Mommy Struggles

Things to Do Before Baby Arrives Checklist

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things to do before baby arrives checklist

The Pregnancy Diaries…

The third trimester. UGH.  The THIRD trimester.  All of you mamas know what I’m talking about. The trimester that seems to last 3,000 days.  And here I am, smack dab in the middle of it – 36 weeks and counting – which inspired this things to do before baby arrives checklist post!

There’s something about hitting that 36th week that inspires major excitement (and minor panic) – baby is coming – SOON!!!!

Which means there are lots of things to do before baby arrives. Gulp.

Whether it’s your first or third, there is always SO much to be done to prepare.  We’ve already talked about that crazy little phenomenon called “pregnancy brain,” right?  So this is why lists are so important to me…and most pregnant moms I know.

Whenever I feel myself getting overwhelmed at how much still needs to be done before baby girl comes, I make a checklist.  On the flip side, these lists you make can also cause you to feel overwhelmed, so try to take your to-do tasks in stride, and ask for help when you can! Here is my things to do before baby arrives checklist. If you have anything to add, please comment below!

Things to Do Before Baby Arrives Checklist

1. Finish the baby’s room.

2. Buy any other baby items you may still need.

3. Decide on cord blood banking and initiate the process, if you decide to do it.

4. Make sure the baby’s car seat is assembled and cleaned, and practice installing.

5. For that matter, install any other mandatory baby item that may need more attention that just washing and folding.

6. If you are going to give sibling gifts (from the baby to the big kids), buy and wrap with a card.

7. If you plan to order a breast pump through your insurance company, call and get the information – order (many insurances now cover breast pumps!).

8. Research and purchase nursing bras, if you are planning to nurse.

9. Wash newborn clothing, blankets, sheets, liners, changing pad covers, etc.

10. Finish any baby gift thank-you notes to friends and family.

11. If you plan to take professional newborn pictures, research photographer options and prices, and make a tentative appointment.

12. If you plan to send birth announcements, pick out the baby announcement design you like, budget for it, and draft your wording – so that when baby is here and you’re sleep deprived and recovering, you already have your card picked out (and you just have to insert the birthday, weight and length).

13. Educate yourself on your company’s policies for maternity leave, meet with HR, fill out any necessary maternity leave paperwork in advance, discuss your plans with your boss, and get as organized as possible (especially for when you are absent).

14. Look up your medical insurance information and make sure you are educated about when you sign up baby for insurance (and the timeframe you have to do so).

15. Fill out any hospital/birthing center paperwork you can, in advance, and send it in.

16. Discuss any questions you have regarding your ideal birth experience with your doctor or midwife, and finalize your ideal birth plan.

17. Talk to your close family and/or friends about how they can best support you during and after you give birth – i.e. have you and your spouse/partner decided if you’d like people at the hospital? Are you up for guests at your house after you get home (to visit the baby)?  Will you need help with meals? Your big kids?

18. Pack your hospital bag.

19. Make (or confirm) any final childcare arrangements for the big kid(s) while you’re giving birth.

20. Stockpile diapers!

21. Breathe!

Any other mamas out there want to chime in?  Any things to do before baby arrives items I missed? Please comment below!

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5 Tips to Help with End of School Burn Out

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end of school burn out

Every year about this time I start to see the classic “Worst End of School Year Mom Ever” post circulate around because this time of the school year most moms can relate to a feeling of just being OVER IT. I am talking about the end of school burn out.

That’s me right now. I’m over it.

I am over drop offs and pick ups.

I am over rushing. The school week feels like we are either rushing to get out the door to school or rushing to come home to get someone or rushing to do homework.

I am over papers. Papers about school events, school work papers, school lunch papers, papers, papers EVERYWHERE. The school papers are killing me right about now along with the trees.

I am over after school snacks. My kinder gets out at 1:30p this year and my 3rd grader gets out at 3:10p. That means I have two rounds of after school snacks. Just after I finish serving and cleaning up little one’s, the oldest is home and ready for a snack.

