Managing Your Time

Why the “big things” can wait

Does it ever seem like you wake up in the morning and you’re suddenly off on a marathon race that lasts all day long? All week long?

As a stay-at-home mom to a toddler and a preschooler, my days are filled with small, tedious tasks. It’s a constant cycle of make breakfast, pack lunch, clean up kids, dress kids, school drop-off, groceries, tot classes, errands, oops what’s for dinner, baths, mommy mommy mommy mommy, bedtime kisses, and then collapsing on the couch.

I’m often frustrated that I never get ahead in any of the big things I’d like to do. Do you ever feel that way, too?

Yet, this collection of little things that make up my day really is the big thing – at least for now.

As moms, we are the world to our children. Sometimes, I lose sight of that as I fret about yet another day that has slipped by with nothing accomplished.

I suppose I did accomplish something today. I sat down with my children to watch a video. Yes, we were staring at a screen, but we were doing it together. We were cuddled up and basking in that good feeling of just being with one another.

Before that, both my kids were crying about something or other, tired from another long Monday – same as me. I managed to get something in a pot for dinner and then just sat with them.

That’s really something. Whether it’s five minutes in the morning or thirty minutes after preschool, those times where I’m doing nothing but being with my kids make all the difference in my day. And it makes a big difference to them, too.

So for now, I’m happy with the mundane, because I’ve also got the extraordinary.

I just have to remind myself to see it and enjoy it now while it’s mine.

Soon enough my little boys will be no longer calling for mommy. And I’ll have all the time I need to do the “big” things.

Managing Your Time

Babywearing – how to make it part of your lifestyle

Babywearing refers to carrying your child in a sling, pouch or other type of carrier as you go about your day. The benefits are significant enough that lots of moms give it a try.

But it seems like plenty of moms give it up rather quickly.

I was one of those moms. I had a fancy sling, in leopard print, no less. I tucked my wee baby into it to go for a walk. But it made him bend around awkwardly to fit my body. Then it seemed to close over him, and I didn’t like that I couldn’t see his face and that it might be cutting off airflow. I also had a Baby Bjorn type of front carrier that I used maybe once or twice.

I had a hard time fitting babywearing into my lifestyle.

I found that the times when I really would have liked to carry my baby in a sling, it just wasn’t suitable. For example, I would be bending over too much when doing household chores like laundry, and cleaning with a baby in a sling just didn’t seem like a good idea, either. Cooking is another big time that would have been convenient, but of course that’s out for safety reasons. I can’t begin to fathom how I might have breastfed my baby hands-free in a sling, but some people manage it.

With my second baby, I am making it a point to follow some of the tips below to work babywearing into our daily routine better this time around.

Consider these tips to fit babywearing into your lifestyle

If you want to carry your baby more but find it hard to fit in good opportunities, consider these times and slip on your carrier before you jump into your activity:

  • When you’ve got to be on your feet a lot during a part of the day.
  • If you’re on an outing, such as at the park, with your baby.
  • If you will be spending a lot of time walking, whether outside or at the mall.
  • When your baby is fussy and needs to be held all evening, but you can’t just sit in the rocking chair the whole time.
  • When typing at the computer.
  • Find the type of carrier that fits your needs and your baby’s size. The sling I had might have been good for carrying an older child on my hip, but I just didn’t know how to use it with my newborn. A wrap style of carrier might have been better.
  • Practice! Make a plan to wear your baby every day even if for only 15 minutes.

Learn more about babywearing at the Babywearing School or a forum like TheBabyWearer.com. Here’s a great overview of the types of carriers, too.

Newborn Madness

Confessions of a reformed baby-led parenting extremist

I mentioned the book On Becoming Babywise as a possible new parent gift in a recent post. It’s a controversial book that advocates a very strict parent-led schedule.

As with any parenting book, you really need to adapt the advice for the well-being of your own children. Strictly following someone else’s approach can lead to disastrous results, like in the heartbreaking case of Katie.

But how do you know which things to take, which to leave?

With my first son, I’d had some issues with breast pain and feeding frequently was recommended as a remedy. Those resources I found to help with my problem were mostly created by attachment parenting advocates, touting feeding your baby on demand, complete baby-led parenting, and other practices such as co-sleeping.

I fell into the attachment parenting category with ease at first.

But I didn’t really have a rounded view that took into account other approaches, so I couldn’t adapt it well to fit our family. Hey, it was my first baby! I didn’t know what this would mean for us as our baby grew into a toddler, given his personality. (No one can really know ahead of time, right?)

The attachment parenting approach particularly suited our first son. But maybe it was just that he responded to it because it’s what we did.

Regardless, the advice I followed manifested in his breastfeeding up to five times a night until he was past two years old.

This included months of sleepless nights as his reflux emerged and we held him upright for 20 minutes after feeding, only to have him wake and want to feed again before we could set him down.

