Dear Mama, Treat Yo Self

Dear Mama, Treat Yo Self

This weekend we’ve been celebrating my little man’s 4th birthday. I’m a huge fan of birthdays and celebrating birthdays. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I go a little nuts around birthdays. Not just my own, but everyone near and dear. I believe it is important to celebrate many occasions in life, but the one that marks the day life began is pretty special to me.

Each year around my son’s birthday I reflect on the days and hours that brought my little guy into the world.

And, every year I realize… I DID THAT!

I also realize how much my world has changed since that moment. For me, meeting my little man and introducing him into the world was sort of a re-birth of my own. I became a new version of myself. My entire world changed in those moments. Which is why each year around this time, I take a moment to treat myself and celebrate my own little “birth” day.

Today it was a treat of coffee and a moment of reflection and tears. In the past I have gotten a pedicure, new lipstick or something equally small, but satisfying. While I will always make sure that my celebrations do not take place of my son’s celebration (it is his day after all!) or take anything away from my husband’s contribution to the whole thing (his world changed that day too!), I do want to make sure that every year around this time I take a little time and reflect on how my world changed and treat myself in honor of that day.

Ten Ways to Celebrate the Day You Became a Mom - A Well Crafted Party

The day I first became a mom (not an announcement about my current pregnancy, we are still growing strong!)

10 Ways to Treat Yo Self in Honor of the Day You Became a Mom

Below are ten easy ways to treat yourself in honor of the day you became a mom. I should stress that I don’t believe that this is for moms only nor just for mothers who gave birth. This could easily have been titled “10 Ways to Treat Yo Self in Honor of the Day You Became a Parent” and work just as well. Heck, for some people it won’t even be on your kiddo’s birthday but possibly on an adoption day or the day you became a step-parent.  The 16-year-old girl in me that used to get so upset around my birthday because it was “MY DAY” wants to also stress that while I believe it is important to remember our own contributions in the coming about of our children, and how our own worlds changed in those first few days of becoming parents, it is still a celebration of our kid’s birth and celebrating our own little changes shouldn’t take away from celebrating the day they came about. Anyways, here are ten simple ways to commemorate your “birth” day!

  1. Revisit the person you were before you became a mom! Go to a favorite old restaurant, enjoy a favorite pastime, read a book you haven’t read in years or connect with friends that you haven’t talked to in ages. I like looking back through photos of before and after the time I became a mom and recognize all the fun I’ve had in both areas of my life. Sometimes celebrating the person you have become takes revisiting the person you were before!
  2. Buy yourself something that makes you feel GREAT. I like to treat myself to small items that I typically don’t buy myself very often such as a new lipstick shade or fun new eyeshadow that I likely will only wear a few times a year, but will love those few times I wear it. For you it could be a new pair of shoes or earrings.
  3. Take off work for the afternoon! Now, this isn’t always possible, but would certainly be a nice treat. Take the afternoon off work, or drop the kiddo off with a grandparent or spouse, and enjoy some ME time.
  4. Make a special date with your kiddo. Celebrating yourself can also be a celebration with your kid. Do a special trip to a coffee shop or go grab a movie together. Make it a tradition that each year you spend a few hours just the two of you. Even if in the future the kiddo moves away you can schedule in a special phone call on that day!
  5. Get yourself a coffee/tea/cocktail and just sit back and enjoy while reflecting over the past few years. Often we are absorbed by our to do lists and thinking about the future. Take a moment to slow down and reflect on the past. Focus on the good times, and enjoy the changes that have taken place since the birth/adoption of your child.
  6. Go out with the girls! Do a ladies night with all of your friends who have also had kids and celebrate what it is like to have a mom’s night out.
  7. Get a relaxing spa treatment or salon appointment. I know, these aren’t for everyone, but a pedicure will always be on my list of occasional treats because it isn’t something I can afford to do on the regular and I love how they make me feel. Get yourself a pedicure or new hair color. Enjoy taking the time to relax and pamper yourself!
  8. Get outdoors. A little vitamin D, fresh air and exercise will get your whole body celebrating!
  9. Sleep in. Let your partner take kiddo duty for the day or let the kiddos do a sleep over and spend the morning in bed. You know that place you used to enjoy with a cup of coffee before the arrival of your bundle of joy?
  10. Hire a house cleaner. Again, this is not something everyone can do, but it can be a treat for anyone and everyone in the household. Hire a cleaner to come and make your place sparkle! Enjoy taking a break and still having your household to do list completed.

