How to Enjoy Stay-at-Home-Motherhood More

Enjoy Stay-at-Home Motherhood | The Organic BeautyFor the first year of motherhood, I was on cloud 9.  I loved this sh*t.  I felt like I was made for being a mama.  But life with a baby is verrrry different from life with a toddler.  I can’t just put little M into her carrier or stroller and spend the day out doing what I want to be doing anymore.  I don’t have the luxury of those two nice, long naps anymore, that afforded me to the opportunity to relax, get work done, and maintain some balance.

My little M is a full-fledged person now, with her own opinions and desires.  And though I still follow all of my 5 Secrets to Happier Motherhood, suddenly, as we approached a year and a half, they just weren’t enough.

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Motivation To Keep Breastfeeding, Even When It Sucks

Motivation to Keep Breastfeeding Even When It Sucks  |  The Organic Beauty Blog

Breastfeeding is one of those aspects of motherhood that you just expect to come naturally.  We’re mammals after all, right?  Do mama bears and lions really struggle with low supply, sore nipples, and mastitis? Obviously our animal counterparts are spared the emotional and lifestyle dramas and sacrifices that come with choosing to breastfeed their young — the stigma of feeding in public or breastfeeding a toddler, the limits on alcohol and potential dietary restrictions, the feeling of being totally tethered to your baby at all times (especially if, like mine, they have no interest in drinking pumped milk from any receptacle).  Even with those particularly human challenges aside, it just seems like it should be easier to do something our bodies were built to do.  But it isn’t.  At least not for many of us mamas.

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5 Minutes to Looking Put Together (even when you have no time)

5 Minutes to Looking Put Together | The Organic Beauty Blog

A mama recently posted in one of the many FB groups I’m in that she feels like it’s impossible to look and feel put together with a baby and a toddler around.  Though I only have one of those to contend with, I sometimes feel like little M is both a sweet, needy little baby and a willful, naysaying toddler all rolled into one — so I can relate.  As moms or otherwise busy ladies strapped for time in the morning (or EVER, for that matter), it can be super hard to make time for seemingly meaningless rituals like hair and makeup.  BUT, feeling schlumpy is a big cause of the lowered self-esteem, motivation and sex drive that can come with motherhood (or super mega busy ladyhood).

To that, I say “No way!”

Feeling put together can mean the difference between a confident, radiant, and joyful day-to-day, and one that is, well.. not.  The effects of this one seemingly meaningless act of self-care reverberate across all areas of your life.

But fear not! I am certainly not of the camp of women who always look polished and manicured, and I definitely don’t want you to feel that pressure (unless you’re one of those women, in which case, kudos to you!).  So I have perfected a super quick, low maintenance approach to looking more or less put together that leaves me feeling like a sexy lady and not a frumpy mom who may or may not still be in yesterday’s undies.

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The BEST Lactation Cookies Around

The BEST Lactation Cookies

I never thought that I would have to worry about milk supply with a one year old, but alas.  Little M turned 14 months and started nursing like an infant again (growth spurt? developmental leap? who knows!), and my boobs just can’t keep up!  I’ve been upping my lactogenic tinctures and eating more milk boosting foods in general (read my 6 Ways to Boost Milk Supply for details on both of those), but I needed a little extra oomph.  That’s where these delicious lactation cookies came in! Seriously, this recipe is the best one I’ve found, and I’ve searched far and wide.

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Mini-Meditations: Mom’s secret to getting through the toddler years

Mini-Meditations for Moms

Back in the day, when I was a freewheeling ladypreneur who set her own rules and schedule, before the baby, and nap time schedules, and play dates…  Back when all I had to do was take care of me, and I did a damn fine job of doing it….  Wayyyy back then, I had a lovely little meditation practice.  I would wake up, put on the tea pot, and sit on my meditation cushion in front of the floor to ceiling window in our Brooklyn apartment.  I had a little altar, with all the things I thought belonged there — a big ceramic buddha head, some candles and crystals, all the good stuff.  For 15-20 minutes, I would sit and focus on my breath or listen to a guided meditation.  I felt grounded and I felt good.

