Mom What if it All Changed Tomorrow: Life With ALS #WhatWouldYouGive

 

It could all change tomorrow

I often write and read about the hardships of being a mom.  We (this applies to stay at home and working moms both) are constantly complaining or venting about all the things we have to do.  Bath time, bedtime, nap time, dinnertime, playtime then there are appointments to make and get to and housework and homework but let’s pause for a minute.  Let’s imagine a world where none of that existed.  None of that was expected of you anymore.   I bet you are thinking, “sweet, sign me up.”  Not so fast.   So much of our life as mom we simply take for granted and its gone in a blink of an eye.  What if you woke up tomorrow and you were not physically able to perform these activities anymore?  This happened to Sarah.

Sarah’s ALS Story

“Now she’s 5. ALS has completely changed the person I thought I was going to be, the mom I thought I was going to be. I’m in a wheelchair, my arms and hands are so weak I need help to eat and a machine breathes for me at night. I wasn’t the one to teach my daughter to kick a soccer ball. I can’t bake with her or do art projects. I can’t write letters for her to trace or rub her back while she falls asleep.”  This is part of Sarah’s story.  She was a normal healthy mom of a 2-yr-old who was diagnosed with ALS  in her early 30’s.

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease) is one of the worst diseases of our time. In people with ALS, motor neurons deteriorate leading to muscle weakness and paralysis. Every 90 minutes, someone is diagnosed with ALS, and most people live 2-5 years after their first signs of disease. There is currently no treatments or cures.

#WhatWouldYouGive

living with als

In 2015, Sarah launched #WhatWouldYouGive, a national campaign that challenges healthy people to give up an ability (e.g. voices, arms, hands, legs), to understand what life with ALS might be like and raise awareness and funding for ALS research. Sarah’s experience with ALS and her journey through motherhood leads her to believe that her disease will ultimately make her daughter stronger, braver, loving and empathetic—something we all hope for our children.

Currently there is no treatment and no cure for ALS but the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI)–a non-profit biotech is 100% focused on finding treatments and a cure.  They also actively build awareness of the disease and raise funds for research.  The MAK (Mom Always Knows) Team believes in the research efforts of ALS TDI and specifically in AT-1501, a very promising drug that could feasibly and finally change the trajectory of this disease!  AT-1501 is on its way to clinical trial, but needs every last penny to advance, and fast.  We would love if you would donate or share this cause with others!  We need to get the word out about ALS and the ALS TDI!

Sarah’s story is amazing, one I encourage you to read!  So what would you give?  Would you give up an ability for the day or an hour to understand what life is like with ALS?   Will you donate to ALS?  Will you share this cause on your social media channels using #WhatWouldYouGive and #EndALS tags?  Anything you can do would greatly help Sarah and this great cause out!

Find out more info about ALS, ALS TDI, the #WhatWouldYouGive campaign and how you can help here!

Blessings!

Grieving the Loss of a Pregnancy? Loved Baby- 31 Devotionals Giveaway

I have had someone very close to me lose a baby not once but twice.  It was one of the hardest things she has ever had to go through and I can not imagine what she must of felt during those times.  Close to one in four American women will experience the silent grief of pregnancy loss.  Can you believe that number?  One out of four?  Truth be told, you or someone you know, has experienced pregnancy loss.  That’s why getting help, especially help from above is so important!  I would of loved to of given my friend this book when she was going through her time of need, Loved Baby 31 Devotions.

Loved Baby 31 Devotions:

loved baby by sarah philpott

Mom Always Knows did receive a complementary copy of Loved Baby in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

 

Helping You Grieve and Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy Loss by Sarah Philpott, PhD

In this book, Sarah shares her own story of loss and those of over 40 women (the Loved Baby Tribe) who have experienced stillbirth, miscarriages and ectopic loss.  This book is written for your heart where other books focus to care for your physical needs.  Your soul will be pampered and you will be able to mourn and cherish the lovely little life that took root in your womb.

The book is divided into 31 devotionals (chapters)  that talk about loss, Christ-filled comfort, tips to manage social media, reconnecting with your partner, nourishing your soul, grief, adoption, new pregnancy and much more.  At the end of each devotional there is a space for some “soul work” about the topic and “prayer time” to help you further reflect.

I really found inspiration reading all the stories from the “Loved Baby Tribe” ladies because they are so strong and full of peace.   Although I have never experienced the loss of a baby, I have experienced great loss in my life and reading through Loved Baby,  I was able to apply and really work through many of the devotionals/verses as well.

Loved Baby: 31 Devotions is MAK approved!

What a great gift idea for someone that might be struggling through the loss of a baby!

You can pick up a copy here on Amazon or there is a really great deal from Fashion and Compassion going on now where you can buy the book bundle a whole month prior to its release date! You will get your hands on this highly anticipated devotional by Sarah Philpott before anyone else has the opportunity.

A wonderful gift for someone you know who has lost a baby or suffered a miscarriage. The book bundle is the book Loved Baby and a beautiful bracelet. The Sterling Silver heart braclet will be a constant reminder of your precious baby & may the “loved” charm bring you peace knowing you are loved!

loved baby braclet

Details:

  • Approx. 8″ in circumference
  • Gold-Plated & Sterling Silver, Hand-hammered
  • Purposefully made by artisans in Mexico
  • All net proceeds support our work empowering women

You can read more about the bundle and/or purchase here!

Since we love Loved Baby we are giving away a copy of the book to one of our lucky readers!!

MAK Giveaway of Loved Baby 31 Devotions

Easy to enter!

Just like us on FB and you are done!  Want extra chances to win?  Sure, no problem!  See entry form below for more chances!  Good luck!  Mom Always Knows will be contacting the winner directly and sending the mail USPS.  US residents only.

 

 

How to Plan a Disney Vacation for Beginners

Going to Disney soon?

I bet you have a zillion questions, I know I did the first time we went!  I had no idea where to stay, where to go, where to eat and how to get around once we were there!  I needed affordable options and ideas and didn’t know where to start.  I wanted my family to have a “magical” time and I wanted to make sure I researched everything before we went!

girls at disney world

You need to watch these free Disney Parks vacation planning videos!

