Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mama Said, V.5

Welcome the fifth edition of "Mama Said." Today I am pleased to present a couple of amazing ladies and more awesome advice and words of wisdom. The first mama this week is the wonderful Rachel Denbow. Rachel is one of my favorite people, and has always been such a kind and caring friend. She gave me lots of support throughout my pregnancy and has always been an inspiration to me. She's one of those seasoned Moms a lot of other Moms look to, and I am beyond excited that she agreed to share some of her wisdom here. The second fabulous mama this week is Erin, who is one of my dearest friends, and someone who has been in my life since the "old days" of college at NAU. Erin and I met back in the year 2000 and were instant friends, and ended up rushing the same sorority (Pi Beta Phi). Over the past eleven years we've gone on countless girls' trips together, been through all of life's milestones side by side, and even got pregnant just months apart. She's one of the best girls I know, and I'm so pleased to call her a lifetime friend and sister. Thanks to both of these pretty mothers for being a part of Mama Said this week! And now first up, Rachel!

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I'm Rachel from Smile and Wave and I'm so happy to have been invited to share a little bit of what I've learned from almost five years of motherhood over here on Sometimes Sweet! Our family currently includes one dashing husband that rides a Vespa and is working on his Masters in Counseling while serving in the R.O.T.C. and the Reserves, one high-energy four and a half year old boy named Sebastian, and a surprisingly fast one year old little girl named Ruby. We love spending time together taking family adventures, having Transformers wars, and making messes in general.  I'm a work at home mama that splits time between blogging about vintage finds, DIY projects, and life as a mama as well as writing e-courses, and designing and creating product for sale at RedVelvetArt.com.  We currently live in Springfield, MO which is known for it's fantastic flea markets and some sort of special take on Cashew Chicken!

There has been some great advice already offered up already that had me nodding my head in agreement.  Here are a few more little nuggets that have been learned from trenches. Pardon my terminology. ;)

1. The transition from pregnant to babe in arms with your first child is the most beautiful and most challenging kind. I remember after one month of sleep deprivation wishing I could just feel like my old self again, go out on a relaxing movie/dinner date night, and not have to schedule my life around nap times and feedings. Then after three months of sleep deprivation I remember feeling like I was finally figuring out the tricks to making it to a dr.'s appointment on time, how to enjoy movies at home instead, and a sense of confidence in who I was becoming as a mother. Having the responsibility of around the clock care for a needy little baby, regardless of how much help you have, can be the most overwhelming feeling at times but suddenly I had become this more giving, patient person. It's part of the gift of motherhood, I think.

Now, some of that wears off at around 18 months...haha, no really. This leads me to my second piece of advice.

2. You will feel like you've got it all finally figured out and then suddenly they pull a fast one on you. They move into another developmental stage and are no longer sleeping as well or start challenging your authority and it's all you can do to not want to throw in the towel, at least just for the night, in order to regain some sense of sanity. Being honest about your feelings with people that care about you and understand the wide range of emotions you will naturally feel can be so important to working through the more challenging times. Even if it's an online mama who's been there before, having some support can make all the difference and make you feel less crazy.

3. Lastly, making time for yourself to enjoy whatever you enjoyed before you were a mother will help you in a myriad of ways. Whether it's spending time with your favorite girlfriends, carving out time to create in your studio, or making sure you can still get through a book (or more) a month, you'll feel more grounded as your identity shifts a little into this new role.  It'll benefit everyone around you when you give yourself some time to be renewed.



Hello everyone :) My name is Erin and I recently had the privilege of becoming a mother at the beginning of September to a beautiful boy named Kyler. My husband and I will be married 5 years this coming March and are thoroughly enjoying all that being parents have to offer. It definitely is much harder than I anticipated but to balance it out, the rewards and love are deeper than one could imagine. Jeff is an amazing father and has truly embraced his role. There is nothing more amazing than watching your husband play and care for the baby. Our family began with our two dogs Riley and London. We are amazed how well they have adapted to everything and we like to say they welcomed the changes with open paws. :) London (being the baby of the family before Kyler came) especially surprised us. We anticipated her being upset and unsure with the baby, however she is quite the opposite. When Kyler was a newborn, London would wake up with me when I needed to nurse him several times a night. She would sit right next to me on the couch and then when Kyler was done eating, she would walk with me into his room and "help" me put him back to bed. London did this every 2-3 hours with me for weeks. It was incredibly sweet. These days she stays snuggled in her bed instead if I have to get up, but for those weeks, she was right there with me. I still find it to be pretty amazing. Riley is our other furry friend. She has remained the loyal and protective girl she always was and always has her eye on Kyler to make sure he is ok. It has been so much fun to watch the dogs react the Kylers laughs and squeals. The girls get so excited.

