I've been feeling a bit weepy and moody this week, just wanting to curl up into myself. It's easy for me to find myself in here when I'm extra-tired and feeling pulled in too many directions, which has been the case as of late. When I feel the most overwhelmed and tired, taking time to rest and replenish usually falls way down on my list of things to do. Somehow, doing the dishes or vacuuming or catching up on correspondence always seems to happen first and then I just collapse from exhaustion without finding a few quiet moments to just be.
But this week, I've been thinking a lot about what this wise soulsaid about raising kids - that we can't give our children what we don't have and that finding time to rest and to invite creativity into our lives are a crucial part of it all. Because I know that I don't want to teach my daughter that taking care of herself isn't a valid priority through my refusal to simply slow down.
So, this week, I spent some time in my jewelry studio hammering metal and teaching myself a thing or two. As I played, I felt the pressure creep in - to get back into production mode so I can reopen my shop. And then I stopped and reminded myself that right now, this time at the workbench is just about play. And suddenly, I had dozens of ideas of things I wanted to make - this after months of feeling rather stuck. It felt good.
And this afternoon, while Thea slept for an unprecedented hour and a half, I chopped and simmered and stirred a most delicious soup. I felt grateful for the quiet when I could simply focus on the heft of my knife and the way the vegetables felt in my hands and the smells rising from the pot. And then it didn't feel much like work - it felt more like a salve for my tired spirit.
Welcome to the weekend. I hope you find a few moments to just rest, to just be.
We're a few months into raising our girl, so I thought I would share a few of my favorite things for baby and mama.
Moby wrap - This saved our sanity when Thea was in her "I'll scream if you put me down" phase around 8-10 weeks. This was my favorite wrap because it allowed me to wear her snuggled to my chest in an upright position, which she seemed to prefer. I tried other slings, but I felt like she was too bunched up and I was worried about her airway being constricted. Until the heat of a Virginia summer made it too hot, I used the moby almost daily. And now that fall has brought cooler days, I'm back to wearing it just about every day.
Weleda calendula baby face cream - I use this daily. It worked well on the little bit of cradle cap that Thea had, and it also really helps with dry skin on her face and little scratches from her flailing hands.
Lansinoh nursing pads - These pads are the most absorbent and discreet that I have found. And believe me, I have tried a lot of brands (Medela and Gerber, among others). I tried to use washable cotton pads, and I leaked right through them.
LilyPadz - As a big leaker, for the first couple of months, these pad were essential to me because they stop the leaks instead of simply absorbing them. They're also the only breast pads that were completely unnoticeable under clothing.
Bravado original nursing bra - Every nursing mom has their favorite bra. This is mine. It's most like the bras I used to wear before things got extra large and extra heavy. This bra has fit well while accomodating my changing size - through engorgement, my milk regulating, and my post-baby weight loss.
Bumgenius 3.0 one-size cloth diapers - These diapers have worked so well for us. I love the fact that they will grow with Thea so I won't have to keep buying new expensive diapers as she grows. I also tried fuzzi bunz and feel like the Bumgenius fit her better and contain the mess pretty well. They're very easy to care for too. I really like using Blueberry hemp inserts for nights - they're very absorbent and I don't have to change her overnight unless she's made a big mess.
Miracle Blanket - This blanket is the only swaddle blanket that was able to contain our escape artist.
Smithsonian Folkways Children's Music Collection - A friend of mine gave us this to welcome Thea, and it hardly leaves the CD player. It is a good mix of classics and songs I had never heard before. Tunes by Woody Guthrie, Ella Jenkins, and Pete Seeger are included, among others. My personal favorite is "Pole, Pole."
Vicks Baby Thermometer - I loooove this thermometer. Using it, I have no worries about how far to insert the thermomter. And it reads the temperature super-fast too.
If I had to pick only two resources on mothering, I wouldn't choose the books on sleep or baby development or scheduling. Instead, I'd go for these: