Lately, I’ve felt transparent. At this point in my motherhood I feel like Frodo Baggins with ‘The Ring.’ Hopefully, you understand my nerdy reference… if not, ‘The Ring,’ is a magical ring from Lord of The Rings that the main character uses to become invisible to those around him. Hence, the metaphor that motherhood is ‘The Ring.’ We become invisible when we are in motherhood mode.. So all the time.
Any who, back to it-
Tiny humans are amazing. I love, LOVE being a mother. That’s all I ever wanted. I struggled to have children and with that experience, I take so much pride in being a mom. Having said that…
There is a feeling to it that no one can prepare you for. There is a lot of talk about staying at home and that isolation and stress. I can only imagine going to work each morning without your babies is a whole other level of stress and isolation and I’m sure there is talk about that as well. But what I am talking about it that complicated emotion of having a role no one else can do.
A mother is born
When a baby is born a mother is also born on that day too (I read that somewhere and really liked it). That quote is so so true. But it’s often forgotten.
Motherhood is overwhelming, right? There are so many emotions. There is so much love and pride for the tiny humans you created but also there is this feeling…. this feeling that you are becoming static..
I’ve learned since becoming a mother that you can have all the help in the world; an amazing husband (which I have), a wonderful support system, grandparents who help out, ect. and STILL feel overwhelmed, stressed, invisible and lonely. Every second of everyday we make decisions for our children- what will they wear, eat, when will they go to bed, what medicine they need, how much screen time, what they are learning, how they are learning, so many more I can’t even type. If our children need anything, the world turns to us. We carry such a weight on us.
I’m feeling that weight. It comes and goes a lot for me, as I’m sure it does for you. But with tiny humans and few moments to ourselves that weight can crush us sometimes. It’s so easy to get lost in motherhood.
This quote says it all:
UH HUH! Yeah we were people before we were moms. But as a mother it’s so easy to kick it into cruise control and do all the things; the fetching snacks, nursing babies, making meals, washing and picking up laundry, vacuuming, make the decisions, make the list and just ‘mom,’ away until some day that “someone you were before…” is lost in it all.
By days end we are too tired to talk or do anything else. Some weeks we can go days without talking about anything other than Mickey Mouse, snacks, monster trucks, nap times or how the baby is sleeping. We forget how to be ourselves. We forget how to talk about adult things, laugh at things that aren’t PG and remember we are moms but we are so much more.
I’m going to be honest this post started out of pure frustration. All those feelings I wrote about above were flooding my heart. I was/am losing myself in the journey of motherhood. I am well aware that is it happening and I’m reflecting on how to change that.
But having wrote all that it’s lead me to this:
Sunday is Mother’s Day. A day for us. Let’s take that day and focus on finding that woman we were before. Take an hour or even five minutes and think of all those wonderful things that makes you, you. Things that don’t involve being a mother. Yes, there are things about you that don’t involve feedings, play-do, laundry and diapers. That amazing “someone,” is in there, even though we lose her often in this crazy ride we call motherhood.
Let her out. Let her take the wheel for the day. She is important. (I’ll try to do this as well).
In the comments do me a favor and tell me something, anything about yourself, something unrelated to motherhood. I can’t wait to read all the wonderful things that make up my amazing followers.
When we decided that we wanted our first two babies close together, I set out to see what others thought about two under two. I frantically googled, pinned and asked around trying to see the pros and cons of two under two. The results? People were split. They either loved it or hated it.
Let me tell you this week has been hard. I have cried so. much. But I’ve also had some of those mom moments- you know the ones where your heart explodes with love over something your kids did. I can see both sides of the argument.
So, if you are reading this post to find out what 2 under 2 is like here it is. Here is what two under two is like for me (and maybe for you too).
Two under Two is-
Messy. Oh, so messy.
It’s two in diapers.
Double the laundry covered in anything and everything.
And confusing clothes while folding laundry because at four months and 22 months they start to all look the same.
It’s two babies who can’t talk yet.
And double the tears (triple if you count yours).
A ton of mom guilt. Learning to balance a newborn and toddler who needs attention too.
Sleepless nights with a newborn learning how to sleep and a toddler learning to stay in his big boy bed.
And a full bed each morning, having a tiny human on each side of you.
Hearing “Hi mama!” from the oldest, as you nurse your second born in the morning light.
