7 Rules to Break (for the SAHM), 7 rules that are fun to break (for the SAHM)

OH, these rules hold some stellar convention that I totally dig,

(and even agree with to a point)…

But after having baby number two…

I’ve found its also super fun to break them.

For me, it’s always right after having a baby that I never feel more like myself….

And consequently have the least amount of room in my life for fluff, nonsense and fuss.

I’ve been guilty of setting these supposed rules as strict standards to my own life, but in the short three months of having two kiddos under my roof, I have abandoned many of these rules:

1) Get Dressed to Shoes (especially lace-up shoes):

(I’ll be attacking the shoes part of this rule, and get to the other point next).

This rule is noble. Really, it is. The basic premise behind dressing in laced-up shoes is this:

  • It can increase your productivity.
  • You are that much less likely to “kick your feet up” for a snooze so you’ll take the trash out, clean the dishes, and (insert another random task) instead of resting.
  • You are ready to leave the house on a moment’s notice.

The reality?

  • My Cabela’s slippers are more supportive than most of my laced up shoes so my feet hurt less by the end of the day, and as a result  there’s less of a need for me to take a break.
  • Did I mention I need breaks? I totally need to kick up my feet up once in a while, and love the relaxing vibe the slippers provide me while I’m at home. Less stress = happy momma.
  • And because they are a slip-on I can change into some boots in a moment’s notice.

2) Get Dressed Everyday:

Errr *scrunches nose,* this is definitely the one I’ve always believed in, and have tried to adhere to (and I still do to a point)…

BUT I also LOVE to kick back in my pajamas ALL DAY (at least once a week).

We did it as a family just a couple of weekends ago, and it was both awesome and totally refreshing.

I rocked the no-makeup, undone-hair look, and we lounged around all day and ordered pizza later that night.

I totally needed it and felt so much fresher the following day.

And if you want to do it through the week? So what. If your body is tired, maybe you really need it.

I think it’s when it becomes a perpetual thing that it could become a problem, but even then, I won’t judge you. What you wear is totally between you and God.

3) Dress to Impress.

Lately I just love dressing so it’s comfortable, practical and looks good to me.

I don’t get dressed to impress other people online- most of whom I’ve never met in real life- aka, on this blog. I don’t dress to impress friends, my kiddos, or randoms.

I dress how I want.

And OH how slippers feel so much more comfortable to be walking around in than click clacking around the house in some high heels.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of the 1950s housewife that dresses in her heels while vacuuming, but frankly, actually doing it is another story (Gulp. I’ve tried it).

No thanks.

4) Look your best every single day (for this one I’m speaking to my hair style):

I love the idea of this one. It’s truly awesome and maybe even worth striving for, but for me I also think it’s a little impractical.

I can’t be styling my hair from scratch every single day. Not only would that be very bad for my hair, but it would also be a time sucker.

I think it’s totally ok to have descent looking hair without it needing to look like it’s straight from Pinterest.

5) If you got it flaunt it.

As a Christian, this one should have always been a no brainer for me, but for a while I think I either unconsciously or even sometimes consciously bought this lie.

A while back I was reading a post on modesty from Plane Pretty (I couldn’t find the exact post, but here is a similar one).

It inspired me to put a standard to my dress code.

Things like:

  • wearing skirts to your knees,
  • no cleavage,
  • and wearing a shirt or tunic long enough to cover my butt when wearing leggings…

The above things were, embarrassingly, not something I adhered to consciously. Call it leftover from my university days where immodest was the norm, her post was a wake-up call to me. Thank you.

Thankfully modest apparel is fairly stylish these days, but even if it wasn’t I really don’t want to be THAT mom that walks around with cleavage showing, and a thong hanging out when she has little eyes in the house looking around. (Gulp, I totally have been guilty of that, but have since shifted to the modest side).

6) Get rid of ALL worn/pilling clothes:

If I end up having a wardrobe of perfectly kept clothing I won’t have anything to paint in with my Smash, and it would make me feel really anal about breast-feeding my baby, and cooking in the kitchen, and really doing anything messy at home.

Not fun, not practical. That rule can go!

And psssst:

if I adhered to that rule to a tee I wouldn’t still own my favorite black and white cardigan I’m wearing in the photo seen down below:

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A little wear is okay in my book.

7) Pain is beauty:

OH, this is a big NEWP for me.

You better believe I’m going to wear comfortable boots any day to click-clacking high heels (no matter how stylish). I’ll save the “pain is beauty” routine for the formal, “once in a while” occasions, not EVERYDAY.

