I love being environmentally-minded with the decisions I make. I also really appreciate knowing products in my home aren't full of toxic chemicals. But really, I'm super cheap and pretty lazy.
That's why I make my own cleaning products. I know what's in them, they're not going to harm the planet, they save me money and I don't have to put on a bra and drive to the store. It's my dream.
Here are a few of my favorite DIY cleaning products made with as few ingredients as possible, that smell good, save you money and take five minutes to prepare. Not five minutes a piece, five minutes total. Woo!
Glass & Window Cleaner
Combine the following ingredients in a glass spray bottle:
I love this Borax-free alternative that works in both HE and non-HE machines!
Combine the following in an air-tight container:
Add 1-2 tablespoons per load.
Combine the following:
Sprinkle into your toilet and scrub with a toilet brush. Follow with:
Combine the following in a glass spray bottle:
Spray on surfaces and wipe with a damp cloth.
It's no secret, having a baby is a lot of work. What seems to be more of a secret is how much tenderness comes with those first couple of weeks after your baby arrives.
Everyone focuses on how you're sleeping, but few people dig into everything else that may be going on.
You're new to this- either to parenting or this baby, that's hard! You may also be having a hard time adjusting to the idea your a mom. Breastfeeding may be difficult. Let's not even get started on the physical healing that's happening.
You need help.
What you need is a team of people you trust that will be there to support both the physical and emotional needs you have as a new parent.
Ask for Help
First off, ask for help. Do it sooner rather than later, even before your baby is born. If you can set expectations early, not only will your select group of helpers actually be helpful, you'll also feel a lot less stressed about asking.
Talk with friends and family before your baby is born about what you may want from them after your baby arrives. Tell your aunt you'd really appreciate if she could bring over meals for a couple days. Let your friend know you'd like her support with some light cleaning and laundry.
The secret here is everyone will be jumping to help you- you just need to tell them what your needs are. When they know ahead of time, they'll be even more excited and prepared to support you.
Say "No" to Hosting
Set expectations to friends and family about what visits will look like when your baby is born. Start by letting people know that, even though you love them, shorter visits are better and easier to adjust to.
Also, it's usually much easier to adjust to visitors if they come one at a time or in pairs. Larger groups of people can be overwhelming and leave you feeling like you're hosting a party.
Everyone wants to come and see your baby, but remind people that this is fresh, and they're coming for the baby and you! While it's easy to want to welcome people into your home, be kind to yourself. No one will be upset if your counters are dirty, if you haven't showered or there isn't any food in the freezer.
Reach Out When Emotions are Tough
Being a new mom comes with a lot of emotional adjustment and changes. Know who you can turn to when you need to let it all out.
Motherhood can be so wonderful, but it is also super hard. You're never going to get it perfect, so find someone who will remind you that you're doing your best.
Need a larger group of women? Check out our awesome Facebook Group, "Hey Mama, You're Doing Just Fine." This group lifts mamas up when its rough and sometimes you need the support of a bunch of moms to get you through.
There's Help for That
There is also a lot of professional support out there for some of the trickier moments in motherhood.
Not everyone has family and friends that live close, but that doesn't mean you have to do this on your own. Getting support from a postpartum doula can be an amazing way to get through those first couple of weeks and feel like you aren't just surviving.
Breastfeeding Educators and Lactation Consultants are available when breastfeeding feels challenging or you haven't gotten the hang of it.
There is no shame in getting extra help. In fact, you'll be better off in the long run knowing you've received support you need and you aren't completely depleting yourself just because you feel you have to do it all.
Want that extra support as a new parent? Need some extra attention with breastfeeding?
The Sown Seed offers both Postpartum Wellness Support and Breastfeeding Success Support.
I was excited when Gina first asked me about writing what it’s been like to become a dad, but I was quickly disoriented when I realized I’ll already be celebrating my third father’s day on Sunday, more than two years and three months after Tess was born March 3, 2016. The guy in her first weeks in the world has given way – instantly, it seems – to being the father of an increasingly independent, funny and all-around-awesome toddler.
We have a saying in our house: “What a time to be alive.” That’s certainly applicable to my experience of becoming a dad; looking back at that time, everything was a heightened experience. Things were intense, in good ways and bad, and I felt every bit of it more acutely than I had ever felt anything. Put simply and with dad-approved cheesiness: I felt truly alive.
Every experience is going to be completely different for every guy, but there are definite things that stand out about what it was like for me to become a dad. The first thing is in the word itself, which represented a complete identity shift. In an instant – as Tess took her first breath and cut loose her first scream in the world – I went from being Jordan the husband, son, brother, friend, writer, etc., to being a dad, first and foremost. That was suddenly the number one (and maybe two through five at some points) aspect others and I identified about me. The first weeks and months were all at once the mourning and celebration of that fact: Parts of what had made me who I was to that point had slid further and further down the list of how I identified myself. That’s a natural thing, of course (we’re biologically wired by evolution to prioritize our children) but it’s a complex situation with a boatload of complex emotions to manage with it. (It doesn’t necessarily help that emotional navigation to be consistently sleep deprived at the same time.)
The second aspect I remember so well is in my relationship with Gina. Going through the process of pregnancy and labor was the ultimate building of trust, intimacy, love and respect. I felt such a profound appreciation and thankfulness for this incredible gift she had done so much to bring us, and getting to share our lives, suddenly so much richer and fuller, was amazing. That reality has not faded over time and continues to be a defining aspect of what being a parent is to me: sharing it with Gina.