They are a great starting point for planning your vacation!  They were a lifesaver for me when I started my planning journey….and it is a journey! : )

The planning videos include:

  • A complete tour of the 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, Disney Springs and over 20 Resort hotels at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida
  • A tour of the Disneyland Resort in California, including 2 theme parks, the Downtown Disney District and 3 hotels
  • Affordable ways to play and stay during your Disney vacation, plus personalized tips and information on special events

Sign up to receive your FREE Vacation Planning video!


Have a wonderful trip!  Let us know in the comments below if the videos from Disney were helpful to you!

Blessings!

 

Get a free baby sling!  Seven Slings wants to give you a promo code for a free baby carrier (a $48 value)  The promo code is “ENBABY”. Click on ‘Shop Now”, select any baby carrier you would like. Be sure to go to the sizing page so that you can get the right size carrier for you. Once you have selected your size, you will automatically be directed to the “shopping bag” where you can enter the promo code “ENBABY “ . This promo code will take 100% off of the baby carrier purchase and all you are required to pay are the shipping fees. You can use the code more than once- simply open a new browser window to do so. Due to it’s nature, this offer can’t last long , so order soon!


Read more

Kick Your Insecurities to the Curb Mom

Are you an insecure Mom?

The looming parent teacher conference with the principal drives you straight to the
panic room in your brain. The dancing emojis from your big sister’s text about your ten
month old nephew taking his first steps wrinkles your forehead like a crumpled shirt in
the laundry. The Wonder Twins mother third promotion in five years has you hotter than
fish grease at a church social. These are things that make a mom wonder what I am
doing wrong as a mother.

Insecurity is an annoying human emotion. Being an insecure Mom is the worst. Every
little thing you do (or don’t) leads to some unfathomable conclusion that you are failing
your family. Hiccups morph into monumental crises, minor flaws become Jurassic, and
self-esteem is shattered every time a problem or a new situation makes a guest
appearance. Insecurity left unchecked can lead you straight to the tequila or your
nearest cupcake shop.

am i insecure

How do know you’re an insecure Mom?

Okay Dr. Phil, we all feel uncertain from time to time, that doesn’t mean we’re insecure. Well that is true but if you’re still feeling anxious once the storm has passed, then you may have some self-doubt taking up valuable headspace. That energy should be reserved for planning your next family getaway, revamping your personal space, or launching your business. Take a look at these
examples and see if they fit you:
• You compare yourself to other mothers at school, work, etc., even to your own
mother
• You wish your child(ren) were like someone’s child(ren)? (behavior, grades,
looks)
• You troll social media to compare your children to their cousins or classmates
• You shy away or demean other parents and kids because you feel you and yours
are failures
• You’ve given up being the best mom you can be because you think only certain
women are allowed to succeed
• You think your child’s talent to sing, write, or play the kazoo is worthless because
they don’t any tangible awards to show for it

If any of these apply, just say ouch. By the way, you’re not a mean girl; you are
insecure. Insecure is not a dirty word. Everyone, including the mighty Oprah falls short
sometimes. Doubt, lack of confidence, and fear visits everyone’s doorstep. What makes
insecurity offensive is first, no one likes to admit they’ve been there and second, there is
a payoff to remaining insecure.

Why Bonnie, whatever do you mean? I’m glad you asked. The payoff to remaining stuck in your insecurity is that you excuse yourself from doing the hard work to get yourself out of that black hole. Think about it. Which is easier have seconds of lemon meringue pie or saying no and talking a walk instead? A second slice is yours for the taking, but the walk requires changing your shoes, opening the door, leaving your house, walking at a reasonable pace to burn calories, sweating,
adding it your routine for better results. Work, work, work, work, work (Add Rhianna
here.)

Choosing to keep your arteries unclogged requires mindful effort, as facing your
insecurities starts with changing your mindset, opening your heart, leaving the past
behind, and walking away from things that don’t help you. You may sweat bullets at
first, but add a little faith to mix and it will get easier. In other words, if you’re insecure
and you know it, get some help.

Most employers offer EAP services with as many as 5 free sessions and most insurance companies will pay a part for your sessions. If spilling your guts to a stranger is not your bag, try talking to other moms who have been there and done that. Whatever you need to do to be the awesome mom you are, do it!

There is this great quote around the Internet that says something like someone else’s
house will be cleaner, kids will do better in school, husband will make more money, etc.
etc. but that shouldn’t stop you from doing your best. Our insecurities as women,
mothers, and people are never about the other person, but about how we feel or react
when the output doesn’t align with the input.

Here’s another great quote, life is 2 percent of what happens to us, but 98 percent on how we react. In case someone hasn’t told you today, the potential to be great a mom, have kids who do well in school, and the chutzpah to kill it at your job or business is already there, so stop playing the victim. You got this!

 

Want more from MAK?

4 Simple Steps for a Family Striving for Healthy Living

Being healthy is something that my family is striving to do better!

This post was sponsored by Nature Made® as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

It’s hard sometimes though, isn’t it?  There’s labels to check and calories to count.  There’s so many messages out there. How many steps did you take today?  Did you take your vitamins?  Eat more fiber!  Go to bed early!  It is easy to get overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to be!

I feel so much better and notice positive changes in my family when we do the following 4 things:

  • Drink 8-8oz glasses of water each day
  • I take my 100% vegetarian, gluten & dairy free Nature Made Advanced Probiotics/ kids take their vitamins
  • Cook healthy meals for my family
  • Get 30 minutes of exercise daily

walk 30 minutes a day

 

 

I want to set a good example for my children and provide them with the very best nutrition and health.   Drinking 8- 8oz glasses of water a day, eating healthy (cutting out unhealthy carbs,) taking our vitamins and getting 30 minutes of exercise each day is the big push around our house.  Your kids copy what they see you do, so my #1 focus is to teach them and show them what healthy living is about.  They take their vitamins in the morning and I take my Nature Made Advanced Probiotics which has 15 Billion live cultures per serving.*  We make it a team effort!

nature made advanced probiotics vitamins

Nature Made Advanced Probiotics from Kroger are gentle enough for everyday use so I don’t have to worry about it and super easy to take for my digestive health.  Advanced Dual Action Probiotics work in your small intestine and large intestine. † It helps support digestive balance and a healthy gut flora.†  When my inside is working well I can feel better all around.  When I feel better all around, I can take better care of my family, that’s for sure!   I believe true wellness starts on the inside!

