5 life hacks for Mommellahs

Thanks to MinuteforMom.com for picking up this article! I wanted to share it here as well.

People tell you how becoming a parent will change your life.  They tell you about the abundant love and the extreme exhaustion.  They’ll tell you how they did it, or how they think you should do it.  What they don’t tell you is how to survive YOUR child.  No one can.  Each is different from the next.  So, I’m not about to give you all the answers, but I am happy to give you 5 life hacks and survival strategies that helped me, in the hopes they may help you.

1. Drink Caffeine.  Not a big coffee drinker?  Well say hello to your new best friend.  The pick me up will help you wake up in the morning and pull you through the sluggish afternoon.  Need to pick up toys?  Tackle that pile of laundry?  Coffee won’t do it for you, but it will help you do it.

2. Bathroom Breaks.  Sometimes you just need 5 minutes.  Now, this only works well when someone is around to make sure your kids don’t poke their eyes out, but when you can sneak away and actually close the door while you use the bathroom, lock it.  Lock it and savor the solitude.  Sit on the toilet and take some time to breathe.  As long as the person watching the kids thinks you’re in the middle of a #2, depending on their level of competency, you’re probably safe to take a few extra minutes and meditate.  Serious sanity saver.

3.  TV as a tool.  Now, I’m not suggesting you leave the TV on all day.  Every child needs play.  Whether at the park, in the yard, indoors with toys or pots and pans.  TV can be a distraction from play and life lessons and too much of it just isn’t healthy.  With that said, TV can be a great tool!  Need 15 minutes to do the dishes without a toddler pulling at your leg crying from being splashed by the steaming hot water?  TV.  Need 30 minutes to run through the house to pick up all the junk that’s been tossed everywhere before you have company over?  TV.  Need 50 minutes to get yourself ready to leave the house?  Sounds like a great Sesame Street opportunity to me!  Get videos or DVR shows you want your kids to watch and make sure they are watching quality programming for limited amounts of time, while you use your time wisely.  Even if that means running a Super Why while you relax on the couch to save your sanity.  Because, sometimes, that’s just necessary.

4.  Cry It Out (CIO).  Sometimes your kid just cries that tired cry.  You know the one.  Not hungry or in pain, but a dead tired cry.  Perfect time to try it out.  You have a list of to dos and nothing is getting done if your kid is holding your body hostage with a lap nap.  Put the baby in their crib and close the door.  The crying will get worse before it gets better.  So before running for the baby monitor, go do a chore, the louder the better, like dishes or vacuuming.  Wait 15 minutes before getting the monitor and 20 minutes before going back to collect your crying child.  If it’s the middle of the night, it’s even harder.  I remember thinking how horrible the first 10 minutes were (for me) and how I didn’t think I could survive the remaining 10 minutes, only to find by minute 18, the crying completely stopped and everyone enjoyed the rest of the night, sleeping comfortably in their own beds.  20 minutes of crying never killed a kid and it won’t kill you.  At the very worst, your kid cried for 20 minutes while you got a chore done.

5.  Stop judging and stop caring about others who do.  Guess what?  You’re always doing something “wrong”.  Everyone has strong opinions on sleeping, feeding, diapers, manners and screen time on BOTH sides, so you’ll never impress every mom out there.  I’ve always said that each parent gets to screw up their own kid in their own special way.  All mommellahs are different, each child is different and you may say, “I would never…”, but you don’t live in that person’s home and you are not raising that child.  So stop judging others and stop caring about what those mommies are saying behind your back.  The ones who are talking, will talk about you no matter what you do or say.  So do what’s right for you and your family to increase maximum happiness for everyone in your household.

May the Schwartz be with you

 

 

Marvel-ous Mothers

Marvel-ous Mothers

Some may say that mothers have the hardest job in the world or are super human, but I say it’s more than that.  Mothers are like a whole team of superheroes!  Much like the Avengers, mothers are heroes for many different reasons.  Don’t believe me?  Let me show you how…

Tony Stark / Ironman:

Tony Stark, billionaire genius who has an iron suit that he can pretty much do anything with.  Sound like a mommellah?  I didn’t think so.  But you know what Tony Stark’s real super power is?  Always knowing the best possible course of action and executing it swiftly.  Now that sounds familiar, right?  All moms know their kids signals and know if it’s time to play, eat, sleep or pull off some Harry Houdini roadside diaper change and how best to make it happen.  Mommellah’s are super powered CEOs for sure!

Steve Rogers / Captain America:

Captain America, the “physically perfect human”.  Although most moms have something they dislike about their bodies, it’s only because we are harder on ourselves than we should be.  We MADE A HUMAN.  That’s a big frickin’ deal and our bodies are perfect.  Perfect baby making machines!

