Mom Self-Care. I didn’t really know what this even meant the first few years of my son’s life. I didn’t understand the concept. I tried a few times when I was finally cleared to exercise to go to the gym but since I was breastfeeding it was extremely uncomfortable and plus I missed my little guy. I mean I only had so much time in the day to spend with him since I was busy finishing up graduate school. All day I was taking care of patients in clinic, then I would come home to take care of him, and of course try to squeeze in some time with my husband. I didn’t realize that I was being self-neglecting and honestly after taking care of everyone else I was drained and had no energy left. The first year it was all about my son. His needs came before mine and that’s how I continued to live for the next few years until I realized I was going to emotionally and physically destroy myself. He was over 2.5 years old when I really looked in the mirror and realized those pregnancy pounds won’t miraculously come off, little did I know that those years changed my body permanently and that neglect destroyed it. You see, many don’t understand that those piles upon piles of stress can really affect not only your mind, but also your body negatively. There is no one else to blame but your self. You are the person who is responsible for your body and for your health. If YOU chose to put everyone else in front of yourself, then YOU made that choice. No one else did that for you. When they go over the safety measures on an airplane before take off they usually say put on the mask on yourself before you put it on your child so you can be able to help them. This applies to everyday life as well because if you don't take care of yourself you will not be able to take care of your kids, and they depend on you. Learn to love yourself and take care of your health. You can choose how you live. You are the only person responsible for what happens. When one starts blaming other people and other situations the only person who suffers is you. There is a tendency to fill yourself up with tons of unneeded negativity and that destruction comes slowly from within. Therefore, I learned to let go. Let go of the past and build on your future. Always move forward. Do it before it is too late. Accept the responsibility for your health, your body, and your mind. Start slowly and set three simple goals.
For me it was easy to make time to feed my son in the morning and give him is vitamins. I didn't for one second stop and make time for myself to eat breakfast and take vitamins before we rushed out the door. The only person who can stop you from achieving these goals is you. Make a change for better health. Write down your simple goals and put them somewhere visible. It will make your day and make you feel so good when you have accomplished them and then add to them. Set larger goals. If you don’t take care of yourself no one will. Make a self-care plan for yourself and follow through. One needs to be healthy and happy to have a healthy and happy family. At the end of the day, you will realize that leading a healthy lifestyle is actually a great example for your whole family.
Healthy, Happy Mom=Healthy, Happy Families
Download your free Simple Self Care Plan to change your life today!
Migraine: condition marked by recurrent moderate to severe headache with throbbing pain that usually lasts from four hours to three days, typically begins on one side of the head but may spread to both sides, is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound, and is sometimes preceded by an aura and is often followed by fatigue
I woke up to take my son to school and head out to work when something overcame me. I turned on the lights to find my clothes to get dressed but my eyes started to squint from the brightness. I felt dizzy and nauseous. The right side of my forehead was throbbing and I couldn’t make it stop. My head felt too heavy for my neck and I had to turn off the lights and lay down. I wanted to get rest but the nausea made me race to the bathroom, I couldn’t even keep water down. The long lasting migraine made me miss taking my son to school that day because I couldn’t drive and I had to call in sick to work. Migraines controlled my life and physically limited me. Unfortunately, according to the Migraine Research Foundation migraines are the third most prevalent disease in the world. Furthermore, it is the sixth most debilitating disease in the world. I mean who can work with a migraine? I know that once I get one, lights out for me for the rest of the day. I cannot function, I cannot take care of my family, or work. Migraines affect 28 million women in the U.S (Migraine Research Foundation). So many women suffer from migraines daily and don’t find any relief. I had them often enough that I would have to cancel plans, trips, and miss work. After having them non-stop for months at a time I decided it was enough and my body was really starting to not being able to handle it. I took the matters in my own hands and started noticing what really triggered them. I noticed that eating food with high nitrates, chocolate, cheese, or drinking red wine would trigger them. High levels of stress would also set them off as well as my menstrual cycle. So now I knew there had to be a change in the food I ate, the stress levels I endured on a daily basis, and the hormonal changes my body had right before I would get my period.
