Slow Down, Momma!

It’s a past-faced world.

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Every one is hustling and moving. I can’t even finish one article without starting ten more just so the ideas would not leave my head. My big, busy head. There’s a lot of things I want to write, and a hundred other things I had to do. Add motherhood to the mix, and I had a full brain buzzing with a thousand lists of to-do’s.

Then, I realized, maybe it was because of the way I was brought up by my parents. My mom, a teacher, always brings home her auto-timer for every tasks, just as how she does it at school.

“You have 20 minutes to answer this pop-quiz.”

“5 minutes to take notes before I erase it all down.”

“10 seconds to answer this question.”

“1 minute to pee.”

I didn’t find it stressful before, though. Instead, I learned how to move quicker multi-task. Applying make-up while sipping coffee; breakfast and checking email; social media and taking a shower.

But then, as I think about it, I don’t really do much of multi-tasking. I just do one part of the one thing in between of the other. Thus, it looks like it takes me longer time to finish one thing.girl-757441_960_720.jpg

Worse, I don’t get to enjoy what I’m doing. Sometimes, I’m in the office, and I’d ask myself if I already had my coffee for the morning. I end up drinking as much as 5 cups a day.

As a mother, though, I prefer my child to know the value of quality time; that good products and new skills are produced and learned by spending effort and time. And also that it’s worthless if he doesn’t know how to appreciate and congratulate himself for these things.

I want my son to enjoy every little thing that he does. There is no better time than now that he’s growing up for both of us to realize the value of appreciation for both of us. The small things that he discovers about his little world now might have been the usual stuff for the us, but I try to remember that these are big deal for him. These are new.boy-1916204__340.jpg

Walking, playing with usual objects, getting dressed, taking a bath are the things that we usually overlooked as an adult. We pay little attention to them. But these are huge tasks for my son, and I should not expect him to move fast..

Usually, I’d blurt out the words : “Faster”, “Come here, quick.” “Finish that right now.”

I try to be mindful of that now. I try to avoid saying these, and be more patient and wait for him to finish on his own time.

If he’s hanging on to one task for a long time, I would instead blurt out other tasks for him so he’d get to choose if he wants to switch from one thing to another.

“Aren’t you hungry, yet, sweetie?”

“Do you want to go outside and play now?”

“Do you need help putting on your clothes so that you can your favorite show now?”

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I know that it’s basic necessity for the kids to understand how time works, but it is also important for them to enjoy every little stuff as much as they could. That could help them be appreciative of time and effort that they’d exert for each tasks. I believe to be one of the keys for them to appreciate their self-worth. They’d realize how hard they had worked for small stuffs, and they’d know that they had finished it in their own time, being mindful on each development. They would bring that mindfulness until they grow old, understanding the world around them, discovering insects and holes and door knobs, and once they figure it out, they will celebrate their mini-victories. When they grow up, they wouldn’t deliver less. They would take time to finish a project and they would know how they should be treated after each work done.

Writing in braids,

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Spending Precious Time

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Some other people thought that when you’re a stay-at-home mom, you have all the time in the world to spend with your little one. Sometimes, my husband would innocently ask me “how was your day?” and I’d be defensively describe to him every work I’ve done. I barely even had a chance to brush my hair. The whole day has been spent with my son, yes, but not to play with him 24/7, but to attend to all his needs, and every mom knows that a little baby can be so demanding all the time.

Overtime, I learned how to manage my emotions while taking care of my baby. It can be overwhelming, especially on days when I have to look at the mirror, and see my eyebrows turning into unibrow, the tangled hair that looked like they’d all stick together forever, or the chapped lips that I haven’t had the chance to mind all week.

One great thing that I learned into being an effective mother is finding the happiness in each chores. Being mindful helps, which I try every time my mind wanders into the pile of tasks that I had in my to-do list each day. There would be nights when I would evaluate how I did that whole day, how it all ends up and what I have accomplished. I would be very disappointed on days when all I had done was fold up laundry and putting it away. After being mindful, I learned that I have to be easy on myself, and to remember even accomplishing the smallest chore is a success in its own way. Knowing that the clock is always ticking no matter how tiny or unimportant my job is, every second is spent and that’s enough for me to believe that I have been productive in some way.

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This realizations made me appreciate each moment with my little son. I try to take chores that involves him and make it a bonding moment as much as possible. The best one is when I bathe him. Before, I would give him a quick bath: wet-soap-scrub-rinse, that single set of steps and done. But then, he’d start to enjoy being in the tub and played in it, and trying to get him out of the water right after rinsing would be a struggle. In my mind, though, we have to finish up bathing because I can’t wait t
o move on to the next thing I had to do. But my attempt to force him out of the bath tub takes up more energy and more time than the actual bathing, and we both get out of the bathroom upset and disappointed at each other, which then makes it hard for me to put fresh clothes on him, and ending up him wanting to be comforted and me nursing him to calmness. At the end, we would both be exhausted and I would find myself lying next to him, napping.

