Category Archives: Family

I’M STILL ALIVE.

Published / by millennialcake / Leave a Comment

Guys, I know, I created this amazing blog and then left yall hanging. I’m so sorry. Here’s the deal—my brain ist kaput. Being a working mom is hard. I know, I know, preaching to the choir. But I’m usually great at being busy! So, why am I unable to balance these 5,671 things like I usually do? Who knows. Everyone else makes being a working parent look easy, or at least difficult in a comical way. If there’s one thing I’ve realized in the past three months, though, it’s that being busy is overrated. Don’t fall for it!

Going back to work has helped me prioritize my time, though. When I get home, after a pretty lengthy commute, I just want to cuddle and play with my baby until he goes to bed. At that point, I’m pretty pooped out, myself. I definitely do not make dinner every night. We usually graze or throw some turkey burgers on the stove. Then hubby and I watch The West Wing (or let’s be real—last night we watched SpongeBob… no shame), until I fall asleep. Which is at like 9:30. Sometimes I use my breast pump. But usually I pass out. Rereading this paragraph, maybe I’m not prioritizing my time as well as I thought lol. But at least I’ve let some things take the backburner, like doing my nails. Crazy, right?!

It’d be easy to list all the things that are hard… keeping up with the dishes and laundry, cooking meals, WRITING THIS BLOG, having a baby who comes home sick from daycare and gives said sickness to the whole house, etc. But I feel like I need to list some positives right now!

1.     My child is alive.

2.     My dog is alive.

3.     The flowers my mom planted three months ago are still alive.

4.     I actually managed to do all of the laundry in a timely manner last week.

5.     I just made muffins!

*I added this one afterward… 6. I still have a job, and I like my job.

I think this is all my brain can manage right now, but I’ll write again soon! I swear it won’t take me three months again.

Discipline: the Best Self-Care

Published / by millennialcake / 4 Comments on Discipline: the Best Self-Care

the best self-care discipline

I am a social worker. One particular practice the social work field highly emphasizes is self-care.

You can’t take care of others if you haven’t taken care of yourself. At one point, I didn’t think this was necessary. I somehow had it in my head that because I loved serving others, service in and of itself was my self-care. While I do love serving others (why I pursued the social work field), I absolutely need time to take care of just me. This realization came to me while spending a year (2012-2013) in Chicago, volunteering fulltime for AmeriCorps through a program called Amate House. The realization didn’t just come to me; it had to be put right in front of my face. At Amate House we participated in weekly “community nights” which consisted of spending each Wednesday with the other program members to focus on central themes. During one community night, we discussed the importance of self-care. This means different things to everyone. To some, going for a bike ride is self-care—to others, taking a nap. For me, self-care manifests itself in many ways: a phone call with an old friend, painting my nails while sipping hot tea, writing while listening to depressing indie love songs, etc. Self-care is vital in a high burnout career fields like social work. Even with a passion for serving others, we must restore and nurture our own well-beings.

I recently had another realization. I’m not working right now, but self-care is absolutely necessary for another life facet, one about which I’m just learning—parenthood. Putting our needs on the backburner can easily become second nature when we’re taking care of tiny humans who are incapable of taking care of themselves. Yeah, I know I’m preaching to the choir here. But I’m just figuring this out! So, I’m searching for ways to take care of myself while I take care of my little miracle 24/7. I think I’ve figured out what I’m lacking that has the potential to make my life a lot less stressful: Discipline.

But how do I get said discipline? I called my mom and asked how she does it—“Years of practice,” she said. Oh, man. I better get started.

Needs I’m Putting on the Backburner

1- My house looks like a tornado tore through it.
Yes, I live in tornado alley, but we haven’t had any actual tornadoes lately. Yes, I have a 4-month-old baby, so visitors typically give me a pass on household cleanliness. But it makes me crazy. And frankly, my house was like this way before Jack came along, but that’s neither here nor there. Point is, it’s gotta change. We let our house get terrible and then despise it. We love a clean house! We just lack discipline. Here are some of our habits: A- let the dishes pile up until the sink overflows. Granted, we have shallow sinks, but this is an excuse I need to stop using. B- let the laundry sit unfolded for a week or two until we have enormous piles of wrinkly clothes that take forever to fold. We have other bad habits as well, but these two are the worst.

