Search Results for: Simply Wonderful Sweet Stuff

Simply Wonderful Sweet Stuff

Our family has a little treat to share, hope you enjoy, we sure did!

Share

Mother’s Day Giveaway 2014

We wish we could give all moms a morning to sleep in, a chance to pee by themselves, and someone else to do the dishes, but since that’s not within our scope, instead we’ve brought together the incredible companies that value and support breastfeeding by supporting The Leaky Boob community for a giveaway that gets us as close as possible.  These 4 prize bundles (a total value of: $ 2847) may not do the dishes for you but these products can make your mom-job easier and maybe give you a little bit of a break to just enjoy the sweet moments with your little ones.  Every mom deserves a winning Mother’s Day!  Good luck and a huge thanks to all you moms for all you do building our future.  Thanks too to all the companies that believe breastfeeding is important enough to support our community.  Happy Mother’s Day!  ~Jessica

______________________

Below is a list of some of our generous TLB sponsors, with information on what they are contributing to this giveaway, and links to any other promotions they are having.  Below that, you will find instructions on how to enter the giveaway.  This time, in honor of the 4 years that The Leaky Boob has been around, we have divided the prizes into 4 unique prize bundles.  Before you scroll down to check them out, there is one more very important thing you need to know: due to the large number of sponsors participating in this giveaway, and each of their shipping restrictions, we have decided that this giveaway will be for people living in the U.S. only.  I apologize if this restricts you from possibly winning this giveaway.  The U.S. is simply the one single place for shipping that all of these sponsors have in common.  Please, U.S. entries only.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Happy Mother’s Day!

Jessica, The Piano Man, and our whole family of TLB sponsors

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

5111-dk_004__2000w-2Arm’s Reach

Giveaway item:
Mini ARC Co-Sleeper® Damask

The Mini Co-Sleeper® bassinet is a unique creation that allows you and your baby to sleep comfortably next to each other from the moment your baby arrives. This bassinet enables you to reach over and draw your baby close for comforting and bonding. The innovative design also makes breastfeeding easy.

The Mini Co-Sleeper® bassinet is the ideal sleep solution for any concerned parent.

Arm’s Reach is also the generous sponsor making it possible for Jeremy, aka: The Piano Man, to speak with Jessica at 4 different MommyCon events in 2014, presenting their “Sex After Baby” talk.  Look below for more MommyCon information.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Motherlove adjusted Motherlove

Giveaway item:
Nurturing Life Giftbox.

Motherlove’s complete selection celebrating new motherhood! From pregnancy and labor, to breastfeeding and babies, these products nurture mother and baby with certified organic herbs and pure ingredients. These products do not contain any synthetic ingredients, fragrances or parabens commonly found in body care products. The perfect gift for the mother who is looking for only the highest quality, pure, natural products for herself and child. pregnant belly salve 4 oz., nipple cream 1 oz., birth & baby oil 2 oz., sitz bath spray 2 oz., diaper rash & thrush 1 oz., environmentally responsible Motherlove tote bag.

“Celebrate Mother’s Day with self-care!  All the ingredients for some pampering – just ask your partner for a massage and an hour or two to nap to celebrate in style.”

Motherlove is also the generous sponsor making it possible for Jessica to speak at all MommyCon events in 2014!   See below for more information!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

MommyConMommyCon

Giveaway item:
Two general admission tickets to any MommyCon location in 2014

MommyCon is a natural parenting convention that travels around the United States bringing organic parenting practices to the masses. The event features seminars and workshops on topics such as; birth, breastfeeding, babywearing, car seat safety, essential oils and so much more. Guest speakers include; The Baby Guy NYC, Honest Toddler, The Badass Breastfeeder and The Leaky Boob.

Use promotional code “leakyboob” for 10% off tickets at mommy-con.com

“We love leakies! Come leak at MommyCon!”

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

SOLEIL ELLIE BECO BABY CARRIER adjustedBeco

Giveaway item:
4 Beco Soleil Baby Carriers 

With the Beco Soleil Baby Carrier, crossing your straps makes wearing your baby comfortable and easy!  Beco’s award-winning design is celebrated by parents around the world.  Combining proper ergonomics with versatile features provides you the best babywearing experience.

Wear Beco from birth through toddler years.

Wear Beco on your front, back or hip.

Wear Beco with love.

Click here for more information on the Beco Soleil.

“This one’s for the Leakies! Soleil makes breastfeeding possible anywhere you go, Mama! ♥ ”
– the Beco team

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

milk-saver-box-product-lorezbellyrest4Fairhaven Health

Giveaway items:
2 Milkies Milk-Savers
2 Belly Rest Pregnancy Pillows 

• Milkies Milk-Saver: Save every drop of your precious breast milk with the Milkies Milk-Saver!  Attach the Milk-Saver to your non-nursing side to collect leaking breast milk while you nurse.  BPA and phthalate free!

Belly Rest: Finding it difficult to get a good night’s sleep as you toss and turn to find a comfortable position?  You need the Belly Rest Pregnancy Pillow.  This small, adjustable pillow is unlike any other pregnancy pillow you’ve seen.  Its unique design includes two small pillows joined together to cradle your hips and support your pregnant belly and lower back at the same time.

“‘A mother’s heart is a patchwork of love’ – author unknown.  Happy Mother’s Day Leakies!”

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

ErgoErgoBaby

Giveaway item:
Organic Collection Baby Carrier – Zen

Comfortable, safe, ergonomic and made from 100% organic cotton (Oeko-Tex Certified), the Organic Collection is designed with your family and the planet in mind. With fabric as pure as baby’s breath, each carrier is crafted with sustainable materials in a responsible, environmental manner.

“It’s true.  Our uber-comfortable carriers have made life easier and more active for millions of families across the globe.”

 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Blk.Shwl.2NurseBamboobies

Giveaway items:
Multi-pack Bamboobies Nursing Pads (3 pair regular + 1 pair overnight)

Boob♥ease 100% Organic Natural Nipple Balm

Bamboobies Chic Nursing Shawl with Flower Accent (color black)Bamboobies

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

PumpEase_Prize_Pack3Snugabell

Giveaway items:
A PumpEase Hands-Free Pumping Bra with Matching Wet Bag
A “Do Not Disturb – Mom at Work!” door hanger
A Breastmilk Storage Guidelines Fridge Magnet
A “Through a Child’s Eyes” Keepsake Coloring Book
Total Value: $71.00

PumpEase features patented, ‘no-stitch’ horn openings, guaranteed to accommodate any breast pump on the market.  Click here for more information.

