Hello From Me to You

Hello From Me to You

Hello everyone! First and foremost I would like to introduce myself. My name is Pam and I am a mother of 2; my little sweet Penelope Rose who is currently 3 months old and my handsome boy Manny Jr. who is 2 years old. Let me tell you all, being a mom of 2 is beyond exhausting. Having to run behind a toddler who loves to explore, climb, run around wild, while still attending to a newborn is HARD work but it is something I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world- maybe a glass of a wine…..TOTALLY JUST KIDDING! Both of my kids are so different from each other that it just amazes me sometimes how different yet alike they can be thus far. With that said I know just like all moms, I experience lows and very highs of being a mom.

I know many of us are always wanting to share the good things about motherhood but I am here to share it all. The tantrums, the tears, the laughs, the scary moments and the moments that we just want to climb into bed, lay on our bellies and hide from everyone- including our little humans. Being a mom isn’t always smiles and giggles. We have days where we literally want to pull our hairs out, we drop a few F- bombs without meaning to and we just want to scream- HELP! With my oldest son being 2 years old (turning 3 soon), I have learned SO much that I would like to share with new mommies and even second and third time mommies! I am NOT the perfect mother and I would never claim to be, I just want to share what has worked for me, what keeps me going, and the reason behind my three grey hairs…..Yes I have three strands of grey hair and I am only 26- that is mothering for you!

I look forward to sharing so much more with you all! I just want to create a space in which us mothers can speak on real life momming- not the type TV and media portray!

“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.” —Jill Churchill

Mommy Self Care; I Matter Too

Mommy Self Care; I Matter Too

For a long time I always thought that my kids should always come first. While that is true for the most part, I forgot that I mattered too. See, for the first few years of my first born’s life I was afraid to leave him, afraid to not be there for any firsts, guilty for enjoying time away from him, guilty for leaving him to be cared for by someone else- even if it was my own mother. Some people ask, why? A lot of it stemmed from me getting sick a week after giving birth. The fact that I had no choice but to leave him while I went to the hospital for almost 5 days (that is another story I’m willing to share if you all want, just ask!). I was very overprotective of him and in reality I still am but I have learned a lot in the last 5 years and now being a mom of 2. All those insecurities of being a first time mom at a young age are now turned into fuel for a better me because I matter too. Below I talk about 5 major things that I have learned and still am learning about taking care of myself while being a mother. In reality all the things I talk about and choose to do for myself “first” are still me thinking about my kids first because all things I chose to do are for a better ME for THEM!! By sharing this with you all, I am not trying to tell you that these are things that you should be doing as a parent or person. I am simply sharing what I have learned over the last few years that works for me. You’re the writer of your own story, you know what is best for you and your families!

