19 things I gave up when I became a mom

There’s an article floating around my Facebook newsfeed entitled “27 Things You Must Say Goodbye to When You Turn 27.” I read it mostly for the LULZ, because, at 27, I was pretty certain most of the things on it I had said goodbye to long ago. I wasn’t wrong. I had a mostly “Eh” response to it (unlike other people, who were much more, errr, emphatic about it). It did, however, make me think about all the things I said goodbye to when I became a mom.

1. A clean house. Gone are the days where my living room is not coated in a layer of toys, board books, and all the pillows and throw blankets from the furniture. These days I’m happy if the mess is contained to one room and not spread through the whole house.

2. Being on top of my laundry. I was never very good at keeping up with my laundry before, but eventually it all got done/folded/put away. I am pretty sure, since A was born, I have not had ALL the laundry done at one time ever. In fact, and I’m a little ashamed to admit this, we have dubbed our guest room as the “laundry room” as all of the clean, out of the dryer laundry gets dumped there and stays there until it gets folded. I was sorting it the other day and was pulling 12 month clothes out of the piles. A hasn’t worn 12 months since December.

3. Or my dishes. Of all the chores, the one I must do compulsively is the dishes. I cannot stand dirty dishes in the sink. I was slightly more lax on this when we didn’t have a dishwasher. Since acquiring one, I am less forgiving. However, it seems there is always a dish to be done, or a dishwasher to be unloaded, even if I literally just washed all the dishes five minutes ago.

4. Spending more than 10 minutes getting ready for anything. I used to have a very long, involved, and detailed routine in the mornings for class (grad school, not undergrad) and work, which could be doubled if I was going out somewhere fun. My basic routine now is shower, debate whether I truly need to wear make up/dry my hair before deciding nah, I don’t, and throw on whatever is clean and not too wrinkled.

5. Leaving the house not covered in some sort of unidentified stain. You would think this pertains mostly to mothers of newborns, but it carries on to toddlerhood. Even with my child self-feeding, I’ll still take a grubby yogurt hand to the chest and not notice it till it’s too late. At least I hope it’s yogurt.

6. Using the bathroom alone. I had always hoped this one was something other people exaggerated about, but alas, it is not. I now have a peanut gallery, every. single. time.

7. Taking showers so long all the hot water is gone. I used to love taking long, hot showers. I considered it a good shower if my skin was slightly singed from how hot it was and all my digits were pruney because I had been in it for so long. I don’t even know what I did during these long showers. Draft grocery lists, ruminate on how so and so at work had slighted me, contemplate the universe? Who knows. Now I’m just lucky if I get to take a shower daily.

8. Buying clothes anyplace other than Target. I mean, it’s just convenient. I’m already there for everything else I need in life, I may as well buy my clothes there too. Plus, who can resist Target’s clearance section? Not me.

9. Watching whatever I want on TV. My Netflix queue, once filled with high quality movies and television like Clueless, Steel Magnolias, and How I Met Your Mother, is now filled with Sesame Street, Dinosaur Train, and all of the Tinker Bell movies.

10. Eating whatever I want. And not because I am worried about being super healthy or not gaining weight, but rather because now there is a small creature who thinks everything is for sharing, and wants whatever it is I am having, no matter how many times I tell her “It’s yucky! You won’t like it. Yucky yuck yuck.” She’s just not buying it.

11. Sleeping past 8am. Even when given the opportunity to sleep in, my body just can’t physiologically do it anymore, thanks to countless early wake up calls. Plus, those hours before A wakes up are some of the only hours I have to myself. All of this depresses me, considering I used to sleep in past noon on the reg.

12. Having a clean car. My father and husband would argue I have never kept a clean car, and to some extent they are correct. It is not my number one priority in life. But adding a kid into the mix just made my already cluttered car 100x worse. My backseat is currently covered in daycare report cards and coloring sheets, even though she hasn’t been in daycare for two weeks.

13. Getting anywhere on time. I used to be so freaking punctual. I spent most of my high school days perpetually late, so I worked really hard to correct this in college and grad school. For several years I was even perpetually early. That’s over. Now I’m lucky if we are leaving the house at the time we were supposed to be somewhere.

