Family, Pregnancy

When It’s Not “Love at First Sight”

July 8, 2015

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/ainsleynewborn

Photo by Gina Zeidler 

As we were preparing for Ainsley’s arrival I heard a lot of people talk about the amazing “love at first sight” that you feel when your little one is born. People went on and on about how the minute you become a mom you are instantly changed and overwhelmed with all the feelings. Me? I was a little skeptical and more than a little worried about the whole thing. You see, when someone tells me that I’m going to feel a certain way there is a degree of stress and pressure to feel those same feelings. And if you don’t what does that mean?

Here’s the thing that people don’t tell you: You might not experience overwhelming love at first sight. I know I certainly didn’t. I loved Ainsley from the moment I saw her: she was our long-awaited and much-anticipated miracle baby, for goodness sake! But I was also exhausted, clueless, overwhelmed and navigating a whole new world with a baby I hardly knew. I didn’t know anything about her personality or her likes and dislikes and I wasn’t confident in my skills as a mother in the least, because no amount of babysitting can ever prepare you for being a mom.

I was deeply committed to being her momma, in awe of her presence and her cute little features, thankful beyond words for her presence in our life and grateful for her safe and healthy delivery. But I felt so guilty about not having the emotional love response that others had told me I would have. I carried that guilt around with me like a dirty little secret that wasn’t appropriate to disclose.

The other night while on vacation, Joe and I were laying in bed after Ainsley went to sleep just chatting on and on about how much we loved her and how much FUN she has started becoming in the last month or so. Now that she is 4 months old, she is smiling, babbling to herself, giggling and responding to us in new ways everyday. She grabs the puppy’s tail and makes funny faces to things, her eyes light up when we sing to her and she tries her best to sing along. She’s becoming a real person with real likes, dislikes and personality traits. And over the past couple months I’ve started to fall deeply in love with who she is as a unique individual, beyond the fact that she is our baby.

I told Joe, “I think I’ve always loved her, but now I really understand what that all-consuming love for her is about!” Sounds horrible, right? I mean, you’re “supposed” to love your baby that way from day 1. But with all the sleepless nights, hazy days, raging hormones, baby (and mommy!) tears, and so many unknowns, I found it sort of difficult to really make that connection. And now that things have settled into a routine and we’re getting to know our little person? Gosh, it just keeps getting better and better!

So if you’re a new mom or soon-to-be mom or even thinking about having kids in the future, I want to encourage you. You don’t have to feel any certain way at any certain time. Maybe you’ll experience that great “love at first sight” moment like some people do, or maybe, like me, it will take you a little longer. Whatever your journey, there really is no “right” way to do things or a set of benchmarks that you need to reach and different moments in your development as a mom. Just like your baby reaches developmental milestones at different times, moms reach those moments at different times, too!

Madison

Fashion

Stitch Fix July Review

July 7, 2015

Stitch Fix July 1Right after returning from vacation I had a new Stitch Fix box to welcome me back to real life. I’ll admit, it helped a bit in softening the post-vacation blues and was a fun surprise when it arrived at my door yesterday morning. Since I haven’t decided which items to keep and which to return, I was hoping you might be able to help me with this month’s box? I’m super torn on what items to keep! Let’s dive in…

PS: Interested in signing up for Stitch Fix? You can do so with my referral link HERE.

1. Brixon Ivy Azure Lace Overlay Blouse $54
I thought this top was sort of strange before I tried it on, but when I look back at photos that Joe took, I really like the top?! I’m not entirely sold either way, because in some respects it seems a bit casual for work and doesn’t really fit my style, but it’s fun and a little different, too.

Stitch Fix July 42. Pixley Carlyn Pleated Skirt $58
I wanted to love this skirt, but I’m not sure it’s really the most flattering thing? Overall, stretchy waist skirts don’t tend to be the best look for my body type, at least that’s what I’ve always thought. And I have a skirt that’s pretty similar in color and shape, so I’m not sure it meets a real “need” in my closet at this time.

Stitch Fix July 23. Pixley George Crochet Detail Knit Top $44
As you can probably tell from the photo, this top was a little bit too short for my long torso. That said, I’m not sure I would think about keeping it even if it was longer. It’s casual and cute, but at this point I’m not really looking to buy clothes that are super casual. They need to work for the office and at home!

4. Kut From The Kloth Kate Boyfriend Jean $78
I love this brand of jeans and have purchased a pair or two from Stitch Fix before. My complaint is that they are semi-boyfriend but not really? I have a few pairs that require you to roll the bottom up and this just seems like more of the same. I guess I would rather have a pair of skinny jeans that fit well. But I do love the way these fit and how comfortable they are!

