Moms Matter Too: Post-Partum Stress/Anxiety + The Importance of Self Care

Alright guys, I’m going to do it, I’m going to be another #momblogger writing about self care. Honestly, before I was a mom, I didn’t even understand what “self care” meant and I sure as hell didn’t understand why so many moms were talking about it. I mean, it’s not that hard to take care of yourself, right? But at the beginning of this year, I feel like I got hit by a truck in my understanding of it and why self care should be our #1 priority. Yes – I said #1, before baby, before husband, before work, etc. If you aren’t talking care of yourself, ALL of these things suffer. I have felt it first hand.
I am bringing this up because I think a lot of moms read my blog probably think that I have it all together – a good job, a beautiful and healthy baby, a great fiance, a blog with pretty pictures that I am able to keep up even when life gets crazy…but that doesn’t mean that this shit is easy or that the last year has been all fairies and rainbows. In fact I sincerely hope from some of my other heartfelt posts that I don’t come across that way. It wouldn’t be honest of me if I didn’t talk about this part of motherhood.
For the second half of 2016, I was doing okay on the outside, but literally scraping by on the inside. The stress of returning to work and a normal life, only now with a baby, was probably the hardest life transition I have gone through. Having a baby that didn’t (still doesn’t always) sleep through the night and then going to work all day, left me exhausted by 7pm each night. I curbed that exhaustion with an excuse to not exercise and eat cookies every night if I wanted, because.. I (didn’t) GAF. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning because lack of exercise was leaving me even more lethargic, and my body started showing stress in many different ways that I had never experienced before (grinding my teeth, headaches, muscle twitches in random places.) When I ended up seeing a doctor in January for unrelated issues, I brought up my concerns. She is the one who explained to me that stress can present itself in many weird ways and my concern that I had developed a muscular disorder resulting in muscle twitches, was probably just stress.
If all of this sounds concerning to you, it’s because it is. I finally realized at the end of 2016, right around the time I stopped breastfeeding, that I had slowly bottled up a lot of Post-Partum Anxiety (I don’t say Post-Partum Depression, because I don’t think it got to that level) on-set NOT ONLY by life with a baby but stressful work, wedding planning, expectations on this blog, family health issues, and LIFE. I know it wasn’t anxiety caused by baby alone. I have explained this feeling to others as feeling trapped…that’s the best word I have for it. Not depressed, just trapped in a cycle that I couldn’t get out of. I had never once felt anxiety before having a child, and suddenly I was consumed by it. Craig asked so many times how he could help, but he was already pulling so much weight and I realized it was my responsibility to start taking care of myself and figure out how to make it better.
I have become extremely passionate about making sure that Moms Matter – once we have baby, we tend to shift the focus there, lose ourselves, and then fall into an anxiety ridden state of no longer having your own life, goals, and significance. Please tell me this isn’t just me, that others have longed for freedom and time to just focus on what YOU want for once.
 For me, PPA was not immediate upon the birth of my son like it is for some – it was a gradual decline starting at about 4 months PP until about 10 months PP. Only now can I look back, reflect, and write about these things, because I finally feel that I am coming out on the other side. I was too deep in it before and too STUCK to be able to realize what was happening, how to get out of it, or how to help other Moms. In that same doctor appointment that I referenced before, she gave me a mini therapy session on small steps I could take to relieve some stress and anxiety – I had no choice but to try and take her advice.  These are the things that have helped me feel more like myself, defend against PPA and create more energy in my life:
Consistent Exercise
I went from exercising 5-6 days/week before pregnancy, continued exercising until 20 weeks, and then pretty much stopped completely. I started again when Calvin was 8 weeks and felt amazing. Then I went back to work, then I made excuses, then I completely fell off the wagon. Turns out it is the most important wagon of all. Once I got back into a consistent (still not as much as before!) routine, a lot of stress and anxiety subsided, grinding of my teeth lessened, and I just felt overall better about myself and had more energy. If someone is going wrong in your life, I suggest taking some time to get moving and see if that helps.

Do Something you Love for YOU
I’m sure a lot of people in my life have wondered why I haven’t given up blogging when things get busy or I get overwhelmed – I mean it’s just an extra THING that takes up more TIME, right!? WRONG. This blog is what I started when I was pregnant for ME. When I was suddenly unexpectedly pregnant, working in a stressful environment, and newly living 600 miles from all friends and family, I needed an outlet…I needed to create something to focus on outside of the other stressors. I posted on instagram here that this blog started out about ME and trying to inspire others, but the opportunities that have come to me and the people I’ve met have inspired ME and I now write for all of YOU as well. I think everyone needs something of their own to work towards, a creative outlet, a business, a platform, that they can be proud of. I’ll be announcing soon Part II of RwS soon – aka my latest endeavor. What can you do for you?

