Surviving Snow Driving with Anxiety

I love the snow. It’s beautiful, romantic, and peaceful.  However, I do not like driving in it. It’s a relatively new experience for me, being somewhat recently transplanted to Idaho from California. It’s nerve wracking and used to stop me from going places that I really wanted to go. For me, having a baby in the car added a whole new layer of terrifying to snow driving with anxiety. It wasn’t something that I was super comfortable with before, and then being responsible for the life of a tiny, precious human just made it so much worse.

This is a list of tips help you cope with your anxiety while sliding down the road. This isn’t a list of specific driving tips for maneuvering through the snow, but a list of to help you survive snow driving with anxiety.

First…breathe

Most obvious advice ever, right? However, white knuckle driving while holding your breath is not going to help you feel better. Or drive better for that matter. So take a deep breath. Relax. You’ve got this! As someone who has gotten stuck in deep snow with a baby in the car (read about that here), know that even on the off chance that something does happen, you can survive this!

Practice

There are some things that simply take practice to get a handle on. Snow driving is one of them. Go to a parking lot, spin some donuts, and get used to sliding around. Understanding that there really isn’t anything mysterious and scary about sliding in a vehicle will go a long way to helping you panic less when it does happen.

If it will make you more comfortable, bring someone along who has more snow driving experience than you do! Also, know that the more you drive in the snow, the better you’ll get. Whether you were raised driving in the snow, or if this is a new experience for you (like for me!) you can totally do this.

Advice from others

Just like anything else, when people hear that you are looking for advice driving in the snow they will want to tell you their perspective on the “secret to snow driving”. They mean well, they really do. I mean, technically I’m giving you advice right now! But it can be super overwhelming to try to remember all of this advice when you are sliding down the road.

You don’t have to follow every tip you’re given. Just nod, smile, and try what you think is helpful and chuck the rest in the trash. Easy peasy.

Music

Does music make you more relaxed? Maybe a talk show in the morning? A podcast? Maybe just silence? What will make you the most comfortable, that you can leave playing with out messing with for the duration of your commute? Pick that!

Time

Give yourself PLENTY of time. That way you don’t feel rushed. This will make your experience snow driving with anxiety much less terrifying. There is no reason why you need to get to your destination quickly. If you’re running late, still drive slow. I guarantee that whomever is waiting on you to arrive can handle a little tardiness. Most people are pretty understanding, especially when the roads get terrible.

 

Aggressive Drivers

There will be some aggressive drivers. You might be lucky and avoid them, but if I were you I would plan on running into a few meanies because it’s a fact of life. If there is one tailgating you, just pull over or turn onto a side street, and let them ride someone else’s bumper. You don’t need that in your life! They can speed around you, and you no longer have to worry about them.

But where’s the road??

I can’t see the lanes?! I don’t know where I’m supposed to be driving! Eek! I am freaking out here!!! It can be a little nerve wracking for anyone, especially when you have multiple lanes. I’ll let you in on a little secret: No one else can see the lanes either, they are driving on the same road after all. Give your best guess, follow the traffic, and you’ll be ok.

How do you survive snow driving with anxiety?

Let me know in the comments below!

How to Survive Your First Week Back From Maternity Leave

Heading back to work after being home with your beautiful new baby is scary, exciting, and…busy. You have just barely figured out how to make life work with a baby. It’s hard to even imagine ever coming back from maternity leave (If you haven’t chosen a daycare yet, read my post here about things to consider).

But when you come back…you get to have adult conversations! You get to pee by yourself! You get to sit in a chair by yourself for more than two seconds at a time! 

However…you’re away from your child, and you miss them. You might be packing around your breast pump. You might be falling asleep at your desk.

But even with all of this going on, you also still need to make sure your family (and you!) are taken care of. You need to have meals prepared. You have to wear something other than yoga pants. Spit up is no longer an appropriate accessory. It’s a lot to take in, and a lot to take care of. It can feel overwhelming.

Here are some tips to survive your first week back from maternity leave! (This article contains affiliate links. This allows me to continue to provide awesome free content. Thanks for supporting my blog!).

 

 

Extra outfits

You’re on your way out the door, and it happens. Your beautiful angel spits up, all the way down your back. But…you don’t have any spare work clothes so you have to quickly scrub your clothes and you smell absolutely… lovely all day.

As the parent of little one, you need to have extra clean work clothes on hand. You are absolutely tempting fate if you only have one clean work appropriate outfit.