We get out and go to the park, walk or go to the gym every day for at least 30 minutes.  I try to make it fun so the kids will be fond of exercise and can pick up the pace when they are older.

Kroger is a go to spot for us when we need to pick up healthy food as they have an amazing produce and deli section, household items and even my Nature Made Advanced Probiotics.  Yes, they have a huge pharmacy section so you can pick up everything you need all in one place, which makes for really easy!  Everyone is always nice and the kids love pushing around the little kids carts!  I highly suggest checking out Kroger next time you need to pick up some healthy food and Nature Made Advanced Probiotics.

kroger pharmacy isle

Buying and picking healthy choices is half the battle when it comes to being and eating healthy.  I find if I have it ready and prepared, I am more likely to eat it versus not being prepared and opting for takeout.  Takeout food in excess and all those unhealthy carbs/calories are so not good for us!

kroger clothing deparment

It takes a little preparation sometimes but you can be and live healthy!  Remember your kids are watching and they want to be just like you!  So, one step at a time, Mom!  Just pick one or two of the tips above and start there!  You can do it!

 

____________________________________________________________________

Formulated to provide at least 5 billion live cells per capsule (Bifidobacterium lactis SD-5674) and 10 billion live cells per capsule (Lactobacillus plantarum 299v) if continuously stored in a cool, dry place at or below 77°F (25°C) and consumed prior to expiration date. Storage and handling conditions can vary, and may affect the total amount of cells delivered at time of consumption.
 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.

Culturelle – The Healthiest You Ever Contest + Coupons

Culturelle – The Healthiest You Ever Contest + Coupons [402612]

Let’s get healthy!  Contest + Coupons from Culturelle!

Sign up and submit your “boost of talent” for a chance to win great prizes + GET COUPONS!

  • Share your secret boosts of talent and you could earn chances to win great prizes… plus get free Culturelle coupons! This year we’re going behind the curtain of Culturelle’s The Healthiest You Ever and looking at America’s hidden strengths and secret talents — those positive abilities you have that would surprise others. What creative personal victories have you always kept to yourself? You know you have them! Share your own, and boost others for chances to win great prizes.

Sweepstakes:

  • What are your secret energy boosts of talent? Things that if you had to admit, you’re pretty good at. Have Fun. Share. And Earn changes to win great prizes.
  • Prizes include Paddle Boards, Kayaks, Bikes and more. You’ll also be entered to win the Grand Prize – a spa retreat at the Red Mountain Resort in Utah. Spa vacation includes a 4-night stay in a villa suite, meals from essential retreat, a special personal discovery session, your choice of an adventure activity, healthy gut cooking classes, and more.
  • Enter as many times as you want and share with friends.

About Culturelle:

  • Transform your water with Culturelle, a great blend of immune and energy supporting hydration.
  • 100% daily value of vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, plus Vitamin C and clinically proven probiotic strength Lactobacillus GG to help support your immune system and help keep you healthy.

culturelle coupon

More Coupons below!

Printable Coupons

Yankee Candle 2 for $36 Large Candles Offer

Irish Spring Body Wash for $0.25 at CVS

FREE Triaminic Cold Medicine at Dollar Tree with Coupon

Lunch Box and Snack Savings

FREE Shutterfly Bookmark, Just Pay to Ship

 

2 Amazingly Delicious Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes by Blends by Orly

Looking for something sweet and delicious for 4th of July or a summer picnic?  Have an eater who suffers from celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten?  Just want a yummy recipe to make?  You have come to the right place!

Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes

I am ALWAYS looking for something sweet to satisfy my sweet tooth! MAK has found 2 amazing gluten-free recipes for you to try from Blends by Orly!  Not only are they gluten-free but they can both be made dairy-free if need be!  Let us know if you loved it!  Make sure to check out their page for more Gluten-free recipes and products!

raspberry tart recipe

Gluten Free Summer Raspberry Tart

This beautiful fresh raspberry tart made with Sydney Blend is easy to make and only requires a few ingredients.  The simplicity of this buttery crust filled with fresh sweet raspberries makes for a perfect dessert for Dad’s special day.  This recipe can also be made non-dairy by replacing the butter with shortening or margarine.  CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL RECIPE and make sure to share photos of what you baked with us on Instagram and Facebook for a chance to be featured on our page!

dairy free recipes

Gluten Free Strawberry Lemonade Shortcake

I love this summery spin on strawberry shortcake.  Citrusy lemon shortcake sandwiched between layers of sweet strawberry buttercream frosting and freshly sliced strawberries. This cake can be made with Blends by Orly Sydney Blend, and is the perfect summer dessert for dad’s Father’s Day bbq!  Top the cake with strawberries for decoration.  This cake can also be made dairy free.  Click Here for the recipe and make sure to share photos of what you baked with us on Instagram and Facebook for a chance to be featured on our page!

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Want more?  Check out 24 awesome recipes HERE! in 2 FREE eCookbooks!

Mom, Upcoming Surgery or Serious Illness? 5 Tips to Help Manage your Family

 

5 Tips to Help Manage your Family with Upcoming Surgery or Serious Illness

We all know that in most households (don’t bite my head off, I said “most”) Mom is responsible for scheduling the day-to-day events, driving the kids to and from various activities, housework, cooking, doctoring, planning and the list goes on and on. When mom is a little under the weather, Mom still performs all the usual mommy functions but have you ever thought about what happens when she is seriously under the weather? Surgery? Serious Illness? Hospitalization? Hopefully, you won’t have to ever think about things like this but for some families they have been or will be a reality.