Find a Strong Relatable Community
ALL Moms want to come across strong, like they are conquering the world, and let’s be honest, we are. Moms often answer with, “good!” when we first ask how it’s going…but if you really sit down and talk to a new mom, a veteran mom, or anyone caring for other humans, they will get real with you. I don’t think we feel like we can really say how we are feeling often enough and we think that everything we are experiencing, everything we are feeling is just “normal” for a new mom. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. I know we can all relate to the tough stuff, and having a community in which you can talk with, helps so much. Just to know that someone else has been through or is going through the same challenge you may be facing is really helpful. So, please reach out to me and we can chat if you feel so inclined – I would love that!

Break Free of Comparison & Social Media Pressure
I read an article recently talking about how parenting now is harder than parenting was 20, 30 years ago because of the insane amount of pressure put on us to do it all, have it all, while looking and feeling amazing. I don’t think that our parents had it easy by any means and can’t say I totally agree with that statement BUT I think social media is the cause of this statement. The only pressure we should feel is from wanting to better ourselves and our family. If you feel that pressure from other moms or what you see on social media is messing with your parenting, I would highly suggest taking a break. Now that is easier said than done – if you’re a blogger or business owner, your success likely is dependent on your social media presence and interacting with others. Find the balance. Set aside time to be 100% engaged with your family and set aside time to be on your phone (after work until Calvin’s bed time I am in 100% family mode.) Remember that REAL life is happening and passing quickly as your scroll through your feeds. Stay in your own lane, know what your goals are, and don’t let someone else’s success or statements bring you down.

If you’ve been here and can relate in any way, I’d love to hear from you – any other suggestions? Like I said, I finally feel like I have broken free from the PPA cycle and can talk about it with other moms. Thanks so much for reading and for all your support along the way.

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The Highs & Lows: A First Time Mom’s Breastfeeding Journey

I’ll be honest, I’ve had this post written for about 3 months but was too afraid (since when, right?) to share – although breastfeeding is natural, common, and well-perceived, I still do feel like it’s a very personal topic to me. I now know that’s stupid because most of my readers are Moms who have been through this same experience of trying to figure out breastfeeding for the first time. It’s actually crazy to me now that I haven’t spoken publicly on my blog at all about breastfeeding, yet it was such a big part of my 2016, I needed to share. By not sharing, I’m adding to the stigma and not doing my part to “normalize” what is one of the most remarkable things we can do as women.
Through a series of conversations with other moms, moms to be, and friends of moms, I came to the realization that I should share my journey in hopes of relating with even just one more mama. (Also, I’m feeling super nostalgic since I will officially have a 1YO this weekend!)
 Yes, I am calling it a journey because that’s truly what it has been – long, windy, with ups & downs, positives & negatives, a rewarding hardship that I would do again and again if given the chance.
The decision to breastfeed is a big one for new moms, with such a stigma behind it. When asked if I would breastfeed my son, my answer was always yes, with no hesitation. At the time, I have no idea why my answer was yes. I think my unwavering yes was influenced by the fact that my mom breastfed all of us, I wanted to save some cash money and that I was subconsciously afraid that the BF’ing diehards of the world would mom shame me if I didn’t. This unwavering yes of an answer is also what allowed me to persevere, even when I thought I could no longer go on.
My goal here is not to offend anyone as I truly feel there are positives of both breastfeeding and bottle feeding your baby. In fact, you’ll see in my story that very early on, I had to start supplementing – this would classify Calvin as both a breast fed and bottle fed baby. I appreciate and praise ALL moms no matter what their decisions or abilities have been. You HAVE to do what is right for you. This post is also not a story of butterflies and fairytales, promoting the blissful experience of b’feeding – it is my experience mixed with the emotions, the advice, and my opinions that have come to fruition over my breastfeeding stint that lasted 9 months.
And alas, I’ll say it again: EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT.

@ the hospital

 Feb 18, I had Calvin and when the nurses asked me if I wanted to b’feed I said ‘yes, I wanted to give it the good ole college try.’ They try to get baby to eat right away, even though the milk hasn’t come in yet, but more out of developing the habit for the baby.

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Right away I noticed that Calvin’s latch wasn’t great. I know it’s supposed to hurt at first but this was horrible excruciating pain. I think I even said that same exact sentence to the nurse. After he would attempt to feed you could TELL he wasn’t latching correctly. I LITERALLY saw 10-12 nurses, lactation consultants, and doctors who all gave me different advice and opinions. This was really frustrating for me, and I remember being really annoyed with the differing advice from so many different healthcare professionals. Even if you are a brand-spankin new mom, at the end of the day, only YOU know what’s right and wrong for yourself, your body and your baby. I tried every position (normal, football hold, lying down) and all left me wincing in pain and tears in my eyes. One of the lactation consultants introduced nursing shields at some point, which were my saving grace and I had to continue using the entire time I was nursing Calvin. Tip here: there are several different sizes you can buy and I would say the smaller the better so that baby can actually put their mouth around it.
My milk came in so quickly/full force on like, day 2, which seemed really quick. I spent one day and night extremely full and thankfully one of my new nurses on morning shift said, “you have GOT to pump!” So she taught me how to use the hospital pump and I got several bottles out of just that one session. I thank god for her to this day. 1, because no one was helping me with the oversupply relief, and 2, because she taught me how to use the pump. Of course the doctor the next day had ANOTHER opinion and said I should not pump or my boobs would think I’m trying to feed multiples and have too much milk. Looking back, I honestly don’t think TOO MUCH milk is a thing – at least not a bad thing at all! But I get what she was saying.