Dry Shampoo

If you somehow find the time to wash your hair, you might choose to take a nap instead. Or binge on your favorite Netflix show. No judgement here. Do what you need to! That’s where dry shampoo comes in. Sometimes you’ll find yourself short on time and you can’t wash your hair, but never fear! It can still look clean! What a time to be alive! Am I right? Before I bought dry shampoo, I did some research, and this one comes very highly rated.


Pro tip: Spray it on your roots in the evening before bed, and then when you wake up it will have worked its way through and you don’t have to do anything to it!

 

Headbands

I’ll be honest, I’m majorly headband obsessed. Want to magically look put together? Headband, boom. Magic.

And when you’ve stretched your unwashed hair to the limit but still haven’t had a chance to wash it…headband to the rescue! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had my hair in a messy bun (because it’s all I had time for) with a headband and I’ve gotten compliments on my “cute hair”. Hey I’ll take it! Headbands are definitely a working mothers staple! Head back from maternity leave in style!

Freezer Meals

Six sisters stuff is awesome for recipes, and especially for freezer meal recipes. It is absolutely excellent to just wake up in the morning, dump your freezer meal in the crock pot, and head on your way. And then when you get home, dinner is ready! Check out their free freezer meal recipes here.

Hello Fresh

Half of the energy of cooking is deciding what to make, and with Hello Fresh it is decided for you. It breaks up our monotony of usual recipes and adds variety.

You don’t have to continue getting them forever either, unlike many subscription services. You can stop and start easily. They send coupons pretty frequently as well. The recipes are all under 30 minutes, and I have tried some really awesome meals that I never would have thought to make on my own. It is pretty great. Use the link below to get $30 off!


 

Overnight oats

I love these since they are super quick, easy, and delicious. In the following order pour in a mason jar: ½ cup of oats, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, some Greek yogurt, some fruit and ½ cup of milk poured over it and BOOM. You have yourself breakfast to grab on the way out the door in the morning. If you’re feeling generous you can make some for your kids or spouse as well. It’s pretty easy to add some variation as well, and if you want it a little sweeter you can add some honey.

Picture frames

There’s no doubt about it, it’s hard to be away from your little one(s). Even though it’s nice to get out of the house, all parents miss their kids when they are away from them. I bought a few picture frames for photos from my sons newborn photo session in my office. He’s not with me while I’m at work, but the pictures are a visual reminder that he is always in my heart.

 

You can’t “do it all”

It’s hard to try to balance a family as a working mom. It’s hard to feel like you are succeeding at your job and also giving your kiddos and husband the attention that they need. Give it some time, you’ll find a balance and a system that works for you!

 

How did you survive your first week back from maternity leave? Let me know in the comments below!

How I Lost 20 Pounds (and Counting!)

I’m super excited because I have finally reached a pretty exciting milestone! I lost 20 pounds! In honor of my recent weight loss, I wanted to talk about how I got here. It’s a little different than my usual posts, but I wish someone had told me what I had to find out the hard way. I’m so excited about this, and excited to share it with you!

No crazy secrets, just healthy life style changes!

Please note that that I am not a medical professional, and this post does contain some affiliate links! This means that if you click the link and purchase something, I get a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting my blog and allowing me to continue to provide FREE content!

Define your goals

We all know how to lose weight. Eat healthy, practice portion control, exercise…blah blah blah. How many times have we heard that stale advice? Knowing how to lose weight and actually succeeding are very different things. The important aspect of goal setting to lose weight is to be as specific as possible.

What are your fitness goals? Be specific about what you want, and how you are going to get there. “I want to be healthier” or “I’m going to go the gym more” are not specific enough. Think more in the neighborhood of “I’m going to track my food intake and limit my calories to X amount daily”, and your specific plan for exactly what you will do for exercise and for how long. Write them down, because a very wise anonymous individual said, “Goals that are not written down are just wishes.”

Find some sort of program

You know yourself. You know what will automatically spell failure for you. If you hate the gym, and know it won’t work for you then don’t sign up for a membership. If you need the structure of the gym, then go ahead and sign up. But there are tons of options other than the gym! We live in an amazing world of technology, and there are tons of apps available to give you structure. There are also YouTube fitness channels, and fitness DVDs…the options are endless. Find one that works for you (and that you enjoy as much as possible for exercise) and stick with it!

