Friday, November 30, 2012

don't let baby clothes be 'loads' of stress

Do baby clothes seem to be taking over your life?  Do you feel like you're constantly adding new clothes to your baby's closet and taking small clothes out and putting them in unorganized garbage bags in the hall closet?  Are you a little sad that dressing a baby in the right sized clothes takes up so much time?

I, like you, have been there and done that.  And now I have an organization system I'd like to share with you.

 There is some prep work involved.

  • Decide if you're saving baby's clothes for future babies.
  • Decide if you care to have things neatly organized.
  • Decide if you have money to buy plastic bins.
  • Decide how you want to label your bins. (i.e. label maker/computer, printer, packing tape/masking tape and Sharpie)

Use a small bin in your babies room/closet.  

This is for clothes that you immediately realize are too small for your baby after he's worn them.  When you put something on your child that is too small, take it back off and throw it in the 'too small' bin (or let him wear it one more time, wash it, and then put it in the bin.)  When the small bin is full, you'll be ready for your larger bins you bought.

This is the Carter's sizing chart if you need it for guidance.

Label your bins into size categories.

I went old-school with masking tape and a Sharpie.
Maternity clothes
NB & 0-3 month BOYS3(-6) month BOYS
6(-9) month BOYS
9(-12) month BOYS
12 month BOYS

I have a lot of Carter's hand-me-downs and the tags only have one number.  From my experience, the first number is the starting size, so if it is 6m, the size range is 6-9 months.   (I've read the complete opposite opinion other places--that the number represents the last month which would make 6m=3-6 months, but I think they fit better the first way.  To each, her own!)

The Children's Place items I have tended to run a bit small, so right now, my kiddo is in 12 month shirts, but I've pulled the 18 month hand-me-down shirts from CP because they fit pretty well, too.  Gerber has a pretty wide size range.  Unfortunately each brand is slightly different and it will take some trial and error to figure out the way your like your child's clothes to fit.  But once you figure it out, you'll know which labeled bin the clothes go in.

Store the clothes in the bin that has smallest size listed.  

If you have a pair of pants that are sized 9-12 months, don't put them in the 12 month tote, or the next time you need them, you'll find them when they're almost too small!

Stack your bins logically. 

Maternity comes before 3-6 months clothes so don't put that bin on the bottom.  Also, if you have boys and girls, you may want to store them together, but I chose to get smaller bins and separate.  My girl totes (I only have 2 small ones right now, since I don't have girls, but do have hand-me-downs) are purple.  I think a little color-coding is fun, but definitely not necessary!

Stay one or two steps ahead.

Don't wait until your kid has outgrown all of his 2T clothes to buy a bin for them.  Have it labeled and stored with the rest of your bins.  You're more likely to stick with it if it's already there for you.  (Also, I've been told 24month and 2T are very similar, so consider storing these together.)

Good luck with your organizing.  I hope I've helped you alleviate some stress in your life!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dr. Mary, M.D. checking in on PPD

I sometimes like to pretend I'm a doctor.  Growing up, before taking my husband's last name, my initials were M. D.  Clearly that makes me a medical doctor, right?  I mean, who needs a degree when you have initials like that!?

That being said, here is my non-medical-professional thoughts and experiences with postpartum depression.  (All that prefacing to say, I'm not claiming fact, I'm just claiming experience.)

I think I had PPD.

I cried a lot.  A lot.  I was tired all the time.  I survived each day only by the grace of God.  I was constantly on edge hearing real and imaginary cries from my baby.  I slept terribly.  I was always anxious--like, big time anxious.

And since I had a colicky baby and didn't get out very much, I thought this was 'normal.' I never wanted to admit that I could have postpartum depression because I thought it was for crazy people (like me?) and not regular moms.  I didn't want to be judged for not loving my baby oodles and oodles.  And the truth is, I did (and do) love my baby, but sometimes it was just too much.  He made me crazy and I couldn't understand how people did this more than once.

My baby blues lasted longer than the doctor said they would.  But then again, I wasn't sleeping full nights of sleep and I was struggling to breastfeed a baby who wasn't gaining weight like the charts said he should.  Surely that wasn't PPD?

It wasn't until probably eight months into motherhood that I was confident that I had PPD.  However, I really didn't want to take medicine, so I very scientifically googled alternative solutions.

The internet suggested talking to people about how I was feeling, which I was doing with my husband, but after reading that, started randomly blurting out to other mothers that I think I had depression.  The Holy Spirit clearly led those conversations, because every mother I spoke to had experience with some form of depression. I learned I wasn't crazy.

I also began taking vitamin D.  And on the weekends (when my husband could get up with baby) I would take a sleeping aid so that I started getting full nights of sleep.  Thankfully, for the sake of my husband, Sam was (mostly) sleeping through the night.

And I began feeling better.

My mother and mother-in-law started babysitting Sam some during the week and I got some time off.  I got to have some 'me' time.  I got to do my grocery shopping without fear of a baby melt-down in the cereal aisle.

And this very long year has now become sunny.  I can't say with certainty that I am "healed" from PPD, but I know I'm in a much better place.

If you find yourself in this place, I want you to hear these things:
  1. You're not crazy.
  2. A lot of people have PPD, just less than a lot want to admit it.
  3. Life gets better.
  4. It's not your fault.
  5. You're not a bad mom.
  6. Your baby might be really "easy" and you still feel this way.  That's ok.
  7. Seeking help doesn't make you a freak.
I love you, friend.  If you need to talk, I'm hear.  And if you need to talk to a medical professional, you should do that also.  Sometimes drugs and a real therapist are the only things that will help.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

why being a mom is like being a boyscout

I get ridiculed by my husband when we go on trips because that means I have to pack.  I just hear that word and I shudder (Mufasa Mufasa Mufasa.)  But when it's time to pull out of the driveway, I have it all covered.  I'm always prepared.  (...I guess I should never say always, but you know what I mean.)

This, over-packing, always prepared way of life gave me the advantage recently.

I needed to run up to the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner.  Sam was finished napping and my husband was home and looking for some 'down time.'  I bargained with him.  "I'll take Sam to Wal-Mart with me, if you'll get dinner started and clean up the living room."  He was in!  Sam had on a fresh diaper and I had put his bottle in my purse.  I grabbed a blanket because it was easier to find than a burp cloth and we were out the door!

We pull into the parking lot and I think I smell something.  I realize I don't have the diaper bag.  However, being the always-prepared mom that I am, I realized I had a few extra diapers and some wipes in the car.  Ok, I got this.

Only, I don't.

I get him out of his seat, check to make sure it wasn't just gas...and come back with a dirty finger! Ew!  Now there is (liquid) poop on my finger, his shirt, his pants, and pretty much his entire body (or so it seems.)  Where is that diaper bag!?

There's a blanket that Truck lays on in the back along with a stash of grocery bags that I have yet to recycle.

I lay Sam on the blanket and stick a grocery bag under his soiled behind.   It was rough.  Lots of wipes.  Another grocery bag filled with dirty wipes...and a naked kid whose clothes I can not put back on.

I am so grateful the Lord prompted me to bring a baby blanket instead of a burp cloth.  I wrapped up my mostly-naked kid in the blanket and darted into Wal-Mart.  Sam now owns a "My 1st Christmas" onsie that he will likely be too big for by Christmas, but I was in a rush to dress my naked baby.

I'm just glad I chose to go to a super-center rather than a grocery store.  Man, I sure did get the raw end of the deal I made with my husband!

Moral of the story:  Always bring the diaper bag!