Thursday, July 2, 2015

What I wish I'd known ... (round III)

... just a couple more posts-o-wisdom and then you're stuck with boring old Grace again. Not unlike when you had a cool, fun substitute and then your regular teacher came back to class. The worst. 

But, in the mean time! ENJOY .... 

Blythe from The Fike Life

 I wish I'd known that it was all going to be fine. Even at the start of this last pregnancy (number 6), I found myself so anxious for how life could ever possibly continue beyond the birth of this baby. I can barely handle going to the grocery store now, how am I supposed to do it with another baby? I can't possibly take them all to the doctors or to a dentist appointment. How will we survive!?! My workload felt maxed out. Another baby seemed impossible. 

And then he came. And as I'm laying here with this 8 day old on my chest, I'm realizing that the answer isn't "it will be easy" or "it will be perfect"- because it isn't. It isn't easy and it's not perfect. The answer is "it will be fine" and the reason why it will be fine is simply because you just won't care about all those things anymore. I have no idea how we are supposed to "do" life when my husband goes back to work on Monday. But I know that I don't care. I imagine never, ever being able to shop again with all the kids and I just don't care. Can't get all the laundry done? I don't care. Eating from the freezer aisle for the next 6 years? I don't care!! Suddenly everything else feels so silly. All my worries, all that fretting. I have this baby now and he's so much bigger and better than anything I might miss out on because he's here.

Nell from Whole Parenting Family

I wish I had known before I had my first baby five years ago that it is not all about me.

You see, I was a studious first-time mom. I read all about my birth and my recovery and my nursing and on and on. I was preparing for the addition to my life! My husband and I felt didactic about our birth plan, our nursing goals, our nursery decor (which was actually just themed "nursery" with lots of hand-me-down furnishings). The baby won't sleep right away, people said. You'll have to get into your regularly scheduled date nights, people said. You'll get the hang of it and be back to normal, they said.

Three kids later, life has foisted upon me the learned-through-experiential knowledge that having kids is not about me and what I expected or planned for. It's about them. It's about waking up when they scream unrelentingly, feeding them how and what they'll willingly digest, and coping with their extreme learning curve regarding the meaning of the word "no." There is no getting back to normal. Normal high-tailed it five years ago, ne'er to be heard from again. Embrace the new norm, carve out escape routes periodically with a babysitter while you slug chocolate, preferably hot in a coffee shop, and let go of any idea that this life is about you anymore. You are entangled with them. And that's okay.

Sheena from Bean in Love:

I wish I'd known before I had kids that they are so incredibly awesome!  Hilarious, cute, and so special to me that I would lay down my life for each and every one of them.
But also…
That coming in contact with the bodily fluids of another person (or 3) really isn’t that big of a deal.  It’s how fast you can clean it up before the releaser or someone else spreads it around that really matters.  Damage control takes on a whole new meaning. 
That, those bodily fluids?  They’re not name-brand discriminatory in where they choose to fall.  Thrifted or high-style, it’s all fair game.  Save the expensive stuff for retirement. 
That the truth doesn’t hurt quite as much when it comes from a toddler, it’s just more embarrassing than anything.  “Mommy, that lady looks scary!!”…as said, normal-looking lady passes by within arms reach.  I don’t even know this kid.  Sosososo sorry.
That rest is for the weary.  Wait, no, it’s rest is for those without kids.  At least I think that’s how it goes.  You’ll have to excuse me.  I’m running on five seconds of sleeee…zzz
That, instead of dancing it up in da club during those raging college days, I should’ve spent all that extra time researching and inventing extra arms because Lord knows those would come in handy every moment of everymotherhoodday.  That and bi-location.

That the Nose Frida is uh-mazing!  If I’d have known about the contraption prior to kids, I’d have made Anthony (my babies daddy) use it on me because it does snot suck.  Ditch the bulb syringes for one and I promise, you’ll love it forever…and I also promise it’s not as gross as it looks…or maybe desperation has blinded me but either way, it sucks.  Literally.
That even the ugliest article of clothing is cute in miniature.  And I might be biased but, it’s even cuter than that when there are two of the same.

