Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Most Thankless Job There Is

Last night I finally climbed into bed after an exceptionally long and exhausting day. 

I was beyond tired, having woken up for the day before 5:00 AM, and thanks partly to the fact that I spent much of the night before comforting a child who had woken up terrified in the midst of a thunder storm, and nursing a baby who loves nothing more than to eat.

You would have thought that I would have fallen fast asleep the moment my head hit the pillow (like my husband does), but instead I just stared at the images on the video monitor, as it scanned back and forth between my children's bedrooms.  I was afraid to fall asleep, because I knew as soon as I did, like clockwork, one of my children would need me.

I have been feeling very needed lately, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, but it certainly can wear a mother out. There have been days where I have felt stretched beyond what I am capable of, and then some.  The daily routine that has become finding a way to divide my attention between the constant needs of an almost 4 month old, a busy and inquisitive four year old, and a sassy and sometimes dramatic 2 year old, is no doubt taking it's toll.

Yesterday in particular was one of those days where I wanted to lock myself in the bathroom with a bottle of rosé.  It was the third summer day in a row that we were trapped inside due to rain, following a weekend that I had single-parented my way through because my husband had been away. Over the course of these last few days, I had pulled out all the stops to entertain my little crew... movies, coloring, board games, Playdoh, even Happy Meals (gasp!)... you name it, I tried it.  Despite my attempts, the usual tantrums still occurred, the sibling battles ensued anyway, and the baby still wanted to be constantly held... I was feeling defeated.

I'm not the first mother to have three kids (or more for that matter), and I know for a fact that I won't be the last, but when you're outnumbered, you're outnumbered, regardless of by how many.

I spend my days sipping on coffee that has gone cold, wearing yoga pants that are covered in spit up stains, and much of the time my hair is tied up in an uncombed top knot.  Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I don't even recognize the reflection staring back at me.  There are bags under my eyes and the gray hairs that are growing in are too numerous to count.

I spend my nights wishing that I had accomplished more that day, struggling with the inevitable "mom guilt", and thinking that I really should make more time for myself.

Motherhood is one of the most thankless jobs that there is.  Much of the "work" involved often goes unnoticed. It is expected, and not always appreciated...

That is until after listening to you rant about the chaos that has become your life, one of your friends lets you know that her day has gone very similar to yours, and suddenly you realize that you are not alone.

That is until just before bed, when your four year old climbs into your lap, wraps his arms around your neck, and says "you're the best mommy in the whole wide world"!

Suddenly it ALL seems worth it, because you have just gotten all the thanks you need.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Nursing Essentials

August is National Breastfeeding Month, and seeing as I'm currently in the midst of feeding my third little nursling, it seemed to be a fitting time to share some of my nursing essentials. These are the products and items that I have come to love during my nursing "career".

I call it a career, because sometimes nursing honestly feels like a full time job.  My first two children were exclusively breastfed, and if you have been following me for awhile, you might know that neither of them ever took a bottle.  There wasn't a thing we didn't try when it came to attempting to get the two of them to drink pumped breast milk, but it didn't seem to matter, M&E only wanted the boob, and that was the way it was. If you want to do the math, I have either been pregnant or nursing for almost 5 years now... and when you have babies who refuse bottles, the equation works out to a mama who doesn't often get away... or at all for that matter.

Thank the good Lord, as of this moment, Theo is taking the occasional bottle, and I am desperately hoping the streak continues.  The comotomo is his bottle of choice, and you better believe I'm buying stock in them, since this is the ONLY bottle any of our kids has ever drank from. We have tried to make it a routine to offer him a bottle every other, to every 3 days, to keep him in the habit, but in the meantime he breastfeeds like a champ, and the following are the "essential" items that I use to keep up with feeding a baby who just LOVES to eat...

cover me ponchos nursing cover- Even after nursing three babies, I still don't feel comfortable doing so without a cover.  These ones are my favorite because their functional, fashionable, and they double as a car seat cover.

water bottle- If you nurse, you want to have a good milk supply, and in order to have a good milk supply you need to stay hydrated.  I don't go anywhere without a water bottle these days.

oat mama bars- Not only are these absolutely delicious, but they're full of ingredients to increase supply. The chocolate almond coconut are my favorite.

nursElet nursing bracelet- One of the most brilliant inventions I've seen, this bracelet can be used to hold your shirt out of the way while you're nursing, and it can be worn on your wrist to keep track of what you side you fed your baby off of last.

nursing/teething jewelry- Babies love to have something to play with/hang on to while nursing, so it helps when you can wear jewelry that is both stylish and safe for them to chew and tug on at the same time.  A few of our favorite shops are Mama and Little and Wright Design Co.

milk storage bags- If your baby takes a bottle, and or you must return to work, you will need to have a milk stash.  These are the bags I use to pump and store milk in.

bralettes- Comfort comes first these days, so I'm all for these pretty bralettes that just so happen to be easy to nurse in as well (I just pull them to the side at feeding time).  If you are large busted, I can't say for certain how these will work for you, but I wear a C or a D while nursing, and still find them to be supportive and comfortable.

nipple balm- This organic nipple balm is my favorite (as is the rest of this line of products), particularly in those first days of nursing when feedings can be a bit painful.

breast pump- This is the breast pump I have had since day one, and to this day, I don't have a single complaint about it.

undercover mama tanks- (not pictured) These are a new discovery for me, and I'm hooked (no pun intended). These tanks hook onto the straps of a nursing or regular bra and make nursing a whole lot easier.  They come in a bunch of colors and they are super comfortable.

Happy National Breastfeeding Month!

*** This post contains affilate links, as always your support of this blog is much appreciated.

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