I am over making lunches and trying to think of new healthy lunch items they will actually eat.

I am over emptying said lunchbox after school with nothing eaten.

On that note, I am over the lunch boxes and backpacks all together. No matter how hard I tried this year to get the girls in the habit of coming home, emptying their backpack and lunchbox, I failed. After school it is like an explosion of backpacks, folders, papers, lunch boxes, sweatshirts, socks, shoes, everywhere. I am ready to burn the backpacks and never see them again.

I am over working in the classroom. Dear teachers, if you are reading this, I am NOT over you. We love YOU. It’s those crazy kids I am over.  What happens to them mid-May? I am sure they are over it too. And I only have to be around them for 1. 5 hours a week. God bless you teachers. I bow down to you. If I am a parent feeling this over it, I can’t imagine what you feel.

5 Tips to Help with End of School Burn Out 

No matter how much I would love to throw in the towel and be done, reality is, we still have some time to put in. Therefore, I have put together these tips on how to survive end of school burn out.

1. Weeknight Dinners? Whatever.

Most of the year I try to cook something for dinner at home, but this time of year there is no time for fretting over meals. During the last few busy weeks of school, I give myself a break and go for a weeknight take out or restaurant meal as needed depending on my mental state. Or, I will feed my kids something ridiculous like frozen waffles (not actually frozen, but toasted) and eggs for dinner. As long as I get some sort of food in them, I give myself a break and consider it a success.

2. Visit the Nail Salon

If you are feeling burnt out, high tail yourself to the salon and get your nails and toes done. No matter how many things around me are a hot chaotic mess, I always feel more put together when looking down at my manicured hands or pretty toes. And pay $10 for the extra massage while you are at it.

3. Schedule a Weekend Mental Health Block

Why is it that along with the end of the school year hoopla there is ADDITIONAL hoopla to also factor in? I am talking about dance recitals, Mother’s Day, sports banquets, Father’s Day, Memorial Day, what have you. It’s exhausting. That means our weekends also get jam packed and when my weekends are jam packed, I go INTO the week feeling tired, and End of School Burnout Mom does not need that. Even on your busiest weekends, schedule a block of time (don’t tell me you don’t have ANY), even one or two hours to escape by yourself or with your husband to relax. You need it. You deserve it.

4. Make a List

I feel burnt out when I am overwhelmed, and this time of year, the list of things to do is ridiculous.  When things start feeling overwhelming, get a good ole’ piece of lined paper and a pen and write down every single task that is on your mind, current and upcoming. Just let it all flow out in a stream of consciousness, every single thing you have to do, arrange, pick up, buy or prepare.  Then organize the list into chunks of things you can get done together. Finally, cross off those suckers as you complete them.  Nothing beats the feeling of crossing off a task.

5. Spend Time with Your Mommy Friends

And when all else fails, girlfriend time always helps, especially fellow burnt out ones you can call over and not have to apologize for the state of your house. There is something about spending time with your girlfriends that recharges your soul.  That, and a little wine never hurts either.

We are almost there, moms! The Finish Line is in view. What do you do when you start to feel end of school burn out?

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What IS.

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what if I have struggled with anxiety since I was a little girl. Even at 4-years-old, my mom can remember me talking about being “worried”.  I would worry about fire drills at school, fires, getting kidnapped, my parents dying, war, and those were just a few examples out of the endless things I would worry about.

What If…?

The thing about worry is that it is fueled by “What if’s….?”

As a child my what if’s would have been: What if that car pulls up and tries to kidnap me? What if that airplane bombs us? What if my mom gets in a car crash? What if my dad has a heart attack? What if my house catches on fire when I am sleeping? What IF……?

What if’s can run out of control in your head and spiral into a TOTAL imagined disaster. What if’s can be debilitating and the root of unnecessary anxiety.

Now, there are some kind of what if’s that are necessary.

