Mother's Day: What Mom's Really Want

Mother’s day: What Moms REALLY want

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My First Mother’s Day!

YUP! This is my first Mother’s day (with an outside baby), which is super weird to me; like say what? I’m a Mom? I get a day to celebrate me, and not just my entrance into this world? Heck yes! Up until this point in my life, Mother’s day was where I celebrated someone else; my Mom, and Grandmothers, so I never really thought about what I would want.

As an adult I always chose to spend time with the Moms in my life. Typically, by going out to eat, or doing something together whenever possible. I tried to remember Mother’s day past, and I am haunted by really crappy Mother’s Day gifts I gave to them throughout my life (Sorry guys!), that they graciously accepted and thanked me for. Then I thought, well this is my first Mother’s Day, and obviously Baby Bear won’t be getting me anything just yet (although she’s super helpful in my Amazon shopping by pressing lots of buttons); so that duty will inevitably fall on Papa Bear, and all the other new Dads out there! Papa Bear has always been really good at making me feel special; however, I know that not all guys excel in this department and rely on scouring the Internet for advice and tips; MAMA BEAR TO THE RESCUE!

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The Breastfeeding working mom_ Tips and Must haves

The Breastfeeding Working Mom: Tips & Must Haves

Breastfeeding Working Mom: The REAL MVP

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First, I want to apologize for my lack of presence the last two weeks. Our little Baby Bear hit the four month sleep regression HARD…and stayed there for over a month. She also is now boycotting naps, which was previously Blogging time, so we are reformatting our day and trying time management in a whole new way! Anyhow, not that you care. I know, you’re only here for the Boobs, I get it.

 

So, nowadays the gold standard is breastfeeding. Which means, that if you are working woman, then you will also be a working Breastfeeding mom. Which sounds a lot easier than it actually is, and is a whole new way of living life. I will be honest with you here, I have been very lucky in my breastfeeding journey thus far with baby bear. However, my pumping journey has not been as easy-peasy; and I will admit, my situation is…well…unique.

I am a full-time mental health therapist, and I primarily see my clients in their homes. Which means I do a lot of driving. Which means OFFICE= MY CAR. On top of that, when I am in the office building, I do not have an actual office, so I have to fight the other 300 people who work at my agency for office space. That being said, I have been very lucky to have tremendously supportive coworkers and supervisor. My supervisor was also a breastfeeding mom, and has been extremely supportive and understanding. Which I’m very grateful for. However, it has still been challenging, and I am here to clear some things up for you.

The first thing you will need to do, set appropriate expectations. 1. You will not pump as much milk as you expect to. 2. Your breast milk supply will fluctuate with pumping sessions. 3. You will be seen by co-workers carrying pump parts throughout your building to find a place to clean them, and some will give you dirty looks. 4. You will have to store your breast milk in a company refrigerator; so be prepared to play lunchbox Tetris. 5. You will have to cut meeting short, schedule appropriately, and be open and honest with your coworkers about your time constraints. 6. Get ready to feel ridiculous, you’re going to be half naked in a place you never thought you would be, and TERRIFIED the creeper down the hall doesn’t “mistakenly” barge in on you. 7. You will need a bunch of stuff. Surprisingly, not just your boobs and pump….

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Top 5 two playerboard games

Top 5 Two Player Board Games

In Anticipation of Table Top Day on April 30th, I bring You TWO PLAYER BOARD GAMES!

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Papa Bear and I (and most of our friends for that matter) are big table top gamers, and spend a little too much time on Geekandsundry.com. We got into table top games when our friend introduced us to Table Top with Wil Wheaton (yup that kid from Star Trek, who plays himself on The Big Bang Theory), and the nerdiness just consumed us from there. (Table Top is an online show where Wil Wheaton and his friends get together, play games, and explain their nuances.) We like the show because we can decide if we actually like a game before we purchase it! We are big on quality time in our family, and enjoy staying home and playing games on weekends, many times just the two of us. Sometimes it can be difficult to find good two player board games, so I figured I’d share some of our favorites with you!

Carcassonne:

This is a European style tile laying game modeled after a French City is super simple and different every time you play. The objective is to collect the most points; you gather points by connecting roads, building cities/monasteries, and establishing a farm. You play a knight, a robber, a monk, or a super lazy farmer. Carcassonne is great for two players or up to 5 players of all ages, and really easy to learn and you could play for hours if you wanted to! They have great EXPANSIONS TOO!!