  1. I come first. Let me first explain what I mean by that. Of course my kids will always come first when it comes to certain decisions I make. I will always make choices that puts their needs and safety first. I will be at every birthday, every dance recital, every game, every important accomplishment in their life before being any other place; I will ALWAYS choose to prioritize being present for them rather than being anywhere else. What I mean by saying I come first is that my mental health, my sanity comes first. I cannot be the mom they need me to be if I don’t take care of myself and learn to put myself first. How will I be able to care for them, play with them, feed them, talk to them and be present knowing that I am not happy or that I am struggling with the overwhelming emotions that come with being a mom? I love my kids to the core of me, they are truly everything and more to me. But if we are being honest, life as a mom gets overwhelming. It gets hard, it can sometimes get lonely too-especially being a stay at home mom. SO, me going out with my friends, choosing to go on a date to hang out with my boyfriend, stay at home while daddy takes them out so I can binge watch Grey’s Anatomy (my comfort show), putting them to sleep early so I can enjoy a glass of wine, leaving them at grandmas to get some sanity, all of that is OK and what I mean by putting myself first. My kids are loved, they are blessed to have a family that loves them, truly cares for them and spoils them. So, it’s ok to lean on them to take care of my babies so I can take care of ME and remind myself that I am a person too. I tend to forget that being a mom is not the only thing that I am. It took me some time to get to this point, but boy am I so happy I am finally ok with it!
  2. Ask for/accept help.This next part also piggy backs with the first. It is OK to ASK and ACCEPT the help from family and friends. When my son was first born, I was still living at my mom’s house. My son was a good sleeper. He would wake up for feedings and then go right back to sleep. My boyfriend worked in the city so he would be up super early in the morning and out the door by 6:30 am. My mom would also wake up early and she would always ask for the first month or two if I wanted her to take the baby so I can get some uniterrupted sleep. Most days I would be alright with it, but other mornings guilt used to set it in and I would say that I was not tired or got good sleep-when in reality I was exhausted! With my first born, guilt was probably the thing that held me back a lot. After having my daughter-having two kids 2 and under I said – YES PLEASE TAKE THEM BOTH! HAHA! I now understand that I do need help, if its offered – accept it, if it’s not offered and the person you want the help from is a trusted person then ASK! Motherhood is hard and it’s true when they say it takes a village. I appreciate my village SO much! My village helps me with my kids so I can take care of myself too. I understand that for some family may not an option but you have so many resources and help to create your own village!
  3. Take the time to eat healthy and work out. Prior to having babies I always enjoyed healthy foods,healthy snacks. Working out wasn’t so much my thing, but I would run a few times a week. I would snack on healthier foods for sure! My snacks would be cucumbers and tomatoes with a little sprinkle of salt and lemon rather than oreos and milk. When becoming pregnant with my daughter sweets were by BIGGEST weakness. Even after giving birth, the sweet tooth continued. Finally, after two years, I am finally learning to get back to my old ways. I will definitely enjoy my cookies and milk , but I am also relearning to enjoy my healthy snacks/meals so I can feel better in my own skin! I am also consistently working out 4-5 days a week for at least 30 minutes a day for the last three weeks. That is a MAJOR accomplishment for me and something I pride myself in because man have I needed it! I am taking care of myself, and at the same time leading by example for my kids. Since my workouts are at home- my kids are also watching. They also use that time to exercise with me-they burn energy while I burn off some fat!
  4. STOP WORRYING SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SAY OR THINK. Social media has a lot to do with this part! I would always get into my own head about how I should look or appear to be as a mom for others- I wanted to feel and look put together. But motherhood is tough man, I lose my shit, I curse, I get overwhelmed- but not a person in this world loves my babies more than I do! At the end of the day, my kids are well taken care of, they are happy, they are healthy, they eat well, they sleep well and they PLAY non stop-all day long. Outside opinions do no matter in the slightest. Now, I can’t even believe that I used to care what others would think of me as a mom, what people will say about how my kids act or are being raised. I didn’t want people to think negative of me or think that I had no idea what I was doing. I used to care or think too much of what people would say if I was out one night, if I was hanging out somewhere and my kids weren’t with me, if I even had a little getaway without them (which I have yet to do because of the pandemic-but it is coming!) Now if you ask me, I don’t give a f***! People are going to think what they want whether you’re doing things to their “standards” or “liking” or not. These little humans I created are MINE and my partner’s, so what we do and what works for us is our problem, not yours! This is crucial in my mental health as a parent, and something that I still struggle with sometimes. But then I snap out of it and continue being the best mother I know how to be-my way.
  5. Rediscover my old passions or pursue new ones. Now this doesn’t necessarily have to be anything big or too out of reach. It’s something like writing this post for me. ( I have always been the best at expressing myself through writing so this was a breeze!) It also means taking care of my hair again, my skin care routine, FINALLY getting in a routine of working out, my hobbies before babies. It means setting the time aside and incorporating my self-care routines to align with my parenting and sometimes having my kids be a part of it. I have recently bought myself new skin care products and hair products to incorporate into my morning and night routines and this makes me SO happy. I am also pursuing other goals that I don’t want to speak on yet, but definitely working on some new things that I am looking forward to sharing with you all in the very near future! I am rediscovering how passionately I loved myself, my body before. I love myself in a different and I would say better way now after housing two beautiful healthy babies in my belly!

These 5 things that I have learned SO crucial in taking care of myself and prioritizing my happiness- so in turn my kids will benefit from the best me I can be for them! I am not perfect and I will never claim to be. I have so many flaws and mess up even with parenting. But parenting is not linear and neither is life. I am trying! It took me a while (my oldest is now 5 years old and my youngest is 2 years old) BUT I am finally DOING! I am setting goals and I am pursuing all I want to make myself happy and reminding myself that I matter too. Don’t ever forget –You do too mama!

What you need for your newborn- A Guide to help you prepare

What you need for your newborn- A Guide to help you prepare

What do I absolutely NEED for a baby !? It’s a question most first time moms ask themselves and those around them as they anxiously prepare for their new little blessing. As a first time mom I had absolutely NO clue what I was going to need. I remember sitting on my computer one afternoon, browsing the internet and thinking, “OMG my baby needs absolutely all these things!” As I was doing my registry I was adding EVERYTHING, even things that weren’t necessary. Of course at the time I didn’t know they weren’t necessary.

