Why It’s Important to Keep a Stocked Diaper Bag (and What to Pack)

My mom loves to tell a story about taking me to the mall when I was 6 or 7 months old and how while we were there, I had a major blowout poop. Evidentially, there was poop everywhere. So much poop, that this has been a stand out memory for her for over 30 years. In fact, this is one of the only stories that I’ve ever heard about my infancy.

Well, guess what, guys!!!

MY LEGACY LIVES ON THROUGH MY SON.

While we were out shopping for matching pajamas for the kids to make our holiday cards, Mateo had a poop explosion that I will carry with me forever.

Our mall adventure started off really well! Mateo had fallen asleep in the car on our way there and we were able to successfully get him into his stroller and keep him asleep for a long time – long enough for Nori to go potty, ride the train and for us to find the pajamas that we came for and pay for them.

I couldn’t help but feel deep satisfaction about how successful our trip had been. The mall during holiday season is not for amateurs. I was expecting our outing to be a shit show and it wasn’t! Little did I know that I was about to be confronted with a literal shit show.

As we were heading out of the store, Mateo woke up. He was so happy and smiley! He must have had a good nap. Nori poked her head into his stroller to say “Hi!” and she pulled her head back, revolted.

Mateo smells like poop, Mom!!

Ok. No problem, I thought. I pushed his stroller to the bathroom and Nori and Benny continued shopping around. When we got to the bathroom and I picked Mateo up, his clothing squished against his back. My hands were wet.

NOOOOOOOOOO!

His poop had squirted all the way up to the back of his head and all the way down the back of his legs.

I stripped him naked and threw his onesie in the trash – it was unsalvageable. Frantically, I wiped him down with baby wipes. People were walking past me in the woman’s room, covering their noses and looking at me with pity.

It was a nightmare.

I had been taking so long in the bathroom that Benny sent Nori to go check on me. As soon as I saw her I yelled, GET DAD!!

Benny joined me in the ladies room as we hurried to clean our baby up and get him dressed again and that’s when I realized that I didn’t pack him any extra clothing.

FUUUUUUCK!

Luckily, we had just bought those jammies, so we put him in those – but not before we completely wiped him down with hand sanitizer.

That’s right. I covered my baby with Purell. Judge me.

Mateo didn’t wait til XMAS for his pajamas.

Sometimes, you’ve just gotta do what you’ve gotta do and this brings me to my point:

ALWAYS KEEP A STOCKED DIAPER BAG!

ALWAYS.

I use a simple backpack as my diaper bag and it’s usually well stocked, but every now and then I slip up and forget something – usually when I really need the item that I forgot. So, here is a friendly reminder for myself and some tips for you on what to pack in your diaper bag so that you don’t end up in a shitty situation like me.

DIAPERS // Duh. If your kid wears diapers, bring them. Bring more than you think you’ll need. I usually pack 4-6 depending on how long we will be out.

WIPES // I bring a few different wipes in my bag because I’m a crazy person. I bring regular baby wipes for Mateo, toddler flushable wipes for Nori because the princess will only poop if she knows that she has a wet wipe for her bottom and hand and face wipes for messy faces and hands. Maybe it’s overkill, but I like to have options.

CHANGE OF CLOTHES // Always keep weather appropriate changes of clothes, socks and undies in your bag even if your kid hasn’t had a blow out in months or has been potty trained for years. Accidents happen. Once, when Nori was 2, maybe 2.5, I had to take Nori home from the park with no pants on after her first and only potty accident. She didn’t seem to mind, but I felt awful.  It’s not always the potty accidents that screw you, but spills, mud, etc. can all make a kiddo wet and uncomfortable and nobody wants that.

SNACKS // I don’t know about you, but I get hangry!! Everyone in my family does, so I always try to pack enough snacks for everyone. I usually pack a few apple sauce pouches, baby food pouches and snack bars. If we are having a park day or I know that we will be out for several hours, I’ll pack fresh fruit and veggies and often will make a couple of sandwiches too. Having enough snacks for everyone stops meltdowns before they happen and also help to save money and time because you won’t need to stop and get food while you’re out and about.

TOYS // When kids get bored, all hell breaks loose!! Having a few toys and activities on hand is essential. For the baby, I usually pack a blinky/noisy toy and a teether and for Nori, I bring crayons – I also will give her my phone sometimes to play games – not gonna lie. When I want to keep her off of a device, Water Wow’s are awesome! If you don’t know what they are, they’re coloring pages that come with a special pen that you fill up with water. Nori loves them and never seems to grow tired of coloring the same pictures over and over again.

