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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

    Should We Have Another Baby?

    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

    First Month of Motherhood: My Experience

    Today is a special day. As I sit holding my newborn in my arms I reflect on this motherhood journey and the ups and downs of my first month postpartum. I am a first time momma and I can’t believe it’s been one month today that I brought a beautiful baby girl into this world.

    Each morning I stare at her soft perfect skin and think to myself that she’s a blank canvas full of potential and endless possibilities- so pure and so new. The world is her oyster. I daydream about all the beauty we will show her and all the adventures we will go on as she grows yet on the other hand I want to stop time and keep her in my arms protecting her from any pain and discomfort. The feelings of happiness, fear and joy were so intense that I cried daily. I was overwhelmed by my emotions the first two weeks after giving birth.

    The postpartum journey is bittersweet as I am so in awe of this little human my husband and I have created yet my body and hormones were wreaking havoc on me as well . This can make it hard to the sweet fleeting moments with your newborn and the emotional roller coaster that mothers talk about is real. My body ached, I was sleep deprived, I was bleeding and had a new found appreciation for mesh undies. I was adjusting to my new body that’s now showcasing a squishy belly. I was introduced to horrid hemorrhoids and learning to breast feed and get a good latch was not an easy task in the beginning. It also didn’t help that I was sensitive to anything anyone told me. The first two weeks postpartum I also felt an odd emptiness, a sadness that I could no longer protect my baby in my belly and feel her daily kicks and the anticipation of her birth which seems silly but it’s how I felt at that moment in time. 

    The Postpartum period and the baby blues brings the unexpected. I read so many books and blogs before giving birth but nothing prepares you for those first few weeks except love, support and encouraging words  from family and friends. I realized my baby and I had to learn about each other. I needed to learn her crying cues and I had adjust to my new role as a momma while my body healed and hormones leveled out. I was fortunate enough to have my mom stay with me the first two weeks and having that support was essential. I recommend that all new mothers put together a support system for the first couple weeks as you heal and find your new way of life as a momma.

    The saying it takes a village brings own a whole new meaning to me now. My dear mother gave me good advice during her stay when I was feeling overwhelmed and said, "honey your job right now is to love and nurture your baby and yourself, nothing else." Once I processed those words of wisdom a weight lifted off my shoulders and I realized that was all that mattered and the cleaning, cooking, unfinished projects and emails could wait. 

    Today one month postpartum I feel strong and accomplished as a new momma, not every day is perfect I still struggle but love and nurturing my baby is a true gift and each day I learn new things about my baby girl and myself. Cheers to all the new mothers out there. Stay strong and confident in your instincts and may you find strength in yourself and all those around you during this postpartum transition and the sweet journey of motherhood.

     

    -Christine Rapley, @c.rara22

    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