That that thing we call l-o-v-e is deep.  I knew it was a big thing but I didn’t know it was a BIG thing.  If you think you’ve reached the fathomable depths of your pool of love when you met your better half, think again.  Your mini-me’s will demolish those depths.  I didn’t know the truth in this until I laid eyes on my slimy newborn; fresh from the womb.  And then I knew it even more so after the tortuous pain of the first breastfeeding sesh, when I realized I still loved them.    
Oh, and that being photogenic really has nothing to do with how perfectly your mouth curves up at the ends, how many whitestrips you’ve used, or how marvelous your hair always looks.  It’s all about how many kids you have.  The more kids, the less photogenic. 

But they’re worth it.  Really and truly.
.           .           .
Many thanks to Grace for letting me pitch my tent over here today!  I know I’m not alone in being all excited and up in her social media business, dying to see more stills of her FIVE! amazing kids and hearing about their rip-roaring adventures.  :)

Indiana Adams from Mom Jeans and Dad Jokes

Hi, Camp Patton lovers! I'm Indiana Adams. Yes, the same Indiana Adams who once had a baby in the toilet. Gee whiz, that was one time, and it hasn't happened since, okay? 

Whew. Glad that's out of the way at the top! 

Grace, in her infinite wisdom (or foggy pre-pregnancy brain-- who knows!) asked me to tell y'all some thing that I wish I had known before I was a mom. So here are three big ones:
You may renege on a lot of your "I would nevers". 
Things I said I would never do once I became a mom:
A. Wear yoga pants in public on days that I'm not exercising. 
B. Give my child a pacifier. 
C. Drive a mini-van. 

Please note: I do A and B every dang day, and the only reason why I don't do C is because my mini-van envy has not yet reached critical mass (meaning my current car is paid off and as much as I want a minivan, I don't want to budget the monthly payments for one). I'm about to break, though!

Had I known that I'd be backtracking on some of my "I would nevers", maybe I would have just kept my smug pre-kid mouth shut while my mom friends were giving each other knowing looks. 

We're all just winging it, really. 
I read a lot of books on how to get through pregnancy, birth, nursing, and toddlerhood, and I read an insane amount of websites and follow an absurd amount of mommy bloggers. I'm raising three children, but day by day, despite how "prepared" I am, nothing prepares me for motherhood's moment to moment adventures. For instance: if you've found that your four year old has made scrambled eggs by himself before anyone was awake, do you high five him or give him a negative consequence? What do you do if your armpit starts lactating? Do you let your two year old daughter wear a winter hat to the store when it's 80 degrees outside? 

Every mother is different. 
May I suggest making friends with as many different moms who are different than you as you can? I couldn't be more different than one of my dearest friends Sully (who I met thanks to Camp Patton! Holla!), but we're learning a lot from each other and I love it. I've learned that mothers (and women, in general) can't be pigeonholed or stereotyped and we should certainly stop that thing we do where we compare ourselves to other mothers, denouncing their choices or not feeling up to par with theirs. No one's life is as pristine as it looks on Instagram on their blog. My yogurt stained yoga pants have a totally different story to tell than your yogurt stained yoga pants. I'd love to know how your pants got so stained, and I'd love to tell you how mine got so mucked up, too. I think the analogy is breaking down here a little bit, but I think you get what I'm saying. 

Rachael from Erstwhile Dear:

I wish I would have known that my partner had plenty of time to prove himself as a new parent. It didn't matter how he responded to my baby registry list (overwhelmed), or how walking around Babies R Us made him feel (panic attack overwhelmed). That had as much to do with his identity as a parent of a human being as my glucose test results...i.e. nothing. Confidence as a parent grows like a wall of ivy. Glance over one day and it's rooted in everything.

Chaunie from Tiny Blue Line:

I wish someone would have told me to chill the heck out. I set out on the motherhood path with these super high standards in my head—my kids will never watch TV during the day, we need to do something crafty every week, kids need to play outside every day, I need to buy organic all the time, schedules are good for everyone, blah, blah, blah. And for the most part, those things are good.

