My top 5 thoughts for new moms, after my first year

If you know me at all, I take any chance I can to be reflective – think about growth, change, and life. Now that Elizabeth is 1, I’ve done a lot of reflecting! From the months that Troy worked out of town (until Elizabeth was six-months-old), to him finding new work, to building deeper relationships as a new mom and figuring out what I need in this new season of life to thrive – it’s been a huge year. I actually had friends tell me, “You need to decide what helps you thrive as a Mom.” It was liberating, the though that I was given the freedom to choose to thrive as a new mom. And a little scary. What? You mean, someone can’t just TELL me what to do? There isn’t a manual for every stage that I can follow?

For me, it goes without saying that as a new mom, I needed a lot of Jesus and a lot of coffee 😉  If you’ve followed along this passed year here, you may have seen the refining and drawing close that God has done in my heart.  The ways, or moments, I have found to still lean in to the Lord and learn more about Him. In my heart, I feel a deeper love for God than I did a year ago, and that makes me happy. Because that is His work in me, not of my own strength (because there has been reduced amounts of that this year!)   I think God holds new moms especially close, and I hope that you, as a future parent, give yourself a lot of grace as you grow in to a very important, amazing, challenging, and beautiful new role in life.

I read this the other day and thought it was so beautiful… Isaiah 40:11 (NLT), “He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.”

This is for those of you moving into parenthood who maybe don’t have a lot of friends or siblings to glean from… Take what works for you, and hopefully it will help you along your journey xo

My Top 5 Thoughts For Future Moms…

  • Hormones are natural, okay, sometimes hard, and are just a part of the process

Sometimes I like a good cry, but if I don’t know WHY I’m crying, then I’d really rather not. Like, can we just get this over with and move on? The first month especially I would have random bouts of tears about who knows what, and I tried my best to embrace them as part of the healing process, but it isn’t easy! I had friends encourage me in those days that it’s okay to have a good cry – life has just drastically changed. But if you can look at hormones as a sign of life – our body regulating itself, changing as it needs – it’s actually a beautiful thing. Some things that are uncomfortable are meant for our healing and we just have to be okay with that. (key the soft music that signals that I am still majorly allowing the Holy Spirit to work on this in me!)

That said, it’s okay to cry. Lean in to your husband, let him hold you. Your body just gave LIFE so it’s going to take time, and changing of hormones, to re-regulate.

I also felt lots of anxiousness at times. I was so nervous about putting her in her car seat (hello new parent!), or driving with her on my own, at first. It seemed like such a daunting task to now have this little human to take everywhere with me! Worry about a new little human that is now in your care is natural, just make sure it doesn’t consume you, or that you have someone to talk to if it does. That said…

  • You NEED other moms

This isn’t even a suggestion, it’s an absolute necessity! They say it takes a village to raise a child, well, I think it takes a village to raise a mom!! Before and since Elizabeth, I have felt so surrounded by friends from advice to texts of “It’s okay, that’s normal” kind of thing. I also have a mom’s group at church, and have been blessed to have friends to do coffee and playdates with throughout this journey. Without a doubt that has eased my worries, questions, doubts and fears as a new mom. You need people who have been there before, even if every child is different.

  • Get used to change. It’s now constant.

Just when I felt like I was starting to get the hang of a schedule, or what Elizabeth was doing, she’d go and do something new! Or have a night, or day, where sleep was out of the question, and I had no idea why. I’d cram my brain, trying to think of what I’d done different or what may have thrown her off. But at the end of the day, I had to realize she’s a baby growing at rapid speeds, and it just is what it is.

I’d like to think that motherhood is teaching me to go with the flow more. A bit 😉 That’s not a natural state for me, so I am sure that part of my personality will continue to be challenged and grow as she continues to change!

  • You really will love every stage

I LOVED four-months-old. She was sleeping steadily, happy happy baby. Gave us her first giggles around that time. And then teething. And then eating. And then dropping a nap. And moving. But you know what? There was still something in each change that knocked our socks off with cuteness that we loved and adored. Even though I loved the first 12 months so so much, I know that as she grows into herself, we will keep loving every stage – challenges and all.