5 Tips to Get Rid of Migraines
Make time for yourself. Learn to cope with stress. See practitioners that can help treat the underlying cause and not just the symptoms.
Stay tuned for the next blog on how I normalized my menstrual cycle and eliminated the unbearable pain!
Today is Blue Monday. I wanted to write about it to bring awareness. It is supposedly the most depressing day of the year. Many get these feelings of depression because of the holidays being over, credit card debt is high due to holiday purchases, New Year's resolutions failed already, and just the sense of loneliness. Specifically this year is said to be the worst due to the politics and so many celebrities passing away. Reach out to a friend who you may think is depressed or reach out for help if you are feeling depressed.
Here are some tips:*
1. Surround yourself with family and friends. Call or hang out with someone who you are close to.
2. Exercise. Go for a walk, run. or to the gym. Exercising helps release endorphins and makes you feel happier, relieving some of that built up stress.
3. Write. Writing helps acknowledge your feelings and work through them. Sometimes it feels good just to write your thoughts out.
4. Plan ahead. Plan fun activities or future getaways. This will have you look forward to something in the future and get you excited about it.
5. Pick a fun hobby. Get a hobby. It will allow you to do something fun and make time for yourself.
*If there is someone you know who is experiencing depression or if you are yourself then always refer to a doctor for medical advise.
Self-care as a mom is sometimes on the bottom of the list of the hundred things you have to do. It is a tough subject for many moms. Mom guilt is mostly to blame. How do we go past it? Here are 10 ways to embrace, let go, deal with it, move on, & take care of yourself.
10 ways to start the path to self-care:
Remember that you shouldn't feel selfish about taking care of yourself because by taking care of YOU, you are building a stronger mom to take care of her family.
Happy families=Healthy families:)
My second daughter was born in mid-May and by mid-June I was spending at least a couple of hours each day on my computer, checking in on my online business.
I’d managed to delegate nearly all of the essential work for the day-to-
day operations of running the business and defer activities that only I could do, like run online course sessions, while my passive income streams kept the business going.
I didn’t want to commit myself to work during this special, unpredictable time. But I also had the foresight to anticipate that my creative spirit would not want as long of a rest as my healing, post-partum body.
So before my daughter was born, I’d prepared to work on the second edition of a book I’d written 5 years back. The book desperately needed a major overhaul and it was the perfect project for the relative downtime. I had gone through the first edition, annotating it with updates and improvements to make, mostly while receiving stints at the chiropractor to loosen up the unstoppable tension in my hips.
So my work was already carved out and compartmentalized into small tasks – perfect for the stolen moments I’d have as the mom of a newborn.
But here’s the thing. My daughter refused to sleep in her bassinet. My first daughter was “easy”, falling quickly into a regular nap and nursing schedule, sleeping 4 hours at night, you know, that kind of “easy”.
I wasn’t prepared for truly hard.
I wasn’t prepared to hold my daughter 16 hours a day while my husband picked up the other 8, just so she wouldn’t cry.
I wasn’t prepared to shut my brain off. I was prepared to write my book in short windows of time between nursing sessions.
So I did. I would nestle my daughter into the Ergo or Moby, do a few laps around the house, and then gently ease myself into my desk chair. Perhaps she found the clicking of the keyboard a familiar, soothing sound, as she had definitely experienced a lot of it in the womb.
No matter, she would sleep, sometimes for very long stretches. I would sit, baby strapped on, and write. Blissfully write.
But it wasn’t always this peaceful. Towards the middle of the summer, it was clear my project was going to be ready for an editor soon. But I had to find one! I remember a call to talk to an editor that happened on one of those tougher days we all experience as moms of newborns. I made circle after circle around our large kitchen island, wiggling and juggling her into short spurts of comfort.
One thing I learned is that people care less about these distractions than you’d expect them to. I’ve talked to my coach, various consultants, my virtual assistant, and even participated in a live course Q&A while baby-holding, nursing, and soothing.