HAND SANITIZER // Kids are gross. Germs are everywhere. NUFF SAID.

In a perfect world, our diaper bags would always be stocked up and ready for anything, but let’s be real, some days we’re sure to fuck up – enter, the stocked car. I try to always have 2-3 diapers in my glove box and a pack of baby wipes in the trunk. In my center console, I like to keep one or two apple sauces and on good days, I’ll have packed cereal bars too. That is also where I keep an extra hand sanitizer. I keep a few toys in the car all the time, too, because carrying them to and from the house is too much work and in this instance, being lazy is helpful.

Even with knowing what to pack, you’ll probably still forget things sometimes, but, knowing is half the battle! So, stock up that bag! Stock up that car! And let the world know that you’re a bad ass parent who (usually) has their shit together.

School Lunches for Picky Eating Preschoolers

I used to love when my father packed my school lunch. He took lunch making seriously. My meal would be balanced and filling, it had options – it was always better than the lunches packed around me and that made me feel proud. Every lunch included a small note or picture. I loved getting them so much! Packing my school lunches was one way that my dad let me know he loved me.

As a parent, now I do the same. I love packing Nori’s lunch. I love to know that during her day at school, she still gets to feel connected to me at home.

The guidelines for lunches at Noris school are that they must not include nuts or treats. We are also dairy free, so I can’t pack yogurts or cheeses, sadly, no bunny crackers either! That being said, I don’t pack too much variety, but honestly, what 4 year old loves variety? These little people watch the same movie thousands of times in a row! I pack what I know she will eat and won’t toss in the compost. School lunch is not a time to debut new foods or try and pack something your kid usually won’t eat. Since nori is super picky, I stick to some basic options:

Deli meat – Nori likes salami, ham and turkey

Spreads – jelly or sunbutter (her school is nut free). when making these sandwiches, i sprinkle hemp seed and chia in the middle of the sandwich to add some nutrients. nori doesn’t even notice.

Fruits – apples, pears, berries, peaches, to name a few – fruit is always a hit

Veggies – our top two are cucumbers and cherry tomatoes, but sugar snap peas, corn, carrot/celery sticks have also made appearances

Grain – crackers, Made Good granola balls, Kind Kids bars

Leftovers – her school will reheat one dish a week if you ask. also, some leftovers are good cold!

To drink, we keep rice milk at school and pack a cup for her to be served. Some days, she just drinks water!

We were using a cute purple Bentigo bento box, but Noris teacher said the way that the lid opened was too big for their table, so I searched Amazon and found these awesome containers called Easy Lunch Boxes and they are exactly that! I love them. Not too many compartments to fill, but enough to guide you through portioning out a lunch. They have several colored lids and I like that it’s a set of 5 so that I don’t have to wash tupperware every school night anymore. I have one for every day!!

Heres how I packed them this week.

MONDAY

Cucumbers, apples and grapes, turkey roll ups and a Kind Kids bar

TUESDAY

Tomatoes and cucumbers, strawberries and pears, salami roll ups and Made Good balls

WEDNESDAY

Simple day. Salami and mayo on wheat bread, apples and snap peas.

THURSDAY

Leftover salmon cake, peaches and blackberries, tomatoes and cucumbers.

FRIDAY

Banana, turkey roll ups, cucumber and tomatoes and Made Good balls.

I don’t know about you, but I love looking at these cute little lunches!! I know they’re nothing crazy, but they’re filled with the things that my daughter loves and it makes me happy that I’m able to do this for her. I look forward to when she learns to read, so that I can pack her sweet little notes along too!

I used to judge parents before I became one myself.

I was scrolling through my instagram feed the other day, when I came across this quote, “Parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion about, but the hardest thing in the world to do.”

It really resonated with me – not only because I agree that parenting is hard, but also because before I had children of my own, I thought that I knew it all and had all sorts of ideas about what made a good or bad parent. I thought it was easy.

I was so unjustifiably judgmental, its embarrassing. Who did I think I was?

Sure, I worked as a nanny for many years, but that in no way compares to the endless work that is parenting. I was able to go home at the end of the day, to reset, catch up on me time. I rarely took the children along for errands. I never had my own things to take care of while I was watching the kids. Being a nanny is a job. Being a parent is your life. 

Once I became a parent myself, it turns out that a lot of the things that I said that I would never do or was better than, are things that I sort of do all of the time and you know what, I have no shame about it at all!

Here are my top 5 parenting judgements that I made before I had *any* idea what it was like to have children of my own.

Giving children devices at restaurants.