14. Or staying anywhere until the event is over. I used to close any and all parties down. I was known to be at the bar till last call. Now I’m like “Oh sorry, but the baby’s bedtime was 10 minutes ago, gotta run!” at 7:40pm.

15. Day drinking. Unless it is a special occasion, or I have someone else to take care of A, this just doesn’t happen anymore. I actually did get to participate in some day drinking at my best friend Bailey’s wedding last month, and it was awesome, but John had to wrangle our toddler the whole time. You can’t have it all, can you.

16. Not making/getting dinner because “I just don’t feel like it,” and just eating Cheetos and chocolate chips straight out of the bag (with cheap wine as a chaser). I am now responsible for providing healthy, balanced meals for A. And because she gets hungry, like all the time, I have to either cook or pick up dinner daily even when “I just don’t feel like it.”

17. Having the “latest” anything. The MacBook Pro I am writing this on was purchased in 2009. Just yesterday, I bought a new charger for it since the original one died. That $84 was the first money I spent on this laptop since I bought it. And I am going to happily use it until the keys fall off. My iPhone is an iPhone 4, purchased in (brace yourself) 2010. Yes, I bought my iPhone four years ago. Here’s some context for you: I have only been married three years. But my kid? She has all the newest toys.

18. Leisurely drinking a pot of coffee while doing crossword puzzles on the weekends. This was something I used to do every weekend, without fail, since grad school. I’m not sure I know what leisure means anymore.

19. Actually, weekends in general. And Fridays for that matter. Friday-Sunday lost all meaning with A’s birth.

Of course, I gained a lot more than I lost when I had A. I learned what it means to love someone else unconditionally. I learned what it means to give yourself completely to another person’s well-being, and to be happy to do so. I gained a world full of smiles, snuggles, hugs, kisses, and giggles. And truthfully, I don’t really mind the mess. I save a lot of money on make up by not wearing it daily. A spoon left in the sink isn’t going to kill me.

I do kind of wish I was better about the laundry though.

In response to the original article, here at the age of 27, I still enjoy everything bagels with full fat cream cheese, because c’mon, I don’t have weekends anymore. Throw a girl a bone.

HSM’s Ultimate Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s day is around the corner, y’all! I am ashamed to admit prior to having Amelia I never thought much into Mother’s Day. I know, I know, I’m a terrible daughter. I mean, I love and appreciate my mother every day, but now having a child myself, I am way, way, way into Mother’s Day. Not so much because I love presents and cards and flowers (well, I mean, I do), but because I am into showing my love and appreciation to the mothers in my life way more now that I too am a mother.

I know gift giving can be difficult, and because of that, I have put together a neat little gift guide. Fellas, if you are looking for ideas, chances are something on this list will work (I am into almost everything on the planet at least a little, and I am very much a typical “girl”, so chances are something on this list will work for your leading lady). Mamas, feel free to forward this to your man, use it for ideas for your mom or MIL (or important mother figure in your life), or even buy yourself a little something. You deserve it!

Almost everything on this list is less than $50, because I know I am not the only person that needs to pinch their pennies, but everything is lovely and thoughtful, and a lot of it is even useful. A lot of it is also frivolous because sometimes gifts should be.  Don’t say I never did anything for you.

For the Coffee Lover

Adorable coffee cups (Like these, these, or these)

A French Press. I LOVE COFFEE. I seriously have two coffee makers on my counter, but I don’t have one of these, and the more I read about them the more I want one.

For the Tea Drinker

Ridiculously cute, vintage tea cups (use these, these, or these for inspiration)

A tea kettle. I always made my tea in the microwave (all the hard core tea drinkers are gasping in horror right now), until John got me a tea kettle for Christmas. I won’t say it changed the way I drink tea, but it is adorable and nice to have.

Loose leaf tea/infuser (I love this robot infuser and want him for myself!)

Tea brewing system. John got me this Tea Forte tea brewing system for Christmas, and I love it. It’s a really convenient way to make loose leaf tea!

For the Wine Aficionado 

Wine glass charms (How stinking cute are these? I am seriously in love with them.)

Stainless steel wine glasses. Summer is upon us after all, and summer is the season for picnics, outdoor concerts, and camping. While I am not above drinking wine out of a Dixie cup, every now and then it’s nice to look cool and classy, no?