Aside from marrying Troy, becoming a Mom has been the best gift – and also demanded the most from me. Your time is no longer your own, and you learn to become super organized and multitask (not successfully every time! I have burned A LOT of things this year!) But it takes ALL of you. But it’s also thoroughly worth it. I know some day, when our babies are moved out, Troy and I will look back and think “those were the best years”, raising our family. So I intend to soak up every minute the best I can.

  •  Love your home, and get good at being at home.

Before Elizabeth was born, I was doing contract work from home – due to timing of getting married, my work, moving, etc. I wasn’t able to find full-time work, so I actually never had a maternity leave. God has been faithful to provide!

That being said, being home a lot before she was born was an absolute gift. I had a huge transition after we got married and moved and I went from working in an office full of colleagues, to working at home in a 500sq ft suite.  I’m sure glad we had our dog! It was a MAJOR adjustment, filled with a lot of emotion and learning to give myself some grace. If you want to read more about that season of life, you can buy my book here, called After I Do.

Had I not had that time to adjust, I can see how going from working full-time, maybe 2-3 weeks off, and then a baby arriving, can cause some people to spiral. What? I now have to be home alone all day with this baby? I think that if you can get used to being home a lot, and loving your four walls, then that will go a long way to helping your adjustment once baby arrives. Have some flowers, pretty pictures, nice pillows, or whatever… have some sanctuary. Because being a new mom, especially the first year, requires A LOT of home time, and you want to enjoy it as much as you can. Naps and sleep are a priority, so for me, there were a lot of days where either we didn’t go out, or we had quick one-hour errands and then back home again. I learned to shop for groceries online and schedule around her schedule as much as I could.

I think it was God’s gift to me to have some lengthy time at home before she arrived, as it helped me adapt when our little bundle arrived, because I was already quite used to being at home a lot!

***

There you are friends…my top 5 thoughts if you are becoming a Mom (or Dad!) in the next little while. God is holding you close!

xo

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The best gifts for a new mommy

Now being a mom for six months, I’ve started to have some ‘ah ha’ moments. I understand why as a single gal when I went for coffee with friends, it was often quick or distracting. Hello, children. And when you do get together, all you talk about is your kids anyway. I understand why those first few months you feel like hiding out at home. You have a new normal to adjust to and your family of three (or however many) is of upmost importance to you. And when you do have a break, you just want to sleep anyway.

I’ve also learned of some easy ways ANYONE can bless a new mamma. Or a mamma with multiple kids. I think we are one of the easiest ‘tribes’ to please and make feel wonderful. So if you know of a couple who just had a baby, or is about to, here are some ideas of how you can make them feel amazing!

Before baby arrives…

  1. Freezer meals – breakfast and dinner! In fact, having meals and healthy options in the fridge is almost better than a ‘regular’ gift. Before Elizabeth arrived, my mother-in-law stocked us with several meals. I had also put together some slow-cooker freezer bags, breakfast sandwiches, Troy made waffles we could quickly toast, and we had also stocked up with some healthy quick Costco meals we could toss in the oven. Having both breakfast AND dinner options was wonderful, because, well, you NEED TO EAT! Moms need the calories but don’t always have the mental energy to put something healthy together. I don’t think I brought out the pots and pans for two weeks after she was born and oh how I loved that! Even if you go over to your friends house with cut up veggies and fruit, ready to eat, it’s an amazing blessings having healthy things to grab and fuel up on.
  2. Gift certificate for a pedicure and a massage. I did this about 10 days before Elizabeth was born and it was the most relaxing pedicure I’d ever had. Usually I hate pedicures (rub my callouses? No thank you!), but this one was amazing. Especially when your body is the largest its ever been, it’s nice to have polished toes and a relaxed back.
  3. Give Daddy and Mommy a gift certificate for a date night. It goes without saying that you treasure those moments as a couple before your family life changes forever. Troy and I took a four-day getaway to the coast and had some nice dinners out before our girl arrived and we’re so thankful we did! Not that we can’t now. But now it involves thinking about naptime, feedings, scheduling, and you think about her or talk about her the majority of the time you’re away from her! At least I do 😉 It changes your relationship and you want to treasure those times together.
  4. Clean their house! After Elizabeth was born, my Mom cleaned all my blinds and oh how I loved that! We had lived in a construction zone, so they needed it more often! This is something you could do before baby arrives to help the new mom feel like her home is clean and ready for a new baby. Wash her floors, clean the sheets, help with any storage needs she has … it’s SUCH A GIFT!

