The long-awaited moment finally arrived. You are a mum. Amazing, right? You have returned home with your new baby all excited… and then couple days or even hours later you already feel overwhelmed and helpless. Daily life with a newborn can be chaos. First weeks can be tough. You don’t know how to hold the baby. You don’t know why the baby’s crying. You are not sure why you are crying. You are saying words you would have never used before to near- strangers (reflux, poop, nipples ...). There are 100 more reasons to argue about with your partner. Non-stop feeding, piles of diapers. And of course, no sleep for months. And in case you are lucky and your baby is picture perfect, you are surely stressing about when will the dreaded change come…because everyone around says it’s too good to be true. Parenthood reminds you a bit of a roller-coaster. Excitement, fear, expectations, constant changes…feelings as diverse as they can get. But don’t worry, there is an end to every upside-down turn. There’s an answer for everything, you just need to find it. You will soon learn what your baby needs, what works, what doesn’t, when does she want to be held, when fed, how to make her sleep…And at the end all you will remember is just the sheer excitement and joy of the ride. But until you figure out how to manage all those crazy turns, every little help counts. To help shorten the learning curve, here are some tips to make those first weeks or months a bit smoother, those upside-down turns a bit easier to manage (and don’t forget, there is always grandparents in case you need a break... or just an hour of sleep).
To the future dads1 out there, wondering how this new life is going to be like, let me give you a little peak. When you take 135 densely packed pages detailing “all a dad is and should be”, boil it down hard and let it dry for 4 months, you’ll be left with only two words that explain and describe everything: Caring and Intuition.
On CaringI’m sure you care about a whole list of things today and so you will even after the D-day. But very soon, there will be The One Care to rule them all. It's The Care that will suddenly make you a very speed-aware driver. It’s The Care that will keep you up all night watching your baby sleep because ... he does breathe a bit funny today, doesn’t he? It’s The Care that will sharpen your senses to near-Mr. Miyagi level – you might not be able to catch a fly with chopsticks, but catching a child before his head hits the pavement (most of the time) is a good start. And it’s The Care that will manage your calendar, set your priorities, turn your world and make sure you do your best at all times – even if it will never seem good enough.
On Not CaringIf you’re anything like me, you have made a list of all the horribly disgusting things you’ve seen parents do and negotiated upfront that you will NEVER ...
- change diapers,
- clean vomit,
- finish food the baby spits out,
On IntuitionWhile The Care is an answer to the “What?” and “Why?” of being a dad, Intuition is your answer to “How?”. Don’t know how to play with a one year old? Not sure if he’s old enough for a beer at 2? Should he binge-watch GoT with you, or maybe not? Are there any pitfalls to “casting” a baby sitter? Just use your head, the answers are all there. And if you feel adventurous there are 5 Simple steps you can always follow:
- Put on a tin hat and use Google.
- Read the gazillion contradicting opinions on the simplest of things.
- Close Google.
- Forget all about it.
- Use your own intuition3
Girls or women, we are all obsessed with tests, quizzes....or at least based on talking with my friends it seems so. :) Teenagers’ or female magazines clearly also believe so, because in every single one of them there is at least 1 test or quiz. “What’s your ideal sex position?”, “Are you in love or are you forcing it?”, “How much do you really know about Leonardio di Caprio?”, “What kind of female are you?”….I wonder why is that. Maybe it’s reassuring if a test confirms you should indeed cut your hair short or gives you tips how to land the man of your dreams (since the one in your bedroom is only matching your ideal 84%). Maybe it’s because it’s a great feeling you are a part of a group – all cool women of the world. :) And maybe it’s just simply fun to do tests, to laugh about yourself, about your friends (and with them), about the article…..And you know what? Sometimes actually those quizzes and tests might give you cool ideas. :) In light of the spirit, here’s a quiz my friend was sharing with us recently - ‘What type of mama are you?’ (she sent it 3x already, I swear!). It’s a quick fun read…or might even get you thinking. I wonder how you will feel about it. :) Because when I started thinking …I couldn’t really fit myself in any of the ‘boxes’. What type of mama am I? Sometimes “running around with a box of cleaners”, sometimes lazy…. sometimes fashionista, sometimes “whatever clothes is clean will do”… sometimes cooking 3-course lunches (separate for each kid!), sometimes “honey, just feed them anything”…. No matter how I looked at it, nothing was standing out for me. But then I imagined my little ones….