Why you need to stop judging parents in the public with their children

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Life with little ones.

Unpredictable.

I’m the mom that’s out in public, sympathizing with the parents of screaming children. While my 19 month old son is exceptionally well-behaved in public, he’s had his moments like every child does. Having only one child, I’m able to be vigilant about damage control. One parent, one child. I can usually calm him down, entertain him, or get through our ventures a little faster to keep him content. If he’s really unhappy and going to go into full on tantrum mode, I promptly leave. But add more children in the equation? I’d certainly not be able to control the situation.

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That being said, guess what world? Parents need to go out just like anyone else. We need groceries, stamps, we need to go to doctor’s appointments. Just like anyone else, going out is not optional. And why should we avoid going out? If anyone needs to avoid cabin fever, it’s those trapped talking with babies and toddlers 24/7, watching Minions endlessly, and cleaning up mashed Goldfish crackers from the carpet. We need to know that a world still exists outside of our life of parenting little ones.

Just a few weeks ago, I found myself in an odd situation. I was on my lunch break from my part-time job at one of my favorite local restaurants. The table in front of me consisted of two middle-aged working women, also on their lunch break I’d assume. Behind me, there were two moms and several little ones ranging from infant to 3 or 4 year olds. The children were restless, not sitting down, a toddler was taking her shoes off and joining other tables to see what other patrons were up to. My own parenting style wouldn’t allow my children to bother other paying customers, but I was not irritated, upset, or put-off by the children at the restaurant. The mothers there, were obviously outnumbered. One had a leg cast up to her hip. The two working women at the table in front of me were beyond irritated and made plenty of snarky comments. I suppose they were waiting for a reaction from me, as the one small child kept coming over and hanging out with me.

But they didn’t get a reaction from me.

Instead, I talked to the little girl and let her sit at our table for a few minutes.

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Children do not come programmed with emotions. And parents aren’t perfect. While children should be taught how to act in public, it’s not an overnight process. This was a family-friendly restaurant, not a place where you should expect to dine quietly or without some small annoyance. I often find myself conflicted about going out in public, especially to restaurants, where I fear that my toddler’s unpredictable moods could impact the experience of other customers. More recently, I’ve gotten over the fear of judgement and just done it.

Our littles can’t learn how to act in public if they aren’t allowed in public.

I think that people forget what it’s like to have children or have simply not been around them a lot. The level of annoyance that I see on a daily basis caused by small children is astounding to me. Most parents, myself and my husband included, are doing the best we can to raise a responsible, kind, considerate little person. I’m guessing it will take around 20 years.

So, the next time you’re in public and annoyed by a child that isn’t perfectly well-behaved, do yourself a favor and choose kindness over judgement or harsh reaction.

Sometimes all a parent needs to get through the day is a smile from a stranger when their toddler is refusing to leave aisle 2 in Target.

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I Am The 1-In-4

“I’ll see you in my dreams tonight.
I’ll kiss your cheek and hold you tight.
I have no more tears left to cry.
You’ve flown away, my butterfly.”

This is not going to be a typical BurritoBuzz blog post. Typically we’re reviewing products, being sarcastic, writing about Lego’s and organization. We’re making our readers laugh and living the happy mommy dream one post at a time. However, I am sharing with you today about a topic that isn’t talked about, taboo in a sense; people aren’t made aware of it because no one talks about it and it’s heartbreaking: pregnancy loss. This is going to be real and this is going to be tear-jerking, but not only do I want others to be able to try to understand, I want other moms who have experienced loss to know that the moms here at BurritoBuzz sympathize with you, can relate and are here for you. 

**Please keep in mind that this is my experience. If you have cramping, bleeding, back pain or another out-of-the-norm symptom, please call your doctor or visit your nearest ER as soon as possible. **

I couldn’t even think of a witty typical BurritoBuzz title for this post and I’m sure that has to do with the fact I simply can’t think at all right now. It’s like a blurred shade has been pulled over my eyes and I just go through the motions to make it through the day.

Nothing I can put into words will truthfully help anyone understand. It’s one of those situations, that if you haven’t been there, you can’t even begin to imagine the pain. It’s one of the worst things I have experienced in my entire life, and I’m still trying to figure out how to make it from day to day. I promise I’m not being overly dramatic, it absolutely f*cking sucks. a27c0fe7949608c3784b2b824e541dd3

The wounds are fresh and very, very new. Not even a week ago, I was being rushed to the ER via ambulance with my 10 week old fetus in a tiny little container on my lap. I had suffered a spontaneous complete miscarriage at home at 9:42pm on Thursday, September 8th, 2016.

Let me start from the beginning. Here’s how it all happened:

Sunday, September 4th – I was seen in the ER for minor spotting with no accompanied cramps. An ultrasound was done and we were told our baby was fine, growing right on schedule, strong heartbeat and the spotting was from a subchorionic hematoma and there was nothing to worry about. Given the positive news, Danny (my husband) left for a funeral in California.

Tuesday, September 6th – I was back in the ER, as the blood had increased, still no cramping. Given the same information as before in regards to the baby being healthy and everything looking perfect.

Wednesday, September 7th – I was seen by an OB. I had yet another ultrasound where she told me everything was perfect, the baby looked great. I still had the subchorionic hematoma, but there was no harm to me or the baby. She told me I had a less than 2% chance of pregnancy loss. I was told to expect some minor (if any) cramping while the bleed cleared itself out. She then reiterated the “low, low risk of loss.” I remember hugging her as I left and thanking her because she put my mind at ease. I immediately called Danny and told him the great news.

Thursday, September 8th – Typical day at home. No bleeding. Few twingy cramps here and there, but nothing worrisome, all to “be expected.” I laid down in bed with C (he sleeps in my bed when Danny is out of town). I felt a peculiar “pop” right above my pelvic bone and vaguely remembering Googling “can you feel you baby move at 10 weeks?” While reading about how chances are extremely slim, I felt more wetness than normal. I figured I was spotting again. I had light panty liner on, so no worries. However, felt the urge to go pee. I stood up out of bed and from there to the hospital is a huge blur. I remember barely making it to my tile floor before the amount of blood became alarming, as it pooled around my feet. I remember trying to stay calm since my 3 year old son was still awake. I remember sitting on the floor of the bathroom on the phone with Danny telling him I had a miscarriage and was holding our 10 week old fetus in my hands. He didn’t want to believe me, swore I was mistaken because less than 36 hours prior I was told everything was perfect. I called my mother-in-law to come stay with C and I sat on the bathroom floor, in a huge puddle of blood, clots and tissue, with our baby, crying hysterically. I remember intermittently answering and making phone calls to my husband and listened to his beg and plea for me to be okay and get to the hospital. I remember trying to clean up the floor before my mother-in-law got there. I suppose this was out of embarrassment and instinct. I don’t remember her coming over and I don’t remember calling 911, but now know the reason I did was the amount of blood I lost. I don’t remember how my baby got placed into a tiny Tupperware container. I don’t remember the ambulance ride or getting to the hospital. I was in such a daze. A blank stare daze. I didn’t speak. I didn’t think. I didn’t move. I laid in the hospital bed, still hemorrhaging severely while the doctors did whatever they needed to. There were so many people, so many questions, gowns, blankets and IVs. My heart rate was through the roof and my blood pressure was low.  I had lost a significant amount of blood, to the point they were hanging bags of blood to give me (which I guess I refused until 100% medically necessary). They estimated from 9:42pm to the time I had gotten to the hospital, I lost between 550-575 ml of blood. I don’t remember anything else past that point. I was discharged roughly 8 hours later with instructions, narcotics and an empty womb.

September 9th-12th – Bleeding, mild cramping, exhaustion and still emotionally numb.

Monday, September 12th – I followed up with OB today and it was horrible. I walked down the hallway of the Women’s Health Clinic as the sound of fetal heart monitors echoed out of the rooms and into the hallway. The doctor came in, did an ultrasound and said that aside from some average clots and a thick uterine lining, my body had expelled everything itself, as if I was somehow unaware of this. She prescribed Cytotec to re-induce labor, Percocet and Ibuprofen for pain. The Cytotec will “shorten the rest of the process to 1-2 days”. I can’t write about my experience with the Cytotec because I haven’t began taking it yet and haven’t decided if I will. If I chose to take it, I will write about it. My body is naturally doing what it is supposed to do and the doctor said everything will resolve itself. I did not need and as of right now, will not need a D&C. This appointment was extremely hard. Not only did I see the same doctor who told me the day before I miscarried that everything was “perfect,” but I also saw my barren uterus. The same uterus that was so full of life, kicking feet and a beating heart last week. It really took a bigger toll on my already fragile emotional state.

Emotionally, I’m still not sure what is going through my head. The “Stages of Grief Cycle” is  a universal kinda thing but what is all true is that we all grieve differently and this cycle is a bunch of bullshit. Just because I’m choosing to share my story doesn’t mean I am in the “Dialogue and Bargaining” stage and given how I’m feeling, I am image011_0somewhere between my personally improvised grief cycle categories of “not wanting to get out of bed in the morning” and “sitting on the couch in a daze all day.” What has truthfully helped me a teeny tiny bit, is the outreaching of my family and friends who have been there and experienced a loss. The support of my husband is outstanding and people have come out of the woodwork to offer their condolences and share their stories. They’ve offered “tips and tricks” for what has helped them, links to websites, books, songs, blogs, etc. Does it heal the pain? Absolutely not. Does it help by surrounding yourself with others who can truthfully relate? Absolutely. Surround yourself with anyone and everyone you feel comfortable with and bask in the love and support you’ll receive. There have been moments when I want to be 100% alone and just be able to cry and scream without anyone consoling me. There have been moments when I want someone around because I won’t breakdown around others and it’s nice to be able to feel “normal” in the sense of having a casual conversation. It’s a crazy mixture of wanting people around, but wanting to be alone. I’ve found myself locked in my bedroom with a house full of people just to keep myself from having a panic attack. There are other days when I have been at my mother-in-law’s house, laughing and interacting with other members of the family. I do want to take an extra moment and touch on my wonderful husband. Even from over 2000 miles away he has been my rock through all of this. He answers the phone no matter what time of day, he calls numerous times a day to make sure I’m okay and he knows how to make me laugh even through all of this. He even sent me a dozen red roses to ensure I knew he was here for me. I have never doubted his support and do not fault him for being away. If we received even a slight bit of hesitant news on that Sunday, he wouldn’t have left. I strongly encourage you to take comfort in your spouse or significant other. They may not show it as emotionally as you will but trust me, they’re hurting just as bad.
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I can’t tell you how to grieve and I can’t give you a timeline as to when the pain will subside because frankly, I don’t think it ever will completely. What I can provide is a support system and the ability for you to reach out to someone who has been there, understands what you’re going through and can offer a sympathetic shoulder to cry on.