Stitch Fix July 35. Pixley Joaquin Hooded Vest $74
I asked for a denim vest but was told in my comment card that they weren’t able to find a denim vest and included this vest instead. I’m not a huge fan of the loose fit and giant pockets at my hips. Although I appreciate the effort of including a vest, this one doesn’t really seem like a suitable alternative to a denim vest. I was hoping for something a little more cropped and fitted.

So what items would you keep? Which ones would you return? I desperately need your help deciding this time around!

Madison

Stitch Fix affiliate links used. Opinions are my own.

Family

Traveling With a Baby

July 5, 2015

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We just returned from our first long vacation with Ainsley; in fact, we were gone for 10 days, the longest trip we’ve taken since our travels to Italy! I was more than a little nervous to be traveling with a baby, especially since our trip included a flight to Boise, a 2+ hour drive through the mountains of Idaho, and a couple different places to rest our head over the course of the trip. I researched about flying with a little one and how to adapt and adjust along the way, and our travels were really successful! Here are a few things I learned along the way…

1. Be flexible when possible. 
I went into our trip with the mentality that I was going to have to be more flexible than normal. Ainsley typically sticks to a pretty routine schedule during her days and goes to bed around 7 each night, but transitioning to a different time zone and spending time with family, I knew that it wasn’t going to be entirely possible to stick to our regular sleep schedule.

Instead of stressing about the whole thing, I decided to try and go with the flow as much as possible, within limits. Ainsley added a cat nap into her night time routine and went to bed a bit later, around 9 pm each night, which allowed us to go out to dinner with family while still getting Ainsley to bed at a reasonable time. I was surprised at how well she did! She slept 8 or 9 hour stretches each night, probably because she was so worn out from all the new experiences, and slept in a little later than normal to compensate for the later bed times.

2. Ask for an extra airplane seat. 
Our flight on the way out to Boise was totally full, so an extra seat wasn’t an option. But on the way home our flight had a number of open seats. We got to our gate a little early and asked about getting an extra seat for Ainsley so we could take her car seat on board. The gate agent moved us around to a row with an empty seat and we got to take the car seat on board. It was great having a bit more room for Ainsley to move around and nap in her car seat and it was awesome not having to worry about bothering the person next to us!

3. Feed during take-off and landing.
You’ve probably heard this one before, but we fed Ainsley during take-off and landing and we had no issues with her ears bothering her. She ate well and was such a trooper during both flights. During the second flight we had to do a little walking up and down the isles to get her to settle down and sleep, but everyone we sat near was SO friendly and the flight attendants did everything they could to make our trip as comfortable as possible.

4. Know airline policy.
Do a little research in advance so you know what you can/can’t take through security and what you’ll get charged extra for when you’re flying with a baby. Security will let you take your bottles of water for formula through security even if they are more than 3 ounces, and the same applies to breast milk without volume restrictions. You can gate-check your stroller/car seat without an additional charge, but any extra baggage will be charged the standard airline rate unless you buy a separate seat for your baby. If you’re traveling internationally, most airlines offer discounted infant and toddler tickets and, as mentioned above, if you have a plane that’s not full, check with your gate agent about getting placed in a row with an empty seat so you can take your car seat on board.

5. Keep your sleeping quarters as normal as possible. 
Ainsley sleeps in a room with black out shades and a sound machine, so we wanted to keep her sleeping conditions as normal as possible. Our family had a pack and play at our destination with a bassinet so she was up higher in the pack and play, and it worked great! I also traveled with a bunch of black trash bags and masking tape in case the room was light and we needed to create a black-out shade in the rooms we were sleeping in. We didn’t end up using them, but it was nice knowing we had the option.

Additionally we traveled with Ainsley’s sound machine and used it on a portion of our travels to keep her room free of distractions. Overall we were really surprised about how adaptable Ainsley was and we realized we don’t need to be nearly as quiet as we thought we needed to be when she slept!

5. Pack to be prepared.
I’m not a big fan of over-packing, but when a baby is involved I think it’s best to have everything you might need. We took along a mini first aid kit and some baby first aid essentials, including baby Tylenol, just in case, as well as all her typical toiletries, a few toys, a couple muslin blankets, books and a number of teething toys and pacis. My goal was to have everything we needed and eliminate having to go to the store or search out a Target at the last minute. It saved us money in the long run and gave me peace of mind knowing we had everything Ainsley might need if something went wrong.