Like, what if I climb that tree and fall and break my leg? Some what if’s make us stop and question things that might be unsafe. Those are valid what if’s. I am talking about the what if’s which we have absolutely no control over.

Just this past Friday night one of the neighbor kids down the street was having a house party which meant some teenagers were out in front of our house being loud and a little hoodlum-ish and my daughter got freaked out.

Teenagers scare her because our neighbor friend told her a story about how teenagers climbed their back wall in the middle of the night and her parents had to call the police. It was a big deal. Having this in her head, she was scared of the teenagers outside our house.

So much so that she couldn’t go to sleep.

She called for me and told me she was scared of the teenagers.  I was giggling to myself because in a few years she is going to be one herself, but the idea of the “teenagers” doing bad stuff to our house was upsetting her. At this point they were long gone, but she couldn’t let the fear go.

I crawled into bed with her and asked her if she was thinking any “what if’s…” in her head? She said, yes. What if the teenagers try to get into our house? What if the teenagers break into our house?

What IS.

I told her now instead of using “What if…” sentences let’s change our thinking to “What IS.”

Just the facts. What we know for sure, right now, for real.

Here’s what IS.

The teenagers are gone. We are safe. Our house is locked. Mommy and daddy are here. You are snuggled into your comfy bed. God is with you.  You are safe.

I heard her exhale. And she was able to go to sleep.

Following my own advice 

Lately we have had the most unfortunate news of four people we know, people in their late 30’s to early 40’s, being diagnosed with cancer. It’s hitting so close to home. It is terrifying.

A lot of what if’s have plagued me recently.  What if I got cancer? What if my husband got cancer? And as a parent those are the scariest what if’s and it has really been consuming me lately. The fear of what if we got sick?

Then I considered my own advice. What IS.

The fact is we are healthy. We have no evidence to prove otherwise. That’s what I am trying to remember when my mind starts to go there. It’s helping.

So the next time you find yourself diving into the darkness of What If Land, turn around and swim up, reminding yourself of the facts, until you reach the light of What Is Land. 

Do you have any tips on helping children with anxiety?

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I’m So Sorry

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This post is about teaching kids how to apologize. Sincerely. Not a, “Sorry, but….!” A real, genuine, sincere apology. A skill that will serve them well in life because let’s face it, we all mess up.

Teaching kids how to apologize Recently I was chatting with one of my best girlfriends and she shared a story about something that happened with her middle-school aged son.

Her boy is a great kid. Super smart, responsible, good sense of right and wrong. The kind of kid that you just adore. But he, like all of us do from time to time, messed up and got in trouble in class.

How she handled it was so impressive I had to share.

Seems as if he was talking a bit too much with the kid next to him and his teacher got mad and gave him a recess consequence.

He’t not the type of kid who is used to getting in trouble, so to him this was a very big deal and he was MAD.

He was mad at the kid who was talking with him, mad at his teacher, and in the mode of misplacing the blame and justifying all the reasons why he didn’t deserve to get in trouble.

His mom, instead of blowing it off or saying ‘kids will be kids’, or  just do your recess consequence and get it over with had a conversation with him about taking responsibility for HIS actions.

She told him the only thing he could control in this situation was how he reacted to it.

He couldn’t control the other kid’s talking. He couldn’t control the teacher choosing to give the consequence to him. The only thing he could control was his part in the situation, how he personally was involved and how he could handle it from here.

She said once he got his head around accepting responsibility for what he did to get the consequence, he was really disappointed in himself and didn’t know what to do.

She explained to him,

“When you mess up, the very best thing you can do is to give that person a sincere apology.”

He agreed.

So, her son emailed the teacher to ask if he could talk to her at the break before class the next day. That night he planned out what he was going to say and put some bullet point thoughts on paper. Namely,

* I am so sorry for talking in class.
* I feel very badly for not respecting your time.
* I am aware of my mistake and it won’t happen again.
* I am concerned about my citizenship grade and hope that this will not affect it. If it will, what can I do to make things right?