Of course, this abandonment to said rules could be a temporary “it works for now” thing. I would like to have more time in the not so far feature to get ready, but another part of me loves this new sense of freedom from fuss and frills that has come with abandoning what others say “I should do.”

What style “rules” do you love to break?

With love,

Amanda.

linking up with: WIWW @ The Pleated Poppy

6 things I wish I knew before baby number 2/ Tips for new moms

Maybe it wouldn’t have taken the crazy out of the crazy…

 But as I learned these tips along the way they helped make things a little easier.

A letter to self:

I know everyone says that two is easier than one, but remember that a newborn is still a newborn and will be a challenging season regardless.

1)      Tackle one thing at a time:

The baby is screaming for food, Asher is getting into trouble, your bladder is full, and your water bottle is empty. OH and you’re thirsty.

They will vie for you attention all at once.

It will be overwhelming.

Tackle one thing at a time: 

  • First, put the baby down in a swing so she’s safe.
  • Put Asher in play room and put a distraction on for him like Curious George.  Close the door.
  •  Go to the bathroom.
  •  Fill your water,
  • And then take baby Cailyn to her nursery where it’s dark and calm. Take ten or twenty minutes to nurse and calm her to sleep.

 2)      Involve Asher:

  •  When baby Cailyn needs a diaper change, let him “help” by throwing the diaper away.
  • When baby Cailyn needs to nurse, give him a snack as well.

3)      Take short cuts:

Take off your super mom cape and take shortcuts where you can.

Yes, you have a bunch of cloth diapers you just bought, but you also have a bunch of disposables you could be using that will help lighten the load of the growing laundry pile.

It’s ok if you order take-out on those days when you really need it.

It’s ok to buy pre-cook roasted chicken from Harris Teeter,

and it’s ok if you don’t make your husband’s lunch every night (he can make his own or buy lunch and he’ll be totally cool with that).

And it’s so alright to order your groceries online instead of driving all the way to the Commissary, even if that means paying a little more.

It’s okay.

4)      Take breaks when you can, even if that means being creative:

If an hour long break seems impossible to take, be creative and take a quick drive to the grocery store. Alone.

When that isn’t going to happen, try this trick you have grown to love:

Give husband the baby, and let him watch both kids for ten or fifteen minutes (even if baby’s fussing), and go to the bathroom, shut the door, throw on some Pandora and do your nails.

You’ll be looking at them for the rest of the week feeling like you take good care of yourself even if you haven’t had a real shower all day.

5)      Let go of the “shoulds” because they likely won’t happen.

Ideally Asher should only be watching 30 minutes of t.v., but if he breaks the American Pediatrics standard of 2 hours max, that’s ok. He will likely hit the 3-4 hour mark.

It’s ok if he doesn’t meet the American Pediatrics standards of 30 minutes outside either.

It’s totally fine, because nothing is going to be the norm or how it “should be.”

6)      Be creative in how you make time for God:

 You’re going to feel overwhelmed at first because you’ll feel like you only have time for Cailyn.

You’ll be so tired you can’t concentrate on reading the bible.

You also won’t exactly have ample free time for scheduled “quiet times.”

But here’s some tips to fit Him in:

  • You can always have worship music on in the background so you can praise Him through the day, and it’s through praise you can become joyful and gain strength.
  • Make use of those late nights when you’re pacing the floor with the baby to pray and talk to Him. Pray for Cailyn, pray for your family, pray for everything and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

And just to encourage you, things do get better. You’re actually going to come out stronger, and more patient from all of this, and best of all, you’re going to gain a new level of reliance on God and compassion towards other Moms going through the craziness of it all.

Amanda.

Linking up with: It works for me Wednesday.

integrating your creative passions into mommyhood.

(Here’s my follow up post for move in your strengths- integrate your passions into mommy hood. While I spent one day, reading for ten minutes while Asher played outside (interrupted by supervising him of course) I needed to find a way to make the time go by quicker (in a good way) for our outside time together. Let this post act as a snap-shot into what it looked like for us).

Confession:

I’m not a huge fan of standing outside and watching my kiddo play in our back yard.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being outside. It’s just that after a while it gets kind of boring merely supervising him. I usually try to engage with him, but he ends up wandering away, doing boy stuff, like getting dirty…

So a couple of times this week I moved in my strengths and we did a little painting together. Both times we went out shortly after I put baby number two down for a nap, so we could have a 45 min-1 hour-long window.

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Tip: Both times I covered Asher using an old t-shirt as an apron.