6. Bring a sling or baby carrier!
Trust me, you’ll be glad you did. Saved us a couple of times to have my Solly Baby Wrap in my purse to wrap Ainsley up and soothe her. Plus, your family or friends might have fun wearing your baby; I know my little sister did!

7. Keep calm and carry on. 
Overused phrase but good advice none the less. On our way home, Ainsley had a massive blow-out in the security line at the airport; we’re talking poop dripping on the carpet in line! I took a deep breath, stepped out of line and whipped out one of our handy disposable changing pads and changed her right there in a matter of minutes. Never was I so thankful for extra zip top bags and our roll of arm and hammer disposable diaper bags to clean up a huge mess in a hurry. An added bonus? I got compliments from the TSA security man on my fast diaper-changing skills!

Madison

Family

My Little Sister’s Wedding

July 1, 2015

photo (95)We traveled to Idaho last week to celebrate my baby sister’s wedding to Alex! They got married in the most beautiful location in the mountains and we constantly found ourselves in awe of the beauty around us as we celebrated their marriage and new life together.

I haven’t attended many smaller weddings, but after this one I’m pretty sure that keeping the guest list down to just close friends and family is where it’s at. It was SO much fun to have the setting nice and intimate and much less stress, too!

We rented a house on the venue property for the weekend so the whole family could stay together and hired a babysitter for Ainsley on the day/evening of the wedding so we could enjoy the wedding and fully put our attention on the bride and groom. Ainsley dropped by for a little while and then headed back to the house to go to bed on time.

The happy couple is celebrating by honeymooning in Denmark and then settling into life in North Carolina. I couldn’t be more excited for them as they start their life together! Here are a few photos from the day…

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Family

Mommy + Mind Update: 4 Months

June 23, 2015

BW_Madison and Ainsley

I’ve talked a little bit about going back to work after having a baby, but I realized that for the most part I’ve been pretty quiet about my return back to the working world and how our family has been adjusting to the change. Truth be told, before I became a mom I couldn’t have ever pictured myself even entertaining the idea of staying home with my baby. “Not for me! No way!” I would boldly proclaim. I was raised by a working momma and always assumed I would follow in her footsteps with my own family someday. Plus, that work I do? Well, it’s pretty darn great most of the time.

During maternity leave I found myself feeling a little lost and confused. I was all wrapped up in new-momma things like feeding schedules, naps, finding a way to get more sleep and working around the clock to nurture and care for my little person that was so helpless, cute and, let’s admit it, demanding.

As the days and weeks ticked by I felt conflicted about going back to work. On the one hand I was enjoying my days with Ainsley immensely. It was bliss to cuddle with her, grab lunch or coffee with friends, and take long walks outside as the weather transitioned into spring. Sure, the days were sometimes long, exhausting and certainly hard, but I really did love being home with my favorite girl. And then other days I felt, if I’m being honest, like a shell of the person I once was. My mind felt hazy and under-utilized and many days I felt like the passion I once had for work, food and life outside of baby-land was as dry as a dessert because I hadn’t been cultivating those passions. The old me who dressed up in “real-people” clothes every day and interacted with co-workers and spent time without a baby attached to her 24/7? I missed that person.

The first couple days after returning to work were extremely difficult. I missed my little buddy and the routine we had created over the 13 weeks I was home. And then, day by day, things started to get easier. Instead of feeling relieved by that, I was overwhelmed with guilt. Should I enjoy time away from my baby? Did this undercut the type of mother I was because I didn’t find total fulfillment in staying at home with Ainsley? Would Ainsley not love me as much because I wasn’t home with her every day?

As the weeks have passed, I’ve come to a much more peaceful place about work and motherhood and finding a balance in it all. I’m blessed to have a work schedule that allows me to be flexible and find balance between work and parenthood, which has made the transition easier.

I’m sure some would look at it and say that I’m selfish. After all, I get to manage my day the way I want, drink a full cup a coffee without interruption in the morning, dress up and have adult conversations while taking home a paycheck. Some would probably argue that it’s a noble choice: I’m providing for my daughter’s future, saving for her college and family vacations and experiences, setting an example that women can work outside the home and pursue both a family and a career.

It’s amazing how you can take the same situation and spin it in two entirely different ways, isn’t it? Before I was a mom I looked at things in black and white when it came to parenting. And then I became a parent and started to realize that the world is much more gray than I even realized.

Four months in, I couldn’t care less whether a mom decides to stay home with her kiddos or return to work. What’s right for one family? It might be totally wrong for another. I’m just thankful we all have the opportunity to blaze our own path and make decisions that are right for us, as different as that may look from family to family.

Madison

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