It is learning to nurse while doing all the things.
Lots of days it’s wondering if the fog will clear. If you will feel human again.
But then watching your youngest laugh at your oldest
And your oldest helping you do things for the younger you didn’t even know they could do!
It’s new words everyday from the older one and babbles from the little one.
It’s spending most of the day on floor. While protecting the little one from being stepped on and teaching the big one how to be gentle.
And boo boos. So. many boo boos. Bumped heads and hair being pulled.
And teething!!! Oh gosh double the teeth, drool and pain.
It’s your oldest not remembering life before the little one and trying to remember it yourself.
Teaching sharing 24/7. What is yours, his, and ours. It’s “that used to be yours and now it’s his.”
It’s longing for 30 seconds of quiet. 30 seconds of not being touched because you’re constantly needed for feedings, cuddles and hugs- it’s all you all the time.
All while wishing you had one more hour in the day because some how the hours drag but they are both growing up so fast.
It’s wanting for the little one to be able to crawl or walk so life will be easier and then crying because you want them to stay small forever.
It’s laughing so hard that first week at yourself trying to hold two babies at the same time and failing.
It’s feeling like a bad ass that first time you’re alone with both kids and everyone survived the day.
It’s holding back happy tears the first time your first baby holds your second baby.
It’s never having enough hands to get things done but enough hands to hold each baby’s while they cry in the car.
It’s one baby for you, one baby for me. Man to man defense all day, everyday. You change this one, while I feed this one.
Missing the one you aren’t holding at that time.
Being so tired that their names somehow are becoming, “the big one and the small one.”
It’s hearing ” I don’t know how you do it.” and always responding “yeah, me either.” While chugging your millionth cup of coffee.
It’s learning grace as a mother. Asking and accepting help.
It’s smiling when you hear your oldest who can barely talk say the little ones name (well kinda).
It’s holding on through the ebb and flows. The stretch of wonderful days and the weeks of grayness. And knowing that each morning you wake up could start or end the phase you are in.
It’s having two babies in two years and still remembering how to do all the baby things because you just did it the year before.
It’s being so glad you did this because they are already so close.
And that knowing that no matter how damn hard it is right now, seeing these two make a friend for a lifetime, who will be going through all the phases with them is oh so worth it!
If you’re surviving in the two under two club, let me know below what it’s like for you each day.
Words, how powerful they are. As an educator by heart (and degree lol) I studied the foundation of language. When it starts to form, how to teach it and how important words are to learning any subject. As a parent I’ve learned how important words are to children in a whole new way. Words are how we can either build up or tear down our children. Words are how we can show our tiny humans encouragement about how wonderful they are or hinder it. So, how can we use our words for all the good they have to offer you ask… affirmations.
Affirmations | using them as a parent
Our children hang on our every word and long for our approval.
When my son is playing I often times catch him doing something and then turning to look at my husband or I. He wants to know we see him, that we are proud or approve. Using words with our children seems so simple but it’s easy to get caught up, isn’t it? I know, I know kids are hard work, they are difficult and some days it takes all we have to have nice words at all to say. Am I right? All of that can cause us to be repetitive or on auto pilot with our words and responses to our children.
These are affirmations but it’s easy to get stuck saying blanket statements.
When I talk to my toddler I try to speak to him like I do everyone. Even though he’s only 21 months old he is like a sponge. Did you know that in a growth spurt between 16-23 months a child can learn up to 2 NEW WORDS A DAY??!! That’s crazy! I want to make sure that I am using all the words I can with him. Make it a point to use different words, describing words and words that are tailored to your child. Then, encourage your child with all those wonderful words.
Let’s say your child just built a tower out of blocks. You could say, “Good job Honey,” which there is nothing wrong with. But what if you said “Wow, I bet you tried hard to build that!” ?
Variety is the spice of life
Using descriptive language is a great way to up your affirmation game. Here are a few of my favorite affirmations to use with my kids.
Keep trying, you got this.
My son is very strong willed so this is one that I use on a daily basis. I am acknowledging his determination and telling him he’s doing well. I could say good job and that would be good, but by using this statement I am speaking directly to what he is doing and also using words like trying. Children tend learn verbs first so using them in your affirmations is important.