When I would be out at a restaurant, nothing made me roll my eyes more than seeing a family at a table allowing their kids to play on their phones or tablets. I’d think to myself,  “Aren’t meals a time to bond with your family? Why didn’t they just stay home if they were just going to ignore their kids like that? Don’t these parents know the dangers of screen time?”

HA! Little did I know that kids can totally be little shits when you’re out to dinner! They pour salt on the table or put bread in everyone’s water. They want to get up and wander around the restaurant. They complain about being bored – about the food not being out fast enough. They interrupt, they’re too loud!

Believe it or not, the adults at the table want to enjoy themselves too.

Sometimes, when I’m really on that mom A game, I’ll pack some crayons and coloring books for the table, but lets be real, I’m not always that put together!  Its extremely unlikely that I’ll forget my phone at home, so after several unsuccessful restaurant trips, I downloaded several kids apps and now allow Nori to play on it from time to time when we are out. Some of the games are even educational! I don’t see the harm in it and honestly, don’t understand why I had an issue with it before – I mean, adults sit at the table on their devices all the time too. I’m not saying that anytime I want some peace and quiet I just stick Nori in front of a device, but in certain circumstances, it’s totally cool!

Letting kids tantrum in public.

We have all seen it before – a kid having a major tantrum out in public. Some parents just stand there and wait while their kid screams and cries on the floor. Other times, parents swoop up their screaming child, throw them over their shoulder and run them out of where ever they are as quickly as possible. Some even start to tantrum themselves and begin to yell at their child. Whatever the method these parents use to deal with the situation, I’d always thought that I would handle it differently – better.

“Couldn’t these parents control their children?” Haven’t they taught them anything? My kids would never act so bratty!”

Ha! I thought these parents were letting their kids freak out, as if they had total control over their child’s body and emotions. I may not have been aware of it at the time, but now I realize that I didn’t believe that kids should have a right to their own feelings. They were to be obedient and contained and if they weren’t, that reflected poorly on the parents.

Now, as a mom, I have compassion for these parent’s with the kid melting down at the store. It’s not their fault at all! Kids have big feelings – feelings that they don’t exactly know how to deal with properly. Their brains aren’t fully developed, so they don’t understand reason or how to navigate through the new feelings they’re experiencing.

As parents, it is our job to teach our children that it is okay to have feelings and to let them out. Sure, the store isn’t the ideal place to work these things out, but it happens. Kids want things, they don’t understand the value of money and most of all, they don’t like to hear the word, “no!” – I mean, who does? We were all kids once, and I’m sure that most of us have had fits in public. No matter how a parent chooses to deal with their kid’s public meltdown, it’s safe to assume that they are doing their best!

A child’s behavior is not a direct reflection of how they are parented – tantrums just come with the territory!

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Nori, melting down in a car at the Subway museum in Brooklyn, NY. I got a ton of slack from people for this photo. It isn’t a real subway. Relax.

Going out to party as parents.

This one is pretty embarrassing. When I used to work in bars and I would see people who I knew were parents out and about, partying, I would judge them so hard. I couldn’t believe that they were leaving their kids with a babysitter to go to a club all night. UHHHH. Hello!! I worked as a babysitter growing up – what did I think the parents were doing!?

Parents need to let loose!

Parents are allowed to still be the people that they were before children, even if that means they’re out partying (responsibly) until 3am!

I don’t get a sitter all too often, but when I do, you better believe I’m out, trying to have a good time. I would go totally crazy if I never went out without the kiddos to have fun with my husband or friends. In fact, I think that it makes me a better parent when I make time to have fun.

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Whenever my husband and I make it out to shows, everyone always asks, “Where are your kids?” Obviously, we left them in the car…JK

Breastfeeding past infancy.

It’s not that I thought that breastfeeding was gross or inappropriate –  I respected women who breastfed. I mean, they were sacrificing their perfect, youthful breasts! That being said, once their babies stopped being little lumps and started to eat food and walk and talk – well, at that point, consider yourself judged if that baby isn’t using a cup.

Didn’t these mother’s want their bodies back?

Didn’t they know that people were judging them?

Fast forward to me becoming a nursing mother and surprise! I nursed Nori until she was 2.5.  I’ll admit that sometimes because of my pre-parenting judgements, I felt a little self conscious nursing her in public once she was around 18 months, but don’t get me wrong, I still did it. The relationship that Nori and I had around nursing was so positive for both she and I, that I felt no desire to stop breastfeeding her until she started to twist my other nipple while she would nurse and I absolutely hated it! That was it for me and we weaned. I think that as long as both mother and child are enjoying their nursing relationship, they should continue to nurse. I am nursing Mateo now and hope to continue for a while longer. Personally, I don’t want to nurse past 3 years old, but to the women who do, more power to you!

