Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Art of Extreme Self-care Chapter 4

Hello and welcome to The Art of Extreme Self-care postpartum style. For those of you who are new to my blog, last December I announced I would be doing a read-a-long of The Art of Extreme Self-care by Cheryl Richardson and sharing with you how I applied the principles of the book in a postpartum setting.  We will focusing on one chapter a month. Last chapter was about being comfortable disappointing others. Let's dive into chapter 4.

Rhythm and Routine

What I got out of the chapter:
This chapter is what changed my postpartum experience from one of perpetual chaos to something more manageable. Before I read chapter four I was constantly going with the flow on my baby's schedule. Many times I would stay up late after I put her down for the night because that was the only way I could get "me" time. After I read this chapter I decided to limit my me-time to only an hour. So if baby was in bed by seven, I needed to be in bed by eight. My daughter was a terrible sleeper for the first year, but usually slept for four or five hours the first part of the night. If I wanted the most amount of uninterrupted sleep, I needed to be in bed early too. Those precious sleep hours before midnight helped me get better control of the postpartum depression.

Cheryl also talks scheduling your tasks at work. One of the biggest issues I had returning to work, was focus. My day job is so demanding and requires alot of mental output. When I needed to focus on abstracting a case, I would turn off my email for the hour needed so I wouldn't see the notifications popping up in the right corner of my screen. I would respond to any emails after I completed the case and before I moved on to the next. This one simple change helped me be more productive at my job.

I also turned off the notifications on my smart phone. The first three months postpartum were so hard for me and just seeing all the email, Facebook, Twitter, and other notifications constantly bombarding my phone added to the stress and anxiety. I set an hour a day for responding to emails and social media, and unless there is something urgent I'm awaiting, I stayed off.

These changes have really improved my life for the better. I'm not 100% rigid about keeping the routine, except bedtime. That is one area I do not compromise unless it's a special event like a concert.

What areas in your life can you improve by establishing a routine?

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Sample Baby Registry

Setting up a baby registry can be a daunting endeavor. I know I cringed every time I thought about it. First, of all I despise department stores. Second, I was a new mom. What did I know what I would need?  Third, we lived in an 800 square foot condo that was already cluttered with our stuff. My head hurt thinking about adding all the baby stuff.
Than a friend who is a minimalist and a mom sent me a link to this blog post of an easy earth-friendly baby registry. I basically copied and set it up on Amazon. The beauty of Amazon is you can link other sites such as Babies R’ Us to your Amazon account AND you don’t even need to leave your house.
So I figured I’d share a simple registry that can be a good starting place for any new mom.
1.       Convertible play yard with bassinet & changing table(3 in 1). This is a wonderful thing for a home where space is a premium. The play yard can become a crib later down the road and it easy to move from room to room if necessary.
2.       Sheets & waterproof pads for play yard. At least 2 of each. 3 is the perfect number.
3.       Bottles. Glass is better, especially for heating. Whether your breastfeeding or not, bottles are essential if you plan on ever going anywhere in the first year without your baby.
4.       Diapers. Whether you are planning on doing disposable or cloth, be prepared to go through 12-15 a day the first few weeks. For cloth figure out how often you want to do laundry and go from there. If you are doing cloth you’ll need at least 5 liners, 6 - 8 is better.
5.       Diaper pail. For either cloth or disposable. It doesn’t have to be ginormous. For cloth think of how often you want to wash them; disposable, how often you’ll want to take the garbage out. 2-3 days is usually good, more than that the bin will get really stinky. I found a five gallon bucket with a lid works just fine for cloth diapers and a small-lidded trash can for disposables.
6.       Clothes. Most likely people are going to give you bags of hammy downs or loads of new outfits for your little one. If you do put cloths on your registry, make sure it’s a bigger size from 3 months on. Newborn clothes last a month if you’re lucky and during that first month sleepers are the easiest. I found that sleepers with a zipper worked best for me because I couldn’t never figure out the snaps. 4-5 newborn sleepers are plenty.  If you’re swaddling, 4-5 swaddlers are great.
7.       Car seat. You can’t take your baby home from the hospital unless you have a car seat. The kind that detaches from a base is the most convenient for newborns. Plus the seat becomes a great place to have your baby hangout. I used to put my daughter in hers and bring it in the bathroom so I could shower. They also rock nicely for soothing.
8.       A couple of toys. People love to buy toys for babies & children. Here’s a chance for you to choose what kind of toys you would like your child to have. Babies don’t really need many toys. A little rattle or wire ball will provide plenty of entertainment for them.
9.       Humidifier. Especially for newborns in the winter. Their respiratory tract is so delicate and they need the extra moisture when the heater is running.
10.   Baby carrier or sling. If you want to get anything done in that first month, you’ll discover wearing you baby is the key, unless you have one of those easy babies that will sleep anywhere you place them. I found Moby wraps were the best for my daughter in the first month. Baby Bjorn and Ergo Baby are also great.
11.   Burp cloths and bibs. You can never have too many, but at least 10 of each is necessary.
12.   Teething rings.  Those will come in handy in the future.
13.   Blankets. 2 for the home, 2 for travel, and 2 for spares.
And that’s about it. Simple and basic.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Art of Extreme Self-care Chapter 3

Hello and welcome to The Art of Extreme Self-care postpartum style. For those of you who are new to my blog, last December I announced I would be doing a read-a-long of The Art of Extreme Self-care by Cheryl Richardson and sharing with you how I applied the principles of the book in a postpartum setting.  We will focusing on one chapter a month. Last chapter was about mirror. Let's dive into chapter 3.

"Let me disappoint you."

What I got out of it:
Living up to other people's expectations has always been one of my downfalls. Most of the time I don't even notice that I'm doing it, until I get so unhappy about a situation and sit down to figure out why. Since becoming a mother, I've been forced to learn to let people down. Those babies sure know how to make you late for events, cancel last minute, change plans, and wreck all kinds of havoc on a mother's life. Babies also provide a easy ticket out to uncomfortable situations.

I love the three tips Cheryl gives when having to decline a request: 1. Take your time before responding. 2. Check in with you gut. 3. Tell the truth with grace and love.

I also liked how she mentions that when you decline don't over-explain yourself. That is one thing I struggle with because I feel I need to justify everything.

Here's a couple of scenarios where I applied the above three tips:

Being invited to a friend's house for dinner, but I'm so tired and would be keeping the baby past her bedtime. My response: "I'd love to spend the evening with you, but today has been an exhausting day and we need to get to bed early. Maybe we can do lunch sometime?"

 When asked if I can volunteer as a judge for a writing contest, something I really enjoy doing, but feel overwhelmed with working fulltime and raising in infant: "You know how much I love contest judging, but right now I've got way too much on my plate. Hit me up next year and best of luck."

Short, simple, and to the point. What about you? Can you think of ways to "disappoint" someone with love and kindness but still being true to yourself? Please share below.