This is huge in my house. I am a manner stickler. I want to raise my children to be polite (which I assume you do as well). So how do we do that? Be examples. If I we want our children to be polite and use words like please and thank you, then we need to use them. Thank you is a HUGE affirmation. You are acknowledging whatever it is your child has done and praising them.
I try to use thank you with my sons whenever I can. I want them to know they are appreciated and that their actions are important. Even something as small as offering me a bite of his dinner (that I don’t necessarily want) is cause for a thank you. I want him to know that his action to share is appreciated.
You are so important
Sometimes affirmations are conversation starters. When you are cuddling or playing on the floor with your babies make it a point to voice all those feelings you have. When you look at your baby and think “you’re so wonderful,” or “You are the most important thing in my life,” tell them! Those mom and dad moments where you feel all the feels about how fast time is going those are great moments to express how important they are.
It takes two seconds to say. They may not understand or even look at you when you say it haha but they heard it. That phrase, those words they becomes part of what they think of themselves.
Being intentional with our children
Just like anything other goal you have, you have to start with being intentional. Start by listening to how you speak to your children on a regular basis.
What if we used our words to be intentional and specific about our children and their actions? Not only would we be building our children’s confidence, showing them their worth, building their vocabulary but we would be using our words to give our children that inner voice they will hear for the rest of their lives.
I would love to hear some of your favorite affirmations that you use with your tiny humans, let me know below!
Want to read more of the affirmations that I use?
Click below to get a free download of 50 intentional affirmations to use when parenting your tiny human.
“Would you and Alex like to go to Vegas with us in the spring?” This is how the conversation started. As a mom my first thought was “But how?” How can I leave baby overnight that many nights in a row? I guess I had never even thought about vacationing without our son but when the opportunity presented itself, we couldn’t say no. A whole week in Vegas with some of our best friends!
Once we sat down and figured out the how, I went into mom mode. I checked all the boxes to make sure him and I would be comfortable for the time we were away.
Making the Decision is the Easy Part
Once you decide that you are leaving your little one for the first time overnight for whatever reason that is; to deliver baby two, vacation, or an extra long date night, that’s the easy part. It’s the next part that is hard, the planning. As mothers we will go through every. single. possible. scenario and worry ourselves to death. So, to help with the worry I’ve decided to share with you what I did to prepare for 7 days away from our son.
Leaving Baby Overnight Takes Lots of Planning!
Whether you are leaving baby for one night or a week it takes planning. Some of that planning was obvious for me like clothes, formula, etc. But once I started going through every scenario I needed to prepare for, THERE WAS SO MUCH MORE!
If you are going to be leaving your baby overnight these are the basis I covered and I recommend you cover to make your time away as worry-free as it can be:
- Make a schedule for while you’re away.
- Pack their bag.
- Prepare food for your time away.
- Prepare for an emergency.
Schedules Are a Moms Best Friend
It doesn’t matter if we are at home or 2,000 miles away, there is something about a schedule that gives us a sense of calm (or is that just me, I think other moms are like this haha). So when we made the choice to leave, the first thing I did was sit down and write schedules. I wrote schedules for:
- his day
- and when I would be able to call and talk to him each day.
Meals are a huge part of a child’s day. To write the schedule for meals try answering these questions:
- When will your child eat? Do you have a really strict time for each meal or do you have a general time for each meal?
- Where will your child eat? Do they eat in a high chair for meals and bottles? Do they take a bottle to bed or wake up with one?
- What will they eat or NOT eat? Did you prepare food for them? Does the person who is keeping them need to cook? If so, what foods do they like or not like? Are they allergic to anything?
It seems like a lot of questions but once it’s wrote out it doesn’t look nearly as complicated.
For us the schedule looked like this.
If you wrote out the major events of your day, what would that look like? From the time your child gets up till they go to bed there are things that are the same most days. When they eat, when they nap, when they go to bed. Now, we are pretty casual parents so my son doesn’t have an exact time for each of these things but there is a round about time for most of them.
When you go to write this schedule just think about if you were watching someones child what information would you need to get through the day and overnight.
- wake up time
- meal times
- nap times
- bedtime and routine
- when will you be able to call (is there a time difference?)
It doesn’t have to be super extensive, just enough that your child’s day looks pretty normal and all the major questions are answered.
What’s In the Barney Bag?
