Joanna Anastasia

Parenting

10 tips for a better postpartum time and surviving first weeks with a newborn

10 tips for a better postpartum time (1)

As a mom of three now, I had all sorts of postpartums  – there was the first one, when I was exhausted and in shock over my life changing so drastically, the second one, with a postpartum depression, and lately the third one, definitely the calmest of all. Even though my third baby had colics, and even though I already had two older kids around. And I think that it all went so much better this time around thanks to of some things I learned over time.

So If you are pregnant now and trying to imagine and plan how this new chapter in your life will pass, or if you just had a baby and feel overwhelmed, here are some things that may help to have a better postpartum time and survive these first weeks with a newborn :

  1. Give yourself grace. Your body just went through truly amazing transformation and  it’s normal that it takes time to heal. It’s perfectly normal that it looks different now. And yes, once you give birth you still look pregnant for a while! Take these first weeks very slowly. Both with expectations of what you’ll accomplish, as physically.  For some woman it may be a month and more, for some only a week or two but all woman in postpartum need time to physically heal and emotionally adjust.
  2. Don’t fight with your baby’s instincts. While our society may tell us to go out, put the baby in a crib in a nursery and sleep train, these first three months are actually a baby’s fourth trimester – a time when they need to be close to us, feel our presence and be cuddled, nursed and reassured as much as they want. So using a baby carrier ( even at home) , having a little bassinet next to your bed ( or even co sleeping) and not planning too much, might be actually the best things you can do for your baby and your sanity!Great tips and tips from a mom of three- how to seyrvive the newborn phase, and how to have a better postpartum time
  3. Ask for help. Especially if you have older kids. Ask for help while healing and ask for help while being sleep deprived after a month or two with a newborn. It doesn’t make you less of an independent woman to ask and accept help. Remember, it takes a village to raise a kid. And every child is different, so even if you have older kids, you can still feel lost and powerless. Find a breastfeeding consultant as soon as you feel you’re struggling and don’t wait to the last minute to call your health care provider – google search might make you feel just more nervous when in doubd!
  4. Prioritize you and your baby, because everything else can wait. Yes, even the older kids, even the laundry, even the dishes. And there’s no harm in feeding your older kids with sandwiches and cereal for a month or two – if you’re alone and there’s nobody to help you around, it’s totally fine to lower your standards and switch to a survival mode!Great tips and tips from a mom of three- how to seyrvive the newborn phase, and how to have a better postpartum time
  5. Don’t ever talk negatively to yourself. Every time you think : I got nothing done today; I look fat, my belly is to big – you depreciate yourself and the amazing and important work you did and are still doing ! Embrace your postpartum body as it is. Soft, squishy, larger than before. No, you don’t need to “get your body back” you have the same body but more amazing! A body that grew life, gave birth and is maybe even feeding a baby! If you do exercise or try to eat healthy, do it for your well being. But don’t put too much pressure on yourself now.
  6. Do what works best for you and your baby – even if it’s something that you never thought you would do as a mother. And by that I mean whether it’s breastfeeding on demand or bottle feeding, co sleeping and baby wearing all the time, or feeling like you need to leave the house for a just little bit and introducing the bottle and a pacifier earlier than you thought – do what you feel works for you, and don’t let other people’s expectations guide your parenting.Great tips and tips from a mom of three- how to seyrvive the newborn phase, and how to have a better postpartum time
  7. Invest in pretty postpartum wardrobe. Sometimes it means that for a while you’ll be wearing a larger size then you youse to. Don’t ever wait for ” after I lose the weight” to dress pretty and appreciate your body for what it does. Go and get yourself couple of pieces that will fit you in your 4th trimester, with the squishy belly and all.
  8. Repeat to yourself : ” it’s just a phase, it will pass”. Every time your baby has colics, every time you’ll wake up as tired just as much as you where the night before, every time you”ll feel like crying. It will all pass. I promise. Research shows that when we look at challenges as something that will eventually pass, rather then a never ending obstacle, we gain perspective and we’re less stressed in the end!10 tips for a better postpartum time
  9. Find yourself a mama that has been there and that you can call anytime: when you are unsure of your choices, worried and feeling down. Someone that can listen. A real person, and not a google search bar!  Sharing your thoughts with someone who has been there will make you feel less alone.
  10. And lastly, don’t let the mom guilt creep in: whether you’re ” not enjoying every minute of it’ as you thought you would, or you feel that actually you would have it another way. Whether you feel like you’re not doing it right, or fear you’re making a lot of mistakes. It’s normal. You’re doing your best and that’s all that matters.

