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“You’re a SAHM?! How lucky!”

“You are a stay at home mom? You are so lucky.”

More often than not when I am asked what I do for a living and I respond that I stay home with my kids, their response always has to do with how lucky I am. Lucky.  And more often than not, I smile and nod and agree with them, not to offend them by correcting their assumption.

Lucky to stay home with my children indicates that by some “good fortune” or “as luck would have it” I just fell into the magical role of being a stay at home mom. This could not be more wrong. Luck has nothing to do with our family’s decision to keep me home.  Truthfully, I really do feel blessed to stay home but luck has nothing to do with it.

When we were expecting our second child, looking at current childcare bills and our income level we knew that if I did go back after she was born, my whole paycheck would go towards childcare. I would be working so someone else could raise my children and every week I would just hand them my paycheck. Then there was the desire to be home with my little ones and be able to take care of them in our home with our own ideals and values.

There is nothing easy about this decision. The days are long, they are exhausting and they can be hard. Having a three month old, a three year old and a seven year old – the house gets pretty busy, pretty fast. Waking every two hours is exhausting, even though I had done it with the previous two, maybe because I have more kids to worry about during the day, and I am older now, it is tough.

Being on one income is also difficult, we do not vacation or have exotic trips, our house is not big or updated, our cars are regular old reliables and our kids do not have the best of the best because any more than what we have is simply not affordable. It can be tough, but it is a choice so I can be home, definitely not luck. That being said, I love our home, our family game nights and the memories we do make as we truly are blessed to have each other.

So, all you stay at home moms out there, I see you. I know there are rich rewards and many blessings that make the sacrifices worth it, but I also know that sacrifice is hard. I see you, I know that your situation did not come by simple luck but continues to be good because of your hard work. Hang in their mama, the days are long but the years are short. And do not let someone’s assumption of luck take away from all that work you do every single day (and night!!) without being asked, without pay and day after day without a break. You are seen, you are loved and these will be the “good ol’ days” that you will look back on. I am right here with ya!

x. em.

PS – working moms, I see you too. You are loved, you are just as cherished and you work just as hard. Mommin’ just aint easy, but we are all in this together. ❤️

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Life After Baby And #7daysofrealchallenge

Hey y’all!!  I may have given myself a little maternity leave from the blogosphere for the last three months.  I tell you what, these sleepness nights, crying babies and breastfeeding thirst spells do not improve as you get older!!

Yes, I took a break from blogging a bit but we are back and we are so excited to welcome our earnest boy 2.0 into our earnest little household. He is adorable and has thighs so chubby I just want to chew ‘em!!

So far, 2018 has brought RSV, pneumonia and an acute ear infection for our sweet little guy but that does not stop him from smiling all day, everyday.  It also has this mama on high alert for germs and nasties coming in contact with his little immune system.  Tune in next week to see what products I am using to help us fight these illnesses and keep others away.

Please join me this year as we go on this new adventure from a family of four to a party of five!!  Currently check out @earnestmomblog over on Instagram.  I am taking a #7daysofreal challenge where for seven days I will not be fancying up my pictures, just taking shots of my current real moments.  Join in?! I am ready to get real this year and would love to see your real moments too.

Talk to you all soon!

earnest mom.

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Bottle or Breast, Fed is Best. This Post Includes a Link to an Excellent Formula Resource.

As the earnest home is gearing up to welcome baby number 3, another way that this mom is getting ready is with breast-feeding supplies.  In my previous post about postpartum preparedness I mentioned a breastfeeding kit I put together.  I have done this because I plan on breastfeeding.  I have nursed my previous children, and have also supplemented with formula as that is what worked for us!

With our firstborn, my goal was to nurse until he was one.  By 6 months, I was back at work, pumping, supply dwindling and the stress of having enough milk to feed my nursling was not helping in the supply department.  His weight dropped and the doctor became concerned and recommended we supplement with formula.  So, earnest dad and I began researching organic/high quality formulas for out little man – this was tedious but we felt it necessary, 7.5 years ago the options were not as available as they are today.  I continued to nurse at night and when he woke up until 9 months.  I was happy to make 9 months with him but knew with future babies I would want to nurse longer.

With our second, our breastfeeding journey was MUCH different.  I was blessed to be a full-time mom and although I supplemented with formula here and there, we nursed until she was 2.

As I prepare for this new little one to join us, my hopes again are to nurse him, but I am not putting too much pressure on myself as I want to be prepared for anything.  With that being said, as the title of this article states; Fed is Best, I am a firm believer in that. Some moms can nurse, some cannot, some need supplementing and some do not.  WHATEVER works for every family is most important for that family.  I like that breast milk is free and as natural as it gets but, formula works too.

