Lessons from a mom of two

Five lessons from mom of twoIt’s been a while, hasn’t it? Welcoming Gregory into our world has not been an easy ride. Being a mom of two is hard! H-A-R-D! I’m beyond exhausted. Some days I can barely keep my eyes open. I could sit here and make a million excuses as to why these pages have been blank or why I’ve neglected you, but the truth is they aren’t blank and I haven’t forgotten. I have so many draft posts sitting here, waiting for me to hit publish, but for some reason, I haven’t. At the beginning of this blogging journey, a friend and successful blogger said that the success of her blog was due to always finding a way to make it positive. There are bad times for all, but it’s important to leave the reader feeling positive. Always blog purposely. 

Do you want to know what makes for hard positive content? Being a parent. Toddlers. Two children under the age of three. A baby who is terrible at sleeping. Potty training a stubborn toddler. Being a full time working mom of two and desperately trying to cram an entire day of quality time with your children between dinner and bedtime.

I’m exhausted, constantly. Every minute is an internal battle of which child to give attention, while feeling uneasy from the dirty dishes piling up in the sink. Then using the next minute to vacuum the third spilled bowl of cereal scattered on the rug, while simultaneously feeling guilty for not using your “free time” to play with your children. And outside of that, trying to give time to your marriage. And finally to yourself. The latter seems further and further away most days. However, we are surviving. I guess that’s the positive. I’m learning how to manage along the way. I can’t say that we are thriving, but surviving, yes. At some point, perhaps I’ll have both feet firmly planted but for now, I’m chasing a toddler who found a marker and is far too determined to draw all over her baby brother. 

Hard Truths and lessons from a mom of two (four months and counting): 

Let me repeat. Being a mom of two is hard. Being a parent is HARD. I was barely keeping it together when I was chasing after one, and now we have another one zapping our energy. From all of this, I’m trying to figure out how to survive. Here are just a few hard truths that I’ve discovered on this crazy journey. 

1 – Toddlers are assholes – and it’s not your fault.

I’m sure toddlers who are only children are also jerks (so do not think I’m discriminating). They are all jerks. The determination and stubbornness of a toddler trying to tie their own shoes is enough to make you pull your hair out while you wait for 20 minutes as they scream “No, I do it!” over and over again. I never once thought in my life I would have to blame being late to a meeting on a toddler who trapped herself in her dress but would flip out if I attempted to help.

Survival tactic – start any task 30 minutes to one hour earlier than when you need to logically start it. The worst thing that can happen, your toddler is completely ready with time to spare. This has yet to happen. Typically, I now end up only 10 minutes late (depending on if her cereal is up to her standards – Too much milk. Not enough milk. Too crunchy. Wrong color. Oh the complexity that is breakfast).  

2 – Babies are gross. So very gross

And they have this sixth sense of knowing when you have a big meeting and spent too long selecting the perfect outfit. And they will wait until you are walking out the door, already running late, to projectile vomit all over your nicely pressed shirt. (I’m lying. My shirts are never pressed. Who has time for that?).

Survival tactic – invest in cardigans. Keep multiple cardigans in your car and wait until after daycare drop-off before putting it on. Never before. Trust me. On top of that, keep a brush and wipes in the glove compartment – to get that fun spit up out of your hair. I had someone actually compliment how shiny and smooth my hair looked like one day. I just hope they didn’t come to close to smell it. 

3 – You will not have a warm meal – just give up. 

My children get picked up at 6pm from daycare. That means we have approximately 2 hours to make dinner, eat, and get ready for bed. Dinner typically consists of constantly getting up to appease each child. I must say, Abby is pretty good at eating what is in front of her (most days). But, as soon as I sit, she’ll want the blue fork (not the green), or a glass of milk instead of water, or needs one thousand napkins because she’s being a toddler. And once she’s settled, Gregory will need a bottle or his own baby mush heated up. Since he’s four months old, you must learn to master feeding a baby while also feeding yourself. And while feeding the baby, your toddler will magically forget how to hold a fork because see lesson one. 

Survival tactic – go out to dinner without children whenever possible. 

