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    Should We Have Another Baby?

    Since I can remember, I always wanted multiple children. Having one never seemed enough. My daughter is 18 months old. Lately, I've been asking myself [and my husband], "When should we have another baby?" Both of us are stumped. We want more kids, but when is the "right time?" I know, I know, there's no such thing. 

    I want to be pregnant, but I haven't lost all the baby weight from last time. I want my daughter to have a sibling, but I don't want her to think I love her less. I want another newborn, but I don't want to be sleep deprived. I want another child, but we haven't bought a house yet. If we wait too long, they'll be too far apart in age. If we get pregnant now, they may be too close in age--It's an ongoing battle in my head.

    Then I question everything, as a mother does: Is my body physically ready to give birth again? Is my mental state ready for the anxiety that you feel during pregnancy? Am I emotionally ready to give my heart to another little human? Do I even have anymore love to give? What if this time something goes wrong? Or what if I can't handle two kids at once? 

    I think when my head and my heart are on the same page, I'll know what to do. For now, I'm going to love on my little girl while she is my only little girl.

    -Kristin, owner + creator of Free the Mother

    When did YOU know it was the right time to have another baby? Let me know in the comments. 

     

    Who Takes Care of Mom?

    The day my daughter was born, I let myself go. I know that sounds dramatic, but it's true. The second my doctor put my 8 pound baby on my chest, I unconsciously told myself I now come second. I won't eat until my daughter's food is ready. I won't shower until she's been bathed first. I won't work unless she's napping (I'm only able to write this because she finally went down for her second nap, praise Jesus). 

    Everything I do is for her. Everything I do NOT do is for her. I'm basically a slave to a one year old. And I'm totally cool with it, because I love her more than anything on the planet...here comes the big BUT...Who takes care of me? Who will put ME first?

    If you're a mom, I'm sure you've asked yourself that question before. Want to know the answer? YOU! You have to put yourself first. Have you ever asked your children, "Is it okay if mommy goes to the movies without you?" Of course you haven't, because you probably won't like the answer. We can't expect alone time to come to us, we have to MAKE the time. If you don't, you'll start to lose yourself. I know I did. I started to forget the old me. Who even was I? I started to believe my name was Mama, not Kristin. Man, I missed that girl. She was a cool chick.

    Remember when your baby was first born, and you forgot what the inside of a shower looked like? I'm kidding, kind of. Those first few weeks are brutal. Your hair is a mop. You have week old stains on your sweatpants. God only knows when the last time you shaved your legs was. If you got to sleep for more than 45 minutes it felt like winning the lottery. Now that your baby is sleeping through the night, and you pretty much have a routine down, why not spend some time focusing on yourself?

    Oh right, mom guilt. Mom guilt can suck it. Me and her are not friends. Don't let her get to you! She is not real! She doesn't have your best interest at heart. That's your responsibility. Want to have a "me" day? Let me tell you how.

    As the poetic Shia LaBeouf would say, "JUST DO IT!"

    Okay but for real, here's what you do:

    1. Get someone to watch your children.

    This is the hardest part, especially if you don't have family around. But a "me" day is about YOU, so if possible, get your spouse or partner to stay with the kids. They don't need to tag along.

    2. Relax.

    If you don't, you won't enjoy yourself. The baby is fine. Your kids are fine. This is your time to focus on YOU.

    3. Figure out what to do.

    Get a massage, get your nails done, get a tattoo, whatever floats your boat. The last "me day" I had, I got a pedicure and two new piercings. (Mom-life crisis, anyone?)

    If you don't want to spend money, you can do your own nails at home, do a face mask, take a bubble bath, read that book that's been sitting on your shelf, or even take a glorious nap. 

    Whatever you do, treat yourself with kindness and grace, because you deserve it!

    Comment on this blog post and tell me what plans you have for your next "me day!"

