into our routine?
  5. She reminds us what life is really about. It’s not about work or money, or any of the millions of little dramas that happen on a daily basic. Life is about family and love and all that good stuff. The rest is just details.
  6. BONUS reason to be thankful! Petit Atelier Enfant is giving you 10% off their online store to shop beautiful, designer children’s clothes. I love their unique pieces! They’re comfy, super cool and one-of-a-kind.

    Use coupon code: JEN10. 

    (Coupon is valid for 1 time use, until October 27)

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What are you thankful for?

 

Share in the comments below!