4 – Your house will be a disaster – let it go

My house is barely staying together. I try to clean up as we go but to be honest, with the limited amount of time I have with Abby and Gregory each day, I’ve mostly given up. I’m doing the bare minimum to get by. The laundry is being done and dishes cleaned, but it may be a few days before I put either away. There may be longer periods between vacuuming or dusting. And anytime I attempt to clean, Abby demands a book or blocks or tea party. 

Survival Tactic – Let your toddler help. Letting your toddler help makes tasks take three times as long but also needed. Abby loves helping. It takes her three times as long to accomplish a task but she loves contributing in anyway she can. She’ll help wash Gregory’s bottles, putting things away, and even vacuuming. It will never be perfect and I’ll have to redo it later, but letting her help makes her happy and prevents tantrums.  

5 – Life will be constantly chaotic  

Your life will never be the same. Children (whether you have one or one hundred), will completely change your life. The way of life you knew before is no more. These little humans (who have your mannerisms and attitude – watch out) demand so much of your time and energy.

Survival tactic –  Give in. Give them all of you. The errands and chores will be there another time. Trust me. They always pile up. I’ve tried ignoring them but eventually you run out of diapers and dry shampoo (both staples needed in a working parent household). But for the moment, let it go. Accept the fact that a typical trip to the grocery store will take three hours as you attempt to steer clear of the cookie aisle and hope no one has a poop explosion. Or that your baby will wake up every two hours one night even if they were sleeping through the night the last three weeks. And it will, of course, be the night before a big presentation. Your toddler will throw herself on the ground because her goldfish are too “fishy.” You’ll find a sippy cup or a bottle from months ago behind the couch and not be able to recognize the substance inside of it. Tip – just don’t open it. Throw it out. Trust me. No good can come from looking in it.

Bonus – Make (don’t find) time for you and your relationship

It’s ok to need a break. Trust me. But, breaks will not come knocking. Believe me. There are not many people in this world who will watch your tiny humans while you enjoy a night out. And there are even less who will do it for free (thank you mom and dad!). Take advantage of any and all babysitters you can find. Go out to dinner. See a movie. Can’t get a babysitter? Enjoy a date night in. Once the kids are asleep, open a bottle of wine and just spend time together. Send the kids to daycare when your office is closed and treat yourself to lunch and a manicure. Just do it! It will be better for everyone involved. Children are amazing but also…see lesson one.  

The day you realize you’re not superwoman

You're not superwomanI think the hardest realization that has come from my time as a parent has been discovering I’m not superwoman. When you spend your life having the world deem you as the fixer, or the problem solver, or the one with all of the answers, you spend every minute trying to exceed that expectation. It’s a thrilling feeling – to be needed, for people to look to you for answers. Being able to stand on a pedestal and let the world know that you’ll solve anything and that no problem is too small or too big is all that matters, until the day you crash. Suddenly, its obvious that you’re not invincible, that your strong exterior can’t deflect every hit, and that there are problems that you cannot solve. And the biggest downfall is that I’m the one who put myself up there. I’m the one who spent my life convincing myself that I needed to hold this title because it’s what made the most sense. A need to be needed is only valid if you, yourself, never need anything.

As a mom, I’ve felt the crash on more than one occasion and each time it still feels like the first time I ever fell. You never know when it’s going to hit. It could be when your husband finds you crying on the bathroom floor after the fourth failed pregnancy test. Or when your being wheeled into an operating room after your body failed to deliver your baby the way the world said you should. Or when you’re crying in the corner of the bedroom as your baby begs for food but your mental state will not allow you to keep breastfeeding. Or maybe it’s when your entire family is taken over by the stomach flu and while your baby girl just wants you to make her pain go away, you can’t because you, yourself, are trying to get the world to stop spinning. Or perhaps it’s when you find defeat when attempting to put your 20 month old into her crib but your body can no longer cooperate due to the bulging belly and lower back pain that seems to accompany pregnancy.

