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    To the Mom Who Refuses Help: Stop It

    To the Mom Who Refuses Help: Stop It

    For my entire life, I HATED asking for help. I used to think asking for help was a sign of weakness. I always told myself I never needed anyone for anything. I wanted people to think I knew how to do everything.

    In school, when my teachers would ask "does anyone have any questions," I wanted to raise my hand so bad and say "ME!" But I never did. Why? Maybe I didn't want to seem "dumb" or "helpless." Maybe I didn't want to be a burden to anyone. Perhaps that stems from being a child in a broken home. I should ask my therapist. Oh wait, I don't have one. Because I never thought I needed it.

    Whatever the case was, I would ask myself: Am I physically able? Sure. Am I mentally able...perhaps. But these are not the questions I needed to ask myself. The question is do I HAVE to do this without help?

    I took this stubbornness with me into motherhood. My daughter was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. Needless to say, she was a pretty big deal. The second she was born, our family swarmed us with love and offered to help in anyway they could. Did I take it? Not really. Besides me being a super protective first time mom, I didn't think I needed help. I thought being overly exhausted and emotionally drained was all part of the deal. I was a new mom, I was supposed to feel like a zombie, right? Maybe, but perhaps it wouldn't have been as bad as it was if I had just let my mom babysit for two hours while I took a nap. But here is another problem...

    I have control issues. So much so that I couldn't even trust my loved ones enough to help me. The only person I let help is my husband and even then I couldn't help but stress a little bit. It's not him, it's me. Probably another issue I should discuss with a therapist...

    We've all heard the saying "it takes a village," right? That saying used to annoy me. Maybe I'm slightly bitter because 99% of my family lives 4+ hours away. Thankfully, my mother-in-law recently retired. So she has a lot more time to travel and visit. Which means help has become more available. Have I taken it...YES!

    If someone is offering to help you, don't overlook it. They are offering because they want to help. So take it, please. Do it for yourself. Your mental health. Do it for your children. Let them see you accept help. You would want them to ask for help, wouldn't you? Show them it is normal and apart of life. Show them it is necessary for growth. Trust me, they won't think you are "weak" or "less than" for letting a babysitter watch them for a few hours while you go out to dinner with your husband. So yes, it DOES take a village.

    Same goes for work + business. This shop means the world to me. It's like another part of my body, my soul. It's like another child. I am so protective over it, that since starting in 2018, I have been afraid to ask for help. About eight months ago, I started feeling overwhelmed. I started thinking about hiring an assistant. Someone to help me package orders, or someone to help with customer service. But the fear of having someone come in and mess something up terrified me. So I kept telling myself I didn't need anyone. I got this far without help, why start now? Well let me tell you why...

    Without help, this is as far as you're going to get. Think about it. Does Beyoncé write, produce, record her own music and watch her kids at the same time? No, she has a team help her. Does Kylie Jenner run her businesses by herself? Hell no, that girl has an endless sea of people helping her. What I'm trying to say is, YOU can only do so much. There are only 24 hours in a day. If you want your business to continue growing, ask for help. Hire an assistant. Almost two years into this business, I finally hired some help and it's been one the best decisions I've ever made.

    It feels like there is more oxygen in the air. I don't have 100% of the weight on my shoulders. Letting go of control a little bit means I get to spend more time with my growing family. Kids are only little for a short period of time. I don't want to miss out on those special moments. Unfortunately, we can't get them back.

    Same goes for your relationship with your partner. Letting people help care for my daughter once in a while means more alone time with my husband. Which is beneficial for our marriage, as well as our daughter. So if the opportunity to have a date night comes around, TAKE IT GIRL. 

    Bottom line is, we all need help. I have come to the conclusion that I need to accept help when offered. Life doesn't have to be so hard. And hey, maybe if you raise your hand, you'll end up learning a thing or two.

    I don't care who you are, or what you THINK you can handle, you need help. And I say that in the most loving way.

    If Wonder Woman can ask for help, so can you my friend.

    As for seeing a therapist, that is on my 2020 goal list. Stay tuned.

    -Kristin Blyth, owner + creator of Free the Mother

    Why Your Second Pregnancy Is Different Than Your First

    Why Your Second Pregnancy Is Different Than Your First

    *Before we get started, let me apologize now for any misspelled words, grammar mistakes and unfinished thoughts. Pregnancy brain is in full swing. I wake up every day thinking its Monday*

    Once I knew I was ready to have another baby, I couldn't WAIT to be pregnant again. I wanted the bump. I wanted to feel the kicks. But more importantly, I wanted another child to love. Now that I am 22 weeks pregnant with baby #2, here's the scoop on what it's really like...

