The Isolation Phase: Being Mommy

Isolation is so easy to fall into. We get wrapped up in what is going on in our lives only to look up one day looking for a friendly face and not knowing who to call or turn to.
 

I know I was there…
 
For a very,
 
Very
 
Long time…
 
I felt insignificant, silly, unloved, unwanted, and the list could go on depending on the day. And you know what? The more moms I meet the more I realize it wasn’t and isn’t just me.
 
If you feel this way, you are not alone.
 
You are not insignificant.
You are not silly, unloved, or unwanted.
 
And I am so sorry that you are feeling all these things.
 
But let me encourage you that there are many people who are struggling through the same issues, so you have support!
 
Where can you get that support?
 
First off talk to your OBGYN or Midwife about how you are feeling. Be honest with them because you may need more than just talking with someone to start feeling like you again. And let me add there is no shame in asking for help!
 
Being a mom is tough and asking for help does not make you weak or a bad mom! You have to take care of you too! You can’t give from a well that has run dry.
 
Below is a list of other places that you can reach out to, to get connected with other moms.

 

 

fit4mom

Fit4Mom- http://fit4mom.com/

 

 

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MOPS- http://www.mops.org/groupsearch/index.php

 

 

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Moms Club- https://www.momsclub.org/blog/find-a-chapter/

 

 

These are just a few of the many groups out there. You can check into local churches with groups as well as Google local groups in your area.
 

What helped you deal with the isolation of being a mom? What would your advice be to new mommies? Let me know below!
 

Bedtime: The Magical Words that Moms Whisper to Themselves After a Long Day (Featuring: Are Those Your Kids)

Bedtime. The magical words that moms whisper to themselves after a long day.
Often times it is a rushed routine, simply so mommy can get some shut eye. What if I told you establishing a routine can be just as relaxing for you as it is for your kids?
Here are a few tips to make bedtime magical for all parties involved:

Start winding your kids down before they get overtired

What happens when your kids get over tired? I think any mom can answer that for you. Unexplained tears and tantrums often signal it’s time for bed. When your children don’t stick to a routine and are overstimulated or overtired, this makes for one miserable evening for EVERYONE.  Do yourself a favor and begin bedtime routines before the crankiness sets in.

Make bath time fun

Most kids love bath time! If you have an infant that hates it, have no fear, this will change soon! Bath toys, water proof books and even bath crayons make taking a bath more fun. Adding bubbles always excites my kids. Various brands like Crayola even have colored bubbles! To help my kids wind down in the evenings, I use Aveeno Baby Lavender Body Wash.  Lavender is known for having a calming effect on kids.

Add some literacy to the bedtime routine

As an educator, it saddens me to hear that there are a high percentage of children who don’t like to read. Reading to your child (at any time) has a myriad of benefits. One of which is the relationship you build with your child. They will remember those moments of cuddling together to read a good book. It also opens your child’s mind to a variety of experiences, assists with language acquisition, mastery of language and basic speech skills.

Teach your children how to fall asleep on their own

It’s important that your children learn to fall asleep on their own once they are past the newborn stage. What happens when they depend on you to sing, rock or hold them in order to fall asleep? Well just ask my 2.5 year old. I had established a firm routine with her sister, but rocked her to sleep every night past two years old. Some nights, I just wanted to lay her down and relax. That wouldn’t fly. She cried. Then screamed. And followed me to my room. It was painful. I thought I’d never get her to sleep on her own. And then it hit me. I hadn’t established a firm routine with her! I included her when I read her older sister (5) a story at night, then walked her to her room for prayers, kissed her, and it was as simple as that! By the end of the week, I had established a routine with her that allowed her to fall asleep on her own. It’s easy to make that mistake, even if you have other children.