I have had 5 surgeries since 2014 so for my family, this has become a reality. I have had to take time out of “family” when it is time to rest and recover. With proper planning, we have managed to get through these times and you can too! Here are 5 tips that will help you if you have an upcoming surgery or serious illness and need some help when it comes to managing the family.

Tip 1- It Takes a Village

We have all heard this expression but it is so true. You have to ask for help if you need it! My family is so blessed to have friends, neighbors and family who bring over meals and help with the kids during the times when I am recovering the first few days after surgery and truly can’t do these things. If you don’t ask or let people know what is going on with you, they won’t know what you need. I am very proud and don’t like to ask and usually don’t but since I am active in helping others, it comes back around when I am in need. Get involved if you are new to town or don’t have family in your local church or Mom groups in your town. There are plenty of ladies who would love to become friends with awesome YOU and be a part of your VILLAGE! It does take a Village, especially when something like this happens.

it takes a village mom

Tip 2- Be active in helping others

I brought up this point above! Be apart of your village. Get involved in your friends, neighbors and families lives. We all need help from time to time! I promise someone right now that you know needs something, they might not be asking, but they do! It really feels good, like soul good, when you help someone in need. Taking someone dinner, or even just asking what they need, offering to take their kids for an hour or two and the list goes on and on are all ways we can help out someone. It comes back around to you in your time of need, I promise!

Tip 3- Be a Planner

One thing that helps me when I know I am about to have surgery and be down for a bit is plan! I make a few dinners and freeze them so my family will have something to eat, plan out activities for the kids a week or two in advance so they are not going stir crazy and my husband isn’t banging his head into the wall wondering what to do with them and stock up on items at the store that I know my family will need in advance so we don’t run out of anything while I am down. Basically take care of everything in advance that I can think of so for my recovery time (whatever that is for you) I can truly rest and relax. Especially if you will be on pain meds and not 100% coherent some of the time you might want to think of writing down some of your routine out as well so your husband or whoever will be spending the days with the kids will know what the routine will be in your absence.  If you don’t have the Cozi App, you should seriously look into getting it!  You can input your schedules into the app and sync it with your husband, one and done!  Read about it here!  Get all the medications you will need filled and ready and the times you will need to take them wrote out and ready.

Tip 4- Rest and Recover

With a couple of my surgeries, I made the mistake of going back to work too fast, not resting, not taking care of myself and it cost me big time. I had a seizure and ended up in ICU for 5 days because of it, not good! One of the most important bits of advice I can offer you is take the time you need to rest and recover! Don’t overdo it! You might think you feel better, you might think you need to get up and clean or get up and play with the kids but you need to follow the doctors orders and you need to listen to your body! If you feel tired, you are. If you feel weak, you are! Listen to your body! Listen to your doctor! If you followed tip 1 then there should be plenty of people helping you clean the house or make dinner and if you followed tip 3 and planned ahead then there is nothing that you really need to do anyway besides relax! Catch up on your favorite shows, besides when else can you lay around in bed and watch TV?? NEVER! 🙂

Tip 5- Be prepared and informed!

This is so important as well! You are your own health advocate. Read up on what is going on with you. Is it a surgery? Health issue? Hospitalization? Whatever the case, be informed! Ask questions! Let your family know. Do you need a 2nd opinion? In one of my cases, I did and it was the best decision I ever made to change doctors and hospitals at one point the difference between having a suggested craniotomy  to a more simpler procedure! Your health is so important!  Information is power!  You will feel 100% better about what is going on with your body if you truly understand it and so will your family!

Have you ever heard the old saying, “If Mama ain’t well, no one is!” It’s true!

Stay well Mom! Until next time, keep up the juggle because it’s real!

Blessings,
The MAK Team

Want more MAK, check out our current giveaways HERE!

Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety and Fear! Anxiety-Free Child Program

Does your child suffer from anxiety?  My daughter did after a very bad hail storm (think softball size) that we had in the town we live in so I know all about having a child that is terrified to the point of making her self throw up!  No fun!

Don’t let your child’s anxiety continue to get in the way of the life they deserve. Learn how you can help your child BREAK the cycle of fear and take back the happy childhood they deserve!

The Anxiety-Free Child Program is an award-winning and comprehensive system designed to quickly help your child overcome the anxious feelings that are holding them back from reaching their potential and show them how to be the secure, confident, and HAPPY kids they were meant to be!

The award winning Anxiety-Free Child Program was developed with Doctors of Clinical Psychology and other experts to give you the information and resources to help your child overcome their anxiety and restore their happiness and confidence. As seen on:

How the Program Can Help Your Child

The Anxiety-Free Child Program combines information and resources for parents with tools designed specifically to be used by children so you can work together with your child to help them overcome their anxiety and quickly change their lives for the better. It’s an easy to follow and affordable system you use privately in your own home that teaches your child how to slow down their body, quiet their mind, and change their anxious and habitual thought patterns so they can respond with calm and confidence in situations that may currently be challenging for them at home, at school, with friends, or anywhere!

Want more info?  Visit Anxiety Free Child Now!  Let us know if it helps!  Comments welcome! : )

5 Things I did not Know about a C-Section

By Heather Long

The idea for this topic has been on my mind for some time, practically since my son was born, to be honest.  I remember thinking  “Why did not one of my friends ever mention any of this to me??”  I was literally one of the last of dozens of friends to have children, so I remember being surprised that I was so ill-prepared for a C-section.  I think people naturally just tend to forget traumatic events like childbirth, especially since they are so elated about their baby.

Obviously, everyone has different experiences, but interestingly enough, it was only after I had my son and started talking to other women that I realized that many of these occurrences are actually quite common.  Below are 5 things that I did not know about a C-section.