After a few months of working like this, my back decided it was not a good idea. I literally could not put my daughter in a carrier for two days straight without my shoulders seizing up on me. During certain moments, I couldn’t even reach down to pick up her 10 pound little body. This happened two days before we were flying to see family out of state, when I would need to carry my daughter around the airport while my husband carried out then 2 ½ year old.
I went back to my trusted chiropractor and, you know what, my back got better. What’s more, as soon as we got to family, where we’d have a ton of help with holding our daughter decided she could sleep on her own, just about wherever. I’m talking on blankets at the beach, in patio chairs, and even in her portable crib.
We got through that hurdle, only to face another. I honestly don’t even remember what the next one was. I simply know that life with children has been one adjustment after another, as I figure out how to balance what I want for me with what they need from me. As my daughters grow and evolve and become more of themselves, I’m doing the same.
We’re on this creative journey together, my daughters and I, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. When the guilt pops up about my work, I gently remind myself that by seeing me honor my creative spirit, they will learn to honor theirs.
As a new mom, I wish you the insight to find the adjustments that work best for you and your children, the peace to honor your creative spirit in your own unique way, and good wine for the times when you just aren’t sure what to do yet.
Click here to download 10 Tips for Building Your Business the Momstyle Way
There is a good chance that what is going on in between your periods is a mystery to you. Most people have no idea that a woman is only fertile part of her cycle, let alone for how many days and when that might actually happen.
And the prospect of knowing exactly when you are fertile and infertile without any help from a doctor sounds ludicrous.
Yet, for about as long as we have had "the pill" we have known with scientific rigor how to teach a woman to find those fertile days and use that information in such a way that she can have an entirely natural, 99.6% effective birth control method at her fingertips. Has the fact that we've known this been trumped by our infatuation with the pill? Perhaps, but a huge chunk of women are now getting off of hormones and looking for a natural alternative. Since we have spent such a long time not talking about what those natural methods are (or making them endlessly confusing when we do talk about them), I want to help you understand the best of these methods.
What I'm talking about here is the sympto-thermal method of fertility awareness. This is one of a variety of fertility awareness based methods (FABMs). Some of these methods include outdated and ineffective methods like the rhythm method (I strongly recommend that you NOT use that method), and some are more modern and scientific (like the sympto-thermal method). What they all have in common is that they identify your fertile phase during your cycle and you avoid intercourse or use a barrier during that time if you are trying to avoid pregnancy or you concentrate intercourse during that time if you are trying to conceive. The reason some methods are worse is because they do a terrible job of actually finding your fertile phase.
You see, methods such as the rhythm method only use calculations based on past cycles to determine when you are probably fertile and probably infertile. The reason this doesn't work is because your current cycle can change, even if you've had regular cycles in the past.
Enter the beauty of the sympto-thermal method. This method is all about using scientifically proven fertility signs (that you can check in the comfort of your own home) that help you answer daily and with confidence "Am I fertile? Yes or no."
The signs that you use? Cervical fluid and basal body temperature.
Cervical fluid is a substance created inside of your cervix (that's the lower part of your uterus) to help make your vaginal environment more alkaline and easily swimable by sperm. It's not created all cycle, though, it's created only when estrogen levels are rising and high, which happens to be when the egg is maturing just before ovulation. That's why cervical fluid works as such a perfect indicator of fertility. Without cervical fluid your vaginal environment is like a death trap for sperm, since it's so acidic that sperm can only live for a few hours, tops. So when your egg is maturing and getting ready for ovulation, that's when your body produces this substance that will help sperm live and that you can actually see and feel. How do you see it? It conveniently comes right out to your vaginal opening. In fact, if you haven't been on hormonal birth control for all of your reproductive years you've probably noticed it as a slippery sensation when wiping or like some kind of egg whites coming out of your vagina. Yep, that's the baby-making juice in action.