(already nicely playing together for whole 4 minutes. Mmm, that’s getting suspicious, need to go and check on them)….imagined their happy faces and I knew. No matter what type of mama I am, no matter what parenting style I have, or if I am consistent all the time…one thing is sure. In my kids eyes I’m the best mama in the world. I feel it in their their sticky kisses when they bid me goodnight. In their spontaneous hugs. In their twinkly eyes always when I enter the room. In their out of the blue blurted “Mama I love you thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much”. (OK, that’s my 2.5 year old, my little one just says “iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii”). In the way they cuddle next to me the closest possible. In the way they excitedly welcome me as if not seeing me for a week…after 10min trip to the grocery store. In the trust they have in whatever I say or do. In every ‘don’t worry mama'. In the clumsy loving way they try to be helpful and ease my everyday tasks. In the way they always run to the safety of my arms when they feel scared or hurt. In the fact I am included in all the goodnight stories they tell to their teddy bears…. One thing is sure. No matter how I am, in my kids’ eyes I’m the best mama in the world. (Even if I screw up here & there. :) ) Just like for me my mama is the best mama in the world.* And just as my daughters once will be the best mamas in the world. Just like you are the best mama in the world! Every mama is. That’s simply the way mamas are. Isn’t that amazing? Happy Mamas’ Day! Oh and here is the test just in case you’d like to find out a bit more about what type of mama you are (on top of being the best, of course!) By the way, it reads better with a glass of wine in hand. (or 2 :) ). It’s Mamas’ day after all. :) A great reason for a little celebration. Cheers. *Even if in the heat of the moment, I might forget about it sometimes…esp. in the heat of the moments when she’s sharing parenting advice regarding her grandchildren. :) Types of Mamas Mama The Saint. Caring, a little old-fashioned. If she finds a willing partner to pay for the bills, happily and often stays at home with the kids for many years. Great to have as a coffee partner, as she’ll always serve a freshly baked cake with it.” Mama The Tidy. Her apartment is always squeaky clean, her favorite google search includes the ‘best closet organizing tips’. She’s washing hands of her kids very carefully and always has wet napkins and antibacterial soap on hand. Tag along for a trip to nature. She’ll make sure your own kids don’t come back home looking like little pigs. Mama The Lazy. Does not believe in any golden rules for raising children or daily schedules. Sometimes lunch is at 1pm, sometimes at 3pm. If you are the organized soul, planning vacation together might not be the best idea. Mama The Fashionista. Is flourishing especially if she has a daughter. Both of them look like from a fashion magazine, sometimes even in matching outfits. Having a boy doesn’t stop her either. Pity husbands willing to play along are rather rare. Mama The Perfect. The menace of all the other mamas. Wants everything and immediately, does not hesitate to put all her energy to a task at hand. On top, has a tendency to consider a perfection as the ultimate goal. Mama the Hippie. Breastfeeds for many years, refuses plastic toys and classical education. Enjoys swimming against the current. Summer camps with her are a blur of dancing by the fire, body painting, observing clouds and scary night games (often organized by the kids). Mama The Nutritional Adviser. Reads labels, uses fresh ingredients for cooking. Her children always have a fresh and nutritionally balanced snack on hand. Rather don’t discuss with her your night trips to the fridge or occasional visits to McDonald’s. Mama the Olympian. Has a brisk walk and wears comfy clothes. Instead of new high heels she’d rather buy sneakers for her gym classes or running T-shirt with fancy cooling function. She’ll always find the time for sport, her passion. Her kids are the ones your kids hate during PE classes as school.
We are obsessed with baby blankets. Well, OK, we are obsessed with many things, but the blankets are definitely somewhere at the top of the list. If someone recorded all the moments we spent on baby blankets, it would probably make a good soap-opera. :) With hell of a content :) What is this one made of? Are these ones top top quality? “Oh boy, this is not a good one, we need to kick it out.” What strollers’ colors are hot this season? “Uuuuuu, look at this one, it looks amazing. Are you blind? It’s from last year.” Is this blanket soft enough? Is this comfy? Does it feel great when you touch? Do you want to touch it? Does this look amazing? Does this one fit to mamastore? We keep talking about blankets…..and not only talking. We keep inspecting them, touching them….and yes, even cuddling in them. Some of them are simply too soft to resist. We know, it might sound strange, but for us, the blankets that we use for our little ones ARE important. Here is why:
- Baby blanket is mama's fashion accessory.
