My husband left for a trip with his buddy last week for Costa Rica. Let's not talk about how jealous I am, because as I type this I imagine myself lounging on the beach, catching a tan with drink in hand. And then I remember I'm in Indiana, where it's 50 degrees and the sky is gray.
I bow down to single parents. Seriously, you are incredible. For the folks who solo parent regularly, especially for extended periods of time.....wow. Again, I am in awe. Parenting is hard work and when you "go it alone," it's that much more difficult. I am grateful I have extended family and friends in the community who help me out on the reg but it definitely doesn't fill the void of my partner/co-parent/best friend.
Without going into too much detail, I thought I could give you a peek into my 8-day week of solo parenting:
Wednesday, Day 1:
Hubby spent the night with a friend last night to make his early flight this morning. My kid, B, went to sleep at 8pm (!!!!) and aside from frequent nursing (we bedshare so it's no sweat), he slept until 8am. I decided to run errands and hoped he would take his morning nap while I'm drove around town. Instead, he fell asleep right when we arrived at Target (our last stop!) so I sat in the car with him, drinking the rest of my Starbucks and scrolling through Facebook. His napping patterns were weird the rest of the day and he was clingy and cranky. I was able to work on some homemade chalkboards and catch up on laundry later while he slept, which was comforting. We are living with my mom at the moment (Didn't you know?) and she fed us chicken pot pie for dinner. Wow- it felt so great not having to think about making a meal. My baby took a bath after and, on demand, showed me his bath book and duck. SWOON! But, we climbed into bed a little before 10 and he didn't fall asleep until 11. It was rough being nursed on for so long and eagerly wanting to get OUT of bed and get a few things done before sleep. I ended up going to sleep with him and deciding I could get the rest done tomorrow.
Thursday, Day 2:
I woke up at 7 to get ready for my busy work day and my kid woke up around 7:30 (early for him!). I got us both ready, dropped him off at my sister-in-law's, and helped clients from 9:30-3ish. I felt ready to go to bed by 6pm and my kid was showing signs of tiredness but wouldn't sleep until 10ish. After he fell asleep, I was able to work on some crafts and even watch a Netflix movie with my sister, BLISS! I'm enjoying the simple moments.
Monday, Day 6:
B wakes up at 8am and is ready to party. We leave by 11 to grab groceries and make a quick trip to Hobby Lobby. Of course, he fell asleep 10 minutes before we arrived at our first destination. I let him sleep for about 10 more minutes before trying to transfer him into the Ergo. Fail. He was snuggly but awake and decided nap time was over. By the time we were halfway through Hobby Lobby, he was unruly and screeching for everything in sight. We got home, ate lunch, and played outside for a bit before I took him in for another attempt at a nap. Although it only lasted 30 minutes, I was able to paint while he slept. By 6pm, he was still awake and acting crazy and slap happy because he was delirious and needed to sleep. But he wouldn't. So we ate dinner, I gave him a bath, and then he ran around the house for a couple of hours like a little Tasmanian devil. After nursing/crawling all over me in bed for roughly an hour, he passed out at 10pm.
Tuesday, Day 7:
I had plans to work today but because of cancellations had the day pretty much to myself. It was magical. I dropped my son off to my sister-in-law around 11, ran a few errands, grabbed a coffee, and crafted at home until about 6pm. I felt so accomplished and really couldn't believe how productive I could be without a tiny kiddo trailing close behind. Meanwhile, B had a really fun time with his aunt, uncle, and cousins. Like me, they took advantage of the warm weather and were outside pretty much the whole day. When I went to go pick my sweet baby up that evening, we ate pizza and chocolate cake. Yes, I married into a pretty great family. <3 I went to bed feeling hopeful and satisfied, not only with the work I did earlier but because my husband would be coming home tomorrow!!
Wednesday, Day 8:
I woke up feeling worn out- probably because of the busy day I had yesterday along with the fact I also went to bed much later than usual. Oh, and B woke up early, too. They gray, rainy skies made it challenging to get out of bed. We stayed at home all day, catching up on laundry and taking it easy. B only napped a total of 1 hour all day (yikes!) but crashed around 8:30 in the evening. Josh showed up around 11pm after a long day of traveling. I was so happy to see him and, in fact, kind of forgot what his voice sounded like (we ended up not being able to talk on the phone without crazy data rates so we'd only been texting for the past week).
Whew. It's over. Life will soon be back to it's regular schedule and I'll have an extra set of hands helping me make dinner, keep up with household chores, hang with B, and the like. I found after a few days of doing this, for the most part on my own, I got into the swing of things. Some chunks of time were HARD while other moments I felt like a complete badass taking care of a tiny human for a whole week. Again, it felt SO good having the support of my family and close friends. In a busy week of solo parenting, I was still able to take some time for myself and I wouldn't have been able to do that without my village. That definitely was the key to staying sane, no doubt.
I survived 8 days of solo parenting!
People love buying gifts for a new baby. I think it's a weakness we all have. Before I even had a kid, I'd browse the Baby section at Target, ohh'ing and ahh'ing over the outfits and accessories. There's just something about seeing a tiny fur vest and mini-glittery scarf that makes you want to squeal.