    -Kristin, owner + creator of Free the Mother

    xoxo

    Fourth Trimester

    Honestly, motherhood is hard as hell. It’s ram your head through a wall hard. It’s cry your eyes out at two in the morning hard. It’s wanting to scream at the top of your lungs 23 hours of the day (the other one hour you’ll be asleep…maybe) hard. It is not what I expected AT ALL

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    Most moms only tell you the good and magical things about being a mom. They don’t tell you about how postpartum bleeding lasts weeks after birth and your bathroom will look like a scene from Carrie, how it’s going to feel like your butt hole is going to rip into a million pieces the first time you poop (no really, that was scary shit. no pun intended). Or how you’ll have to squirt a bottle of water on yourself after you pee instead of wiping. Oh and hemorrhoids. Yup.
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    They don’t tell you that your body doesn’t just go back to what it was after you give birth (if you left the hospital in the jeans you wore pre pregnancy, I loathe you. jkjk…or am I?). They don’t tell you that peeing your pants every time you laugh, sneeze or move is normal now. They don’t tell you that you sometimes won’t even want to get out of bed because you’re scared of what the day might have in store for you. They don’t tell you that you won’t know what to do with your baby when you get home, how to calm them down, how to read what they want. They don’t tell you that you’ll probably have zero sex drive or any desire to even kiss your partner for weeks, you might even feel like you HATE them. They don’t tell you how much you’ll be googling “when does a newborn sleep through the night” and “why won’t my newborn stop crying”, no joke I must have googled this about 27 times and read the same articles over and over. Talking about poop color is now the norm and you might as well go save a poop color chart into your phone now.

    No mother wants to admit that when they first meet their baby, they don’t feel all mushy and warm inside like you’re supposed to. I had pictured us meeting to be magical but after pushing a watermelon sized human being out of your vagina it’s hard to be all sunshine and rainbows at first. It’s overwhelming for sure. And yeah, sometimes I even resented her a little for using me as a human pacifier! I remember one night just sitting up in bed crying hysterical while I was nursing her asking myself “WHY am I doing this???”, “WHY did I want this???” but of course those feelings start to fade and you realize it’s all worth it. You’ll question yourself, you’ll doubt yourself, you’ll even ask yourself if your baby is broken because they cry so much. But it’s beautiful in all its craziness.
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    Postpartum anxiety aka baby blues is SO real. Taking care of a tiny helpless human is actually pretty damn scary. You’ll worry about everything and anything. You’re afraid to fall asleep, you’re afraid to put them down to go to the bathroom or take a shower, you’ll constantly check if their chest is moving up and down while they’re sleeping. You’ll most likely feel like you have a lump in your throat 24/7. THIS IS NORMAL. Not only did your body go through a massive life change, so did your mind! Hormones are flying around like crazy, you’ll be crying one second and happy the next. It’s basically like having your period, but a thousand times worse. If you’re having trouble coping and your anxiety leads to depression, get help from your doctor, partner and loved ones. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – this does NOT make you a bad mom.

    You will constantly ask yourself, “why does she cry when I put her down?”, “why does she only sleep on my chest?”. For the first three months of your baby’s life, it can help to think of her like a fetus outside of the womb. I wish I had known this while I was pregnant so I could really understand WHY Rori was always crying and upset, it’s so hard to forget that every single thing for them is new. YOU are their entire world. They’ve been in your belly for the past nine months, the safe sounds of your heartbeat and the tightness and warmth of the womb is all they ever knew.UntitledNow just imagine yourself going back to womb from world…I wouldn’t be happy either! This is why I’m constantly promoting baby wearing and swaddling. It mimics the womb so baby is the most comfortable they can be and you can regain some sanity! White noise is a lifesaver even now and Rori is four months old. I’m not going to say it gets easier after the fourth trimester, but it definitely gets better. You’ll find yourself again, you’ll love your partner again, your body will go back to normal. This chapter seems endless and all babies are difficult, but one day your crazy ass will want another one! That’s motherhood. giphy (1).gif

    It takes a village.

    **I don’t want to scare anyone into having a baby, because it is a beautiful journey. I wrote this blog to educate new moms or soon to be moms on things that no one tells you about postpartum/fourth trimester!