- The little precious people in the world are exploring the world through senses…..and as such, even if you probably never thought about it that way, even through the blanket
- 1 blanket is never enough :)
Once you hit a certain age, the pregnant bellies start multiplying around you with the speed of light. Everybody is talking about getting ready for the baby with this & that, hypno delivery, epidural yes or no, husband fainting… oh yes, all the details that wouldn’t even cross your mind. :)And then you start getting invitations to numerous baby showers, thinking again and again what to bring and what present to buy. It can be scary at the beginning, but eventually you learn how to swim in the baby shower “flood”. And then comes a day, when you need to organize one. And of course, you want to make the best one, the most entertaining one, with the best decoration and mostly, you want to make the mama-to-be very happy. :) Wuaaaaah… We’ve been through it – as attendees, organizers, and mamas-to-be as well. So here you can find how mamastore mamas deal with babyshowers.
- New baby on the way – babyshower on the horizon! Yeeey!
- Tailor it to the mama-to-be
- Decoration – is she the elegant classy lady that will go for gentle or neutral colors and patterns? Does she prefer typical baby things – blue/pink/elephants and bunnies? Or she is nothing like a “normal” girl and she would go for something completely nuts – maybe skulls? Or a hippie owl? You don’t need a wagon of decorative items, just some pompoms/balloons, tablecloth, plastic/paper plates and cups, napkins and confetti. That usually is enough to do the job.
- Food – as people usually mingle around the room, we recommend finger food – to cover all different types – sweet, salty, veggie, meaty, fruity. And CUPCAKES – all time babyshower favourite! Find some inspiration on the pics below. If you need recipes, feel free to contact us. ;)
- Activities - and this is the time when you really need to find the preference of the mama-to-be. You want to get it right! Some mamas would “play” all night, some detest games, some like more emotional ones, some crazier ones… There are zillions of games and things you can do and we will talk about the proven ones in a separate post. :) But no stress, there are a couple of good activities for every type of mama.
- Gifts - as said, all mamas are different. You have 3 choices:
- Ask her to prepare a list of the gifts and attendees can pick one they will buy. (Just make sure you share the picks amongst each other so she doesn’t end up with 3 bottle dryers. :))
- You fish her wishes from the daddy-to-be. Usually they are very cooperative so don’t be shy and ask them for help!
- You leave it to the fantasy of the invitees, or you can give them some suggestions. We always prefer practical gifts, so here are few ideas:
- Baby towel – you can never go wrong. Make sure to choose a soft one, ideally from bamboo. They are organic and very absorbent. Really necessary for a newborn to keep him warm and dry!
- Nursing essentials – if she plans to breastfeed, here are stylish yet super practical nursing must haves: nursing cover, nursing pillow and bamboo muslins. You’ll be thanked over and over again.
- Something not that practical, but very personalized – handmade baby name (in case you know the name of the baby-to-come)
- Enjoy the babyshower party!
Becoming a mother recently opened a whole new world for me. New duties, skills and things to learn, life dynamics, but most importantly, completely different level of emotions. You love and worry with every single cell of your body and there is nothing that would stop you to. I do love being a mom and I am happy to see other moms enjoying this very special period of life. But I also know that this period can be super tough as you are trying to be the best mom in the world. Ok, maybe tough and funny at the same time. Even a simple shopping was for me a ticking bomb as I never knew when my “always hungry” son would start screaming like no tomorrow. Slowly I started to realize that I need to get things which will simplify my life (though it took me few weeks to realize that there is something like nursing cover that i could use happily in public and not worry about the great appetite of my baby). The fact that I live in Switzerland didn’t really help as I either didn’t find what I needed or even if I did, I just rolled my eyes over the prices. So while breastfeeding throughout the nights, I was googling all over the world the things which i needed or wanted to make my journey as a mom effective and pleasant. I started to play with the idea of simplifying the hunt for other moms. There were 3 things which helped me to move forward (obviously only once I managed to get 5 hours of straight sleep (yuhuuu)) :
- Having always some moms around – fortunately I realized that I am not an overdemanding, obsessed mom and many of us experience the same – lack of choice and crazy prices.
- I could finally capitalize on the years I spent in a multinational company designing products and global brands for women.
- Going through the pregnancy and newborn care myself, I really could tell what products I needed and what was just “useless (but often very cute) crap”