Thirdly, I remember being scared. Scared of somehow hurting Tess physically; scared of not doing the right things; scared of not being a good dad; scared of not being a good husband; and scared of the fact I was scared. It’s a difficult path to realizing how much you have, because of how much you’re scared of losing it. What a beautiful thing to know.
Beauty. That’s probably the last thing I would mention. Like a lot of other words, becoming a dad made me realize that for 26 years I had a completely inadequate sense of what beauty meant. Tess expanded my understanding of the world – and the words we use to describe it – onto a completely different plane. I loved Gina before I became a dad and she became Tess’ mom, but the boundaries of what that meant were so much smaller than they are now. Everything I loved about Gina is still there, and has kept growing, but it fits within the wider boundaries of life now. Tess made my world bigger. What a time to be alive.
Self care is hard. It's hard for everyone, because most people have a tendency to be people pleasers.
As a mom, it can be even more challenging. We have little people relying on us for survival, their emotional nurturing and growth. With good reason, that often times feels like top priority.
What sucks is we often keep giving and giving and giving, until there is nothing left, but we still are required to give more.
How do you break the cycle of prioritizing other peoples needs, even your kids, over your own?
Start By Letting Go
Guilt is often times what stands in the way of our ability to really give ourselves the time and care we need.
When we have other people who rely on us, it's really easy to justify putting their needs above your own. Sooner or later however, you'll find yourself sluggish, overwhelmed, in the same yoga pants you've worn for the last four days and not wanting to get out of bed.
So let go of that guilt. You are not a selfish person for needing to take time to meet your needs. You're a smart person who is not only benefitting yourself, but others as well.
You can't fully give your time and care to others if you're running on empty. So if by no other inspiration, let the fact that you can better take care of others be your motivation to focus on self care.
Think Small But Big Impact
What small things can you build into your day that will have a huge impact on your mood and sense of well being?
For me, it's getting uninterrupted coffee in the morning. This half hour of time is just what I need to mentally prepare myself, refresh and start the day on the right foot.
You don't need to set aside time for a spa trip every week, but by all means do that if it feels right!
Instead, find those little nuggets of self care. Maybe make a pact to yourself to shower in peace. Whether it's waiting until the kids go down or having your partner wrangle them, give yourself that uninterrupted time.
The little acts of love for yourself build up over time, just like the do when you share them with others.
Get On The Same Page
Make sure everyone in your life is aware you're making self care a priority, especially your family.
Let your partner know you'll need to start building these moments in and why it's important to you. Ask for their help when you need that half hour or Monday night off.
Try and get your kids on board too. It may not make much sense to them, but you're also modeling an important message: taking care of yourself is a big deal and it's okay! You can try and set a different example for them, hopefully breaking the self care/guilt cycle!
Be Kind to Yourself
You're not going to get it perfect right away. Often times prioritizing self care is a small habit that takes breaking a lifetime of bad habits that stand in the way.
Just remember, you're a better person, happier person and a hell of a lot more fun to be around when you feel refreshed and fulfilled.
"I am safe."
"My body knows how to birth my baby."
"I am a badass."
All of these are birth affirmations, all of which can be effective ways to build the confidence you need to really own your birth and keep it positive.
Birth affirmations are a great way to continuously send yourself positive messages about birth necessary for an experience you feel you have control over.
Today I'll talk a little bit about birth affirmations, what they are, how to use them, and share some of my favorites you can use to have an awesome birth.
What is a Birth Affirmation?
I don't need to tell you that most of the birth stories we hear from people are often dramatic and really negative.
Though well-meaning, most mamas share their birth stories like it's a warrior's tale. Let's be honest, dramatic stories always fair a lot better than ones where everything goes to plan.
Hearing all this negativity translates to most women being fearful of birth, concerned they won't have any control, their bodies will fail them and they'll be left with a super negative and traumatic experience.
Birth affirmations try and change that.
These affirmations aren't little white lies, they're facts we can tell ourselves and perspectives we can remind ourselves of to remember we do have control over birth and it will be positive. It's when you jump into birth already resolved that it will be negative and frightening that a self-fulfilling prophecy takes place.
Instead, birth affirmations help get you in the mindset that birth can be full of control, confidence, positivity and dare I say, enjoyment.
How to Use Birth Affirmations
Start by finding birth affirmations that feel relevant and powerful to you. If one affirmation doesn't feel authentic, don't use it! Only choose to surround yourself with affirmations that speak to what you want your birth to be, reminders you need regularly and even the language that feels most like how you speak to yourself.
Once you've found the affirmations that really click, start surrounding yourself with them. Say them to yourself regularly, print them out and post them around your home, put them in your car, set alarms on your phones that pop-up your birth affirmations regularly, really steep yourself in the positivity.
When we surround ourself with the positive messages we want in our life, we start to firmly believe in them. Just think of how affective negative self talk can be. If you keep telling yourself "I'm just not talented," you start to believe that and close yourself off from opportunities and positive life experiences.
Now imagine if you did the opposite for your birth. Instead of giving into the unfounded fears you have, change the messages you tell yourself and start building trust and confidence in your body and birth. By the time labor starts, you'll feel like a badass ready to own her birth and take what she knows is possible!
My Favorite Affirmations
I couldn't just talk up birth affirmations without sharing some of my favorites!
Click here to check out my favorite affirmations I've saved on my Pinterest page.
Now go out and find yours, post them everywhere and take that positive birth you deserve!