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Realistic new parent must haves

Realistic New Parent Must Haves

New Parent: A List of Things That Were ACTUALLY Helpful

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You know, I read so many articles, blogs, or Pinterest info graphics preparing us for parenthood. They had all this STUFF that we NEEDED in order to be good parents. If we didn’t have everything on their list then we would fail! Many of these lists were long and arduous, and to be honest, freakin’ expensive. They had like gold covered teething rings, and diamond studded pack and plays. That shit’s for the birds. Here’s a more realistic list of AFFORDABLE and useful things you will TRULY be grateful for as a new parent.

Binkis/Pacifiers

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Ok, so I know that Binkis are a “faux pas” for breast-feeding moms. All the articles I read said they were a NO-NO because they cause nipple confusion. That may be the case for some people, so it is really important for you to consult your lactation consultant first, but for us that was not true. Baby Bear has had reflux pretty much since month one, and a pacifier has been essential for us. The sucking reflex is really comforting, and the saliva it causes helps sooth the esophagus, keeping the reflux at bay. Also, many babies will spend time at the breast sucking just to suck because they find it soothing; using a pacifier will help baby learn to self sooth. But to be clear, make sure that you feel comfortable with your milk supply, and knowing your baby’s cues for hunger vs fussiness. Finally, using a pacifier for sleep has shown to reduce the risk of SIDS, so pacify it up in my personal opinion. We really liked the Free-Flow Avent Pacifiers, you may need to try a couple different brands/nipple shapes to find the kind that your baby likes best. I have heard good things about LATCH and MAM brands too!

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11 Things my _ferocious_Pitbull(mix) is afraid of

11 Things My “Ferocious” Pit Bull (Mix) is Afraid of

The Pit Bull Breed is Misunderstood.

I could take this time to go on a rant about this misconception and how much it frustrates me. Instead, I will talk about our family Pit (mix) Asher, more affectionately known as Boogie Bear. We adopted Boogie from a local rescue, Wags Rescue and Referral, after the unfortunate and unexpected loss of our previous beloved Pit (mix), Zuko. We went to one of Wags’ adoption events “just to check out their adoption policy,” then we saw Boogie, and my husband fell in love. He said, “that’s our dog.”

Boogie Bear was just over a year old, came to the rescue as a surrender from North Carolina with another dog. Boogie was severely under weight, bearing some not so loving cuts/burns, and named “Black.” When we asked his foster family if he was good with cats, he responded, “I don’t know, lets check,” and brought him to a cage of cats, for which he had no interest. “Is he house broken?” “Yea. Well. He did pee ON my dog once, but I think that’s just because he wanted to.” Ah, a dog after my own heart. He must be ours! We have had Boogie since the fall of 2013, an d we could not have asked for a more loving, patient, sweet and (as you can see) handsome man. That being said, he’s a big wuss. Papa Bear and I often giggle over the things that our perceived DANGEROUS Pit Bull is terrified of, and I wanted to share with my subscribers.

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Take your care into your own hands!

Patient Rights and How to Self Advocate

What you need to know about your Patient Rights before Labor & Delivery.

I referenced my super long labor in a previous post, and promised to dedicate another post to it, well I am making good on my promise. Because my labor did not go exactly as planned, I wanted to use my experience to help other mothers (and their support people) prepare for similar experiences. While this post will share my labor story, I will also outline in detail your patient rights when in the hospital. Also, I have developed a printable PDF to bring to the hospital to help subscribers self-advocate and make the best of their labor story!

First thing you need to know is that Mama Bear and Baby Bear ended up completely happy and healthy. Second thing you need to know , Mama and Papa Bear are planners. Like big time planners. Like wake up on a Saturday morning and plan our the weekend hour by hour planners…perhaps we are a bit extreme. So, when it came to preparing for our delivery of baby bear, we had it all planned out.

Our super well thought out completely realistic plan: We hired a doula, and were convinced I would go into labor like two weeks early. I of course would be home when I went into labor, and would stay home with Papa Bear, Boogie Bear, and our super supportive doula until the last second possible. (Eating all my super healthy labor friendly snacks, listening to music, and playing board games) When I arrived at the hospital, my favorite OBGYN would OF COURSE happen to be on call that day. My delivery would be all natural, and sans medical intervention (an epidural was completely out of the question) in a reasonable amount of time (you know, like 10 hours tops). Then I would change into my super cute nursing dress/robe and start bonding with Baby Bear, who we were sure was going to be a boy……Great plan right? PSHHH. We are idiots; hopeful idiots, but idiots nonetheless.