We did our “masterpieces” in the backyard to keep the mess out there and not inside. It was so much fun! I honestly believe kids make the best abstract art, not to mention hold amazing levels of creativity!

I got him involved by using twigs, leafs, his hands, bark, and whatever else he wanted to use; no rules, no limits, I just wanted to see how interesting he could make the texture on the canvases.

The time didn’t matter to me because it was so much fun, unlike when I’m merely supervising and become a clock-watcher.

At first I was tempted to jump online and look up a Pinterest craft to do, but I decided against it. Honestly, I think I like the idea of crafts more than actually doing them.

Instead I grabbed a couple of old painted-on canvases that I didn’t particularly care for and marched outside with a passion for painting and a Smasher at my side.* I stuck to craft and tempera paint instead of acrylic to keep it kid friendly and toxic free.

Day 1: We collaborated on both. I added the bark to the bright multi-colored canvas but he did most of the painting using everything but a brush. He pointed to where he wanted the color, and what color, and I squirted it on the canvas. He smashed away.

For the white canvas I decided to add a instagram photo to it.

Day 2: I didn’t care for the brightness of the multi-colored piece, and I tried to make it better by varnishing it. It didn’t work. So I had him put some white tempera paint over it. I think the white layer calms the brightness down nicely.

While we had the white paint handy, I had him make hand prints on some blank, dotted, embossed cards. Don’t you love how imperfect they are?

On the days I fought against moving in my strengths (let’s be honest, old habits die hard) I found trying to plow through my to-do list usually seemed more counter-productive than productive. At least with Asher being at his age, and as busy as he is, cleaning house while he’s awake doesn’t exactly happen.

I’m just floored at how much more fun this mom thing is when I integrate my passions with him. It engages both of us, and in the case of painting we have the bonus benefit of personalized and affordable art that looks awesome and holds fond memories.

For those who joined in on the challenge, how has it been going?

:),

Amanda.

*Smasher is our son Asher’s nickname.

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Try something radical today: move in your strengths.

This word came early one morning when I just needed  to “get it out” before the Lord. I needed to vent all the stuff I had been struggling with in my adjustment to two kids. This was one of the first mornings I finally felt I could just lay it out before Him in all its ugly imperfections:

I don’t like this. How can anyone really like this? 5 hours of sleep, minimal breaks ranging from 12-23 minutes, rushed showers, bad hair, always in I- need- a- shower -mode…the days last at a minimum of 12 hours, and just when I think I’m done at 8:00 pm I have Chris’ lunch to pack.*

Pause.

I miss enjoying life. I miss running. I miss being able to pursue things I love. I miss time to create, to paint, to read and to write whenever I want.

I had no idea how much sacrifice it would take. Maybe I could manage with one, but with two it seemed impossible. How do other moms do it?

I often found myself being frustrated more often than not. A familiar picture of me is running around the house looking for my cell-phone and water- as if a constant reminder of how unorganized and what a mess I am- so I can nurse the baby and not be parched or bored. Oh, and I have to pee and I’m super thirsty because I’m nursing all the time.

Frustration, anger, argh!

I don’t like this.

The constant mess, clutter and chaos? Not a fan Lord.

To-do lists that I write that never get done by the end of the day.

Drop the lists, completely change your approach and move in your strengths.

Artistic: Make art with your son, and use your imagination as you play with your son, create with Lego.

Athletic: Go for a walk with your kids, play tag with Asher, spin him, wrestle and work out with him in creative ways.

Cooking: Cook, even bake with your son. Have Jesus Culture going…have fun every moment.

Laughter: Laugh with both of your kids and make a point to laugh with him and her.

Read: Set a reading time with them…and 30 minutes where you can do some personal reading.

Style: Be you, dress how you want that allows for all the fun for  the day.

Clean up after yourself as you go. Give yourself grace and room for mistakes, diaper changes, feedings, tantrums and the like.

Let go of the other things, the other to-do lists. Let go.

I’ve been integrating my passions into motherhood, into the day-to-day, and while it’s probably a habit for many, it hasn’t been for me. I would work, and work, and work, and get frustrated at all that wasn’t getting done, and get frustrated at my absent-mindedness, loose everything –all- the- time persona.

While I’m not suggesting this approach should replace our much-needed mommy breaks away from the kids, I am saying it’s made a world of difference in my life. It’s made the difference between really enjoying being at home, to almost hating it (ok, pretty much hating it).