That last one, even though it was most recent, has been the hardest one to comprehend. My daughter is in a constant daddy phase, so when she allows me the opportunity to hold her, to cuddle her, or to be the lucky one to lead bedtime, I jump at the chance. But when it became apparent that bedtime routines may no longer be an option, I crashed, hard. I remember mentally crossing off the list of things I could no longer do as I progressed while pregnant with Abby – no more lifting heavy objects, no more sleeping on my stomach, no more long runs. And I guess, to a point, I knew this would happen again this time around, however, I thought I’d have more time. And I guess I thought I’d never actually end up as a mom who could no longer lift her toddler, even if my toddler is nearly 30 pounds. I assumed that I would be the mom who could go through this without having to change any routine, but now I’m slowly realizing that my list of no mores will soon include no more laying on the floor playing blocks, no more letting her sit on my lap as we read a bedtime story, no more jumping and dancing with my baby girl to her favorite songs. It’s hard to imagine that the next five will include missing out. I know once her brother is here, I’ll need to spend more time with him and less time with her, but I thought I’d have more time before I’d miss out.

I can’t blame anyone besides myself for assuming nothing would change when I became a mother. I remember hearing or seeing mothers struggle during parenthood and thinking, I’ll have it all sorted out, I’m a planner so I’ll be able to foresee any obstacle in my way. And then reality set in. But before I had Abby, I was naïve. Now, as a mother, I should know better now, but I still keep convincing myself after each downfall that I’m still a superhero. And that I need to be that superhero for my family – it is my title and my place in our lives. If I lost that title, then who am I? Where do I fit in our dynamic?

I just hope I’ll learn to compromise and find new ways to engage with my baby girl over the next few months before we officially welcome her baby brother home and we become a family of four. In the past, after I’ve crashed, I’ve learned to adjust and to come to terms with the fact that sometimes you need to fall, if only to teach yourself how to get back up. And through this, I’ve learned to trust even more in my husband. When I gave myself the impossible title of Superwoman, I was setting him up for failure because in order to do everything you have to assume no one else can do anything. I had to learn to be comfortable in trusting him and trusting in him. Allowing him to pick me up when I couldn’t bear the thought of going through another month of failing to become a mother, or putting my fears in his hands as I couldn’t push our baby girl into the world, or giving him the power to feed our baby formula so I could finally bond with my child. And perhaps soon it will be letting him take on the physical demands of a toddler when my pregnant body is unable to and understanding that neither of us are truly invisible and being a true superhero is asking for help instead of allowing yourself to feel defeated.

The Art of Improv: When a Toddler Runs Your Schedule

Survival guide for type a

I’m a classic Type A personality. My life is color-coded. I value time given and use it to the minute to ensure all projects are completed early. And I create scenarios in my head to overcome all obstacles you may face that diverts you from the original plan. I create spreadsheets for fun. I even created a color-coded agenda for my sister’s bridal shower (I’m sorry again to all of her bridesmaids). And I pride myself in advancing my career. All of these characteristics have been invaluable when it comes to work – those color coded spreadsheets on event day are no joke – but not so much when it comes to pregnancy, or even parenting. The worst (and best) thing that can happen to a planner is pregnancy because pregnancy and parenthood is filled with unknowns you could never imagine.

Lessons I’ve learned from Pregnancy (and Parenthood) as a Type A personality:

Your time is not your own.

Prior to becoming pregnant with Abby, my life was set on a schedule. Wake up, go to the gym, head home to get ready for work, commute, work, commute, dinner with my husband, me time, bed. It was a perfect balance of life and work. I had time in the evenings to work on projects, writing, or simply unwind with my husband. During the first pregnancy, everything changed. By dinner time, I could barely keep my eyes open, so any post-dinner activities became nonexistent, which meant those precious hours of completing projects or unwinding also disappeared. For a planner, losing those hours creates a cascading effect on your mindset. I actually remember doing the math. Each night, before pregnancy, I had about 3 hours of time after dinner for the aforementioned. That means each week (if you only count weekdays), I lost 15 hours of time a week, which roughly estimates to 63 hours a month – that is a little over 2.5 days. So every month, I was losing 2.5 days. That may not sound like a great deal, but for me it meant I was losing 2.5 days of opportunities. Of course, now I know it was all worth it. I look at that crazy child and I would give up weeks just to hear her laugh. And now, with a toddler, I can make plans months in advance, block my schedule in a way that I know will work around nap time. Ensure that we are packed in advance, so there are few delays getting out of the house. And, just like that, my baby girl will decide she hates naps and will fight me with every ounce of energy she has left. Just this past weekend, we were all set to meet up with people at 2 pm for pumpkin picking, perfect timing following her normal nap routine, and she decided that naps were no longer important, screaming and running around the house until 1:30, two hours past her normal nap start time. And then slept for three hours, which is very unlike her. Needless to say, we didn’t make it to the pumpkin patch.