Work out at the same time everyday

It’s way easier to maintain a habit than it is to have a mental struggle with yourself every day to go exercise. Pick a time, and stick with it. And after a little while, you won’t even think twice about exercising. I am definitely not an early bird, but I exercise before work every morning. I’m not in the mood to go after work, and any later than that I’m not going to have energy, plus I want to spend time with my family in the evening. It works for me, and it’s part of my daily routine.

Buy a Fitbit

I love my Fitbit. It helps me to be aware of how active I am, and gives me reminders to move throughout the day. I have a Fitbit Alta and it’s awesome. Before that I had the charge HR, and I loved it too. Getting 10,000 steps a day is a great guideline for physical activity, and a great way to work towards weight loss. Get your own below!
Fitbit Alta Fitness Tracker, Silver/Black, Small (US Version)

Track your food intake

Even more important than exercising is diet. You absolutely cannot exercise away a bad diet. Think of your eating habits as a life style instead of a quick fix. Choose sustainable habits. There are tons of apps of that’s your thing, and I use a free app called “Lose it!” (Not an affiliate, just really like it!).

Work out clothes

I’m generally more motivated to work out knowing that I have cute work out clothes waiting for me. I live in yoga pants and leggings generally, and here are some affordable ones! Baleaf Women’s Tummy Control Workout Printed Yoga Capri Pants Hidden Pocket Ink Purple Size M

Laying out your work out clothes the night before, or packing your gym bag the night before can make it easier to get up and go in the morning, or go after work. I won’t blow off the gym if I have a bag packed, because I hate for it to sit packed for a whole day.

Cheat (responsibly)

You need to give yourself breaks. However, there need to be limits. I love sugary treats, and that’s where I get into trouble with healthy eating, and a big part of why I gained so much weight in the first place. I let myself have two treats a week that I don’t have to count toward my daily calorie allotment. I also let myself have one cheat meal a week.

Do it your own way. Maybe you need to cut out almost all of your sugar intake? Maybe you just need to say goodbye to soda? Find what works for you so you don’t find yourself deprived or starving and totally binge on junk food.

Find healthy ways to deal with stress

I am a major emotion eater. Big time. My picture could be next to the definition of stress eating in the dictionary. Eating was one the main ways I coped with my depression, and it resulted in me gaining 30 pounds in 6 months. Even with my education and experience with helping other people find healthy ways to deal with stress, I absolutely sucked at dealing with my own.

Writing, yoga, and running are how I currently deal with stress. Think of an activity that makes you feel AWESOME. Implement it into your daily routine.

Find replacements

We are always more successful when we trade out a bad habit for a good one instead of just kicking a bad habit to the curb with no replacement. Do always you have an afternoon candy bar? Trade up for an apple or granola bar, instead of skipping the snack. Think of your own bad habits, and what you can trade them out for.

Some low calorie treats can be helpful too, to give you what you crave with out derailing your progress.

And I LOVE this stuff. So good and super low calorie!

Halo Top Ice Cream Pint, Birthday Cake, 16 Ounce (Pack of 8)

 

Find someone to be accountable to

Choose someone to stay accountable to. Pick someone who is in your corner, who wants you to succeed, but isn’t afraid to nag you if you start sliding away from your goal. Some possible choices are your spouse, a friend, or a coworker.

Don’t be hard on yourself

You might mess up. You probably will mess up. But tomorrow is a new day, your next meal is an opportunity to try again, and unless you are reading this at 10:00 at night you have time to hit the gym and try again today! Even though I probably don’t know you I’m rooting for you to succeed. It gets easier as you start to get into better shape, once you aren’t eating junk all the time you won’t crave it constantly. I am so excited to have lost 20 pounds, and if this is something that you want to do, I’m excited for your personal journey!

How have you been successful at losing weight? Let me know in the comments below!

A Guide to Surviving a Sick Baby

You did everything right, washed your hands, washed their hands, didn’t let them near sick kids….but they still got that nasty bug that was floating around. You now have a sick baby on your hands!

As you know if you follow the blog, my son attends daycare. Most of the year it is fine, but in the winter it means he picks up all kinds of sickness bugs…and shares them. Lovely, I know. I’m hoping that this means that he will have an immune system of steel as he gets older. A mama can dream, right? Here are my tips for surviving when you have a sick baby on your hands!

