6 Things that I Didn’t “Get” Until I Had Kids

  
Before I had kids, I don’t think that I was insensitive to my friends who did have kids. And I definitely had a lot of friends that had kids, when I didn’t. But there were definitely things that I didn’t understand about their lives and I didn’t “get” as someone who didn’t have kids. Not just to my friends though, but people who had kids in general. I mean really you can’t control your kids? Really you can’t come over or go out because of your kids nap time/bed time? And then I had kids. Hello wake up call, nice to see you.

So if you think your friends or just parents in general are crazy because of some of these (or other) things, just wait til you have kids! Here are the 5 things that I didn’t “get” until I had kids –

  1. Moms that cut off all their hair – real talk … I thought “really, how hard could it be to just put it in a ponytail?” OMG. I had NO idea the issues that arise with hair as a mom. Hair pulling. THE PULLING. ALWAYS from the bottom of my head. Post partum hair loss. Handfuls of hair, daily. Every time I wash my hair I think of shaving my head. I get it now Moms, I get it.
  2. Uncontrollable kids in public – I am now the mom with the “uncontrollable kid” in public. He’s 2 but looks like he’s 5. Barely talks, huge. Gets very frustrated with his inability to communicate, and especially when he can’t do exactly what he wants to do. Melt downs can and do happen when we’re out. And I’m now the one that looks like I have a kid I can’t control in public, and really, I can’t. It’s more like organized chaos. But either way, I GET IT NOW. Seriously. I wanna go hug all the moms I thought couldn’t control their kids before.
  3. Nap Time/Bed Time/ Routine – I didn’t get why friends, family or acquaintances couldn’t do things because it would interrupt nap time or bed time or the kids “routine.” Just bring them with! Just put them to bed late! BOYYYYY do I get this one now. I am Queen Routine. I’m a believer in the routine. I will avoid interruptions to the routine like the plague if I can help it. I do try to be flexible because we have to live our lives, but I generally do so knowing that we will pay the consequences with cranky kids or sleep that will be a little out of whack for a couple of days. But if I can stick to the routine, oh man, I will stick to that routine. I get routines now!
  4. Inability to shower/get dressed/etc – not that I ever saw this in action, but I heard about it … a lot. When you have a baby/kids, it’s so hard to take a shower, or change my clothes, or I don’t wear anything but yoga pants, etc. When I had both babies, I’ll admit, I didn’t think it was super hard to at least get a shower in. Babies sleep a lot … but once babies STOP sleeping a lot. Yup I wouldn’t be able to tell you at most times when the last time I took a shower was. And when I changed my clothes last was probably sometime around then as well. And yes I stay in nursing tanks and PJ/yoga pants or shorts 99.9% of the time. Especially now that I have 2 kids, if by some magical mystical alignment of the stars I get them to both nap at the same time, that time is so sacred and I have so many things I could be doing I have to prioritize and decide if showering is really at the top of that list and it’s usually not. As far as getting dressed, I just don’t see the point if I’m not leaving the house and changing clothes unnecessarily just creates more laundry. Plus, leading into my next point, the clothes I stay in are nursing tanks and yoga pants because I need easy nursing access plus I want to be comfy and because I’m breastfeeding I’m still hanging onto most of my pregnancy weight so those types of clothes are the only things that fit. So yes, I TOTALLY get the shower/clothes thing now.
  5. Messes – Again, not so much amongst my friends but just things I heard generally about messy houses and cars. I didn’t understand how they could become such a mess and how it could be so hard to clean them up. Well, now with my kids in tow in the car, ONE TRIP out to run errands can look like we’ve been living in the car for a week and raccoons were rummaging through our stuff for food. It’s ridiculous. And the house – my gosh – not just the toys but EVERYTHING now ends up on the floor ALWAYS. Like that’s where everything is meant to be, on the floor. I could pick it up 10 times a day and it would still end up back there because that’s where it’s meant to be. So I give up. I pick up at the end of the day just so Dad or I don’t break a foot on a Lego in the middle of the night otherwise I say forget it! The car I will clean after each trip just so it doesn’t get too out of control and because it’s a small space (for now) it’s pretty easy to clean up quickly. But regardless, I GET why messes cannot be contained or controlled with kids.
  6. Shopping Alone = Vacation – I always thought moms were exaggerating when they talked about a solo grocery trip or trip to Target being like a vacation. I’m so sorry moms, I get it now. I had a lovely trip to paradise the other day – Target alone. I found myself staring at the ingredients on a shampoo bottle for over 5 minutes. And then I stood there in awe that I was actually able to read the shampoo bottle and not tend to a crying baby or try to keep my toddler in the stroller or cart. When my husband says I need a break, I tell him this is basically the #1 thing I need, besides a pedicure of course.