Additionally, use promotional code “LEAKIE25” for 25 percent off at Snugabell.comAmazon.com, and Amazon.ca for the duration of this giveaway!

“Snugabell is honored to support the beauty of breastfeeding with The Leaky [email protected]@b.  Happy Mother’s Day, Leakies!”

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

il_fullxfull.502204921_j0lkKangaroo Care

Giveaway items:
A Flower Mama Nursing Necklace
(a KangarooCare bestseller!)
– winner’s choice of color

KangarooCare’s handmade Breastfeeding & Babywearing jewelry is obviously the most beautiful and stylish you can find on the market. It’s made out of the best quality natural materials, and is safe for all ages.  KangarooCare makes must-have accessories for breast-feeding and/or baby wearing mamas!  Handmade in Estonia.

Make sure to “like” KangarooCare on Facebook for special sales, promotions and news!  And find us on Instagram too: @kangaroocarebaby

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Arden slate 3 shotThe Dairy Fairy

Giveaway item:
An Arden All in One Nursing and Handsfree Pumping Bra

The Arden All in One Bra from The Dairy Fairy is the only nursing bra that multitasks as much as you do; nurse, pump handsfree, and adjust it to fit your fluctuating size – beautifully.  Click here for more information.

Additionally, use code “TheLeakyBoob” at thedairyfairy.com for a $10 discount.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

allseasonblack2Líllébaby

Giveaway item:
Líllébaby COMPLETE All-Seasons 6-in-1 Baby Carrier
(Retail value $135.00)

The best of both worlds – designed to keep babies and parents warm in the winter and cool in the summer months, the All Seasons features an adjustable center panel: zip up for warmth and zip down to reveal cool, breathable, 3D mesh.  It’s called complete for a reason.  The award-winning lillebaby® COMPLETE™ baby carrier offers more carrying positions, lasts longer, and includes more features than any other baby carrier.  

Click here for more information.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Muslin isla-nc-package-1000pxBMuslin Swaddle Package Boyébé Au Lait

Giveaway item:
Winner’s choice of Bébé au Lait Muslin Nursing Cover or Bébé au Lait Muslin Swaddle Set (2 winners)

“Happy Mother’s Day, Leakies!  Use code MDAY14 to receive a free tote bag with a purchase of $40 or more.  Be sure to add the tote to your cart!”

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

sara in park_miniMomzelle

Giveaway item:
A $25 gift card to momzelle.com

“Breastfeeding anytime, anywhere, in style!

Check out Momzelle’s Mother’s Day Sale: 
all nursing tops up to 40% off until May 12th. 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

imageMy Baby’s Heartbeat Bear

Giveaway item:
4 Lil’ Lions

The Lil’ Lion Kit includes an adorable tan lion and a special heart shaped recorder to capture the sound of your baby’s heartbeat in the womb.  The lion is a very soft fleece like material with poly fiber stuffing, and a velcro closure opening in the back where you can place the recorded heartbeat.  Massimo is approximately 9 inches tall.

My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear kits make the perfect baby shower gift or pregnancy keepsake!  Click here for more information.

Additionally, use code “LEAKY20” at mybabysheartbeatbear.com for a 20% discount.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

KoalaKin-127KoalaKin

Giveaway item:
A KoalaKin, Hands-Free Nursing Pouch

The KoalaKin® nursing pouch helps you bond with your nursing baby by freeing your hands for extra snuggles, diaper checks, and even reading.  Click here for more information.

KoalaKin is offering 10% off through Mother’s Day.  

“Buy now and save 10% on a KoalaKin for the soon-to-be-momin your life!”  

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Naked Nursing TankNaked Tank Logo 1Naked Nursing Tank

Giveaway item:
White Luxury Bamboo Naked Nursing Tank (a $40 value)

Click here for more information.

Additionally, use code “LEAKYMOTHERS15OFF” at www.thenakedtank.com for 15% off all naked tanks!!

Happy Mother’s Day, Leakies!!  Here’s to you and how amazing motherhood can be!!  Hope you love your new Naked Tank!!” – Carrie and Jen

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Shop-PackagesMrs Patel’s

Giveaway item:
A Combo Package 

The Combo Package includes:
– a box of Fungreek bars
– a bag of Chai Spice Milk Water Tea
– a bag of Munch Crunch

Our mission is to help nursing mothers. We believe our products can help women heal faster after giving birth as well as increase their milk supply.

Additionally, use code “leakymama” amrsmilk.com for 25% off through May 13, 2014.

“Celebrating mothers and supporting their breastfeeding journeys – Happy Mother’s Day 2014!” – Anhoni

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

NuRooNüRoo

Giveaway item:
4 NüRoo Nursing Scarves

The NüRoo Nursing Scarf provides endless options for coverage and style. Learn more at nuroobaby.com.

NüRoo® fabric is super soft, breathable, wrinkle free, and not distracting for baby. As an added bonus, you’ll love this fashionable scarf long after your breastfeeding days!

Customize your coverage: wrapped or draped, front and back, over the shoulder or around your neck.

Learn more here.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

IMG_1582Milk and Joy

Giveaway item:
an Organic Cotton Crochet Necklace

– Stylish for any outfit yet baby friendly! Each necklace is 100% organic, natural, and ec0-friendly.
– Perfect for Moms as they help to catch your baby’s attention while breasfeeding/bottle-feeding and holding your baby!
– A beautiful gift for any lady wanting to wear something pretty.

Check out Milk and Joy on Facebook here!

We create beautiful organic nursing and babywearing necklaces and bracelets. All of our products are handmade with natural materials including our unique 100% organic yarn. Each wooden bead and necklace chain are hand crocheted with this beautiful organic yarn. The wood buttons, coconut rings & buckles and wood beads are handcrafted locally and polished with organic beeswax and olive oil.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Giveaway items:
A Bravado Essential Embrace bra, Motherlove Nipple Cream, and Earth Mama Angel Baby Booby Tubes 

The Bravado Essential Embrace is the most comfortable, supportive, yet lightweight bra that you will ever wear while pregnant or nursing (any size/color – with phone fitting consultation with our certified fitting specialists).