2- I’ve plateaued on losing my baby weight.
“You’re young,” they said. “The weight will fall right off,” they said. Well, 22 pounds fell off pretty quickly, which was awesome. The other 18? Not so much. I truly wish I didn’t care so much about this; after all, I did just spend 9 months growing a human and then faced the immense task of pushing him out. I think I deserve a cookie or ten. But the fact is, I miss my clothes and don’t want to buy new ones. And I just want to feel better about myself. I recognize that my body will never be the same; motherhood has changed it. I am totally okay with this. However, I do need to be healthy! Not only do I want this for myself, but I want to set a good example for Jack, as well. Right now, he only eats delicious breast milk, but before we know it he’ll be on to solids, then crawling, then walking, then running marathons, etc. I want him to know that eating well and exercising are important. I’m not into that “do as I say, not as I do” crap (well, maybe a little bit, but I try not to).

3- I need a creative outlet.
Don’t get me wrong; I am so happy and grateful for all the time I get with Jack, especially at this age. I can’t imagine not getting to spend this time with him, watching him change daily. The thought of going back to work soon is breaking my heart. Women who go back to work sooner are total badasses. Teach me your ways. (*SAHMs are awesome, too*). But all of this aside, I still get a little stir crazy. I’m used to pouring myself into school and work, so, even though I’m busy with Jack, it’s a little weird for me to be home all the time. I need an outlet! Thus, this blog was born.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to hang out with this naughty baby all day?

Implementing Discipline

1- Making my house not look like tornado alley
I have been making a point to do dishes as soon as I dirty them. No piles. Rinse them and put them straight in the dishwasher. It takes 30 seconds, as opposed to 20 dreaded minutes. Just doing a little at a time makes a big difference. When the dishes are clean, put them away so the sink doesn’t pile up. I have not been perfect at this, but I’m doing much better than usual! I’m using a similar approach with laundry. Fold it as soon as it’s out of the dryer! A little bit at a time sure beats an overwhelming amount all at once. Yeah, yeah, cleaning doesn’t sound like self-care, but it’s working for me right now!

2- Losing my baby weight
I finally started going to the gym. Not every day, but I started. Sometimes I work out at home. I’ve gone to a few Zumba classes (since they are baby-friendly), run on the treadmill using the C25K app, used the 7-minute workout app, started doing YouTube yoga, and dug up some workout DVDs I purchased right before I found out I was pregnant. I aim to do at least one of these every day. I’ve also started logging all of my food intake and exercises into the My Fitness Pal app. I’m a little bummed they don’t have breastfeeding under exercise (since it burns 300-500 calories a day!). Nonetheless, the app is helping me hold myself accountable. I am not supposed to “diet” while breastfeeding, but I’ve stopped allowing myself to shovel anything and everything into my mouth.

3- Finding a creative outlet
I have wanted to blog for years but figured I had nothing of importance to say. Well, I finally stopped letting that excuse stop me and found I have quite a lot to say. Whether it’s of importance is neither here nor there! I’ve put my excuses aside and decided to follow Nike’s advice—just do it. My goal is to write every day. I don’t plan to post every day, but I have to write something, whether it be a paragraph or page.

This was kind of a novel. Whoops!

How do you do self-care? How do you practice discipline? Let me know in the comments!

Curing Postpartum Backache (fix me, please)

Published / by millennialcake / 3 Comments on Curing Postpartum Backache (fix me, please)

Curing Postpartum Backache (fix me, please)

I love being Jack’s mom. He’s a pretty cool baby. Every morning, I peek over my bedside and see him smiling (like seriously glowing) from his bassinette. Literally every morning. He’s such a morning person! I roll out of bed to pick him up, and HOLY CRAP OUCH HOLY **** WHAT THE ****.

My back. I’m dying. I don’t know what happened, but around Jack’s 3-and-a-half month mark, my back decided it just wasn’t gonna put up with all this anymore. Now I have a constant backache.