In-bottle aerator. You know, if you care about things like “letting wine breathe” instead of just immediately chugging it out of the bottle. Oh, is that just me? Never-mind then.

For the Foodie

Spiral Vegetable Slicer. Making your veggies look like pasta is ALL THE RAGE on Pinterest right now, y’all.

My Family Cookbook. Better than a box of recipe cards.

For the Stylish Mama

Fun jewelry! Not necessarily even nice jewelry, just something fun, like a cool statement necklace or chunky bracelet.

Birthstone earrings. Especially good if she already has a pendant or ring with your kid’s or your birthstone.

A cute clutch (pair it with an invitation for a fun night out if this is given to your wife, hint hint)

A subscription to Stitch Fix (I haven used this for myself, but I really want to, and I have heard great things about it. You could also do BirchBox or Ipsy if makeup is more her bag).

For the Artsy-Fartsy Mama

Fun, original artwork. Etsy is a great place to go for stuff like this! I myself am partial to this, this, and this.

DIY something with your kids. Pinterest is filled with easy crafts to do.

For the music lovin’ mama:

CDs. Does anyone actually buy CDs anymore? If she has a band she buys all the singles on iTunes for, get her a few of their CDs, especially if they have older stuff she doesn’t know. Or rebuy some of her favorite CDs from high school or college, especially if it’s band you both loved and the songs have significance.

Cool old vinyl

Make a mix tape! Fill it with songs that mean things to her, to you, to you both, and to your kids.

For the Nerdy Mama (I told you I would have something for everyone)

Harry Potter nerds: This, this, or this, all awesome.

Doctor Who nerd. I never was able to get into Doctor Who, but even I still find this, this, and this cool.

Supernatural nerds. If you can’t get Jensen or Jared to make a personal appearance at her house, this or this is a good consolation prize.

Random things from around the Internet that I think are cool

Because who doesn’t love cheeky embroidery. I would want any of these in my house.

Personalize your voice sound wave. This is just plain awesome.

I feel like even a brown thumb like me could handle the moss in this adorable, recycled wine bottle terrarium.

Beach lover? Then she needs this!

If you are willing to spend the big bucks, this “A History of Existing Life” framed print is awesome.

These engraved, stackable rings are beautiful, but again, cost a lot of money.

My favorite online places for gifts: Etsy, Amazon, and Uncommon Goods. Sale sites like Zulily, One Kings Lane, and Rue La La are also great, but products often have short shelf lives and long shipping times, thus requires forethought.

Also a good idea: Hire a photographer for a family session, and whip up a cool gift certificate (this is pretty easy in almost any desktop publishing software, and there are plenty of free templates online). Most moms wish they had more pictures of them with their kids. I for one am always saying we need to do a family portrait session, but never seem to get around to doing it. Bonus: Everyone knows at least one budding photographer that needs material for a portfolio, so you can even do it on the cheap.

And don’t discount the power behind homemade cards and breakfast in bed, either!

What’s in my toddler diaper bag

You know, I’m always amazed to find how many searches of “what to put in my diaper bag” or some variation thereof bring people to this blog. My original diaper bag post and my travel diaper bag post get tons of hits still months after I posted them. Now that A is a toddler, my diaper bag has changed a lot, so why not give the people what they obviously want and cover that too.

The best part of having a toddler is they require way less stuff than babies. Leaving the house used to take for-ev-er because there was just so much crap to haul. I was constantly restocking my diaper bag with burp clothes, clothes, diapers, and everything else under the sun. Now, I can just throw a few things into my everyday purse.

I carry the Michael Kors Jet Set Travel Tote as my everyday purse, so if you prefer a smaller everyday purse, you will probably not be able to do so, but if you are a big purse person like me, it makes it easier.

purse

whats in my diaper bag now

Diapers/wipes: I mean, this is still a given, except now I only have to bring 2-3 instead of 10.

Sippy cup: I pack an empty sippy cup for water if we’re going somewhere to eat or to a friend’s house. If we’re running errands I make sure it’s a very, very, VERY leak proof cup, and I put water in it.

Snacks: My favorite on the go snacks are Earth’s Best Happy Snax, Plum Organics Super Puffs, good old Cheerios, or any kind of fruit pouch. The best snack container? Tupperware. The kind with the screw on lid.