Do you treat yourself on the day you became a parent? Do you celebrate your parents on your birthday? What other ways can you think of to treat yourself? Comment below. I’d love to know!

 

 

No longer a toddler- my kid turns 4!

No longer a toddler- my kid turns 4!

I should have admitted this to myself about a year and a half ago… evidently the toddler years end around age 2 1/2. I’ve been holding onto that term “toddler” because I am not quite ready to admit my little guy is growing up. I’m in love with each and every stage he has leaped right through. I’m happy he is growing up. It just seems so fast!

Four years ago today I was in labor waiting to meet my little man. This weekend we will be celebrating his 4th birthday. How does it all happen so quickly?

I’m of course in the midst of planning his 4th birthday party. Last year we did a simple pizza party with friends and family and I don’t think I even took any photos because I was just enjoying the day. This year, being his last birthday as an only-child, I wanted to do something to make it a little more special. I don’t believe parties have to be big or elaborate to be special, so it is still a small pizza party with friends and family. But, we are pulling out a few special items to help give him a few moments before little brother gets here and the attention gets shared.

This year we are doing a “rock n’ roll” themed party, because my kid is completely rock n’ roll. He loves music, clothes, the spot light, mohawks, and just “rocking out.” Our gift to him, which is larger than any gift we would normally give, is actually a double gift in a way that it is going to be our way of continually and intentionally connecting with him after baby brother arrives. He will be getting drum lessons from his drummer uncle and then my husband and I will take turns going out and practicing with him on his brand new set of drums. We will get half an hour to a full hour of one on one time with him and will get to learn something fun and new. We’ve seen him on a drum set before and know he loves them. I hope that he loves this gift!

Drums as Fourth Birthday Present

My kiddo is turning four... how did that happen so fast?

 

This little guy grew up on this blog and I thought I’d share some of my favorite posts dedicated to my Well Crafted Kid…

 

A Well Crafted Kid:

 

A Well Crafted Kid’s Birthday Parties:

 

And, because it is World Breastfeeding Week check out my series on breast feeding (both the ups and downs) that was published in 2012 and featured the experiences of several different moms!

 

Differences between first pregnancy and second pregnancy

Differences between first pregnancy and second pregnancy

When I was pregnant with my first kiddo I introduced a series on this blog called “Mommy Mondays” which were all pregnancy and motherhood posts so that I could share the many things that were coming up in pregnancy and the experience, but not overwhelm readers with all things baby. I didn’t know how I was going to handle blogging about this pregnancy. Mostly, I haven’t handled blogging at all this pregnancy until very recently! I still don’t entirely know how my pregnancy will play out here on the blog, except that today (a Monday) I’ve decided to share a bit about my second pregnancy. 

When pregnant the first time around I took photos each week of my growing bump, I had project after project in preparation for the baby’s arrival, and I was soaking in all things baby at the time. This second baby has been a whole other ball game. 

The differences between my first pregnancy and my second pregnancy

I’m now almost rolling into my third trimester of my second pregnancy. This pregnancy, especially in comparison to my first pregnancy, has been… well, rough. I was told that each pregnancy, like each child, can be very different. For me, this has been very true. Some ways that things have been different:

Differences between first pregnancy and second pregnancy

After the birth of my first son. I’m currently pregnant with my second son, and this pregnancy has been a whole new ballgame!

1. I’m less scared about birth, but more scared of those first few weeks and months with baby.

The first time around I was very frightened of the birth experience. I didn’t know what to expect, even though I had read the book cover to cover! I had watched multiple documentaries in preparation. I had taken classes. I’d learned breathing techniques. I had a detailed birth plan. Even with all the preparation, and confidence in my knowledge of what was supposed to happen, I was very scared about the “what could happen” bit of it all. My birth plan didn’t go completely as planned, and it was an incredibly LONG birth, but now that I’ve been through it, I am not as scared this time around. Heck, I made it through that one! What I am really scared about are those first few weeks and months of having the baby home.