When you decided to leave your baby for the first time overnight, if you are anything like me then you immediately go to ‘the bag.‘ What clothes, shoes, diapers, formula, etc. will they need for an overnight away? This is a huge part of planning especially if your child will be staying outside of your home while you are gone.
A quick check list of things that I went through were:
- clothes, at least one outfit a day. Then pack a few extra.
- pajamas, again what you normal use plus at least one extra.
- diapers (average how many and then throw in extras)
- a towel
- any medications they might need
- any comforts of home. My son hasn’t attached to anything yet but you might want to include a blankie or Teddy if they use one.
- formula or breast milk ( I will talk more about this in food prepping).
Food, Prep or Not to Prep?
In our household we food prep every week, so when we decided to go on this vacation I knew I would do the same for our son before we left. By food prepping the grandparents had less to worry about and I also knew what my son was eating while I was away. If you don’t have the time or if you simply do not want to food prep then I would suggest writing a list of foods your child does like for whomever is keeping them while you’re away.
If you would like to food prep, then the next bit is for you.
To food prep you have to decide:
- What your child will eat while you are away?
- What will keep well?
- How will you store it?
I knew my son loved all of these foods and each meal was healthy and easy to make. I decided to make the following menu for the week:
Breakfast: fruit and banana pancakes
Lunch: Mac & cheese, cheddar, broccoli bites
Dinner: Quesadillas and peppers
For each day there was a bag with the day of the week and how to heat or prep the meal.
Once it was all prepped I tossed it all in one giant bag and put it in the freezer. All the foods would keep in the freezer and the grandparents had to just pull out the meals for that day and heat when needed.
All of this probably only took an hour or so and the grandparents didn’t have to worry about cooking or what he could or couldn’t have.
Along with food you will also need to portion out breast milk or formula for your time away. We used formula so I did enough for 3-8 oz bottles a day and three or four extra bottles just in case they were needed.
(If your baby is still on puree foods read my post on meal prepping purees)
Of all the things that we did to prepare to leave our son this is the thing that made me feel the most at peace, the In Case of Emergency Envelope.
There were so many scary scenarios that went through my head leading up to our trip. What if he got hurt, or sick or if he was in an accident? As moms we worry and this small envelope helped me ease those worries.
Before we left we made a special envelope that had anything the grandparents would need in case of an emergency. I included information they would need and things they night not remember in the moment. Here is what we included in the envelope:
- letter with permission to treat
- an insurance card
- all the information they would need to admit him to a hospital
Permission to treat
As we prepared to leave him overnight for a whole week this I googled what to include in a letter to give permission to someone other than the parents, to treat a child. The letter read something like this,
We (your and your partners name),
Give permission to (name of person who will have your child) to make any and all medical decisions on behalf of (your child’s name) while we are away.
(Yours and your partner’s printed name and signature.)
Time is crucial in some situations and having written permission to treat can speed things up. (Also, I am by no means a lawyer or professional in any way. This is just the information I used and I can’t confirm this is legally correct).
This was a duh moment when I read this online. I NEVER thought to leave an insurance card just in case. If you have an extra copy this is a huge must have for anyone keeping your child while you are away.
ANY and ALL information they would need
On a simple piece of paper I wrote any and all important information they would need in case of an emergency.
- Pediatrician’s name, phone numbers and location
- your child’s social security number (we don’t normally write this down but this envelope was kept locked up unless needed while we were gone)
- any known allergies
- date of birth (grandparents know this but in an emergency maybe not)
- any medications that are being taken daily
- parents names and date of birth
- contact information for parents
Once all of this was together I stuck it in a normal envelope. I told his grandparents to keep it somewhere safe but accessible. This way if something happened they could just hand all the information to whoever needed. All the information they could need was in one simple envelope. They wouldn’t have to think or worry about anything if God forbid something would happen that they would have it.
Now, Enjoy Yourselves!
After, you have checked all the boxes and packed everything thing they’ll need, enjoy yourselves. I know this is hard and not everyone will agree with me, that time away is needed but I think it is. My husband and I had a great time and to my surprise I didn’t worry as much as I thought I would. I knew my son was in good hands and that I had made his days as normal as I could.
Have you ever taken a vacation without your child or had to leave your little one for an extended amount of time? What would you add to this list of things to do before you leave?