Motherlove Nipple Cream is an all natural herbal salve that quickly relieves the discomfort of sore, cracked, nursing nipples.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Booby Tubes are natural, age, gel-free breast packs made with a 100% organic cotton shell and filled with all-natural flax seed.  Use warm or cold, depending on your nursing needs.

Basic Baby is both a physical store in Upstate New York, as well as an online retailer, offering helpful products for parents in all beginning stages of parenting, such as maternity, cloth diapering, babywearing, nursing, potty training, and more.  Get to know them at basicbabyshop.com

Additionally, find 10% off gifts for mom here

“Basic Baby wishes all the moms and moms to be out there a wonderful Mother’s Day!” – the Basic Baby shop team

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

DSC_9766_09.psdMelinda G™

Giveaway item:
A Smoothly Divine™ nursing bra in nude

Win the new Melinda G™ very pretty, very comfortable nursing bra with removable pads – wear with the pads for discretion and added OOOOMPH! or without the pads for natural contours – either way, you’ll look great!  Click here for sizing information.

“Mother’s Day and every day: Enjoy nursing your beautiful baby and watching your baby grow!” – Melinda

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Sculls_FullPanel_logo2

Tula Baby Carriers

Giveaway item:
A Tula Baby Carrier (Sculls print)

TULA Ergonomic Carrier is a soft structured carrier designed to support the bond between a child and an active parent.  The panel of our carrier was designed to provide support for the child’s developing spine.  Tula carrier is suitable from birth (if used with an infant insert) through toddlerhood.  It is ergonomic for the baby, comfortable for the parent and offers more prints and colors than any other carrier on the market. The Red Tricycle Winner of 2013 Totally Awesome Awards, Tula is the top choice Baby Carrier among parents all over the world.  Follow us on our Facebook:  TULA Baby Carriers.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Martini2Nurse Purse

Giveaway item:
A stylish, all-in-one Breast Pump Bag

Designed to hold your pump, cooler, all your gear and your personal items – it’s the only bag you’ll need to carry.

The adjustable, removable insert will fit nearly all models of breast pump, and is easily converted to use as a purse, diaper bag or tote when you are done pumping.

Roomy enough to carry any standard bottle cooler, with special area for a laptop or tablet, and a space for file folders. A zippered, interior pocket keeps your personal items safe, and 2 outer pockets are large enough for bottles or a commuter mug.

Click here for more information.

Additionally, use Coupon Code “TLB20” at nursepurse.com for 20% off your order through Mother’s Day.

“Happy Mother’s Day and Happy Pumping!”

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

imageThe Vintage Honey Shop

Giveaway item:
A Teething Ring Necklace ($27 value)

A handmade teething ring necklace for mama to wear while nursing her sweet little one!

We are a handmade shop that makes functional fashion accessories for mamas to wear & for their babies to enjoy!  We specialize in our beautiful teething/nursing necklaces & stylish infinity nursing scarves!  The Vintage Honey Shop is mama handmade in Nashville, TN.

The Vintage Honey Shop: Where paper & fabric stick!

Additionally, use code “MOM10” athevintagehoneyshop.etsy.com for a 10% discount.

“Happy Mother’s Day, sweet mamas!”
– Jen & Mel

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

AMB_Combo_Color-giftcertiftextA Mother’s Boutique

Giveaway items:
One $50 gift certificate for the “grand prize”
Three $15 gift certificates for the other 3 prizes
Valid on any item in the store.

Additionally, use coupon code “TLB” and you will save $5 off any purchase of $20 or more.

“We are giving away gift certificates to four lucky Leakies!  We support the breastfeeding moms and nursing in public is so much easier in our cute, stylish nursing tops!  Enter to win a gift certificate today!  And if you’d like to treat yourself to something else, use coupon code ‘TLB’ to save $5 off your purchase of $20 or more!”

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

UM.AdQuartPgShortUndercover Mama

Giveaway item:
an Undercover Mama Nursing Shirt

Mom Invented, Mom Owned, Mom Operated.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

baby-nip-washable-nursing-pad-usefortheleakyboobNursing Bra Express

Giveaway item:
Molded Seamless Washable Nursing Pads

Seamless, contoured, washable nursing pads that fit perfectly in your bra!  Leaks happen, be prepared with Washable Nursing Pads by Baby Nip™.  Leaks are especially common during your 3rd trimester when your breasts may leak colostrum and during the first 2 months of nursing when your breasts are adjusting to your milk supply.  High quality, soft cotton pads are reusable and the environmentally friendly choice among nursing moms.  Molded shape provides good fit an positioning in your bra.  Seamless shell doesn’t show through clothing.  Multi-layeres for absorbency.  Outer layer is 100% soft cotton.   Change pads when wet, wash with like colors in warm cycle, tumble dry or lay to dry.  95% cotton/5% polyester.  Made in Canada.

Size: 6-count.
Color: White.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

SpringCollage-miniOne Creative Mama

Giveaway item:
a mommy-baby matching shirt set (1st prize) – $55 value

A baby shirt or romper for the other prizes – $18 value

Winner can choose style/size/color

Additionally, use code “TLB” aonecreativemama.com for a 15% discount on any purchase.

“Hey leakies, One Creative Mama supports breastfeeding and we want to share our cute designs with all of you! Save 15% by using coupon code ‘TLB’ at www.onecreativemama.com and enter to win a baby shirt of your own!”

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

CezaraT Belly Support Panty #4000 after delivery with pink backgroundCezara™ 

Giveaway item:
A Cezara™ belly support panty

Cezara™ provides comfy belly lift and back support during pregnancy, after delivery and especially after Cesarean delivery, when the internal pad compresses and protects the scar, for more relaxed nursing without the concerns of baby resting on the scar.  Click here for more information.

Additionally, use code “May-2014-special” for special pricing at CezaraPanty.com through May 18th. 

“Mother’s Day and every day: Enjoy your pregnancy and your baby – in comfort!” – Melinda

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

And finally a special extra for our Leakies; a copy of the book that Monette Chilson, who recently spoke at Mommy-Con Austin, wrote about the deep life-changing benefits of yoga.