And know that most women feel the same, but socially we’re expected to express only joy and gratefulness over motherhood. But while it is the most beautiful thing that can happen in life, both rewarding and fulfilling, it’s also a big source of stress and frustration. And it’s only human to feel all the mixed emotions. The love, the gratefulness, the joy. The fear, frustration, and despair. Even in the same day, even all at once. 

And if you’re still pregnant and trying to prepare for the future or if it’s your first baby, just try to take one day at a time. Before you’ll know it, your newborn will turn in to a toddler, and then it’s a whole different story altogether !

 

Great tips and tips from a mom of three- how to seyrvive the newborn phase, and how to have a better postpartum time

 

Ten differences between first and third pregnancy- that you didn’t know about.

10 things you didn't know about being pregnant third time around

If you don’t follow me yet on Instagram then you probably don’t know that I’m currently pregnant with our third child, and that my girls Lili and Rose will have a baby sibling in late June! And since I’m more than half way through this pregnancy, I thought I’d share with you all the differences that have striked me between my first pregnancy 6 years ago and this one now.

First time around:
  1.  You count your weeks and days.
  2.  You’re subscribed to three different websites that track your pregnancy week by week and you google your pregnancy symptoms to see if what’s happening to you is normal (every day).
  3. You make a detailed birth plan. You talk about your birth plan. You print it out and give to your partner and health care provider. You compare it with your friends plans.
  4. You always have lots of questions to your obyg /midwife. You never skip a check up. You ask for more ultrasounds!
  5.  You think you’re “huge” at 20 weeks.
  6. You have a really big baby registry with lot’s of trendy must haves. ( that you won’t use for the most part after..).
  7. You have a list of things that you’ll never do as a parent. It’s long. You’re sure of your decisions. You think there’s one good way to raise kids. Your way.
  8. You count every pound you gain and you notice all of your stretch marks. You wander in how long you’ll fit in your tiny bikini. You buy new bikinis for after the baby is born.
  9. You think that you’ll sleep better after the baby is born – you are so uncomfortable now and you never slept so badly in your entire life!
  10. You are really stressed about giving birth and becoming a mother, even if you hide it well and tell everyone how relaxed you feel.

what you didn't know about being pregnant third time around

Third time around:

  1. You never know how many weeks you are now. You know when you’ll give birth and that’s good enough.
  2. You don’t track your pregnancy and you barely notice your symptoms. You know they’ll pass soon anyway. You might be even more uncomfortable than in your previous pregnancies, but you’re more zen about it now then you where before.
  3. You don’t make a birth plan- you know now that it’s not something you can really plan ( other than probably where you’ll give birth and probably with who around, and probably in what way. Probably. Maybe. Who knows how it’ll go.)
  4. You don’t ask any questions during check ups and you forget about every other appointment. You know all the weird symptoms are normal so you don’t even talk about them.
  5. You know how huge you’ll get by the end, but you know it’ll pass too.
  6. You don’t do a baby registry. You just need to find that baby carrier in the basement and remember who borrowed your baby tub. You might get a couple new baby pjs and you’re good.
  7. You know that you already did everything you thought you never would as a parent. You laugh at your old list.
  8. You don’t know how much you gained weight and you couldn’t care less about stretch marks. You don’t own any bikinis anymore. But you know now that you’ll wear these maternity pants for a year after giving birth.
  9. You cherish the uncomfortable pregnancy sleep as you know it’ll only get worse after the baby comes.
  10. You don’t have time to be stressed. You’re a mother for a while now, there’s not much that can still surprise you. But you can’t wait to have another cheeky baby to kiss!

And if you have been there more than three times, then I’d love to know what have striked you the most during your 4th, 5th or 10th pregnancy! One thing is sure, the heart really grows with each baby!

 

Parenting mantra for the days you’re in doubt.

parenting mantra for the moments when you feel like you can't mother anymore

Gone are the days when my anxieties consisted of the choice between the bottle feed-breast feed or both. Gone are the struggles of potty training and the terrible twos meltdowns. I’m pretty ok with how my kids share their toys, how they play independently and how they sleep through the night. They learned ro talk in two languages and they even like sushi and indian food.

I used to share my solutions for picky eating problems and for teaching kids how to play alone.I would give tips on teaming tantrums and on dealing with a strong willed child. I used to be alarmed by a new behavior, then try various technics and quickly find a solution. The results where fast and lasting and then I would blog about it. Because babies and toddlers are like that. Difficult but easy in a way.