  1. You are not going to be able to move around much AT All.  Even the littlest of tasks can be very painful or uncomfortable.  Getting into and out of bed?  You may need a step stool.  Literally.  I had to use one since my bed was so high.  As a matter of fact, I even slept in the guest room for 1-2 weeks, since that bed was lower, and therefore easier to maneuver into.  Stairs are a challenge.  I only did them twice a day….coming down in the morning and going up at night.  Getting up from the couch was uncomfortable, and I even struggled with holding the baby.  If I was not feeding him, I pretty much could not comfortably hold him, as he would brush up against my incision site.  Therefore, I would expect that you would need someone with you for the first couple of weeks after giving birth.  I was fortunate that my husband was home, but I honestly don’t know how I could have physically cared for Gavin without him.  Those C-section moms who also have toddlers at home?  I can’t even imagine.
  2. Piggybacking on the above…….you likely won’t be taking your baby on many errands without someone coming with you.  Those car seats are no joke.  I could not lift the car seat with my son in it and get him into the car by myself.  Also……travel strollers??  You won’t be lugging them out of the trunk by yourself.  After a couple of weeks, when I was itching to get out, I either ran errands briefly myself, or my husband would always come with me.  On occasion, I would meet a friend somewhere who could help me with the physical part of lifting Gavin/stroller/car seat.  The one thing that would have been more useful was the snap and go, as I would not have had to lug the massive travel system around with me.  It was not until about 6 weeks postpartum that I could get out by myself with the baby, and even then I had to take it easy, or I would ultimately be very sore that evening.  
  3. Working out after 8 weeks?  Please.  In the US, most short-term disability provides 6 weeks for a vaginal birth, and 8 weeks for a C-section.  After having a C-section, this seems like a joke to me.  (I cannot speak for a vaginal birth, as I know those have their own set of challenges, but I can say that C-section women should really be given 12 weeks).    I feel very lucky that I was off with my son for just about 5 months.  However, I was absolutely still healing at 8 weeks and experiencing soreness when I exerted myself too much.  If I had to go back to work at 8 weeks, I would certainly have done so, but I also would have had to make sure I was resting considerably at my job, not standing/walking too much, etc.  By 8 weeks postpartum, I was taking light strolls around the neighborhood with a couple of my girlfriends.  I am talking 1 mile at a leisurely pace.  Of course there are always exceptions to anything (my friend Tracy was able to run a couple of days after giving birth), but overall, to insinuate that most women can and/or should be hitting the gym two months after having a C-section is absurd.
  4. Be ready for a bump!  And I am not talking the postpartum bump either.  I remember frantically calling my doctor when my son was about 3 weeks old, as I had a golf-ball sized lump on my incision site.  Of course, I was terrified it was some sort of infection.  While that can occur, in my case it was strictly scar tissue.  The weird thing was that it did not crop up until a few weeks after giving birth.  I affectionately dubbed this lump my “C-section shelf”, and would joke that it was so large I could set a can of soda on it.  At my doctor’s advice, I would massage the scar tissue a few times a day, and after a couple of weeks, it dissipated.  (Although, unless you have amazing genes or get a tummy tuck, that region is never really all that smooth again).  **Plan on wearing loose-fitting clothing for a while, in case you experience this common event.**  Luckily, Gavin was born in early September in North Carolina, so I pretty much wore dresses or linen shorts for a good 6-8 weeks.  If you have a C-section in winter or a colder climate, look for sweatpants or loose-fitting pants that don’t rub your incision site.  And…..don’t forget high-waisted underwear.  Think Granny panties, ladies.  Charming, I know, but at least they might guarantee that there won’t be any Irish twins in your future 🙂
  5. Okay, this one is not exclusive to C-sections at all, but I literally had no idea this was a thing.  Be prepared for night sweats!I am not talking a few sweaty strands of hair in the morning, either.  I am talking full-fledged, “change the sheets at 3:00am” sweats.  I have no idea how this escaped my attention or why no one ever mentioned this to me.  There were a couple of nights after Gavin was born that I was panicking, taking my temperature, convinced I had picked up a deadly virus at the hospital.  Nope, just hormones.  I am sure this was mentioned somewhere in one of the 12 bazillion baby books I had, but let’s be real.  During my last summer of freedom, I had better things to read than books that would likely only freak me out. #beachreadsforthewin.  Luckily this only lasts for about two weeks postpartum.  My advice?  Keep a change of clothes and a couple of towels right next to your bed, so you can quickly change if needed, and slap a dry towel or blanket on your sweaty sheets.

Once I started to relax and stopped putting so much pressure on myself to “recover by 8 weeks”, I eventually started to feel better.  I think I just felt a sense of frustration that no one had really been honest with me about the challenges of a C-section birth.  While I still was not 100% by 12 weeks, I certainly felt light years ahead of where I was at 8 weeks postpartum.  I was even able to begin very light jogging, but only for short distances.  (One mile or so).

The bright side……I have heard that each subsequent C-section surgery does get easier and easier.  I am not sure if that is just because you know what to expect, or because the body has “been there, done that”, and is able to recover faster.  I suspect it is a little bit of both.  For those of you ladies out there struggling with recovering, either physically or mentally, from any type of childbirth, don’t be afraid to seek help.  We are all only human, after all.

Tell me….if you had a C-section, what was your experience?  Did you recover quickly, or was it a struggle?  If you had more than one C-section, were the subsequent recoveries easier?
Want more Heather? You can check out her blog Real Life Mama here.

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To All the Tired and Hardworking Mamas- 26 Amazing Bits of Advice

  • ♥Since Mother’s Day, one of my Fav holidays is right around the corner, I wanted to offer you some timeless advice. Not from some expert who went to school for a zillion years or read about it in a book but from real life Mama’s, who are living it and breathing it and perhaps going through it, with you right this very minute! I took to the streets and gathered up the best advice I could and am bringing it to you hot off the press!

This Mom grind is hard! We all know that! So if you are a new Mom, old Mom, young mom, single mom, Step- Mom or whatever your situation…I hope you can find some knowledge or at least a bit of humor in the wise words below!

Enjoy!

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♥25 Amazing Bits of Advice♥

  • Cara at Jazzie Beans– When you have a chance to rest, do it! It is better to be a bit rested so that you can be a better mama. 🙂 It is okay to not always entertain your kiddos. Giving them the freedom to learn on their own will help them later in life. Sometimes you just have to figure things out on your own and it is okay to teach your kiddos this when they are young and you need a break.