Dr. Bruce Banner / Hulk:

So, maybe our kids are more likely to Hulk smash things than we are, but ALL moms have had their Dr Banner to Hulk moments.  A good example of one of those moments; a friend’s kid was trying to be helpful by washing mommy’s car… With rocks!!!  Let’s just say a Hulk moment for a mom can occur anytime, over anything.  It all depends on her hours of sleep, depth of patience and how much money it will set the family back.  Mommy *smash*

Thor:

Did you know that along with thunder and lightning, Thor is also the g-d associated with the protection of mankind, healing and fertility?  Mothers are all about fertility, healing and protection (and occasionally thunder and lightning).  Whether you have a crazy family member (like Loki) or are just protecting your bubbellahs from everyday hazards, everyone fears the wrath of Mommellah’s hammer.

Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow:

Super sexy fighting machine with gifted tactical abilities?!  Sounds like mothers all over the world to me.  She can mask her emotions and has an “uncanny affinity for psychological manipulation”.  No one does this as well as a Mommellah.  We all have to train our kids not to embarrass themselves in public with a straight face, using the most effective strategy.  And guilt trips?  The Black Widow ain’t got nothing on us.

Clint Barton / Hawkeye:

Hawkeye.  The last of our Avengers team.  Alas, he has no superpowers, but being raised in a circus gave him ample time to perfect his aim and combat skills.  I’m sure many mommellahs out there can commiserate with being raised in a circus and how that level of some constant chaos prepares us for motherhood.  Because ladies, life is a circus, and we are the ring leaders.

 

It goes to show, mothers are the Avengers: Saving the world, one baby at a time!

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Measuring Mommy Mitzvahs

5775 is upon us.  A new year and the 1st anniversary of Mommellah.  It’s been really helpful in keeping me focused on Judaism and how it can fit practically into my life.  It’s also taking me into a new realm of having a school aged child.  I’m thrilled that my oldest is going to a Jewish preschool!  I’m not so thrilled about all of the ways that our lives will start to change.  Mostly, I want to try and keep not only my religion in focus, but motherhood as well.  These High Holidays, I will reflect on how I will measure my mommellah mitzvahs and how can I keep from getting caught up in being the “perfect” mom (FYI, she doesn’t exist anyway).

Let’s start with my fears. Mostly because I’m a crazy Jewish mother and want to get them off my chest.

Kids Birthday parties every weekend.  Usually multiple ones in a weekend!  Can you see my eyes rolling (into the back of my head kind of way, not in a “whatever” way) from wherever you are reading this?!?!  Ugh.  I have a hard enough time getting my husband to agree to ANY idea I have for a weekend.  He hates filling up our weekends with “busy” stuff and I don’t blame him!  These parties seem to me to be just another nail in the parenting coffin.  If you have any suggestions on how to set limits on how many parties you choose to attend, PLEASE share.  I’m begging.  Really.

The “one up” mom.  Now I can appreciate mothers who take the extra time to look nice, because we all want to feel good about what we present to the world.  Heck, if given the chance I love to take the time to get ready and look like the mom who has it all together.  But I’m sure there will be at least one (or more) moms who will make me feel inadequate in at least one way that I never even considered would be a “thing” you could be better at than someone else.  Examples include, but are not limited to: Bento Boxes, party favors and Pinterest fanatics.  Really?!  If you have the time to commit to these things, more power to you!  I have an infant and 2 puppies and see more butts in a day than an ashtray does, so, um, yeah…  I’m gonna just ignore all of the above for as long as possible.

Buying stuff we don’t need so my son can “fit in”.  I know this is coming.  I don’t know when or what form it will take, but I’m not excited for that day.  We have a TON of hand me downs, which I am eternally grateful for and spoiled by.  I do not want to buy clothes for my kids.  But someday, because of school, it’s gonna happen and I’m gonna be sh*t out of luck.

So, if I’m not measuring my success as a mother with any of the above, what will I strive for this year?  How can I keep myself grounded?  What is important to me?  I will strive for the following this year:

More cuddles. Because one day these guys won’t even want me around.

More books. Thank you PJ library!

More firsts. We recently followed up a first dentist appointment with a first pony ride. Success!

More vegetables. Boray pree ha adama! Lord, please let them eat their frickin vegetables.

More fun. Because you can be an Eeyore, or a Tigger. Be a Tigger people. Life’s too short. (Thanks Febach)

It’s so easy to get caught up in new ventures and swallowed in the rat race.  These 5 benchmarks are my guide to 5775.  What are yours?

May the Schwartz be with you!

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7 reasons baby #2 is easier than #1

All my life I’ve wanted more than one child.  I have been blessed with 2 in 2 years.  As much as there are a lot of things that are more difficult to do with 2, this second baby has been so much easier to handle than the first.  Don’t get me wrong, my 2nd isn’t any better or more well behaved than my first was (I am blessed with generally easy kids all around), but he seems easier to take care of and here’s why:

  1. I know what to expect.  Round 2: Confidence to the max!
  2. I have a  toddler to chase after.  This means I have less time to dedicate to my youngest.
  3. Diaper stations are already everywhere.  We have 3 in our house and I just knock out the changings all at once.
  4. I’m not reading a million baby books.  Who knows what developmental milestones a 5 month old is “supposed” to be hitting?  NOT me.
  5. I REALLY cherish the quiet moments with #2.  They are few and far between, so when I can make him laugh or take an extra minute with bath time to look in his eyes, it seems even more precious than it did the first time around (and kicks in the guilt, but hey, I’m a Mommellah, guilt is part of the package).
  6. I’m not sitting in my nursing chair waiting for the next milestone.  #1 took (what felt like) FOREVER to turn over, start teething, etc… and #2? Oh yeah, I guess he just did all of those things while we weren’t looking.
  7. He’s been crying it out since he came home from the hospital.  Sorry kid, can’t get to you right away.  You know what?  He’s usually sleeping by the time I DO get to him.