Maybe God didn’t make me super organized, detailed oriented, and meticulous, but that’s ok because my husband is. He fills my holes for me! I’m creative, athletic, and love to laugh, cook and bake, work on my wardrobe and have nice hair. That’s totally ok.

If you sounded like me, I dare you to try it.

What are your strengths? How can you integrate them (or how do you) into the daily routine of mommyhood?

Be encouraged,

Amanda.

*Totally a burden I put on myself. My husband never makes me make his lunch, I just like to, and feel like I should.

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I write this post not as an expert in sleep training, nor in providing a formulaic solution to calm your fussy baby to sleep. This is merely my story, about what worked for my baby. I know that our first baby, Asher, would not have taken to this method as easily, because we had tried some crying it out methods/Ferber methods in the past but failed. It wasn’t very successful until at 9 months when I was ready to try the cry it out method for real. Oh was it painful but effective, and after a week and half he could sleep through the night.

After Asher, I wanted to do things differently with Cailyn. I had always felt kind of badly for letting him cry before 6 months, and thought for sure I didn’t want to let her cry before then.

Well, she cried a lot.

Doctor said she had colic.

It seemed as if every hour she was awake she cried. Every evening my husband and I would spend from approximately 6:00 pm to 12:00 am pacing the floor to pacify her from having a complete blow out. She also didn’t sleep for very long for the little that she did.

Her regular routine was to sleep in the bassinet for half the night, and then not really sleep (but kind of sleep) for the second half of the night in our bed.

Co-sleeping just didn’t work for us. No one really got any quality sleep, including the baby. I suppose it worked for a little bit, but that was in the early-early weeks of complete desperation for just a wink of rest. I was always worried she’d either suffocate from our blankets or get rolled over on. Plus she pretty much pacified the entire time, and would need to be burped several times at night.

The real breakthrough for her fussiness came when we put her in her crib. Not the bassinet, not at night with us in our bed — in her crib. My instinct said she was tired. I was confident all her needs were met, and frankly I was tired from spending night after night pacifying an increasingly tired baby.

She cried for 30 minutes.

She was under 6 months.

Okay, she was under 3 months.

She fell asleep for two hours, I fed her. She fell asleep for 5 and half hours with no fussing in between. I fed her, and she went to sleep for another 5 hours. This was progress compared to 4 or 5 hours!

That next day, and for the next two weeks, she napped in her crib for a good 1-3 hours for each nap, and slept anywhere from 7-10 hours at night. She is still going strong with this, but her naps have shortened some to an hour, four times a day.

Believe me, I tried, and tried and tried to follow what the books say of “never letting them cry” to the point of utter, absolute exhaustion.

As it is, since breaking the supposed “rules” she is much happier, and has way more moments of quiet alertness. I’m happier! We’re all happier. I’ve even been able to have showers again without her screaming her guts out. In general, she cries a lot less, NOT MORE.

In the end, there comes a point when you need to draw a line in the sand, and realize that what the books say you should do really isn’t always best for your family and the overall happiness of the household. I decided to go with my instincts and exercise common sense for the greater good of my family, and it’s been infinitely better for everyone.

I respect that co-sleeping works for some, but for me I decided to go with my gut, and my gut said “put her in her crib.” I didn’t have to worry about suffocation or rolling over on her. I had a peace of mind and space (dare I say detachment!?).

The crib has provided healthy boundaries personally and in our marriage. Ironically, I feel more attached to her because of it and actually feel more sympathy for her when she cries (as oppose to when I was perpetually wearing her). She has done much better overall and is much less fussy since employing some of these detachment techniques.

Really, it came down to making a choice for us: continue pacing the floor every night from 6 pm – 12:00 am, only adding to her sleep debt and ours, or letting her cry for a little bit so she can get some rest, and so we could get some rest. We went with common sense and let her cry for a little bit so she could get the rest she needed.  After all, there does comes a point when lack of sleep is more detrimental to the babies health than a little crying (or even a lot in extreme cases).

After the first couple of nights she rarely cries more than ten minutes, and more often than not doesn’t cry at all. I make sure to do my part by looking for signs of tiredness (yawns, whining, lack of eye contact) before I start unwinding her by nursing and rocking her to sleep. She has a pattern of waking an hour later, so I fed her again, and then she falls asleep for 7-10 hours.

I’ve heard success stories using the complete opposite approach, but it just goes to show the unique differences of each baby and parent. I hope my story can offer an alternative voice and relief to any mom that’s been feeling discouraged by no-cry solutions not working out for them. Common sense is  perfectly fine to follow.

:),

Amanda.

 

 

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