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Here is 2 year old Nori, nursing. She is sweaty and sick with a cold.

Letting kids dress inappropriately for the weather. 

On a cold or rainy day, if I’d see a child without a jacket, it would make me feel annoyed and concerned. Didn’t these parents care about their children’s comfort? Were they just too lazy to dress them? Did they forget?

Of course, my daughter turned out to be one of those kids who is always dressed inappropriately for the weather. She always wants to wear flip flops when it is cold outside and rain boots when it is hot and dry. She will refuse to wear a jacket, even if it is rainy. Its a constant struggle! But, some battles are better left alone. As long as Nori feels confident in the wardrobe choices she has made, I let her go with it even if I know she may be unhappy in the long run. The only exception is if I know that we will be outside for most of the day – I don’t want her to be miserable for too long because then she will be unhappy and she will complain and then I will be unhappy too.

Oy! So, there you have it. I used to be a judgmental bitch about things that I knew nothing about and I’ll bet you were too!

What are some things that you used to judge parents for before becoming a parent yourself?

Whoops! I jinxed myself.

I had such good intentions for what I wanted to write this week, but it didn’t happen because I completely jinxed myself with last weeks post about sleep training. I should’ve known better than to brag about our accomplishments after a measly two weeks.

What was I thinking?!

Mateo has still been putting himself to sleep independently, but he has been waking up at 430/5am everyday.

ITS KILLING ME!

I’m so tired that my eyes burn.

It’s a vicious cycle of suck. He wakes up early, so his naps are early and then he is ready for bed by 5pm. I would reach out to our sleep consultant, but our two week session is over. It ended literally the day all of this BS started.

WHYYYYYY?!

I’ve been reading up on all sorts of different solutions to the early waking but I just feel so discouraged that it’s hard for me to take action.

This morning when Mateo woke up at 430, I just brought him into my bed to nurse and he slept in until 7. I don’t want to start a bad habit, but honestly, if I don’t start sleeping again, I’m going to lose my mind.

So, that’s where I’m at. Hopefully things will get back on track soon, so I can focus on anything other than sleep schedules and feeling like garbage and share with you the posts I’ve been working on.

I’m open to hearing any tips or tricks you might have!

Send some sleepy vibes our way – PLEASE!!

Sleep Training Your Baby: It’s the best thing EVER!

Mateo is sleep trained!

It’s a fucking miracle.

After weeks and weeks of struggling with his 15 minute naps and constant night waking, I decided to get help from a sleep consultant and it was the best decision EVER.

Now, instead of spending up to 45 minutes rocking or bouncing Mateo to sleep, I am able to set him in his crib awake and he settles himself. He naps twice a day for at least an hour each time and he sleeps entirely through the night. When he wakes up, he is so bubbly and happy! He seems ready to take on the world – he seems more interested and engaged. No more constant eye rubbing and fussing.

It’s seriously so awesome!

Since I don’t have to put so much of my time and energy into figuring out Mateo’s sleep anymore, I have more of myself to give to Nori. I’m less impatient with her, I’m more available to play with her – we can read together or do crafts during his nap times. I don’t feel guilty anymore for having to push aside her needs in favor of her baby brother’s. She can count on having one on one time every day and I am able to be completely present.

The most awesome part of all?! I got some of my life back!!!

I have guaranteed time every night to do ME. I can watch a movie, I can take care of housework I’d put off in favor of playing with the kids, I can get intimate with my husband – all without the risk of being interrupted.

Why hadn’t I done this sooner?!

Well, because I was super against CIO sleep training methods. Letting my baby’s cries go unanswered for even 5 minutes felt wrong to me. I co slept with Nori until she was almost 2 and believed that I was going to do the same with Mateo. Thing is, our home life is way different than it used to be. Not only do I have another child to take care of but I rarely have help from Benny because he travels so often for work. What I felt comfortable and confidant doing just wasn’t working anymore.

I had to get over my own judgements about sleep training and take care of business!

The sleep trainer who I worked with is a Sleep Sense trained consultant. She got to know me and my situation and then formulated a plan and a schedule for Mateo. The whole thing was out of my comfort zone, but I was so desperate for things to be different that I dove into it head first.

We set a date to begin and she sent over a plan.

I was to pick a length of time that I felt comfortable letting Mateo cry for – I chose 10 minutes.