After my baby shower, I was so Overwhelmed, beyond thankful but super overwhelmed with all we received. We had to load four cars full of gifts to open – these weren’t including gifts that were already delivered to us at home. As I opened gifts back at home I was thinking in my head, ok  I need this, I need that too, I have this already but this is a different version I’ll still keep it, I don’t like this I like that but I’m still keeping it, heck let me just keep it all. I kept two play pens, two baby swings , two bath tubs, two of almost everything plus a whole ton of clothes that my newborn barely wore once or was too big for even as a newborn!

For baby number 2 I just needed basics because I had saved almost everything from my first baby and let me tell you I had a WHOLE LOT of saved items stored in the attic. Since I kept EVERYTHING for the most part, even some doubles, I now get a sense of what is really needed and also what were useful for me. Here are some of the items I think are necessities for newborns.

**I am no expert mom- these are just stuff that have been life savers for me and have worked for me.Keep in mind, not every baby is the same or has the same needs/likes. My first and second baby were total opposites! 

BABY GEAR

1. Carseat and stroller

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You absolutely need a car seat and stroller! Whether you get them,as a travel system or separately ( car seat and stroller), is up to you. I have linked my two of the ones I recommend.

2. Crib

Whether you are co-sleeping or having the baby sleep independently you need something the baby can sleep in. Crib, bassinet, co-sleeper. Your choice.

3. Carrier

Your choice of carrier will be dependent on which is most comfortable for you. My favorite is the Ergobaby Adapt Baby Carrier Omni 360. You can adjust it to three different carrying positions and it’s super comfortable. I have linked it here.

4. High Chair

The one I recommend is the Graco Table to Table 7-in-1 Covertible High Chair. The best part is that purchasing one of these can help accommodate two kids! I have linked it here.

5. Rocker/Swing/Seat

You can get both a rocker and a swing but I only found one useful. My first born did not like either (he only wanted to be held) but my second baby has loved it. There are also those that come combined now. I have linked two of my favorites below.

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6. Playpen

I believe these are useful when traveling, going to someone’s house, going to the park, or just simply being in your back yard. I have linked the most efficient one below.

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I think this playpen is so cool for outdoors because it even comes with a canopy to give shade from the sun!

Feeding

1. Bottles 4oz and 8 oz

2. Breast pump ( you could probably get a free one from your insurance- just make a call and ask!)

3. Breast milk storage

4. Burp cloths

Bedding

1. Bed sheets- 100% cotton

2. Swaddler

3. Swaddle blankets

4. Sleeper

Clothes

I know we want to dress our newborns in the cutest outfits but keep them comfortable! If you absolutely must- I would recommend putting a plain white short sleeve basic onesie underneath whatever outfit you choose. It protects their sensitive newborn skin!

1. Basic short sleeve onesie (newborn, 0-3 months )

2. Basic long sleeves onesie

3. Footed pajamas

4. Comfortable basic pants

5. Socks

6. Mittens

7. Hats

Safety

1. Monitor

2. Healthcare and Groomimg Care Set

3. Rectal Thermometer

4. NeilMed Nasal Aspirator 

I swear by this. Pediatrician and ENT recommended it!

5. Play-mats

Bathing

1. Bath tub

This would be your preference of type. We chose a simple one that would give us use until our babies grew a bit more.

2. Towels

Get your baby at the very least 4! Sometimes they have accidents as you’re taking them out the bath and they’ll poop or pee on them! You NEED back up !

3. Wash cloth

4. Baby soap/shampoo

5. Baby lotion

Diapering

1. Diaper Bag

The style you choose depends on your likes. We opted for the book bag. I ordered one off amazon for under $30 which I absolutely LOVE! It helps me keep things organized in the bag with all that I carry as a mom of two on outings! I will make a separate post with things I carry in my diaper bag. I have linked it here.

2. Diapers/Wipes

We have ALWAYS used Pampers. I highly recommend it. However it will be dependent on your baby and how their skin reacts to the diaper.

3. Diaper Cream

* Purchase any age appropriate hand held toys. For car rides, bright colors attract babies as they explore their surroundings. You really don’t need much toys for newborns but it is always fun to have a few at hand for them to start exploring and learning!