As for advice, there are so many things I would already do differently and also some thing I would keep exactly the same. It's such an incredible learning process.

1. Don't use the baby books as a "how-to," use them more so as a guide. I was one of these moms that read several books about how do all these things for your baby and would get so frustrated when Kylers mirroring what the books said. It made me feel like I didn't know what I was doing and that I was doing something wrong. What I learned was,  I was doing it wrong.... I was too fixated on what the books were saying that I was missing his cues. So, if you like to read and you are like me, do it but don't think that your doing something wrong if your baby isn't following your book of choice. To get Kyler on a schedule when he was ready, we took notes on his patterns for a couple weeks right before he was 3 months old and then implemented the schedule that he had started. This worked wonders and would highly recommend this.

2. Breastfeed if you can. This can be a difficult topic. Some woman want to do this so badly and it just doesn't work out for them and others are unsure about it. All is understandable. For me, it has been the best decision. The bond is truly incredible and what you are providing for the baby is even better. Plus you lose your baby weight so fast it is unreal! My advice is if you are struggling with breastfeeding, seek help. There are so many wonderful resources out there. Also,when my milk came in, I pumped every day in the morning to start my supply and then would feed Kyler after I pumped to help stimulate milk production. To this day he is almost 5 months old and I still have a great milk supply even with working. I also know I am very lucky, but pumping early seemed to help.

3. Plan ahead with pets. We had Jeff's parents bring home one of the blankets Kyler had been wrapped in and cut it in half so each dog had part of his blanket with his smell on it. This worked wonders. When we brought him home and introduced them, it was as if they were expecting him. During the prenancy, I would let them sniff my belly and sit with us in his room etc. We tried to make them a part of preparing for him. Seemed to help them adjust which was important to us.

Overall the best thing to remember is that you aren't perfect and you shouldn't expect yourself to be perfect. Believe in yourself as a mother and know in your heart that you know your baby and ultimately what is best for him/her. Cheers to motherhood!

13 comments:

  1. Rachel's #1 gives me some hope as I sit here wide awake after a 3am feeding. :)

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  2. This is such a lovely feature, and wonderful advice! Thanks!

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  3. Thanks for the great advice about the dogs! We have two and I am nervous about how they'll react once we have a baby at home...great tips :)

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  4. I don't have a baby yet, but as a newlywed I dream about it all of the time for the future. I love this feature because I feel like I'll be so prepared from all of the wonderful advice! Between this blog and the http://momfish.com message boards I feel like I'm going to totally have it figured out. =)

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  5. Wow! Sincere and useful advices.
    LOOOVED it.
    Thank you!

    Duda

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  6. Good advice regarding the pets! I also read that you can give your dog attention while you hold your baby and somewhat ignore her during naps so that the dog associates the baby with positive attention :)

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  7. this is so inspiring! i really enjoyed reading it :)
    beth

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  8. Thanks for including me in this feature, Danielle! I've loved hearing other moms share what they know and feeling affirmed that so many other women are meeting the same challenges and coming out on the other side!

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  9. I loved reading this! Great mommy advice!

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  10. On BREASTFEEDING; even if a mama can't make enough milk or needs to supplement. check out eatsonfeets.org for a list of chapters around the world for families to meet other women with extra milk to share. Human milk over formula any day! love this feature ;)

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  11. Rachel's #2 is spot on. I have a 4 1/2 year old that threw me for a loop today. Shake it off, shake it off.

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  12. once again, adorable, informative and love discovering new blogs! this is a great feature Dani <3

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  13. I'm in my second trimester, but have already been overwhelmed by horror stories from friends and family. I can't help but feel like the "advice" I've been given thus far is meant to make me regret my decision. This was a very uplifting read-- I tore through all 5 posts and now feel like I can feel properly excited again. What a great feature for new moms, especially young ones.

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