I was to pick a key phrase – I chose “it’s beddy-bye time”.

I was to choose a sleepy song – I chose “Twinkle Twinkle”

I was to be consistent.

The first night, I put Nori to bed first so that I could focus on Mateo afterward. At 7:15, I took him into his room and got him into his pajamas. I rolled some lavender on his feet. I turned on his noise machine and turned off the lights. I said my key phrase and sang him his sleepy song. I set him down in his crib and I left his room.

Immediately, he began sobbing.

I set my timer for 10 minutes and did my best to distract myself from his cries. It was super hard!

10 minutes passed and he was still upset, so I went into his room. I decided that picking him up to comfort him felt better to me than just standing near his crib, so I picked him up and held him close. Again, I said my key phrase and I sang him his sleepy song. He calmed down, so I set him back into his crib and left his room again.

I set my timer for 10 minutes.

This time, he screamed bloody murder! It was so intense. As the time counted down, I stared at the baby monitor. My stomach was in knots. My poor baby!! He wasn’t calming down!

The timer went off again and I returned to his room. This time, I only set my hand on his back while I sang his song and repeated his key phrase – I thought that maybe picking him up had been a bad idea. When he was calm, I left again and again, he seemed more upset than he had been before I entered the room.

I set another 10 minutes on the timer.

I decided to text my sleep consultant and see what she thought about his sadness escalating. She suggested that maybe I stop checking in on him. That felt really wrong to me, so I went in one last time and again, he became even more upset.

OK FINE!!

I stopped checking on him and 15 minutes later, he fell asleep and he stayed asleep until the next morning.

Mateo, asleep in his crib.

All in all, it was 45 minutes of tears.

The next day, we started naps. His first nap was to be at 10am. I did the same things – the key phrase, the song and left him sleepy but awake in his crib.

He cried – a lot. That first nap, I think he cried for 30 minutes. His second nap, he cried for 20. Bedtime, he cried for 20.

Honestly, for the first 3 days, he was probably crying for a total of an hour each day between his naps and bedtime. It was a lot. It didn’t feel good, but I knew that if I gave up, all of those tears would’ve been for nothing. I was so thankful that I had hired a consultant, because without her checking in on me, I may have given up.

She had me fill out a sleep log to keep track of his nap times and bed times and also how long he cried between our routine and falling asleep. By doing these, I learned when to put him down to minimize the tears.

No matter what time I set Mateo in his crib for his morning nap, he always fell asleep at about 10:20 and by 2:00 for his afternoon nap – bedtime he was asleep by 7:30. I started to set him down at those times, no matter what – even if I saw sleepy cues earlier – and he began to fall asleep with less tears. At most, I’d have 15 minutes of upset, but it stopped being real crying after those first few days and became more of a whiny moan. Even if Mateo woke up in the middle of night, he was able to soothe himself back to sleep within 10 minutes without needing to nurse or be rocked.

Everything had fallen into place!

YASSSSSS!

Now, it’s been 12 days and every day is easier than the last – in fact, now it isn’t a “thing” anymore – it’s just the way that we do sleep in our household.

I am so, so grateful for my sleep trainer! I couldn’t have done it without her!!

If you’re on the fence about sleep training and want some tips, here’s what I’ve got:

  1. Be all in. Don’t try to train one day and then chicken out the next. Consistency is key.
  2. Listen to your baby. Some cry’s are frantic and others seem calm – adjust your timer accordingly. Also, like in my case, if something you planned to do seems not to be working, like picking up your baby or doing constant checks, stop doing it!
  3. Keep a sleep log so that you can see your baby’s sleep patterns and adjust your schedule accordingly.
  4. Plan to stay home and revolve your life around sleep training for at least the first week.
  5. Make sure that you have support, wether from your partner, parents, friend or in my case, hired help. It really helps to have someone to hold you accountable and also to have someone to talk to during hard times.
  6. Don’t judge yourself or think that you’re a bad mom for allowing your child to cry. You’re teaching them a valuable life skill – how to sleep! Anyone would feel upset if suddenly their routine was totally changed. As long as you’re usually attentive to your baby, they know that you love them!
  7. Focus on the goal! A few days of tears are so worth it for hopefully years of easy sleep from your child.

If your child’s sleep patterns aren’t working for your family anymore, I totally recommend sleep training. It has totally changed our lives over here – my only regret is waiting so long to give it a try.

When 3 became 4: How adding a sibling changed everything

I am an only child.