     

    IT'S NOTHING LIKE YOUR FIRST PREGNANCY

    Everything was a surprise the first time. Everything you experienced and felt was new. More importantly, you had NO idea what was to come...Ignorance is indeed bliss. 

    My first pregnancy was pretty easy going. I had your typical symptoms, cravings, mood swings, round ligament pain, decreased sex drive, etc. However, my skin was AMAZING. This time around, it's a nightmare. No amount of skin care products can fix this mess.

    Is it just me, or are you in more pain during your second pregnancy? Cause damn, my pelvis HURTS. Yes, it hurt the first time too. But I felt pain much earlier on this time around. My doctor said it is because our ligaments are already stretched out, so we feel things much earlier this time than with the first. So that's cool...

     

    YOU SOMETIMES FORGET YOU'RE PREGNANT

    Why? Because this time, you are chasing another child around. In my case, I have a two year old. She is constantly on the move. I'm so busy taking care of her, that sometimes I forget I'm pregnant till I feel a kick or a sharp pain. At least it's a reminder that I should probably sit down for a bit...

    Also, what's a bump date? Bumpies (aka selfies of your bump) are less frequent this time around. See above paragraph about wild toddler for details. 

     

    YOU ARE MORE EMOTIONAL THAN EVER BEFORE

    I tear up every. single. time. someone mentions my daughter no longer being an only child. The fact that we only have 120 days left of it being just her and I, it makes every second with her that much more special. 

    I worry she will be jealous, or angry at us for having another baby. I don't want her to think I love her less now that we are taking care of a child other than her. The thought of it tears me up inside. I want her to always know how much I love her, and how special she is. She is the one that made me a mother after all...okay let me stop before my keyboard short circuits from my tears.

     

    FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN

    What's it like being a mom of two? Asking for a friend...just kidding, I'm asking for me. 

    I have NO idea what it will be like having two little ones running around. I'm afraid I won't be able to handle it. I'm afraid of losing the little bit of sanity I have left. Will I ever sleep again? Will I be able to breastfeed like last time, or will I face challenges? Will labor be worse than last time? Will the delivery go smoothly? Will I end up with PPD? 

     

    At the end of the day, who knows if this will be the last pregnancy I ever experience. If so, I am soaking up every second of it, good and bad. And I am beyond grateful I get to bring another beautiful baby into the world. 

    To those that are currently pregnant, I wish you a smooth 9 months and and even smoother labor and delivery!

     

    -Kristin Blyth, owner + creator of Free the Mother®

    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

    A Mother's Worst Fear

    My baby has been waking up a lot in the middle of the night. Not sure if it is from teething, or if the seven month sleep regression turned into the eight month sleep regression. Either way, this mama is tired. 

    It was around midnight and it was the second time that night she woke up crying. So I picked her up from her crib and put her in bed with my husband and I so I can nurse her back to sleep.

    Around 3:30 in the morning, I heard something hit the floor, followed by crying. I never jumped out of bed that fast in my entire life. I turned on the light and I see my eight month old daughter lying on the floor screaming. I immediately started bawling. I couldn't believe I let her roll off the bed. 

    My husband and I held her, rocked her, and told her everything was going to be okay. After maybe two minutes of crying, she stopped. She started smiling and giggling. It was like she forgot anything had happened. We checked her entire body to see if she had bruises, scrapes, or bumps. There was nothing. I couldn't believe it. 

    Soon after that, she went back to sleep. I, however, couldn't sleep. I was up researching signs of concussion and head trauma. I kept thinking if we should take her to the ER, but my husband didn't think it was necessary, plus she seemed completely untouched. Regardless, I felt like a failure.

    The next day, I was on and off crying. I felt like I damaged her. The mom guilt was hanging over me like a dark rain cloud. I checked her entire body again to make sure nothing came up. Still nothing. She was perfect. Why did I have a hard time believing that nothing was wrong? I think the fact that we have carpet and had some clothes on the floor was our saving grace. 

    That night, during her bedtime routine, my husband and I were talking to her. I pointed to him and asked our daughter, "who is that?" And she said, "da da." When he pointed to me and asked her, "who is that?" She said, "ma ma." That was the first time she had ever distinguished the two of us as mama and dada. It was one of the most incredible moments of my life.

    In that moment, I knew she was perfectly fine. I told myself to let the mom guilt go. Easier said than done though, but I need to stop beating myself up for every little thing that happens. This won't be the last time she gets hurt, even if I hate to admit that. This is all just apart of motherhood.

    -Kristin, Owner/Creator of Free the Mother