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Pick a bedtime, and be consistent

Kids love consistency. Heck, adults do too. Picking a consistent bedtime not only helps you nightly but if you ever need to leave your kids with a babysitter (or your parents), they will continue to follow the same routine you’ve established in lieu of your presence.
How do you establish a bed time routine with your children? I’d love to hear what works for you.
Diedre Anthony, blogger
diedrea

Helping Your Wife Through Postpartum Depression

 

I looked in the mirror and wanted to crawl under a rock. I hated the way my body looked, I hated how I felt, and I hated that I felt so empty and unhappy. The little sleep I was getting was probably part of it, but I was unaware that these feelings were really from Postpartum Depression. For six months, I struggled, refusing to take medication because I was nursing my daughter and the fear of hurting her with medicine was paralyzing. I was miserable and my husband couldn’t understand why I was unhappy. Finally, the fog started to clear and I didn’t feel so empty and sad anymore, but I wish I would have been wiser about what I could have done to make those first six months with my lovey baby better because most of it is still a blur.

 
 

Having a baby can be a crazy ride, and we were wiser with my son and started on medication before we left the hospital because I was already starting to feel the baby blues before he was born. However, I still was feeling how I felt the first time around and one night I had a meltdown. Right in the middle of our new kitchen, in our new house, with a new baby, I lost it. I started to cry as my husband tried to figure out what was wrong. I explained that I hated my body and I just wanted to hide under the soft covers until I felt better. Luckily we went into the doctor for my six week appointment a few days later and my husband and I explained how I felt to my OBGYN. She hugged me and said that she sees people all day that say the same thing and that I was not alone. I was prescribed a little higher dose and I started to feel better. This is not just something that can happen with your first child, it can show up, or not show up, with every pregnancy.

 
 

Nevertheless, those days of being in a fog of sadness and dismay, was not just difficult for me, but for my husband as well. As a husband, it is important to be there for your wife and to let her know how important she is. Here are some ways to help drive that home. You may have to tell her she is beautiful and that you love her a million times before you see a glimmer of it sinking in, but keep on keeping on. Remember that the adorable baby you brought home needs her every second and the puke, poop, and pee that she wears much of the day does not make her feel glamorous.

 
 

1. Remind her that there is no super mom
As women we tend to compare ourselves to EVERYONE else and the media and social media doesn’t help that feeling. There is always that mom who seems to take her kids to every event, have a great marriage, and look amazing all of the time. Remind your wife that it is easy to make life look a certain way on social media and that most people will not post the poop covered sheets the baby just managed to cover.

 
 
2. Tell her she is loved
We forget really easily. I remember when I first had our son and my husband was working late how I felt like he didn’t love me because he never seemed to have time for me now. Of course that wasn’t the case at all, he was just tired from working so many hours, but that is how I felt no matter how unreasonable it sounds now. Keep telling her all the time and take a few extra moments to show her affection that is not from a screaming infant or toddler crawling all over her.

 
 
3. Keep an eye on her emotions and how she is doing
Most women I have talked to are afraid to admit they are depressed. I was so afraid that people would think I was crazy for saying I was depressed because I really thought that being a mom was easy and that I could do it all. If your wife seems to be down all the time or mentions wanting to hurt herself or others talk to her about seeing her OBGYN. There is no shame in taking medication. Hormones are crazy, they have to get back into balance after you have a baby, and this can be hard sometimes. Talking to her OBGYN will give you both a good idea of the options and she may just need to talk to someone.

 
 
4. Make sure she has time to be alone
One of the things that I wish I would have been better at is finding time for myself. I always felt like the kids needed me, the house was dirty, etc, etc, etc. And I would get bitter when my husband had his time away at night to decompress from work. I was working too! Why didn’t I get a break! Well to be honest, I was never taking a break. I had to realize that the house would always need something done and that it was okay to let my husband take the reigns and figure out how to soothe a crying baby and toddler at the same time. Your wife may need you to help her see that though. Give her the keys to the car and tell her to go somewhere she enjoys. When we didn’t have a lot of money just going to the store to get groceries for the week alone was refreshing! Help her find an outlet like going to the gym, getting groceries, or taking a class at night once a week.