If I had offered him a pacifier instead of the breast at those moments, perhaps he would have gone back to sleep. I would have been able to catch a few winks. And we all might have been a bit happier.

I nursed him to sleep for every nap and every bedtime for those two years, never leaving him to go out for more than two hours at a time.

With our second child, I noticed a natural schedule emerge from the start.

Almost like clockwork, he demands feeding at three-hour intervals.

Perhaps it was because he was fed on the clock in the special nursery at the hospital during his 24 hour stay there?

Or perhaps my first son was also like this but I was too quick to offer the breast, misreading his cues?

Now I know to roll with it. I have now seen the benefits of keeping some sort of schedule, sort of a middle of the road approach. While you don’t want to deny your baby nourishment when he or she is obviously hungry or ignore cries for attention, there’s really no need to offer the breast at every little wimper, either. Pacifiers and bottles all play a role with this guy. And somehow it’s all working. (Fingers crossed.)

I feel like we’re getting a second chance with this new baby. I still plan to use a baby sling when I can, perhaps co-sleep as he grows older and continue breastfeeding until he’s two.

But this time it will be a bit more on our terms, agreed upon by both baby and parents.

How about you? Have you ever switched parenting gears between babies?

Healthy Family & Home

Steal a few moments of beauty

Sometimes it just feels good to look at something beautiful. Sure, we are all surrounded by beautiful moments each day, but a couple minutes stealing away to another world can be just what we need to return to our own renewed and refreshed. So I’ve gathered here 9 blogs you can visit for a daily dose of beauty that will take your breath away. Enjoy!
Dear Baby

Melissa features stunning photographs as she writes about her family consisting of rock n’ roll husband and their two children. Her simple way of expression can touch your heart and leave a lingering pleasantness. You feel as if you’ve had a very intimate peek into the way family life should be.

Anna Maria Horner

Anna Maria Horner is a designer who works from her home-based design shop in Nashville with her six children aged between 2 and 19. She creates fabrics, clothing, paper goods, quilts, paintings and sewing and needlework patterns. Her stunning blog is written in a charming, off-beat voice that makes you want to keep reading even though you’ve got a zillion other things to do—and don’t even know the first thing about needlework. Even a scroll down the page whisks you away to a beautiful place.

Daddytypes.com

A blog for dads. But so much more than that. Cute photos, with commentary written from the male perspective, without too much macho. A nice break from all the mom blogs that tend to fill the family moments blogging scene, especially if you’ve got a son. Sometimes you can get a rush from looking at a little boy admiring a car.

This is Glamorous

A blog about design, initially started as a spot to catalog beautiful things online, {this is glamorous} has been recognized by some of the biggest names in fashion, design, travel and all things gorgeous . The editor and creative director is a woman known only by her first name: “an incurable romantic with rose-coloured glasses, roséline dreams in layers of tulle and everything gilded, adores sequins and champagne on a saturday night, and most of all, her longtime love, the charming brit, who makes everyday feel as if it were springtime in paris . . .” Now doesn’t that make you want to see the beautiful things she curates in her blog?

Posie gets cozy

Alicia Paulson features stunning photos of life, whether from the county fair she’s visiting with her family, a new home project or close ups of foliage others might just stroll past.  She has me almost tasting her latest recipe, while the scent of the mossy forest still lingers from the previous post. A delight for all the senses, whenever you need a break or just want to be reminded of how beautiful some ordinary things can be.

Creature Comforts

EZ blogs about “celebrating the tiny details that make life so amazing and looking to find beauty in the unexpected.” Something we all need more of, I’d say. But even beyond being so delicious to look at, EZ’s blog brings plenty of practical projects and tips that anyone can partake of. This is no far-fetched in-your-dreams-only blog. She tells you how to make cupcake candle holders, shares printable gift tag designs, and whips up color palettes that will have you scheming to makeover at least one room in your house. I’m also a fan of her category Great Finds Under $30. There you go: pleasure and practicality.

The Wiegand’s

Written by Casey Wiegand, this blog again is about a young family. But the variety of typefaces, vintage-looking photos, and pure sweetness that emanates off your screen makes you want to read along – or at least scroll the page to pick out the beautiful images. Expect to be swept away. She’s got music to go with it, for the total peace out experience. (While I’m not a fan of sites that play music unprompted, you can scroll to the bottom to see the pop-out player she’s installed and create your own free playlist.)

The Hipster Dad

Okay, so the Hipster Dad doesn’t fit with the typical definition of beauty, as you’ll see when you arrive at the site. But like I said, hearing from a dad can bring a welcome change. And reading this dad’s words to his daughter carries enough beauty to get you through the day feeling great. He’s a dad with a degree in fine arts, so be sure to check out his DIY birthday invitations for a really special way to start a party.