I’m here for you, mama. We’re here for you. You’re not just a 1-in-4 statistic like the world labels you as. You’re a grieving mom to an Angel Baby. 

– Kirstyn

 

How We Afforded IVF

Woof. For us, the financial aspect of infertility was probably the most stressful. We have easily spent $15,000 at this point and that is cheap compared to a lot of couple’s expenses. It’s hard to spend that kind of money only for a chance of becoming pregnant. There are no guarantees unless you go to a clinic that offers those programs and it’s still a gamble. They’re generally more expensive up front, so if you get lucky and get pregnant on your first shot, you’re out a lot of money!

We took a year off to save up the money for IVF because the money is due upfront and we also wanted to use that time to get in the best health that we could. Here are some of the ways we raised money:

  • GoFundMe. We had some awesome friends (Katie from BurritoBuzz and her husband) who asked us if they could set up a GoFundMe account for us. This was an amazing gift and it helped us raise a good chunk of money without having to do a lot of work. This was great too, since our goal was to also raise infertility awareness.
  • Garage Sale. We had a massive garage sale. It was huge. My mom and I cleaned out her basement and we also had a lot of people donate items for us to sell. I advertised it on a local buy/sell/trade page and that really helped. A lot of people who stopped at the sale also wished us well with IVF and that was very sweet.image
  • Cookie Fundraiser. This one might not be as feasible for everyone, but I went to culinary school for pastry arts. I worked at a bakery and they offered to let me make and sell an item at the bakery, and the profit would go to our clinic for our IVF. I chose to make giant triple chocolate chip cookies. I did the work off the clock, but it was definitely worth it!
  • Pinched Pennies. We had a lot of game nights at home. We’re homebodies anyway, so this wasn’t too hard! We didn’t make ourselves miserable, but by cutting back on a few “extra” things here and there, you can save a lot of money. Most of our friends understood and were happy to have cheap date nights with us!
  • Apply For Discount Drug Programs. Our clinic provided us with forms to apply to both First Steps and Compassionate Care discount programs. They’re income based IVF drug discount programs. Our nurse also suggested writing a cover letter and we were offered 25% off from both companies and these discounts are good for one year.

I’ve made friends with people who have gotten loans specifically for IVF/infertility treatments with low interest rates, so that’s another good option! There are also grants you can apply for. Another idea is to open a credit card that offers no interest for a certain amount of time. I’m a firm believer that if there is a will, there is a way!!

With all of these tips, we raised a huge chunk of the money that we needed for IVF. We couldn’t have done it otherwise. I know a lot of people never get to pursue IVF strictly due to the enormous cost, so I hope that this might give you some options before giving up!

Baby Dust!

– Chelsea

How To Be There For Your Infertile Friend

So your friend opened up to you and shared that she’s having problems getting pregnant. (And if you’re a good friend, this will happen. Infertility is way more common than you probably think). Your first instinct is probably, ‘Crap! What do I say? What do I do to help her?’ As a member of the infertility club, I’m here to give you some tips and tricks! Things I wish the people around me had said or done.

Disclaimer: We know infertility is hard to understand if you haven’t experienced it first hand. We also know it can be super awkward to talk about (sperm, vaginas and sex, oh my!). The fact that someone is telling you about their infertility struggles just means they need a trusting place to vent!

Let’s start with some things to do:

  • Listen! We need someone other than our husband/partner to talk to!
  • Listen well! There’s nothing worse than having to re-explain procedures and diagnoses over and over. Try to pay attention and actually understand what is going on with your friend’s journey.
  • Do some quick research. A quick Google search will give you more than enough information to fully understand your friend’s upcoming IUI, or HSG test. Your friend will be thrilled you spent the time to try and understand!
  • Unexpected friend mail is the best! Snacks, bubble bath, fun socks (for all those dates with the stirrups), even just a simple card! All are amazing and all are appreciated.
  • Just being aware. Certain social events and holidays are hard. Being understanding and aware of these triggers is huge. Don’t be hurt if your friend doesn’t come to your baby shower. She’s still so happy for you! She’s just sad for herself.

Here’s some things to try and avoid:

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  • Giving advice. Unless you’ve gone through the same things, try to just not to give advice. We know you’re trying to help, but it doesn’t help. Trust me, we’ve tried it all. Duh, temping sounds better than painful procedures and spending thousands of dollars. But that doesn’t work for everyone.
  • Telling other people about your friends struggles. Just don’t. That’s so rude and we aren’t in high school. Not everyone is as open about this as I personally am.
  • Comparing your 4 months of trying to her years of trying. Again, not the same, and not kind. It’s ok that you got pregnant easily. We wish we could too!
  • Complaining about your kids/messy house/lack of sleep. We are dying for those things.
  • Tell her about adopting. We know! This not only makes adopting look easy (which it isn’t, and it’s not for everyone), it also makes her feel guilty that by following her biological instinct to reproduce, she’s being selfish. You adopt! Adopting shouldn’t be the sole responsibility for infertile people.
  • If you become pregnant, don’t avoid her or purposely not tell her. That’s hurtful. Also telling her in person is a little much. I suggest a thoughtful text message explaining that you wanted to share, but wanted to be respectful. Again, if she’s a good friend, she’s going to be happy for you. Just sad for herself.

These me are just a few little tips and tricks I’ve experienced along the way. It’s hard to go through infertility and I’m sure it’s hard to know what to do or say to a person experiencing it! It’s even been hard at times for my mom and I. She was super fertile, and just doesn’t always know what to say. And that’s ok! Just having the support is really what we need most.

– Chelsea

 

Why Am I Writing For A Mom Blog?

This is a question I’ve been asking myself since joining BurritoBuzz, and I felt like this was a good first blog topic (with the exception of my Infertility Sucks guest blog post). I’m known as Mom to by lovely fur babies, Penny and Sadie, but I have no human children as of yet. I have no fancy baby products to review, and no mom advice that I would be able to share. I’ve never dealt with teething or sleep training. But you know what?

I matter, too!

This may just be my perception as an infertile woman trying to become a mom, but too often women who aren’t mothers are made to feel less than in our society. Whether women choose not to have children or are just having a tough time getting there, we are made to feel like we’re outsiders. And maybe we are. Who knows. But it sucks.

Confession time: I had to unfollow this very blog on my Instagram because I just couldn’t. It’s hard to have that constant reminder of something I so desperately want. I hope that someday soon, I will! Having to struggle for so long will make my husband and I better parents.

I am in no way trying to shame anyone in writing this. In my humble opinion, all women are amazing. We all are capable of showing motherly love, whether we are moms or not.

So I guess all this rambling is basically just a long version of this: you women out there who are struggling too, I got you! I know you’re out there and I feel your pain. I think it’s amazing that these girls saw that hole and asked me to fill it. I gladly will! I feel like we’ve gone through about 85% of testing and procedures that one can go through with infertility, so if anyone ever has any specific questions, please let me know! I plan on getting around to writing about them!

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My babies, Penny & Sadie

– Chelsea

#StopTheMommyWars

You might have noticed that I have been a little MIA from blogging lately. I’m Sorry! Nope, slash that. I really am not. I have been doing a lot of self-care lately, and frankly I am tired of feeling like I need to apologize for it.

Tired of feeling the need to apologize for not getting to the laundry, because I spent the entire day literally reading to my babies, and snuggling.

Sick of wondering what other people think of my attitude.3f4ffe4ac23adcc5f25a322df290998d

Exhausted with answering my phone in a timely manner.

Tired of wondering if my husband sees me as Lazy.  (I know he doesn’t)

Worn-out from making my house “presentable”.

Drained from working 20+ hours a day. {Please children, can we just all agree that sleeping 8 hours straight is a good idea for all parties?}

Nauseated over the amount of time I stare at my budget, instead of just enjoying my babies playing on the floor next to me.

Done being judged over how many cups (pots) of coffee I had for breakfast.

Enough of figuring out how to get rid of my “mommy belly”.

I am through trying to make myself feel “equal” to those moms who work outside of the home.

I am through comparing salaries and budgets.

I am through wondering if I am appreciated, or if I am doing something wrong.

I am through questioning my self- worth!

 

No one has made me do this. I do it to myself.

We as moms see social media, TV, magazines, other moms in target, other moms in the doctor’s office, and sadly start judging or comparing.

You know you do it.

I might not want to, but I do it. I wonder if working would make me happier. If dropping my kids off for a few hours a day would make me feel better? Make bills easier? Be better for them?

What if I bottle feed instead of breastfeed? Will my son be more independent? Will I get more sleep?

What if I stop caving when my toddler resists potty training? Does that make me lazy when I do?

What if I set an alarm every morning and worked out, instead of working out around the babies? But then I wouldn’t get as much sleep? That mom just posted about how she has a 6 pack, and left the gym just in time to see her babies after DH got them out of bed??? How tired is she at 8pm?

What if I make a cleaning chart, and have everything cleaner, will less clutter help my stress? Maybe?

Here is what I have realized….

ac74fe1730b44eff8c2c1b4da0247f36The truth is the laundry is just fine where it is.

My attitude (obviously pretty carefree lately) is no none else’s business: if they have a problem with it, then that is their problem.

If I don’t text back or call back chances are I am doing something more important, and if you really want to talk to me you know where I live, or I’ll get back to you when I can/want to.

My husband doesn’t see me as lazy! He tells me often how “amazing” I am, how he “couldn’t do what I do”, and often says “please just sit down for 5 min” <<<< Where do I get off thinking otherwise?? Why would I put an attitude or frustrating thoughts where it obviously does not exist! He appreciated me, and it’s MY problem if I don’t accept it.

My home is a play center, a day care, a craft room, a pet groomer, a jungle gym, a school, and most importantly where my children reside every day all day. I owe no one spic and span and a spotless room. I mean really….if it’s always clean then what are my kids doing? Staring at the TV? A wall? Watching me clean? Yeah, that’s tons of fun. So, if some dog hair sometimes, dust here and there, toys everywhere you try and walk offends you….find a new friend!

My DH work nights, and I have a 9mo old and a 2 year old…..I am going to look like the walking dead for the next few years, its time I accept that fact.

My DH works so very hard at his job. My job is to make sure bills are paid and that I am raising healthy happy children. Adding stress to myself by budgeting and re -budging every day is just silly!