In trying to be prepared, I am keeping all options open and I have found and EXCELLENT resource for formula comparisons.  If breastfeeding does not pan out for me (or for you) this website has done a lot of the leg work I had to do so many years ago when making the switch.  In their research they have included their favorite budget friendly formula, lactose based formula, soy formula, organic formula and generic formula.  The formula that I used to supplement with our second made the list at one of the few to be without ARA and DHA but was the only certified organic on their favorites list.  Their research can be found here:  https://www.reviews.com/baby-formula/

I found these reviews incredibly informative and helpful, if I have to go the formula route, it has aided in my choice of which one to use.  The article is bit lengthy but breaks down ingredients and additives, why they are in some not in others, what sweeteners are used and why, non-GMO vs GMO, and much more.  They have definitely given a plethora of information that was really new to me!  I find this to be an excellent resource and hope you do too!!

Not expecting?  Still bookmark this link, it may prove to be very helpful in the future.  Hope this helps earnest followers!!

x.  earnest mom.

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Postpartum Prep. Padsicles. 

I have been trying to get more prepared with baby number three, so far I have 8 freezer meals done, my hospital bag and baby’s bag packed, nursing pillow at the door with bags and breast pump all cleaned up. Now I am making myself some postpartum care essentials to keep on hand.

For recovery I have created a nursing basket packed full of breast pads, Silverette nursing cups, protein bars, nipple butter, chapstick and boxed waters. I have also created a postpartum basket stocked with the Fridababy Fridet mom washer, stool softeners, Earth Mama soothing bottom spray and bottom balm, organic overnight pads, Tucks pads and Dermaplast spray.  Definitely not my first time at the postpartum recovery rodeo and with two children already in tow – I am trying to be sure this mama has everything on hand for those first few, fuzzy days home with our newest addition.

The next thing I have done which is a first for me, is making some homemade padsicles. I remember the cooling, soothing relief I had with the ones I was given in the hospital after labor  with both previous pregnancies, and I missed them once I was home. This time around I have them stocked!!  Here is what I used:

  • Witch Hazel
  • Lavender Essential Oil
  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Organic Cotton Pads
  • Spray Bottle

I filled the spray bottle with Witch Hazel, 4-6 drops of the Lavender EO and shook well.



I then, opened the pads but kept the sticky liners on, applied a generous amount of Aloe Vera then followed with 6-8 sprays of the Witch Hazel/Lavender blend.


I then folded the pads back together, placed back in their packages and then into a gallon sized ziplock bag. That’s it – repeat until then whole package is done, seal the bag and place in your freezer. It took me about 20 minutes total and it will be completely worth it!!  Trust me, your perineum will thank you ;).

Good luck mamas and hope my prep work will help you get prepared to recover after welcoming your darling littles into this world. Take care of yourself and then you can take care of others!

x. em.

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Baby is Expected in a Month?!

I remember being in my last month of pregnancy with my first two children, and it felt like eons had passed with many more to go!  This time around, I am all of a sudden into my 36th week of pregnancy and feel like I have NOTHING accomplished.  #momlife right?!

My current goal is baby bag, mommy bag and daddy bag for the hospital, and the birth plan (see my post last year about birth plans and how they changed my life here: Birth Plan).   I have been BLESSED this pregnancy to have a crazy supportive and helpful Doula who tasked me yesterday with resting and relaxing.  A much-needed task after surviving the weekend with my post-op hubby laid up in bed and two busy children running about the house!

Our third, and final pregnancy has been quite the whirlwind of emotions and life; I was diagnosed early on (after going to emergency with what I thought was a miscarriage) with a Subchorionic Hematoma, which has dissolved thank God, but had me on restricted activity for the first trimester and a half.  Then, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes which so far is 100% diet controlled and looking great (again, thank God)!  Needless to say, on top of pregnancy conditions and all other stresses life sends our way, the time has just flown by.

As I think about this being my last pregnancy, I am savoring every jab and kick – even though I am convinced he is trying to push his way out any way he can!  I am cherishing the hiccups, the late night rolling with in me and all the movement that I feel with this little miracle growing inside me.  I feel so blessed that I am able to carry my third and will forever treasure all three of my pregnancies!

I will be posting my postpartum kit and the baby’s hospital bag as I build them this week!  Giving myself some accountability – of course unless this little man plans an early arrival ;).

Hope you have a great day and keep in your prayers all of those affected by hurricanes and earthquakes in the past few weeks!!

x.

em.

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Find Your Tribe of Moms, They are Looking for Someone Just Like You.