Now I have a 6-year-old who’s sass have turned in to attitude, and who’s strong will have turned in to ridiculous stubbornness. Every month there’s a new thing on my radar and every day I’m asking myself if she’ll actually turn out ok? Will she become a compassionate human being? Will she ever stop with the tantrums? Let’s just say that I’m in doubt more often then not.

And with these thoughts, I fell like I should stop writing about parenting all together. Because lately I have more questions than answers to be honest.

And while reading other parenting blogs I have an impression it’s not only me: somehow we share in general less and less while the kids step in to the school age. I guess this is when we realize that there are no easy solutions that work anymore, and that our kids are these little complex humans who are changing everyday now.

See, I used to be able to find solutions to all the parenting problems I encountered and now I hope that ” it’s just a phase and it will pass”. And this has become my mantra. It’s just a phase. It will pass.

parenting tips

Motherhood is a funny thing,. We hope for the best outcome, but we don’t really know how to get there. And we all have a different definition of ‘”there”.  For me, it’s kind and happy independent kids. Who know what they want, and who are in connection with others.

And I heard somewhere, that the best way to understand someone ( who’s acting bad) is not by accusing him, but by compassionateing with him.

So my only answer to all these questions lately is to try to be more understanding. Even of the biggest attitude and of the biggest meltdown. Because keeping my calm and compassion can go a long way. And I hope that by showing kids empathy, they will learn it too. And for everything else, I repeat my mantra: it’s just a phase. It will pass.

Double standards in parenting: moms versus dads.

Double standards in parenting, and how they affect us all!

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, shall we? The double parenting standards, moms versus dads comparisons and the social expectations.

Lately, while talking with my mom friends, we often get back on the same topic; the struggle of working/caring for our kids and the distribution of responsibilities with our spouses. Now, before I start, I need to say that I feel that me and my hubby we have managed to create a balance that works for us. And the part of our balance is letting go. But, there are still the standards of society bugging me, and from time to time, our own unrealistic expectations.

So, let’s start by imagining this scenario: if I where a work-from-home dad, freelancer who’s working on various projects at a time, while also writing short stories on his own site, read by thousands of people every month, who has his kids at home from daycare twice a week. A dad who’s playing with them, baking with them, raising them bilingually, and making sure they can talk and read well in their minority language. If I were this dad who does most of the cooking and cleaning, because he works from home anyway, nobody would think or say, that I should try harder on keeping home clean and on doing the laundry more. Because the working and caring for kids father would get all the praises in the world and an etiquette of one amazing dad, who’s putting his career on hold for the family’s sake. He’d get a high-five from the society, for managing to earn money and being a very much involved dad and husband.

Now, when a mom works from home like me, earns money and is trying to pursue her dream, she’s most likely being judged from time to time, for not doing enough for her family. For choosing to check her emails over playing with her kids. For not keeping the house clean enough. For not cooking healthy home-made meals enough. For not ironing her husbands shirts. For having stains on her place-naps. For being egoistic in pursuing her dreams. But also, for not really working full-time, for not contributing to the household enough, for not being a good example of an independent women to her daughters by choosing to stay-at home, and so on.

Double standards in parenting

There’s more: when a dad works full-time then he’s earning money for his family, when a mom is working full-time, then she’s not willing to take care of her kids.

When a dad takes a kid to the playground, and he checks his emails for ten minutes during the half an hour time spent in the park, he’s an awesome dad playing with his kids. If a mom takes kids to the park for an hour, and is on her phone for 10 minutes, she’s a uninvolved mom.

If a dad cooks dinner and puts the kids to bed once a week, he’s a great dad. If a mother leaves kids once a week in the evening, she’s egoistic.

If a dad is left alone for a weekend with kids, people congratulate him for being amazing and keeping kids alive. If a mom stays with kids alone for a week, she’s just doing her job.

When a dad changes a baby diaper while at a restaurant, he’s a keeper and such an involved dad. When a mom changes diapers every day, she’s doing what’s expected of her.

When a mom cleans after dinner 5 days a week, and she’s too tired to clean the other 2, she’s a slacker. If a dad cleans after dinner twice a week, he’s really helping her at home.

They all sound a bit familiar don’t they? Through social media, traditional media, or our friends reactions we must have heard them all. And the sad part is that, the more we hear them, the more we tend to doubt ourselves and then the famous mom-guilt creeps in. 

Now, I think that whatever works for a couple is good. I do have a friend who does all the house work, and she’s totally fine with it, as her husband is the one working and doing a lot of overtime. But this is not the norm anymore.