The mommy belly is going to take time to get back to normal, and it probably never will completely go back to a flat tummy! I’ve accepted that, and it is what it is. I need to check myself before my daughter starts to have a bad body image influence.

Most importantly……Being a stay at home mom is pretty awesome and to stop comparing myself! I am awesome, because I stay at home and raise those babies! I spend every single waking moment with them. Here is the kicker…..Working moms are awesome too! They have the strength to trust their tiny human with someone else! All day, and almost every day. I just don’t. The few months that I worked when BK#1 was a baby was pure torture! I ached for my child. My “dream job” has always been a SAHM…..I have been blessed enough to do it. I need to stop comparing my life and capabilities to other moms, and just enjoy my life!

Why the rant? Why am I saying all of this?

Because the “Mommy wars” start with us! It starts with how we view ourselves!

It starts with our own happiness! Be happy with your life, no matter how hard, or what you have in front of you. Life is not always easy, but you have tiny little humans that NEED to see a happy mom! It’s okay to fake it sometimes, but I found that I needed to dig down deep and find myself in the middle of this crazy thing called mommy-hood, and CHOOSE to be happy and CHOOSE love myself!

I encourage you to stop apologizing. Stop excusing  yourself from the table because of a crying baby. Let the laundry sit, and go outside and play. Read a book instead of checking email. Turn your phone off after 8pm. Spend some time on yourself, and become a better self!

~Amanda

#stopthemommywars <<<< search it on social media. If you are having a bad day, I promise it will help!

Let’s get this out in the open…

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I’ve struggled with writing this post for more than half a year now. Wondering what words are right, fearing the emotions that would come with it, and being utterly ashamed of the way I felt, even if only briefly.

I struggled to get pregnant. TTC (trying to conceive, for anyone unfamiliar with the infertility world,) for 1.5 years. I had a hard pregnancy, where my OB thought my son might come early (too early.) My labor was straight from a dramatic scene you would see in Grey’s Anatomy, where my son’s heart rate was dropping low because he had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. And post partum? Sheesh. My son had bad reflux– the kind where they choke on their own spit up and you’re terrified that they could do it in the middle of the night and you can’t get to them quickly enough.

My first week home was fine. No major problems. Typical insomnia, but OH so much love for that tiny human of mine. I cried happy tears, because the outcome of my labor could have been vastly different. I came home with a happy, healthy little baby. I was beyond thankful.

After a week or so I noticed my hormones tanking. I was upset all the time. I was sleep deprived to the point of psychosis. I didn’t eat. I didn’t do anything. I was paralyzed with the crippling fear of keeping my son happy and healthy. He ate all the time, slept on a crazy schedule. He spit up more than he ate. I had lost interest in everything other than taking care of my guy.

I lost my identity completely.

I went from being this strong, independent woman… to being afraid to leave the house for fear of strangers with germs, car accidents, my child throwing a fit in the store, etc etc etc. There was so much unknown.

And while I can say that I never had thoughts of harming my child, I did sit rocking him with tears flowing (often on him,) wondering what I was doing wrong. Googling all hours of the night ways to help him sleep, and feel content and not be so refluxy. Untitled.png

I didn’t want company. I didn’t want to talk, hang, let other people hold him. I didn’t want their germs, their advice, their opinions. I didn’t want it.

My mom helped often, and I went to check-ups with my OB to make sure my hormones were getting balanced out. Otherwise, I’m not sure how I would have made it through.

Dealing with the baby blues and postpartum depression absolutely does not correlate with whether or not you love your child. Anyone that knows me can tell you that my world revolves around my little boy. I love him more than I could ever put into words. I would do anything for him. I need him all the time, and I miss him when I’m away from him for even a few minutes.

But PPD takes over your mind completely. Thoughts become irrational and finite, and looking past the temporary situation is near impossible. There is an immense struggle to adapt, because it all happens so quickly.

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Post partum depression is still a taboo topic. If you have a happy, healthy baby… then you should just be happy. But the brain doesn’t understand that. It just doesn’t. And while PPD usually subsides within a few months when hormones level out, sometimes it requires medication and lasts a much longer span of time (a really amazing crusader that has spoken out about her long battle with PPD is Hayden Panettiere. Also, Brooke Shields wrote a great book on her PPD.) Not saying that it takes a celebrity to realize that this is a problem, but I’m glad that a few celebrities are using their fame to open up about their struggles.)

Realizing that there is a problem is important. Letting people know that you need a support system is the best way through it. Go to your doctor and get a check-up. Talk to other women that have had PPD and the baby blues. Get out. Seriously… don’t worry about strangers at Target when you’re waltzing through in your yoga pants, mom bun, and your child is screaming. And baby wear— baby wearing helped me SO much. I felt like I gained some independence back when I started wearing my son around everywhere. It’s great bonding, and allows you to move around freely.

If you have a spouse/significant other, make sure you explain to them how you are feeling so that they know when and where they can help. Take all the help you can get. Make parenting a bonding experience, and try to avoid frustration in times of chaos. This is a learning experience for him as much as it is for you. My husband was a wonderful support. And while he wasn’t always as quick to run to our crying baby, he helped and he really stepped up when I asked for extra support with taking care of our newborn. I am forever thankful to him for being such a wonderful dad.

And lastly… don’t be ashamed. As moms we are entirely too hard on ourselves. We created and gave life, and we’re putting another human’s needs above our own. Most of us have insane hormonal imbalances after having our little ones, so we need to give ourselves some credit. Take care of yourself! You cannot serve from an empty vessel.

I’d also like to reach out to adoptive parents here, because it’s totally possible to have PPD as an adoptive parent! There are a ton of articles out there on this, but here is one that I liked.

If you have a severe form of PPD that leads to unusual anger/rage, I encourage you to get help as soon as possible. There are all kinds of agencies that specialize in getting women with PPD the help that they need.

PPD/Baby Blues lasted roughly 3 months for me. After which point, I noticed my hormones leveling back out. I was able to resume normal life activities, and being a mother finally felt natural. I have a happy one year old son who is my everything. “This too shall pass” was my happy motto, and I’m so glad that I was right. Life has never been better.

-Katie

Valentine’s Day, EVERYDAY!

For those of you who don’t know, Valentine’s Day is coming up this weekend. I think the Moms here with BurritoBuzz can all agree that it’s just another “Hallmark holiday” to us. Sure it’s great to celebrate it if that’s what you want, but to us, it’s the other 364 days of the year that matter most. We shouldn’t save our romance, thoughtfulness, and gifts for one night out of the year. Now I know finding time for you and your spouse sometimes is far and few between if you have little ones running around, but you have to make it work and find the time.

After talking with some of the Moms with BurritoBuzz, here are some of our recommendations to maintaining a happy, healthy relationship – not JUST on Valentine’s Day!

 

 

  1. Deliberate and scheduled date nights – It doesn’t matter if they are once a week, once a month, an overnighter, or just a couple hours away, make these happen. It is normal to feel guilty while you’re away, but you won’t regret it. You and your significant other need those moments together. It will get easier to be away from your kiddos. Try not to be on your phone texting, talking to your sitter ABOUT the kiddos while you’re gone either! There’s actually a really unique company called Datebox. It’s a subscription service where couples receive, “everything you need for a fun and creative date delivered to your door step every month!” One of the Moms with BurritoBuzz is going to be trying a box out here soon!!

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  1. Scheduled family meetings (just the two of you) – Take this time to go over that months budget, schedule, events, etc. (It’s virtually impossible to fight about money and not keeping each other in the loop if you have a meeting specifically about it). Use a calendar, phone apps, etc. to keep a sort of family command post. This way everyone knows when things are occurring, who is babysitting, when bills are due, etc.

 

 

 

  1. “It’s the little things” – Just taking the little bit of time to let the other person know you are thinking about them is worth more than any bouquet of flowers or box of chocolates in my book. Put something by the bathroom sink before you got work, put a note in the others lunch, leave their favorite treat in their car cup holder, etc. Even if it’s as simple as sending a text saying, “I hope you’re having a good day.” It just lets the other person know that they’re on your mind. Who wouldn’t love this!?!?

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  1. YOUR time – Every couple’s schedules are different, but I believe it’s extremely important to be able to devote some portion of your day to each other. It might only be a few minutes of peace in quiet in the mornings before the kiddos are awake or right after the kiddos fall asleep for the night. Maybe it’s a Saturday afternoon and both kids are actually asleep at the same time. Either way, its quiet time, and those moments are important. I look forward to the evenings after we get both kids to bed. It might only be a half hour some nights, but it is still time that my husband and I can talk about our days, catch up on our DVR, and just be together. We try to limit using our cell phones, tablets, etc. at this time. It’s not quality time unless your both present, and I don’t think you’re really present if you’re glued to your phone.  

 

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  1. “Divide and Conquer” – This applies to everything in your household. I think if you and your significant other can work together, not only will you get to spend time untitledteamtogether in the end, you won’t feel like you’re doing all the work all the time. Usually I’m the one who makes dinner, which I actually enjoy doing most of the time. In return, my husband is the one who cleans up afterwards. Bath time is another thing we split up as well. Sometimes we each do one of the kids and sometimes one of us has to do them both, but I don’t consider it my job or his job; we share it. We help each other get the kids ready to go in the morning before we go to work when we can. There are other chores we do not split evenly. For instance, my husband takes out the trash, mows the lawn, and shovels the driveway, while I’m usually the one who packs lunches. Bottom line – we work together and it works for us.

 

 

  1. Talk – If something is bothering you, your significant other should be there for you to talk to. They should be one of the only people who you can be completely open and honest with about anything and everything. The issue may or may not pertain to them, but either way, you should be able to talk to them about it. Sometimes just talking about something that has been on your mind and getting it off your chest will make you feel 1000 times better afterwards!

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  1. Listen – It’s so important to be honest and open with your partner about everything, but along with that is also being a good listener. Sometimes your better half just needs to vent, cry, or talk, and you need to be that person for them. Even if they had the day off work and were home all day with the kids, that doesn’t mean it was just “a walk in the park” kind of day. They might just need a few minutes to talk to an adult about their day filled with baby talk and Paw Patrol.

 

 

  1. Don’t forget YOU – Try not to forget about yourself. If Mommy isn’t happy and loving herself, it will show in her household! You have to find time for YOU. Whether it’s a night out with girlfriends, getting groceries alone, painting your nails; sometimes a little time away can have a big affect on your mood and emotional well-being. I know I can get caught up in day-to-day Mommy tasks – work, eat, sleep, take care of the kids, repeat. I have to remember to take a little bit of time for myself from time to time. IT IS OKAY! It’s important for my whole family!! Keep this in my mind when it comes to your spouse/significant other too. Make sure you allow some time for him to get away too – playing video games, going to a football game, etc.