What it actually feels like: a tight, dull pain around the mid/right part of my back, just under the shoulder blade. If I irritate it (typically by lifting something, like my child), the pain sharpens.

Corey tried cracking it, and I thought I had died and entered the sixth circle of hell. He tried massaging it, to no avail. I took my last Percocet from my birth recovery and decided we’d have to figure something out.

Did some research and figured this pain must be some combination of poor breastfeeding posture and picking up Jack while bending my back, rather than my knees. So, how to remedy?

1 – Fix that Posture.

Sit up straight. Bend at the knees. Try not to anger the back.

2 – Medical Attention

I made an appointment with my doctor, and this is how it went:

“Sorry, you’re just gonna have to live with it.”

Okay, so those weren’t his exact words, but in a nutshell, he said he couldn’t do anything except prescribe Motrin. Hhhhh. I’ve been diagnosed with a “muscle spasm,” which, as he explained, means that a particular muscle in my back is mad at me and decided to tighten up for an extended period of time. Seeing as I’m exclusively breastfeeding, he can’t prescribe a muscle relaxer, lest we risk having a floppy baby. Boo. I know I’m being a total whiner, but on the bright side, he said I’m probably through the worst of it. I’m not actually dying. I will most likely live to see my son’s first birthday. He said a heating pad could help relax the muscle. Also, he found the spasmed muscle on my back and massaged it, and HOLY MOLY, it felt amazing. Apparently, Corey just sucks at massaging (but we love him anyway). Finally, doc recommended using a tennis ball to massage my back against the wall, similar to this:

3 – Yoga

I’ve done yoga a handful of times, and frankly, I suck. So don’t get the impression that I’m a flexible, fit, Pinterest-perfect, yogi mom. I am not. Total props to these women! You are awesome. Maybe one day I’ll catch up to that level of cool. As for right now, I’ll settle for looking like a fool to get rid of this backache. I looked up some moves specifically for backaches and am giving ‘em a try.

4 – Chiropractor

Okay, I haven’t actually gone to a chiropractor, but I know people who swear by chiropractors. Frankly, I don’t feel like shelling out all the cash to go every week or two, but if worse comes to worse, I just might give it a try.

5 – Professional Massage

Doc said this could definitely help, and tbh I’m feeling pretty inclined to shell out the cash for one next payday.

*I ended up getting a massage, and it was amazing.

Do yall have any methods you recommend to relieve backaches? Let me know!

My Harry Potter Baby (Part One)

Published / by millennialcake / 1 Comment on My Harry Potter Baby (Part One)

harry potter, newborn photography

From day one, I knew what Jack’s nursery theme would be: HARRY POTTER. I started reading the Harry Potter series at age ten, and the last book came out the summer I turned seventeen. Over those seven years, I laughed. I cried. I cried really hard. And I learned to love reading. These books played a profound role in my life during some pretty darn significant years. Also, J.K. Rowling is one of the absolute coolest people in the universe. All right, I could go on for days, but I’ll spare you the time! We had an exceptionally talented photographer, Jessica Kennedy, from Lawton, Oklahoma take these photos in our home when Jack was just a sleepy five-day-old. I was so excited that she was on board with the Potter theme! Newborn photography can be super expensive, but these were worth every penny. Below are photos of just Jack, but I’ll have a Part Two post of his nursery!

house elf, harry potter, newborn photography

Dobby the Free Elf

A friend of mine crocheted these adorable house elf ears. I wish this perfect little hat grew along with him!

 

quidditch, harry potter, newborn photography, hufflepuff

Hufflepuff Seeker

 I guess I’ll forgive him if he gets sorted into another house.

 

mandrake, harry potter, newborn photogaraphy

Sleepy Mandrake

Yeah, yeah. Mandrakes are supposed to scream and cry. This kid didn’t make a peep through his photo sesh! Also, that same friend crocheted this sweet hat.

 

hogwarts, harry potter, newborn photography

Ready for Hogwarts!

No such thing as having too much Harry Potter paraphernalia.  

 

hufflepuff, harry potter, newborn photography

That Face Though

I can’t even.