Well, I had step siblings from my father’s second wife, but that isn’t the same thing. We didn’t have that intrinsic connection that I imagine siblings to have. Sure, I enjoyed growing up with them but I didn’t always feel welcomed or loved.

It was hard.

I wanted to feel more connected to them, for them to be like my real family, but no matter what, I always felt a bit on the outside.

When I was 21, my father died. It was a total surprise and left me and my step siblings shocked and upset. Even though we were all experiencing this loss together, I felt even further away from them then I ever had before. Here were these people who knew my pain – who were living it too, but we didn’t mourn together. They had each other to lean on, and I had myself.

I felt so alone.

Having someone to have gone through all of this with would have made a world of difference.

Im sure of it!

When Benny and I started thinking about wether or not we wanted to give Nori a sibling, I reflected on this time – how I felt, what I had wished for.

What if there was some sort of tragedy and Nori had no one to lean on?

She needed a teammate for life. A friend. Someone to talk shit about me and her dad to when she got in trouble. Some one to pick on and play with and really, do whatever it is that siblings do together – Im an only child, remember? I don’t know what I’m talking about.

I wanted her to have the forever friend that I didn’t have. I didn’t want her to ever feel alone.

Even though I had made up my mind about giving Nori a sibling, I had to work on Benny for close to a year before he was down for baby two!

I wasn’t worried though – I get what I want.

After three months of trying, I found out that I was pregnant. Nori was three years old.

We were THRILLED!

Soon enough, that happiness and excitement turned into anxiety and fear. Not fear of having the baby – we were already pros – but fear of what this new baby might do to our family dynamic. Fears about my special bond with Nori being broken.

I’d spend nights awake in bed, sobbing, worrying about losing Nori.

What the fuck?! We planned this!!

I thought about this for years. How did I suddenly realize that adding a sibling might be painful for her – for all of us?

I was mourning her – our love, our special bond – before anything had even happened.

Did we make a mistake?

I couldn’t get these thoughts out of my mind. Every moment that I spent with Nori, I treated like they were my last.

I gave her my full attention.

I held her close.

I breathed her in.

I kept telling her, “When your brother comes, things may be different, but just know that mommy and daddy love you so much! You’ll always be our special girl.”

Looking back, I don’t think that I should have said that so often. It probably hadn’t even occurred to her that things would be different.

I’m sure she smelled my fear.

Even though I was worried about her accepting the coming change, I also loved sharing my pregnancy with her. She loved my belly. She loved to kiss it and sing songs to it. She liked to feel the baby move. She would put her lips against my skin and talk to her brother.

She laughed when I used my belly as a table.

Nori’s sweet little hand on my baby bump.

When Mateo was born, she asked if we could put him back in there, because she loved my big belly so much.

He was better on the inside, in her eyes.

She didn’t come to visit us at the hospital. She didn’t want to facetime with us either. I tried to understand, while I laid in the hospital bed, nursing our son – her brother.

“It’s happening” I thought. “Everything I feared has come true.”

When we returned home with Mateo, Nori looked different to me. She looked humongous.

Her hands!!

Why were they so big?

How did she grow so much in the two days that we were at the hospital?

The fuck?

She hugged her brother. She hugged and kissed me and her father. She posed for photos. She was just being herself, but somehow, I felt like I didn’t know her anymore. I felt like she didn’t trust me – that I owed her something. I wanted to give her so much of me, to comfort her, to let her know that everything would be ok, but I couldn’t. I was exhausted, infatuated, distracted, hormonal. I expected her to be patient with me.

I expected my 4 year old to understand.

Nori and Mateo, when he was a few days old.

Benny took over most of my responsibilities that first month. He made Nori breakfast, he took her to school, he picked her up, he played with her, he made dinner, all while I laid in bed with Mateo, sleeping and nursing and sleeping and nursing.

Nori would come in to visit us. She never would come in the bed, but would stand at the edge and talk to me.

I wanted her closer. I wanted her snuggled there with me. I was missing her and I know she was missing me too.

After a few days, her sadness turned into anger and she started to be mean to me.

One morning, once Mateo was asleep, I went into her room to read with her and let her know that I’d do bath with her that night. I was focused on her. I needed to connect with her but she told me that she didn’t want to hear a story and that Benny should do her bath too. She asked me to leave her room.

Ouch.

I’d never felt rejection from her before and damn, did it hurt.

“Nori, I have this time to be with you, and you’re not being kind to me! I know that you miss me but I don’t think you understand that I miss you too.”

I started to cry. I couldn’t keep it together.

Nori looked at me in a way that I’d never seen her look at me before. I had never cried like that in front of my daughter, being her mom, I’d always held it together.