Illum_books 2

Sophia Rising: Awakening Your Sacred Wisdom Through Yoga
by Monette Chilson

(Bright Sky Press, 2013)

Giveaway item:
4 signed copies of Sophia Rising

Grounded in the quest for sacred wisdom (Sophia is wisdom in Greek), the book breaks down the spiritual foundations of yoga in a way that makes the deeper soul-level benefits of the practice available to anyone.  Whether you’re an avid practitioner who wants to understand how your yoga is compatible with your religious beliefs or someone simply intrigued but mystified by yoga’s twisting and chanting, this book will speak to you in a way that will help you live your yoga on and off your mat.  Sophia Rising has received the Illumination Book Award’s Gold Medal (spirituality genre) and the First Horizon Award for books by new authors.  It was shortlisted for the Hoffer Grand Prize and Montaigne Medal.

Monette Chilson is a contributor to Yogo Journal, elephant journal, Integral Yoga Magazine, and Christian Yoga Magazine.  You can find our more about her melding of yoga and faith at www.SophiaRisingYoga.com.

You can purchase Sophia Rising at Amazon.com and Bright Sky Press.

“This book will make serenity attainable even for the busiest mama on the block!” – Monette

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

WOW!  That’s a whole lot of TLB sponsor love!

$2847 of TLB sponsor love, to be exact!

Mother's Day Giveaway final2Below are the 4 prize bundles and the widget for the giveaway.  Remember, this is for U.S. entries only.  

And don’t forget to use the discount codes from our sponsors listed above!

Grand Prize Bundle- $946 value

  • Arm’s Reach mini Co-sleeper
  • Beco Soleil
  • Ergo Organic Collection Baby Carrier
  • Milkies Milk-Saver
  • Bamboobies Boobease Nipple Balm
  • The Dairy Fairy Arden bra
  • My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear Lil’ Lion
  • NüRoo Nursing Scarf
  • Mrs. Patel’s Combo package
  • Nurse Purse Breast pump bag
  • The Vintage Honey Shop Teething Ring Necklace
  • $50 gift certificate to A Mother’s Boutique
  • One Creative Mama: A mommy-baby matching shirt set
  • “Sophia Rising” book by Monette Chilson

Prize Bundle 2 – $629 value

  • Nurturing Life Giftbox
  • Beco Soleil
  • Lillebaby All-Seasons Baby Carrier
  • Fairhaven Health Belly Rest Pregnancy Pillow
  • Multi-pack Bamboobies Nursing Pads
  • My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear Lil’ Lion
  • NüRoo Nursing Scarf
  • Milk and Joy nursing necklace
  • Basic Baby prize pack (Bravado bra, EMAB Booby Tubes, Motherlove Nipple Cream)
  • $15 gift certificate to A Mother’s Boutique
  • One Creative Mama: a baby shirt or romper
  • “Sophia Rising” book by Monette Chilson

 

Prize Bundle 3 – $647 value

  • MommyCon tickets
  • Beco Soleil
  • Koala-Kin
  • Milkies Milk-Saver
  • Kangaroo Care nursing necklace
  • Snugabell prize pack (PumpEase bra, door hanger, Breastmilk storage mad net, coloring book)
  • My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear Lil’ Lion
  • NüRoo Nursing Scarf
  • $15 gift certificate to A Mother’s Boutique
  • Undercover Mama Nursing Shirt
  • Nursing Bra Express: Baby Nip Nursing Pads
  • One Creative Mama: a baby shirt or romper
  • Cezara belly support panty
  • “Sophia Rising” book by Monette Chilson

 

Prize Bundle 4 – $625 value

  • Beco Soleil
  • Tula Baby Carrier
  • Fairhaven Health Belly Rest Pregnancy Pillow
  • Bamboobies Chic Nursing Shawl
  • Bebe au Lait Swaddle Blankets OR nursing cover
  • Momzelle: $25 gift card
  • My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear Lil’ Lion
  • NüRoo Nursing Scarf
  • Naked Nursing Tank, White Luxury Bamboo tank
  • $15 gift certificate to A Mother’s Boutique
  • One Creative Mama: a baby shirt or romper
  • Melinda G Smoothly Divine nursing bra
  • “Sophia Rising” book by Monette Chilson

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Share

Blue hair, ultrasound, 5 girls, and Sugarbaby

This past week I dyed my hair blue.  Well, really teal and only chunks, not all of my hair.  I did this for no other reason than I wanted to and I needed to do something fun for me.  Being sick this long with pregnancy can get draining and getting in touch with my fun, pretty, living side seemed like a good step at the half way point of this pregnancy.  I thought nothing of it, dyed my hair, snapped a few pics, and shared with friends, family, and the online world.

Two things happened that surprised me.

1.  Some people were shocked, apparently they thought I was normal?

What does that even mean?

2.  I was asked if this meant we were having a boy.

Hmmmm… I never saw that second one coming.  The thought didn’t even occur to me, though I probably should have guessed some people would think that.  I am well aware, painfully so, that our culture places a heavy emphasis on blue for boys and pink for girls but since we don’t personally buy into, encourage, or support gender specific colors at all in our family, I sometimes forget that other people do.  But in our family, we all rock the colors we love just because we like them.  A favorite phrase around here is “pink doesn’t have a vagina and blue doesn’t have a penis and they don’t care what you have.”  We truly don’t believe that even a quick look at history or cultures reveal that color preference has any bearing on a child’s developing understanding of gender, who they are, and if they are male or female.  Nor do we believe there is any reason that one’s gender has any bearing on one’s color preference.  So instead of embracing what has essentially becoming a marketing gimmick designed to increase sales through “gender specific” individualized items, we just try to like what we like and be who we are.  Even if that means I have blue hair.  In our house, all colors are gender neutral, they are, after all, just colors.  By the way, we apply the same thinking to sparkles, flowers, bows, trucks, cars, trains, music, and any other inanimate object and our daughters interact with “boy” and “girl” play things equally.  We have what some would consider “girly girls” and some “tomboys;” both terms I hate since I don’t understand why they can’t just be “girls.”  They are each so different, so them, that their sex seems inconsequential.  Besides, this whole pink for girls, blue for boys thing is relatively new in the history of humanity.  Meaning it was all made up in the last 100 years anyway.  I love this article from Smithsonian.com looking at the history of assigned colors for specific sexes, specifically for baby boys and girls.

