Mom Knows Best… Oh, that’s me!

There was an article floating around about how when moms know best, it can be the worst. Although the article is talking more about allowing others around you (specifically the dads) to help more, it made me think about that phrase “mother knows best.”

I remember the first few weeks of caring for a newborn, there were so many questions and options to think about. A conversation with Mr. Pencil went mostly like this:

Mr. Pencil: “So… what should we do?”
Me: “I don’t know… what do you think?”
Mr. Pencil: “I don’t know, what do you think?”
Me: “I don’t know, what do you think?”

There are so many unsolvable equations involved with parenting. What time should he start going to sleep? When should we up his bottle dosage? When should we start sleep training? Is being a little cold better than being a little hot?

No matter how many guide books you read, they will never be able to give you the best answer for your baby. So basically when we don’t know what the heck we’re doing, it all comes down to the parents. What? Why? Because I’m the mother, duh! Oh right. If there is anyone in the entire world that should make a decision, it should be me! But I can’t help to keep looking around me thinking, “Wait… am I doing this correctly? Is this the right decision?” Even a nod from a total stranger would give me a boost of confidence. But when there’s nobody around you, I often feel like I’m spinning in circles just making random guesses. Is this what parenting is like?

Here are the guesses decisions I make on an everyday basis for my 3 month old:

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When Baby Doesn’t Sleep Through the Night

The question I get asked most frequently when it comes to Little Oats is, “So is she sleeping through the night?” My answer? A snort, vigorous head shaking, and an incredulous, “No.” I’m not quite sure where this fascination with sleeping through the night comes from; it seems to be the holy grail of baby behaviour. But of all the mommy-friends I have, there is precisely ONE who has a baby sleeping through the night. It seems to be more the exception than the rule.

As a newborn, Little Oats slept in 2-3 hour stretches, waking frequently to nurse around the clock. Her sleep started solidifying into 3-4 hour chunks around three months… right in time for the four month sleep regression. At four months, Little Oats was waking between 2 and 4 times per night, but she was getting a decent amount of sleep (and so was I). Naps regulated around 7 months, and she was down to 1-2 wake-ups nightly. I felt like I could live with this situation; I was getting about 4 hours of sleep in a stretch, and we were managing fairly well.

And then, 9 months hit. While I had read a few times about the “9 month sleep regression,” I didn’t expect it would happen to us. I didn’t think that her sleep could get a whole lot worse than it had been, and I wasn’t prepared in the slightest.

But it hit just the same.

The day after Little Oats turned 9 months, naps became a fight. Bedtime became a struggle of epic proportions. It would take hours to get her to sleep (often times giving up and just letting her watch TV with me), and when she finally fell asleep, she would be restless and wake frequently. Naps were skipped all together, or fought to the point that Little Oats would fall asleep at 5:30pm and mess up her night time sleep even further.

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What We Bought (and What We Tossed) for Baby No. 2

One of the most daunting tasks for first-time mamas is researching a never-ending list of baby products. I remember the neurosis very clearly – in fact, the first time I set foot in a Babies ‘R’ Us, I almost hyperventilated. There was just so. much. stuff.

The second time around, I thought very little about stuff. We reused just about everything we had for our first son, who was 28 months when little brother came along. That said, we still bought a few odds and ends, and got rid of a few things, too. Here’s our list:

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Chicken & Vegetable Pesto Pasta

When it comes to cooking, I’m not very exact. I definitely get this from my mom as she’s the queen of “here’s a casserole made out of some leftovers I had in the fridge and it turned out pretty well.” So, recently I experimented and ended up with a really tasty gluten-free pasta dish! Just two days ago I boiled a whole chicken, and had at least 2 lbs of shredded chicken left in the fridge, so I decided to use about half of the chicken to make pesto pasta. But, I wanted to add some vegetables, so I used what I had on hand and this is what I came up with. Some of the measurements are probably not exact, but are my best estimations for what I did this evening.