Small toys: I always pack a few of A’s favorite smaller toys. Right now it’s a small board book, her Sesame Street phone, and Elmo keys.

Not pictured: Hand sanitizer, tissues, lotion, extra lovie.

What I DON’T pack anymore: Burp clothes (no spit up, no need), extra clothes (unless we’re going somewhere for longer than 2-3 hours, she’s had a diaper blow out in the past 24 hours, or I know the weather will be bad), bibs (if we’re eating out I always order not messy food).

This is probably the “bare minimum” of what you need. Granted, this is for short excursions, such as errands or play dates. If we’re going somewhere for a full day or longer, obviously we pack more. But for the weekly trip to the grocery or Target or a lunch/dinner out, these few, essential items are all you really need for a toddler.

Guilty pleasures

Everyone has those “things” in their life they desperately love, that make them happy and giddy. But for whatever reason, you don’t make these little favorites known for fear of embarrassment.

Yep, I’m talking guilty pleasures. One of the little things that just make life worth it. You have ’em, I have ’em, and now I’m going to admit mine to all of you, and fear public criticism and condemnation.

If you’re having a rough week like I am, hopefully this will make you feel a little better.

Reality TV: I don’t watch a lot of television, but if I do watch it, it’s probably a reality/competition show. I can’t help it, they draw me in like moths to a flame. American Idol, The Biggest Loser, America’s Next Top Model…I love them all, but my long time favorite is the Bachelor/Bachelorette. I can’t help myself. In spite of knowing how fake it is, and reading the spoilers each season on Reality Steve, I cannot stop watching the train wreck. I love the canned drama and the vapid girls/guys they always seem to cast. This season the bachelor is a total space cadet who has no idea what’s going on. It’s awesome.

Military homecoming videos on YouTube: If I’m having a bad day, or need a good cry, these can fix both circumstances, almost instantly. I find the longest compilation and just blubber. I literally cannot resist these videos. If they are linked anywhere, I must watch.

Shopping the clearance racks at Target (also the dollar spot): I literally cannot resist the call of the red stickers at Target. Do I need four v-neck tshirts in varying shades of neutrals? No, but they’re only $4! Same goes for The Dollar Spot. Ooooh, every random thing under the sun for a buck? Don’t mind if I do.

Filling up my cart in stores (or online) then slowly emptying it: I cannot be the only one who does this, right? I just like the idea of maybe buying these things, imagining what it would be like to have said things, then just abandoning that dream because I don’t want to spend the money.

Really, really, REALLY bad music: Most people would be ashamed to admit to the kind of music I like. I too am ashamed. Some people say there is no such thing as bad music. I say that’s a lie, it does exist, and I most definitely listen to it.

Pinning recipes I’ll never cook and crafts I’ll never craft on Pinterest: Like so many other modern moms, I too fall victim to the pretty photoshopped food porn and crafts on Pinterest. I pin them knowing full well if there is more than five ingredients and/or steps, they are never, never, never happening.

What are some of your guilty pleasures?

A few of our favorite things

It’s another cold, snowy, miserable day in Indy. I’m sick, A is sick, and it’s been really hard to get motivated to do anything the past couple days. My messy house can attest to that. So, it’s going to be a fun post today, y’all, because I need something light and fun. Today, let’s talk about some of my (and Baby A’s) current favorite things! This doesn’t need too much of an intro, right? Right, so let’s just jump right in.

1. Avent Natural Drinking Cup–I bought this a long time ago, and for whatever reason it has been sitting in the back of the cabinet, forgotten. We rediscovered it, and it’s been our go to cup. Toddlers can drink from all around the rim which makes for transitioning to a grown up cup easier. Plus, there aren’t forty bajillion pieces to clean. I’ve already put three more in my Amazon cart for Valentine’s Day and her Easter basket.

2. Stonyfield Yo Toddler Organic Yogurt Pouches–A loves loves LOVES yogurt. She hasn’t mastered eating with a spoon yet, so if she gets yogurt it means I have to feed it to her, and it’s always challenging because SHE wants to do it HERSELF, and it’s always a mess. I saw these at my last trip to Target, and I didn’t even care they weren’t on sale. She has mastered eating out of a pouch, and now she can enjoy her beloved yogurt ON HER OWN.