Set up a Command Center

Most babies get really snuggly and clingy when they don’t feel good. They are also super restless and less likely to sleep well on their own. That means you get experience cuddle overload! And that you will likely be stuck in a chair for long periods of time.

Your command center should include everything you need near you so that if the baby finally falls asleep, or finally gets comfortable you don’t have to get up and risk disturbing them.

In our house, the command center is the big comfy recliner right next to the end table. Comfy enough to sit in for a long time, enough room to change positions, enough space for supplies for our little sickling, and you can recline or rock. It’s perfect!

You want to have remotes, snacks (for both of you), and water. Have a bulb syringe and wipes handy as well. Books for them and for you, phone or tablet as well. Netflix or any other digital streaming service is an awesome choice because you can put on cartoons for the little one, and then when they fall asleep you can switch something for you without having to decide between waking up the baby or watching “Trolls” for the 8000th time. Because that’s a tough call. Disclosure: Below are affiliate links, if you click the link and buy something I get a small commission at no cost to you. This allows me to continue to provide awesome free content!

Medicine

Super young kids can’t have cough medicine, and it can break your heart to see them miserable and know that there isn’t anything to give them. Never fear, there is a solution! We like to give our little guy this naturopathic medicine when he gets a cough. It’s mostly agave syrup, and can help soothe their poor little throat. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not a substitute for medical advice! 

 

What have you been putting off?

Since you’re house bound (and maybe comfy-chair bound) for the time being, what have you been putting off? An email to grandma? Reading a long article that you saved to read some other time? A journal entry? Catching up on “The Walking Dead”? (Oh yeah!) Whatever it is, get it done!

 

Prepare to get sick

Unfortunately, with all the cuddles and care that sick babies require, you will likely fall ill with whatever your kiddo has. I honestly expect to get whatever bug the baby has, and when I don’t it’s just a pleasant surprise. That might be a pessimistic perspective, but I can live with that. As I have mentioned in many different posts, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You might need a nap, or a warm bath. Ask your spouse, parents, in laws, friends, anyone nearby that you love and trust.

If you are sick, then you need to add supplies for you to your command center. Cough drops, tissues, etc. Whatever supplies that will be helpful to your current sickness, stick it right there next to you!

These cough drops make it almost worth it to be sick. (Not really but they taste way better than regular cough drops).

Remember… this is temporary

Having a sick baby sucks. They’re miserable, you feel bad that they are miserable, and it’s easy to get caught up and feel like it’s going to last forever. But good news! It’s only temporary. Enjoy the cuddles, and rest up. In a few days things will be looking up, and both of you can be running around like normal. How do you survive a sick baby? Share in the comments below!

A Guide to Choosing The Perfect Mom Job

If you follow the blog, you already know that I chose to go back to work after my son was born. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was right for me and my family. I feel so incredibly blessed to have a job that I enjoy, and that works with my mom schedule, which can get messy at times! Here are a few things for you to consider when choosing your mom job.

Flexibility/Time off

Can you come early and leave early every now and again, or take an hour off when you need it?

Especially if this is your first child, you will want to be able to take time off for your baby’s doctors’ appointments. And they have tons of those in their first year of life! Babies are frequently ill when they are young, especially if you have them in daycare. There are lots of germs floating around! Do you have the ability to take time off when you need it?

Consistency

Is your employment consistent enough where you can afford to pay the daycare, and where you have a semi-consistent schedule for the childcare provider to work?

Most daycares are ok with you switching days around. Some are less flexible. If you have a sitter, their schedule and preferences need to be considered. Many daycares have weekly minimums, (for example, your child must attend at least 3 days a week) and you don’t want to get stuck paying for extra days when you don’t have work, and when you don’t have money coming in.

The Boss

Is the supervisor understanding of your schedule and duties as a parent? I have the absolute best boss ever. She simply asks that my work gets done and that I put in my hours. Other than that, there aren’t many restrictions when my mom duties come knocking.

Is the supervisor understanding and kind? I’ve had my fair share of difficult bosses (see the 8 different types of difficult bosses and how to deal with them here), and you don’t need that in your life. Motherhood is hard enough without that. A good boss is incredibly important to having a successful mom job.

Pay Scales

Can you afford to pay a sitter or a childcare center with what you are earning? Some moms are lucky enough to have family who will watch the kids for free, or maybe a spouse with a schedule that is easy to work around. However, for most families it is not cheap! Quality childcare (no matter what form you choose) is expensive. If you aren’t familiar with childcare rates in your area, then do your research and then do some math. If your wage is on the lower end, you may barely break even.