Planning doesn’t exist

My entire life, I have set a plan – where my career would be by the time I was 30, the years until I owned a home, and the timeline for pregnancy. Of course, this plan has adjusted over the years as the life I thought I wanted at the age of 10 is completely different than where I eventually ended up. Though, I still stand by the fact that I could have been a lawyer who spent her nights and weekends singing on the side, except for my complete lack of musical talent and that I spent that one semester in law class during high school bored beyond belief. But, generally speaking, I followed a plan. Went to college, landed a job, got married, bought a house, adopted a dog, and had baby number one right away. Except that it didn’t work out that way. When you live your life by a plan, and it takes almost a year before you see two lines on a pregnancy test, you spend your days believing you made some sort of unforgivable mistake because the pieces weren’t falling into one-another perfectly. And after I finally conceived, there was no plan or course correction in place to overcome the scare we had at 8 weeks or the spot my doctor saw on my ultrasound at 20 weeks or the fact that my body wouldn’t allow me to push out a 9 lb 3 oz baby girl. However, everything worked out. But each time something diverted from the plan, each time something was out of my control, I would breakdown.

And now, as a parent, the world tells you by that age, your child should be doing this, and by that date, your baby should hit this milestone. And you plan for your child to meet each milestone on time, if not early. And then you discover that your child does not care in the slightest about milestones. I see children around the same age as Abby reciting their colors, numbers, and shapes. Meanwhile, Abby is picking her nose and trying to lick the cat. Everything happens at their own pace and on their own time. If you don’t believe me, try getting an “independent” toddler ready in the morning in under 15 minutes. I bet you all the money in the world, that she will scream that she can put on her own shoes, and even after 30 minutes of trying, will yell at you “I do it!” when you offer to help.

Work will have to come second

I’m ambitious by nature. I made it a point to have a job in place right after graduation and I work very hard to advance. Before Abby, I would come in early, stay late and sacrifice personal time for work. Let me just tell you, that isn’t necessarily a healthy attitude in the first place, but it worked for my lifestyle. I had plenty of time to spend with John and friends after work was complete, so I didn’t think twice about it. Even while I was pregnant with Abby, I didn’t allow myself to slow down. I worked until the very end of my pregnancy. For some reason, I believed if I didn’t, I’d miss out on something important at work, and my years of hard work would be for nothing. And, I convinced myself prior to delivery that I would be back at work no later than 12 weeks, despite having the option of more. And then I met Abby and my life changed. I’m not saying work isn’t important anymore. My career will always be important to me. But, that baby girl flipped a switch in my head to understand that there was more. I took 20 weeks off after my daughter was born, and honestly, if I were given more, I would have taken it. And today, now that we are in a rhythm with daycare, I do need to make sacrifices at work to be the best mom I can be. That doesn’t mean I slack off or I stop working as hard; it just means that I learned to balance my time more constructively. I can’t come in early or stay late because daycare opens at 8 AM and closes at 6 PM. I can’t easily attend an after-work function or late night meeting without notice as I have to schedule child care or, at the very least, coordinate with my husband.

Surviving Pregnancy (and Parenthood) as a Type A Personality:

So how do you survive all of this? How can a Type A accept that time is fleeting, planning is obsolete, and work may need to move down the priority list?

Learn to adjust.

You may not have all the time in the world to finish, because your evenings are cluttered with playtime with your child or exhaustion from the pregnancy, or taking care of your children. I can barely keep my eyes open past 9 pm right now. Between pregnancy and chasing a toddler, I could nap for ages and it wouldn’t be enough. And, even if I find energy, my brain has been going for so long that I can barely think. So, you learn that your brain stops functioning after a certain time and adjust your life to find time for you. Even now, it’s 5 am as I write this because I know I typically have a clear window between 5 am and 6:30 am as my house sleeps. Though, every so often I do look at the monitor as I know while Abby typically sleeps until 6:30 am, she has been known to wake up early and throw off the schedule.