 

 

  1. Be away from work – Technology is great, but sometimes that means that you are cellphoneavailable to your job 24/7. When you are at home make sure you are actually at home and not still finishing up things from work. Sometimes you can’t avoid it, but if you are doing it every day, it is time to make a change. You’re family needs you to be present when you’re home. Leave work at work.

 

 

I think I could go on and on with this list. I think it’s so important to not forget about your relationship with your better half. It’s not all over after kiddos, it can just get better, but not without a little thought and care! You don’t have to go on a big elaborate date and spend tons of money to let the other person know you still love them. Keep it simple and do it every day of the year!

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-Megan

Tears On My Stearing Wheel

WillowTree-Angels-CatBannerI’m 100% sure I met some angels today.
They had gray hair, kind eyes, slumped shoulders, they were holding hands, and bundled up ready to leave Target.
I didn’t know it, but they had been around the store with me, going through the same isles, seeing my morning unfold,  hearing my toddler’s screams, and I’m sure feeling the tension that was in the air, as I was trying to keep my calm.
I don’t even know what set BK#1 off.
She was being good and then all of a sudden she was screaming, shouting and pointing at something. I have no idea what, but she for sure was not getting it now. She never acts like this in public! I was trying to reason with her, trying to figure out what she wanted so we could talk about it, distracting her with talk of lunch and then seeing her Aunt later. NOTHING worked!untitled (26)
By the time I got to the check out {Normally if she acts out and it can’t be corrected we leave. I refuse to be embarrassed, reward her with an audience, and people trying to calm her, but I needed toilet paper and laundry detergent} she was full on loosing it. She took her shoe off and threw it at me. I caught it, placed it in the cart, leaned in close to her and said “If you do not stop right this second you are going to stand in the corner, in this store, in front of everyone”. She calmed to a small whimper, but still acting out. THEN the cashier asked HER if she she wanted a sticker! Ughhh mmm thanks for trying to help lady, but in our home stickers are rewards, and she is most definitely not getting one right now!
I replied kindly, because she really was just trying to help, “I really appreciate it, but no thank you. She has been yelling and not acting nice and made mommy very sad, so no sticker.
BK#1 lost it!
“Mommy sad??” There was no more screaming and yelling, and inaudible sentences, but weeping. Big, sad, ugly, heartbreaking tears.
I quickly paid and hurried towards the door.
Back to the angels.
I was getting her coat on her, covering up BK#2’s head (he was sleeping on my chest in the Tula), and Mrs. Angel touched my arm and said “You are doing the right thing, and you are an amazing mother, may we help you?”Free-Candy-Van.jpg
I was hesitant, but I told them “Thank  you, and absolutely you can help!”
Mrs. Angel grabbed BK#1’s hat and put it on her and grabbed the TP. Mr. Angel  grabbed the laundry detergent and the bags, and told me “pick up your baby and tell us where your car is.
My mind is programmed to be scared of someone following me to my car, but in this instance there was no fear, I was greatful beyond words.
We made it out to the car, I opened the back and they placed my items in, Mr smiled and grabbed Mrs’ hand, and she looked at me with the kindest eyes I have seen in a very long time and said “Keep doing what you are doing, you wont regret it, thank you for letting us help you. Have a good day!”

And off they went.

I wont ever see them again.

I got in my car and drove away, crying, (if you haven’t figured out from my other posts, but I am an emotional person, obviously) and listening to the soft cries behind me.

Raising a tiny human is really hard!

untitled (25).pngBut, in these days being a good person is too! I am in shock and awe of the kindness that I was shown today. I was raised to serve people. I was raised to do nice things for people who don’t deserve it. I was raised to do the good thing, even when no one else is!

We are surrounded by horrible bad things. We are programmed not to let anyone near us, not to let anyone help us. Its the world that we live in. We are just trying to get by and keep our LO’s safe.

I know all of that. I am well to aware of the bad things going on in our small towns. I know that those strangers could have very well stolen my groceries at least, followed me home, taken my child, etc. ….the horrifying list of things that happens in our world all could have happened. Be-kind.jpg

I choose not to live in fear.

I choose to serve, and let others serve me.

How am I supposed to raise wonderful, kind- hearted children if I never look for the good?

I encourage you to stay strong while you are disciplining your children.

I hope you find the calm and peaceful words that diffuse a situation.

Most of all, I encourage you to look for the Angels in your life.

Is it an old couple missing their grandkids? Is it in laws trying to be better grandparents? Is it parents LEARNING to be grandparents and letting you be the parent? Is it your husband bringing you coffee in the morning? Is it your wife folding all your laundry and putting it away so you don’t have to?

Look for the Angels, and importantly – actively and purposefully be an angel to someone else!

~Amanda

 

 

 

I have a Large Family: Stop the Judgement!

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Guest Blogger Kelsey Burrows, on her Family and Judgments Surrounding it:

Hi, my name is Kelsey.

I’m twenty-nine years old and I’m a mom. I am a mom of five living, breathing, beautiful monsters. They leave their clothes on the floor, and toothpaste spit in the sink. They forget to turn off lights, or just don’t care about the electric bill. They leave messes just about everywhere they go, and generally don’t pick them up without being asked at least twice. They fight with each other constantly, over practically nothing. I rarely get to sit down and eat a meal with them because I’m too busy helping the younger ones get their plates, cutting up their meat, pouring drinks, cleaning up spills, and getting out some random condiment that I inadvertently forgot. By the time I get done shoveling food down my throat, they’re all done and I’m reminding them to clean up their plates, finish homework, get ready for volleyball or soccer, or whatever extracurricular activity is going on. It’s generally pure chaos in my house from dinner until bedtime. At the end of the day, I wonder how I managed to survive their waking hours. Let’s not even start on the damage they do to the bank account with all their wants, and “needs”, and actual necessities. That alone can drive a person over the edge.

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Kelsey with 5 of her Children

Looking back fifteen years ago, if you would have told me that I would have five kids and be divorced by the time I was thirty, I’d have looked at you like you were out of your mind. I wanted to go to college, maybe get married, travel a little, and then maybe settle down and have a baby or two. But yet, this is my life. I rarely go into public with all five of my kids without getting some kind of look insinuating that I am a crazy person. But guess what? I am a crazy person. My kids drive me to the brink of insanity, multiple times a day. It’s amazing to me that I have any hair left on my head. So often in a day, I’m frustrated enough that I could probably pull it out without a second thought. You haven’t lived life until you’re trying to cook dinner while a whiny two year old asks for a fruit snack, and his seven and eight year old sisters fight over whose turn on the computer it is. And then, my favorite is the “MOM! He just shot me in the eye with a Nerf dart!”. Yes, this is my life.

Occasionally though, there are times when we go out in public when my kids behave. Quite honestly, they behave most of the time when we have to go places. That’s not to say that one or two of them don’t cop an attitude over wanting candy or to look in the toy aisles, but they’re generally good kids. While we’re at it, my kids are pretty awesome. They’re smart, they’re caring, they’re mostly hilarious. I have some of the best times with them, even if it can be a little stressful. So when you see me with my kids while I’m out in public with that look of pity in your eyes, I’m generally looking at you like you’ve lost your mind. You’re judging me, someone you don’t even know, because of how many kids I have? Don’t you have anything better to do with your life? Both of my grandparents come from families where they had several siblings, and by several, I mean upwards of five. It only seems natural that I have a large family too. Some days, I question my life choices. Most days though, I thank God that He has blessed me with these five kids who are daily reminders of why I’m here on earth.

I’ve been asked so many times, “Are all these kids yours?”, while I’m grocery shopping. Let me ask you, do you routinely suggest that your kids bring their friends along to run your errands? I don’t either. So yes, to my knowledge, all these kids I have with me while shopping the aisles of Walmart are in fact my children. The sandy blonde hair and fair complexion doesn’t give it away I guess. I understand that your questions are not necessarily intended to be judgmental or rude. Your questions, though, cause me to question my worth as a parent. Is there a reason you’re asking me if all these kids are mine? Why did you ask if I’m planning on having more? Should I not? Am I not a good enough parent to have five kids? What if I want six, or seven kids? Surely you’d really judge me then.

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Well actually, I don’t have five kids. I have six. I gave birth to an angel baby in June, at only twenty-nine weeks pregnant. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. I wonder what her smile would have looked like, or if she would have had any hair or teeth yet. I think about what an awesome set of older siblings she would have had. She was taken from me before I even got to hear her cry. It was a devastating blow, one that I feel the effects of everyday. When you ask someone if they’re done having kids, or jokingly ask if they know how babies are made, be sensitive. There are people like me out there who thought their families were complete, and then a surprise came along that rocked their world. People like me, who fell in love with the baby they were carrying inside them. People who dreamed about what their baby would look like, sound like, what their personality would be like. Would they cry 24/7 and make me want to smack my head against a wall in frustration? I’d give anything to be able to be up all night with a crying seven month old right now.

I no longer feel like my family is complete. My heart grew to accommodate that sixth little being, and now there is a void where her tiny little smile should be. So while my five kids are sometimes brats, they’re sometimes mouthy, and they fight all the time, they are here with me. I can hold them close, and kiss them goodnight, and tell them I love them whenever I so choose. It isn’t right to look at someone and make assumptions about their lives based on the number of kids they have. If you only have one child by choice, good for you. You knew your family was complete. If you have two kids, or ten kids, good for you. If you chose not to have kids at all, I understand that too. But, don’t judge other people because of their choices in procreation. Some of us have experienced losses greater than what you could ever imagine. Those losses sometimes effect our choices.

I hear, “Wow, you really have your hands full”, at some point during almost every outing with my kids. Most of the time, I just ignore it. Sometimes people jokingly ask me if I know how babies are made, or if I’m planning on having more. I love my kids. You don’t have to, because they aren’t your kids. So yes, all these kids are mine. Yes, I’m a little crazy. Yes, I’d love to have another baby. Yes, I know how that happens. Yes, I know my hands are full, but my heart is too. The love you feel from a child is unlike any other love you will experience in your life. I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.

-Kelsey

I am a Millennial Mom Sick of the Commentary

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Millennial is defined by Wikipedia:Millennials (also known as the Millennial Generation or Generation Y) are the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates when the generation starts and ends; most researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.”