And as we all know, it takes two people to bring a child to this world, so can we start seeing these two people as equally responsible for the child too? And if there are two adults living at home, then I say they are both equally responsible for their household too. Now, how they’ll make it work for them and how they’ll divide their task is their choice for sure.

But let’s just stop with 19th century expectations and double standards shall we?

And if one more person will congratulate me on my husband “helping me at home” I might just lose it. He’s just doing he’s part and I’m doing mine. 

 

When we fail in motherhood

When we fail in motherhood: or when we feel like we do! Parenting isn't easy, and we have all been there! So if you feel like you're failing as a mom, read this!

Some days we make magic happen: we cuddle our kids, soothe their boo-boos, listen and encourage them. We smile at their silliness and we calmly respond to their demands. Some days you and me, we are simply best moms on earth.

But then there are days, when we fail completely and miserably in mothering . We raise our vice over every little thing, we get impatient in a blink of an eye, and our tired minds are begging us for a moment of peace. Days when it feels as if their voices, crying and whining, are taking over our minds. And we just want to be left alone.

There are days when I’m a bad mom, and I know there are the days when you feel like you’re one too.

And this is when I ask myself, why am I even a parenting writer? Should I really have more kids? And am I staining my daughters childhood with my anger and impatience? Will they remember these moments of my tense face and harsh voice? Will they remember how I made them cry?

There are days when I’m so full of guilt and self-doubt that I can hardy breathe. I imagine ruining their lives with my anger. Filling their soul with bitterness and anxiety.

Because aren’t mothers entirely responsible for their kids happiness? Shouldn’t we always be the oasis of calm acceptance and love? 

Well, no. We are supposed to be good enough. Responding to their needs most of the time. And when we show them anger, this is when they learn how to deal with it. This is when they learn that it’s ok to feel anger themselves, and express it ( in a socially acceptable way). This is when they learn – once we re-conciliate – that anger is a part of human spectrum of emotions, and that it is NOT a danger to the relationship. This is when they learn about limits.

And I tell myself that tomorrow will be a new day. That I do my best. That kids are forgetful and full of forgiveness. And that I’m a human who doesn’t need to love every moment of this life with kids, but who does love her kids like nothing else in the world.

So what if like me, you failed, and think you have really made a mistake?

  1. Say ‘I’m sorry”. Admitting to kids that we have made a mistake, that we had gotten impatient and angry, teaches them about forgiving and saying sorry when they have done wrong.
  2. Ask for help. It does take a village to raise happy kids, and you don’t have to do it all alone.
  3. Take a break. Sometimes a little bit of time to breathe and think in silence is all we need!
  4. Shake off that guilt: it’ll only cloud your thinking.
  5. Do something that you love doing, with your kids: it’ll help you re-connect with your kids and with the happy mother that you are!

So when I fail, I remind myself that it really takes a village to raise human beings, and that I can ask for help. And that my ager won’t harm my kids, as it’s delusional to think that a mother should never get angry. And I remind myself that my kids need me just the way I am.

Sometimes we all fail in motherhood, sometimes we don’t love it all. But I’m convinced that as long as we’re good enough, our kids will be just fine.

10 tips to raise self-driven girls

10 tips to raise self driven girls, girls who'll know what they want and how to get it.. while staying kind and open minded. Parenting tips and ideas for every girl mom (or dad)

Recently I’ve met this self-driven, beautiful and successful women, a real girl boss, and while talking to her, she said lowering her voice that she is a feminist. And then she looked around to see if anyone listened. I just smiled and said that she doesn’t need to worry about words around me, because I consider myself as a feminist, and I hope to raise my girls to be feminists too. And I realized, that even if a boss lady from a big city is afraid to use this world, then there’s still so much work to be done.

What does it mean to be or not a feminist, is still a huge discussion. Lots of educated self-driven woman will say they’re not, they’re just strong and believe in right for education and equal pay. Many stay at home mom’s that I know will openly say that they are feminists. Many feminists will say that a woman who doesn’t work isn’t really a feminist, and many SAHM’s will see feminists as arrogant and self centered people.

Recently Emma Watson, a young, self-driven actress and a voice of modern feminism, was criticized for doing a photo shoot that showed her breasts a bit more then she usually does. And she was accused of not being a feminist.. by feminists.. And it just showed how much misconceptions there are out there.

But in the end, aren’t all self-driven women who believe in freedom of choice feminists? Be it engineer, a stay-at-home-mom, or both . If all of them believe girls should have access to education and health services, then I think they are all feminist. So why be scared of this word?