Coming home 

^our first day @ home
By the time we left the hospital we were pretty much at the same comfort level as before. Calvin was able to eat successfully, but not without severe pain for Mom. I spent the next 14ish days in the same boat. Lots of pain, teary eyes, and thoughts on whether or not I could do this. I knew that if I could get through the initial struggles, I could likely make it for the long haul, pending milk supply. We continued to use the shields during feeding – pain slowly subsided and my body started to adjust. Weeks 3-6 were awesome – no problems, no complaints, just smooth sailing from here on out!
At 6 weeks, I had my first post-partum checkup. I passed with flying colors, gave an awesome report to my midwife on how things were going, I was cleared for exercise and thought this new mama thing ain’t so bad! The next day, I went to exercise at the gym we had just joined for the first time PP. I came home and my right breast was much more achy than normal.  I took a bath and was a BIT concerned just because I had been pain free for weeks. Craig and I googled breast pain as I had heard of clogged ducts, mastitis, infection, etc but didn’t think much of it.
That night, exactly 1 day after my perfect 6 week PP check up, I woke up in the night feeling so sick with flu-like symptoms. I woke up the next morning with a 102 degree fever and felt like I was going to die. That’s not an exaggeration. Having a horrible fever as an adult is up there with one of the worst moments of my adult life. I had every blanket on in our house, and was still shivering. I knew right away this was the dreaded MASTITIS (a painful infection of the breast tissue – possible causes are a blocked milk duct or bacteria entering the breast. It usually occurs within the first three months of breast-feeding.)
Of course it was Sunday, so I had to call the emergency line for my Dr. to call in an antibiotic prescription.  My doctor confirmed on Monday and said it could have been because I wasn’t emptying enough or because of infection caused from the breast shield. I spent the next 2-3 days in and out of high fever, Craig had to miss his soccer game and work because I was so sick I couldn’t take care of my baby.
Through Mastisis, you still have to keep feeding because the duct has to clear itself. Ouch! But not as bad as the flu-like symptoms. At a few points I was too sick so Calvin had to drink the stash I had frozen, which caused my milk supply to decrease during this time and I was unsure I would ever get it back.
Slowly I did, but over the next month or so I started feeling trapped in the cycle of breastfeeding. I couldn’t leave the house for more than an hour at a time in fear that Calvin would get hungry and need to eat. I didn’t have a large supply stored because we used it while I was sick – I was basically at Calvin’s every beck and call. I am an I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T woman, and I couldn’t do anything independently – and if I did I had to pump before, during after, etc. This became really difficult for me mentally. Again, during this time, I questioned whether I was meant to do this for the long haul but decided to keep at it while I had the milk supply to support it.

Back to work 

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Being a working mom who continues to pump/breastfeed is a serious task. It’s really difficult to keep up with finding time during the day, cleaning parts, transporting milk, and keeping up milk supply. {PS – LMK if you want me to do a whole post on pumping @ work and best practices, but won’t go into all the details of that here.} I wanted to stick with it as long as possible because I REALLY enjoyed the morning and night feedings that I had with Calvin. It gave us quality time before work, and then again at bed time. He would always fall asleep and then I could hold him as long as I wanted on my chest before taking him to his crib.
I did this whole process for about 5 months and when milk supply started dwindling, I decided to stop pumping at work and only feed him morning and night. Eventually, since I was not pumping to increase the supply all day, it was decreasing even more. I decided one random night after Calvin had bitten me a few times, and was flailing all over the place that something had to give and we would be done. This was right before Thanksgiving and I didn’t realize until several weeks after stopping that it was affecting me.
My mom always told me that once you stop breastfeeding, your hormones get f’ed up, and I think that is true. It brought out an increased phase of post-partum anxiety in myself particularly that I will talk about more on a future post about ‘self care’ Did any one else experience this post-breastfeeding hormonal shift?
So this all sounds like a lot – a lot of ups & downs, a lot of effort, etc….but like I said, I would do it all over again and will for future babies. There is truly nothing as precious as that quality time and bond you form because of spending all of that time literally attached to your babe. I really do like the ease of making a bottle, but I miss that quality time we had together every morning before work and every night before bed.
The only thing I want to leave you all with is the encouragement to not be too hard on yourself. Yes, I think everyone should try to breastfeed if they can. Yes, I think you should give it 1, 2, 3 tries and then make a decision if it’s for you and your baby. Yes, I think there are hardships you have to make the decision to push through if you want to continue. BUT making sure your mental & physical health is important too. If those things are lacking, it’s okay to say, “something has to give.” Making sure you’re on top of your game in those areas will be better for you both in the long run.
Lastly, you will see moms who post about continuing to breastfeed well over a  year, or who can pump 8 oz. from both boobs in one sitting – please don’t compare…you’re kicking ass and taking names in your own way.
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Dear Mama-To-Be: What I Wish I Knew One Year Ago