As a millennial, born in 1988, the commentary on millennials is familiar. More so, the negative commentary. Millennials are categorized as lazy, entitled, spoiled, whiny, coddled, fiscally irresponsible, unskilled,  socially inept, narcissistic… the list goes on indefinitely.

I find myself in a generation where we are between a rock and a hard place. Growing up many of us were pushed into higher education, only to come out and be shoved into the conveyor belt of a workforce during an economic recession. I find that millennials have high expectations of life, a generally optimistic outlook, and are willing to work for what we want… even if that means long work hours and minimal pay, benefits, and no option of a pension plan, not to mention the inequities created by former generations between genders and races.

I finished my bachelor’s degree in (the not-so-standard) four years– because let’s face it, when you’re required to take courses like “The History of Rock” and “Earth Science” you’re typically stuck taking a good 5 years to get through a bachelor’s degree. I left school with a sizable amount of debt, but I was more practical about my student loans than many (I went to a state school, had grants, scholarships, and didn’t live in campus housing… certainly saving me thousands.) I quickly got a decent job. I had a small savings account, paid my bills, went to work, paid my debts, practiced my frugality…ate a lot of Spaghetti-O’s.

I got married, to someone I dated for 5 years. After being married 3 years, we had a baby (which we planned for, both in the sense of family planning and financially.) Being a millennial mom is not for the weak.

Millennial moms are an entirely new breed of women. Many of us don’t have the option to stay home to care for children, because financially some of us are monetary equals or more. We juggle caring for a house, children, our spouses, personal finances, all while maintaining an external career from the home (I say external career from the home, because I firmly believe that being a stay at home mother is also a career, and a demanding one.) Even then, women that stay home are often multi-tasking, couponing machines just to be able to afford the basics. And, unless you’re upper-middle class or better, it’s unlikely you can afford full-time child care at a decent organization.

But having a job outside of the home comes with some serious implications. I get my child ready, get myself ready, somehow manage to look professional enough, and put myself into business mode. Do you know how difficult it is to go from focusing on giving your child puffs and their sippy cup, or changing the diaper of a flailing infant, to managing the finances of a company? These things are night and day, and almost require me to be two totally different people.

I’m tired of hearing how lazy millennials are. If there’s a lazy bone in my body, it only exists when my child finally falls asleep for that brief hour I have before I head to bed. Even then, that hour is usually spent cleaning up from the chaos of the day, managing my side businesses (2,) paying bills… and occasionally spent watching Mad Men on Netflix.

I may not speak for everyone, but I know I speak for the majority. I am not entitled, and I have worked for everything I have. If anything, we have a new generation of men and women that are striving to be equally employed, responsible for children and finances, and work collectively to get things done. As women we fight the glass ceiling and stigmas pushed upon us to create something better for our own children, but at the same time… we are still expected to take care of our homes and families. Don’t get me wrong– I think MANY men are stepping up to the plate to help with these tasks, but certainly not all and not always to the extent they should. Being a woman now means doing everything that men do, plus more. I’m not here on my soapbox to complain about how hard I work, but I am here to say CUT IT OUT with the “lazy millennial” crap.

*Steps down from soapbox.*

-Katie

 

Fight the FLU

*BurritoBuzz is a group of moms that gives advice, and any medical content should be regarded as non-professional advice. Please consult your physician with any medical concerns you may have.*

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I will start off by saying that I am not a physician. I’m only listing my recommendations from the perspectives of both a mother and a nurse. I cannot guarantee that you won’t get sick if you listen to me (wouldn’t that be a money maker!). My hope is that these simple tips will keep you and your loved ones healthy and happy this flu season. These tips come from experience (I have two kiddos and I work in healthcare) and I believe have helped keep myself and my family in good health in the past.

 

  1. Get a flu shot

You can read more about vaccinations in this blog by one of our guest bloggers about a month ago. No one enjoys getting stabbed with medication or watching their children get stabbed and crying hysterically thereafter. Let’s face it, it sucks getting shots. It also sucks being sick with the flu – fever, body aches, chills, fatigue – symptoms that last far longer than the quick little poke of a vaccine. These symptoms are also easily spread to others. Please get the vaccine to keep yourself and others at a decreased risk of getting the flu. It is so easy to get at most doctor’s offices and pharmacies. Most often it’s free. Your arm will be sore and your kiddos will probably cry but it is totally worth it!!!

 

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  1. Drink water!

If you’re not sure if you’re drinking enough water, you probably need to drink more. According to the Institute of Medicine sited on Mayo Clinic, it’s recommended that women drink 9 cups of beverages a day and men to drink 13 cups of beverages. I know I personally struggle getting in this amount, but I really do try to have my own bottle/cup when I’m at work that I’m always refilling. I try to do the same thing at home. The bottle in the photo is similar to the one I received from my hospital after having a baby and I LOVE this thing. My 2.5 year old does too. It’s perfect because it large, insulated, and clear. I know I’m always getting plenty of water and it’s measured so I know how much!

 

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  1. SLEEP

I know, I know. It is easier said than done, especially with little ones at home. Try to make an effort to get as much rest as you can. Even if it’s not always “sleeping,” resting/relaxing and just letting your body recharge and catch up is a good way to stay healthy. If you have kiddos at home, make sure they’re getting the rest they need too. Let them sleep in when they can and try not to skip nap time. We all need our rest!

 

  1. Wash your hands

This is a simple task. It’s so simple that sometimes it’s easily overlooked. We all should be washing our hands quite frequently especially when germs are more prevalent this time of year. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom, before preparing and eating food, after being in public places, after coughing/sneezing into them, the list goes on. If you’re not sure, just do it. You can use sanitizer too. Keep sanitizer always on hand – leave some in your diaper bag, purse, in your car, and around the house. Sometimes I just have my little one sanitize after using the bathroom or being outside, but other times a good hand washing is the best. Along with keeping your hands clean, try to keep other commonly used surfaces throughout your home clean too (this will keep those germs off of your hands in the long run!). I love my CLOROX wipes any time of year!

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  1. Cover your cough

Use a tissue or cough into your elbow to avoid spreading those germs when you cough. If you do end up coughing into your hands, avoid touching anything and wash them ASAP. Pass these good habits on to your little ones. The sooner they learn to cover their cough appropriately, the better off everyone will be!!

 

  1. Stay away from others who are sick

This goes both ways. Try to avoid others that you know are ill and being in public places where you could come in close contact with potentially sick people. The same goes for you and your kiddos. If any of you are sick, stay home. Avoid spreading that sickness any further than beyond your own home.

 

  1. ENCOURAGE

We need to hold each other accountable. I mentioned before about teaching our kids early on about covering their cough and good hand hygiene. We should do the same with adults. Encourage visitors at your home to wash their hands before they hold your babies or coworkers to sanitize after blowing their nose. We have a strict policy at the hospital I work in to wash/sanitize our hands before and after entering a patient’s room. It doesn’t matter whether or not I touch anything while I’m in that room. Germs spread like wild fire, and we need to look out for ourselves and each other.

 

Along with what I consider “The Top 7,” it’s important to maintain a nutritious diet, regular exercise regimen, and manage your stress to stay healthy and avoid the flu. Even though flu season is upon us now, all of these tips should be utilized year-round as best we can. With just a few easy adjustments to our daily living, we can avoid feeling miserable and downright bad with crippling flu symptoms down the road.

 

Check out the CDC’s website for even more helpful links and tips to keep your family happy and healthy!!

 

– Megan

Juggling.

family-manager-pinkromaI juggle a lot. Anyone that knows me will tell you: I should probably take something off of my plate.

But that’s not an option. The income is important, from both my job and the photography.

I was working full-time before having my LO, and thought I would continue. About halfway through my pregnancy I decided I wanted to go part-time. So now I work MWF, about 25 hours a week. On top of that, I own and operate a photography business specializing in weddings and engagements, which occupies anywhere from 20-30 hours a week between shooting and editing. I also take care of our home (with the help of my husband,) and run this blog. My house is almost always spotless, which may be more attributed to a touch of OCD.

So how do I do it?

In all honesty: something is almost always being forgotten. Seriously. I make these mental lists of things I want to get done, and I end up remembering maybe 10% of it. (Right now, to get this blog done, I’m distracting my 9 month old with a pile of Puffs. You do what you’ve gotta do…)

Obviously, in order of priority, my LO comes first, followed by my jobs, and lastly my house (which is why my fridge currently contains milk and bread and nothing else.)

The key to being a working mom and keeping your sanity is organization.

unnamed-At my job: I have a running to-do list every day. I cross things off as they are finished or make notes to let myself know what still needs accomplished. I also keep a calendar of events, as well as utilize the post-it note feature on my desktop. One of the best ways I’ve found to remember various things in the moment is to actually open all of those browser tabs at once. This way, you’ll look at those tabs and go “why did I have this open?” It’s a quick way to make reminders.

-With my business: I am excessively organized. I have contracts, a calendar of events, reminders, and paperwork for clients to fill out. I know who is watching my child at what time, as well as what they will need paid. I also keep many of the papers with me when I’m out on a shoot (itineraries, important phone numbers, etc.) In doing my business finances, I have several spreadsheets of information to account for itemizing come tax time.

-With my house and family: we have a boogie board on our fridge that keeps us in check. The board can be locked, and you can cross things off and add notes. No need for pens and paper. Outside of that, my husband an71Z22Va1imL._SL1500_d I have a shared Google calendar, and we always have a plan for the day (who is dropping off, who is picking up, who is responsible for dinner… or for picking up Chipotle, most often.) We are CLEAR on communication, i.e. “can you do this, that, and the other tonight” or “I already did this, that, and the other.” I also use the “reminders” feature on my iPhone. My iPhone runs all things, knows all things, and is the sole reason I’m mildly sane. Siri reminds me of all the things I would otherwise forget. Siri… you beautiful virtual woman you.

No part of this is easy. Some days it’s downright daunting. With some organization and planning, things generally go pretty smoothly (by smoothly, I mean that we have never forgotten to pick up our child, and our house hasn’t burned to the ground yet.)

Good luck, mommas! You’ve got this!

-Katie

Shots and Stabs that are Life-Saving

*BurritoBuzz is a group of moms that gives advice, and any medical content should be regarded as non-professional advice. Please consult your physician with any medical concerns you may have.*

asfdKatie asked me to post a guest blog about vaccines. I’m going to do just that after a bit of a preamble. So if you’re looking for the punch-line: vaccines DO NOT cause autism, you should always get them for you and your children, baring some extreme circumstances.vaccine_infant

I must start with a few disclaimers, one which has already been put at the top of this post.