Throw out the schedule and stop apologizing.

This is a hard one but I promise it’s an important one. I only have a few friends with children. Those who do typically understand that it’s important to not deviate from the nap schedule. And I make every effort possible to ensure I can attend gatherings (asking to schedule them before or after naps, ensuring that nothing will keep her out later than 8 pm, and finding childcare if it would be impossible for me to miss it) but, I do preface all meetups with the notion that I have a toddler and she makes the final schedule. I have had to cancel plans at the last minute, which I do hate to do, because Abby decided to throw a tantrum over not being allowed to eat cookies, or she woke up with a fever, or she simply was just not in the mood. In the beginning, I would apologize constantly and I would feel terrible. But, I’m learning to understand that this is life. My baby’s needs have to come first. And generally, the world understands.

Use your work time wisely and set boundaries.

Another hard one but an important one. I have never looked at myself as anything less than a hard worker. As mentioned, I sacrificed my own time to ensure work was completed early. But now, I’m tied to the schedule of daycare. I’m also an even harder worker now, though. While others may have the time to stay past 7 pm at the office to finish a project, I can’t. So I work as hard and efficiently as possible to ensure the work is completed by 5 pm because that is the latest I can stay in order to pick up Abby. But, of course, there are late night meetings or conference calls after hours in my field. I accept that. But, after being back at work post maternity leave, I knew I needed to set some boundaries in order to be successful both at work and at life. I have a personal rule that no work can happen between the hours of 6 pm and 8 pm, because that is the only time I actually have with my daughter, and a portion of that is spent making dinner. I turn my work phone off and refuse to check my email. After her bedtime, I’m open for a conference call or a webinar or late night cram session, but not beforehand. Of course, not everyone will accommodate this timing but, for the most part, my supervisors and colleagues have understood, especially since my work is still being accomplished successfully, just on new terms.

Just remember, this isn’t going to be easy. I still struggle with these life adjustments every day. Just yesterday, I needed to be at an early work event, so I knew I had to leave the house 10 minutes earlier than normal. I work up early and prepped as much as I could, as early as I could. And I alerted John far in advance of this change. And, Abby decided that she wanted to sit on the potty (yes, she now asks to sit on the potty, does ABSOLUTELY nothing but enjoys sitting on the potty). And, of course she needed Mommy to help her, not Daddy (despite the fact that she has been attached at John’s hip for the past few weeks, for this one moment, she needed Mommy). So, I sat with her in the bathroom, as she sat on the potty and exclaimed “Potty!” and “I did it!” over and over again, clapping at herself. Yes, it was very adorable. And no, she didn’t do anything, she just sat there. I’m still proud that she wants to sit on the potty – step one, right? So, I left the house 10 minutes later than I normally would, got lost attempting to get to the event because of an accident on the highway, and ended up arriving a few minutes later than intended. Everything ended up being fine. I alerted the team that I was running late and went straight to work when I arrived. The event went on without a hitch but I was still frustrated in the morning because the schedule was thrown off. And then, as I was about to walk out the door, angry, Abby grabbed my leg and said “Bye Bye Mommy” with a big smile. I melted and took a few more minutes to get a last minute hug from my baby girl. Parenthood is going to throw you curve balls constantly, you just have to learn to course correct and breath when things don’t go as planned.

Happy Four Years!

Four years ago, I danced to Michael Bublé’s “Everything” in blue sparkly converses, watched my white dress hanging from a tree for the perfect lighting shot (thanks Katelyn James), and fell down during our romantic first look. Happy Four Year Anniversary, John!

It has been a crazy four years. In four years time we have traveled to three different countries, brought our beautiful baby girl into the world, and watched Die Hard about a million times. We’ve experienced the worst times of our lives and the best times, together. We’ve said goodbye to too many people to count, from grandparents to children. But we’ve also gotten the chance to welcome beautiful new children into the world (our own included).

Out of all our years together (both dating and married), this past year has been one of my favorites. I got to see you transform even more into the role of “Daddy” and I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything in the world. I know this transition has been hard on both of us. Life after children is completely different than anything I have ever experienced. And I know we struggled, and we still do at moments, but I truly appreciate that we are working towards figuring these new roles as Abby’s Parents out while not losing sight of us. Despite the fact that Abby is going through another “Daddy Phase” and I may frown when I realize she wants nothing to do with me because she sees your face, I am also incredibly proud and warmhearted just knowing how much you truly care for her and do for our family. Thank you for everything.

