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Category: parenthood

My (Aspirational) Maternity Leave Routine With a Toddler and a Newborn

Grace Girl was born three and a half weeks ago, and while adjusting to having 2 littles at home is not easy, I am having an easier time of it than I did the first time around. Part of what makes it manageable is getting into a routine that works for us and ensures we are taking care of basic needs every day (eating, sleeping), as well as mental health needs (morale-boosting activities, ie. getting out of the house). A few notes: This general routine is what we aim for, but every day is different. Some days really do go about like this. Other days, we are all still in our pajamas at noon and I am crying right along with a grumpy toddler and overtired newborn, while we sit on the couch watching “Finding Dory,” (that movie was so cute, by the way. Should I blame the fact that the ending made me cry on postpartum hormones?). Other stuff: I feed Grace Girl whenever she is hungry, and I don’t let her go more than 3 hours between feeds during the day. She tends to eat every 2.5-3 hours most of the…

The Tenderness that Tears Me Apart

“Becoming a parent brings you this sadness you never would have known otherwise,” said a dear friend to me on the phone, as I pushed my toddler in her stroller through the sharp wind and shushed my newborn baby, who was zipped up inside my coat in her carrier. And I felt that delicious sense of recognition, of discovering someone else feels the way I feel. And while I don’t wish sadness upon my friends, it is incredible to have a peek into someone else’s tangled thoughts and feelings and find they look a little bit like mine. Before I became a parent, people told me that motherhood would open me up to more joy than I thought possible. But no one mentioned it would also hurt—that the hard times would hurt and the joy itself would hurt, in an aching, stretching sort of way. Kind of like the growing pains of childhood, or the opening pains of early labor, when it’s more of a dull ache. Like when I crawl into my toddler’s bed to wake her up in the morning, and she wraps her arms around…

How I Go 90% With Cloth Diapering

Cloth diapering is not easier than using disposables. It is, in fact, more work. Just let that sink in for a moment. Or, if you’re already a cloth-diapering parent you’re like, “obviously, bro.” So, why would anyone choose to cloth diaper? There are two main reasons: 1.) It is so. much. cheaper.  2.) Save the planet! Side benefits include: they are usually more gentle on baby bums, babies/toddlers will understand that peeing=wetness which helps immensely with potty training (so I’ve heard, haven’t crossed that bridge yet), and of course, that priceless smugness that only comes from making unpleasant sacrifices for the good of the planet. Cloth diapering is really not a big deal for our family, and is just part of our routine. Here’s is what we do and how: We have 18 cloth diapers and 3 wet bags for Warrior Girl. (You really only need 12-14). 11 of the diapers are All-In-One cloth diapers similar to these, and 7 are Fuzzi Bunz pocket diapers. Here is a great article clarifying the differences in the various types of cloth diapers. Every other…

Minimalist/Frugal List of Literally Everything You Need for a Newborn AND an Announcement(!)

To make this list, I literally took inventory of everything I had for Warrior Girl and am including everything I found necessary and worth buying/having. I have included frugal alternatives to things the Baby Industrial Complex says you need and discussed ways to get by without a number of “essentials…

18 Ways to Build Community Wherever You Are

In the five years J and I have been married, we have moved three times. Each time, it has taken some time to feel settled, to feel like I belong, and to make friends. Consequently, I have had to learn the art of settling in quickly and becoming at home. Making friends is perhaps the most important part of that, and I’ve found it’s actually a lot easier once you have kids because other parents love to talk about their kids and how they survived various parenting hurdles with other parents. A big part of the goal is to feel connected to where you are and to other people. Another part of it is to have someone you can call if your car breaks down on a random Tuesday. To Meet Other Humans Who Dwell Somewhere Near You: Apply deodorant ’cause you’re about to go meet new people like a boss! Consider wearing a bra (am I the only one who considers donning a bra and brushing my teeth to be “getting ready?”). Make this zucchini bread. Acquire several mini bread tins. Double the recipe and bring some zucchini bread to…

Why I failed at Night Weaning (and how you can… not fail)

I’ve always loved organized mom blogs. The ones where they purport they follow a weekly cleaning schedule, and a weekly menu plan, and their baby naps consistently precisely at such-and-such o’clock. Sigh. I’ve also always loved the illusion of control, and of doing things “right.” Yes, oh yes, I was one of those new moms who researched the *eh hem* out of everything prior to trying it. (You don’t even want to know how many times I googled “2 month old baby clingy and fussy,” “3 month old baby clingy and fussy”). By no means, and under no circumstances, did I leave my parenting up to instinct. Oh no! I wanted to know what the experts recommended, what the peer-reviewed research said. I did not want to screw anything up. So, consequently, you’d think myself and my beautiful little baby girl would be excellent candidates for sleep training. It would appear that I could follow instructions. When Warrior Girl was born, I was just about to start my second year of a three-year Master’s in Clinical Mental Health…

Becoming a Mother

I was 25 when I became a mother. Within moments, my reality changed. I am no longer the main character, the protagonist. I am no longer center stage. Each new generation comes (so it seems) and feels they know better, they are smarter, they won’t make the same mistakes as the previous generations. The future is in their hands. And once, I was important, I knew better, I was smarter, my future was limitless. But that is not now. I (hopefully) have many years ahead of me, but the world’s future is in the hands of my daughter, and the children of my friends and sisters, children who will certainly feel themselves to be much clearer of vision, much surer of foot. It’s not a bad thing. It is not a bad thing to become a supporting character after a lifetime of being Number One. A small death, perhaps. But I have been resurrected a Mother.   **** *I want to note that for me, this transformation has been positive and humbling. I do not mean that my identity or self-hood has become subsumed into this “motherhood” role. I am myself as…