Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mama Said, V.11

We are winding down these Mama Said posts, and this week I'm excited to share two really awesome ladies, with REALLY awesome blogs. If you haven't visited either of them, be sure to take a moment and stop by. They're great. And speaking of great, I'm really enjoying both ladies' pieces of advice. I'm sure you'll agree, so sit back with a cup of tea and read up a bit...and have a great morning!

Hello dearies, I’m Ivelisse from the pretty little mustache blog. I’m a young momma, 26 to be exact, to my lady love, Julianna (aka Jules) - who is 4 and a half years old. I had my daughter at the young of 21. It was unplanned and quite honestly inconvenient at the time. I wasn’t married and was dead smack in the middle of my undergraduate studies. I didn’t know how to break the news to my family and couldn’t fathom the idea of being a mom because I was still in a “me” state of mind. I was having fun and was not ready to have to care for someone else and give up the life that I was enjoying. Still in a selfish state of mind, I decided to suck it up and deal with it, as it was something I had gotten myself into and the baby was not at fault for what had happened. I would waddle to class, full on preggo. I only took off the semester she was born in. I managed to pull through and finish my bachelor’s degree, a little over a year after she was born. That was, of course, with the strong support of my family and back then boyfriend (now husband). I couldn’t have done it without them.  She was the best thing to ever happen to me, and is the best part of me now. I’ve been married to my best friend (and childhood crush) , Edwin, for 4 years, and life could not be better. We are planning on expanding our little family very soon, and I’m beyond thrilled to have another wee little one in my life.  Currently, I’m a SAHM and a graduate student, studying speech-language pathology. My husband works for coca-cola and is an outstanding father and husband. Without these two loves, I don’t know what or where I’d be. Thank you so much Danielle, for letting me be a part of this!!

So, here are some tips:

1. Love yourself – I have never really let myself go after having a child. It’s easy to fall into a slump, but actually doing your hair, putting on some makeup, shaving your legs, putting on a cute outfit, and putting effort into making yourself pretty, will always make you feel better. After having a child, you may not ever look the same as you did pre baby, and sometimes you just have to come to grips with that. I have stretch marks on my lower tummy and although I’ve lost the baby weight (since I had my daughter a long time ago), it’s still not exactly the same as before, but I’ve learned to love myself regardless.  So, once in a while, get your hair done, get your feet & nails done, buy a cute outfit, and do whatever it takes to love yourself more.

2. Alone time is a must – my husband and I make it a point to spend time together, even if it’s just renting a dollar movie and staying in. This usually happens at night while Jules is sleeping. We are honest with her and tell her it’s our time and that she needs to go to bed. We instill the importance of that, and at a young age of 4, she gets it (for the most part). I don’t ever want my husband to feel that Julianna is more important than him, so not only do I show him his importance in my life, but WE also make it a point to show her how important our love is for one another. I know that one day she’ll appreciate that.

3. Give credit where credit is due – I will pass on the advice that was given to me during premarital counseling, as it makes complete sense and saves lots of headaches. Men do not have the nurturing instinct of women! Don’t set expectations on your men based on how you would do things with your child because 9 times out of 10, you will be disappointed. Choose your battles, ladies. A lot of dads out there are doing their best, and we should make it a goal to point out the things that they ARE doing right. Men tend to close off, so if you’re constantly reminding them how much they suck, you run the risk of them kicking back and not wanting to do anything at all. So, with that said, let them know when they are doing a good job.  Show them how appreciative you are of their help. They may not do things the way that we would, but that doesn’t make their way wrong, it’s just different. Same goes for single moms. Everyone needs help with their little ones, or else you burn out. Don’t expect other people to do things exactly how you would, but know they are doing the best to care for your child in their own way. Having this in mind, I find that I don’t nag nearly as much as I did in the beginning, and he is very willing to help and take care of Julianna. When I’m out, I don’t even have to call to make sure he is doing everything right, because in my mind, I know he loves our daughter just as much as I do and will be okay.


Hey! I am Autumn from Playing House-Full Time. I adore Sometimes Sweet and have been loving her Mama Said feature. Each Mama’s advice has me “mmhmm”ing, laughing and nodding my head. But I wanted to throw a little advice out there from “green” /attachment parenting perspective.

1. If it isn’t a problem for your family, it isn’t a problem.
For some reason, once you have a baby everyone decides that they should let you know the “right” way to  parent your child. But what works for some families won’t work for others. So, advice is nice but remember that you are the final word. If cosleeping works for you, do it. If you decide to not use bottles or to not give purees to your baby, that is a-OK even if it isn’t what every  other Mama in the checkout line says. We faced this a lot with our daughter because we don’t follow quite a few norms. Now that we are getting into the “extended breast-feeding” window I am having to remind myself of this even more. Nursing still works for us, waking at night isn’t a big deal for me and my baby is healthy and thriving. Just because it is a decision that is outside of typical (she is 15 months) that doesn’t mean it is a bad decision. But it finally clicked for me that if it works for me, works for Papa and works for the baby... it works!

2.  Baby “must-haves” are kind of a crock. The only essentials for a newborn are boobs and diapers. We never used swings, bumbos, bouncy seats or an infant carrier car seat (convertible Britax from day one!). Once your baby gets a little older you will be able to tell what types of toys/ carriers will work best for them. But truly your arms and face are the best container and entertainer out there.