From the beginning of our journey

Photo by Katelyn James Photography

Photo collage of our life

Photos by Valerie Lazzari Photography

I can’t wait to keep making memories with you!

Tell me about yourself

Define yourself

You blink and just like that, three months have gone by without a peep. Three months of tears and laughter. Three months of frowns and smiles. Three months of learning new skills, and three months of mastering previous ones. You blink and just like that, your baby is no longer a baby.

I’m now the mom to a 16 (almost 17) month old. I’m now the mom to a child who I no longer count her ages in months. I had to do the actual math in my head to figure out what her actual month in age is just now. (Fun fact: apparently, I have been completely miscalculating her age in months in my head and I just had to use a calculator). My baby girl, who not too long ago would stare in amazement at her hand’s ability to open and close until the excitement exhausted her, is now flying through our living room trying desperately to grab the cat for just one hug. She has not once been able to catch her, but I know the wheels are turning in that sneaky head of hers, calculating her next move. If only she could figure out how to climb the fridge. And yes, she has tried.

Abby is growing faster than I ever imagined. Every day she is changing and growing. And in these past three months, I’ve realized that this is the same for me. Before becoming a mom, or even a wife, I felt like I had a better understanding of who I am. I remember sitting on a job interview ages ago, easily hitting the needed points when asked “Tell me about yourself” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I had a plan. I fit into the correct template, or at least I was on my way to fitting into where I thought I needed to fit. I knew myself or at least I thought I did. But today, I struggle defining myself. Immediately, my response to the iconic “tell me about yourself” question is “I’m a mom” followed by uncertain silence. I’m a mom. And more importantly, I’m Abby’s mom, and I work hard every day to deserve that title. But, outside of that, who I am?

  • Am I still a writer? Well, it’s obvious from the lack of posts here and the empty pages in my journal that I’m losing that title.
  • Am I still crafty? My can of electric blue spray paint drying out in my garage, that once transformed an old broken chest into the Toy Chest that Abby rummages through trying to find the perfect stuffed animal, while hoping she doesn’t lose her footing, begs to differ.
  • Am I still a runner? Only when it comes to chasing Abby through the store as she giggles and runs from one aisle to the next, giggling and not looking in front of her.
  • Am I still me? No. At least, I’m not the me I was before. But who is the me now? And three months ago, I turned 30 and realized, in this past year I transformed me to be a mom and lost everything else that I thought defined me.

As a reasonable and fully adjusted new parent, who just realized she had no real clue of herself, I did what any sane person would do – I celebrated my baby girl’s first birthday and then hopped a plan to Ireland to forget all of about my responsibilities. (And Abby got to spend the week with Mama and Papa – my parents.). Then, after returning home and after realizing Guinness in the states would never be the same, I took a hard look at myself, trying to figure out where the pieces fell. It was as if the puzzle pieces that once fit perfect had gone missing and in it’s place were pieces from entirely different puzzles, ripping corners of others while trying to jam themselves into the vacant spaces.

And it was then that I decided, I needed to get to know the new me. I needed to take myself out on a date and dive into what makes me, me. So, who is this new me? Honestly, I have NO idea! But, I’m trying new things constantly to figure it out. For example, I found out that this new me, still enjoys a bottle of wine that is under $10, surprisingly loves meditation, and unsurprisingly, easily falls down during yoga. AND in my journey, I’ve also discovered that sparkling rosé from a can is both delicious and practical – this new me is just as fancy as the old me. And still terrified of opening Champagne bottles.

So, here I am, trying anything and everything under the sun to figure it all out. It’s time to throw a bunch of things at the wall and see what sticks.

Making (baby) eating easier – Parenting Hacks

Making Baby Feeding Easier

Now that I have survived a full year of parenting (how did this happen?!), I’ve been noticing more and more friends who are expecting or just had their newest addition ask Facebook land what are some key products that could make life easier when dealing with all things feeding related. After answering a few and hearing feedback from others, I thought I’d compile a list of some of the incredible things that made feeding time so much easier for me, and some that did not.