But on the day that I took my first daughter to kindergarten and came home, I walked into my kitchen, looked at my remaining little ones at home and promptly burst into tears. Because it suddenly hit me how none of it really mattered. Seriously. I had stressed myself out so much trying to do everything "right" that I felt like I lost out on a lot of opportunities to just enjoy my kids. They honestly won't remember the perfect craft or somehow turn out better if you never skip naptime. Those first years they really don't need a lot of fanciness and if you asked my 7-year-old about all of those elaborate imaginary games I forced myself to play with her or the failed crafts we attempted, she would just give you a blank stare.

It hit me that day that she was gone from me how backwards I had it. I was so focused on doing everything "the right way" that I really wasn't enjoying my kids. So starting then, I changed my tune, brewed another pot of coffee, pulled out some blankets, and snuggled with my kids on the couch while we watched a movie without a single trace of guilt in my soul. And for the first time? Finally felt like I was doing something right.

Kilee from One Little Momma

Three Things I Wish I Knew Before Motherhood

1. The art of not washing my hair every day. 
Oh, how I wish I had given this theory a shot earlier in life. Only in the last six months have I stopped washing my hair every day and let me tell you, it is SUCH a game changer. I had long hair until after I had my first baby and boy, did I love clean hair. I cut my hair into a bob three years ago and even with short hair, I hated not washing my hair. But I also hated the time it took every day to wash and dry and often straighten my hair. So many hours of my life wasted! By not washing my hair everyday now, I not only like how my hair styles better, but I get an extra 30 minutes back in my life on most days. And as a mom of three- 30 minutes is gold!

2. Your third child will be your easiest and your hardest. 
I think a lot of people will tell you this, but I didn't know why until I had my third. Transitioning to three kids was a big adjustment- a hard one. Three is just a lot of little people to keep track of and keep moving and keep alive. But once you get slightly adjusted to the fact that there are three, life is great! Baby number three is when you get to start to use all of that knowledge you have accumulated from the first two. For the lifespan of the first two kids, you've been working your way through parenting school. You've figured out feeding and sleeping and napping and not to say there won't be differences, but baby number three is when I felt like I had earned my parenting degree and could finally put it to use. You've been exposed to it all and the needs of a newborn or a three month old or a 10 month old don't phase you. And of course there is continuing education- you are always learning as a parent. But I'm glad we didn't stop at two. I'm glad we went for three (and now four) because parenting is extra awesome on the days when you feel like you've got the hang of it. 

3. Motherhood will make you a better version of yourself. 
Before I had Easton, our first child, I was accepted to Master's degree program at the University of Washington for dietetics. I wasn't planning on getting pregnant and it definitely altered my plans. I decided to forgo the program because I had planned on being a stay at home mom and couldn't see a baby and a 3+ year program working well together. I felt really lost and struggled for months with what I was going to do with the rest of my life. I kind of felt like my life was over- which sounds terrible- but I couldn't see my old plans working out with my current situation. And thank goodness they didn't. 

It took time but when Easton was about four or five months old I decided I wanted to start an Etsy shop. I poured hours into learning new skills like photography and selling products online. I felt my confidence and my capabilities grow as I was not only learning how to take care of this baby, my husband and our house- but also to manage my time so that I could fit in extra hobbies. That Etsy business ended up growing into my blog and now into my husband and I being self-employed full time by our jewelry business. Looking back, I can't believe the changes that have happened in just six years. People always ask how I do it all with three kids and I always say it's because I have three kids. I am more driven, more productive, more organized and happier as a mom of three kids than I would be if it were just me. I can't imagine having all of my time to myself- I would waste so much! I mean it’s not like I don't daydream about it sometimes, but...
Being a mom has pushed me in every way to be a better version of myself. It definitely wasn't the end of my life when I got pregnant- but very much the beginning. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What I Wish I'd Known ...

... AND we're back! With more pearls of parenting wisdom answering the "What I'd wish I'd known before I had kids ... " prompt (hello, obvious post title) from some of the e-greats.


Amelia at The Homebook:

I wish I'd known how tender and wonderful and difficult the first few weeks of motherhood would be. I wish I had known that it's okay to love your baby, to be in complete and total awe of your new beautiful baby, and to also be slightly terrified of it. It's okay to ask the (lovely, well-meaning) visitors to leave so that you can hold your own newborn without feeling like you have to hand the child over to a guest, and so you can openly complain to your husband about how bad your bottom hurts without being impolite. It's okay to fall asleep and hold your baby at the same time. (Why was I so terrified of that?) You will be fine. You will find your groove. It's okay, it's okay, it's okay.