My friend said the teacher was surprised by his apology, and of course graciously accepted it.

He came home that day like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders.

There really is so much power in a sincere apology. Instead of letting it fester inside, there is something so freeing in admitting wrongdoing and expressing remorse.

Teaching Kids How to Apologize 

We all mess up.  Kids, adults and everyone in between.

I think he hit all the main points on the head on how to make a sincere apology.

1. He took responsibility and showed awareness of his mistake (no blaming someone else or no “buts”!)
2. He expressed remorse.
3. He expressed an effort to not do it again.
4. He asked for forgiveness –  or what he could do to make it right.

I love my friend for sharing this story with me. These types of lessons will be lifelong ones for kids. She gets an A+ in this life lesson.

Anyone else want to chime in with your thoughts on teaching kids how to apologize? Sincerely?

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Pregnancy Brain

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The Joys of Pregnancy Brain

The Pregnancy Diaries…

My newest reality check – “pregnancy brain” is no joke!  Who’s with me, mamas??

Whether it’s been awhile since you’ve been pregnant, or are currently pregnant, I think that every mom can relate to that crazy pregnancy brain phenomenon.

Like, my husband is now reminding me about things I didn’t even realize I’d forgotten.  And just pats me on the back and sympathetically smiles each morning when I ask him for the fourth time in 10 minutes what he has planned for the day and if he fed the dog.

As you probably know by now, I am a Type-A, very organized, and (usually) very efficient mama.  Well, I was…until I took a positive pregnancy test…and within three weeks…pregnancy brain set in. (Insert heavy sigh.)

A note to my third child – I love you more than my own life…but for mama’s sanity and for the sake of your daddy and big brother and sister, can you please stop sucking up my brain cells???

I knew it was going downhill fast when I stopped and started this blog about six times.  And I had to call my husband and ask him to remind me about one of my funniest pregnancy brain moments for the blog…to which he replied, “Oh honey.  This is one of them.”  (Thanks, love.)

To moms’ credits everywhere, pregnancy brain is actually a thing.  Yes, I’ve researched this.  Take a look:

 From What To Expect When You’re Expecting – Forgetfulness During Pregnancy or Pregnancy Brain

 From WebMD – Pregnancy Brain: Myth or Reality

From parents.com – Dealing with Pregnancy Brain

 From todaysparent.com – Pregnancy Brain – It’s Not All in Your Head

Okay, this makes me feel a little bit better.  At least we can all rest easy knowing that this is perfectly normal…and we’re not alone.

So for now, I’ve decided to embrace it, accept it, and do the following to help me stay sane…and I bet all of you pregnant mamas out there can relate!

– I write everything down.  Sticky notes, taped notes to the fridge, notes left in my car…can’t have too many reminders laying around.  If I’m out and about without anything to write with, I text myself.

– I set my phone alarm multiple times a day.  Especially when it comes to kid pick-ups, or appointments that I have to be at.

– As soon as I receive information that requires a “to-do,” I try to get it done asap.  No time like the present.  If I let it sit too long, it will most likely float off to pregnancy Never Neverland.

– I’ve asked for a lot more help this pregnancy.  From my husband.  From my two older kids. From my mom and mother-in-law. From my friends. Between the exhaustion and fatigue, the all day sickness (yep, this little precious munchkin is keeping me on my toes – all.day.long)… and then add in this lovely pregnancy brain…I’ve recognized that I just need more help.  And thanks to my amazing family and friends, they are giving that much needed support.

I’m still holding out hope that the second half of my pregnancy will be a little easier than the first.  Meanwhile, I am so grateful and excited to share that my beautiful little babykins is growing, healthy and right on track!  Thank you for reading along and sharing this pregnancy journey with me!

Anyone else out there in pregnancy-land dealing with pregnancy brain?  Any tips or funny stories to share?  Comment below and we can giggle together!

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