I am not a physician and any medical advice I give you is based on my scientific (not medical) knowledge.

Furthermore, I am not a mother. I think this is an important disclaimer because my conclusions are based completely on science and not those overwhelming anxious feelings a mother instinctually has for her child.  So I apologize in advance if I come across as clinical.

Enough of what I’m not! I am a Ph.D. candidate in molecular microbiology, which means that I know a lot about one thing and that one thing is microbes. Broadly speaking, microbes fall into two categories. Those that live in and on us are called commensals and do awesome things like protect us from other microbes, shape our immune system and help digest our food. The other group accidentally find themselves on or in us, infect us and make us sick. We call these pathogens or infectious diseases or a more kid friendly term, GERMS.

You know the drill, one day you wake up with your head feeling 3 times its normal size, unable to breathe through your nose and have to carry a box of tissues with you to work, all the while grumbling that someone needs to cure the common cold! (We’re working on it, I promise).  But now imagine instead of waking up with a cold, you wake up with paralyzing polio, or scarring chicken pox, or potentially fatal meningitis.

For millennials this idea is preposterous! No one gets polio. Kids these days don’t even know what chicken pox is like. This is because science & medicine have developed vaccines for many of the debilitating infectious diseases that our ancestors had to endure.  Many infectious diseases affect children more profoundly because their immune systems are not completely developed. This is the reason babies and children require so many vaccines.

o-VACCINE-facebookVaccines are a way to boost your immune system to a germ before you are actually infected with that germ. In short, your immune system is tricked into thinking you’ve been infected, it mounts a response and is at the ready when you truly are infected. Most of the time vaccines contain parts of the virus or the bacterium that would normally cause the disease. Sometimes the vaccine is made of the whole virus or bacterium that has been attenuated (it can no longer make you sick).

A good example is the vaccine against influenza. You can get an injection which is comprised of either lab-made pieces of the virus or killed virus. It is not possible for this to make you sick. If you’re needle adverse, you can get a nasal spray vaccine. This is a living virus but is “cold-adapated” which means it can live for a short time in your nose but cannot spread to your lungs where a flu infection normally occurs. So you may get a runny nose or headache, but it’s way better than the flu!

Vaccines are safe. Vaccines, antibiotics, any prescription drug you put into your body, have been tested through multiple levels of clinical trials that can take upwards of seven years and must meet FDA standards. Vaccines DO NOT lead to autism. The scientific article that published such nonsense has since been retracted. There are instances where a patient reacts to a component of the vaccine, usually in an allergic reaction. (For example the flu vaccine is made in chicken eggs so people allergic to eggs cannot receive it). In this case, it is unwise to continue receiving a vaccine that you/your child are/is allergic to. In this case, you should discuss alternatives with your physician/pediatrician.

Many of the vaccines that your children are getting have been used for generations. That’s right, you got those vaccines. All of them. I imagine it’s extremely difficult to watch your baby get injected multiple times but it’s going to protect him/her more than you can imagine. Some vaccines weren’t even available when I was a baby, like for chicken pox and haemophilus influenza.  Furthermore, most of the vaccines available to your child are not currently available in developing countries where it is estimated that 1.5 million  children under the age of 5 die from vaccine-preventable diseases each year1.

They’re called preventable diseases because we have the vaccines for them, but not the money and means to distribute them worldwide. Imagine if you chose not to vaccinate your child against measles, and he got it. You’d have to watch him suffer a potentially fatal disease all the while knowing IT WAS PREVENTABLE. Now imagine that choice were taken away from you because of your geographic, or socioeconomic placement. If you think about it from this point of view, vaccines are a privilege that we take for granted.

There’s a lot of focus on children receiving vaccines but as a parent it’s important to remember that you must also stay healthy to have a healthy child. To end, I’ve included a list of vaccines that you, as a parent should consider2.

Influenza: Every year. Do it. Pregnant women included (talk to your OB/GYN if you are unsure).

TDAP: This vaccine prevents diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Pertussis is what causes whooping cough and can be carried without symptoms by adults. This vaccine should be boosted every 10 years.

HPV: It may be a little late for much of this audience, but ladies I strongly recommend this vaccine course to prevent infection with a virus that sometimes causes cervical cancer. It’s usually given to adolescents but is recommended for anyone as old as 26.

Shingles/Pneumonia: Grandparents should consider these two vaccines. They need to be healthy to spoil your kids!

-Chelsea

References

  1. Global Health Observatory data on immunization. (2014). http://www.who.int/gho/immunization/en/
  2. Patel, Mohita. (2015). 5 vaccines adults should consider. http://www.utswmedicine.org/stories/articles/year-2015/vaccines-adults.html

Back to the Grind

pale_yellow_and_white_interlocking_concentric_circlesBack to the Grind

The time has come. You’ve just spent 12 long, often sleepless, but wonderful weeks at home with your new little bundle of joy. You never thought this day would come. There were days when you almost wanted to go back, days you cried because you were just too tired to function and wanted to get away. But deep down, you really would not want to be anywhere else than at home snuggling your babe. Unfortunately, it’s time to go back to the daily grind and return to work. You’re feeling anxious, sad, scared and just plain dread having to leave your little one.

Does this sound familiar?

As a Mommy of two little ones, I’ve felt these emotions and “been there” twice now. For me, going back to my nursing job at an area hospital was inevitable. I knew I would work as far through my pregnancy as I could handle, have my sweet little baby, and then head back to work 12 weeks later. All occupations and individuals are different, but no matter what, returning to work is an adjustment. The fear and stress you may be feeling in the days and weeks leading up to the day could be lessened with some thought and planning.

My hope is that these top 5 tips I have will not only decrease the amount of anxiety you have leading up to the day you’re back on the job, but will also make being at work a little easier.

  1. Make a plan. In the days and weeks leading up to the first day back, start to plan. This can include everything from your childcare provider to the meals on the table. I think planning ahead and being prepared not only makes things easier once the day arrives but it reduces stress all around. We would not have a home cooked meal on the table every night if it wasn’t for the CrockPot. There are so many recipes out there for anything and everything. Most of the time, you can just dump in all of your ingredients before work, turn it on low, and by the time you get home, dinner is served! Best invention ever. Another perk is that there are often leftovers for dinners later in the week and lunches. In our house, we also utilize a calendar that’s right on the refrigerator. This way my husband always knows what shift I’m working and who is watching our kids. We also keep track of when we drop off and pick up our kids here so we know what to pay our sitter. Other appointments and social events are here too that way we can all stay on the same page.
  1. Delegate. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We all have different people around us supporting us, so use it! Try not to hesitate when it comes to delegating tasks to your spouse or older kids. Don’t be embarrassed to accept help either, especially if someone offers it. My husband and I always refer to ourselves as a Team. We stick together when it comes to decisions and discipline, and we work together when it comes to household chores – we need each other. Our household would not be as “happy” as it is the majority of the time if my husband and I didn’t work together. I know I can always ask him to do something and he will do it. We’re in this together. It’s our family. I cannot wait until our oldest can be more included in this too (she’s 2.5)!
  1. Love your caregiver(s). I know it is not always easy to find good childcare. I cannot begin to express how grateful I am for the childcare that we have and my hope is that you all can find someone equally as wonderful. The most important thing is how you’re going to feel while your child is in the hands of these individuals. If you’re not comfortable and at ease when they are there, you will never feel good leaving them. You can’t put a price on that. Don’t be afraid to ask them anything and everything before you make your decision to go with them. Try to have them watch your little one for a short time prior to you going back so you can all feel better with the transition. When I went back to work after my second child, I had my sitter watch both of my kids individually for a few times and then together too. She was used to watching my oldest daughter, but I wanted to make sure she was completely comfortable with them both before a full 9 hour day. Also, see if your care provider is willing to call or text you updates throughout the work day. I know I look forward to photos of my little ones when I’m on a break at work.

 

  1. Commit to breastfeeding. If this is the route you are going, commit now and don’t look back. Chances are it’s been going relatively well for you up until this point and it still can! Talk to your employer prior to returning so they are aware that you plan to breastfeed and can be accommodating. You guys can discuss where you would pump and how often. Remember to begin using your electric breastpump more and begin building a milk supply as it gets closer to when you will be going back. I found that I was able to freeze about a bottle or two a day by pumping after my little guy’s first two feedings of the day. I also eat oatmeal and drink lots of water. I try to take advantage of the times when I am home and make sure I nurse then. Nothing helps your supply more than that mommy/baby bonding.

There are a few products that have made breastfeeding a success the first time around that I continue to use now with my second child. My Medela double electric breast pump is one of those items. It is still going strong with baby #2 and I was super pumped to learn that my insurance covered a second double electric pump with my second pregnancy. Now I have a pump I can keep at work and one at home. Call your insurance company if you are unsure about your coverage. All insurances should cover at least one pump. It’s going to sound silly, but I also love my Medela hand breastpump. It’s super nice to use if you just need to pump one side and doesn’t take as long to set up/clean up. It’s manual so you also don’t have to worry about plugging it in for power. Finally, I could not live without my breastpump bustier by Medela. It allows you hook up your double electric pump and be hands free. This gives me the freedom to chart, eat lunch, or talk to my family while I’m getting in my work day. At home it comes in handy if I’m brushing my teeth, doing dishes, or making a pot of coffee. My hands are free. It is a lifesaver.

 

  1. Stay positive. There are going to be moments when you feel guilty. That is normal. It kills us inside when we have to be away from our little ones all day and then when we are home we are just preparing for the next work day. You are not alone. Going back to work is what is best for you and your family. Your little one doesn’t even realize you are gone, and he or she is in good hands. Take advantage of the moments when you and your family are all together. Even though your baby may not understand, he or she will sense any stress or tension you might be having, so do your best to leave that at work.

We can do this!! There are working moms everywhere. The day always arrives where our maternity leave comes to an end and we make the leap back into the workforce. Be patient during the transition back. It’s okay to feel emotional and guilty. There may even be a part of you a little excited to go back, getting back into your old routine, and having adult interaction. That’s okay too! I hope these tips can ease your mind. They have helped me tremendously, especially the second time around.

Is there anything that made going back to work easier for you?

-Megan

The Stigmas of SAHMs: A Day of Nothing

We all know the look. The look we get when we tell acquaintances, friends, even family members, that we’re choosing to become a stay at home mom. It’s a look of confusion, surprise, pity, jealousy and “judgyness”. This segment is about overcoming the stigmas of being at SAHM. Whether placed on us by loved ones, SOs, friends, strangers, MSM, or even ourselves, stigmas are the mantras we tell ourselves over and over that slowly break us mentally, spiritually and emotionally. We can overcome these debilitating scripts. We can become the all-star parents we saw ourselves being from the minute that pink line smiled back at us.