Last year on this very day, I was told I would be having my baby any second. I was 3cm dilated and 10 days from my delivery date. I was having braxton hicks contractions on the reg, and felt like I was going into labor every single night. My client at work had requested that I start to work from home at this point and they questioned me with horror in their eyes, “WHY are you still coming to the office!” I took their advice and proceeded to work from home until Calvin was born 18 days later (he decided he was comfy and that he would come 8 days late.)

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BUT this is not a birth story, or my story of labor & delivery.
This is a story for soon-to-be mamas who have no idea what to expect or how they will feel as soon as that baby comes. I didn’t have many friends who were Moms when I had Calvin. In fact I am one of the first in my group of friends to have a baby. I didn’t study Motherhood before he came or read “what to expect when…” In fact, I guess you could say I went in blind and was wingin’ it as I went.

Honestly, I wish I had some more heartfelt, really really’s given to me before motherhood. I wish no one gave horrible advice like, “Enjoy it! because you’ll never sleep again!”FYI – that’s not necessarily true and it’s certainly not helpful advice. I wish I had some heart to heart’s with mamas I knew before hand to say this is what’s really awesome, and this is what’s really going to suck. I avoided those intimate conversations but secretly wish someone would’ve written me a true & honest letter on what to expect. Trying to handle anything on your own or in your own mind is recipe for a new mom to go certifiably insane.
SO – here it is…..

Dear Mama-To-Be,
Get ready for a wild ride. The next year will likely be the most rewarding, yet most challenging year of your life to date. I bet you tend to see all the positives of motherhood on your social media feeds – the milestones, the smiles, the cuddles, because overall, these moments WIN. They are the reason we decide to have a baby in the first place and they are the reason you can’t wait to have your bundle of joy outside of your belly. You probably don’t see the challenges, the frustrations, the times of anxiety you will feel a first time mom but you should know that they are ALL going through the same highs, lows & emotions – it’s just that few will actually say it out loud.
Get ready to have an exhausting, yet beautiful experience in the hospital. You will spend the entire first night up with baby – not because they aren’t sleeping, but because you feel that you should be watching & waiting at every beck & call. You’ve never had a human rely on you for their existence. You will be so exhausted, thankful for the help, yet excited to get released and be in the comfort of your own home.
Get ready to experience the ups & downs of your breastfeeding journey as you learn what works together. If you can’t/aren’t breastfeeding, get ready for looks from other Moms, but know you are doing what is best for you and your baby, and ensure you are both HEALTHY.
Get ready to look at your body and wonder how all the hard work you had put into being fit before baby is no longer reflected in the image you see in the mirror. But know that you will look at that same body and have a greater appreciation for yourself, the effort you put into growing that baby, and for the first time in your life you will realize that having a perfectly flat stomach is no longer what brings you your worth.
Get ready to be really annoyed with your partner for the simple fact that they aren’t MOM… you are, and you are baby’s holy grail. This places a target on your back (or boob) to be caregiver #1 for all of eternity. Your relationship is on the back burner -but through reflection, effort, and awareness you will realize you have no idea what you would do without this human’s support, that he is the best Dad in the world & he is there to save you from yourself time and time again.

Get ready to have VERY limited time for yourself and know that it’s OKAY if you miss your life & freedom pre-baby. You will probably hear people say all the time, “I don’t know what we did before baby.” Don’t feel guilty if a photo sequence of  you sleeping in, having time to focus on your own dreams & goals and in general do whatever the F you wanted, whenever the F you wanted, flashes before your eyes. Know that you are still YOU and making time for that is not only important, but necessary.
Get ready to not necessarily never sleep again, but to never sleep when YOU want to again. Your sleep schedule is now baby’s and eventually baby WILL sleep through the night. Can’t promise it will be consistently, but you will value that shut-eye as if it were gold and wake up with a human alarm clock. Know that you won’t think twice about getting up when you hear baby cry, you will just do it, because it is what you are called to do in this season of your life.
Get ready to face the toughest Monday of your life as you take baby to daycare and head to the office solo. You will cry, and you will feel guilty. Know that letting yourself feel these things, and then pulling yourself together and getting back into a routine will help. If it doesn’t get better, take it upon yourself to change your life circumstances before they change you.
Get ready to feel anxious, different, not like yourself – but know that it’s okay because you ARE different. You are now a Mom, the most selfless job title you will ever hold. This is normal and if you can find other mama’s to relate with, it will help.
Get ready to truly understand the saying, “time flies,” & make an effort to BE PRESENT in this whirlwind of growth, smiles, snuggles, and milestones. Even the toughest of nights are important. Your baby will never be as little as they are in that present moment, so make all of them count.
Lastly, good luck, you got this, and I’ll see you on the other side as you enter a new phase of your already amazing life.
Love,
A 1 year Post-Partum Mama

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My Summer Post Recap: All things Baby, Back to Work, Engagement, Re-branding & Travels!

