Survival mode is ok

We all have periods where things out of our control make daily existence overwhelming.  Has it been two days since you’ve showered?  Laundry piled as high as your ears?  Kitchen look like a bomb went off?

Welcome to being in survival mode!  We have all been there.  Whether you are on bedrest, just brought home your first baby, or are sleep training your third baby by night, and with a whole bunch of hyper toddlers by day (me, right now)…

Here are a few ideas to make your survival mode a little more survivable (I hope).

First, I think, attitude really helps.  Don’t let “judge-y” people make you feel bad, NO ONE always has it all together… and if they did, they’d be pretty boring people to know, right??!  Although sometimes you must lower your expectations, there are also days when you need to just put your big girl panties on and get it done.

Try to remember this is temporary.  Be thankful for the good stuff, there’s always a silver lining.  Celebrate every success.  Finally doing that load of towels, is totally worthy of a kitchen dance party!

Secondly, as a mom there’s a few key areas that are musts (unless you’re on bedrest, in that case, they’re still musts, but get other people to do these things)

Food, Floors, Kitchen, Laundry, and Bathrooms.

Food, move to a very simple food rotation, plan every meal and snack for a week and repeat.  (I have one, if you e mail me, I can send it to you).  Also, no one ever died having pb and jelly, carrot sticks and a banana for dessert for lunch for 2 months straight….. just saying….  2nd tip, if you have some available time to cook, cook double or triple batches – you have already pulled out the ingredients and the dishes are already dirty.  When doing this, focus on making healthy meals that freeze well (chili, shepherd’s pie, or whole wheat pasta dishes).  Drink loads of water.  Don’t overdo coffee, avoid sugar all together, you don’t need that afternoon slump.

To keep floors reasonable, plan to pick up everything off the floor twice a day.  Put things in baskets, things always seem neater when they’re in baskets.  If it takes more than 10 minutes… you have too much stuff.  Box some stuff, and get rid of it!!  (or save it for less stressful times)  Then, give the toddlers some cloths and play “wipe the floors”… drag out the vacuum and leave the vacuum in an accessible place.  Trying to sweep after each meal is a good goal to keep the kitchen reasonable.  If you’ve got a larger sized home, block off areas if they’re hard to keep clean from little people.

To get the kitchen back into reasonable shape, set a timer for 5 mins, and do as much as you can in that time.  Do this as many times as it takes.  You’d be surprised how fast it goes.  This also counts as your workout for the day!  It also really helps to get everything off the kitchen table after each meal, and be diligent with filling and emptying the dishwasher… this machine is truly a blessing.

Laundry can pile up fast with kids… especially if you’re in the zone of potty training and spit up.  If you’re really behind, get all your little helpers to help you collect it all early early early in the morning.  Set LOUD timers to stay on top of switching loads immediately when they’re done.  Take each basket into the playroom, sit down and teach your 2 year olds (and older) to fold, while you fold the load.  Put your last load in by 3pm and aim to put it away by 4pm.  To stay on top of it, put a load in first thing every morning, or a few more, depending on your family size.  If you’re on bedrest, or just beyond overwhelmed, don’t fold.  Sort the clean clothes into baskets for each member of your family, and they can rummage.  If you’re struggling in this area, I would put away any excess clothing… the more you have, the more you have to manage.

Bathrooms can be done in little bits.  Every time you “go”, clean something (mirror, sink, top of tub, inside of tub, floor, toilet tank, empty trash, etc).  It will take you 1 minute, and it will at least remain a dull roar of a mess.  I also teach my littles to wipe the sink after they wash their hands, this is a huge help.

My last tip is to practice a morning routine, I get up, do contacts, floss, brush teeth, deodorant, get dressed and extras as time allows.  But I at least do the basics, so that if I have to leave or if someone comes over I am not freaking out.  I have at times also picked out 3 outfits that work for me.  I made the outfits my uniform, rotate and repeat.

FYI These tips are not coming from someone who knows it all, they’re coming from someone who’s learning what as she goes…. and making lots of mistakes too.

: )

And a bunch of these ideas have come from one the most useful books ever, Large Family Logistics by Kim Brenneman, unfortunately the book is out of print though.

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Postpartum belly band… worth the investment?

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Have you had a baby or are you about to pop that first baby out?  Have you checked out the post baby belly picture gallery on babycenter.com?  After looking at some wrinkly, stretch marked, pendulous tummies you might be scared. … dare I say it… for good reason. *gasp*

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(but clearly totally worth it!)

