Finding Balance – Part 2

The easiest way for me to define finding balance in my life is the concession I make between being perfect and accepting that I’m not. I am a passionate person who wants to excel at everything I do (good quality to have), but because I am human, cannot do so. If I accept that I always give it my best shot, then that should be an excellent quality to have but because I tend to beat myself up for not achieving that ideal, it becomes a detriment. I become critical of myself and I become paralyzed with fear of trying to do something, anything. I can’t make a decision because I don’t trust that the decision I make will be the correct one. Hence, I am 34 still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I consider myself a jack of all trades, master of none because I start a new hobby, get super excited about it, put my all into it, then quit. My husband makes fun of me and says that I get into something new every 2 years. I used to get super offended by that, but he’s so right. Stupid husband.

So, what’s the solution? For me, it’s been accepting myself exactly as I am in this very moment. It’s accepting my flaws but also recognizing my strengths. It’s always trying to do the best I can and understanding that the best I can sometimes isn’t very good. What if I always gave myself a pat on the back for the effort I’ve given, even if the effort was subpar? My husband makes fun of me (in a different way this time) because I love reality TV. Yes, it’s junk BUT I really do gather some insight from watching it. Heather Dubrow from The Real Housewives of the OC said something so profound one day, I know, I know, but she said “Being a good friend means accepting me for who I am, all of me, including my faults and idiosyncrasies”. I thought to myself, yes, that is really true. That’s how I should treat my friends and that’s also how I should treat myself. As I learn to accept myself, I can then begin to accept others. My challenge each morning is to go into the world with a gentle heart and give everyone I meet the benefit of the doubt. That includes idiots that cut me off and almost clip the front end of my car on 385. Father Pat always talks about from, through and to with regards to God’s grace. He says that we are given grace from God, we process that grace and then we are to give that same grace to others, no matter what they’ve done and no matter if they have remorse. Wow, what a challenge.

There is another side to that though, and that is knowing when it’s time to say something. Just by giving someone the benefit of the doubt doesn’t mean that I can never speak up for myself. I actually believe the opposite is true. If my friend/spouse knows that I love him/her unconditionally, then I have the freedom to tell him/her that I’ve been hurt by his/her actions. What I mean is, when that person knows that I’m never going to chastise him/her, that my words are coming from a loving place, then he/she can listen, without fear, to my feelings and not feel threatened. That’s what i love about my husband. I know that I can tell him how I’m feeling and he will accept and listen to me. We may argue about it, but we both love each other and want to do what we can to have a positive, healthy relationship. The world is so quick to 1) judge and 2) condemn so I think people feel like making a mistake is the end of the world. I feel like we’re a couple of steps away from having public hangings again. That sounds negative, but to watch the media and how quickly it can take a person and vilify that person in a matter of 24 hours is scary to me. One must pay the consequences for one’s actions, but the media/social media can be a catalyst for such negative emotion. What if we just stopped participating in it? I wonder how it would all change? Could we give ourselves a break just a little bit more?

Because finding the balance in the gray area of life can be overwhelming sometimes, I have a couple of simple thoughts I use on a daily basis.

  1. In my defenselessness, my safety lies. I am a perfect child of God and though I have flaws, I am exactly who I am and where I am supposed to be. I don’t have to defend that to anyone. I also have nothing to fear.
  2. In this very moment, I don’t have to worry. Whatever it is that in on my mind is in the future, so I can wait until that moment arrives to worry. Otherwise, in this very moment, I have control of my situation and I at least have the hope of getting control over it
  3. The answer is to respond with love. If I don’t know what to do, how would love respond?

Thanks for reading 🙂

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Baby Products – What Did I Really Need?

The baby industry is booming and it’s amazing all of the stuff that you can buy for your little one. I feel like it’s mainly targeted to new moms because in reality, by the time you’re ready for the second one, you know what you really need and it’s not much. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while because so many of my friends are having babies, so here is a list of the stuff I did and didn’t need.

What came in handy

1. Diapers – duh. That should be the first thing. I kind of screwed myself because I planned on doing cloth diapers and that didn’t happen, so what I wish I would’ve done was have a diaper baby shower. It may sound stupid to a new mom, but diapers are expensive, getting to the store is tough, and it’s nice to have a supply of all sizes of diapers. Newborn diapers are kind of useless unless you have a really tiny baby, but having lots of size 1 and size 2 diapers are great. Ellie went through approximately 90 diapers a week. Yes. Yes, she did. If you’re going to do cloth diapers, great, just have a lot because babies pee and poop a lot and they do NOT… well, let me back up and say Ellie peed and pooped a LOT and she did NOT like having a dirty diaper. So stock up on whatever you can pre-baby.

2. A group of friends to make you dinner. Even though I wanted to hide because I was 1) afraid Ellie would get sick and 2) I was breastfeeding all of the time and worried about people seeing me, food was nice because I was not able to cook myself. My mom stayed a week and cooked a lot which was awesome, but having people bring you food for the first couple of weeks is super important. Don’t be afraid to ask if no one offers! But people will. On a side note, you may be tempted to cook/clean while the baby is sleeping. DO NOT DO THAT. I REPEAT, DO NOT DO THAT. Sleep when the baby is sleeping. Seriously, you need it.

3. Boppy or Nursing Pillow – I held Ellie a whole whole lot, but it was nice to have a little prop for her to sit on too. She loved her boppy and we used it up until she was able to sit on her own.