 
 

 
 

5. Take up a few more chores
If there is one thing on this list you should do it is this one. Please, for your wife, your kids, and your marriage, help your wife more around the house. We know you go to work, we know you are tired, we know the last thing you want to do is have more work when you come home, but she is going to need more help now that there is a baby around. Whether your wife works, stays at home, or works from home she is still working all day too. When we first got married my husband had two jobs take out the trash and clean the bathroom. Now that we have kids he helps in whatever ways he can. Baby has a dirty diaper? Change it and empty the diaper pail. The laundry is piling up? Start a load of laundry. The littlest things like emptying or filling the dishwasher can make a world of difference and it will make the weight of being a mom and being depressed a little lighter.

 
 

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6. Make time for date nights
This one was really hard for us because we didn’t live close to family and a babysitter is expensive! Try to swap with a friend, you watch their kids and they can watch yours. It’s a win-win because two couples get a date night without the expense of a sitter. You can also put the kids to bed early. We did this with our first two because both times we had recently moved and knew no one to ask to babysit. Yes, this is not the most glamorous of dates, but you don’t have to worry about dressing up and you can have dessert first. ☺

 
 
7. Finally, write her notes
There is something about being able to read that someone loves you again and again, especially on the bad days. My husband wrote one that on the front says, “Who is Kabrina?” and on the back he wrote what makes me, me, like beautiful, good mom, great wife, etc. We also got a cute box from Michaels that we put love notes in to each other. Here is a similar one on Amazon as well as a set of three. I love that they look like books! Classy right?

 
 

 
 

This is a very joyous, but difficult time for a family. You are adjusting to a new person in your lives, whether it is the first or fourth, give yourself grace. You are doing great! Encourage your wife as she adjusts physically, emotionally, and mentally. Before you know it you will have your groove back and be looking back thankful that you were there for each other!

Let me know what you have found helpful and any other ideas that you have for helping your wife, or that helped you through depression.

 

Newborn Sensory Play: Soft Toy Stimulation

The thing that amazes me the most about newborns is the fact that they are a blank slate. They have no comprehension of object permanence and do not know how objects move about in the world around them.

This activity will focus on cognitive and visual development through moving a Pom Pom or other soft toy up and down, side to side, and touching baby’s tummy, hand, cheek, and/or nose.

Material Needed:
➺ Large Pom Poms or other soft baby toy
➺ Safe place to lie baby on back

Note: If using Pom Poms, remember to never leave small objects with a baby or to leave soft toys with a baby in their crib. These can become a suffocation hazard.

 

First take your toy or Pom Pom and lift it about 10-12 inches above your baby. Slowly move the object from side to side as you baby tracks the object. This will be slow at first, so take your time before moving on. Continue by moving the object up and down touching baby on the tummy, hand, cheek, and/or nose. I like to make a cute little sound like “boop!” when the object touches to give the baby some noise to associate with the action.

As your baby gets a bit older this is a great activity to do using opposites such as left and right, up and down, as well as learning the different parts of the face.

Click on the picture below to view some good options for Pom Poms from Amazon

If you are looking for a baby toy that would work well with this activity a soft rattle would do well. Both my kids have also really liked the OBall brand of toys because they are easy to grasp and usually have a fun rattle inside like this rainstick ball.

Have you found any toys that work well for this activity that your child loves? I would love to hear your recommendations!

 

Newborn Sensory Play: Singing & Rocking

Holding your baby is such a wonderful thing and is imperative for their healthy growth. One of the ways that you can stimulate your baby’s senses from birth is by holding, rocking, and singing or talking to them. This may not seem like the most exciting sensory play, but I guarantee it is important and I promise, as they get older, you will be running after them so enjoy this moment of snuggling.

Materials Needed:
➺Rocking chair or your arms for rockingbaby-21249_1920

➺A quiet time and place

Find a time when you are not busy or stressed and you are in a quiet place, such as right before nap time. Sing or talk to your baby as you hold them in your arms rocking them or holding their head in your hands at your knees. This is a great time to tell them you love them, give them Eskimo kisses, as well as sing lullabies that have been passed down in your family.

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If you need some ideas here are a few:
Skidamarink a Dink a Dink
Drip Drop by Rita Baloche
Michael Row the Boat Ashore
Down in the River to Pray 
♪’I’ve Got Peace Like a River

 

 

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