Autumn is a second Spring, where every leaf is a flower. – Albert Camus

Fall is hands down my favorite season.  With school starting back up, the weather getting cooler (at least here in PA) and pumpkin spice everything is flooding us – let’s get out in the gorgeous Fall weather and make the time to  connect with other moms.  Find some moms that you can make your mom tribe with.  I know that as a stay at home mom, my life becomes filled with conversations, arguments and humbling grocery store trips with toddlers; only to overwhelm my husband the minute he walks in the door because I am craving adult interaction.

Early on when we decided to keep me home to be with our children, I stayed home (or went to local kid things) and my focus was kids, kids, KIDS.  Finally, last year I realized I needed to connect with other moms, other women in my community.  I began to look for local moms groups and even tried to kick up my own little group.  I did not have much success at all, but I knew that I could not sit at home and wait for my tribe to come and find me – I had to put myself out there, again.

Nobody enjoys being the “new” mom, or the one that no one knows, I know that being the newbie in the group is definitely my least favorite of places.  As a mom though, I was craving connection, mom conversation and a group that I had life in common with.  This is when I found my local MOPS group.  I was so nervous, what if I do not fit in (like other groups I had tried), what if I did not feel welcome, what if the other moms did not like me, what if, what if, what if?!  I had a whole list of ‘what ifs’ that could of just kept me home, kept me comfortable and kept me in my own little SAHM isolated bubble.  I knew I needed more, I needed mom connections, I had to get free from my staying home routine.

So I did it, I stepped out on my own, walked into a giant church building filled with beautiful new and intimidating (only to me I am sure) faces and got out there.  The first meeting I sat with a group of moms that were welcoming, chatty and kind.  They were interested in me, my kids and why I wanted to join MOPS.  I felt so welcomed that the quiet voice in my head that kept reminding me that I was a stranger among a bunch of new strangers slowly quieted and I kept going back.  I found an awesome group of moms that I have connected with.   I enjoy MOPS so much, I joined the leadership group and have the humbling privilege of planning, creating and making welcoming meetings for other moms new to the group of regular attendees.  MOPS has changed my mom life, it has given me a comforting place to go twice and sometimes three times a month where I am getting more familiar with faces and names, and making deeper connections each time.  Our MOPS group kicks off our first meeting of the season this coming week and I am so ready to get back to meeting with moms and growing my tribe.

So, if last Spring or the Spring before that you felt like maybe you were the leaf among the flowers of moms out there ( I know that I have felt that); let this Fall be your second Spring.  Let this Fall be the season where you find your group of moms that have been saving that seat just for you.  Sometimes, it is scary to just put ourselves out there but if we stay home and never get out there looking we may never find that perfect mom tribe that is out there looking for someone just like you or me!  As women and as moms, together we are always better, we need that emotional, social and loving support that can only be found in fellow moms.  Let this season be yours mamas!

x. earnest mom.

Interested in finding a MOPS group near you?  Search your zip here MOPS.org

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Earnest Mom Squad Feature: Avoid Summer Brain Drain

Here is a great article from Earnest Squad Member, Kahentiiosta.  Enjoy, e.m.

With summer in full swing, it can be easy for the kids to get bored quickly, and run out of ideas for keeping their minds optimal and ready for September.  Even though summer should be a carefree time, we need to keep in mind, that children are continuing to learn and finding creative ways to prevent the dreaded brain drain, will ensure that.

Here are some ideas and activities that can help with avoiding brain drain over the summer.

No electronics day instead of spending hours aimlessly looking at electronics, try putting them away and play some board games outside. I keep a few board games in reach for my girls to choose from and rotate every few days, so that they don’t feel as if they’re always playing the same games. One of our favorite games right now is Frozen Candyland.

Heading to the local library in your area is another free option. Most libraries have books, movies and CDs. There may even be some activities that day for the children to participate in.

We recently purchased some 2 x 4 pieces of wood and have used it to make our own life size Jenga set. Adding a number on the board and then having a sheet of math questions or simple words they need to spell out with a missing word.

Making a game of seek and find out of the weekly grocery store flyers is another way to find. Having a sheet of words that you would find in the flyer and they can cut out the picture and glue it to the paper, then write the words. For older children giving them a set budget they can try and find the prices and add up the prices for a shopping list.  Giving them a budget of $25 and see how many items they can purchase with that amount.

Make a letter a sensory bin of or a plastic bin, rice and foam letters. Place double the number of letters in the bin and they can spell out simple words and for the older children they can try and spell out the longest word with the letters they find.

Stick art kit out of pre-made pictures of stick art and tooth picks, keep in a small tote, and change pictures as needed. Templates can be found online under Stick Art Kit.

Lastly, making a summer bucket list of various activities the children want to do at home or within the surrounding neighborhood. Check the local town hall for various activities being offered.

Engaging the children in the planning with keeping them interesting in what they like to do, and finding fun ways to spend their summer holiday.

I hope everyone is having a great summer so far!