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After a while, when I decided to be mindful, I started to let him play at the tub after the quick bath, until he has spent enough time in the water and would not be upset when I take him out. I would also watch him play, see him develop new skills, and check out his curiosity on how liquid works. I get to enjoy this simple moments, and after, it was so much easier to get him dressed, and he still have little energy left to play before nap time, which I would spend cleaning up the bathroom and doing other small chores until he’s tired and ready for a quick sleep.

There would also be times that I would take a bath with him, let him play at the tub while I take a bath myself, and after which, we’d both be fresh and clean, which is killing two tasks for the day.thiago-cerqueira-191866

Since then, I have believed at the power of being mindful, and saw that trying to multitask everything in my mind will always be a challenge to almost everyone in the house as it affects all the family members. Trying to be present at everything, be it small or big, always makes it easier and simpler for me, resulting to a more graceful mother who can run up the household in a very calm way.

Writing in buns,

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A Month Recap – February

This love month is a good month to not only celebrate our love to our partners, but to also analyze our relationship, the way we give and receive love, the way we show and say it, and the times when we mean it, (because every married people knows there would be times when you just don’t like your partner).

It’s not always butterflies, agreed. And you can’t expect your spouses to be in full-on romantic mode 24/7. I can’t even ask mine if it only for a whole day.

But it doesn’t really mean it’s not there. When I became a mother, I also realized that showing love takes more than kisses and laughter. It has to be a lot of little things that you put together to create that huge masterpiece, like a painting that needs all the colors, even your least favorite shades of grey or black.

When my son cries, I try to assess the situation first: is he hurt, hungry, sleepy? Is there something that he needs that I need to provide. Most of the time, he would cry out of just simply feeling sad or miserable. A loving mother in me wanted so bad to comfort him, tell him it’s okay to cry. But also, I wanted to discipline him, knowing that he needs to realize that there’s nothing wrong and that it’s not always alright to cry.

I avoid telling him to stop, but I explain the scenario to him, hoping he’d understand what I was saying. It’s not for me to have a quiet time, but for him to better himself, understanding the situation and reacting in a proper way.

Same thing goes with marriage and love. Most of the time, I tend to tell my partner to stop getting excited or angry or sad. He would also do the same. But I realized that a better way to approach our emotional turmoils is through asking more, understanding the reasons why we feels such ways.

I thought, I cannot just ask him to stop being mad, because I definitely would not want him to just order me to pause my anger if it were me. There must have been more behind our times of feeling peeved. Bad day at work? Horrible traffic? Whatever could have cause that negative emotion, we must realize that it could affect our vibes at home. Of course, no one could just flick the off switch to feeling mad or down, but it would be better if we would also understand why we feel such and is the reason good enough to drag the family down.

This emotional understanding became another way for me to be mature about our relationship. I used to bring in too much tantrums pre-marriage era, but I definitely can’t be that spoiled girlfriend anymore. Ok, maybe I engage on mini-tantrums but that’s just every now and then. Everyone deserves to have an off-day, let off some steam.

This month, I also reflected on the topic of romance. I can’t help it, I’m a die-hard romantic, and I have loved the ideas of huge gestures and surprises. If I were a guy, I’d definitely be every girls’ dream boyfriend on Valentines.

When my husband and I were in our 2nd Valentines, and he’s got nothing but a visit to the mall, we came up with a reasonable compromise to always celebrate the occasion even in the simplest form. I made him a list of all the kinds of dates that we should do. Then, we got married. And suddenly, Valentines and dates doesn’t seem as important as before.

One might think: “Well, there goes an unhappy woman married with an unromantic man. She’s bitter and doesn’t want to show it.”

Honestly, I envied my friends photos they uploaded last Feb. 14. I even cried, thinking, “Oh my God, my husband doesn’t have flowers or chocolates, and he has no intention of doing anything tonight.” Then, he started the car and asked me out on a date. We drove all the way to Nuvali, with him being patient, trying to survive the Valentines traffic going to the only romantic place for the locals in the south.

You might really believe the quote: Romance dies after marriage. For me, though, it just took a higher level of compromise and comprehension. When I got married, I realized romance isn’t just huge gestures of love, flowers, chocolates, dates and all that. We would spend a whole day fighting about something small, and then went to the room to actually talk about why we’re mad at each other. One time, we would go out and walk for hours in the mall, and we take turns entertaining our son – I would go to a cafe with our child while he looks freely for a shirt, and he would bring the little one to the toystore while I look for my make-up. He would try his best to clock out of the office or deal with clients as fast as he can so he could go home early. These things, believe it or not, brings butterflies to my stomach.

What can I say? I’m an easy woman to please.

Writing in braids,

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Thrift Shop: Items to buy for baby’s arrival

One of my best friend is having her first child, and she’s frequently asking us, her momma friends, what the necessary things she should buy now that she’s just a couple of months away from the big day.

I still remember my shopping list when we were preparing for my son’s arrival. It also was just our first baby so I was clueless back then.

So I told my friend that she should have a must-have and a nice-to-have shopping list. I didn’t just copied what I had on mine before, but I also listed down the items that I wished I had bought after the baby was born.