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Thoughtful (and Useful) Gifts to GiveYour PregnantFriend

Thoughtful (and Useful) Gifts to Give Your Pregnant Friend

How to make sure your thoughtful gifts are the talk of the Baby Shower!

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In my last post, I ranted for way too long about things NOT to buy you pregnant friend, so I thought today, I could give you some suggestions of really helpful and thoughtful gifts your friend will truly appreciate. As I mentioned, we were lucky enough (and very grateful), to have four showers and were given really thoughtful gifts for Baby Bear! I’d like to share some of my favorites so that you can give your pregnant friend a slammin’ gift, and be the envy of all the other lame-o shower participants.

Now, purchasing off the registry is fantastic and A-OK in my book, and I’m sure any other pregnant lady; parents take for-ev-er to create their registry, they change it about 600 times before their shower, and they triple-double check it at least 6 times to make sure everything they need/want is on there. But, sometimes, you want to give your friend a thoughtful gift that they may not be expecting, and usually they are very well received. The best gifts are ones that are made when keeping your friend in mind, and using lived experience (yours or someone else’s) about what is helpful for a new mom.

 

  1. Diaper cakes

“WHAT?! Didn’t you tell us Diaper Cakes are a no-go in your last post?” Not exactly. I LOVE diaper cakes. They are thoughtful and adorable, and a unique way to give your friend a gift, IF you use the diapers that they are asking for. As I mentioned, we were lucky enough to have four showers, which also meant four diaper cakes. You know my favorite part of diaper cakes? The fun stuff you find INSIDE them! Diaper cakes are so creative, and obviously useful, and sort-of like a grown up cracker jack box! I always loved finishing the top-tier of diapers to find the creative/thoughtful/useful things people put in the center! We had teethers, toys, diaper cream, baby lotion, and packs of pacifiers! It was a small detail that was a fun surprise a few months down the line, truly a gift that keeps giving!

  1. Useful household items

So, babies wreak havoc on your home. Well, really your sleep deprived overwhelmed self wreaks the havoc, but for the sake of self-preservation, lets blame the baby. Gifts that people rarely consider are the ones that aren’t “cute” or covered in “adorable” baby monkeys. One of my sorority sisters (Thanks Big!), gave me one of the most useful gifts I received, it wasn’t on my registry, and its something I NEVER would have thought of, and really, it was just the wrapping…A LAUNDRY BASKET! Babies poop and drool on EVERY damn thing, I swear I could use soiled onesies or drool bibs as currency. She of course filled said basket with items on our registry, onesies, and other handmade gifts; but this was such a useful and thoughtful detail to the gift, it makes me think how helpful it would have been if people gave other household items too! Now accepting toilet paper, brooms, and cat litter as gifts…..What, is that weird? Continue reading  

GIfts not to give your pregnant friend

Gifts Not to Give Your Pregnant Friend

How to avoid Baby Shower Faux pas Gifts

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So, as a recently pregnant lady, I feel like this is a topic needs to be discussed. Baby bear is our first child, and in turn, my first pregnancy, so I wasn’t really prepared to deal with the influx of STUFF that we received. (Who knew tiny adorable blobs needed so many things!?). We were lucky enough to be given four baby showers, and some fantastic gifts! Our families, friends, and respective coworkers were all so generous and kind, making sure that we were plenty prepared for baby bear’s arrival. While I am very grateful for all the support our friends, family, and coworkers gave us, and all the great gifts they supplied us with, some of the gifts that were given to us were…. unnecessary. I know intentions were pure, and people get super excited about babies and channel their own preferences and excitement when purchasing baby gifts, but sometimes, your own choices are misguided as gifts for others. I would like to give some learned insight to my readers so that they can give thoughtful and much appreciated gifts to their pregnant friends! I also apologize in advance for my bluntness.

 

  1. Diaper Cakes

Ok, so let me be clear, Diaper Cakes are super cute and an AMAZING gift for a friend. IF, and there is a BIG IF here, they are the brand of diapers they have on their registry. I must admit, I am guilty of doing this myself. Sorry past pregnant friends (specifically JB and CL)!

Let me paint you a picture. You’re surfing Pinterest looking up super cute baby themed gifts, and you come across this fantastic glorious Diaper Cake DIY, and you think to yourself, “I WILL CONQUER YOU!” Then you go to target, you stand in the diaper isle and think to yourself…. “Do I buy the giant box of pampers diapers they put on their registry (with is cost of a gift itself), or do I buy these off brand store brand diapers AND get them a gift?” The generous person typically goes with the ladder. WRONG.