3. Look and Find Book–I bought this specific book for A last Easter, and she is obsessed with it now. She brings it to me several times a day. She doesn’t get the look and find part yet, but she loves the pictures. It’s not really a read to me type of book, but I make up stories based on the pictures and scenes and point out the different things to her. She really loves to hear me make the animal sounds, and she will “roar” or “moo” with me.

4. Aden and Anais security blankets–Having your child take to a lovie is both a blessing and a curse, I think. On the one hand, this calms her down almost instantly, and if it’s in her hands she will go right to sleep almost anywhere. On the other, if she’s got it in her hands she’s sucking her thumb, and I am not looking forward to the day we have to break both these habits which are now very clearly linked. But for now, A’s lovie is basically a fourth family member. We have several of them so there is always one laying around. She has one with her always (except at daycare, even I know better than to let her take it there).

5. Tea Forte tea brewing system–Obviously this is one of my favorite things not A’s. John got me this for Christmas, and I’m pretty obsessed with it. I’ve been drinking a lot of loose leaf tea lately, so if you’re in to herbal teas and such, this is a really easy way to brew it. The infuser is way easier to clean than others I’ve had.

Out of curiosity, how would y’all feel about me posting recipes here? I’ve been back to meal planning, which means I am cooking most nights of the week. Most of the things are easy to prepare and use very few ingredients, which means they are great for the working mom, or any mom, set. I’m thinking of doing a weekly feature on Wednesdays for weeknight meals, but wanted to get some feedback first. I would even consider doing contributing posts from other mamas with awesome recipes if that is something anyone else is interested in. Let me know what you think!

Winter necessities (for mama and baby)

It’s a snow day here in Indy. I’m pretty sure this is my first snow day ever. Growing up in southern Louisiana, it’s not something we saw a lot of, and the one winter I spent in Boston was mild enough that BU never closed for snow. We got 13 inches of snow yesterday, on top of the the 6-7 on the ground from last week. There’s over 20 inches of snow in my yard right now. Some of the snow drifts are over two feet.

It’s also really freaking cold. Like, the coldest it’s been in decades. Right now, it’s -15 and feels like -40. Let’s let that sink in for a minute. Negative. Forty. This is the type of cold that will freeze your skin if you are in it for longer than a couple minutes. Ridiculous. 

How are we surviving this ridiculous winter weather? I think we’ve adapted pretty well to the cold (not today’s cold, this cold is too damn cold), but there are a few things A and I could not live without this winter.

For Mama**

mom winter

  1. A good winter coat: Even though it makes you look like the Michelin man.
  2. Fleece jacket: I’m pretty sure I’ve lived in mine since October. Such a great layering piece.
  3. Leggings: To wear under your jeans.
  4. Fleece headband ear warmer: Because hat hair looks good on no one.
  5. “Utilitarian” boots: Ugly? Maybe. Functional and warm? Yes.
  6. Smart Touch Gloves: Because even in sub zero temps you need to be able to unlock your iPhone.
  7. Garnier Triple Nutrition Miracle Oil: Or any oil treatment for your hair. So dry. So static-y.
  8. Really, really, REALLY good moisturizer: I now know what it would feel like if my skin were made of paper. This helps.

For Baby

baby winter

 

  1. Reversible jacket: For my money, a thinner jacket with a full on fleece interior is the best bet for everyday use, but we still have the big, puffy coat for play time in the snow.
  2. Long sleeve onesies: You don’t want that cute little belly to get cold when the shirt rides up!
  3. Fleece footie jim jams: Or “blanket sleepers” as my parents call them.
  4. Snow boots: How cute are those? Seriously, I kind of want a pair.
  5. Mittens, mitten clips, and a hat with a strap: Mittens are a necessary evil for kids, and I dare you to keep them on your kid without mitten clips. I also dare you to keep a hat on your toddler without something holding it on.
  6. Really, really, REALLY good moisturizer: A is prone to eczema, which is exacerbated in dry weather, and in my opinion, Mustela Stelotopia works the best, even if it is freaking expensive.

**Not pictured: Wine and chocolate.

I sincerely hope it is warmer wherever you are than it is here. How are you surviving the winter weather?

