Olie is 1.5 years old. I’ve learned a lot over the past couple of years. Most of the time, I’m happy. I’m learning to play, and be in the present. Olie is an excellent teacher. I thought I’d share some of the resources that have helped me so far.
Hindsight is 20/20
It took a while to get the hang of some things – like managing the home, having realistic expectations, resting, taking breaks, taking time for myself, asking for help, enjoying my husband, allowing Olie to be on his own schedule, going with the flow… I’m still working on some of these, but I’m vastly improved from a year ago, when I quit my job because I couldn’t be a superwoman – and excel at being an employee, mother, partner, home maker, cook and self. I had completely unrealistic expectations, and had to recover from a spin from exhaustion down in to postpartum depression. So, here is a list of some of the things that I’ve found helpful in the last year.
- This Isn’t what I expected – Overcoming postpartum depression – This book has a good clinical description of the stages and degrees of PPD. It also has some good suggestions for getting help.
- Mother’s Guide to Self Renewal – Most books on being a good mom focus on how to take care of the family. This is one of the few (only?) books I found that talks about how to be a good mom by practicing self-care. It’s a workbook, and is great when done with a group of other mom’s. I’ve started this with one in January, and I LOVE it.
- And Baby Makes Three – This is good book on helping the marriage weather the transition to parenthood. I wish I’d read this a year ago.
- Hand in Hand parenting – This organization has a lot of helpful articles, and a great blog, that helps describe what attachment parenting looks like with older children. The tools are accessible, easy to grasp. They have support groups that I so want to join. The basic ideas are similar to unconditional parenting, but you don’t have to read a book to get it.
- Daily Groove parenting – Scott Noelle dishes out bite sized parenting wisdom in a daily email. They’ve definitely helped me enjoy parenting more.
- Fly Lady - I have a little bit of a perfectionist streak, and so when I first accepted my title as Home Executive, I decided to learn how to perfectly clean a house. The problem with that is that it seems so hard, I never get started! Enter Fly Lady. She has a system for home management that makes it manageable, minimal and even sometimes fun. It works.
- Clear your Clutter with Feng Shui – Part of making a home easy to maintain and enjoy is getting rid of the clutter. This book helped me shed car loads of stuff and unfinished (never started!) projects. With out that stuff in my way, it’s so much easier to tidy up and focus on what I really enjoy doing, instead of feeling guilty for all the things I haven’t done yet!
- What’s a Smart Woman like you Doing at Home? – This book helped me get into and understand my conflicts about being a stay at home mom. The organization that wrote it has some other good articles and books too.
- My Child Won’t Eat - another La Leche League book. This book greatly relieved my concerns about Olie’s eating or not eating. Bottom line -never force a child to eat, and as long as you’re giving them healthy options, don’t worry about what they do or don’t eat. Trust them to get the nutrition they need.
Down shift – When I first quit my job and was home, I had so many things I wanted to do. And I did many of them with Olie in tow. Eventually, I figured out that they just wore me out and left me no energy for enjoying myself, Olie or Mark. I went from doing 2-3 outings/errands a day to doing one every other day, which is about right for now. However, when Olie or I have a cold, the number of outings/errand/activities/chores goes down to zero a day, and we spend the whole day resting, and I even order in food (from Home on the Range). This allows us to heal quickly and not completely melt down on the way.
I’ve been lucky to find a group of other like-minded women with children around Olie’s age. This has been a HUGE help. We have a weekly play date, a babysitting co-op and a dinner co-op. Besides having four other moms I trust Olie with and a delicious vegan meal every week, there are people I can talk to about the joys and challenges of being a mother. I appreciate their insights and experience. It also means I don’t have to read ALL the parenting books. I can just get the report from them. It’s also wonderful to see Olie hug and kiss the other moms and kids. Soooo sweet. I can’t understate how big a difference this has made in my life. If you can, find other moms you would be friends with anyway. It’s priceless.