Finally Talkin’ About Being a Mama

Today I’m so excited to launch a new series with a group of seriously rad mamas. As I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t wanted to inundate you with mom content, but when Jen Pinkston, the wonder-mom behind the lovely lifestyle blog The Effortless Chic, asked me to join a seriously cool group of mamas talking about the issues we face, I jumped at the chance. I knew this would be an interesting series with a wonderful group of blogger babes. The concept? We’ll all wax poetic on a specific mama-hood related topic, thereby giving you the opportunity to see a wide variety of perspectives, weigh in and hopefully add some new blogs to your reader in the process. As one of the newest members of the blogger mama club, I’m personally very intrigued to see what this diverse group of women has to say about each issue.

We’re starting off with a topic that could not be more relevant to my current reality: SLEEP!

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Or in my case, the complete lack thereof. When you’re pregnant everyone warns you to sleep as much as possible. I certainly did my best. At the end of my pregnancy I was sleeping in until 11AM on Saturdays like a teenager! It was glorious. Now I know what you think I’m going to say next. The baby was born and all hell broke loose. Well, sure, the first couple of weeks were rough, I won’t lie. But then our little stud began sleeping 8-10 hours a night. It was bliss. Other mothers hated me. I loved it. I could totally handle one 4:00 am feeding and feel like a nearly functioning human {save the recovering from a 27-hour natural labor, but that is another story for another day!}.

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But then the 4-month sleep regression hit. Yes, it’s predictable. Yes, we were warned. But no, I was not prepared for how brutal three, four or even five awakenings a night would be. Let alone the taking an hour+ to get our little terror angel down to bed each evening. Now I truly see the value of sleep because you start to go rather insane without it! I feel like I’m living in that hangry Snickers commercial, but no amount of candy bars is going to cure my sleep deprivation rage. And then there’s the memory loss. And the inability to stay awake past 9:00 pm. Or have a social life. Or a functioning relationship. You get my point – this isn’t good!

But I’m at a bit of an impasse. I’m on week five of basically no sleep with no end in sight. Yes, everyone has told me to sleep train at this point. Carter is four months old, he’s 16lbs, he’s ready yada yada yada. So after hearing so many stories of triumph I bit the bullet and tried it this week. I lasted one night. I threw in the towel when Carter started throwing up out of his nose after less than 15 minutes! I’m sorry, but cry it out is not my jam.

So now I’m turning to you, dear readers. Do you have magic elixirs to cure the no sleep disease? Secret tips and tricks that turned your child into a sleeping wonder? Any words of advice about how to survive through this period? I know it will get better. I know I will remember my own name again, but the future seems bleak when you’re in the thick of it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to comment here or join the conversation with the hashtag #realmomseries. I’m also thinking about taking my mama-musings to Snapchat. Would you be interested in some more off the cuff thoughts and a little behind the scenes of life with le bebe?? If so, check it out at apartment34.

Here are the rest of the fabulous mamas who are talking about their trials and tribulations with sleep. You should be sure to check them out today!

> The Effortless Chic

> Parker Etc

> Smitten Studio

> The Refined Woman

> Could I Have That

> Ave Styles

> The Daily Something 

The Power of the 15-Minute Mama Break

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So, I haven’t posted about my new reality around here much. This is partly because I don’t want to inundate all of you design & style loving readers with “mom-blog” stuff and partly because I’ve really only begun to process this whole new job title I’ve taken on. But now that our little Carter is four months old {time is legit FLYING!}, I do feel like I’ve made a few good discoveries about my new role as mama that I want to share with you {is it weird that I just cannot call myself a mom. Cannot.}. I have quickly come to appreciate facts like takeout six nights a week is a-okay, the Amazon app is awesome at 3:00 am and showers are overrated.

But in all seriousness, as I slowly but surely get the hang of life with le bebe, there’s one thing I’ve come to truly appreciate — downtime — no matter how short-lived it might be! See, Carter isn’t much of a napper. He subsists on power naps {just like his papa}, which means I’ve had to learn to subsist on 30 minute chunks of downtime during the day, max. And once you factor in running to pee, getting a drink of water and maybe putting in your contact lenses you’re already down to 15 minutes of quiet time. But hey, I’ll take em and thankfully, I think I’ve figured out how to make the most of them too.

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Once I get Carter down for a nap {that part is actually pretty easy. A little light swaddling, pop in his pacificer and some white noise and he’ll usually drop off quite quickly}, I try to maximize my me-time with something that is truly fulfilling. Sure, in the first few weeks right after Carter was born, I just trolled Instagram or Facebook or maybe returned one email, but I quickly realized that hopping on my phone did not help recharge my batteries, only increased my stress levels and made the time fly by in an instant. So now I make a concerted effort to partake in some old school analog activities that truly help me decompress.

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What To Do with 15 Minutes of Downtime 

> Write a note. It’s a little tough to have a meaningful phone conversation when you’re listening with one ear for your baby’s cries, so I decided to resurrect the art of the hand written note! Everyone loves getting mail right? Jotting down two or three sentence of heartfelt sentiment makes me feel as good, if not better, than the card’s recipient!

> Read. I was warned that I should read as much as possible before Carter was born and it’s true – my brain capacity is so limited right now I cannot make my way through a book. But my backlog of magazines on the otherhand – I can totally indulge in an article, maybe even two, from my favorite glossies. Even just thumbing through some good editorial helps me feel connected to the outside world.

> Jot down memories. I wanted to be one of those mamas who creates an over the top baby book, but alas that just isn’t me. So instead I’m following my own mom’s advice – whenever Carter does something new, I simply write a sentence or two about it in a notebook. The first smile, giggle, funny noise or silly game. It’s not some fancy bound book but it will help me look back and remember all the milestones that happen during these sleep-deprived times.

> Exercise. Yes, you can work out in 15 minutes or less! I had a fellow mama-friend recommend the 7-minute Workout app as the best way to begin to get back in post-baby shape. As you gain strength you can even do it twice a day. I’m totally hooked!

> Absolutely nothing. It’s amazing how refreshing 15 minutes of simple stillness can be. You don’t even have to actually nap. Maybe you meditate a little. Maybe you enjoy a cup of tea. Maybe you simply sit and look out the window. But a little bit of dedicated decompression can do wonders once you hit the witching hour, have no idea how you’re going to get your baby to sleep or any clue how many times you’ll be woken up that night. I’m all for grabbing a slice of serenity anywhere I can find it.

Oh and my favorite thing about the Latch pacifier? I can usually put it back in {it has an adorable little ribbon that attaches to Carter’s clothes so it can’t get lost} and get an extra 15 minutes! On those days I actually shower – score!

I do hope those with wee-ones found this post helpful or at least can relate to my current reality! And for those of you far from having babies, finding 15 minutes in your day to relax is really beneficial to anyone so I hope these tips might prove useful for you too!

first image by michelle drewes, rest of photography taken by me during one of my 15 minutes of downtime! 

 

This post is in partnership with Munchkin and their Latch Pacifiers. Designed with pediatric dentists and moms, Latch Pacifiers are lightweight, easy for a baby to hold in its mouth and one piece so the germs don’t get built up in the tiny cracks. They are available online and at Target. Thoughts & opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting collaborations that keep our doors open!

Retail Therapy: {Lou & Grey}

I’ve got to confess, there’ve been a few things I’ve been missing while pregnant – big time. Not gonna lie, the list starts with includes enjoying a really nice bottle of wine, sashimi, seeing my feet, but also shopping. Simply looking without touching lost its luster a long time ago and so I’ve generally held off on any retail therapy because really – what’s the point?? Even if something were to fit in the moment, that doesn’t mean it’ll fit in a week! But I recently decided that some quality girl time was in order, so I called on my gal Jeanne to take a trip to Lou & Grey with me. As soon as we crossed the threshold, I thought I’d died and stepped into retail therapy heaven!

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While I’d heard of Lou & Grey due to their partnership with Loft, I was pleasantly surprised to learn one of only three dedicated Lou & Grey boutiques recently opened on Santana Row in San Jose. While a bit of a jaunt from San Francisco, it was well worth the drive. We walked into what I can only describe as a “spa like” shopping atmosphere. This store is seriously gorgeous!

The space is designed beautifully in soothing grays and soft whites with fabulous copper accent lighting, curated art collections and a great selection of local artisanal items ranging from bath products, to chic home accessories, to jewelry. It was quite the little treasure trove in there.

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And then there are the clothes of course! I’d describe the Lou & Grey collection as plused up basics. Think cool slouchy tees, structured boxy sweatshirts, menswear inspired button downs and on trend jeans. I was really impressed with the exceptional attention to modern cuts, cool silhouettes and fun details like drop shoulders, interesting stitching or killer pockets. Sure, I was still a bit limited in what pieces would work with my current shape, but that didn’t stop me from filling my dressing room! Jeanne and I both had a tough time narrowing down our choices, but you may have spied my final selection in the recap of my baby shower earlier this week! I’ve never met a jumpsuit I didn’t love, especially one that I could fit into at nearly 9-months pregnant!!

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shop my look: white button down, black jeans, sunnies {for $15!}, hat {similar}

I’m already so excited about the Lou & Grey goodies I picked. Be sure to check on Instagram later today for a sneak peek at some of my finds. And I’m counting down the days until I can go back and get this shirt dress. Well, let’s be honest, and probably half of the store too! Did I mention that Lou & Grey is also crazy affordable? Like prices so low you look twice to make sure you’re getting that number right. I’ve already started compiling my list of faves below. Good thing I’ve cleaned out a lot of room in my closet!

 

In the mood for more Retail Therapy?? CLICK HERE

original photography for apartment 34 by ashley batz 

This post is in partnership with Lou & Grey. All thoughts and opinions are 100% our own. Thank you for supporting collaborations that we’re excited about and that keep Apartment 34’s doors open!