 

  • Nicola at For the Love of Jars–  Make lists and realize that you can’t do everything.  If you children are fed, loved and happy then they are fine.  If you house is a mess then it doesn’t matter.  If you would like a housekeeper but can’t afford one then consider getting someone just to clean your kitchen and bathroom(s.)  These are the important bits…everything else can wait!

 

  • Summer at Summer Price – Give yourself some grace. Prioritize. I have a sign hanging in my family room that reads “Great Moms have sticky floors, dirty ovens, laundry piles and happy kids” If you just can’t handle having a messy home it won’t kill your kids to do a chore or two.

 

  • Jessi with BohemiMama – It is healthy to have other interests. Your kids are great and we know you love them, so do yourself, and them, a favor and take time away from them to do the things you’re passionate about. It might be work or volunteering or it could be a hobby or time with friends. If it makes you joyful, your kids will benefit from seeing you prioritize it.

 

  • Karen at The Momma Chef: 6 Ingredients 6 Minutes Prep – The best advice that I was given when my son was born was to read the book “This isn’t what I expected”. We all give birth and feel like we need to love every aspect of parenting a newborn, some of us do love it all, but it’s hard for us to admit that we might not love it all and just want a break and want our old life back! Trust me, if you let yourself know this is just a normal feeling, this will pass with time and you will forget that weren’t a “pro” the whole time!

 

  • Melody at DosMommas – Remember that it’s all worth it. Everything that you are doing will help your little one grow into a strong, healthy little human. And don’t try to do everything at once!

 

  • Ashley, Founder/CEO at The Sharing Exchange – Keep your sense of humor, totally necessary with young kids, and remember “this too shall pass”.  Everything is a phase.  Find your mom tribe and surround yourself with people who are going through the same stuff. Share your ups and downs. When you are feeling overtired, over-touched, and had enough, know that your little ones love you on your best days and worst days. You are doing a great job, mama!

 

  • Tracie at Trace Office Solutions – You are doing everything right! You know more about your baby than you think you do!

  • Leah from Cedar Street – You are amazing. Motherhood is one of the hardest things you will ever do. Keep persevering through the long, exhausting, never ending days. If you feel like all you are doing is giving of yourself, try to find a hobby or something that gives you life. Make time for yourself but also try to find joy in the mundane and in little moments throughout your day.

 

  • Elna from Twins Mommy – The best advice I can give to tired hardworking moms is to let your husband help! Don’t think that you have to do it all. Let your husband do a feeding, change a diaper, bath your baby and take the baby on a stroller walk. This was hard for me as I had strong mama bear instincts and it took almost six months for me to accept help.

 

  • Stephanie at You are my Sonshine -Give yourself a break. Take some time to make sure you are taking care of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup, and you can’t give what you don’t have. Let someone else watch your child(ren) for an afternoon and take some well-earned me time. Go get a massage, maybe a pedicure, or keep it low-key and just go to a park and read. Alone. By yourself. If you have a trusted relative nearby, see if they can watch your child(ren) for a night so you can get a full night’s sleep. It’s amazing what just a few hours of rest and relaxation will do for you both physically and mentally.

 

  • Talia of Living Sowell Blog – The best advice I’d give to a new mom is trust your maternal instinct and take a deep breath. I know that sounds silly, but I really wish I had chilled more as a first time mom. I was so anxious about every little thing (which is totally normal, and most first time moms are). I would say that you’ve got it, sister! Try and make sure to have that precious one-on-one time as often as you can and truly engage with them. Put the phone down!

 

  • Sheyla from The Momma Chronicles – Meal prep is your best friend, utilize it! Whether its meals you prep before baby is born, frozen dinners from the grocery store, or friends bringing over meals every couple of days. Having that extra bit of help will save you so much time and effort. That’s time you can spend sleeping, or taking a nice warm shower!
  • Elizabeth of Mom Always Knows – Don’t worry about the small stuff!  Everything will be okay!  The laundry and the dishes will still be there tomorrow and again even after you get them finished so don’t sweat it.  Do the best you can, every time and remember- you kids are watching.  You lead by example, do it right, so you don’t have to do it again.

 

  • Lori at How She Quits – This advice goes especially to the mamas who are working hard inside and outside the home.  I know your mind is half in the office and half at home and you feel a bit scattered and like you aren’t putting you best self forward.  Guess what?  You are already an over-achiever taking all that on!!!   Most likely no one else in your office knows these thoughts are running through your mind.   They probably look at you and say “wow!  she gets a lot done!”.    Keep being reliable.  Keep showing up like a professional.  The occasional milk stained shirt is quickly forgotten when you nail that proposal.   And your biggest cheerleaders that matter are those little curtain climbers waiting for you at home.    The days are long but the years are short.   You’ve got this.

 

  • Daisha at Daisha Renee – Start meal planning. Creating a meal plan so far in advance can seen a little daunting at first, but planning ahead can really pay off. You’ll get both peace of mind and have better time management. It may take a little time to get use to, but the benefits are definitely worth it.

 

  • Poorvi at Happy Mommy –  Hi mama, you should be proud of yourself, managing everything at home or work, with kids is real hard. Be proud of yourself.  Remember you are a human after all; you don’t have to be perfect in everything.  You are going to have both good and bad days as a mother, just remember you are doing your best, and it’s all that matters.

 

  • Tamara with Parenting 2-Home Kids – Streamline your  parenting rules. Your kids need only two: 1. Respect the parents. 2. Get the grades you are capable of getting. If you can only handle one rule, defer to rule one. Being respectful covers a lot of ground. When kids are respectful, they pitch in to help with chores, they let you know where they are, what they are doing and who they are with. Showing respect to the parents is also striving to make good decisions. When you focus on developing respect and good decision skills the parenting part of your life becomes infinitely easier.

 

  • Adree at The Keele Deal– Make sure you take time for yourself. I have noticed that when I get some me time, even if it’s only a few minutes, I’m a much happier mom.