Before having my first child I was thrilled by the idea of bringing my little bundle of joy home from the hospital. I would handle any scary thing that birth would throw at me just because I knew in the end, I’d have a cuddly little baby that I’d love more than anything.

Well, the first few months with my first son were very difficult. First, no one told me what to expect in the first few days of postpartum. I didn’t expect the continuous contractions to keep happening or how they would make me feel. I certainly didn’t expect to have a physical and emotional reaction to my baby crying. (Or, lets be honest, ANY baby crying.) Then there was the fact that my first child was a difficult infant. He didn’t sleep. Nursing was difficult. There were health scares. It was hard. I’m wavering a bit now thinking about going through those days again, especially because I will be going back to work much earlier with this kiddo than I did with my first. While I know that I can handle birth and I’ll bring my loved baby home with me, I’m less excited about those first few weeks than I was with the first child.

Finally, I’m scared of getting postpartum depression again. I never want to feel that way again. I’m working with doctors and will be working with counselors in efforts to hopefully avoid going through those months again with this second child, but I also know that it can happen and does happen.

Differences between first pregnancy and second pregnancy

Me at 25 weeks in my second pregnancy. I’ve gained more weight this time around, and I feel that it has made things harder.

2. I’ve gained more weight.

I’ve gained more weight with my second pregnancy than I did my first. I feared that I would have this problem in this pregnancy and what it would mean for my body and my pregnancy. I’m still afraid what it might mean.

There are three major differences between my first pregnancy and my second when it comes to my pregnancy weight gain— my age, my activity level and my resources.

Age: I’m now 4 and half years older than I was with my first pregnancy. Over the past few years my ability to bounce back from weight gain has diminished pretty steadily. (Part of this is due to the discovery that I have hypothyroidism More on that later.) I don’t know that my age has made a huge difference in my weight gain from my first pregnancy to the second, but I do feel that it has made a bit of a difference.

Activity Level: When pregnant with my first child I used public transportation to go to work where I walked for 5 miles a day. I wore a pedometer in those days and averaged 12,000 steps daily. In addition to all of that walking, I would work out three days a week. I worked approximately 30 hours a week and spent most of the rest of the time working on projects, keeping up the house and hitting the gym. I was not fit by normal means, I weighed 191 when I got pregnant with my first child, but I was active in my day to day activities. Now I work at a desk, I commute 2 hours a day by car and I then go straight to work on my computer at home. I rarely have the chance to hit the gym as I am gone approximately 12 hours a day and then work more when home. I probably average around 2,000 steps on a good day nowadays. It isn’t so much that I don’t value fitness. It is more that I value having a roof over my head and am working the best I can within my situation. Can I do better some days? Yes, for sure. The change in activity level is likely the biggest difference in my first pregnancy weight gain to this pregnancy.

Resources: My first pregnancy I was part of a medical study for overweight pregnant women. The study postured the idea that overweight women (women whose BMI put them in the obese category) should not gain the recommended 11-20 lbs of weight and instead shoot for no weight gain at all in pregnancy. I’ve avoided talking about my experience with this study because I do not want people reading about it and thinking that it is healthy to not gain weight at all in pregnancy. The recommended weight gain in a pregnancy is important for the health of the mother and baby. The study was specifically trying to see if overweight women could have a healthy baby while gaining no weight, and if the lack of weight gain could help in preventing many of the weight-related high-risk scenarios in late pregnancy and birth. Nearly all the women in the study (including me) gained weight during their pregnancy. But those participating in the study gained less than those who were in the control group. The study may end up changing weight gain recommendations for obese women in the future, but currently the recommendations are still the same 11 to 20 lbs.

I was in the part of the study that were encouraged to try to not gain any weight during our pregnancy. I was watched by a team of doctors, I received several sonograms to measure my son’s growth, I turned in a weekly food diary of everything I ate to a nutritionist and I received a lot of coaching on food and fitness throughout my first pregnancy. I gained 4 lbs in my first pregnancy and I did avoid the weight-related high-risk pregnancy and birth complications. I’ve gain 7 lbs so far this pregnancy, which is putting me right at the recommended weight gain for obese pregnant women and my doctor is not worried, but it has been hard for me to deal with as I started out heavier with this pregnancy than the last. I feel that it has affected my overall feelings of the pregnancy and my health.