Ana at Time Flies When You're Having Babies:

Before having kids, I wish I had known how very unhelpful parental comparison is and that my successes as a mother should never be defined through trying to measure up to other moms. Way too often my big successes were another mom's failure. I would be rejoicing in only showing my girls one full length feature film for the day and another mom at a play date would be bemoaning the 15 minute video she caved and put on for her little ones, then I would go home from that play date feeling like an utter failure. So silly! So unnecessary! I am learning slowly not to look too hard at the way other moms do things, and to just be confident in the way we parent our children.

Kate Wicker: {and on insta!}

All my children want is me. They don't need anything fancy or highly orchestrated moments together. They don't need me to pretend to be like So-and-So's cool mom. Their biggest desire is focused attention from plain, old, nothing-I-ever-make-will-be-
worthy-of-Pinterest-me. Finally after wasting so much time suffering from chronic twinges of inadequacy, I have this little entourage who thinks I am enough.

Kate at The Rhodes Log:

My first baby cried a lot. Like a lot a lot. From two to eight weeks he was nursing, sleeping, or crying. I generally tried to paint a rosy postpartum picture for the world - even though I was an overwhelmed, overtired, oversized-T-shirt-with-milk-stains-on-it mess. I wish I'd known that it was important to open up to people about how hard a time I was having. I thought: Good mothers can make their babies stop crying. I wish someone could've corrected me and said: No, good mothers hold and walk and rock and soothe their babies, even though the babies won't stop crying.

Audrey at Putting Me Together:

I wish I'd known that not all nursing covers are the same!  The first cover I had was small and the "structured" neckline was flimsy so I couldn't see anything.  I had the hardest time nursing in public with it and thought I was just bad at nursing.  Finally I tried this nursing cover and could nurse anywhere with ease!  It's much bigger and the structured neckline is way better.  Two other new moms had the same problem, and when I told them about the bigger nursing cover it solved their problems too!

Shana at The Mom Edit:

What I wish I had known before I had kids:

That all of my super-helpful, loudly vocalized, pre-kid opinions on child rearing just made me sound like an idiot.  

That you get who you get who you get.  So if you end up with a non-sleeping baby who can't nurse and who then grows up into a toddler who won't eat...IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.  You get who you get who you get.  Get it?

And also?  That non-sleeping, non-eating baby/toddler will grow up into a really amazing, delightful kid who both eats and sleeps normally.

That "good sleep hygiene" is a made-up phrase, not a medical one.  

That most of the really difficult phases passed before I even finished all of those books I bought to cope.

That 99.9% of the power struggles with my kids could've been avoided if I had just changed my own behavior. 

That the second baby grows up so fast - they go right from newborn to toddler.  

That I learned more about unconditional love in the first few weeks with a new baby than I did in 15+ years of marriage.  And because of this understanding, all of my relationships - with my husband, my own parents, his parents, my friends - strengthened.

If you can only choose one thing, choose connection.  Everything else will work itself out.

(And that the best maternity jeans have a SIDE PANEL.  Like this.)

Kayla from Freckles in April:

Before I had kids I thought parenting was a more solid thing and there would be a script or something I could follow. I had no idea how much would involve me just making crap up as I went along.

Telling my kid he needs to eat 5 more bites of dinner before he will be excused? Totally arbitrary. Making them hug for 2 minutes because they were fighting? I came up with that .2 seconds before the words left my mouth. Trying to come up with an age-appropriate explanation for how their baby sister ended up in my tummy? I'm winging it.

When you're a kid it feels your parents are working with something universal and immutable but that's not the case. There is no script. There are no rules. We're all making this up as we go!

Rachel from Testosterhome:

The best way to mother is to be comfortable in your own skin. Know who you are and what makes you tick, operate out of your strengths instead of what you think a "Good Mother" should be.

