The baby harness: to use or not to use with 2 under 2

babyharness“Why is your baby on a leash? They’re not a dog.”

“You must be a lazy parent—just hold your kid’s hand.”

These are the thoughts I used to think when I saw children wearing a harness.

Fast-forward to today: I am a SAHM of an 18 month old & a 7 month old and we struggle to get outdoors. We struggle because we live in the middle of a city with busy streets on all sides. We have no yard—only a tiny balcony of outdoor space. The park is several blocks away, on the other side of a bus & train station. DD, my 18 month old, is super curious and wants to explore the world around her, but she feels frustrated and limited when I force her to hold my hand.

In case you’ve never tried venturing out by yourself with two under two before, let me break it down for you: Carrying a 23 pound infant in a front carrier and a large diaper bag on your back while trying to keep hold of the tiny hand of your toddler who zips this way and that (all while cars & trucks speed past you on the road that’s three feet away) is like asking Santa Claus with his sack of toys to chase after and corral the Energizer Bunny.

Enter the baby harness: a way for moms (and dads) laden down with babies and baby gear to venture out safely & stress-free with their energetic and curious toddler, while still being able to stand up straight and walk at a reasonable pace.

Why not just go to the park and let your toddler run wild and free (and safe) there, you ask?

Have you ever gone down a two-story tube slide with your 1-year-old in your lap and your infant strapped to you in the Ergo? No? I have, and let me tell you: it’s no fun. For anyone involved.

(Side note: we do go to the park several days a week, but when you have two under two sometimes all you can manage for the day is a walk around the block.)

So, to my past self who used to judge moms with kids on a harness, I say: look at me now! Having a baby of your own to keep safe, to raise and to foster her spirit of curiosity and creativity changes everything.

What tips and tricks do you have for venturing out with your little ones?

peace-be-with-youlove

My Morning Routine

my-morning-routinePlease Note: I am only able to do this routine because both my kiddos are sleeping through the night. Until very recently, DS was still waking up every 2-3 hours, and I could only manage an abbreviated version, often when DS had already woken up for the day. Also, some days I need to “sleep in”, but I will always get up before my kids wake up and, at a minimum, have breakfast and spend a few moments in prayer.

5 a.m.: Rise & Shine! Wash my face & brush my teeth. Put on lotion (I love Aveeno Positively Radiant).

5:10 a.m.: Pour the coffee! Drink a glass of water. Get my husband’s lunch together.

5:15 a.m.: Sit down with my husband, my coffee & my Jesus. Prayer time begins!

5:45 a.m.: My husband leaves for work—I continue my prayer time and usually pick up the devotional that my husband has been reading. (We love the In Conversation with God devotionals).

6:00 a.m.: Finish up prayer time & transition into writing time.

6:30 a.m.: Feed DS…and put him back to bed. DD sleeps in until 8 a.m., and I want DS (who is not a great sleeper) to be on the same schedule as her. When you have two under two, it’s so important to maximize your “me time” since you don’t get much of it!

6:45 a.m.: Resume writing.

7:30 a.m.: Eat breakfast, get dressed for the day and put on make-up. I’ve found that it’s critical for me to be up and running for the day when before the kids are up as I don’t have time to think about my needs after everyone is awake.

8:00 a.m.: Kids get up.

When you have two under two, taking care of yourself is vital. You need to get enough sleep, so adjust your wake up time accordingly. You also need to spend time with Jesus in order to survive the day, which is just as critical as making sure your body is fed and watered. Early on in DS’s life, I wasn’t doing these things and I felt out of control. Slowly, I started making space for this routine. I’d wake up 10, 15 then 20 minutes earlier…and now (only because he’s sleeping though the night) I am able to have this amazing morning time.

If you are still in the season of you’re getting no sleep: DO NOT DWELL ON YOUR LACK OF FREE TIME. I got hung up on this for a while, and it made me feel sad and resentful. Finally, I realized that those months were just a season in my life, that God’s Will for me in that time was to be totally self-giving to my babies, and that I would one day again have time to write and reflect.

And now, only a few months later, I have reached that day. You will too.

peace-be-with-youlove

 

My Postpartum Depression Survival Guide

postpartum-depression-survival-guideUgh. Just as I was getting up and running with blogging, a second wave of postpartum depression (PPD) knocked the wind right out of me. This is my fourth episode of PPD in the past year and a half (I had two episodes with DD and now two episodes with DS). After coping with PPD so much lately, I’ve come up with some tricks to stay afloat during this painfully difficult time:

Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert, just a mom who has suffered from PPD. Consult your doctor if you think you have depression, or call 911 if you think you might harm yourself or others.

Pray hard, and pray often. Psalm 13 really helps me during these times.

Get medical help. With DD, I did not realize what had hit me. I thought what I was feeling was normal, and I needlessly suffered through it. With DS, I started taking an antidepressant the night he was born. The difference between my two postpartum experiences was night and day.

Do your best to live in the moment. When I focus all my attention on exactly what I’m doing in that moment, I can’t think about how many hours stand in between me and my bedtime, or how life used to be before babies. It’s much easier to enjoy this one moment in time and not worry about all the other moments that need to be filled.

Try to get out every day, even if it’s just for a walk. It may sound cliché, but getting out into the world for some fresh air makes me feel less isolated and ALWAYS lifts my spirits.

Have healthy snacks on hand. This is very important for me as I have a tendency to overeat and gain weight when I’m depressed.  Healthy snacks also energize your body.

Do something nice for yourself every day. For me, this us usually just taking a long, quiet shower in the evening. On really rough days, I’ll splurge on some Starbucks.

Rest whenever possible. I have two under two (still two under 1.5 as of writing this post!) so I know this can be a big challenge!

Avoid your iPhone. When I’m feeling bad off, all I want to do is zone out on Pinterest or Facebook. It feels good while I’m doing it, but the second I get offline I feel even worse than when I started scrolling through my news feeds. Instead of staring at your screen, close your eyes and relax.

Get on a routine. I have a morning routine and evening routine that I always follow, both of which help me gear up and wind down from my day.

I am not out of the PPD woods yet, so I would love to add to this list. What do you do to cope with your PPD?

peace-be-with-youlove