People have these ideas about what a women should be, how should she act and look. And as a mom of two girls, who’ll become woman all too soon, I want them to know that in these discussions, what’s really important is the attitude, that freedom that you give yourself and others. Not an etiquette.

I hope to raise girls who won’t have these misconceptions about other women. About how a woman should look, act and talk in order to be seen as a good / intelligent / feminine / good mother / well raised / feminist enough / liberated / modest enough etc. Who won’t really care about all these etiquette’s and labels. Who won’t listen to others saying what they can and can’t do, but who’ll listen to their own inner voice. I hope to be raising self-driven girls.

I hope they’ll only follow a social code for being kind and open minded people. That they’ll decide for themselves how they should live their life. That they won’t be afraid of a word feminism. Nor strength nor motherhood nor femininity. I hope they’ll grow in to women who won’t judge other woman for being too much: too loud, too opinionated, too timid, too modest, too sexy, too carrier driven, too mommy-like. That they won’t say other woman are not enough: not enough of a feminist, not enough of a mother, not enough of a lady, not enough of a professional. Women who won’t put a tag on other women. Nor on themselves.

raising self-driven girls

So how do I make sure that my daughters will grow in to self driven, non-judgmental kind and open women? Well, of course time will only show if I succeeded, but for now, here’s what I do:

  1. I want them to choose for themselves. Be it putting their food on their plate, choosing their clothes, or crafts ideas, as long as it makes sense and isn’t in conflict with their safety or health, I want them to learn to take their own decisions. Girls who make their own decisions from young age are less likely to believe that that they need to fit in the stereotype in order to have friends or be beach ready. They are also more likely to choose a carer path ( or a motherhood route) in tune with their true feelings and dreams.
  2. I encourage them to (politely) argument why they want or don’t wan’t something. I think that often we tend to teach girls to be polite first and to say what they wan’t second, while we teach boys to stand for themselves first and be polite second. Well I think that kids need both, and that girls need more then ever to stand for themselves and say what they want. Because if ever they choose to be a working professional, nobody will give them a raise just because they waited politely for it to happen.
  3. I try to teach them the difference between an opinion and a judgment. Which means it’s fine to say at home what they like and dislike, but it’s not fine to say that other’s likes and dislikes are stupid or silly. ( Let’s say that this one is a starting point to many sisterly disputes around the table, and that we’are still working on it!).
  4. I try to talk to them about people around us, and their life choices in a way that they can see the ocean of possibilities rather then good and bad paths to follow. I have friends who are working full time and raising kids, I have friends who are full time stay at home moms, I have friends who don’t have kids, and who travel and live alone. Some are vegetarian and some dress in a different way. Some have tattoos and some are a part of a bible study. When we talk about other people I try to always let them know that all choices are good, as long as they come from the heart.
  5. I try to explain to them how everyone has their own perspective, and how we should always think abut how things look from a different point of view. Books and movies are always a great starting point. Imaginative play is another. I’d ask them how would you feel now if you where ( insert : your sister, or cat, your grandma, me, etc..) this exercise may be too difficult for a toddler, but my five year old got pretty good in it.
  6. Get dad involved. Girls who see men tackling house duties are more likely to believe that anyone can do anything.
  7. I let my girls help around, both in the kitchen as with tools ( as much as they can in their age). I hope they’ll be able to see which type of work they prefer ( and if both, then good for them!)
  8. I talk to them about publicity in the media and social stereotypes ( still very present in mainstream TV), even if they are really young. I’d say: look, this is someone who’s trying to sell us something ( and then we’d guess what is it). This isn’t real life. This may not be as good of a product as they say. I want them to be very judgmental when it comes to publicity, as this is where a lot of social messages are hidden, especially regarding how women should look and dress.
  9.  Whatever you do, tell your story to your kids, let them know why you choose to stay at home with them or work, or do both. Read them stories of other women and their different life choices. ( Great book that I’m recently in love in, is: “Bedtime stories for rebel girls” , not that rebellious after all, but very touching with 100 stories of women throughout the history, following their path and their dreams often against all the odds).
  10. And above all, I try to acknowledge their emotions, because I believe that only by letting them express their feelings, and experience kindness and compaction, they’ll learn how to be kind and compassionate themselves. (Within healthy boundaries and limits off-course!).

So for me raising self-driven girls, means raising girls who are kind and strong, sure of what they want and not afraid of social tags. Girls who don’t look at people from above, and who don’t care about stereotypes. Girls who follow their dreams. And who encourage others. Who are feminists. Now, wish me luck in making that happen!

 

 

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