Mom Life

New Mom Essentials That Aren’t Breastfeeding-Related

12 Awesome New Mom Essentials for Moms Who Are Not Breastfeeding. Check it out at Thriverguide.com!

My son turned one a few weeks ago, and it’s gotten me thinking about my first few months postpartum and what was really helpful for me. I’ve already written about baby essentials, so I thought I’d talk about new mom essentials today. Everything on this list will be specifically not breastfeeding-related, as I’m planning a whole future post about breastfeeding essentials. I’m hoping stuff on this list will be super practical and a little unconventional, as there are enough posts out there already about the benefits of padsicles and Bamboobies (neither of which I used). So enjoy, and I hope this helps some of you out!

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9 Parenting Secrets I Learned in My First Year of Being a Mom

9 parenting secrets from my first year of motherhood

It seems insane to me that my son is a year old. Look at him! So sweet! So big! So full of wonder!

ThriverBabe with his giant birthday balloons

I wrote on Facebook that this year has simultaneously felt like the longest and shortest of my life. There’s a lot I’ve learned about myself and about parenting and motherhood so far, and I thought I’d share some of those secrets today:

 

9 parenting secrets I learned in my first year of motherhood.

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Secrets to the Best Teacher Gift Ideas, Straight from a Teacher!

I was browsing Pinterest the other day and came across several pins claiming to offer the best teacher gift ideas. It’s nearing the end of the school year after all, so ’tis the season! A few caught my eye, especially one claiming to have the inside scoop on gifts “teachers really want,” so I clicked over. My eyes widened as I read over the list of suggested gifts—they were the exact items I would put on a “gifts teachers don’t want” list, and I would know, since I’ve been a high school humanities teacher for over a decade! So that’s what we’re going to talk about today: The Secrets to the Best Teacher Gifts for Any Teacher. And we’ll tackle it “Do”s and “Don’t”s style! (General suggestions in the “Do”s and “Don’t”s section, specific more of this and less of this below that if you want to scroll further down.)

The Secrets to the Very Best Teacher Gifts, a Dos and Don'ts guide! Great teacher gift ideas for male and female teachers.

Caveat: Teacher gifts are by no means a requirement. No teacher will think less of you or your student if don’t give them a gift, and hopefully they’d be happy to receive any gift you have a mind to give them. But if you’re thinking of getting a gift for your kid’s teacher and aren’t sure what to do, I hope this helps!

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What to Do When Your Baby Refuses to Eat Purees

What to Feed a Baby Who Refuses to Eat Purees. Great ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. If your baby has suddenly stopped eating purees, these are great tips for what other solid foods to feed your baby.

This post contains affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.

About a month ago, my then-ten-month-old son decided he was done with purees and traditional baby foods. DONE. REFUSED. Quit cold turkey. One day it was all-natural banana-orange-pineapple from a jar for breakfast, and the next his mouth was sealed against the stuff like it had been welded shut.

“Maybe he’s not hungry for breakfast,” I naively thought, stowing the untouched food in the fridge. A few very whiney hours later, we tried again at lunch. Broccoli-apple maybe? His jaw was clenched tighter than ever. I tossed a handful of cereal puffs onto his tray (which he picked up and devoured), and went to look at the contents of our fridge. We’d tried some baby-led weaning methods off and on over the past months, but ThriverBabe hadn’t been terribly interested in them. He spent more time smashing food between his fingers and dropping off the edge of his high chair than even attempting to get any into his mouth.

“Maybe he just wants something he can chew,” I thought, grabbing some turkey deli meat and cheese from the fridge drawer. He’d gotten his eighth tooth (I KNOW) just a few weeks before. I rolled up the deli meat and offered it to him, and sure enough, my kid ripped into it with his teeth—bite after bite, until he’d eaten the whole slice of turkey. The cheese went next. Then I quickly chopped and steamed some carrot sticks, and those went down, too.

And just like that, it appeared we had moved on to a new stage of eating. I tried some purees again that night at dinner and again the next morning to see if he’d just been looking for some variety, but there was no convincing him to give it another go. We’ve been solidly into solids (ha) since then.

So what do you do when your ten-to-eleven-month-old baby refuses to eat purees? What do you feed them instead? And what do you do with all the extra baby food you now have? Here’s what has worked for us!

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This Post Is Full of Vomit. Also: Love Makes Us Brave

This post is full of vomit, and I don’t mean word-vomit. Vomit and love. Consider yourselves warned.

 

This Post Is Full of Vomit. Consider yourselves warned! A mom life tale from the trenches about vomit how love makes us brave. Thriverguide.com

By Tuesday of this week I was ready to be done. ThriverBabe had kept us up for a good chunk of the night, restlessly tossing and turning and sitting up and crying for no reason we could discern. I got us both ready for the day, dropped him off at daycare, and went to teach my classes. By the time I finished teaching, pumping, picking my son up from daycare, and driving home, I was personally past the point of running on empty. There weren’t even any fumes left in my tank. Here’s the text message I sent to my husband:

This Post Is Full of Vomit. Consider yourselves warned! A mom life tale from the trenches about vomit how love makes us brave. Thriverguide.com

 

My sweet husband came through for us as promised, but he even went above and beyond. He staggered through the door an hour later, laden with heavy bags of cat food and our Chipotle supper. But hooked over one finger was another white bag with a familiar black and white checkerboard logo…

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Holding Fast: Fairy Tales and Wrestling My Baby to Sleep

What Fairy Tales taught me about loving my son and helping him sleep.