Items such as blankets, outfits, toys, nursery decor, baby gadgets, and the like are popular baby shower gifts. I once talked with a woman who received 20 baby blankets at her shower.
Listen, y'all. No mom ever needs twenty baby blankets. I guess multiples may warrant extra items but this is just a little excessive.
- Postpartum support
Help in the home after my baby was born was pretty crucial for my sanity. It's a constant job taking care of a newborn. My husband and I didn't really want to keep up with the dishes and laundry. I would have rather stared at our cute baby. Or slept.
Set up a donation jar at the shower for folks to pitch in for mom's postpartum support fund (see photo above). Keep in mind that some doulas often offer gift certificates, too, so that could also be an option. Just make sure it's someone mom feels comfortable working with!
I took for granted how easy and enjoyable it was eating a meal before my baby was born. Once you have a kid, you become ambidextrous. You learn to eat with one hand. You don't mind food being cold, and you may eat whatever is put in front of you (I did and still do if I'm hungry enough).
There are a few different ways you can support mom in this realm: Gift cards for restaurants and grocery stores, setting up a meal train, or hiring professional help. Talk with mom about her preferences. Trust me, she'll love that you're helping her out in this way.
Gift Mom with a mani/pedi. Massage, chiropractic work, and craniosacral therapy are real treats, too! Offer to go with mom and hold baby while she visits her favorite hair salon. A fun magazine, some bubble bath, and a bottle of wine sounds like a fantastic gift basket to me.
Everyone loves Target, right? Target has everything. If Mom feels like getting out of the house, offer to watch her baby and hand her a Target gift card. Or go with Mom to Target and hang with her baby while she tries on a couple of new, comfy outfits. Oh, and she'll probably want to hit up the Starbucks in Target which brings me to my last (and very important) gift idea...
Get Mama a gift card to her favorite coffee shop. Make up a cute little gift basket with coffee, half and half, and the like. Buy her an amazing coffee maker. My friend did this for me when mine broke during those first few weeks postpartum. Best gift ever! Not sure I would've coped without it.
Any other ideas you'd add to this list?
"What do you want for Christmas?"
As I get older, my Christmas list gets shorter and, really, more practical. The stuff that I used to ask for is just that. STUFF. Nothing too special about it, other than the goodness of feeling loved that comes from receiving a gift. Nearing 30, I'm more about learning, experiencing, growing, and giving back. I think I enjoy giving gifts more than receiving them. BUT, considering how I worry about acquiring too much, I'm often stumped about what I should get others. I want it to be something they can make use of without feeling bogged down by all of the STUFF that comes with the holidays.
Do you feel the same way? Do you have someone in your life that you want to celebrate but don't know how? The gift of support in the home may be the perfect way to say "I care." It looks different for every family, but that's the beauty of it. It's versatile, functional, and important.
Keeping a household operating smoothly is challenging, whether you work outside of the home or stay at home with your babies. Help with the laundry, dishes, meals, errands, and the like can make a huge difference for all families. Throw a new baby in the mix and sometimes it seems impossible to stay on top of things. Simple tasks like eating a hot meal or taking a shower take a backseat so mom and partner can care for their new babe.
That expectant mama you know doesn't really need another baby blanket, and her kid will most likely outgrow that adorable, frilly outfit in 2 weeks. But she'll probably need help laundering her baby's cloth diapers. Or maybe she wants to attend a childbirth education class with her partner but there are no class openings at the local hospital. It's possible she has only a few close friends in town and needs help coordinating a meal train. Maybe she just needs company- someone to sit with her, listen to her story, and validate her feelings.
These are all tasks that I can and would love to help out with. Blissful Transition is now offering perinatal support and home organization in the form of gift certificates. This support may be geared towards the prenatal and postpartum periods but is not limited to new families. Please contact me if you're interested in giving this valuable gift to someone you love.
Instead, I bought a couple new lamp shades from Target, removed the paintings from the front of both lamps, and repainted them using blue and silver spray paints. I love the outcome and am glad these still belong to me!
Nope, far from it.
This is my bedroom on a Friday morning. Such a hodgepodge of craziness. Many of you who don't know me don't know that my family is currently in transition. We sold our house in September and are currently living at my mom's house until my husband lands a new job.
That means we're living in my old room (more recently, my brother's old room) in the basement. Bebe guns, motocross collectibles, and all. Some days, it drives me nuts. It's a weird feeling. Being in your childhood home but not really feeling like you're "home."
Today, I'm embracing this space and where we're at. I'm looking past the imperfections, which incessantly raise the questions, "What's next?" and "What are you doing here?" Honestly, I don't know what's next for our family. But as long as I am surrounded by people that love me, does it really matter? My son isn't old enough to remember this phase of his life, but I know one day I'll fondly recall him being able to wake up and give big smiles to his mammy (my mom). This place is where he first started crawling, giving kisses, and saying, "Mama." How can I complain about that?
If you're in transition, too, don't let it bother you. Embrace the uncertainty. Fighting it and wishing things were different will only leave you feeling fatigued and unsatisfied. I think that being mindful in this state pushes us to think about what's truly significant to us. It helps us acknowledge how amazing it feels when we reach where we aspire to be. It makes us feel human, because not all days are good days and that's okay.
What can you appreciate about your not-so-perfect place?