Looking back, I don’t think I’d change anything even if I could because there’s no way I would’ve really known any of these things until I had kids myself. But it definitely gives me a new perspective and I roll my eyes at myself sometimes now when I find myself on the other side of the fence talking to my friends who don’t have kids. It gives me a good laugh. And I try to maintain as much balance as I can, as a mom of 2 small kids – as I said I try to stick to the routine but sometimes we go astray, I haven’t cut my hair, but I do rock my mom wardrobe and shower only as much as necessary.

What are some of the things that you didn’t “get” until you became a parent?

Nursing Nook – For Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is hard stuff – mentally, physically draining. The rewards are huge, but it’s a big sacrifice on mom’s part to make it happen. I truly believe that in order to be successful in breastfeeding, support and comfort are two major keys. 

Support is really important. I always say one of the biggest credits I can give for my success in breastfeeding my older son for over a year goes to my husband. He went with me to the breastfeeding class and learned and understood how it all worked, how much baby needed to eat, and what I needed to do for it to be successful. 

Because of his understanding and knowledge, he was able to support me so much more. He was able to tell the hospital that when my sons temp wouldn’t come up after birth that he needed to come have skin to skin with me and nurse with me. When people made comments about me breastfeeding, or my supply, he would be there to defend. And when it got tough for me, he was there to support me and tell me how awesome I was doing. He is a big factor in my success. 

Another factor to me, is comfort. I needed to be comfortable nursing, and pumping (because I worked full time and traveled 50% of that time for work). On the road, I would generally pump in my car. It was a comfortable space for me, I could leave my stuff set up which gave me more actual pumping time, and I didn’t have to worry about anyone walking in on me. 

At home, I’ve always had what I call a nursing nook. I highly recommend creating a space like this for yourself at home if you’re a nursing mom. Here’s mine:

 

And here’s how I have it set up –

  • Rocker/recliner – because buying a chair that would only serve one function (rocker, glider) didn’t make sense to me. This also serves as a place for other people to sit in my living room. Plus the recliner function helped a lot during pregnancy and newborn phase, I would sleep here A LOT.  
  • Bolster pillow – for lower back support
  • Heating pad – for pregnancy and post partum back pain 
  • TV Stand – collapsible so if I need to put it up I can (but a normal side table would work fine we just have a small space so being able to put it up is nice)
  • Basket under TV Stand – holds magazines, blankets 
  • Plastic tray from hospital on TV Stand – holds pacis, nipple cream, burp cloth, hair clip, earbuds, nail clippers and other small items I might need while sitting there 
  • Boppy – tucked into the notch of the TV stand
  • Command Hooks on the side of nearby bookshelf – holds nursing necklace, robe 

I’d also stock snacks and water on the tray or in the basket in the early post partum days and I sometimes still do at night especially I get hungry. I also kept my meds there easily accessible those first couple post partum weeks. There’s also a plug behind my recliner where I have a charger for my iPad because my iPad gets heavily used while nursing!

I truly believe my success with my first, and probable success with this new little one, is largely in part to these two things so I hope this can help someone else out or give them ideas on how they can be successful breastfeeding.

Who else has a set up like this? What else do you have or suggest? 

8 Things I Learned Going From 1 Kid to 2

┬áBefore I had my second son, I was terrified. I was mostly terrified at how it would affect him, and how I could possibly have the time and love for two when I felt like I already had so much to give to my first son. I was worried about how I wouldn’t be able to spend time with him because I’d be caring for or feeding the baby. I was definitely right, at least in the beginning, it was very hard for me to spend any time with him because a newborn baby needs so much from mom. That was hard for me because I was used to spending all my time with my oldest and now we hardly got any time.