I think you have to figure this out (took me a while) exactly what brings you peace as a mother. There will be a million articles on the importance of one way of operating or another and I've found, after 18 years in this motherhood gig, that if I operate out of love for my child, everything will fall into place. Want to be an attachment parent? Go for it! Want to sleep train your baby three months in? Sounds great. There is no "one way" to any of this, except to love. That's the only right answer.

I noticed myself feeling really stressed a few years ago because I was trying to operate in a way that didn't come naturally to me. I wanted a certain kind of behavior from my children (or so I thought) but my natural parenting style, and the makeup of our family (five boys who don't sit still) didn't lend itself to what I wanted my kids to do. So I had to take a step back, assess the situation and realize that what I was doing was admiring something I saw in other people that didn't necessarily bring good fruit in our home. I had to embrace who I was as a mom and who our family was as the Family Balducci.

There is so much freedom in loving who you are and in how you roll. Whether you homeschool or send your children out the door at three; whether you wear a baby on your back from dawn to dusk or train them to walk and wander. if you serve homemade organic applesauce or a to-go chicken nugget six-pack -- figure out what brings you peace and joy and just love them. Love those babies and everything else really will fall into place. 

(Grace again!)
and believe it or not ... I've got even more diamonds to come! Along with a tiny update on the never EVER ending Patton Floridian relocation. Stay TUNED. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Saturday Night Live-ish.

My old college roomie is in town visiting her family and let us impose on their pool time today resulting in the happiest Patton kidlets, skipped naps, and gloriously (gloriously!!!) early bedtimes for said happies. So! I thought I'd polish off this post I started during one of my insomnia-plagued nights in case you're in the mood for some mindless weekend clicking. Because heaven forbid I let yet another 1/4 finished novelita float off to a watery grave over in the "drafts" graveyard (RIP those 100+ that never saw the light of the net). Bosco is currently indulging in his longest stretch of sleep EVER and I'm sure gearing up for an inevitably rowdy night so while I should probably sleep while the baby does ... this old dog isn't up for trying new tricks. Stupidity it IS.

First though, thank you for all of your nursing bra recs. It sounds like this brand is the resounding winner but I'll keep you posted on my findings. Probably. Maybe.

Nothing makes my heart skip a beat quite like a new Bachelor/ette post from my favorite funny lady. I'm glad we're in agreement that Shawn is the best of all the rest.

Speaking of beats {best segue award goes TO: notgrace} I discovered this one playing during a car commercial and can't stop listening. Repeat. Listen again. And again.

In the past week, not one, not two, but THREE of my ladyfriends mentioned this new activewear (or in my case: lay around the house/couch wear) line. So, I bit. It's a fraction of Lululemon's price tag for the same (better?) quality .. or SO I HEAR. We'll see. We shall see. (We'll also see if I won the competition for most parenthetical statements in a short paragraph competition I entered earlier today. My guess is Sí, senorita.)

Finally! A summer bucket list I can get excited about. Thank goodness.

The reviews were mixed after I mentioned these diapers on the Facebook page but so far, I've been pleased. Although, Bosco's life is still young so there's still plenty of time to be sorely disappointed.

I'm hearting Amelia's series on cleaning because I can't get enough of her immaculate (but not obnoxiously so! a tough feat!) house on the gram. Let's see how well I execute my newly acquired knowledge in our new house .... let's just go ahead and SEE.

Okay, Bosco's awake and I need to sneak in a shower so I don't scare my fellow church goers in the morning. Busy, busy!! Joke, joke.

F-f-f-f-f-ine. One photo.

But, that's it.

For now.

Friday, June 19, 2015

what I wish I'd known

While we wrestle with the last few days of apartment living, get acquainted with Bosco, make our way down to Florida next week, and I hopefully get the birth story pounded out I have some super sweet e-treats for all of you. I asked some of my favorite internet females to answer this super original prompt: What I wish I'd known before I had kids ... and their answers were all so great, so funny, and so touching. If you don't already follow them on all trillion mediums of social media ... hop to it. 

I'm seriously considering being a bit of a creep and having them all printed and bound into a book to call my very own at the end. SO much practical wisdom to glean from every mom. Here's the first installation of answers! And Happy Freakin' Friday, bb.