Fast forward to the baby shower. Mom to be, “OMG this is adorable! We are going to put in some super cute baby name’s room until we have to use it!!” Every ooh’s and ahhh’s and gives you all sorts of praise for your conquest. You feel victorious!

Fast-forward two months: Its bedtime, the diaper basket runs out, baby is sleepy, and so is mom. She’s out of Diapers and thinks, “well, I guess it’s time to use this diaper cake, it sure was thoughtful of insert your name here to make this for me. I feel bad using it and ruining all her hard work.”

Fast-forward three hours: It’s the middle of the night, baby is screaming for its 3am feeding. Mom is half asleep, and is rudely awaken by a giant massive poopie blow out. “What the shit kind of diapers are these?! Why would anyone do this to me, why couldn’t she just buy the pampers?! Damn you insert your name here! Now I’m stuck with these stupid diapers for god knows how long! DO THEY EVEN WORK? Are they even diapers, or are they little demons sent from hell to ruin my life?!” Now, your once grateful friend is crying into you off-brand diapers and cursing your name. Is that what you want? I didn’t think so.

Just buy the Pampers, or don’t make the cake.

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Maternity Leave

Ten (plus one) ways to ENJOY your Maternity Leave.

Happily Adjusting to Motherhood during Maternity Leave

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As I sit here watching my Baby Bear play on her play gym on the last day of my maternity leave, I am filled with overwhelming love, joy, sadness, and absolute guilt. She’s laying there happy as a lamb, punching that insipid monkey rattle right in his pompous face and giving the puppy teether a what-for; and I can’t help but wonder what will be going through her mind when someone else is sitting on this cold floor next to her cheering on the battle to the death with Mothra (also known as Freddy the Firefly). Will she miss me? Will she boycott naps, or organize a sit in? (She’s highly advanced!) Will I survive? Will I just cry so hard that my eyes fall out? Even worse, will I enjoy it? Will I be happy to go back to work and leave her in the hands of another? Am I a bad mother? So many things speeding through my brain some thoughts rational, some of them completely asinine! I take a moment to look back on the last three and a half months.

Baby bear was two weeks past due, and the last two weeks of my pregnancy I worked tirelessly preparing our home for a new edition, doing ALL the old-wives tales to induce labor, and managing my own anxiety related to labor and caring for a newborn. I spent my last night before the hospital walking the steps, eating steak, and hyperventilating intermittently between sobs wondering if I was doing something wrong, or right, that this baby refused to come to meet us! Then there was the labor and the hospital stay (which we will discuss in a different post!). Then we were home, with this tiny, completely dependent, beautiful little blob of a person. Papa Bear and I spent three weeks together learning how to care for a newborn, how to perfect the perfect swaddle and losing our voice SHUSHing this little girl to sleep. Then I was alone (luckily only 3 days a week), to create my own routine. I was so nervous, but eventually I fell into my own routine, and after a week or so, I LOVED IT.

How, you ask? Well here’s my advice to ENJOY your maternity:

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mom blogging

The Journey into Mom Blogging

How a Mama Bear Becomes a Mom Blogger…

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Welcome! Thank you for reading the very first post of Memoirs of a Mama Bear (my journey into Mom Blogging), please take a moment and subscribe to receive notifications about upcoming posts! Well, now that we’re all here, let me first thank my friends and family who are inevitably reading this post out of obligation. (HI GUYS! Thanks for the support!) But, for those of you who don’t know me personally, I am Mama Bear, a title that has recently taken on new meaning for me. My husband (Papa Bear), has been calling me Mama Bear for as long as I can remember; however, recently we created a little baby bear of our own. Now, it’s no longer a quirky little nickname my husband calls me that needs to be explained to those weirdos who don’t consider having fur children as valid parenthood…Monsters.

I decided to start this blog due to my own late night web scouring during my pregnancy and first few weeks of being a sleepless new mom. As many women have complained before, pregnancy kind of sucks. Its not “beautiful and magical” or whatever other line people have fed you. I mean its totally cool that you’re growing a tiny human all by your onesie but, you don’t sleep, you pee like a gagillion times, and the hormones, GAH the blind prenatal rage put my normal every day rage to shame! I found myself being “that” girl, the midnight googler, searching for an explanation of why my left pinky toe turned purple or my wrist smelled like pickles (gross over exaggeration, if this happens during your pregnancy you may want to consult your physician). While many times Web Md made it feel like me and my unborn child had some ancient form of leprosy, the interweb mom bloggers normalized my experiences, and I could find at least one post or comment of someone else who experienced something similar, easing my worried mind.

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