I hope this is helpful for some new moms and even some second time mommies! Please feel free to share any other likes of yours in the comments for other mommies.

-Pam

PS- This post was inspired by my cousin Becky who is currently expecting my first niece! As we were doing her registry I said to myself, “hm maybe I should make a blog post about this!”

Aside

Why it’s important for me to raise a bilingual child

As a Hispanic woman who came to the states at 3 years old from Paraguay and was raised in New York, I could not imagine what life would have been like had I lost my roots in the midst of growing up in a foreign country than I was born in. I am eternally grateful that my parents still raised me to speak Spanish and never lose touch with my linguistic roots. Because of them, I will teach my children the same.

My kids are a mix of different Hispanic backgrounds. I am full Paraguayan, dad is half Dominican and half Venezuela. How’s that for a mix? So much culture- I love it! My oldest son, Manny Jr, is turning 3 years old and he speaks both Spanish and English, Spanish being his first language. We were told by many people before Manny Jr was born that he would be the one to break the cycle of speaking Spanish because us as his parents will only speak to him in English. I used to think to myself, I have seen that happen to so many people around me and while it’s their choice, I don’t want that to be the case for my children. All the people who told us that were wrong. Since my son was born both dad and I spoke to him in Spanish. Sure we would say a few words here and there in English but our main language to communicate was and still is, Spanish. Our parents of course speak Spanish- English is their second language. We wanted our son to be able to have conversations with his grandparents in one language, not have him speaking one language and his grandparents responding in another. How awesome that our soon to be 3 year old can have a conversation in one language one minute then completely shift to another language the next minute? I absolutely love it.

As Manny Jr started talking we would always have to explain to those who spoke to him in English that he did not understand them yet. If the person asked him a question, often times we would have to translate. That never bothered me. I was proud that my son’s first language was Spanish. He started speaking and understanding English at about 2 years and 3 months. Each day he would speak a little more until eventually just like in Spanish, he was able to form sentences. Of course, he is still learning. He has an accent when speaking in English and I love it so much. It’s beyond cute to me. I know eventually that accent will fade so for now I’m embracing it!

At times Manny Jr is spoken to in English and doesn’t understand what is being said until we repeat it in Spanish. For me that is ok, I love it and I am proud. My son will grow up bilingual. We live in a diverse community, hello New York. He will have so many opportunities and advantages being able to speak two languages. We are setting him up for success in the future with hopes that he won’t let his roots go. That being said, it does not make him nor do I expect it to make him better than any other child who doesn’t speak two languages – it just simply holds value to me and it makes me SO proud of the job we are doing as his parents.

I know as my kids grow older and are in school they will want to speak just English but Spanish at home is something that I will strictly instill in them. As their mom, it is something I will work on everyday. I know I’ll struggle- but the outcome… raising a bilingual child…. will make me so damn proud.

It amazes me even now that Manny Jr also knows who he should be talking to in English or in Spanish. He would never speak to his grandparents in English, only Spanish but to his aunts and cousins he will speak to in both- whatever language he decides.

Below I have outlined 6 reasons why it is so important for me that my son and daughter grow up bilingual.

1. Because they need to be able to communicate with their non English speaking family members, primarily grandparents. This to me is the most important.

2. Because being bilingual is an advantage in the workplace. It raises your competitiveness.

3. Because not only will they be bilingual, but will also be rich in culture. They’ll be exposed to two different cultures which makes him more open to others.

4. Because not only will they help themselves but may one day help others who are faced with a language barrier

5. Because by teaching them to be bilingual it’s increasing their cognitive abilities.

6. Because how cool is it being able to communicate in two languages !? Constantly switching from one language to the next ? That’s just amazing. Multitasking becomes easier !

As time passes and my kids get older, I am sure I will find new reasons why it is important for them to grow up bilingual. I will be faced with challenges, one major one being them wanting to speak prodominently English because it’s the language they speak in all day at school. Consistency will be key in having them retain both languages. As their parents, Dad and I will have to make sure their exposure time to both languages is somewhat equal. Lucky for us, the city where we currently reside has Dual language and Two Way Immersion programs in their school system. These programs allow native and non-native Spanish/English speakers to receive instructions/learn in both languages. How cool is that !? It is something for us to explore as the time gets closer for our kids to enter school. There are so many ways, although hard, to make sure my children grow up speaking Spanish and English – ways that I am still exploring. If anyone has any suggestions or advice I would greatly appreciate it!

-Pam