To give you some perspective on this matter, here is an example from someone I know.  I was talking to a lady at church a few months ago, and she told me a little bit about her experiences when her kids were young. She explained to me that between the cost of having a second car so she could drive to work, paying the daycare, and the cost of gas to commute, she wasn’t even making $100 a month. Obviously that isn’t worth it at all, and she quit her job. Crunch some numbers, and see how it turns out for you! For some mothers, just having some time away is worth it!

Hours

Many childcare providers will ask for a higher rate for hours beyond a traditional work day. If you use a sitter it may be hard to find someone willing to watch your child if you work unconventional hours. (Graveyard shifts, exceptionally long or early shifts, etc).

How many hours do you want to work? You don’t want to be working way more than you want, or not as much as you need to make ends meet once you consider childcare costs.

Stress

Whether or not working is a financial necessity for you, the time you spend at your job should be a reprieve from your stressful life as a mom. If you feel absolutely run down and at your wits end at the end of the day, you aren’t going to have the emotional energy that your child needs from you. One of the core components of a successful mom job is that all of your energy and patience aren’t zapped up at work.

It’s hard to predict all of these things when you choose employment. The good news is that you aren’t stuck at your job forever if it isn’t a good fit for family life. If you aren’t happy, don’t be afraid to make some changes. What do you think makes a perfect mom job, and do you consider your job cohesive to family life? Let me know in the comments below!

How to Avoid a Fight…(90% of the time!)

I recently resolved something with someone very dear to me that has been bothering me for a long time. While I share many personal details of my life here, I’m not going to get into the specifics. I will say that I was totally in the wrong, it was an unnecessary fight, and the situation was the perfect storm for me to feel a variety of negative emotions and overreact. Now that it’s completely resolved, it feels good!  This conversation, as well as conversations my husband and I have had lately about the topic of what causes fights between friends and couples; has me thinking about different circumstances that escalate fights, and sometimes even causes them. Here are some suggestions on how to avoid a fight…most of the time! Issues need to be discussed for sure, but if you follow the guide below you might be able to keep it from becoming a fight. (The below photo credit goes to Davina, one of our favorite photographers here on Thoughts, Dots, and Tots!).

 

Exhaustion/Illness/Hunger

I don’t know about you, but I am an absolute big baby when I get sick. And almost all of us get cranky when we are tired or hungry. When our bodies need something our patience can disappear, and our tempers can flare up. Try to avoid big important discussions where tensions can easily get high when you know that your body is struggling. Come back to it later when you are feeling better, unless it is absolutely urgent. If the circumstances allow, come back to it later and you just might avoid a fight! 

 

 

Insecurities

Our insecurities can cloud our judgment severely. Two of my biggest insecurities are two pretty common ones: rejection and exclusion. When I am faced with a scenario where I perceive either of these two things (whether or not they are actually happening) my judgement quickly gets skewed. Think about daily life, it’s easy to feel like those around us are being purposefully hurtful towards us. Most of the time this is absolutely inaccurate, and generally just an oversight on the part of those around us. Knowing your own insecurities will help you be more in tune with your own needs and avoid a fight. 

 

 

Lack of communication

This one’s a biggie, and once appropriate communication is in place it resolves a HUGE portion of disputes. Our imaginations can easily get the best of us when we aren’t communicating appropriately.  I’ve already confessed a few times on the blog that I’m a pessimist (in progress!) and I often jump to the worst conclusions when there is a communication break down. Do your best to maintain healthy communication with those around you! 

 

Past experiences

Whether the past experiences be with someone else, or the person you are currently fighting with, this can absolutely can affect our judgement. There is nothing wrong with being careful and learning from our past experiences. However, you don’t want to live your life expecting everyone to behave like the worst person you have ever met. Most people have good intentions!

 

It’s ok to walk away to avoid a fight

It is absolutely ok to take a break, and come back. Thinking that the issue at hand (whatever it may be) needs to be solved right now can escalate your current argument. This is totally unnecessary out of the time. Take a walk, get some air, take some deep breaths, pray, or meditate…(maybe eat some chocolate?) and come back to it with a clearer head.