Let’s do this together. Let’s learn everything we can and become fulfilled as women and mothers in this role we were created to thrive in.

“Well it’s not like you do anything all day..”

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I am not a Stepford wife. But some days, I find myself trying to live up to irrational standards that I put on myself. Maybe I constantly smell of pledge and downy because of the stellar example set by my mother. Or maybe even because I’ve seen a lot of examples of how I don’t want my home to be run. I’ve been known to be folding laundry and unloading the dishwater seconds before my head hits the pillow. But many days I take a step back, exhale, and tell myself that the crumbs in the rug and the frozen pizza in the oven will not kill anybody. I take a look at my beautiful crazy family and I thank God for every minute I get with them.

You’ve read all the cute little stories titled “this husband can’t afford his wife.” Laundry? $50 a load. Cooking? $100 a day. My DH is active duty military. I won’t go into detail, but his job is up and down, coming and going, and so much unpredictability I could scream (sometimes I do). He doesn’t expect me to do all the things that I do, but I do them anyway. I live by the motto that a home should be a place we want to go. I want to come home to peace, a decent level of cleanliness and less stress on the inside than out. I clean my home and prepare 3 meals a day and try to keep my toddler alive from 6 am til 7 pm (even those sleeping hours still stress me some nights). I’m starting grad school (again) and writing for this incredible blog. I am no super mom or wife. But I do work. All day long.

We’ve talked before in this blog about PPD. I myself went through a mild dose of the baby blues that took me a while to overcome. I was lucky. My symptoms were very typical, mainly fatigue, lack of energy, lack of motivation and little interest in things that I usually enjoyed. With prayer, incredible friends and a supportive family, I overcame my symptoms.

But during this time specifically, I felt others attempt to use my SAHM status for their own benefit. People asked me to babysit for two weeks straight or drive 45 minutes with a newborn to meet for coffee, or got offended when I didn’t answer their calls every. single. day to talk about their latest coworker drama. And maybe I’m being insensitive, but I honestly did not care. Most days I was praying nap time came faster and maybe for a shower that day. I did not want to watch their children or load up my car to survive an afternoon out with a nursing infant. I didn’t even want to listen to their coworker’s latest fashion crime. And that is ok. Because that time finally passed and I was able to enjoy the little things again and get some frickin sleep! But that still didn’t make me a doormat.

For these, and ten thousand other reasons, I can literally physically feel my blood pressure rising and my hair getting a little more red when someone dares to say to me “Well, it’s not like you’re doing anything so….(insert annoying favor)” Excuse me. Do you see a living human hanging off my leg? Well apparently I’m at least feeding and cleaning that little person. It’s funny how remarks like that come from individuals who have never cared for a child or spent longer than a child-induced chaotic weekend at home. It doesn’t matter. There is no excuse for diminishing the role of a mother. Any mother. But especially one that is home all day kissing boo boos, singing ABCs, wiping mashed peas off the ceiling and somehow manages to keep the home together enough to live in.

Do not ever let someone make you feel as though you are lazy or wasting your days away by spending them with your child. These developmental years, (and childhood and teenage years) matter. Being a constant positive presence for you child fulfills so many needs their little hearts and brains don’t even know they need. And those days when that toddler is a little hellion and you just want to scream and put them to bed at 2 in the afternoon, still know, you simply being there is everything that child needs.

Let your house be knee deep in toys, a Stouffer’s lasagna in the oven and still be wearing yesterday’s sweats from time to time. You are there for your child. You are working so hard every minute of the day to learn patience, teach, provide for, and deepen a bond that your child will not soon forget. Don’t let someone make you feel inferior because you do the most important job on earth (it’s corny I know, but oh so true). We’ve got this. We work HARD every day. We are no one’s doormat and it is ok to say no to those “favors” other people think we have all the time for. You’re doing an amazing job, stay at home mom.

-Chelsea

Read more of our SAHM Stigmas series here:

SAHM Stigmas: Finances “We can’t afford this”

https://burritobuzz.com/2015/09/14/the-stigmas-of-sahms/

SAHM Stigmas: Careers

https://burritobuzz.com/2015/09/18/the-stigmas-of-sahms-careers

The Stigmas of SAHMs: Careers

We all know the look. The look we get when we tell acquaintances, friends, even family members, that we’re choosing to become a stay at home mom. It’s a look of confusion, surprise, pity, jealousy and “judgyness”. This segment is about overcoming the stigmas of being at SAHM. Whether placed on us by loved ones, SOs, friends, strangers, MSM, or even ourselves, stigmas are the mantras we tell ourselves over and over that slowly break us mentally, spiritually and emotionally. We can overcome these debilitating scripts. We can become the all-star parents we saw ourselves being from the minute that pink line smiled back at us.

Let’s do this together. Let’s learn everything we can and become fulfilled as women and mothers in this role we were created to thrive in.

image

“Oh so you don’t want a career then?”

Um….excuse me? Someone actually said that to me when they learned that I was becoming a SAHM. While resisting the urge to spit my entire academic and professional career thus far in his face laced with a couple of non-PG terms, I took a breath, *serenity now,* and smiled politely. I tried to present my five year plan to him but he glazed over and interrupted me to talk about his motorcycle…

The day I became a SAHM, I did not receive a welcome kit equipped with elastic jeans, an apron,  Soap Opera Digest and a killer brownie recipe (I take that recipe though if you got it). This is 2015 and for some reason people still view a SAHM as this quintessential, archaic role that is completely self-sacrificing and frankly, outdated. They smile at you with this condescending look that says “well, guess you’ll never be getting that corner office but at least all the lunches will be packed!” I’m confused….

Why, in today’s culture where self-expression and feminism thrive, do some (most?) readily assume that if a woman chooses to stay at home and raise her children, she is somehow giving up on herself? She’s throwing away a career, the potential for financial success, the opportunity to be praised by her peers….

There are definitely times when I crave the camaraderie that I had with my coworkers or the simple joy of a coffee break whenever my heart desires. But what I want, but I truly want, is for my children to see me as someone who chose to be there for them, but did not lose herself. To be that booger covered, silly song singing, soccer game attending mom that I’ve always wanted to be. But I want them to see someone who has goals and is actively pursuing them. I’m not storming down boardroom doors at this moment in my life, but I am going to school. I am reading books, staying current in my field and nurturing relationships with people outside of MOPS (I’m not in MOPS. I’ll tell you why some other time).

Being a SAHM does not mean giving up any dreams you ever had for your life. In fact, I see it as achieving double of what I ever hoped for. I get to live this crazy mom life and continue forward in my professional goals simultaneously.

Laugh at the naysayers. Don’t wear a SAHM badge like a death sentence for your hopes and dreams. Keep dreaming, keep pushing, keep being there for your babies but take a minute (even if it’s just one) out of the day to look up grad schools. Volunteer in your field. READ!! Keep nurturing yourself just as fiercely as you do for your babes. I am a SAHM, but it is only part of who I am. Don’t lose you in the chaos of everyday life. And seriously, walk away immediately from that idiot that tries to make you feel like you are less of a person like I should have done.

-Chelsea

For more of our SAHM Stigmas series, check out:

SAHM Stigmas: Finances “We can’t afford this”

https://burritobuzz.com/2015/09/14/the-stigmas-of-sahms/

SAHM Stigmas: A Day of Nothing

https://burritobuzz.com/2015/09/18/the-stigmas-of-sahms-a-day-of-nothing/

The Dreaded Mommy Guilt

So…let’s talk about mommy guilt.

We’ve all seen it.

We’ve all heard it’s whispers.

We’ve all felt its stinging pain.

This week it’s trying to ruin my life and I’m about to throat punch it. For real. Why? Why? Why? It reared its ugly head after a visit to a friend’s house. A new friend. A friend I want to get to know. I walked into her dream home, aka my dream home, and almost gasped. Girlfriend has 5 kids…yeah, guys and gals…FIVE! Her house was immaculate! Beautiful, stain-free furniture. Perfectly decorated walls. Soft and clean carpet. Free standing shelves full of perfectly organized kid’s books. Strategically placed coloring books and every array of art supply you could think of beside the dining room table. I say strategically placed because as dinner time arrived all five of her children gathered quietly around the table and grabbed a coloring book or crayons, if they so desired, to color quietly before dinner was served. This was going on as my one year old screamed her head off, demanding her food, until it was sitting right in front of her and my two-year old stood on his chair talking loudly to whomever would listen.

Guys…this was only the beginning. The bathrooms were white and spotless, the kitchen cabinets were white and I’m pretty sure they were glistening, the basement was finished beautifully and topped off with an amazing play room full of built-in shelving, a mounted flat screen and every cool and trendy toy ever known to man.

I haven’t ever felt like I needed to keep up with the latest and greatest so this feeling of impending jealousy and covetousness was quite depressing. I rode home relatively silent and when I got home instead of starting the changes I was dreaming of I laid on the couch and fell asleep to Netflix. Seriously. Mom of the year. I was so overwhelmed and sad but mostly I was feeling guilty.

I didn’t have built-in shelves.

I didn’t have perfectly organized book shelves.

I didn’t have a gorgeous play room.

I didn’t have strategically placed coloring books and crayons.

I didn’t have posters of the alphabet and shapes up on the walls.

I didn’t have children that sat quietly waiting for dinner.

I didn’t have a clean and spotless house.

I just didn’t.

I felt like I was lacking because of all of these things; that my mommy status had officially been lowered because of color coordinated bins. I was thinking of all that I didn’t have and every area that I had officially become a failure in.

Not patient enough.

Not nice enough.

Not quiet enough.

Not firm enough.

Not healthy enough.

Not pretty enough.

Just not.

My revelation came as I was driving my babies home from our playtime at the park. I had the radio on and ‘Bad Blood’ by Taylor Swift came on the radio. I turned that crap up, sang and danced like a 16-year-old girl. I laughed at myself and how absolutely ridiculous I was being. My mommy status had nothing to do with bins, shelves and posters. My mommy status had nothing to do with McDonald’s, prettiness or how often I raise my voice. I am a mama and a darn good one, might I add. I love my babies with a fierceness that is hard to find these days. This guilt that consumes is unnecessary and definitely unwanted! Ain’t nobody got time for mommy guilt. Especially this mama…

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I found this meme this week and I must share it because after realizing how completely ridiculous I was being this made me laugh hysterically. Mommy Guilt Bingo. How many of us can relate?! A few of my favorites…

Yelled

Used TV as a babysitter

Incomplete baby book

Didn’t read to them today

Hiding in the bathroom

Keep the guilt at bay, mamas. Love those babies. And hide in the bathroom when necessary.