But as baby got older, and started to nap and things regulated, and my body healed from my c section, I was able to spend more time with my older son again and it was great. I was actually surprised that as I adjusted, caring for two wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The hardest part was when they were both crying or both needed me. There were times that my baby had to cry and I hated it because I can’t stand listening to him cry. But those times were few and far between thankfully.

I did want to share some of the things that surprised me and that I learned as a new mom of 2. I hear in terms of transitions when adding kids to the family that 1 to 2 is the hardest. Here’s hoping!

  • When you need to go somewhere, with both, say to the store, give yourself HOURS to get ready. So if I wanted to leave by 11 or noon, I needed to start getting ready the second I got up. Between dressing me, dressing the oldest, feeding the oldest, dressing youngest, feeding youngest, getting the bag ready, changing both diapers, it is a several hour affair. As long as I planned on having several hours to get ready, I would get out the door without a hitch and (mostly) on time.
  • This one took me a while to find a routine that works – bed time – bathe older one first. That way he’s ready for bed, and if baby starts to melt down, I can send oldest to his room to read or play or whatever and then eventually fall asleep. Or let him watch Mickey, whatever, but at least he’s ready for bed if it takes me longer than expected to get the younger one ready and down for bed.
  • Playing alone is okay! For both of them! It helps them learn and explore on their own and it helps me give (almost) undivided attention to the other …. or get some shit done around the house.
  • Get out of the house. Whether it’s for a walk, go to the store, whatever. I feel more like a human and less like a hormonal zombie if I get out and breathe some fresh air. My kids feel it too. They’re less fussy when they get out of the house too.

  • Going to the store – not as bad as I thought! But the whole thing will take a while. Getting two small kids in and out of the store is a feat in and of itself. Car seats, strollers, carts, loading and unloading, crying, feeding, snacks, pitching a fit… it’ll take a while. But as long as you’re prepared and know that going in, it’s not so bad!
  • Speaking of the store and errands – be prepared to abandon ship! And know your limits! Generally speaking you won’t be able to fit in maybe more than 2 stores or 3 total stops with 2 small kids. At least mine. They get over it pretty quick. Sometimes they surprise me and I can get more out of them than that, but I always go in expecting it not to last more than 2-3 stops so I prioritize. Whatever is most important to get done is first and second, and anything else is less important and can be done another day and often if we’re melting down, it is scrapped for another day. As much as I’d like to knock everything out in one trip that I need to do to save time, money and gas – with 2 small kids in tow it’s not going to happen anymore.
  • Don’t forget to take pics of the bigger one. I noticed my phone is a lot of pics of the little one whereas it used to be all pics of my toddler. He’s still young too I try to make myself remember to take pics of him as well.

  • Let it go – the clean house. Sing it if you want to (thankfully I haven’t seen that movie yet) but seriously I had to learn to let the idea of a clean house go. I came to accept that my house won’t be clean for the next 18 years and that’s okay! I have kids! I’m sure no one, if they did come to our house, would expect it to look spotless with two small kids. I do basic cleaning and I clean up toys at the end of the day. That’s it. You’ll have more time for the kids, or just to lay around with your feet up, but clutter and toys doesn’t really matter right now.

What were some of the big things you learned as your family expanded?

Bun in the literal oven (and other pregnancy/post partum surprises)

So when you’re pregnant, a common phrase is that you have a bun in the oven. What no one tells you is that you literally become an oven. I have never been more hot in my life than the last 3 years as I’ve been pregnant or nursing/post partum for all but a month or so of the last 3 years.

My wardrobe (read more about my awesome sexy mom wardrobe here) these last 3 years is exclusively tank tops. I might as well pack the rest of my clothes away and I don’t know why I haven’t. I’m sure my husband would appreciate the closet space it would free up. I very rarely put on anything else, especially when nursing but mostly just because I’m so hot and the thought of putting any more cotton on my skin besides that makes me wanna do the polar plunge.