There’s a very old Scottish fairy tale called “Tam Lin” about a man who gets captured by faeries, much to the dismay of his beloved, Janet. Janet learns that the faeries intend to make a sacrifice of him and that the only way to save him is to stand at the crossroad at midnight on Halloween and take hold of him as the faerie court passes by on their way to make the sacrifice. “You must spring upon me suddenly,” Tam Lin tells her, “Then seize me quick, and whatever change befall me, for they will exercise all their magic on me, cling hold to me till they turn me into red-hot iron. Then cast me into this pool and I will be turned back into a man. Cast then your green mantle over me, and I shall be yours, and be of the world again.” Janet does as he tells her. The faeries turn Tam Lin to ice, then fire, then an adder, a dove, a swan, and finally, a hot iron sword. Janet steadfastly holds Tam Lin through all his changes, waits for the moment of iron, and then plunges him into the water and covers him with her mantle. And so, the story tells us, “Tam Lin was Janet’s forever.”

I’ve been keenly reminded of this story lately at nighttime when putting my son down to sleep. He arrived late to the rolling-over party just a few weeks ago at ten months old, but in the span of two weeks this has led to crawling, standing, and now cruising, so life has become suddenly much more exciting for our little boy. Much more exciting than bedtime and sleep.

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Fab Friday: Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Hey-hey, Mother’s Day is coming up! Do you know what to get for your mom to celebrate her? Today I’ve gathered up some great Mother’s Day gift ideas that won’t break the bank. (I know what you’re thinking: Fab Friday? It’s Sunday! Sorry! I went on a surprise vacation Thursday and Friday and missed my normal Friday posting. So happy Fab Friday a few days late!)

Mother’s Day 2018 will be my first Mother’s Day with my baby outside the womb, so this is kind of my Mother’s Day wishlist, too! The perfect Mother’s Day gifts for me would be things that are both beautiful and that I will actually use, so we’ll start there. Beyond that, I decided to break these ideas down into the five senses as a framework.

Oh! Also, I wanted to make sure everything here is affordable, which for me means keeping everything under $30. So here you go—15 Mother’s Day Gifts She’ll Love That Won’t Break the Bank.

2018 Gift Guide: 15 Mother's Day Gifts Your Mom Will Love That Won't Break the Bank >> Thriverguide.com

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Maundy Thursday: When the Spirit and the Flesh Are Both Weak

Maundy Thursday: The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Photo by Rafferty Fazakerly.
Photo by Rafferty Fazakerly

Last night was Maundy Thursday, where Christians remember the night Jesus gave a new commandment to love one another, the night he broke bread and passed a common cup to his disciples, the night he went to a garden to pray and asked his disciples to stay awake with him and watch—even for one hour—and they did not. The night he was betrayed and arrested and handed over to death.

Family Day at the Huntington Library and Gardens

I spent most of the day yesterday at the Huntington Library and Gardens with my mother and sister and a friend. We wandered through the gardens all afternoon, ate lunch at the cafe, showed ThriverBabe around the children’s garden, and generally just enjoyed the sunshine and cool breezes and green spaces.

We hit LA rush hour traffic on the way back, and I watched the minutes tick by, stealing away the one- to two-hour buffer I’d planned to have between getting back home and packing up to go to church at 7. I really didn’t want to go to church. I wasn’t in the mood for Maundy Thursday.

I felt a sudden connection to the disciples in the garden.

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Why I Clean My House During Lent

Why I Clean My House During Lent

I’m going to come right out and say it: I’m going to talk about God and Christianity from time to time here. It’s a huge part of my life, and by that I mean in part that I live my life according to the church calendar, fasting and feasting in due season. So a lot of my experiences and thoughts are directly shaped by these seasons and will likely come out in what I write.

It’s Lent right now in the church year—the great fast that precedes the great feast. In some traditions people give up meat (and dairy and oil and sweets and alcohol and sex), but joining in that practice presupposes a dietary and cooking flexibility that I am not able to accommodate. So Lent in my house for the last few years has meant a sacrifice of time and effort to a worthy cause: cleaning time. For the 40 days of Lent, I concertedly spend extra time cleaning my house as a spiritual discipline. That’s not to say that I don’t clean my house in other seasons—I just do it more attentively in Lent.

Why? I don’t know. Because disciplines are good, and they help form good habits, maybe. I have never in my life been a clean and organized person, so there’s always something that needs more attention. I live in the perpetual hope that one day I might become a clean and organized person. I recognize that order is objectively better than chaos, and especially now that I’m a mom, I don’t want my son to grow up in a house full of chaos. But I think there’s something about cleaning house that’s metaphorically resonant with the practice of the Lenten fast.

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Fab Friday: Essential Baby Gear for 6 Months and Under

I know what you’re thinking—another baby gear list? Yeah, that’s exactly what the internet needs. I know, I know, but give me a chance! My mission here at Thriver Guide is to help find ways to make life easier, more beautiful, and more joyful for those of us with chronic or mental illness, so to that end, this list of baby essentials is something I made with spoonie parents in mind.

Without further ado, here’s this week’s Fab Friday roundup:

These baby essentials saved my sanity when my baby was under six months old!

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