3. The best gift you can give your baby is a healthy marriage. Taking time to connect with your partner is super important. Going on dates here and there is awesome but not always feasible. It is really awesome to use family time as time to build your marriage too. One way that we do this is family dinners. Instead of grabbing what we can while each other keeps the baby entertained, we make a point to prepare the meal together (while our daughter plays on the floor typically) and then all eat together. We can talk and connect, even with our baby around. Not everyone feels ready to leave their baby right off the bat (you don’t have to leave your newborn for the sake of connecting)- don’t underestimate family dates. Some of the most fun we had when Nolie (our baby) was first born was when we would wrap her up in the moby and head out for breakfast and a walk. We were able to talk and connect but without the stress of getting back home or worrying about whether or not she was OK. And now that she is a walking, babbling crazy we have lots of fun packing up a picnic and having a dinner at the park. Dates don’t have to be planned or expensive (or even one-on-one) in order to be beneficial.

4. Don’t feel like you  have to be a certain “type” of parent. My husband and I fall into the “natural parents” or “green parents” genre pretty easily. But there are a few things that we do that don’t totally jive with the rest of the hippy mama ideals. We don’t cosleep and we use (baby safe) drugs for pain relief (seriously sad molar getting baby=tylenol at bedtime). It is OK to borrow a leaf out of multiple books. Maybe you baby wear all weekend but you use daycare. Or maybe you formula feed but co-sleep. That is ok and don’t feel like you need to apologize for being the parent you are or for making choices that work for your family.


  1. I love the "mama said" posts they are great. Even a year and a half after having my little girl i still love all the advice given.

    Zoe x

  2. I loved the notes each of them had on making your marriage a priority - I read an article once that said that you should try to put your spouse first always, even before children (clearly not to the point of neglect), because a happy marriage will equal happy kids. I also liked her note about taking a page from many parenting books - I think that my husband and I will also not fall under a particular style of parenting.

    Thanks for these posts; even as a non-parent I can really appreciate the advice. Consider it filed for later :)

  3. I usually just silently enjoy these "Mama Said" posts but a few things that Autumn had to say really rung true with me.
    1)I totally agree with the fact that what works for some babies doesn't work for others. I come from a family with nine kids (all girls)and growing up, I always noticed how my mom went from the signals of my younger sisters and and used to that find what worked for our family. One of my sisters, like Autumn's girl, was breastfed until she was over a year old and I was always so happy with how comfortable she and my mother were with it all. A younger sister was only wanting breast milk exclusively for 7 months when she started showing that she wanted rice cereals A LOT and was soon switched to rice cereal with breast milk added in. This totally worked for both sisters and my mom! You really do need to work with the values you have for your family and with what your child is showing to find what will be best!
    2)So many "must-haves" are NOT necessary. I am glad this was mentioned. It makes me pretty excited since I think some of the things out there can make life even more complicated and sometimes stressful instead of helping make it easier and more enjoyable.
    3)Both women actually mentioned this last point. I do believe it complicates a marriage to bring children into the mix (I can't say "I KNOW" since I have not yet given birth , but I have witnessed it in family members)but I think it is worth the time and energy, in the long run, to take time and nurture your marriage. I remember seeing my parents kissing and hugging in the kitchen and being grossed out by it. I also remember their weird and (seemingly) boring bonding moments watching old movies or going out to buy something together. But the feeling of knowing that they wanted to be around each other, that things were good between them and all of us was actually so comforting for me! In a world where so many things are unsure and changing, it is so valuable for kids to see their parents treating each other well and showing interest and love for one another...

    Thanks for posting this and for all of the insights on here from experienced mothers! It's good reading!

  4. love the 'best give you can give your baby is your marriage'

    100% believe in this!

  5. Thank you so much for posting this! I love this feature and contributing to it is SO exciting!

  6. two very great perspectives! taking notes for the future:)


  7. such great advice! the mr and i don't have any little ones just yet, but i love reading these anyway. taking it all in for down the road :)

  8. Yes, a healthy marriage is essential for a baby but a marriage is not essential for a healthy baby. Both posts seem biased.

  9. These are both such phenomenal posts! I like that each woman stressed the importance of making time for your marriage/not letting your husband think the baby is more important than him.


    All This Grace and Charm

  10. @anonymous: of course it's biased, because this is coming from THEIR experience. Just as a single mother's "Mama Said" comes from theirs. I do not think that either of these women were implying that in order to be a good mom you must be married, but if you ARE married (like them), this is what has worked for THEM.

    Hope this brought some clarification to you! <3

  11. Loved today's Mama Said! I especially liked what Autumn said about taking a leaf out of multiple books -- this perfectly describes the way that I'm living right now!

  12. thanks, danielle for having me on here! love being a part of a feature that i love reading the most!!! you are the sweetest, most inspirational momma i "know" :)

    @anonymous: i mentioned something towards the single moms, in my attempt to not be biased. i was not married when i had my daughter, which i'm pretty sure i made clear.

  13. i REALLY needed to hear those words from Ivelisse. so smart and so wise and so true.

  14. Good posts, but I must disagree with Ivelisse's assertion that" Men do not have the nurturing instinct of women!" The idea of women as nurturing and men as not, is a horrible stereotype that hurts both mothers and fathers. Fathers can be every bit if not more nurturing than a mother. Too often in our culture fathers are depicted as incapable of parenting. It's important for all parents and for our children that we work to break these harmful stereotypes.

  15. Loved Autumn's quote, "and don’t feel like you need to apologize for being the parent you are or for making choices that work for your family;" I needed. A reminder and there it was...xo

  16. @lisa carver - i'm certain i was vouching for the fathers here. i did not say fathers cannot be nurturing, rather they do not have the instinct of women. i also mentioned fathers doing a great job at parenting, and my clear understanding of my husband loving our daughter equally as much i as do, hence the "give credit where credit it due."