After baby arrives…

  1. Encourage them. Some of the biggest things I needed to hear were, “It’s normal to feel that way” or “you’re doing an amazing job!” Being called “Little Mamma” or having people tell me I was doing great would completely turn my day around. As new parents, you’re guessing. You don’t REALLY know what you’re doing and to have someone who has been there before tell you that you’re doing great goes a LONG way!
  2. Share your own mommy challenges. Somehow having another mom tell you how they struggled at first helps you feel like it’s normal to have an off day or struggle with self-doubt.
  3. Laugh about the hormones with them. Seriously. Make them laugh! I had an ‘ah ha’ moment at some point in the first few months that having a sense of humour about things would go a long way in sustaining me – both physically and mentally. Do I do this well? I try. And that’s all that matters. Actually, Troy told me one day that my sense of humour had increased or changed since becoming a mom. Happy sigh. I’m gonna need that humour. Hormones can be so wacky that if you as a friend, mentor or family member can find a way to put them at ease or make them laugh it will be a great gift to them!
  4. Pray for them, and tell them you are doing so. I was so blessed when friends would text that they were praying for me; about anything from nursing to sleep to hormones. But don’t just tell them you are praying for them, actually DO SO! Us mammas feel the prayers at 3am when we’re feeding, so keep praying for us! I so believe that God gifts us these children, and we are specifically graced for the kids we have. Psalm 127:3 actually says, “Children are a gift from the Lord.” When I remembered that, it made the hard days better, because I believe that whatever God gifts to me, He also gives me the grace for.
  5. Gift certificates! Whether it is for a Starbucks date for the parents, Superstore for groceries, or Costco for diapers and wipes, gift cards go a long way to help alleviate the sudden surge in the budget. It’s also fun for the parents to pick out what they like for their babe and having something to look forward to like a free latte is more wonderful than you know!
  6. Hug them. Seriously, just hug us.
  7. If you are going to go visit them and the new baby, ask them if they need anything from the grocery store. Not having to run out for milk and produce is a big gift!
  8. When you do visit, don’t stay long. The first few weeks especially, I found it hard to maintain conversation. I ran on adrenaline the first week or so, and then by week three, I was so tired. I should’ve rested more when she slept, but the fact was I liked the alone time or had things I wanted to do. But it’s true: rest when baby rests! So if you are going to visit a new baby, stay no longer than an hour. Drop a gift or do our dishes. Hold the baby, hug the parents, and be out the door! We can’t really maintain conversation beyond that point and even though we will insist you stay and cuddle our baby, what we really need is rest.

Having a baby has completely changed our lives. Not every day or moment is beautiful, but becoming parents has brought us more joy and love than we can describe. Having people rally around you goes such a long way as you navigate new waters! So if you’re wanting to be a blessing to someone, find some new parents – they will receive whatever you want to give!

I’m no food blogger

So, I quit this weekend. The #foodforskinmamma journey I mean.

For several reasons such as: I wasn’t seeing any difference in my skin after 2.5 weeks, I was finding myself low on energy without whole grains, and since I am nursing, there are multiple changes in my hormones anyway. I found that all my spare time was used on looking up recipes, suggestions, tips… and I was just done with it. I want to enjoy this new mamma stage as much as I can, even with the things that can be frustrating. I can’t change and make it all better, and I need to be okay with that.

I’m happy I tried and got beyond the point of sugar-free crankiness (oh, on about day 3!)… and tried amidst the business of a new life to take care of myself.

I love food, and will continue to eat healthy like I normally do. I also realized I’m no food blogger – it just doesn’t get me excited!

So for the many reasons stated, I am back to just enjoying food and making smart choices, and just asking God to show me if there’s things I need to change that will help my health/skin overall.

But before I go and end the #foodforskinmamma journey, here are a couple more recipes I came across from other bloggers that I tried and really enjoyed!

*Gut healing cinnamon coconut latte ( I am TOTALLY going to do this one more often! After this journey, my blender may just remain a permanent counter-top appliance!)

*Honey lemon glazed chicken and baked barley (I did it with chicken breasts. Very yummy!)

*Buckwheat pancakes (the maple syrup I drizzled on them softened the buckwheat flavor!)