 

All in all…

All in all…next time you feel a fight coming on, consider the list above and think. Could any of the above reasons be clouding your judgment and be affecting the way you are feeling? Know that becoming defensive and angry is not going to help the situation. Many fights can be avoided or be downgraded to a dispute if you are in tune with yourself and what you are feeling!

How to Cope with Being Away from Your Child

Being away from your child is never easy, especially for more than a couple days at a time!  The week before last for work I traveled to Orlando, Florida for a conference. My husband was able to come with me, which was wonderful. We were incredibly lucky to have family who could watch our little man for us so we could use this trip as a little get away. However, previous to this trip the longest we had been away from our sweet baby was our overnight to see Eric Church (read about an important lesson I learned at the concert here). And as I finish up this article, I am sitting in a hotel room on another work trip. After my experiences, here are my tips on how to cope with being away from your child!

 

Write a Guide

While you can’t be there to take care of your child, you can write a guide to caring for your kiddo. There are thousands of things that you know about your child that no one else knows, even family members. Write a guide to taking care of your child, but try to keep it to one page as to not overwhelm them, and to ensure that the important information is seen. Use categories such as bedtime, bath time, mealtime, general safety, etc.

If it is someone younger who does not have children, they will be inexperienced and need lots of guidance on the general care of babies/children. If it is someone older than yourself such as your parents, they might need guidance on your preferences and some updated safety standards since they had little kiddos of their own. Knowing that a trusted individual knows th basics of how you care for your kiddo can make your time away from your child a little easier.

 

 

Guilt and other negative feelings

Be prepared for some irrational negative feelings. You will feel guilty for leaving your kiddo. And then if you don’t feel guilty, you will feel guilty about not feeling guilty. If you are having fun you will feel guilty. If you aren’t having fun you will feel bad about that. You will feel bad if they do well while you are away. You will feel bad if they struggle with your absence. Welcome to parenthood, it makes no sense. Try to enjoy the time away, in spite of crazy conflicting emotions, and remember that you deserve it!

Just remember that if they do well, it doesn’t mean you aren’t important to them, and they do need you! You mean the world to them! If they struggle, it doesn’t mean you are a bad parent for leaving them. You need to take care of yourself in order to care for them, it is perfectly fine.

Remember, “You can’t pour from an empty cup!”. It’s necessary for you to practice good self-care, and have time for you!

 

 

Facetime/Skype

FaceTime and Skype are great ways to stay in contact with your little sweetie, but it can make your time away even harder. Know yourself and your child, and if it will be too hard don’t feel bad about sticking to old school phone calls. We face timed our baby twice in the 5 days we were there, and we called at least once the other 3 days. It was wonderful to see his bright and beautiful face, but I definitely teared up when we had to say goodbye. It had been hard on this trip as well.

 

Pictures

Have whoever is watching your child keep you posted on what they are up to. Pictures of them napping, eating, and just going about their day can help you to feel more connected to what is going on in their lives during your time away. My in laws sent us pictures of our little guy, and one of my favorites was of him sleeping through the air show with jets flying over head! That angelic face sleeping through loud noises was just what I needed! On this trip, my husband has sent me tons of pictures, of our little cutie eating scrambled eggs for the first time, and after his bath. Download a few of your favorite pictures to your phone to bring a long as well while you are away from your child.

All in all…

It will be hard. You will second guess your decision to go a million times. But it will be worth it. You will come back relaxed, and ready to take on all the responsibilities required of you. You’ve got this! And you deserve a break.

How Blogger Mommies Respect Their Children’s Privacy

How much information do you share about your child on your blog?

I posed this question in a few of the blogging communities that I belong to yesterday to get more insight into other mom’s perceptions on their child’s privacy on their websites. The responses were overwhelming, and are still rolling in as I write this. Clearly this is something that blogging mommies are passionate about!

Why are we concerned about privacy?

Safety is obviously the number one priority when it comes to deciding what to share on the a blog. You don’t want to provide a predator with essentially a map on how to find your child. However, our children’s personal privacy is a factor as well. I don’t want my son to be embarrassed by anything I post on here. Currently that is not an issue, because he is an infant and he doesn’t know what it means to be embarrassed! But as he gets older this will be a concern, so I am careful on what I share. As blogging moms was our choice to blog, not our children’s. We definitely don’t want it to affect their life negatively if anything too personal is posted.