It’s been a summer for the books! So much growing, traveling, fun & so many firsts in our life! As I was rounding these up, I went back to re-read some of my posts – I need to take some of my OWN advice and remember why I wrote the things that I did.
The post that hit me the hardest was “The 5th Trimester: Learning to Balance Time & Give yourself a Break.” This post is very near and dear to my heart – definitely the most honest words I’ve written to date. If you are a working mom, or will be…check it out!
The most exciting thing that happened personally this summer, is that Craig and I got engaged! We are so official now!
The most exciting thing that happened blog wise, is that I re-branded from “Kayla Marie” to “Running with Strollers.” I finally found my niche and can’t wait to keep writing & bring great content to all my readers!
Here is a recap of this summer’s posts. I have re-linked for easy reading if you may have missed one in the craziness that summer can bring 🙂
Calvin Turns 4 Months + The challenges & rewards during this time 
Back to Work! + My Working Mommy Essentials
The 5th Trimester: Learning to Give Yourself A Break
*My favorite & most honest post of the Summer <3*
My Favorite Way to Order Prescription Glasses + Pics of this Baby Bear!
4th of July Inspired Family Photos
We got engaged! + Our Favorite Vacation Photos 
Calvin turns 5 Months + How Having a Baby Changes Your Priorities
Our Day Trip to NYC + Getting Out of your Comfort Zone 
Mom goes to Nashville + Increasing Your Happiness + How to wear Shorts & Boots
*Blog Re-Brand!!*
Flying with an Infant + Travel Necessities! 
Calvin turns 6 Months + Remembering to Live in the Moment 
Calvin Tries the MamaRoo!
Shirt Dresses: Perfect for the Transition to Fall
Here’s to a new season, more firsts, and finishing out 2016 strong.
So much love for all of you! ❤

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New Mom Round-up: Must-Have Items for YOU!

As more of my friends and acquaintances begin to have their babes, it’s got me to thinking about the post-partum items that have been “life savers” these past few months. What are my go-to’s, my repeat offenders, my must haves? What items made my life easier after baby was born?

Have you ever noticed how moms needs are often put way on the back burner once baby arrives? Of course you have, if you’re a Mom. Well guess what, you are important too. Basically if someone asked me what they need, I would give them this list. If fact, people have asked, so here is my end of maternity leave round-up, captured in one spot. I’m no expert, but once you go through something, it certainly gives you perspective. I own all of these things – tried and true, y’all! I’ve linked the easiest path to purchase on each item title 🙂
Vans Slip-Ons 
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I love Vans because they are comfy, easy (slip on), very “in” right now, and cheaper than other tennies like Nikes, Toms, Adidas, etc. Cheaper = you can buy more. Wait, is that not how it works? I’m partial to neutrals such as white, tan, or black. Perfect for both Spring & Summer, comfortable for errands, and they go with jeans, leggings, shorts…all of the above. See how I paired them in a previous post, here. I’ll be talking about investing in neutrals on the blog later this week.
*Since maternity leave pretty much revolves around the boobs, you may see a theme in these next few items.
Gilligan & O’Malley Nursing Bras
I love these because they come in a 2-pack, there are no clips involved, no wires, and they are super soft. If you have to wear a bra to sleep, these are the ones you want. Do not wear under-wires to bed…so uncomfortable. You kind of start to feel suffocated by bras, especially the super structured boulder holders, so these are super light. Also, racer back FTW. Or is it razor back? Anyways, highly recommend getting a few packages.
Hands Free Breastpump Bra, Soft Pink
Alright, why did no one tell me ahead of time that nursing pumps have to be plugged in while in use? Not only that, the plug is like 5 lbs – no exaggeration. I freaking hate being plugged into the wall….as if you aren’t slave enough to your boobs and the baby’s feeding schedule during this time. If you have to be plugged in, at least free your hands to do other things, like play on your phone, read a book, or get some work done. It’s also a great item for when you have to pump upon returning to work.
Nylon/Spandex Stretch Tanks
They have to be the kind that are like 90/10 or 85/15 split between Nylon and Spandex. None of that shrinking cotton shit – these are form fitting for under baggy shirts, give the boobs a bit of extra support, super soft, and the stretchy-ness makes them easy access. You can also substitute the sleep bras for these tanks. Also, no clips – because a screaming baby waits for nothing.
Old Navy Rockstar Jeggings
Oh. My. God. These are the best pants ever. WTF, I’m never going back to real pants. Look at that stretchy waist band! I feel like I could do the splits in these. They come in two shades of denim & black – and you need both. They also come in short, regular, and tall women’s sizes. This is key for a shortie like me.
Jessica Simpson 3/4 Sleeve Pull Over Wrap Nursing Top
 I was obsessed with cross style tops, even before I had a baby. Now, they are not only flattering, but functional. Any and all cross-tops will work, but I have linked the JS one that I own here. Size up, as I felt it was a bit small. Your eyes will start to become magnets to this style of shirt, once you realize how great they are.
Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes, 25 ct

Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes, 25 ct

There are so many days where you won’t wear make-up, but still need to quickly wash your face. When I don’t wear makeup, I’m really tempted to go to bed without washing my face, which is a no-no. Buy cleansing face wipes to keep by bed so that you can quickly wipe away the dirt from the day. I still encourage a cleanser, toner, moisturizer nightly routine, but when the going gets tough (and it does) have cleansing face wipes handy.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, 1.7 Ounce
Another item I was loyal to, before baby. I love this stuff. When you don’t get enough sleep, your skin starts to look dull and fine lines appear. Since you won’t be able to prevent the lack of sleep, this hydro gel will moisturize your skin and I think it does help with the dullness that can occur. It is water based so, super hydrating, and never oily. Put on as much as you want. I’ve never tried the cream, so I am strictly referencing the gel. I know I know I know – there are a million skin creams out there that are probably great – but here is my drugstore, mom budget, pick.
Scunci No-slip Grip Chunky Jaw Clips,5 Count
Scunci No-slip Grip Chunky Jaw Clips,5 Count
Once your child starts pulling your hair, it’s over. You basically can’t wear it down without handfuls being pulled out. Also, when you throw them over your shoulder (not literally) to burp them, there is a 99% chance of spit up or drool collecting in your mane. Hair clips are so easy and convenient, can be clipped to anything (such as a diaper bag), and don’t leave as much of a crease as hair ties. You know that blow-out you spent 30+ min on, which only happens once a week? Well, you can kind of salvage it with the help of hair clips. I prefer the Scunci brand linked above, because they have rubber in the inside, helping them to stay put in your hair.
Sunglassesray bansSpeaking of not wearing make-up–it takes so long to get out the door with children, that you’ll probably want to just grab a pair of sunglasses…especially if you are just going on a walk, running to the store quickly, or to the gym.  My go-to are my gold ray-bans (I think I’ve owned 5 pairs of these over time), but I’ve also purchased a few pairs from Forever 21 as a cheaper way to mix it up and keep in the diaper bag.
Coffee Giftcards
If people ask you what you want or NEED after childbirth, just go ahead and say coffee giftcards…that is if you are a coffee drinker. Here’s why: (1) weeks of interrupted sleep starts to catch up to you and you’ll prob want some caffeine. I never worried about caffeine during b’feeding and it’s never affected Calvin. (2) Afternoon coffee runs were key to my sanity. Sometimes on fussy afternoons, we needed to get out of the house so we would jump in the car and go through the Dunkin drive through, or go sit at Starbucks for a few minutes and I would get some things done on my iPad.

So here are my faves – what am I missing? What are your go-to’s? Are you about to have a babe and have a question?! Let me know! Seriously, I want to chat with you ALL!
I hope your Monday was pain-less, quick at work, and that you are cuddling your fams extra tight. We are celebrating Craig’s birthday with presents and a cookie cake when he gets home from soccer. 😊 Oh, and you better bet I’m watching the premiere of the Bachelorette!
💕Kayla

Achieving Body after Baby: 4 Ways to Mentally Prepare

I think I have referenced the #4thtrimester in more than one post – and let me tell you, it’s no joke. What an awesome, yet strange time for Moms everywhere, both physically and mentally! Not only are you trying to learn how to take care of a tiny baby, but you are trying to feel good in your own skin and stay sane at the same time. I think that this is SO FREAKING IMPORTANT – feeling good about yourself. I can’t do anything when I feel bad about myself. I feel sluggish, lazy, and unmotivated. I am a better Mom when I re-charge with physical fitness.
I’m just starting to get into that #fitmom life post baby. To be completely transparent – I lost ~70% of the weight I gained right away (within 2 weeks) of having Calvin. And from 2 weeks until now (9 weeks) post-partum have literally not lost one more lb. I’m not really concentrating on the scale or cutting calories as I can’t risk affecting milk supply, but I did think those numbers were interesting. I thought it would be more gradual and continual over the course of several months. It reminds me how everyone’s bodies are so different. I can already tell it’s going to take a lot of hard work, and even more patience to get back to where I started.
Outside of the physical challenges, I’m trying to mentally prepare, in order to set myself up for success. Although I’m no expert, I want to publicly talk through my thought process in hopes it helps out even one other mom to know she’s not alone, and to know “you’ve got this.” You can go through the motions all day, but the ongoing mental prep is the hardest part.