You may or may not have heard about this trend of wrapping your belly post partum.  Is it going to undoubtedly get you back into your pre-baby jeans a few weeks later.  I’m going to go with – no.

This pregnancy, facing my third c-section in 3 years I wanted two things.  I wanted people not to innocently ask me “when are you due”, while I am holding my 1 month old baby.  And I wanted less back pain postpartum.  With my first two pregnancies, within a few days of leaving the hospital, I was in tears putting on my underwear, (not just cuz they were that uh-gly) and needed help walking to the bathroom.  … giving birth is so glamorous.

I dove right in to this trend.  I bought the least expensive option though.  It went on as soon as I got home from the hospital.  I noticed right away that it really helped reduce the uterine bulge within days.  So I didn’t look pregnant!!  I felt a lot more confident leaving the house.  Mission accomplished.  I also felt a lot of relief on my back, and had little to no back discomfort.  When I wasn’t wearing it, I really noticed how much support it was providing me.  The long stashed away chiropractor inside me was smiling.

The negatives I found were that it was very weird to wear the band underneath clothes.  There were a lot of strange lumps and bumps.  There were also a few times that I found it irritated my c-section incision.

When I ordered my belly band, I also got a hip binder.  I would not recommend wasting your money on this.  I really really really wanted to love the product, because these hips just keep widening to prepare for natural births that never happen.  These hips DO lie (ack, sorry, couldn’t resist).  I could never get it to stay in place, and it was too annoying to remove every time I had to use the bathroom. … let’s face it, with 2 toddlers and a newborn, this lady does not need any more hassles trying to pee!

Now, at just over 6 weeks postpartum, do I look any different than the other two deliveries? …. Nope. But would I do it again? Definitely. I was a lot more comfortable chasing little people around.

As a disclaimer, I wore the belly band 24 hours a day, from about 3 days postpartum, until I hit 5 weeks postpartum. At 5 weeks, I started to wean myself of the postpartum wrap.  At 6 weeks postpartum, I was happy to completely ditch the belly band.

 

Post partum hormones … awesome *eye roll*

I feel truly thankful that I’ve never had to deal with postpartum depression, and I don’t want to make light of those challenges… but man, these hormones are wild!  This is the fun my poor family has had to deal with in the last couple weeks. I literally shrieked like I was on fire and almost dove over the hubby to swat a bee away from Elise. I cried my eyes out when I missed the garbage can, trying to throw out a tissue. I really wanted to curse out someone when they made the following awesome comment, “You know, I remember thinking my baby was cute at this stage… man they’re weird looking before 3 months.”  Hey, not the brightest comment to make to a new mom… but it’s not like I don’t know it too. IMG_4664 It is a million degrees outside, and I am concerned about the kids falling into the frozen creek near our house in the winter time.  … Yes, logic has completely flown out the window. IMG_4610Hello brain… where did you go?  I miss you!

A trip to emerge… and things to bring with you

Last night, was a little more eventful than planned…

Mid afternoon, putting away laundry, I started having strange heart beats and some tightness in my chest.  This isn’t totally out of the ordinary for me, so I just finished my tasks.  But I still felt funny about 30 minutes later, so I sat down with some water, and put on a movie.

When I still didn’t feel better, I decided to call my doctor.  I thought the dosage of my medication that controls arrhythmias would need a boost… but my doctor thought I should head into emerge, just to get the baby and my ticker checked out.

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The highlight of the evening, was when Brian stepped out for a moment trying to call our babysitter, a nurse came to get me to do some tests.  The nurse watched the 8 month pregnant lady with chest pain struggle with 30 lbs of bag, and says “that looks heavy”.

Everyone else at our hospital was great, and miraculously we made it home in time for our bedtime, and to reassure Grandma that all was well.  I just needed a medication change.

After my numerous experiences going to the hospital to get this and that checked out, I thought I’d share the things to have stocked in your bag:

1. laptop with charger

2. movies, lots and lots

3. head phones

4. books

5. basic hygiene supplies you’d need for an overnight

6. bathrobe for walks down the hall, unless you don’t mind showing your less modest bits and flip flops for showering

7. extra undergarments for an unexpected overnight

8. glasses (not contacts too complicated)

9. cell phone and charger to keep in touch with babysitters, and worried Grandmas

10. nothing beats bringing your hubby who’ll go to the cafeteria as many times as you want, to get you the best sandwich available, and turn a night in emerge into a fun date night!