Let me preface this by saying, during Abby’s first year of life, she was formula fed. I started off exclusively breastfeeding but switched to formula. I’m completely for breastfeeding, formula feeding, or both. And I have no problem with a woman feeding her baby in public, as long as she doesn’t roll her eyes at me as I prepare a bottle of formula (yes, this has happened). Whatever works for you and your family is best! My choice to switch was difficult and there were important factors that led me to where I am today – but I have no regrets. And once she turned one, and we finished the last opened container, we switched to milk and haven’t looked back. We were really excited to save extra money from not buying formula, but apparently, we forgot to factor in that our daughter eats like her father. This grocery bill is out of control. Oh well, at least she’s cute. And at least he does the dishes.

On to the list because Abby is working on what sounds like a big poop so time is of the essence. (And enjoy some photos from the early days of motherhood. Look how tiny my baby girl was!)

Hands-free pumping bra (LIFESAVER):

Yes, this looks like something out of Madonna’s closet and it is somewhat intimidating when you first use it, but BELIEVE me, it’s a LIFESAVER. Aside from a stellar breast pump, this is a necessity for all pumping moms. Pumping is incredibly weird. This bra is also incredibly weird. But, it does give you the ability to have both hands free to do important things like sort bills, respond to a work email or, more realistically, drink coffee while surfing Facebook.

DSC_0569

Madonna aint got nothing on me

 Travel formula dispensers (LIFESAVER):

Measuring out formula while your baby screams for food is stressful in itself. Add in the factor that you aren’t home, so your attempting to scoop the right amount into the bottle while patrons at a crowded restaurant stare in judgement as you try to measure quickly to soothe your child. If you could do it any faster, you’re welcome to try! With these, scoop the amount you need at home, and when baby gets fussy, pour directly into the bottle. And before you say it’s a waste of money because you could just use any container to do this – that is so much harder than you think. Believe me! I tried! It usually ended up with precious powder scattered on the ground. The spout on the travel ones perfectly fits into your bottle. I’d rather spend the $7 now, to ultimately save money in the long wrong because as formula moms know, formula aint cheap! (Side note, once you’re over the formula stage, these come in handy for traveling with snacks – because sometimes you just need a car snack!)

Apparently that was a good meal

Infinity Scarf Nursing Cover (BLOWS):

I wanted so badly to love this – it had multiple functions to make my life easier. By definition, I should love it. It is a fashionable scarf that turns into a discreet nursing cover. But, wow, was it terrible. And maybe I just didn’t have the correct brand (though I did try different ones) but I hated it. Now if you are comfortable feeding without a cover, I applaud you. I honestly do! But, I just wasn’t that person. So back to the scarf. As a scarf it was cute, but somewhat thin (something I could deal with if it’s true purpose worked correctly). And it seemed that it should be easy enough, put baby on boob, cover with scarf. Due to the design, it covered Abby’s face so much that she would end up flushed and cranky, and attempting to readjust her was nearly impossible. It was a two person job to get her situated right in the first place. The scarf kept falling down, in some light you could actually see through it, and it just ended up falling to the ground in most cases. And there was my boob, just flopping around. And then there was the milk that eventually spewed all over it meaning you were then wearing a scarf that smelled like breast milk. Epic fail.

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Seriously, no idea how these things work

Peanut Butter (AMAZING):

Feedings, both breast and bottle can take time. And it usually happens when you’re stomach is begging for substance. This is especially true when breastfeeding. Add in recovering from birth and lack of sleep, I was STARVING constantly. Hence the mighty peanut butter. When breastfeeding, I always made sure to have a jar and spoon in arms reach. Now, if you are allergic to peanuts or just don’t like it, I’m not encouraging you to suffer. My favorite part of it was that it was a one handed snack – VERY IMPORTANT, especially during late night feedings. Find your own one handed snack – or get your own jar. Mine is sadly empty.

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Yes, my photographer got a photo of me eating PB at the hospital. Photo credit: Valerie Lazzari Photography

Alright, time to change a poop. Let me know what has been a lifesaver or opposite for you. And now that we are fully in the milk and food zone, look out for a blog post focusing on toddler eating hacks. I can’t believe she’s basically a toddler!