Target.com has compiled a list of BabyCenter Moms’ Picks for 2017. These lists are always fun to check out and I’m not surprised to see the Graco 4ever, Rock ‘N Play, and the Ergo 360. This list has some of the best baby items available!
Are you overwhelmed when you wake up in the morning? Do you sometimes feel like a hot mess? It’s easy to feel alone but the truth is there are thousands of other moms who are struggling like you.
My life was pretty relaxed until I had my second baby. Long story short, I was sleep-deprived for 18 months. My wonderful baby girl didn’t sleep through the night until a few days before she turned 2!
Getting through the day was my only goal for a long time. I cried a lot, couldn’t remember things, and some days I felt depressed. I was completely overwhelmed by life.
Motherhood is Tough…
The truth is, motherhood is tough. It is the best and the worst at the same time. I love it but some days I want to hide in the closet with chocolate.
Life is a lot easier for me now. I enjoy enough sleep now (unless Netflix sucks me in) and I actually have a To Do list again. Even though my toddler would like to superglue herself to me, I am able to get out of the house alone – whoo hoo! There’s a glimmer of hope that I might actually lose the rest of my baby weight. I also appreciate life more after two tough years.
I’m not just surviving anymore, I am starting to thrive! I want the same for you.
10 Life-Changing Resources for Overwhelmed Moms
No matter what stage of motherhood you are in, the resources below will change your life for the better.
If you only do one thing, read Say Goodbye to Survival Mode.
I have learned a lot from Crystal Paine, the popular blogger from Money Saving Mom, because she keeps it real. As a mom of 3, she is honest about her own struggles in life and motherhood. Would you want to learn from someone who’s had it easy? What could they possibly teach us? The best people to learn from are those who have gone from struggling to successful. (And she is honest that she still struggles sometimes!)
Crystal is one of the most resourceful people I know. She is constantly searching for ways to improve her life and is an incredible teacher. Her book has 9 strategies to help you stress less, sleep more, and restore your passion for life. I’ve read it twice and it delivers!
2. Plan to Eat
One of the hardest things about life as a stay-at-home mom is having to come up with something to eat 3 times a day. It never ends! It was a huge source of stress and frustration for me until I found out about Plan To Eat. I rarely stand in front of an empty fridge wanting to scream nowadays.
Usually, I would never pay for something like this. I like free. Then I realized that if something will improve the quality of your life, it’s worth some money. Now I am happy to hand my money over to Plan to Eat because life is so much easier! (My husband loves it because I don’t get so hangry now.)
First, you add recipes to your account kind of like how you pin things to your Pinterest boards. Then you drag and drop recipes into a calendar and they create your grocery list! I print out the menu for the week and put it on the fridge door.
I LOVE IT.
Get a free 30-day trial here to see if it’ll work for you.
3. Free Online Classes, Ebooks and More
There are some incredible bloggers offering free classes, challenges, and eBooks. Here are a few that have helped me as well as some I’ve heard positive things about.
- Get Organized Once and For All Free Ecourse by I Heart Planners
- 5 Days to a Better Grocery Budget eBook by Money Saving Mom
- Free Minimalism Starter Kit by Allie Casazza (Is clutter and mess a problem for you? Allie is your girl!)
- Your Retreat: A Guide to Giving Yourself a Personal Planning Day eBook and Printables by The Humbled Homemaker
- Pregnancy and Newborn Resources Guide by Pregnant Chicken
- 10 Day Cleaning Challenge by Living Life as Moms
- 5 Day Organization Challenge by Pulling Curls
Crystal Paine also offers several online classes. I’ve taken all 3 and they’re incredible! Since she is a very frugal person, her prices are too.
- Make Over Your Mornings
- Make Over Your Evenings
- 15 Days to a Healthier You (not currently open but there is a waiting list for her next class)
The first two classes come with videos and a workbook full of practical tips and ideas.
I heard about Trello from a friend of mine and I love it. Basically, you start a board and then add different lists to get you organized. Each list will have a bunch of different cards which you can move around.