I’ve been physically active my whole life – I danced for 2o years, have run 4 half marathons, tried every fitness class in the book, started a corporate fitness bootcamp called @sweat_suits, kept up with my high intensity workouts until 20 weeks pregnant, and just generally enjoy working out. Actually, I just enjoy the benefits of working out and being active. The 2nd half of my pregnancy (20 weeks) plus the recovery time after (6 weeks) is the longest I have probably ever gone with so little activity – so you can see why I’m longing to get back into my old habits…the good ones of course 🙂 Here is what I’m trying to do to get back into the routine. These tips are great for anyone wanting to start a physical fitness routine, definitely not limited to someone who has just had a baby:

Start Slow

I’m more of a 0–>100 (real quick) type of person. Kind of like Calvin when he’s hungry. If I get something in my head I have to do it right then, all the way, no excuses. I once ran a half marathon, rested for weeks, and then decided I need to get back into it, so I ran 5 miles of hills at once. I paid for that one later. I’ve done multiple stupid things like that. So this time I’m starting slow. For example, I’ve had to start with slow walking lunges before I can get back into jumping lunges, and I am walking before I begin to run. If I am too sore or tired to take care of my babe, it defeats the purpose of exercising in the first place. If you’re too sore to work out the rest of the week, it also defeats the purpose.

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Set Realistic Goals and Intentions

This one is huge. I’ve seen so many friends decide to start exercising and set goals like, “I’m going to go to the gym every day!” or “I’m going to give up carbs completely starting tomorrow.” No you aren’t. You are setting yourself up for failure, in the nicest way possible. Start with a few days a week, and make them days you are actually likely to go. For example, don’t say every week day if you know you aren’t replacing HH (happy hour) on Friday for the gym, or if the only thing you want to do on Fridays is get home to your family (don’t we all?) I always do a mix of strength training and cardio on days I go to the gym, but I’m setting a goal of doing this 4 out of 7 days/week, doing outdoor stroller walks or a home workout on the other days… with the intention of re-gaining strength, stamina, and increasing my energy levels throughout the day. I’m being realistic in the sense that I cannot go to the gym every day, with a baby. I’m also not being TOO specific as I want this to be a part of my life long term, not consume it and set myself up to give up. I will re-set my goals and intentions after maternity leave when my schedule changes, in order to stay realistic. img_2308-1 
Don’t Compare

Ah, the old “everyone looks better or cooler than me on social media” game. It’s really easy to compare yourself to people on Instagram who likely only post the best or professional photos of themselves. That’s what Instagram is…a place to share your favorite photos. But it’s not necessarily reality. It’s also easy to compare to people you know, who might be going through the same things as you. Instead of comparing, we should use this as inspiration, create a community, and support one another, especially as new Moms.

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Learning to Love the Process

And what a process it is. It’s going to take time, dedication, and patience to start seeing and feeling changes. Learn to mentally love this process of bettering yourself physically. If you know your family and overall quality of life will improve if you commit to your goals and feel good about yourself, what is there to lose? I’m learning to love the process by knowing I’m doing the best I can, as often as I can. A short or small amount of exercise is better than no exercise. My body will likely never be the same again and I’m honestly okay with that. My body is now responsible for another. Changes on the inside result in changes on the outside, and what a life changing 2 months it’s been.  



Here’s to committing fully, reaching your goals, comparing only to the person in the mirror, and learning to love yourself all over again. Who’s with me?

❤ Kayla


Shop this gym look:

Jacket – Lululemon (similar)

Shoes – Nike (similar)

Leggings – Old Navy

 

Springtime Floral & Fringe

I’m so excited to finally get another fashion post up on the blog this year & I want to talk about what’s in my closet for Spring! My style is not typically super feminine or ‘flowery’, but this year in particular, I can’t stop gravitating towards everything FLORAL! It just feels so fresh and there is no question when wearing, that it is in season. I mean, Spring = Flowers.  
This look, featuring FRINGE will be the first of 3 looks with a floral theme on the blog this season. Spring is also festival season, which always seems to bring a plethora of fringe to wardrobe staples. Floral mixed with fringe is even better in my book. I’m not even embarrassed to say that I found this beautiful plum kimono in a junior’s section – we gotta do what we gotta do. I had in my mind exactly what I was trying to find, and I hit the jackpot at Macy’s, right as I was leaving the store. And really, is it that much different than shopping at Forever? There are no rules saying Moms can’t shop wherever want, too! There are, however, rules on how stealthy and efficient one must be while leaving the house with a 6 week old at home. 😅
I paired with a basic blank tank underneath and black jeggings (best invention since leggings themself.) You know, I haven’t committed to real pants post-baby, just yet. I added some more fringe with this black boot & jewelry is all black & gold – which is my usual go-to. All pieces linked below photos.
I’ve included some shots of my look, along with my top picks for a similar feel.
Blog 1.JPGBlog 4Blog 8 The flowy feel of this top is key for both comfort and fit during the 4th trimester period I mentioned last post. It’s basically the spring version of my poncho obsession this past fall.
20160331_151339.jpg^adjustments needed, always!20160331_151347.jpgDSCN0398^these bright yellow flowers are everywhere!
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Floral Kimono – Macy’s
Booties – Forever 21
C.W.C. Initial Necklace – Stella & Dot
Layered Necklace – Forever 21 (similar)
Watch – Michael Kors
Lipstick – Maybelline Plum Perfect