“It’s really a story of what happened to neutral clothing,” says Paoletti, who has explored the meaning of children’s clothing for 30 years. For centuries, she says, children wore dainty white dresses up to age 6. “What was once a matter of practicality—you dress your baby in white dresses and diapers; white cotton can be bleached—became a matter of ‘Oh my God, if I dress my baby in the wrong thing, they’ll grow up perverted,’ ” Paoletti says.  

I have to admit, I just find that whole fear the kid will be “perverted” if they are dressed in or play with items of the “wrong” color just silly and potentially seriously damaging.  The biggest problem I see with this whole ridiculous gender color thing is that much of society buys into the marketing hook line and sinker which means if you have a boy that loves pink and has a thing for sparkles he’s likely to face merciless teasing and unfortunately not just from his peers but likely from the adults in his life as well.

So far we bat for “team pink.”  Which I think is a stupid way of saying we have all girls.  Not thinking of the sexes as teams playing against each other in the great game of life I don’t understand this analogy nor do I quite grasp the desire for one sex over the other either way.  I know it’s real and I see many times parents hoping for a boy/girl and sometimes dealing with what has been called “gender disappointment” when they discover they’re not getting what they hoped for in terms of their expected child’s sex.  But I can’t even begin to identify with it.  Even more confusing is the fact there are quite a few people that assume The Piano Man and I know it all too well, that we are grieved to not have a son.  Worse, is that so many assume we’re having another child in an attempt to have a boy.

I’m not going to lie, this assumption angers me.  Chest tightening, face flushing, royally pisses me off.  In spite of telling myself these people mean well and are just curious, all I really hear is that we should somehow, for some reason be disappointed that we only have girls.  That this disappointment fuels our family planning decisions, the quest for having a child with the “right” genitals justifying adding to our family.  We have never considered having another child just because we wanted the other sex and we never would.  Back when we were adding baby #5 I had become practiced in hiding my feelings when such stupidity flew out of insensitive people’s mouths until one day when our 4 big girls were with us and we experienced a conversation that went something like this:

Woman:  “My, that’s a lot of girls, I hope dad is finally getting his boy this time.”

Me:  “We’re excited to be adding another little girl to our family.”

Woman:  “Oh you poor man!  You’ll just have to try again, so outnumbered.”

The Piano Man:  awkward laugh “I’m ok, love my girls.”

Woman:  “Of course, but every man needs a son, it’s just not the same.”

We awkwardly move away, ending the conversation.

The Storyteller, then age 8, comes up to The Piano Man and sliding her hand into his says:  “I’m sorry I’m not a boy daddy.  I wish I was a boy so you wouldn’t be disappointed and so alone.”  In a flash he held her close, looked into her eyes, and told her that woman was ridiculous.  The girls proceeded to tell us how they felt like everyone felt sorry for their daddy because he must be sad to not have a boy.  He assured them that he never had wanted a boy, he had only wanted them.

I never hid my feelings again.  Regardless of how well intentioned they are, someone says something insensitive about how we must want a boy, and they have positioned themselves in the direct line of fire of my pink and blue fast ball of correction as to just how stupid that assumption is and how hurtful it can be to my daughters.  If my daughters are present for the exchange it is possible I will be even more forceful and look for an apology directed to my 5 fabulous girls that my husband and I don’t regret in the slightest.  And don’t you dare pity my husband, he’s not outnumbered, this is his amazing family and we’re all on the same team.  “So screw you and your narrow minded views” might just be my ending flourish.  Not exactly eloquent but pretty to the point.

We are in no way, nor have we ever been, disappointed that we have not had a boy.  Nor have we ever decided to have another child in an attempt to have a boy.

Please note, I don’t look down on, judge, or think I’m better than someone that has been disappointed with not having the sex they had hoped for.  Everyone’s feelings are their own and just are what they are.  Given our society’s obsession with how we define the sexes, I don’t think it is surprising that some would be disappointed to not have one or the other.

For many people it is a big deal, I get that.  I understand it, even if I can’t identify with it.  Socially it is accepted that we’re going to at least want one of each sex and all that we associate culturally with the different sexes.  Sugar and spice and everything nice = girl.  Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails = boy.  Yes, we think it’s bullshit but for many it’s very real.  How I wish we could let go of our expectations and the marketing and just accept our children for who they are, not some narrow list of culturally defined expectations based on their sex but a rather embrace a complex range of individuality that may be influenced by their hormonal makeup without being all that is to them, their tastes, their activities, and their preferences.  Male and female are biological, masculine and feminine are cultural.  The range of masculine and feminine is huge, if we must pigeon hole them we need to at least recognize that the hole is so big we can’t even begin to narrowly define it.  I know how damaging it can be to individuals; as a woman that has long struggled with not enjoying being “nurturing” and other typically feminine defined character traits and interests, I’ve dealt with insecurities that maybe I’m not a “real woman.”  And I’m married to a man that is incredibly nurturing and not strong on many typically masculine defined character traits and interests, he’s dealt with insecurities that maybe he’s not a “real man.”  I can assure you, he is most definitely a real man and he tells me that I am most assuredly a real woman.

Tomorrow we find out Sugarbaby’s sex, provided Sugarbaby cooperates during the ultrasound, and yes, we do this even though we don’t care what sex this baby is (I explain why this is important to us here.)  I’ll go out on a limb and say what I think it is, knowing full well I could be wrong.  Since I first suspected I was pregnant I have felt this baby is another girl.  In fact, I feel I’ve known her name since I was in labor with Smunchie.  Even though I’ve been correct with all 5 girls before now, I wonder often if I’m wrong and “girl” is just my default setting after having 5 girls.  But I could be wrong and I would be more than fine with that.  Because it doesn’t matter to me.  All the big girls think girl too but they are open to having a brother, there will be no disappointment either way.  If Sugarbaby is a boy I would look forward to The Piano Man and I getting to raise a counter cultural son, just like we have enjoyed raising counter cultural daughters.  Another child embraced to be who they are, to buck cultural constructs defining their sex, and to enjoy discovering their unique personalities and interests.  Whatever sex, Sugarbaby is going to greatly enrich our family.