Nicki

The Salmon Made Me Do It!

burnt-salmon

Salmon was for dinner. Baby K#2 was sleeping and BabyK#1 was playing with daddy.  I should have been able to make dinner peacefully and calmly. Except for the fact that BabyK#1 wanted nothing to do with daddy; she wanted mommy, and all of mommy. So, I attempted to cook dinner and play on the kitchen floor with some shape blocks at the same time. Bad idea. I didn’t have time to cook fish and play. The fish started falling apart, and so started the rage fit for the hour. My blood was boiling and I felt like I could punch a wall. I felt like I could punch a wall over some stupid fish falling apart. Right about this time BabyK#1 stepped on a block and was completely losing it! So, I scooped her up and took her in the living room and convinced her to play with daddy. The salmon! The salmon was burnt to a crisp. At this point I literally threw the pan into the sink and screamed “forget it no one is eating today”.  There began the tears for the evening. I wept…. I’m not talking a little bit of crying. I’m talking soaked your shirt, cant breath, and you probably should crawl to the bathroom in case you puke kind of tears.  My DH  just held me and let me cry, but he shouldn’t have had to do that. THAT woman was NOT the person he married. THAT woman was far from the person that I am. I was unrecognizable even to myself.

I am not the mother who lays on the couch for hours at a time.

I am not the mother who is scared she might throw the book that her toddler threw back at the toddler.

I am not the mother who holds her newborn and weeps…and weeps…and weeps, because why? Who knows?

I am not the mother who hears both babies crying and rolls over in bed.

I am not the mother who is furious that her one month old wants held, and won’t sleep for more than two hours at night.

I am not the wife who questions every move her husband makes.

I am not the wife who doesn’t trust her husband. With anything.

I am not the wife who avoids physical contact.

I am not the friend who dodges phone calls and texts.

I am not the friend who doesn’t show up to hang out.

I am not her.

I feel physically ill when I think about how I acted and what could have happened. It was the most terrifying feeling I had ever experienced. I decided that evening to talk to my midwife and do something about how I was feeling. Deciding to push past the stigma, fear, and pride; suck it up, and do what the doctor said would help me two weeks ago when I went in, because I knew something was off and it was worrying me. The evening of the salmon (yeah that’s what it is being called) was not worrisome. It was terrifying.

I always thought that being depressed meant that you were sad all the time and didn’t wash your hair or leave your house. I’m sure that’s probably a good description of depression for some people, but it’s also a pretty good description of being a mom, minus the sad part. But I found in reading articles and talking to a few friends that irritability and anger are also symptoms of depression. Uh, two humungous check marks right there!

So, what is PPD, and what is the difference between PPD and your good ol’ baby blues???

***You should always consult with a physician about any symptoms. These are just my findings***

Baby Blues “begin in the first few days following delivery and are typically gone by about two weeks postpartum. Symptoms tend to be mild.” The usual weepiness/crying for no apparent reason, impatience, irritability, restlessness, anxiety, sadness, mood changes, and poor concentration are all symptoms of baby blues.

All of this was pretty manageable for me with BabyK#1. I cried some, I got annoyed some but that was it, and it only lasted about a week.

PPD is a “serious mental health problem characterized by the prolonged period of emotional disturbance occurring at the time of major life change and increased responsibilities in the care of a newborn infant. PPD can have significant consequences for both the new mother and family.”

There are so many symptoms but the ones that I have read about are : Loss of appetite, insomnia, intense irritability and anger, overwhelming fatigue, loss of interest in sex, lack of joy in life, feelings of shame guilt or inadequacy, severe mood swings, withdrawal from family friends, difficulty bonding with your baby, and thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.

About two weeks after BabyK#2 was born the symptoms just kept on coming and kept getting worse. I talked to my husband, and my mom trying to convince myself that I wasn’t completely losing it. I kept putting on a happy face and shoving all the feelings/lack of feelings down. I felt like a horrible mother and a horrible wife. I doubted if I was supposed to be a mother and a wife. Mostly, I doubted my decision to become a mother. Not just a good mother, but a mother in general. Me! The person who has wanted children since I was a little girl! Me! The person who only ever wanted to be a mother. My “dream job” growing up was to be mom. I was living it and I didn’t know if I still wanted it. I doubted whether I should have ever had kids. I knew that I COULD do it, but I wondered why on earth I had WANTED to do it. When I had a bad day I just wanted to run away. I knew I would come back, I just wanted to stand up grab my keys and walk out the door and have an hour to just relax and not feel needed. And that feeling was so strange. It was almost like my body was willing itself to do this. It was an internal power struggle. Half of me was trying to get up and walk out, while the other half, the more rational side was preventing this from happening. So very strange. None of that was me. In any shape or form.

After living like this for about 7 weeks a friend came over to visit. She has 4 children and they are all very close in age like mine. I asked her if she had gone through any of this, if she took the medication prescribed, and if she went to therapy, or how she made out on the other side. She began telling me her story of how she was completely numb, couldn’t connect to her kids, she wouldn’t eat and how it lasted for years without her saying a word. WOW! Years? I feel like I’m going crazy after a few weeks. I couldn’t imagine not having anyone to talk to, and not having a resolution for this for years! Needless to say hearing from her and the night of the salmon gave me the guts do what needed done. No matter how cruddy I felt.

Being a mom means doing hard things. And sometimes the hardest thing is asking for the help you need. And the rage is still there. It’s the most difficult part to manage and from my experience, the least-talked about symptom of depression. I’m typing this now in tears, because it’s all so fresh and real, and still so present. I have only felt “normal” for about a week now. And by “normal” I mean not about to fly off the handle. I am in no way completely healed. Yes, I’m still fighting the depression, sadness, and rage. But now, finally … finally I feel like I’m winning.

That’s why I’m writing this post. I want all you moms out there to know that if you deal with PPD, depression, and especially the rage that can accompany it, you are not alone. You are not a bad mom. It can and will get better—if you get help. But now I understand that depression happens to regular people. These scary feelings do not make me a bad mother. And with medication, therapy, lots of prayer, and healthier life choices, I feel more like me again.

~Amanda

Sources :

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/basics/definition/con-20029130

The Stigmas of SAHMs: Finances

We all know the look. The look we get when we tell acquaintances, friends, even family members, that we’re choosing to become a stay at home mom. It’s a mix of confusion, surprise, pity, jealousy and “judgyness”. This segment is about overcoming the stigmas of being at SAHM. Whether placed on us by loved ones, SOs, friends, strangers, MSM, or even ourselves, stigmas are the mantras we tell ourselves over and over that slowly break us mentally, spiritually and emotionally. We can overcome these debilitating scripts. We can become the all-star parents we saw ourselves being from the minute that pink line smiled back at us.

Let’s do this together. Let’s learn everything we can and become fulfilled as women and mothers in this role we were created to thrive in.


 

“We can’t do this financially”

That very well may be a fact. Some of us simply cannot live without the income of the mother. Whether you are a SP and must be the sole provider, or you and your SO are in a place where there is no possible way to make it work, its ok. WOH presents you with different challenges than a SAHM but you dear, are superwoman. You got this. But this segment is for the women that come to the (scary) decision to leave work and take on childcare FT.

I don’t care if you’re Bill Gate’s wife, leaving you job and losing that income no matter what your financial situation, is freaking terrifying. So let’s fix it. Let’s relieve the anxiety and talk about some simple, practical options that may sound intimidating at first but will ease the shock of financial loss and help the transition into FT booger covered zombie a little less intimidating.

  1. Grocery Budget

My DH and I sat down and said “this is what we’ve got.” That number, every pay period is what I have to purchase groceries, baby supplies, gifts, clothes, household imageneeds…pretty much everything besides gas, bills and major purchases. That’s it. Trust me, if I told you, the number would make you fall out of your chair and say “Ramen is disgusting, I can’t do this.” Trust me, you can. And you don’t have to eat Ramen (hey, throw some chicken in it, a couple veggies, Ramen can work!!). But to start, sit down with you’re SO and come up with a number. Freak out for a second, then take a breath and let’s move on.

  1. Couponing

For the love of all that is Holy, do not watch Extreme Couponing and think you need to imageput on an addition to hold all your toothpaste. Just, no. But what you need to do is start small and get the Sunday paper. The Sunday paper will cost you about $2, sometimes as low as $.75 if you preorder and have it delivered. It will provide you with dozens of coupons every week that will cut your grocery bill significantly. Cut, organize a little, and then make a list.

  1. Make a List

I told you. Make a list. You don’t need binders and file folders of coupons to save money (yes I have a binder, yes I love it, no you can’t touch it). Start simple. Make a list of things you need for the week and then start looking. Look through your Sunday paper coupons and start to match up coupons with what you need. Then if you’re feeling bold, check out coupons.com. It’s not scary. Look for what you need ONLY. Don’t get wild and burn through your printer ink. After that, hit up google. I needed rice. I googled “Uncle Ben’s.” I found a coupon. Not rocket science. Just simple computer skills. Go to the store now.

  1. After the store, Grab your Tablet

After you read this, read my review on grocery reward apps. They’re free. Then, look up what you bought, take a pic of your receipt, get cash. Boom. Easy.

  1. Online Shopping = Ebates & Retail Me Not

Ebates is fool proof. Any time you shop online, find the site you’re going to on Ebates first. You’re making the purchase already, why not get 6% cash back?? Then, when you get those orthopedic pacifiers your mom is convinced will prevent braces, check out Retail Me Not for a promo code. Boom. Now you’ve gotten 6% cash back from Ebates and saved 15% off your total and got free shipping because you found a code on Retail Me Not. Online shopping nirvana.

Start here. These are the things you can do from home, don’t take hours and hours of your precious sleep time and WILL save you money. Lots actually if you start to really get into it. We can talk about meal planning, getting your cable bill down (or getting rid of cable altogether) later. Let’s start at the beginner level and wow your SO with how much you saved on groceries this week with a little extra planning and little time on the tablet. You got this.

-Chelsea

For more on our series of Sahm Stigmas, check out:

SAHM Stigmas: Careers

https://burritobuzz.com/2015/09/18/the-stigmas-of-sahms-careers/

SAHM Stigmas: A Day of Nothing

https://burritobuzz.com/2015/09/21/the-stigmas-of-sahm-a-day-of-nothing/