 

Names

Do you include your last name on your blog? Do you include your child’s first name? I personally don’t include either. However, currently most people who follow the blog know me in person and not from the internet. If someone I know comments on the blog with the name of my little cutie, I edit the comment to protect his privacy. I do what I can to ensure that his information remains private from those that I do not know. One mom mentioned that she uses her children’s names and her last name, but because her last name is different from theirs so it makes it harder for people to connect her children to her.

Some moms have a nickname for their children on their blog for simplicities sake. Others use first initials only. I currently don’t have any nicknames on the blog for my little boy, but when we expand our family further I will consider it because it will likely get confusing!

A mom who responded mentioned that her child’s name is purposefully not included in the text of her articles, but if they include a craft that has her child’s name on it, the name is included. One mom mentioned that their last name is common, so it isn’t a concern. Another stated that because her last name is uncommon, she chooses to exclude her children’s first names to protect their privacy.

 

Pictures

 

I personally made the choice to include pictures of my son on the blog. He is a big part of this blog, my inspiration, my life (obviously!) and I love sharing his sweet smile and beautiful eyes with others. For me it fits with the tone that I have created with this blog and also feels more authentic to use personal pictures instead of stock photos. I am comfortable with this choice, especially since neither his first or last name are included in the blog.

Some moms don’t include any pictures of their little cuties. Others include pictures, but only from the side, or of part of their face, or their backs, or from when they were very young where they couldn’t possibly be recognized.

One of the moms who responded informed me that because her blog includes hair tutorials, her children’s faces need to be visible during the videos.

Location

Do you disclose the state that you live in, or the name of your city? Do you disclose anything that could identify your neighborhood or even your home specifically? I have chosen to only disclose Idaho as where we live, and no city is mentioned. It is a large state, and because Idaho is an important part of my life it is included on the blog. However, I never share any pictures of the front of our house or even of us in our front yard. That makes me uncomfortable, so I have chosen not to share those here.

Another thing to keep in mind is if any distinctive landmarks that are present in any photos that you include of your hometown. One mom mentioned that her family is well-known in the community, so she does not mention anything about where they live.

Another mom mentioned that the main topic of her blog is about different activities in their area. Obviously their town of residence would need to be disclosed with this topic) so she is careful to not include any identifying information about her children. No matter what you choose to share, I personally would recommend not sharing anything that reveals what school your children go to, or where you live specifically.

 

Other Circumstances

One mother mentioned that some of her children are adopted, and that is one of the reasons why she keeps her children’s pictures off of her blog. Another concern could be if you or your children have escaped an abusive environment. You would want to share little to no identifying information to ensure your safety. Older kids can tell you what they would prefer as far as pictures or even stories they are included in.

 

All in all…

It is a very personal choice to decide what information to include about your children on your blog. Personal circumstances, blog niches, and preferences all go into the decision. What information do you share on your blog, or on other social media? I would love to hear about your decisions in the comments below. However, I am not interested (at all!) in judgments on others choices.

The Secret to Treating Diaper Rash

You go to change your little kiddo’s tush, and what do you see? A diaper rash! It’s red, it looks sore, and you feel awful for letting this happen! What do you do now? Are you a terrible parent? No way, and don’t stress, we’ll get you taken care of!


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, so if you click one and buy something, I will recieve a small commission at no cost to you! I only use affiliate links for products that I use and love. Thank you for supporting my blog!

 

Preventative

The best way to avoid diaper rash (like most things) is prevention! If you notice that your kiddos bum is getting a little red, change their diaper more often, and put cream or baby powder on it. (You are probably thinking thank you, Captain Obvious!) Don’t worry, it gets better, bear with me! I wanted to make sure that we covered the basics!

 

 

Diaper cream (no matter what brand you prefer)  is a pain to use, because it is greasy and gets stuck to your hand, and makes your hand smell bad, even after you wash your hands!  This here (baby bum brush below) is one of my favorite inventions. It makes it easier to use cream more often and therefore prevents diaper rash from developing. Plus, you can buy a tub (instead of the tiny tubes, which are more expensive), and with the bum brush you don’t have to dip your hand in the container!

 

 

Maximum Strength Desitin

This stuff is AWESOME. Be warned that it smells terrible, but it gets the job done! Make sure to buy the kind that comes in the purple container. Just know that you will need to be more vigilant with checking for poopy diapers, because the strong smell of the cream does cover up poop smell. You will be especially glad for the bum brush with this stinky cream!