Jenna from Wilber Huset {grammage too!}:

"I was always one to roll my eyes at the motivational poster “It Takes a Village” plastered at every childcare facility and school I walked through over the years. As someone who has always aimed to be an independent woman (~throw your hands up at me~), I fought this surrender for so long thinking and honestly believing I’m supposed to be able to handle the overwhelmingness of having kids alone. Once I accepted that if I traded in a bit of my pride for some sanity by finally asking for help, everyone in my family would be happier, especially this dependent mama."

Jessica from Everly and Rosie:

My twin girls are now a year old, and despite what people keep telling you - it does not get easier. For many months I kept telling myself, "If I can just past this colicky stage," or "If I can just get them on an ideal schedule," or "if they would just sleep through the night..." but each new milestone comes with a litany of equally as difficult hurdles. Every time I think I have them figured out, baby girls throw me for a loop and give me the ultimate lesson in humility. Funny enough, once I resigned to the fact that motherhood is super hard - that there are no shortcuts or magic numbers or fancy tricks that will make it any less challenging - things seemed to get, well, easier. I also learned that an intricate stroller is for the birds - an inexpensive double umbrella stroller has taken us all over the fine city of Albuquerque.  

Christy from Fountains of Home:

I wish I knew that after becoming a mother I would wake up every day knowing I had a purpose - for my life, for my day, for my hour, and sometimes for each and every minute. And that I could depend on laughing every day as my children see the world with new eyes full of wonder who find the joy in every little thing and have turned out to be hilarious and interesting little people.

Amber from 3 Ladies + Their Gent (and on Insta!)

There are so many ideas/topics/words of advice I could write about in relation to new moms like "..if someone offers help, TAKE IT..and don't feel bad about it.." or .."you'll never use the bathroom alone again, so get used to that now.." but something that has remained on my mind throughout my entire (second) pregnancy is directly related to what I didn't remember to do during my first pregnancy with the twins.  I failed to take time to soak in the idea of being a mom.  The number one question I get from friends and strangers alike goes something like "I bet carrying one is soooo different from your twin pregnancy.." 

Well, all things considered, yes.  I am less whale-ish, but really it was the emotional aspect of the entire thing that has caught me off guard.

It was simply the unknown surrounding my entire pregnancy the first go round that caused me to actually take a few weeks (a month?) before I  was able to realize that I was a mother.  A mother to two precious little beings that I carried, nourished, and now was flung into caring for (and keeping alive).  Motherhood is such a beautiful thing to step into, and I let myself get caught up into the 'what-ifs' of the days, weeks, and months prior to and following the birth of my girls.  For lack of a better word to describe the situation .. it was actually a JOB.  It was hard work.  From weeks 24-37 I found myself on what felt like permanent bed rest to keep them incubated until they were ready to be born.  Then it was birth.  C-section or natural - singletons or multiples, that's hard work.  We are amazing creatures to be able to endure any of that.  I realized looking back that there was a lot of recovery that took place postpartum, and not just from birth, but the hype of the last 9 months had all come to a head and here I was at the end of it now with two babies.  Of course, I wouldn't change a single thing about any of it - and if I knew how amazing this motherhood thing was going to be like, I would have figured out how to have done it sooner.

With all that behind me, and sort of knowing what is expected of me on delivery day and sort of having an idea of what I am doing as a new mother for the second time around, I daydream.  I daydream not about the 'what-ifs' and unknowns of pregnancy, delivery, and motherhood, but of her sweet little nose.  What the shape of her eyes will be.  Rubbing her teeny baby ears.  And ultimately getting to hold her tight after 40 weeks of waiting. 

Moral of my sappy story: Don't get caught up in the crazy of life.  Take a moment to think about the beauty of it all. The beauty of motherhood and pregnancy.  You wont regret it. 

There are SO many things! I wish I'd known that some of my dearest friends are my fellow mom friends. I wouldn't have felt overwhelmed by the whole thing if I knew that I'd have a group of girls around me going through similar, if not the exact same, things. Support is crucial, whether it's a girlfriend you can text and share your baby's new milestones with, or someone to give you advice on sleep training or which car seat they really like. The friendships are so valuable! 

(Grace again!)
Thank you, thank you, thank you ladies! More where that came from very SOON ....