So mommellahs, take it easy.  You blink and they are up and running!

 

May the Schwartz be with you

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10 Questions all Mommellahs ask

Whether you’re Jewish or not, most moms can relate to these 10 questions…

10.  Who’s your little friend? Are they Jewish?

9.  What’s with these shpilkes? Didn’t you get messhugah at the park?

8.  Is my bubbellah too hot?

7.  Is my bubbellah too cold?

6.  Is my bubbellah eating too much?

5.  Is my bubbellah not eating enough?

4.  You call that a nap?!

3.  Can you please sit still while I wipe this schmutz off your face?

2.  Do you love your mother?  Then (place direction here)

1.  What am I going to do with you?!

May the Schwartz be with you!

 

Is a doula right for you?

Congratulations!  You’re expecting.  Now what?  It’s your first child, or it’s been awhile and you’re not exactly feeling confident that your partner or your family members (if you have any) are up to the challenge of fully supporting you through a labor and delivery.  Don’t worry.  You’re not the only one.

A doula (or birth assistant) is someone who is there for you before, during and potentially after your birth to be your guide, advocate and support.  If you don’t know what to expect, or are sure everything you learned in your birthing class is going to fly out of your brain the moment you have your first contraction, or just want an experienced person to support you through the process, a doula may be right for you.

If you don’t have family nearby, or have family you’d rather not deal with during a challenging moment in your life, a doula can help provide support a mother figure would traditionally give or help to redirect any family members who decide they simply can’t stay away on your big day.  Either way, it’s been scientifically proven that just having another woman sit in a room with a female in labor eases the process even if that woman is doing nothing.  Bottom line, it’s better to have a partner than to go it alone.  Oh, and doulas are also handy when it comes to keeping the hospital staff (not just family) focused on your needs and wants.

You may also be worried about the first week of having a baby at home, after the hospital stay.  When all of the Doctors and nurses are gone, WTF do you do with a newborn?!?!?!  There’s so much to know about, breast feeding, sleep training, “Is that sound normal?”, etc…  It can be scary and overwhelming.  Especially with all of the hormones still coursing through your body.

All very good reasons why a doula may be right for you.  Of course, you don’t want to choose just anyone to be with you during your special time.  This is a beautiful, private experience you will remember for the rest of your life and having the wrong person at the hospital or in your home can potentially be worse than having no support.  So keep the following in mind when choosing a doula.

Do you trust this person?  Do they make you feel completely comfortable?  Do they seem to judge you for any of the birthing or child rearing choices you want to make (i.e. pain medication or formula feeding)?  A doula should be there for YOU.  Whether you want to put a breast or a bottle in your baby’s mouth, they support you in what you want and are your advocate in your choices, not in theirs.  Doulas can be your best ally.  You invite them into the most intense, intimate moments of your life and they will always understand.  Even if you unintentionally flip out on them in a hormonal rage (don’t worry, they’ve seen it all before).

The price for a doula can vary based on multiple factors.  Usually a doula you really connect with will work with your budget to make their services affordable.  It’s not an easy job and it’s not something one can easily do while holding down a 9-5.  They will usually work 24 hours or more at at shot when they are working.  A doula has to he ready for their clients at a moments notice and can’t take on too many clients in any given month, or they run the risk of 2 mommies going into labor at the same time.

Here are good questions to ask a doula during an interview:

  • Tell me about your training and experience.
  • What is your philosophy about supporting the mother and father during labor?
  • Where do you live and how long does it take you to travel to the hospital?
  • How many meetings do you provide before the birth? After?
  • Are you available for phone calls before and after the birth? Unlimited?
  • Do you have other clients within 2 weeks of my due date? How many?
  • Do you have a backup? Describe her.
  • What are your fees?
  • Will you help us develop a birth plan?
  • What are some of your most utilized comfort and pain relief measures?
  • Do you teach breast feeding techniques? What is your training?

A postpartum doula will come to your house and usually stay (or visit) up to a week (or few) and help you and the new baby get situated.  They will often do nights, so you can get some rest during the darkest hours of the night.  They are there to teach you techniques for feeding, swaddling, sleeping and coping.  They may even do the dishes or laundry if you’re really nice (or if you’re a hormonal mess but they like you anyway).

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“We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.” -Laura Stavoe Harm

I hope this article helps you to decide if a doula is right for you and how to choose a good one.

May the Schwartz be with you