Differences in my health between my first and second pregnancies

Swollen ankles have been a common thread throughout this summer. OUCH.

3. I’ve been much sicker this pregnancy.

I had a few issues with my first pregnancy that are really regular and normal for most pregnancies. Still sucked at the time and people who hadn’t had those fairly normal pregnancy symptoms thought I had it really bad, but overall, pretty regular. This pregnancy I’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, had the flu, have had 4 infections, had pre-cancerous skin cells removed in surgery, have fallen twice and had incredibly bad edema and pain when active. It has been a whirlwind and a lot of medical bills to boot. Some is to be blamed on having a toddler at home coupled with the lowered immune system that comes with pregnancy. Some is weight related.

Thankfully, through all of this, the baby has been growing well and doing great in all the tests and utlrasounds. Also, I haven’t had to be hospitalized or had any big labor scares, so I count myself as pretty darn grateful.

The only clothing I've bought my son so far and I'm nearing the end of my pregnancy!

My second son currently has three onesies to wear. Not quite the wardrobe he will need in Mid-November!

4. I’m a lot less prepared this time around, but I also am not worried about it.

I had everything planned and prepped before baby number one came along. Everything was purchased, saved, cleaned, packed and prepped weeks before his arrival. Frozen meals were stacked high in our freezer weeks before his arrival. Random closets were organized just in case I needed to get something from them in a hurry. Heck, his name was picked out years before pregnancy even came into the picture. This pregnancy, even though it too was planned, I am prepared for nothing. I have no name picked out. I have no baby items (we gave away most everything because we weren’t planning on having another child for sure until fairly recently) and haven’t really prepared too much so far. The room isn’t prepped. Our house is basically an unorganized disaster. I have no ideas on what I want to do for birth this time around. And, I have a mountain of things to accomplish at work (and here on the blog) before his arrival.

I also am not worried. Something about doing this the second time around makes it all just a tad less stressful. I know that we will get what we need to have. I know that somehow work and everything else will work itself out. We have started to prepare a bit more as we are hitting the third trimester. I signed up for Honest diaper bundle boxes a few months ago and have already stocked up on diapers and wipes to last us some time. We purchased a larger car and planned for daycare arrangements for when I go back to work. I’ve checked in with my insurance to get a breast pump and plan our financial costs for the birth. There is still a lot to do, think about and purchase. But, for the most part, I’m still not too worried about it. (Check back with me in a few weeks though!)

Reasons I'm more excited about my second pregnancy than I was my first

All the cool moms know Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

5. I think I am even more excited about this little one than I was my first, and partially, it is because of my first.

I was excited for my first son. All that planning and preparing was in my excitement of meeting my first child and all the adventures that we would have. Somehow, I think I’m even more excited about this little guy and I think I owe it to my first son. I know how amazing he is and I know the fun and adventures we have. I am excited about sharing that with a second son. In addition, maybe because I am an older sibling, I am excited to see the relationship between my first and my second grow into a life long (hopefully) friendship. I can’t wait to introduce him to all of the traditions we have. I can’t wait to see his personality develop. I simply can’t wait.

Differences between first pregnancy and second pregnancy

Lots of differences in growing kiddo number two, but one thing remains the same… I’m totally in love.

Overall this pregnancy has not been my favorite of the two. I’ve struggled a lot about him not feeling the love because we aren’t preparing as much or there aren’t as many photos of his mom while pregnant as there were when I was pregnant with his older brother. I’ve struggled with him not feeling as important because I’m choosing to go back to work earlier or because we didn’t have his name picked out for ages like we did his brother. I’ve struggled with health and happiness during this pregnancy. We’ve struggled with money and time this pregnancy. I’ve struggled.

However, I’m already so stinking in love with my unborn little one. I’m ridiculously excited to introduce him to his brother and his father. I can’t wait to see him in the arms of our families and friends. Mainly, I can’t wait to snuggle close with him (as I’ve done a million times with his brother) and sing him a special song that he knows is his song from me.

What was different for you in your second pregnancy compared to your first? Or, if you are a sibling, what things did your parents do for you to make you feel special and appreciated?

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