Basal body temperature is a way of saying "your temperature at rest." To be most accurate with this sign you are taking your temperature first thing when you wake up on a daily basis. The reason you do this is because you can actually see a jump in your temperature after you ovulate. While that as help as knowing in advance that you are close to ovulation, like with the information you get from your cervical fluid, it's very help in that it can confirm that you are indeed ovulating and be a second sign confirming that ovulation has already passed.
When you put those two signs together, chart them so you don't forget anything, and apply a few rules to the chart you have one of the most awesome (and effective) birth control methods around. Not only are you getting a natural method of birth control, but it will teach you a huge amount about your body and leave you feeling in control and empowered.
About the writer:
It means to not ever be able to sleep as you were able to before
Step on toys spread all over the floor
Develop a strong sense of smell
Worry when the child doesn’t eat well
Be covered in poop and pee from head to toe
Sometimes feeling down and low
Invest in ear plugs
But get lots of kisses and hugs
Wipe buggers and snot
Hear your little one say, “I love you a lot”
Get hit in the head by flying toys
A house filled with loud noise
A mind full of lists of things to do
Never fully prepared for what we really have to go through
Learning along the way
Hoping that it will be easy one day
Investing in chocolate and wine
Wishing for a little bit of self-time
Loving every step of the way
Being called a mom every day!
When people ask me about a second child I begin to twitch a little. It's the same repetitive question I have been listening to the last couple of years. I appreciate questions of "How's being a mom?" "How's your toddler?" or anything else related to how I'm handling life in general. These are the questions that matter at the moment. Bashing with the question of, "When are you getting a second child" was sweet at first but it slowly transformed into more of an annoyance. It’s not just because I don’t know what to say, it’s because the answer to this question is tedious and no one ever has time to listen nor is it something I would like to share with everyone. Pregnancy and child prepping, those are all intimate topics. They are topics that should be discussed by only two people, preferably in private.
Can I be honest? I love kids and so does my husband. My first born is my inspiration. I always knew I wanted to specialize working with kids, but I didn’t know how interested I would be in the pregnancy field. My whole life changed after I had my son. I didn’t only physically change, but emotionally too. I became a different person. I became a mom. I fell in love with being a mom so it was an easy career choice to start helping other moms. If it means that I need to sacrifice the spacing of my kids to make sure I give a hundred percent to family and career, then I am willing to take it.
Most of my friends are now starting to have kids but I was the first one to be pregnant. I didn’t have the right support system back then. Pregnancy is a big step and it’s a much bigger step the second time around, especially if you don’t have the right support. Every pregnancy is different. Every baby is different. It's not 1-2-3 and go! I wish taking care of a second child would be as easy as asking the question. It’s not the groceries lady’s business nor my acquaintances nor friends. The thing is there is a difference between wanting and having. It’s no one’s business of course when we have our second child. (Unless of course they want to donate to the child’s college fund).
I honestly do not understand why it is such a hot topic. The continuous interrogation began ever since my child turned one. I am just feeling like a normal human being again, almost three years later. I am in no rush. I don’t have a timeline. I mean these questions have becomes so absurd that instead of greeting me, I get asked “When’s the second one?” or “Are you pregnant yet?”. I do not care if it’s done out of curiosity, or just simple love, it needs to stop. Someone even had the audacity to remark, “I am sorry you’re not having a second one yet, I feel really sorry for your child.” Really? YOU feel sorry for my child? My child is getting all the love and attention he deserves and YOU feel sorry for him? I don’t. I think he’s having the time of his life. I think people are ignorant. Yes in the long run having two kids, two years apart might be great because they will love each other to death, or kill each other in the long run. Who knows? One thing that I know is that I personally wouldn’t be able to dedicate myself to raising my toddler with a demanding newborn in my arms, because that’s the reality, my reality. I applaud those people who do. My husband and I are on our own. We’re raising our toddler and 5 year old puppy by ourselves and its up to us to decide when and if we are ready.
I am not racing nor competing with anyone; I am just enjoying the four of us. So next time you see a mother with a toddler and criticize her for not having a second child, maybe ask how she’s doing first before asking when she’s popping out her second one. Just saying!