My favorite apps for toddlers/kids

I was at lunch with a couple girlfriends from work yesterday, and A had to tag along because John is out of town. She is normally relatively good at restaurants, but because she is a toddler, she got bored with what I brought to entertain her. To keep her from grabbing at everything on the table she shouldn’t have, I did what any parent of the 21st century would do.

I pulled out my iPhone, loaded up one of her apps, and handed it over. And she happily played for 20 more minutes.

It’s amazing to me how my one year old can operate my phone and iPad.  She knows how to press the home button and unlock the screen. She understands that hitting the screen makes things change. She gets cause and effect, basically: She knows that when she does A on my phone or iPad, B happens and it makes her happy.

I don’t normally just fork over my electronics to her, but when we’re at a restaurant, waiting in the doctor’s office, on a plane, or anywhere else where it is generally frowned upon to run around like a crazy person (which she would prefer to do) or scream because she is being held against her will (which would happen without some distraction), having the capability to pull out my phone and keep her occupied for a while is a godsend.

There’s a lot of these lists floating around on the Internet, and my major problem with most of them is they are filled with apps that cost money. I hate hate HATE spending money on apps. It annoys me. And it seems more and more apps are becoming more expensive (does anyone remember when most apps were free or $0.99 at most?).

What I like about these apps is most of them are free. The only ones I paid for were Elmo Calls ($0.99) and Peekaboo Sesame Street ($0.99 for now, will go up shortly though!). The great thing about apps is you can change them out a lot, so your toddler has different games to play, which will keep them occupied longer, and keep everyone happy.

amelia's apps

1. Any Fisher Price app (Free): Fisher Price has a ton of FREE apps. Are they a wealth of education and game play? No, but they are basic fun, and great for older infants and young toddlers learning cause and effect.

2. Phone4Kids (Free with in app purchases): This basically makes your iPhone into a toy iPhone. The “screen” is loaded with different “apps” like weather, texting, a number pad to make “calls”, a doodle pad, etc.

3. PBS Kids (Free): We haven’t introduced A to much TV, but this app let’s A enjoy short videos from PBS shows, like her favorite, Sesame Street.

4. Elmo Calls ($0.99): What toddler DOESN’T want to call/facetime with Elmo?

5. Peekaboo Sesame Street ($0.99): Along the same lines of Peekaboo Barn or Peek-a-zoo, but with Sesame Street characters. You can either loop it for endless play or play in story mode, which ends with Elmo and Abby going to bed. This was on “sale” for it’s launch week for $0.99, but will probably be $2-3 or more here shortly. Get it while it’s cheap, people.

6. Xylophone (Free): What’s not to love about banging on something and making a lot of noise? You can either just hit the notes randomly, or it will guide you to play different songs, like Do Rei Mi, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Jingle Bells, Rudolph, etc, etc. You can guess what A prefers to do, I’m sure.

7. Shapes (Free): Games, quizzes, flash cards, and puzzles to help toddlers learn shapes. I really like the flash cards. Basic, fun learning.

8. Reading Rainbow (Free with a subscription option): I used to love Reading Rainbow. For free you can download five books per family, or you can pay a flat rate per month and “subscribe” to get unlimited options. At one, five e-books is plenty. There are different “islands” (genres) to explore with books on them. Also great for older kids. Parents, it records your kid’s reading (how much, what, etc), so you can keep tabs on it.

9. Letter Sounds by Rosetta Stone (Free): This is an app I have to participate it because it involves repeating Spanish words into the microphone on the iPad to make the character do whatever you tell it to (like dance, dance fast, dance to the left, etc). There’s a lot of research that says the earlier you introduce kids to foreign languages the easier they will pick it up. While I don’t think this will make her fluent, it’s a start and it’s fun.

10. Learn with Homer (Free): This is supposed to be for preschool/kindergarten aged kids, but it’s another good parent/toddler app. It has phonics, stories, science lessons, and art and recording tools. Plus it’s just a beautiful app with a lot of colors, which makes it very engaging for her and me both.

11. GazzilliWords (Free with in app purchases): You get three free words, fingerprint, rainbow, and balance (with the option to buy “booster packs” of more words). It reads you a short “story” explaining what the word means, and then has games to help “bring the word to life.” What I really like about this app is that it introduces words that are challenging to little kids, not just “dog, cat, ball” like other word books/games have.

What apps do you have that really hit a home run with your toddlers/kids?