Shop the look:

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Metallic Embroidered Mesh Kimono
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Tasseled Floral Longline Kimono
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Floral-Print Kimono
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Fringed Floral-Embroidered Kimono
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Fringed Floral-Embroidered Kimono
tan boot
Suede Boots with Fringe
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Suede Ankle Boots with Fringe
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Santana Jasper Fringe Booties

Accessorize it;

Stickin’ with the floral & fringe theme – what are your go-to’s? Any pieces I’m missing? I’ll leave you with a pic of me & my crew!

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Happy Saturday! Enjoy your weekend with friends & family. 

❤ Kayla

6 Weeks into Motherhood: My New Normal 

The past couple of weeks have been somewhat of a honeymoon phase with Calvin, Craig, and I’m really just trying to enjoy every moment of maternity leave. We’ve had so many amazing visitors that have helped us out, and also forced me to get moving again! My family made us frozen casseroles that lasted us a month – and who doesn’t love a good casserole? Craig’s family came and treated us to several meals, drinks, and kept us company for a weekend. My sister came for a week and fell in love with Calvin, just as all of us have. There were definitely tears from multiple parties when having to leave – if we thought it was difficult living far from family before, throwing a baby into the mix takes that to a whole new level! Thank god for snap chat, which BTW is my new favorite form of social media. Add me @greenskm to follow our adventures 🙂

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Despite such an exciting and life changing time, the blogging juices haven’t exactly been flowing as much as I’d like. As we get more situated, and we get out more, this will change. It’s really easy to scroll Instagram and get caught up in what other mommy bloggers are doing and compare yourself – the opposite of what motherhood should be. I figured I’ll take the pressure off myself and just write exactly how I’m feeling 6 weeks post-partum.
When I started the pregnancy journey I had no close friends in the same boat as me. Suddenly I’ve discovered all of my closest friends/acquaintances in New Jersey are new moms or expecting very soon…most of whom I met BECAUSE of having a baby. It’s funny how god’s timing and plans work out. Several ladies I know living in OH have had little ones within weeks of me, and thanks to social media I’ve been able to connect with and follow along with their journeys as well. It is refreshing to receive and give advice to others who are in the same exact boat as you – and I’m so happy to see everyone doing so well! Becoming a new Mom is a lot less lonely when there are others to relate with.

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A ton of people have asked me, “How are YOU doing?” and I find myself responding with the same generic answer of “Good, just trying to get back to normal & feel like myself!” It hit me the other day that while some things will return to normal (going back to work, being able to exercise, etc) I’m never going to feel like my old self. My life, my body, my feelings, my emotions, my decisions, are never going to be the same. Having a child transforms you into a new person completely and it’s time to stop expecting to feel like I did 10 months ago, or even 6 weeks ago. It’s time to stop trying to get to a previous “normal” that no longer exists. I’m never going to wake up and feel like the Kayla I was for 26 years. But I don’t want to be that person any more – we stand still in life if we cannot accept or welcome change.

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Here are a few {but not limited to} new life changes. We heard them in the form of advice leading up to birth, but we’d never understand until now;

Constant interrupted sleep.
3 hour maximum trips out of the house.
Shortened shower time.
A diaper bag for a purse.
Double the laundry.
Constantly chugging water.
Dark circles.
Hair & skin changes.
Baby socks, bibs, and blankets everywhere.
Milk stained everything.
Taking out the trash every day.
The awkward 4th trimester mom-body.
Feeding as much as a part-time job.
Sore arms and back from rocking baby back to sleep.
Leggings as a wardrobe staple [STILL.]
Quietly “shushing” until your mouth hurts.
Realizing how bad you are at singing, and that you need to learn some lullabies, stat.
Planning all aspects in life months in advance.
Being 30 min late to everything.
No room in the cart for groceries.
No more making decisions on the fly.
Spending more time shopping for baby, than yourself.
Realizing you need ‘handicap’ access everywhere with a stroller.
Wanting time to stop.
Always putting yourself second.
Tearing up at the D word (daycare.)
Being responsible for someone else’s well-being, completely.
‘Wasting’ hours with a sleeping baby on your chest.
Loving someone else so much, it honestly hurts.

This is my new normal.

This is our new life.

And I wouldn’t change one thing about it.

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