MUST-HAVE:

  1. Swaddle Blanket
    A lot of it especially if they were to stay at the hospital for so long. But I advised her against buying so much. Maybe having 2 or 3 original swaddles for themselves to own is good enough, and just ask for more used items from families and friends. You could also have one that would serve as a bath towel
  2. Cloth Diaper
    This can be bought in bulk, and it’s okay to have as much as we could, because they could serve both as nappies and as towels for the baby. Although they could ask friends they gave them some of these, I think it’s safer to stick to brand new.
  3. Reusable Diaper
    I only bought like 3 pairs of this, because I usually just use disposable ones. The ones I had I only used as back-up to times when we’ve used up our stash. Call me lazy, but the reason behind not pursuing this reusable was my lack of patience removing stains on the cloth. I find myself unproductive spending so much time on this while looking out for a newborn at that time. But the cloth here I also use sometimes as sponge in bathing the little one. And the cover up can also serve as cute undies or pants on hot days.
  4. Disposable Diaper : Newborn
    It depends on the budget, but I’m a hoarder so back then, I would buy packs of 30’s every payday. Sometimes I wouldn’t just buy the Newborn size, but I would throw in big sizes as well. Though it’s not good for the environment, this is something that I love to stash up on times when we have extra money, because they don’t expire.
  5. Baby Bath Soap
    Also one thing that’s easy to stack up with. My advise is to just buy one thing that could also serve as shampoo. Don’t buy shampoos yet, especially if you’re not sure if baby’s gonna have a lot of hair.
  6. Baby Oils
    A must-must-must-have! Manzanilla de Aciete for gas in the tummy, and Alcamporado which we could use instead of Vicks Vaporub. If you could splurge on something, buy coconut oil and aloe vera extracts, very good for any skin rash or bites.
  7. Set of good baby clothes
    My advice, the same as the swaddle blanket, just buy a few that you could have and use for going home from the hospital, and just ask for more used clothes from friends. No need to splurge that much here, especially if you’re not someone who would always outside a lot. Long and short sleeved, and sleeveless are a must for tops as you would be using it daily at home. Onesies and tights are some items that you would want to wait for your child before you buy because they grow up fast.
  8. Baby bottles
    If you must buy the smallest bottle, make sure that it has a cap lock so when you need to use it as breastmilk storage bottles. These ones they would be using maybe until 3-4 months, after that you would want to upgrade to bigger bottles. So my advice is just buy bigger ones. Also, like in my case, I only bought these as back up in case I’d have problem breastfeeding. So maybe wait for the baby and his/her preference before buying so much
  9. Adult Diapers/Extra Newborn Diapers/Maternity Pads
    This is something that I forgot to buy before, though the hospital provided some adult diapers. I don’t prefer these though because they are uncomfortably huge. Buy as many as you could, so that you’ve got one less thing to worry about. Plus you could always use it on your heavy flow days if it was too much.
  10. Alcohol, baby wipes, tiny earbuds and a lot of cotton balls.
    I didn’t buy so much baby wipes before because I prefer just dipping cotton balls into water to clean up my baby’s bum. This is safer and much more cheaper. I would use wipes only when we go out for doctor’s appointments.

Nice-to-Have

  1. Breastfeeding pillow
    I would have been inloved with it if I had one before, as my son’s so heavy and he’s direct latching so much on his first months. I wouldn’t also mind having one still (I still don’t have one. Haha).
  2. Breastfeeding Cover
    This is something you could use for so many reasons, even in the office when you have to pump, or in the car when you have to change your bra. But it’s a not really a must have as you could always just use and cover up, a shawl or even baby’s blanket if you have to breastfeed in public.
  3. Car Seat
    We didn’t bought one until we realized we will be going out at least once a month for baby’s regular check up and holding him in the car just doesn’t feel that safe when he’s so tiny and fragile. But this isn’t something worth splurging on, so you could just mostly have one by borrowing a friend’s or buying one at a garage sale.
  4. Stroller and Carrier
    My husband and I have a love/hate relationship with stroller whenever we go out. Sometimes, we’re thankful we brought it, and there were times when we just want to leave it anywhere because our son wouldn’t want to ride it. Maybe the best thing here is to have the baby accustomed to being in the stroller or the carrier so that they wouldn’t throw any tantrums whenever you had to use it.
  5. Breastpump
    Having this on this list is actually more of a preference. But honestly, buying one is the most greatest thing I’ve done as a working mother. It keeps me from breastfeeding my son on those first few months. But it’s something that has to be bought before the baby comes out. Remember that most of the times, it’s after the baby was born that the milk comes in.

This, though, is a personal list and I cannot reiterate more that I came up with this based on my experience, of what I did bought and the things I wish I had before. Something that I also regretted was not thinking about myself and my needs as I shop for baby’s stuffs. It’s also a big deal to us, mommies, after the delivery, and so we should prepare things that we need on the big day and after. I suggest piling up the cabinets with regular comfy clothes that would somehow make us feel better about ourselves, asking the husband to change the bed sheet, making sure that the skin care regimen products we use pre-pregnancy were bought and ready soon as we got home, and a lot of healthy snacks and feel-good food are within reach.

That’s it for this week’s Thrift Shop! Next week, come back and read about items that mommies need after giving birth.

sign-20170112Writing in buns,