I think as moms we sometimes tend to loose ourselves. We forget to love ourselves because we are too busy loving others. There is not enough time in the day to work, run errands, and take care of the house. Stay at home mom or working mom, it doesn't matter, there is still not enough time for yourself. In the first 2.5 years of my postpartum life I put myself last. I wanted to make sure that my son comes first. Even though at the moment I thought I was doing the right thing, I was wrong. You know that saying, "love yourself first so you can love everyone else." Its true. You have to. In order to raise a healthy and happy family, the key isn't to put the baby first. The key is to love yourself because then you will be healthy and happy in order to love your child maximally. I am sure there are moms that will disagree with me but trust me its not fun being last. You need to make time for yourself. It can be just an hour a day but you need it, you need it to clear your mind. Motherhood can be stressful and sometimes you just need to do that for yourself. I am still learning to make that time, but I have realized that once the mom is happy the whole family is too. In the short matter of time that I started to make changes, so did my husband. We were able to work out together, eat healthier, and just be overall happier. We made changes to be more actively present whether it was putting our phones away during family meals or just playing on the floor with our son. Healthy and happy moms create healthy and happy families! Here are a few of my ways that I distress and maybe they can work for you too!
1. Working out
-whether it is a walk, going to the gym, joining classes, or working out with other moms working out will help clear your mind and make you happier. Research has shown that when you work out chemicals such as endorphins are released that make you feel happy. A happy and less stressed mom? yes please! Invite your mom friends for support!
2. Play dates
-while the kids have fun, you can have your own fun and socialize with mommy friends. Its true when they say it takes a village to raise a child. You can't do this on your own and you need friends to help. Even talking to someone who understands what it is to be a mom can help.
3. Night Out with Girlfriends
-Girlfriends are an amazing support system, something I didn't realize before. Having left all of my close friends in another city when I moved, and being the first of many friends to give birth naturally I didn't have the right support system. Thankfully I made mommy friends who brought me back to life.
4. Date Night with the Hubs
-No matter what it is going out to the movies or staying at home and watching a movie you need it.
You need that time together
5. Spa & Pampering
-Massages, pedicures/manicures, hair cut just anything to make you feel good
6. Find an activity that makes you yourself again
-loosing my identity when I became a mom happened because I dedicated my whole 24/7 life to my now toddler. Find a hobby that you like and do it. You can't loose yourself and it's also a good way to stay sane. Mine is writing, can you tell;)
What do you do to stay sane on this journey of motherhood? I would love to hear!
Body Image. Such a hard topic for so many women. I didn’t realize how much my body would change with pregnancy and how afterwards it wouldn’t just jump back to what it used to be. I mean yes there are women who are blessed with getting back their pre-pregnancy body right away but most of us aren’t so lucky. I was ignorant to think that I would jump back into shape by breastfeeding. I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy. I was pretty fit before I got pregnant. I went to the gym all the time. When I got pregnant I was gifted with “morning sickness” except I had it throughout the whole day. Thank you hormones! Thankfully it was my 5th term in school (that’s when we were done with all of the tremendously hard science classes where the teachers tried drowning the weak-I made it!), and the easier term (kinda). I slept for 14 hours each day. I think I did my homework in my sleep. Anyways I did not have anytime what-so-ever to exercise. BIG MISTAKE! You know the images of celebrities popping a baby and then looking amazing? You see it doesn’t work that way for everyone.
Many claim that breastfeeding helps you loose weight and I applaud the women that are able to loose all their weight with breastfeeding, but honestly it does not work for everyone. I found out that the hard way. I know I’m not the only one like that because I heard other moms say they gained weight instead. True story. It’s a great way to get women to breastfeed but women should not count on it. There are things that have to happen postpartum that will help guide you to loose the weight. I wish someone took my hand and helped me.