 

“I want ice cream, stat” says this #foodforskinmamma

Good Saturday morning all! Before my world awakes, I wanted to share a quick update of things I’m noticing on my #foodforskinmamma journey.

  • I really want a bowl of ice cream. Like, now. I said to Troy last night, “Those oreos would taste sooooo good in that ice cream!” As kids, we used to crush the cookie part of the oreo into vanilla ice cream and make our own blizzards. Seriously having sugar cravings the past few days, especially for ice cream. The other night I quickly made these no-bake fudge cookies (without the coconut flakes as I didn’t have any on hand) and they have satisfied my sweet tooth the last couple of nights! I also made this yummy beet salad with supper. I recently started liking beets, and my husband says that if you close your eyes, they actually taste like corn on the cob! True, true. My spinach froze in the fridge, so I used green beans instead. Here’s the recipe for that.
  • The other thing I am noticing is I actually feel more full. Which is a rarity, since I am breastfeeding. I usually feel like I am always hungry. I know that’s normal, since I burn as many calories as a 2km hike every day (I read this somewhere at some point). But I wake up more full and go to bed more full! I guess if I’m not stuffing myself with empty carbs and filling myself with more nutrient-dense snacks and food, it must be filling me up more!
  • My skin still feels tight and a little dry, but I don’t think I’ve had any new breakouts in the past few days! Hurray!

Even if it is just hormones of breastfeeding (which the majority of my skin issues are hormonal I believe), cutting out sugar/dairy and wheat will never hurt. I am still eating sprouted grain bread and cooked oats for breakfast (fill you up and good for nursing mamma!). At the end of the month, at least I may be closer to targeting what causes my skin issues to spike!

Thank you for reading my little indulges of sharing to whomever listens on the other side of this screen. May you steer your life well, run to Jesus in all things, and love this Saturday in whatever it brings you!

My 30 day food and skin care change up

Me and my girl

Oh to have the skin of a baby, hey? This is me, au natural, to give you an idea of where I am at, starting day 1.

 

As some of you know, I have struggled with skin issues since I was 12-years-old. It’s been now 23 years of on and off break-outs, dealing with scars, and trouble-shooting the cause. So. Annoying.

I blogged a little over a year ago about my skin, when I started using Rodan & Fields and found success. The thing is… a) It’s not natural in any way b) It’s a temporary fix, only working when you’re using it. As soon as you stop using it, breakouts happen again c) It’s an expensive US product.

Since getting pregnant and now breastfeeding, I feel like I’ve taken the seriousness of my health to a whole new level. And I love it! I love good food. God has given us such an array of beautiful food not only for enjoyment, but for our body’s nourishment. But I also have indulged in sweets and all the ice cream a summer can hold. I’m burning all these calories nursing, right? 😉

The past 6-8 weeks my skin has taken a turn for the worse again, and I’m at a loss. I have been using coconut oil as a wash for almost a year (which I love!), along with Witch Hazel (using that fairly recently), essential oils, and as much natural healers as I can (oats, honey, etc). Since I am nursing, it could very well be hormones, but I also know different things we eat will affect our hormone levels. Like…sugar, dairy, wheat (that breaks down into sugar in our bodies). Can you tell I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to figure out the cause? Alllllll these years.

So, I’ve decided the one thing I haven’t done (and all dermatologists have recommended), is to cut out sugar/dairy/wheat. For the next 30 days (August 10-September 10), my goal is to eat a more raw food diet along with good proteins like beans and grass-fed meat (as much as I can find and budget will allow!).

I’ve received the go-ahead from my doctor’s office, and am excited and hopeful for how this could help! I will share recipes I find and try, along with the frustrations and the victories 😉 You can follow along on Instagram with #foodforskinmamma

This morning’s breakfast was steel-cut oats with mango and blackberries. I’ve never made steel-cut oats so they overflowed in the microwave to a pasty texture. Here’s to new beginnings tomorrow 😉 Lunch was this yummy avacado lentil salad and this is what I have planned for supper, only with brown rice. Am I the only one whose recipes NEVER look like the picture!? Oh, and I also made these energy bites yesterday that helps satisfy my sweet tooth. I’ve made them several times before and LOVE them!

Now, excuse me while I go and shush my crying 4-month-old daughter.