See Sugarbaby’s pregnancy announcement video here.

There are people rooting for us to have a boy, I know.  They want to see us have to “deal” with the shock having a boy would be after all these girls and think it would just be fun.  I figure having a boy will be a lot like having a girl, particularly at first and since we don’t plan on parenting differently based on the baby’s sex but rather adjusting our parenting based on the child’s individual needs the way we see it is it’s going to be an adjustment no matter what.  A wonderful adjustment, boy or girl, change is change and adding a family member is always a transition.  For a long time we always said we saw ourselves as “girl people” and even before we had children, we only imagined ourselves with girls.  Now I’m not even sure what that means, nor do I care since our daughters have taught us “girl” offers a huge range in personalities, interests, and actions.  Given that I’ve had my girls do all the typically considered “boy” things, including a big sister talking a little sister into getting into the toilet and flushing it to see what would happen, I’m confident we’ll be fine no matter what Sugarbaby throws at us.  Bring it kiddo, let’s have fun!

There is one major challenge I see if Sugarbaby is a boy: names.  Other than the one boy name we’ve had in our back pocket for the past 13 years of having babies, we just don’t have a boy name we love and we never have.  We joke that if Sugarbaby is a boy we’ll end up with Ophélia, Lavinia, Helena, Evangeline, Cosette, and Bob.  Or maybe George.  But Bob or George, there will be no fear of pink (or blue) here!

We will probably make an announcement of Sugarbaby’s sex at some point once we know but it will be a while yet.  Here’s what we did for Smunchie’s:

 

Share

22 Ways to Nurture the Nurturer

In Mother, Nurture Thyself I talked about how important it is for me to find time to care for me.  On The Leaky [email protected]@b Facebook wall and in the comments of that post we discussed just how hard it can be to find the time, energy and even means to make it happen.  But we need it.  Finding the time may seem like mission impossible but it’s so worth the benefits that taking the time to make it happen is worth the challenge.  Mission Impossible, no big deal.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find some time for you and, if you have a significant other, you and your partner together and help your entire family to find a healthy balance.

I practically throw a party if I was able to pee just once in a 24 hour period without an audience.  It’s a rare party indeed.  Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about.  So how to find the time to nurture yourself?  You have to start with recognizing that it actually IS important.  It’s like the safety instructions on airplanes: secure your own oxygen mask before helping children with theirs.  In other words, you won’t be any good to anyone if you pass out, so take care of yourself.  Because, let’s face it, burnt out people aren’t fun to be around.  Even kids don’t like to be around burnt out people, they’ll steer clear of them all together if given the chance.  Once you’ve acknowledged that this is necessary, it’s time to start planning a way to find yourself your own nurturing time and here are 22 ideas to get you started.

1. Think small. Sometimes what gets in the way of finding time for yourself is that we think too big.  We think it has to be a big block of time where we can get an entire scrapbook project done or a big night out.  But even small things can be energizing.  Have a stash of something small and special you can enjoy; a piece of chocolate, a bottle of your favorite nail polish, your favorite blogs and take 5 minutes here and there to enjoy them.  Personally I love the Endangered Species All-Natural Dark Chocolate with Cocoa Nibs, just 1 square with a cup of coffee or tea in the afternoon makes me relax a little, a quick coat of my favorite OPI nail polish during nap time, drooling over some delicious yarn online or a visit to SouleMama’s blog all make me feel like I got a little breather.

2. You’re not alone! Kids need time away from others too, even young babies need time without stimulation of interpersonal interactions.  Depending on the age of your constant companions (AKA kids) a great way to find some time to nurture yourself and model it for your children is to invite them to do it with you.  I know, I know, that sounds like I said to have your kids there.  I did.  What I really mean is for your kids to learn how to nurture themselves just as you do.  All growing up my mom enforced a daily quiet time for us kids, even when we were older.  This regular practice did at least 2 very important things for me: taught me it was ok to be on my own a little bit every day and that I liked being alone a little bit every day.  It probably also massively helped my mom be a little more patient with me.  Quiet time was a sanity saver when I was young and today it still is.  Depending on the day and what we have going on when, quiet time can be anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half.  When they are very young it’s nap time, as they get older they look at books, listen to books on CD, color, craft, play-on-your-own time and when they are of reading age it’s dive into a good book time.  Occasionally we’ll all enjoy quite time together in the living room where we set up a spot for each with cups of tea, blankets, pillows and books or journals and on simple rule: no talking.  I love this because I see my kids learning how to respect their own boundaries and meet their needs for quiet space for themselves as well.  A habit I hope they carry with them well into their adulthood.

3. Sleep. It probably goes without saying that most parents are tired.  Chances are strong you’re not getting the sleep you need.  “Sleep when the baby sleeps” is good advice but can be difficult to do particularly if there are older children or a whole pile of responsibilities (Mt. Laundry) you feel you need to get done.  So set the alarm.  You may find that getting to your to-do list is easier after a 20 minute nap and takes you a lot less time than you expected simply because you’re not as tired.  A few nights a week try going to be early even if it means you’re laying down just 30 minutes after you got everyone else in bed.  It may seem like you’re loosing time that way but you’ll make up for it in energy and focus when you’re better rested.  And don’t forget the power of sleeping in too, every great once in a while I set up a basket of special play things held back for special occasions for the girls to discover upon waking and Smunchie and I snuggle in bed as long as we can.  Even more unusual is when I put a movie on for the girls and head back to bed for another hour!

4. Wake-up! As I write this I am the only person up in my house.  It is blissfully quiet and I’m enjoying a cup of tea to myself.  I was out of bed at 5 in order to have this moment, sometimes it’s around 4.  Maybe not every day but a couple of times a week try slipping out of bed before everyone else gets up and do something for yourself.  You might not want to risk house cleaning, that could wake the masses but other quiet activities can be pulled off without anyone ever knowing.  This is so much easier when you’ve had a couple of nights of going to bed earlier or been able to take a power nap.