She jumped into my arms, crying and I held her.

She laughed, “Mama! We are both crying!” and then I laughed too.

Those early days were hard.

Mateo is almost 8 months old now and Nori is his favorite person in the whole house – well, except for me – but I think that’s just because I’ve got the boobs.

He laughs at everything she does. She will yell, “Banana bread!” and he cracks up and then we all crack up because it’s so random and funny!

Seeing their friendship blossom has been a treat. It fills my heart with so much love that I can feel it exploding!

The two of them being extra cute, playing on Mateo’s mat.

It’s crazy.

But, I’m not gonna lie, we still struggle.

Bedtime is a nightmare and sometimes, errands are too. Some days I feel so overwhelmed that when I am finally free to do whatever I need to do, I just go straight to bed. Some days Nori plays alone for hours while I struggle with a fussy baby, but we are getting there.

I’m trying my best.

Just the other night, Mateo was asleep in his room and I had my hands free to cuddle with Nori in her bed. I stroked her hair and sang her lullibies. Out of nowhere, she sat up and turned to me. She said, “Mama, I’m so sorry that I hated Mateo so much before, because now I love him!” and you know those heart explosions I mentioned before?

I had a thousand of them.

Fill your cup: Simple self care for tired moms

Ever since becoming a mother, I’ve heard the phrase, “you can’t pour from an empty cup” more than I ever have in my entire life – In fact, I don’t think I had ever heard it before having kids.

Is this a phrase that is reserved only for parents?

Probably.

Mom life is exhausting.

Look at all this momming I do!

Now, don’t get me wrong – I love being a mama and feel so lucky to be able to stay at home with my children, but damn, some days, it is so hard!

I cook, I clean, I play, I entertain, I problem solve, I taxi drive, I wipe tears, I wipe butts, I pay bills, I schedule appointments, I give baths, I do laundry, I grocery shop.

And that’s just what I can think of of the top of my head.

It never ends! Literally!

When Benny is home, its hard enough, but when he is away for weeks at a time?!

Just thinking about it makes me anxious.

When you’re a stay at home parent, you never leave work.

Feeling run down has become a way of life. Instead of planning to get more rest, I’ve invested in a better concealer.

I drink so much coffee that if the opportunity for a nap comes up, I’m too jacked up to lay down.

I haven’t pooped alone in years!

Sometimes, I just want space! I want a few moments to myself, to hear my own thoughts.

I envy my husband when he travels. I know that he misses us so much, but usually, he gets a hotel room where he gets to shower alone and lay down alone – he doesn’t have any one asking him questions. He gets to look at his phone without feeling guilty.

OH! The bliss.

I can only imagine.

I want to shower alone! I want to lay down and know that I won’t be interrupted for 8 hours! I want for one day, no one to ask me anything.

If only.

When he is home, I struggle to admit to him that I could use a hand – and this is the time where I should be taking all the help I can get! I should be milking it!!

Unfortunately, for me, asking for help is not something that I do well.

A few weeks back, we had several 100 degree days in a row. We have a great house, but no AC. Toward the end of this heatwave, our house was miserable! The house was barely cooling down to 80 at night.

Making the best of being smothered in my hot bed first thing in the morning.

One morning, after a rough, sweaty night with Mateo, I woke up, extra grumpy.

My daughter, like she always does, ran into my bedroom to rush me out of bed. She wanted to assign me a character for whatever make-believe she was already playing.

Pretend play? Already?! I’ll pass.

She wanted pancakes, she wanted another cup of milk, she wanted to go outside.

“MOM!!! Stop calling me, Nori, I’m Princess Blue!!”

OMFG, girl. What else?!

I wanted to hide under a blanket.

I made myself some coffee and set it on the counter.

I thought that getting dressed might help to pull me together, so I grabbed the baby to bring him along with me. I noticed he was wet, so I went to change him and once he was undressed, he peed ALL OVER ME.

Now I was grumpy, sweaty and covered in urine.

I rolled the sleeves of my robe up until the wet parts were hidden inside of the dry and cleaned Mateo up. I washed my hands and dabbed my belly dry with a cloth.

I felt so gross.

The icing on the cake? Now, my coffee was cold!

ARG!

Huffing and puffing, I went to change in my bedroom and remembered that my husband was still asleep, as he worked late the night before.

That asshole!

I went to microwave my coffee and sat down to drink it, still in my pee clothes, so that I wouldn’t disturb sleeping beauty.

An hour or so later, when I heard him waking up, I became overcome with rage!