     

    -Shannen Fusco, @raising.rori

    Check out Shannen's blog, www.lifeofafusco.com 

    A Mirror of My Selfishness

    Before having kids, I wasn’t what you’d typically call a “party girl”, in the sense that you wouldn’t always find me out on a Friday or Saturday night. I’m quite the opposite really, a homebody by choice and definitely introverted. So, when it came to having kids I assumed I’d be pretty damn good at selflessly caring for their needs before my own. I wasn’t afraid of not being able to hangout with the girls or get dressed up for clubbing. To my surprise I am actually really, really, really, really selfish. That sounds really bad, but I honestly love my kids more than anything. They are my whole world and they truly make me the happiest…they are my greatest accomplishment!

    The harsh reality is that as their primary caregiver I’m responsible for their every tiny need, mind you, those needs are sometimes quite smelly and sometimes insanely cute! I take the responsibility of motherhood extremely seriously because these tiny humans are the future, I want them to experience a joyful childhood and remember a caring Mother. But yeah, sometimes I really do wish I could take a 30-minute shower like I use to, or eat my dinner without sharing, or even just write blog posts like this without my adorable toddler screaming at me because he wants my attention.

    Here’s to taking an hour to get ready, here’s to doing nothing on a Sunday, here’s to sleeping in, here’s to clean clothes without stains, here’s to working out alone, here’s to blasting my sometimes-inappropriate music in the car, here’s to the selfish person that I didn’t even know I was. Cheers! In light of all this, I still don’t feel like I’ve “lost” anything, maybe a bit of my independence and definitely some of my sanity, but I’ve just gained WAY more. I’ve gained two amazing babies who I am insanely proud of and obsessed with and I’ve gained a new sense of what it is to truly love selflessly.

    Being a Mother is one of the toughest jobs on the planet, it can be mentally and physically exhausting. But we are freaking superheroes! We’ve mastered the skill of multitasking, we carry babies in our bodies for 9 months, in our arms for years and in our hearts forever, and we still manage to look bomb while do it! So, if your missing your pre-baby life, just know your not alone and you don’t need to beat yourself up about it. Feel the feeling and look around you, you are blessed Mama.

    xx

    -Michelle Carrozza, @michellemybelle.c

    How Babies Can Affect Your Marriage [Part 1]

    Photography by Lindsey Tuscany

    I am not a marriage expert. I am not a baby expert. However, I am a wife and first time mom. 

    I have been a wife for almost three years, and together we have an 11 month old daughter. Putting those two things together has been the greatest blessing of my life. However, it has not been easy.

    Before having a baby, my husband and I had an amazing relationship. I don't want to say perfect, because I don't think any marriage or relationship is perfect. However, we were pretty damn close to perfection. And we still are! But...things are different now.

    We used to do whatever we wanted, when we wanted. If we wanted to go out and try a new restaurant, we did. If we wanted to go see a late-night movie, we did. Now, we have a bedtime to think about. We have a tiny human's well being to think about.

    Date Nights

    In the past 11 months, we have only had three date nights. My family lives 300 miles south of us, and his family lives 600 miles south of us. So, you can see where the issue lies. I do have a cousin who lives within 10 miles of us which has been amazing. But I try not to constantly bother him with babysitting gigs, even though I'm sure he doesn't mind. Yesterday we asked him to babysit, and we went out to dinner [without the baby]. It felt nice to connect with each other just like we did before we became parents. If you are wondering if we physically connected...We were in bed by 10pm. And by bed I mean asleep. Which leads me to my next point...

    Sleep Deprivation

    On top of not having the ability to go out whenever we want, sleep deprivation has been a HUGE factor in how having a baby has affected our marriage. Our daughter is breastfed, so for about 7-8 months, I was the main parent who had to get up 2-3 times in the middle of the night to feed her. My husband would help out when he had days off, but he is a police officer, so he needs to be well rested during his 12-hour shifts. Even though I insisted on getting up to feed our baby most of the time, I couldn't help but resent him. Just a little. [You would too if you were dead tired, with a baby attached to your boob, looking over and seeing your husband sleeping peacefully]. Ever heard the expression, "I don't want to sleep like a baby, I want to sleep like my husband?" No truer words have been spoken. 

    T sleeps through the night now [for the most part], but we are no less tired. This little ball of energy keeps us on our toes. Quite frankly, I am still recovering from the many months of sleep loss. No amount of coffee can make me feel wide awake.

    Part 2 coming soon. Thanks for reading!

    -Kristin, owner + creator of Free the Mother