5. Step away from the sink. Nap time, the time when parents everywhere hope they will finally get something done, can also be the time you get a few moments to nurture yourself.  I have heard and even experienced that cleaning can be cathartic on some level and that’s great (like once, I experienced that once).  But that isn’t really nurturing yourself.  That’s house cleaning.  Sure, you probably keep yourself from going too crazy by scrubbing the bath tub and certainly in making sure you have clean dishes but you can take 5, 10, 20, maybe even 30 minutes to sit down and do something for yourself or take a shower.  Mt. Laundry and Dirty Dishes Swamp will wait.  It isn’t unusual for me to find taking that time for myself leads to me actually being more productive and energized in getting chores or organizing done later.

6. Know thyself.  When much of your time is filled with the sound and busyness of children it can be difficult to hear your own thoughts.  An inexpensive journal can be just the place to get your thoughts out.  Free yourself of any expectations for your journal, it doesn’t have to be well written, articulate, or some type of prose, just throw something down and see where it takes you.  Maybe it won’t be more than list making of the thoughts that are running through your head.  Journaling is a great activity when you’re sitting with a toddler fighting sleep or even making dinner and have it sitting on the counter where you can toss a word or 2 as they come to you.

7. Be flexible. At some point I thought I would never let my children watch TV.  Oh wait, I remember that point, it was when I had no kids.  But then reality hit and having kids turned out to be very different that I expected.  Read: I did a lot of the things I said I’d never do.  We’re still a minimal screen time family (none M-F, very little on weekends) but sometimes I need a break so badly that turning on a 30 minute DVD is worth it’s weight in gold and by the end of it I’m in a totally different place to be the creative parent I want to be with my children.  With my first baby I discovered that having The Piano Man give her a bottle of my pumped milk probably saved our breastfeeding relationship just because I felt like I was getting a break during that time.  Being flexible with what you planned to do in order to build in some space for yourself is an invaluable skill that will go far in managing the parenting ups and downs that are sure to come as your children grow.

8. Co-parent.  If you are with a partner then co-parenting is crucial.  It isn’t babysitting to be the only parent with one’s own children or step-children, it’s parenting.  Everyone will benefit from regular opportunities to be with each parent having time alone as primary caregiver.  For me, sometimes it is just running out to the coffee shop for an hour or so on a morning The Piano Man is home.  The hardest part often isn’t the kids or The Piano Man, it’s me forcing myself out of the house.  I find and create all kinds of silly excuses and often struggle with feeling somehow I shouldn’t go because I’m not fulfilling my role as wife and mother.  Over time The Piano Man has helped me to see how that communicates that I don’t trust him and that I’m buying into expectations about families that I don’t even agree with.  It’s funny too because he was the stay at home parent for 2 years while I worked outside of the home!  After my time away  I always come home to find that he has done things differently than I would have but it’s actually good for my children to have the skills and parenting styles we both bring to the table.  Plus, I’m excited to be with my family again after having been able to pee by myself and hear my own thoughts for a bit.  It’s good for all of us, I get a break, he and the girls connect more, I let go of my control issues, and the girls experience the unique parenting finger print of their daddy.  He and I also help each other find time by getting up with the kids and letting the other one sleep in, making a meal while the other one is taking a shower, or taking all 5 girls to the park while the other is getting a little bit of time alone.

9. What do you enjoy?  Not sure?  Find something that interests you, take a class if need be and start doing it.  I have lots of interests and hobbies that I enjoy: knitting, sewing, needle-felting, crafting, cooking, reading, writing, song-writing, art, photography and painting to name a few.  Wanting to be sure they don’t all center around my kids for both their sake and mine I’ve intentionally developed interests that don’t involve them or aren’t for them.  I work on them here and there as I find the time, learning to be able to work in short bursts.  Sometimes my children get to enjoy the results of my hobbies (i.e. knitted dolls, a sewn play farm mat) but the activity itself was for me.  Branching out into something new (I recently added the needle-felting) can be especially invigorating, try it!

10. Time-savers.  Find ways to save time, use the FlyLady method for house cleaning and decluttering, meal plans and weekly menus, and getting really good at using the slow cooker can add hours to your day.  I’ve liked my Crock-Pot for a long time but it was when I discovered Stephanie O’Dea’s A Year of Slow Cooking (and she has 2 books now too!) that I discovered that I down right love my slow cooker and now we use it several times a week.

11. Make the most of time. When I decided I really wanted to write a book I got Barbara DeMarco-Barrett’s book Pen on Fire to help me find the motivation and strategy in my busy life being the mom of 5 kids.  Learning how to see pockets of time in my day and to learn to make the most of them felt like someone gave me a gift.  While larger blocks of time are important for nurturing ourselves, tiny snippets of time tucked here and there can turn into a cumulative gold mine of self-nurturing opportunities.  Laying Squiggle Bug down for a nap or the night equals knitting, journaling, or brainstorming time and lately with Smunchie I’ve had to do a lot of pacing to get help her fall asleep and have started doing lunges, kick-ups, standing crunches and leg lifts at the same time.  Other ways to make the most of time is to set the timer when everyone is safe, fed, and set-up with something for them and take 10 minutes for you to do something that will be sure you are safe, fed and well cared for as well.

12. Go outside.  A change of scenery and fresh air for a tired, overstimulated, stressed-out parent is like a big cup of cool water to a marathon runner.  When the weather permits we head outdoors.  As a homeschooling family we take advantage of any weather opportunity to set up on an old, large quilt outside.  Bringing our school work, play silks and some books and toys, the big girls find their spots to read or work (up in the tree is a favorite) as Squiggle Bug enjoys exploring outside and Smunchie crawls after her.  When Smunchie was smaller she was either in a basket by my side or worn on me.  Our back yard or a park, I can knit, read or write as the outside world provides a relaxing change of pace and environment for all of us while I keep an eye on the girls being entertained by the great outdoors.

13. Get moving. A walk, a bike ride, a living room dance party, a wii work out, an hour at the gym, laps in the pool, physical activity gets your blood pumping and your body working.  Wherever you can fit it in or carve out the time to make it happen, physical activity will not only make you healthier (and your children deserve to have healthy parents) but will give your mind time to process all that you’re dealing with and release hormones that will give you energy.

14. All together now! While we all need time on our own and just one-on-one, don’t underestimate the effect taking time to nurture the entire family will have on everyone.  Family game night, reading together, and any other host of fun activities just to enjoy together, both regularly scheduled and special occasion family events will nurture everyone as well as your family togetherness.  Sharing the activities you love with your kids from time to time becomes a special opportunity, we have knitting parties in our house just because we all enjoy it.