Nannies4hire

  • Corinna of The Mommy Clause – Be more intentional with your time.   Don’t spend it on things that aren’t obviously beneficial!  Clear out your email inbox and unsubscribe from everything that doesn’t thrill you or help you.  Set a timer for social media each day.  You’ll be more aware of the time you’re​ spending scrolling.  Time flies!  Don’t waste it!

 

  • Meagan at Our Poetic Chaos – Accept help from others, put pride aside for there’s a moment all of us have that moment, that time we feel we need rest and need rest. It doesn’t mean you’re weak, it does mean your humble enough to lean on another to learn from and to renew yourself.

 

  • Tracy at Frugal Florida Mom– Take time to enjoy the little moments. Sadly I missed a lot of my kids’ first milestones like their first smiles and first words because I was working so hard. So be really present when you can, as much as you can to capture those moments you will cherish later.

 

  • Maryam with Blazing From Home – A new mom is a very tired human being. Oh my! I found out that the best way to do it is by taking one step at a time, one day at a time. Rest when you can, go out when you can. Spoil yourself once in a while and never neglect your body. Take care of it. Ask for help when you need it. You get to master it with time. Kudos!

 

  • Natasha at The Viecco Vault – It might not feel like it at the time but the days, weeks, and months are going to fly by.  You’re going to miss this, so take a moment to breathe and soak it all in.  Hold your baby a little tighter and rock them a little longer.  Live in the moment.  Be present!

 

  • Stephanie of Blended Life Happy Wife – Being a working Mom is the hardest job ever.  You are not letting your baby down, you are affording your baby a chance to meet some new people and make some new friends.

 

  • Emily and Sherrie at Forever Young Moms – Lean on your village! Don’t be afraid to ask for help- you don’t have to do it all alone!

Free Printable!!  Proverbs 31:25 Verse!  Frame it, email it, save it!  Just know it!  Be Strong Ladies!  You got this!

Blessings!

Download Printable HERE!

Our Self-Care Matters to our Kids by Laneic Lavalle

Lately I have not been sleeping much or well.  Are you laughing yet, since when have we slept well or much since we became Moms??!! I knew I had to start taking better care of myself so I picked a couple of things that had to change and have been busy implementing them.  What can you change in your life to save you 10 minutes here or 5 minutes there?  They really add up!  We must learn as Moms to take care of ourselves!  Laneic Lavlle at Makeit218 shares below just how important self-care is for us and how you can achieve it.  To read more of her work and about self-care, make sure you check out her blog at the link above!

Till next time, keep up the juggle!

Blessings, Eliabeth♥

 


Our Self-Care Matters to our Kids by Laneic Lavalle

It never fails to astonish me when I think about just how deeply integrated our children’s wellbeing is connected to that of our own. In retrospect makes sense, after all, for most of our children they grew and formed inside of us for 9 months. Even if they didn’t, the amount of influence we have on their beautiful minds and souls in undeniably strong.

What an awesome and overwhelming responsibility.

Thinking about how my feelings, my behavior, and my state of mind is so intricately wrapped up with my son strengthens my resolve for self-care and reaffirms that ultimately, I’m bettering his experience when I’m feeling centered and cared for.

This doesn’t mean I’m taking vacations 24/7 and neglecting his needs for mine. True self-care doesn’t come from a heart of selfishness or narcissism. What it means is that I’m taking time to set up a system that works for us both.  I’m staying aware and in tune with what I need as well.

Self-care involves me setting boundaries and taking a step back to replenish before I hit my limit.

By doing this my child receives the best of me that I can offer and I want the best for him.

It kind of stinks that some Mothers still must defend self-care for themselves, or fear judgment for it. It really stinks that we have to protect ourselves from our own judgment.

The well-meaning phrase “my kids always comes first” sends wildly mixed messages when it comes to self-care. While the intention is to shine a light on a mother’s intense devotion to her children, this always has a little undertone of “even if that means I’m running myself ragged and going insane.” There’s guilt in saying “I’m going to need a break from my kids.” You, however, better believe that when mom burns out the children feel the repercussions. A mother’s energy is threaded into her children and what you’re feeling impacts the children. While it’s noble in theory to keep trudging through, the children would benefit more if mom took a step back for a day and did something for herself.

It doesn’t have to be an escape to Costa Rica; it could be as simple as taking a walk around the park, a quick journal prompt, a morning stretch routine, or handing the kids off to Grandma and spending the day doing nothing but drinking coffee and listening to silence. You’ll probably spend some time missing the sound of busy toddlers but you’ll soon start settling into being in your own presence and relax. Self-care is really quite simple. Think of it as making a commitment to fall in love with yourself every single day. Treat yourself the way you would someone you love!

It’s truly a remarkable thing when we begin to tap into our needs and practice self-care.

The positive effects ripple outward and are undeniable.

Take note how you feel about your child’s energy level afterward if you’re more patient and tolerant. The best way to make sure you get the full benefits of self-care is to do it more often. If you find yourself thinking more about how you already miss the peace and quiet on a day when the kids are with a babysitter, that’s a signal that you need to find ways to integrate self-care more regularly into your everyday routine. Make it a priority as much as anything else, and you won’t regret it.


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Hey Mom- Keep Calm and Go To The Dentist, But Don’t You Dare Show Me a Needle!

Sometimes as Moms we forget that we have to take care of ourselves.  We put our children and their needs as the priority and let the rest slide.  But I’ll tell you a secret, sometimes we use it as an excuse to avoid what we don’t want to do.  At what age can you expect that you will overcome your childhood phobias and fears?  Do you admit to them, or fake it for fear of embarrassment or ridicule? I went with avoidance, it was simply easier.

I had been doing that for a while when it came to going to the Dentist.

I made sure my children went to the Dentist. I even have one in braces, so there are regular orthodontist appointments as well. The last time I had a full cleaning was probably 10 years ago.  I went in 3 years ago to have a cleaning, it had to be done in two stages and I never went back for the second part simply because I just didn’t want to.

Going to the dentist isn’t a big deal you say?   You know what, you are absolutely right. Actually, I can do the cleaning, it’s the potential that more work is needed, fillings or anything that requires needles that keeps me away.

