Monica’s New Mommy Must-Haves

As a mother, I feel like there are constant pulls in opposite directions.  My inner dialogue is something like this: “I haven’t showered in a few days, maybe I should do that… but look at that sweet baby boy wanting lovin’ and there’s all that laundry to fold!”  Or this common one: “You do know you’re going back to work in a month and have no sitter lined up… but how can I possibly find someone to care for my precious love in my place?!”

Before Deacon came along, I would have said my “must-haves” were much simpler and inward looking… with chapstick probably topping the list.  Now that I’m a new mommy, my go-to items have shifted from self indulgence to self preservation and providing for my family. 

These are not listed in order of importance, just the order that my brain processed them because I don’t have the time or energy for perfection anymore.  That’s a new mom skill I’m working on… Leading us to my first new mom must-have… 

Must-Have #1: Ability to Accept Expect Imperfection

If I started my day making a to-do list, it might look like this:

  • Care for Deacon – diaper, feed, burp, cuddles
  • Make & Eat Breakfast
  • Care for Deacon – diaper, feed, burp, cuddles
  • Laundry
  • Care for Deacon – diaper, feed, burp, cuddles
  • Dishes
  • Care for Deacon – diaper, feed, burp, cuddles
  • Tiddy Up Nursery
  • Care for Deacon – diaper, feed, burp, cuddles
  • Make Dinner … okay, you get it.

When you have a baby, people suddenly want to visit and spend time with you – well, not really you, but you and Baby are a package deal when they’re new.  Knowing the visitors you’ll be having, it’s tempting to think you can get that whole list done before they arrive.  Your house will look and smell clean.  You and Baby will look and smell clean.  It will be perfection.  

Let’s be real here.  Just let that go.  Don’t even resolve yourself to the fact that it MIGHT NOT be perfect when visitors come… Embrace the fact that it WILL NOT be perfect.  And that’s okay.  It’s more than okay, it’s almost perfection in itself when you learn to embrace life for what it is!  I’m not saying to give up or let yourself and your home fall to the wayside, I’m saying learn to love it for the good days and not so good days.  

Must-Have #2: Balm

Using natural products in my home and on myself has become increasingly important to me over the past few years.  When I found out I was going to have a baby, I knew it was even more important to live clean.  As D-day loomed, I decided I would make my own diaper balm, which turned out to be super easy and so worth it!  

Not only was this diaper balm an amazing relief for our little guy when his little bottom got owie, but it actually doubled as a nipple balm for me!  As I started the breastfeeding journey, I was SO nervous about cracked nipples and sores.  This balm has been a life saver and soothes any irritation that develops! I’ll put the recipe and directions in a separate post, so you can have the balm for yourself too! 

Excuse the condition of the label and jar – they are the result of  clumsy, 8 1/2 month pregnant multi-tasking.

Must-Have #3: Insulated Coffee Cup

Being a mom consists of starting a task, then having continuous interruptions and continuing to hope you’ll get back to your original task.  Only to realize you have no idea what you were even hoping to get done in the first place.  You will make coffee, misplace coffee, forget about coffee, then beg for coffee… an insulated cup is super helpful if you ever do get back to that once hot beverage, it might still retain a little of its original warmth.  

**I don’t actually drink coffee; for me, it’s typically hot tea or plain hot water.  However, I know the sleepy struggles that lead many parents to coffee!

Must-Have #4: Water Bottle

Along the same lines as the hot beverage situation, the time allotted to sit and drink is limited.  However, self-care is crucial and that includes staying hydrated – especially if you are a breastfeeding new mommy!  For me, the amount of water I consume hugely relies on the drinking vessel I’m using.  With this, I place a lot of importance in finding one that I can quickly and comfortably gulp from. 

My preferred bottle is without a doubt the hospital mug! It has a lid so I don’t spill when I’m awkwardly drinking it in bed, the fat straw makes it easy to guzzle water, handle makes it easy to hold, and ounces are marked on the side so I have an idea on how I’m doing… perfection.  Anyone else with me?!

Must-Have #5: Journal

Mom brain is a real thing… you will forget everything if you don’t write it down!  That might not necessarily be true for you, but for me, journaling has been the perfect way to retain all those little incidentals that you might have otherwise forgotten.  Not only does this serve as a record of what happened in you and your new family’s early days together, it also is a great release.  

Journal entries can be super quick and short while you take a swig of that hour old, but still warm coffee.  Or you can get a sitter (or tag team Dad in), go to the local coffee shop, and pour your heart out.  

“When I look at Deacon, I feel such love for this little boy.  God’s creation, our miracle.  It is crazy to think that 6 weeks ago he was the bump of my belly, the little hiccups and big churns inside of me.  He still loves to curl up on me in a tiny ball to take his naps and it is the sweetest thing!”

Monica’s Journal, October 17, 2018

Must-Have #6: Cloth Diaper Accessories

In conjunction with my desire to find natural solutions for our bodies and home, I also wanted greener approaches to diapering and childcare.  We took the plunge into cloth diapering.  

Diaper Sprayer – A diaper sprayer/bidet attachment to the toilet is a must have!  You could wash diapers in the sink or try rinsing them another way, but being able to spray them down right into the toilet is so convenient! This seems the most sanitary way possible too.  Plus, the laundry isn’t as soiled.  

Spray Pal – This spray guard encircles the whole diaper spraying situation, so to keep the “situation” from splattering on you and the walls!  It also has a clip to hang the diaper and/or insert to keep your hands out of it.  

Wet Bag – A big one for at the house and a small one in the diaper bag for on the go.  This helps contain some of the wetness and smell. 