15. Find community. Parenting groups, neighborhood community centers, churches, like-minded co-ops, school groups, play groups and more are opportunities to build community.  It’s a way to connect with others for support, hear that your not alone, and refresh your adult mind by interacting with other adults.  That can be revolutionary to your entire week!  Additionally you may just find a friend that will want to get together outside of the group and swap child care.

16. One for you, one for me.  There’s a balance of give and take to strike in most relationships.  With children it’s a lot of give and we don’t expect to receive anything in return, though we do receive a lot in the form of love and all things wonderfully unique to children.  So the take also comes from you, you have to give to yourself even as you give to your children.  Wearing my babies and small children has been a life saver not in just soothing them and getting stuff around the house done but also by letting me find time to myself.  With a content child on my back or front, particularly a sleeping one, I’ve multitasked all kinds of activities from creative experiments in the kitchen to sewing, from walks outside to working out (what a way to increase the work out too!), from knitting to installing one of my pieces.  I can meet their needs and some of my own at the same time.

Installing a piece at a gallery while nursing a 5 week old Smunchie

17. Tune out to tune in.  Vegging in front of the TV can be a nice way to unwind but once kids are settled for the night how often do you really need to hear someone else talk at you rather than with you?  Turning off the TV a few times a week and stepping away from the computer and phone so you can tune into yourself and your partner opens so many opportunities for finding things that nurture and energize you and your relationship as well as the time to take advantage of them.

18. Be intentional. Set and keep a few standing dates on some sort of regular basis, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually.  Time for yourself alone and time for you alone with your partner and/or friends.  A couple of times a month I meet with my good friend Monette (who blogs over here and is totally wonderful and inspiring) where we encourage and inspire each other with our writing goals and family life.  To keep it simple we meet at the same place on the same day at the same time, a Thai restaurant with an amazing deal on Massaman Curry we both love.  The Piano Man and I have both regular date nights (not weekly though, as much as I’d like to it just doesn’t work with our schedules right now) and annual special days such as the day after Christmas where we get a couple of sitters back to back and go out for almost the whole day.

19. Prioritize. If you can’t find people to swap child care with or don’t have friends and family that will babysit for free and spending the money on a sitter means you couldn’t afford dinner and a movie, skip on the dinner and the movie and get a sitter anyway.  Check for specials and free days or events at museums or community centers, visit the library or book store and just browse (hang out in the poetry section and read love poems together or head to the romance section and randomly select books to read randomly selected passages allowed to each other- very hot, very fun and very free), or any number of ideas from my super creative friends (and the our daughters’ godparents) over at datesonthecheap.com.

20. Work together. The Piano Man and I work very well together and I know that isn’t the case for all couples.  If you know there is something you enjoy working on together (we like cooking and songwriting) then schedule time after kids are in bed or when they are safely entertained with something and get working on it.  If you’re not sure how well you’ll work together, try something new.  Start a project.  Our Lunch In Paris has been so much fun for us, we don’t get a lot of time but we’re keeping it simple and working it in where it fits.  The whole concept was initially hammered out over the phone while he was pushing Squiggle Bug on the swing at the park and I was pacing the hall to lay Smunchie down for a nap and now we work our way through the book over coffee in the afternoon for about 20 minutes during quiet time about ounce a week.  We’re laughing, talking and brainstorming as we share the experience and grow in our relationship.

21. Ask for help. We are social creatures, we need community and the support of others.  Sure, you probably can do it alone but that doesn’t mean you should.  Friends, family, neighbors, church members, and fellow parents can be excellent sources of help and support.  Spend time developing a relationship with them and inviting them to participate with your family so you all get comfortable with each other, go over family rules and listen to your inner sense on someone but when you feel you’re ready, have them babysit.  An hour while you take a walk around the neighborhood with your phone ready while the kids are napping or in bed is a good way to test the waters.  We’ve just branched out into letting Earth Baby (a rather responsible 12 year old)Word of warning: only leave when your child is asleep if you are certain they won’t freak out if they wake and find the sitter there, be sure you can get home quickly and easily.

22. Think big. I know I just said to think small but you’ve got to think big too.  If you never think big you’ll never do big things, right?  Give it a try, ask a friend to do a sitting swap with you and go out alone or with your partner.  If you have family near you (I don’t and never have since having children) and it works to have them babysit then ask them to.  Seek out people through various connections that would be willing to give you some time, build relationships as a family and ask family friends to babysit once in a while.  I know it’s hard to leave your babies but they will be fine, you’ve given them so much confidence and security already that they will have a good time and be happy when you return.  And you’ll be teaching them that people DO return.  It’s object permanence just on a little larger scale.  Get a massage, go for a bike ride or walk, hit the antique mall, go see a show, something, anything without a small person hanging on you.  After your little one is no longer breastfeeding at night or will do ok without it, consider even bigger plans with overnight getaways and trips.

It’s not all or nothing.  Find a combination of things that work for you and be willing to change things as needed.  Right now the only real exercise I get involves having kids with me, walks, the putting Smunchie to sleep work-out, living room dance parties, family bike rides, etc.  That’s just how it is in this season of our family’s life but by combining some of these other ideas I’m finding a balance that works.  Even as a breastfeeding, homeschooling mom of 5, or maybe especially as a breastfeeding, homeschooling mom of 5 I’ve had to make taking care of myself and my marriage a priority.  After about the 6 week postpartum mark I can find at least an hour every few days to leave my sweet new baby in the arms of someone that loves her (in our case, her daddy) in order for me take a deep cleansing breath away from the ones that depend on me to care for them.  It’s a breath of health.  Not everyone can make all of these work* and you’ll have to find what works for you, creatively shaping your own path to nurturing the nurturer.

_____________________________________________________

What works for you?  When you find time for yourself how do you see it impact your children?

__________________________________________________________

*I recognize that individual situations vary in terms of support and resources.  The Piano Man is very involved as a co-parent and we’re able to find balance this way but not every partner is as available and single parenting presents a different set of unique challenges.  It is my hope that we can all seek out community that would help us find the time to take care of the whole family, including the caregivers and providers.

Share