But that was oh so long ago.  Now, my daily schedule is dictated by an adorable, opinionated creature with needs of her own.  She wakes up in the ungodly hours between 6 and 7am, and so begins our daily adventure. During her naps, I cram in as much relaxation and self-care as I can, while still keeping myself fed, my business afloat, and my house in (relative) order.  Needless to say, that leaves little time for my meditation practice of yore, and that hasn’t been a big deal… until now.

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Dealing with Mom Anxiety

Dealing With Mom Anxiety |  The Organic BeautyFor a mom like me, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the responsibility of raising a human being. Am I playing/talking with her enough/too much? Are we spending enough/too much time at home? Do we have too many/not enough scheduled activities?

With an independent, generally low-maintenance baby like Margaux, who could easily play by herself in the living room all day if given the chance, I occasionally get hit with panic that I’m not doing enough of the right things to help her develop and grow. 

But then I remember what I learned from RIE parenting (a childcare philosophy I admire): baby’s days should be slow, calm, and predictable. They do best at home, doing their thing, with little intervention from us. 

And I breathe a sigh of relief. As long as I’m present with her, like really PRESENT, for a chunk of every day, at home in her little play space, letting her lead the way, then we’re all good. Everything else — all the outings and play dates and songs and “activities” — is all just icing on the cake. 

I love the notion that good parenting isn’t about distracting and entertaining, doing a song and dance. I love the notion that my baby is an independent being, worthy of respect and acknowledgment. I love the notion that parenting can be so much simpler, calmer, and more low-tech than the images we see on tv. 

This is my ideal vision of motherhood, and I think I’m doing just fine. 

Mamas, we’re all doing just fine. 

For more on RIE parenting, check out:

Janet Lansbury’s amazing site

This awesome Vanity Fair article on RIE

Magda Gerber’s site

Elevating Childcare: A Guide To Respectful Parenting

No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame

Must-Have’s and Tips for Airplane Travel with Baby

Little M and I are wrapping up our first solo trip (without daddy), and now that she’s at the ripe old age of 1, the experience couldn’t be more different than traveling with her as a little baby. As you’ll see below, you need much less to stay sane while traveling on a plane with an infant (or pre-crawler), but once the little tykes start moving (or, god help us all, walking), it takes quite a bit more strategy to keep baby entertained and calm, and keep parents sane.  After 8+ flights with our little one over her first year, I’ve nailed down the perfect set of must-have’s and tips for airplane travel with baby, to keep everyone comfortable, entertained, and happy (or at the very least, sane!). Check them out below!

Must-Haves-for-Airplane-Travel-With-Baby

Must-have’s for airplane travel with baby (aged 0-18 months):

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5 Secrets for a Happier 1st Year of Motherhood

Little M just turned 10 months, and as her 1st birthday approaches, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the past several months and my introduction to motherhood. Things are much easier now. That anxiety around doing things “right,” not irrevocably screwing up this tiny creature in my charge — stressing over her sleep and how much she’s eating, over which cup to get her that will promote development and not give her speech issues or expose her to dreaded mold — all these fears seem a distant memory.  I finally feel like I know what I’m doing, like I’ve got this motherhood thing down.  I know full well that this feeling is temporary; that as we barrel towards toddlerhood, we’ll be met with a whole new set of anxieties and uncertainties.  But for now, I’m enjoying this calm and confidence.  I am so in love with this creature and with being a mom, and can honestly say that this past 10 months have been among the most fun and fulfilling times of my life.

I know that my experience isn’t shared by all moms. And certainly the cultural narrative of what motherhood looks like in the first year does not support my cause. We are bombarded with images of harried new moms, living in yoga pants and a messy bun, covered in spit up, with a screaming baby in one hand, and a rapidly cooling cup of coffee in the other.  It can be so easy to succumb to this vision of motherhood, and resign oneself to the notion that this is just what life will be life for a year (or more).

The converse seems to be completely unattainable.  The Instagram visions of skinny moms with perfect hair and makeup, dressed to the nines, with a perfect baby and spotless house, who somehow find time in their day to whip up professional-looking gluten-free, vegan cupcakes and three course dinners, while simultaneously sewing Etsy-worthy patterned onesies with matching hats.  It’s enough to make you feel like a failure before you even get out of bed in the morning.

5 Secrets to Happier Motherhood

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