Sauteeting the chicken, veggie mixture in the skillet

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Hopscotch Twins & Life Updates!

It’s been a while since my last blog post where I shared our big TWINS news! I’ve missed sharing what’s been happening in the Hopscotch household these days. However, it has been because of all the activity lately that I haven’t been able to share anything – there has just been too much going on for me to catch a breath!

However, first things first, I’m excited to share that this fall we’ll be welcoming a baby BOY and a baby GIRL to our family!

While we would have been happy and excited about any gender combination (boy/girl, boy/boy, girl/girl) we’re pretty darn happy to be welcoming one of each! And most importantly, so far babies appear to be happy and healthy and I’m doing great as well!

Now, back to the reason for my blogging hiatus: a whirlwind of life changes! We found out about the twins at 16 weeks into my pregnancy. Over the 8 weeks following that news, we managed to accomplish the following:

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Finding “me” time

One of my biggest challenges as a parent has been carving out “me” time. It’s an ironic struggle, because as an introvert and a manager of a very busy, very social team at work, wind-down time has always been an essential component of my daily routine and I definitely felt less healthy if I didn’t get that time to decompress from a very social day. Before becoming a mom, I swore that I would make that time a priority when baby arrived. And then I became a mom and reality set in.

Much of this challenge is admittedly self inflicted. Mr. Carrot is ready and willing to manage the kiddo on his own any time I so choose, and we have a set enough routine that I could reasonably take certain evenings or time on weekends to do my own thing and he could step in. I just choose not to. After a full day at work, and a long metro area commute there and back, we only really have about an hour of time in the morning and an hour in the evening with our daughter, and the idea of skipping dinner together and cuddle/reading time before her bedtime doesn’t sit well with me. There are times when I have to travel for work, or my best friends, who live hours away, set a day for us to spend together, but nearly every day, you’ll find me at home, putting baby to bed, grabbing a quick dinner that Mr. Carrot usually makes while I put baby to bed, and squeezing in some couple TV time and a little reading before my own bedtime.

Lately, I’ve been realizing that no matter how much I don’t want to miss time with my daughter,  I’m doing myself a disservice by not giving myself some time to do my own thing. I no longer exercise because I won’t pull myself away from home a few nights a week to go to kickboxing or Zumba. I am not nearly as connected with my friends and especially my coworkers because I skip happy hours and evening outings. I no longer follow social media as closely as I used to, which keeps me from being as current on work-related developments and my own personal interests that I hope to turn into professional ones as I could be. Some of these things were always going to give once I became a parent, but dropping them almost entirely is not benefiting my physical or mental health. Studies show that a little selfishness can be a very good thingin many aspects, and my immediate goal is to figure out how to start making myself a bigger priority than I have been.

What are your “me” time routines and suggestions for carving out “me” time from a busy day?

Mrs. High Heel’s Summer Fun List

Ever since I read Mrs. Cowgirl’s original Summer Fun List two summers ago, I have wanted to implement one of my own – I thought the idea was completely genius! I am a huge checklist person… it just makes me so happy. Sometimes I even put things on my lists that I’ve already done just so I can get the satisfaction of checking them off! I knew I had to keep it somewhat realistic because I work full-time, and there are only so many weekends in a summer… but with summer also comes lots and lots of daylight, giving us so many more hours to do all sorts of things!

We’re only in mid-July, but we’ve already checked off practically half the things on our list. I cheated a little because some of these I knew we could probably do multiple in one day… like go to the beach and build sandcastles.  I also put the date we did things as we checked them off.  At the end of summer, I’ll snap a final picture as a keepsake of all the things we did (and when we did them) this summer!

I tried to mix it up a little – some of these cost money, others are completely free, still others could be done in the comforts of our own home… though I’m thinking I probably could’ve saved the create forts out of cardboard boxes for our Fall/Winter Fun List. Fall/Winter Fun List you say??  That’s right! I’m loving this list so much I want to make another one after summer’s over!  Lots of ideas churning in my mind already.

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