I stormed over to him and blerted out, “IM GOING TO TAKE A SHOWER, NOW! TAKE THE BABY!!”

He looked at me like, “Okay?”

He didn’t know about the pee, or how little I had slept or about my cold coffee on the counter. He didn’t know that I still needed to change. He didn’t know how much I was struggling that morning.

How could he have?

I handed him Mateo, and went to take a shower. Not some BS, rushed shower like I’d become accustomed to taking, but a nice, long shower.

I let the water pour over me. I lathered, I rinsed. I fucking repeated! I stood there and enjoyed the quiet. When I got out, I put in my contacts, put on some makeup and got fully dressed.

Usually, after a shower, I’d put my robe back on and rush out of there with my hair still in a towel.

Not today!

When I walked out fully dressed, everything was fine. The kids were happy. My husband was happy – he greeted me warmly, with a kiss.

There was absolutely no reason for me not to be meeting my own needs. The household survived while I bathed. I don’t know why I thought that they wouldn’t.

Those 20 minutes alone were fantastic. I should have been doing this all of the time – at least three times a week.

Why wasn’t I just asking for help when I needed it?

It occurred to me that I was the only person in my family who was keeping track of the last time I showered, or how many times I had woken up the night before or microwaved my coffee that morning.

It’s easy to forget about taking care of yourself when everyone else forgets that you need to take care of yourself.

Maybe, it’s not that they were forgetting, but that I’m such a boss ass mama that my family didn’t realize that I was running on empty.

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Don’t mind me! I haven’t slept in 5 months.

This wasn’t a them issue, it was a me issue.

I needed to pencil in time for myself just like I did for my husband and children. I needed to let go of the assumption that because being a mom was “my job” that I wasn’t allowed to or deserve to take breaks.

Self care, y’all!

Self care doesn’t need to be a spa day. It doesn’t need to be luxurious. Self care is whatever you need to do to care your yourself – even if it’s just advocating for your needs!

No one should ever breakdown crying over a shower.

I’ve put more focus onto my own well being and have become a better mother, a better wife and a happier me. I’ve done this by:

1. Speaking up. Instead of feeling resentment toward my family for things that I feel overwhelmed by, I began to tell my husband and daughter what I needed from them and I found that both of them were more than happy to go along with my requests. If I feel backed up on housework, I’ve learned that I can just tell my husband and more often than not, he will fold our laundry or pick up around the house. If I feel overwhelmed by my daughter wanting to play the moment we wake up, I just tell her that I’m not quite ready to make believe yet and she will give me space until I have woken up more. No one is a mind reader – more often than not, my family didn’t know that I was feeling overwhelmed.

2. Making time for friends. It isn’t always possible for me to get a sitter and hang out with my friends without Nori and Mateo. Luckily for me, a lot of my friends have children or don’t mind when I have mine with me. I try to see my friends at least 2 times a week and call and text my friends regularly. Feeling connected to other adults helps motherhood and family life feel less isolating. I am so grateful for the solid group of friends in my life!

3.Doing something extra. One thing that I always do for myself that makes me happy is have manicured nails. I go every three weeks to have my shellac changed and it is an act of self love that I refuse to sacrifice. Whenever I look at my hands and their pretty polish, I feel happy! Sometimes the kids stay with my husband, sometimes with my mom and sometimes with a sitter – no matter what I need to do to make it happen, I do it. Lately I have been bringing Nori along with me and I love that something that I do for me has become a bonding experience for us. Nourishing my relationship with her by including her in an activity that I love brings me happiness!

4. Indulging. When I am feeling down or worn out, taking myself out for a treat always helps. Okay, so, maybe I am a comfort eater, but whatever! We all have our vices. It could be worse!! My favorite treats are donuts and fro yo. This act of self care is a double whammy, because I can use getting treats as a bargaining chip for good behavior from Nori. Win/win, amirite?!

5. Taking breaks from social media. Nothing like a perfect instagram family to make you feel like shit on a rough day. Sometimes, disconnecting and taking time to be fully present in your own life is all you need to snap out of a funk. The world won’t end if you don’t share every activity you do to your story – I promise!

6. Buying something new. Something as simple as buying yourself a new teeshirt can make a huge difference. I try to make a point to only get myself something when I do this – all too often I’ll buy myself something on clearance and get the kids a whole new wardrobe – that doesn’t feel as good as shopping just for you.

I know it’s easier said than done, but as a stay home mom, you’re the families glue! You’re the most important! You need to take care of yourself just as well as you do your family.

Fill that cup, mama!