As a child, I had no enamel on my teeth.  I had appointments constantly for fillings. I remember the feeling of a numb mouth from Novocain. I hated that feeling. I remember the smell the drill made as it dug out the damaged part of my tooth. A gross smell of grinding and friction. And most of all I remember the pinch in my mouth when they gave me the shots of Novocain.

I had a strong fear and dislike of needles. It was the norm for me to scream and cry at the doctor’s office if I needed a shot. It was even worse if I needed blood drawn. I’m fairly certain I hold the record at my hospital for the number of people it took to hold me down. One or more on each leg, one holding my head, one holding each arm, my mother sitting on me and the person who was actually trying to draw my blood. I would often faint or become extremely light headed after the blood was drawn which didn’t help.  My dentist was smart.  He always told me to close my eyes before he did the shot.  It pinched, it hurt and I didn’t like it, but I honestly had no idea what he was doing to me. That’s the only reason he got away with it.  UNTIL… the one day he forgot to have me close my eyes and pulled the needle out in front of me. BIG MISTAKE!   My mother could hear me screaming from the waiting room. She rushed in to find the dentist straddled over me with a needle that was bent from jamming it into the roof of my mouth.  Needless to say, that was my LAST visit

My dentist was smart.  He always told me to close my eyes before he did the shot.  It pinched, it hurt and I didn’t like it, but I honestly had no idea what he was doing to me. That’s the only reason he got away with it.  UNTIL… the one day he forgot to have me close my eyes and pulled the needle out in front of me. BIG MISTAKE!   My mother could hear me screaming from the waiting room. She rushed in to find the dentist straddled over me with a needle that was bent from jamming it into the roof of my mouth.  Needless to say, that was my LAST visit with that dentist.

My mother found a new dentist for me and the first time I saw him he talked to me about what I didn’t like going to the dentist.  I told him I didn’t like needles or Novocain.  After looking at my mouth he told me so much of what I needed done was “surface work” that I probably didn’t even need Novocain. I had asked my previous dentist if I had to have the Novocain and he had said absolutely yes, it couldn’t be done without it. My new dentist became MY HERO.  He made me the best deal ever.  He said we could start the filling without Novocain and if at any time I felt pain and wanted the Novocain he could stop, give me the shot and then start after it kicked in.  NEVER again did I have Novocain. I have to admit that he changed my view of going to the dentist.

Shouldn’t that be the fix you say, aren’t you okay now? Well, no…you see the whole “let me jab you in the mouth until I can get the Novocain in there” completely upped my fear of needles.

I had to see an oral surgeon because my mouth was so small and crowded that I had to have extra teeth pulled to make room in my mouth. That was done with something to put me out.  A total of four teeth pulled two each time. I still fought, I think it took longer to put me out then it did to remove the teeth. Then at 15 I had to have my wisdom teeth out. This was done in the hospital under anesthesia. OH MAN, an IV.   IVs are worse.  Because I have such tiny veins that don’t cooperate my record for failed attempts at an IV is 16. 16 tries with 8 different people before they got the IV in and running.  That sounds crazy doesn’t it? 16 times, I was too sick to care the day that happened. Aside from that really bad situation, the average IV start is about 4 tries.  No wonder I hate needles, right?

At 24 I became pregnant with my first child. At that point, I was sort of embarrassed about my fear of needles. I had gotten to the point where I could lay down with someone holding my hand and get my blood drawn, but only after I stopped them a half a dozen times. Hey, any progress is better than none.  Before my pregnancy was done I actually graduated to sitting in a chair with someone holding my hand, mostly due in part to the world’s most amazing phlebotomist who had the magic ability of actually drawing my blood without me even feeling it. The morning after my daughter was born a hospital phlebotomist came to my room to draw my blood.  I was alone, no one with me. I asked if they could come back. NOPE. I had to give myself a pep talk “you’re a mother now, you wouldn’t want your daughter to see you being a weenie”, I did it. My blood was drawn, and amazingly, I survived.  I graduated to having my blood drawn by myself from that day forward. I don’t like it. I still get slightly light headed at just the smell of the alcohol wipe cleaning my arm makes me nervous, and unfortunately, I have very small veins and often the first stick is a miss. My average for a blood draw is 3 attempts before there is success.

I try very hard to be strong for my children when they need shots, blood draws or IVs. I try not to let them see me sweat. You have to be strong, brave and draw from somewhere deep inside.   I have to look away, or I am on the floor. But, I always hold their hand, whisper sweetly in their ear and try to distract them from what is going on. It is apparent that my children did not get their bravery from me because both girls have been champs in this department.  Not running around, no screaming or crying, no sitting on them.  My Bonus children are the same, true champs.  It’s hard to swallow that these young children are braver than me.

So I got up the nerve to get my cleaning at the Dentist done about 3 weeks ago after my daughter had hers, and wouldn’t you know it….a cavity!  CRAP! Even after 32 years of not needing any dental procedures all those feelings came rushing back. The anxiety was overwhelming.  The dental hygienist picked up on it right away. She told me the Dentist would be more than willing to write me a prescription for anxiety to take the morning of my appointment.  DARN RIGHT, I took that offer instantly.

I fretted every day leading up to my appointment. My darling husband took me to appointment and I took the prescription given.  It did give me a calmer feeling, but I was well aware of everything that was happening.  The Dental assistant put some gel on the inside of my mouth where the filing was going to be to numb the area before the Novocain injections. GENUIS, why didn’t they do that when I was a child? When the Dentist came in to start, he told me sweetly to close my eyes, knowing that if I saw the needle it would likely be over. That numbing gel worked great, except for the one shot that I felt. The Dentist apologized profusely.  He was determined to give me the best experience possible and help me get past my fear. He did great!

So this is what I learned, I still hate Novocain. That feeling is just icky!  I don’t like the smells associated with drilling your teeth. Not all Dentists are mean, and most of all, I learned that I can do it. I did it. I survived.  I am still embarrassed to say that these situations affect me the way they do, but I am proud to say I didn’t wimp out and before I left the Dentist’s office I made my appointment for my next cleaning.  Am I over my phobia, nope, but can I survive it…YES.

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