 

Butt paste

I was recently introduced to butt paste by a friend after they read the original version of this post. It also soothes rashes really well, and my husband tells me it is what they recommend at the hospital. The smell isn’t bad (it kind of smells like cinnamon!)  so that is an upside to this over the maximum strength desitin! If you are torn between this and the desitin, try them both and see what works better for your kiddo!

 

 

The Main Event-my favorite tip!

This one is my favorite tip, that my fantastic friend Kaitlyn told me about when I asked her for advice the first time my kiddo got a diaper rash. When you layer baby powder on top of the diaper cream, it stops the cream from sticking to the diaper and keeps it on their cute bum! Simple yet effective!

 

Baking Soda Bath

I actually tried this one on my little sweetie for the first time today! We all know that baking soda is amazing for many different purposes, so this probably isn’t a shocker. The theory behind this one is that the baking soda soothes as well as neutralizes the acid sitting on their tush. So if your little one has diarrhea, this is one you should definitely try!  And we all have baking soda at home, so you can do this one right now!

 

Oatmeal Bath

This is always works wonders for me when I have irritated skin. And it’s super relaxing! I am sure it will work fabulously for your little kiddo’s rash as well. There is a gentler formula available for your munchkin’s soft skin in the link below!

 

Free (and naked!)

Sometimes, the only thing that can cure diaper rash is to let them run free and wild, and…naked! Give their bum a break from the moisture of their diaper. This is definitely more of a summer activity,  so you can go outside to eliminate scary inside accidents. We actually did this one today. Part of our fence is under construction (it blew over in a storm!) so to preserve his modesty I had him wearing a onesie and nothing else, with it unbuttoned at the bottom. This actually works really well to cover them if you don’t have private yard space.

What did I miss? What techniques do you use to help your kiddos when they get diaper rash? Let me know in the comments below!

What You Need to Know About Stopping Your Antidepressant (SSRI)

I started drafting another post,  but this is all that I could think about today. And as someone who gets easily fixated on topics, it was easier to choose to write about this instead. Know that there is nothing wrong with needing to take an antidepressant, and there is nothing wrong with choosing to stop either.

Don’t stop cold turkey

If at all possible, taper off of your medication. You decrease the risk (or severity) of your withdrawal symptoms. You can cut your pills in half, or take them every other day, whatever works best for you and what your doctor recommends. I have also heard the recommendation to take a full dose, and then take a half, and alternate every other day for 2 weeks.

 

You may experience physical symptoms

Even if you didn’t experience any symptoms while you were taking your antidepressant, this is a possibility. If your dose was very small, it is still possible to experience withdrawal. You might feel dizzy, fatigued, nauseous, or many other things! (In my own experience, if you feel dizzy, try taking some Dramamine).

If you do experience these, DON’T GIVE UP! Don’t refill your prescription to get rid of the symptoms, or you will have to start over, and you have come so far! Some people are lucky enough to be able to avoid these altogether, so don’t let this scare you if you are considering stopping your SSRI.

 

You may feel depressed/anxious

This is a tricky one! It is difficult to differentiate between returning depressive symptoms, and SSRI withdrawal symptoms. They can feel very similar. The only way to find out is to give it time, and focus on your personal self-care.

You may notice yourself feeling irritable as well. Give it time, and do what you can to limit your duties (personal and work wise)  for a week or two . If these symptoms persist, then it is possible that your depression symptoms are still present. You may want to consider restarting your medication in this case.

Also, remember the power of placebo. Sometimes, in addition to the power of medication, knowing that we are taking a medication and expecting it to help has an enormous amount of power. Use this to your advantage, and expect yourself to be happy without the medication.

 

You aren’t addicted to your antidepressant

Withdrawal symptoms from ceasing your SSRI does not indicate addiction. Your antidepressant simply blocks the reuptake of serotonin, so there is more available in your brain, elevating your mood. Your brain gets used to this, which is why many people need to increase their dosage over time. Also, because your body gets used to the presence of increased serotonin, it is an adjustment for your body when you stop taking it. Addiction only applies to harmful substances that can permanently damage your brain.

 

Talk to your doctor

They are there to help, you can make an appointment to talk to them or simply call. And if they aren’t willing to take the time to talk to you about it, you need to find yourself a new doctor!

To read more about SSRI withdrawal, visit the Mayo Clinic website here. (A very helpful article, that helped me fill in the blanks of my existing knowledge for this article!)