I was too busy trying to finish Chiropractic school, breastfeed in the middle of classes (and argue with teachers not to count me absent because I needed to pump), and too busy being harassed by some of my teachers verbally. Looking back I can definitely say that it was a tough postpartum journey for me! The stress of leaving my newborn child with strangers who we thought were good nannies, but weren’t, also added incredible hardship (but that’s a story for another day). Looking back I really wish I could have put all the stress to the side and just had a calm, relaxing postpartum experience. Sometimes I wish I could rewind and re-live it all again just so I could stand up to those teachers that made my life hell, fire those nannies right away that neglected my newborn son, and just scream/cry for help. I obviously didn’t. The cry comes two years later when I finally have time for myself.
I am finally where I want to be. Specializing in what I love to do. Nothing is perfect of course and there is room for many changes of course but my husband gave me a wake up call the other day. My sweet husband looked at me while I was stressing over nonsense and said, “you have the time to take care of yourself, and only yourself now.” It was true. These past two years I put myself last. I forgot about myself and put everyone else first. I have finally reached the time where it can be all about me and I can start my self-healing journey. As a mom you need to remember to concentrate not only on your family, but on yourself as well. It is important for you to grow as an individual and then grow as a family. Now I understand my psychology teacher when he asked us in class one day back in Chiropractic school term 8 (when my little one was 4 months), who should be valued first in the family. The options were family as a whole, the baby, the relationship of the parents, or the parents as individuals? I chose baby. I was a new mom. What do you expect? Baby was my number one. Everything revolved around him and it still does but differently. I don’t have to worry that I have to rush home on a 5 minute break to breastfeed him. He is growing up so fast and doing a lot of things on his own. I realize that YOU as a MOM have to take care of yourself first. A happy Mom is a healthy Mom, and a happy/healthy Mom makes a happy/healthy family. There are so many things that I would have done during postpartum that no one told me about but now is my chance to inform other moms.
10 POSTPARTUM TIPS THAT I WISH I KNEW BACK THEN:
1. Breastfeeding MAY OR MAY NOT help you loose weight. Do it but don’t count on it. (I did….ergghhhh WRONG!)
2. You get super hungry when breastfeeding, at least I did. They say you need more calories when breastfeeding, BUT HEALTHY Calories!
3. I don’t care if you are a stay-at-home mom or a busy working (or going to school full time mom)- you will NOT have time to make healthy food throughout the day. Prep it the night before or over the weekend when your significant other can help. Cut veggies, fruits up so they can be easily accessible throughout the day. Other great snacks are granola bars, yogurt (there are non-dairy options as well), nuts, and dried fruit.
4. For quick dinners: invest in a steamer for veggies (can be used for baby later) because it only takes 2 minutes to wash the veggies and turn it on, the rest is all up to the steamer and they are ready in 20 minutes! Crockpots and pressure cookers are awesome as well. I loved using a table top grill to make some chicken.
5. Stock up on some frozen meals like ravioli from Costco or steamed rice from Trader Joes. They also have orange chicken to go with the rice which is one of my favorite fast dinners when there’s no time for cooking. This is better than stopping by fast food places! TRUST me I know. I ate at Corner Bakery and Panera Bread for most of my pregnancy and then postpartum (they were close to school and fast). Not a good idea.
6. Deny those cravings! It’s okay to satisfy them during pregnancy, not so much during postpartum.
7. EXERCISE. Find that time. Do it! And if you are breastfeeding it is a myth not to exercise. As long as you are cleared by the doctor then you are solid to start. I was told not to do it because either my milk will taste sour or I will loose all of my supply. Take it easy and do it. Dedicate at least half an hour to yourself a day. You can also go for nice, long walks with the baby in the stroller. Fresh air is good for the baby and you!
8. Stay hydrated and drink lots of water!
9. Get adjusted by a Chiropractor. My back was killing me when I was breastfeeding. I went to get massages but relief came and then went. Getting regular adjustments is the only thing that helped. If you are not breastfeeding, still get adjusted! Did you know that babies can get super heavy? I am still carrying my 31 pounds of joy and I really feel it in my back!
10. Love your body. It just made a baby. Take care of it. Realize it may not ever look the same again, but it is perfect in every way.
I am heading out on my new journey of changes.