Here's Ellie in her boppy as a newborn

Here’s Ellie in her boppy as a newborn

I also had a Rock n play which I really liked as well. I used both a bunch but I can’t say whether I would recommend buying both. I was given both of these and utilized them greatly. Would I go back and buy both if I had to, I’m not sure. I’d probably just stick with one. And if I’m just sticking with one, I’d pick the boppy 🙂

p.s. I didn’t use my nursing pillow as much because I had an overactive supply and had to lay on back to breastfeed. I ended up using a regular pillow a lot.

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4. A Wipes Warmer! This would be on some people’s no list, so it depends on your baby. I had one, took it back before she was born, then went back and got it because Ellie would cry every time I wiped her bottom and I figured out it was because she was cold. She didn’t like the cold wipes on her fanny. Once we used the warm ones, she didn’t cry anymore. well, at least about getting her bottom wiped.

5. Muslin blankets – Ellie is hot natured and sweats a lot so even in the winter, she used to muslin blankets a lot. They’re also easier to swaddle even though Ellie did NOT like to be swaddled. I personally like Swaddle Designs and Aden & Anais. I didn’t use these to swaddle as much as just lay them on her in her boppy and in her car seat.

6. Car Seat – another duh. The infant carseats are nice because you can take the seat out of the base and carry the baby, although it sucks to buy two carseats. If you’re trying to save money, they have lots of convertible car seats that start at 5 lbs all the way up to 45 lbs. If you do that, you will have to get the baby in and out a lot, which is annoying. Personally, we bought the Chicco series, they Keyfit 30 and the Nexfit. I really liked both of them and will recommend those, especially for small cars. (I have a prius). I would also recommend following The Car Seat Lady and Car Seat of Littles on facebook. They both have videos, tutorials and great info on installing carseats, what’s best for you, etc. If you message them, they will respond in a timely manner. It’s awesome.

7. A GREAT WRAP – I put that in all caps because my wraps, yes I had multiples, came in handy. I was lucky to be given several and I used ALL OF THEM. I had the Moby wrap, the Maya wrap, and an Ergocarrier.

  • The Moby wrap was awesome for Ellie all the way up to probably 6-7 months. I carried her in it a lot and there was actually a time when the only way I could get her to sleep was to wrap her in the Moby and walk her around. It was great and I would recommend for 6 months and under. Some people use it longer, but there came a point where Ellie flat out rejected being in it. Every baby is different and you’ll have to figure it out for yourself. There are other brands that are similar and they may be great, I have heard good things. I really liked my Moby
  • The Maya wrap was great for a side carry and what I liked most about it was how easy it was to get her in a out. If I wasn’t trying to get her to sleep, if we were downtown or walking around, or if I were cooking, something like that, I would put her in it. She could see, I could see, I had free hands and again, it was the easiest to get her in and out. I used this from probably 4 months – 10 months. I know people use it when they’re smaller but I really only liked it for side carry. You can get any ring sling, this is the one I was given and I really liked it.
  • The ergo has been great from 6 months on. I use it for hiking and later for getting her to go to sleep, when the moby just wasn’t working. I still use it now for hiking, although now that she can walk, she isn’t much of a hiker. I know others have Kelty’s and other brands that keep the baby off of the back but Ellie isn’t interested in that AT ALL. So the Ergo it is. I like it, I don’t love it. If I could possibly try a Tula or a Lillebaby, I’d love to do that, but since I bought the Ergo, that’s what I would stick with. I wish I had a more summer friendly one as well, but since Ellie wants to walk now, I’m not going to buy anything else.

If I could only buy one, I’d go with the Ergo and get the infant insert. If you think you’re going to wear your baby a lot, I would invest in at least 2. I’d do the moby and the ergo or a wrap and a soft structure carrier. Every baby is different, so you may want to wait and see what you like. Ellie doesn’t like to be in a stroller so I wear her almost all of the time. Now that she’s a year, I really just carry her or she walks, but I’ve worn her most of her life. Also, it took her a minute to get used to being worn, so you may have to introduce it slowly.

8. Lastly, I recommend the Baby Book by Dr Sears. I have read a lot of baby books and this one was the best by far.

What I didn’t use

1. My jogging stroller – very sad. It was expensive so it REALLY sucks but 1) I kept getting mastitis every time I ran so my body was telling me to take it easy and 2) Ellie didn’t like being in the stroller. I tried a bunch but it became more of a hassle. I’m going to try again with the next one, and maybe that baby will like it better, but she just never got used to it. Your baby could like it and it will come in handy, but for us, I could’ve saved that $350.

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p.s. I have friends who loved theirs, so it is a case by case thing

2. A swing – I was lucky that my sister in law let me use hers because we only really used it for a couple of months. If I had spent a lot of money on one, I would’ve been upset. The real reason is that Ellie grew out of it really quickly. She was at the weight limit at 5 months. It did help her sleep sometimes, but really, it wasn’t a necessity. Maybe if I had spent more time with her in the jogging stroller, haha.

3. A crib – this one is controversial and you just have to do what’s good for you and your baby. But for me, I could not sleep with her in another room. So she sleeps in our room. Still, and I don’t foresee that changing. There’s a lot of drama and controversy around it, so again, do what works for you. Here are some different resources for you in case you had the same challenge as me

http://cosleeping.nd.edu/safe-co-sleeping-guidelines/

https://www.isisonline.org.uk/

http://evolutionaryparenting.com/tag/co-sleeping/

4. A pack and play – I just didn’t use it. Really ever. My sister in law gave me one, thank goodness, because Ellie never went in it.

I’m sounding like a broken record here, but every baby is different. My child likes to be held. She isn’t one to lay quietly in a stroller,on the ground, anywhere. So, these are what have been handy for me. There’s other stuff that I used like a high chair, stuff like that, but these are what came to mind while writing. I hope it’s been helpful for you!