We definitely got mixed reactions from people when they learned we planned to cloth diaper (some “ew” and some that warned it wouldn’t last).  But we are so glad that we made a healthier decision for Deacon, went a little greener, and are saving so much money.  Disposable diapers are seriously expensive!  BONUS: There are such cute patterns for cloth diapers!

Guess what… Chicken Butt!

Must-Have #7: Essential Oils

Pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils are without a doubt necessary for mom life!  I use them on baby too, but this post is about Mom… we can talk about essential oils and baby another time!

Essential oils have such incredible benefits for mental and physical health!  When looking for an essential oil, make sure you are getting ones that are quality, pure, and responsibly sourced.  I use doTERRA, a Latin derivative meaning “Gift of the Earth.”  It truly is just that, a gift!  Essential oils have changed the way I sleep, clean, and address ailments.  Here are some of my “Mom Must-Haves” of essential oils (my top 5):

  • Melaleuca (Tea Tree) – Purifying.  Useful for cleansing the skin and home surfaces, purifying the air, or promoting healthy immune function.*  
    • Babies can make a lot of stink, especially when cloth diapering!  I love diffusing this in our restroom where the rinse, unwashed diapers are bagged.  It makes such a difference in the air quality!
  • Deep Blue® – Soothing and cooling.  Ideal for encorporation with massage (if you can get someone to offer up a massage, tell me your secret!)
    • Toting around Baby and baby gear gets taxing on the neck and shoulders.  Deep Blue® can offer relief of this tension. 
    • Be mindful of how your body reacts to this blend if you are breastfeeding.  There is some Peppermint in it, which most likely will not (but could) impact milk supply.  
  • Serenity® – Calming, Restful.  
    • I’m not sure I can even define what this beautiful blend of oils has done for me.  It has helped with longer, more restful nights of sleep and quieted the stresses on my mind.  I swear with God’s grace and a bottle of Serenity, I can rest easy knowing everything will be okay!
  • Frankincense – King of Oils
    • Works as an intensifier when blended with other oils, great for skin health (including pregnant stretch marks), supports immune function*, and is grounding for relaxation!  I diffuse Frankincense for calming and include it in my immune support roller blend!     
  • Roman Chamomile – Calming, Soothing… for body and mind.
    • This is one of the oils in my homemade balm and let me tell you, it works! When I put it on, I love the aroma along with the soothing topical relief.  

Here’s a link to my site, if you want more information about doTERRA, want to make purchases, or would like to register for wholesale pricing: http://mydoterra.com/franklyessentialoils

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Must Have #8: Dryer Balls

Simply adding a child to the mix was enough to dramatically increase the amount of dirty laundry (he’s kind of a spitter).  However, you add cloth diapering to the mix and all bets are off!  Not only is there more laundry to do, there is also increased staleness if we don’t get to it fast enough.  Since I don’t like to use chemicals, like the ones in dryer sheets, I use these dryer balls and add essential oils to boost the freshness.  

Must Have #9: Camera

Okay, so I don’t even need to see your baby to be able to tell you that your child is precious and perfect.  Capture it.  Shamelessly take hundreds of pictures.  You can delete them later, but you can’t recreate these moments!  If you can take quality pictures with your phone, perfect!  But if you are phone camera challenged (like me), then an investment of a quality camera is worth it.

Just look at this little guy… 

Must Have #10: Forgiveness and Compassion

….. For yourself, your spouse, and even your baby.  

Baby: It can be challenging not to feel a little under attack after Baby spits up or pees all over you for the umpteenth time, forcing yet another wardrobe change for both of you.  It can also be challenging not to take it a little personally when Baby can’t sleep, thus, you can’t sleep… Or, when Baby screams out a demand.  Stop, breathe, say a prayer, and remember that these moments are fleeting.  It is all so temporary that to be unhappy with it is almost a waste of time.  

Someone told me, “Whether you love it or hate it, it’s temporary.”  When Deacon cries into the night or challenges me with spit up induced wardrobe changes… or douses the walls, me, and the changing table with urine… I remind myself this is just a brief moment in our lives.  The challenging times are just as temporary as the sweet giggles, sleepy coos, and biggest smiles that he reserves just for Mommy. 

Spouse: I recently laughed at and shared a meme about men’s useless nipples, for it was so relatable.  As a new, breastfeeding mom who is our son’s sole food source, it can be daunting at times when comfort from mom is all that will do.  Matt went back to work after two short weeks and I took the extended 18 week leave.  I have not regretted taking the extra time with my son, not even the slightest.  However, those first few weeks when he had gone back to work and I vowed to cover all nightly needs, since he was working, I felt bitter.  

Telling him “you don’t know how hard this is” left me forgetting how hard his role was.  Being a new dad, he was adjusting to diminished sleep, a hormonal wife, and all the changes that come with adding a new person to your family.  We had to speak about these changes and I had to remind myself of the value his work brought, even if it wasn’t right in the moment with Deacon and me.  

Self: This is 100% the most important person deserving of forgiveness and compassion… YOU.  You deserve to stop and breathe in the moment.  You deserve a shower, hot meal, glass of wine, pat on the back.  You have done the most amazing of things – grew a human, birthed it into this world, then loved it and kept it alive!

Forgive yourself for not making the dinner you had hoped to make.  Forgive yourself for crying sometimes and not always knowing exactly why.  Then love.  Love the amazing new person you are, a mommy!  Love the amazing things your body can do to provide for your child.  

And love this moment… this beautiful, temporary moment.     

One thought on “Monica’s New Mommy Must-Haves

  1. Essential oils and dryer balls are so good!! Two things I would have missed big time had I not tried them! Love the bit about letting go of perfection and self compassion. We all struggle with that, don’t we? Great post Monica!!

    Like

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