Almost 9 years ago I moved from Michigan to south Texas which I loved. The weather here was perfect to me. Hot but not humid. Now, even 80 degrees here makes me sweat like a whore in church. I cannot get cool enough most of the time. I nearly bought one of those personal misting fans this last pregnancy.

And being hot, especially post partum/nursing hot, makes me so irrationally frustrated and stabby. I get so pissed off that I feel like I become the hulk and I could hulk smash something. My poor husband I get so crazily angry when I’m hot I’ve lashed out and said some things to him that afterward I’m like wtf did I say that for? And I feel terrible. Thank god for him, he tolerates it and doesn’t get his feelings hurt easily.

I’m so hot even in my house with tank top and shorts on, air conditioning and fans on. My poor kids I got from my mom the inclination to dress my kids how I feel, so they’re probably cold all the time because I’m sweating so I put them in minimal clothing as well.

My insane hotness, and not the appearance kind, is part of the reason I chopped off my long hair last summer, couldn’t stand the pony tail down my back. Now that I’m starting to get a ponytail again you’ll frequently find it clipped up.

I was so surprised at just how hot I get and how it makes me feel. I definitely don’t remember anyone telling me about that.

I also didn’t know that I would lose so much hair, which is tricky because with a baby you have to keep an eye out for hair tourniquets. It’s so easy to see how they can get them now, when you lose a handful of hair a day! I’m so annoyed with having to clean up my hair everywhere. And it is EVERYWHERE.

I also had no idea that breastfeeding could make you NOT LOSE WEIGHT! Everyone says the pounds will fly off because you’re breastfeeding. I’m here to tell ya folks… Not necessarily true!! With both boys now, my weight does not fluctuate more than a pound in either direction. No matter what I eat and what exercise I do. So … Might as well enjoy myself and keep my maternity clothes out!

What are some of the things that no one told you about pregnancy/post partum?

Mom Wardrobe

I’m not the type of person who enjoys clothes shopping. I also don’t like spending a lot of money on articles of clothing so looking at maternity clothes my first pregnancy got a resounding “oh hell no” out of me. ESPECIALLY since they have such a short useful life. Even if you have multiple pregnancies you’re still using them for only months. I can’t bring myself to spend much money on clothing that’s so short lived.

So for my first pregnancy I was determined to not buy them unless I had to. Instead if I did go shopping, I made sure anything I bought was stretchy – stretchy t’s, elastic waist pants or skirts, yoga pants and leggings. And it worked. I never had to buy anything maternity.

Second pregnancy I wasn’t so lucky. End of second trimester, beginning of third my “normal” clothes were leaving my belly exposed. But thanks to a thread on my birth board on Babycenter, someone turned me on to an Old Navy maternity sale. I stocked up on some tanks (my staple as a pregnancy momma in a hot climate), a couple of shirts I could wear to work, and some gaucho pants. Very reasonably priced stuff – all right around $5/piece give or take a little. That’s my kinda prices. It all came in and I loved it all. So next time I saw a good sale there I got some more.

I also still stocked up on “normal” stretchy stuff. Being in a hot climate, I generally live in shorts. But as a mom (and one that runs super hot when pregnant and post partum nursing, not to mention how I look) shorty shorts aren’t gonna be a part of my wardrobe. I actually found some comfy Bermuda type shorts at Walmart, in their Danskin section. They make them shorter and I got a couple pairs of those too anyway, and some longer in Capri length. I stocked up in all colors. And voila – my pregnancy wardrobe for kiddo #2. Mostly tanks, then maternity tanks, and comfy shorts/capris/yoga pants/leggings. Little did I know it would stick with me post partum also!

So after having baby, I’m still fluffy plus I’m nursing so I want to be be comfortable and be able to nurse easily. At home, nursing tanks are my staple. I want to thank my friend Robyn for turning me onto this idea – she wore them to bed. But for days I don’t leave the house I wear them all day also. Days that I must leave or be more presentable, I put on my nursing bra and still a maternity tank over because they are stretchier and more giving for access. With my first child, I also wore similar attire but when it was cold I used cardigans or hoodies to go over my tanks.

Those would be my recommendations for a pregnancy and post partum wardrobe that’ll be most useful!