I created a board for 2017 and each list is a goal that we have for this year. Under each list is all the specifics. For example, I have a Books To Read list, a Declutter list, a Health list, and so on. Under each list, I have cards that break my goal down. It might be a name of a book, a room to declutter, or an exercise goal.
I also have lists called “Working On” and “Finished” so that I can keep track of what I am doing and what I have completed. Trello is one of the best tools I’ve found for organization and productivity. It feels awesome whenever I move a card to my “Finished” list.
Check it out here, it’s FREE!
6. Fancy Hands
I never knew services like Fancy Hands existed (I think it’s pretty new) and I never thought I’d pay for one if it did! I am finding it to be a HUGE help, though.
If you’re anything like me, your To Do list is long enough to keep you busy for 5 lifetimes. I didn’t think anyone could help me but at Christmas, I got a gift subscription to Fancy Hands. That gave me a personal assistant to do five short tasks! It worked out so well that I paid for another month. Here are a few examples of what I had them do for me.
- I ordered winter clothes from The Children’s Place but someone stole the package. Making calls is my least favorite thing to do and if I try, my children suddenly get very loud! I had Fancy Hands call and take care of it for me and I got more than $70 back. The refund paid for another month subscription!
- We bought Costco’s treadmill floor model and the magnetic key was missing. When I emailed, they said I had to call. I had Fancy Hands do it for me and we got the key in the mail.
- I had them find local organizations who would pick up donations from my front door. Since I am doing a big purge this year, it was a huge relief to get rid of a bunch of boxes.
- I had them call a former vet to get records for my senior cat. This was a huge relief for me because my cat wasn’t doing well and was too upset to call. (He is doing great!)
It seems like a luxury to pay someone to do these tasks, doesn’t it? The good news is the fee is only $6 per task. It is even less if you wait until they offer 20% off. Plus, you can earn FREE tasks by doing things like connecting them to your google calendar.
If you sign up through my link, you’ll get 50% off your first month and I’ll get some free tasks! Woo hoo!
7. Free Printables
Free printables have helped me for years! Calendars, meal planning worksheets, goal setting, daily planners, you name it. Beautiful, free printables are all over the internet.
- 31 Days of Free Printables by I Heart Planners
- Free Meal Plan Printable by All Things Mamma
- Weekly Cleaning Plan by Today’s Creative Life
- The Harmonized House Project (I love the “This Week” worksheet)
- To Do List by I Should Be Mopping the Floor
Use Pinterest to search for whatever printable will help you.
8. Grocery Delivery
I never thought I would be so excited about grocery delivery but it’s the best thing ever!
When I was a new mom, I found going to the grocery store alone with my baby very stressful. (Oddly enough, going alone felt like a vacation.) Then I saw an offer for free delivery from Vons and I almost jumped up and down. I was able to order my groceries online and a nice gentleman would deliver them the next day. Who could ask for more?
Grocery delivery, even if it costs a few dollars, is worth it. Think of the gas, the time, the stress. It’ss also easier to get a refund on bad produce.
You’ll have to find out who delivers in your area but here are some links to get you started.
- Amazon Fresh
- Peapod (select states)
- Walmart Grocery Delivery ($10 off with this link)
9. Hands Free Life and Hands Free Mama
Awhile back, I kept hearing about “Hands Free Mama” and I figured it was a book that shamed moms for using their phones. Wrong! Instead, I met a gentle, encouraging author who was open about mistakes she had made as a mother.
I ended up reading Hands Free Life first even though it’s the second book by Rachel Macy Stafford. It made me cry many times (in a good way) and has helped me be less distracted and more in the moment with my children. Now I am reading Hands Free Mama and is it every bit as good. Every mom should read these books and I plan on reading them over and over.
10. Facebook Groups
It is easy for moms to feel isolated and alone. You feel like you’re the only one still nursing or the only one with a baby waking up at night. Facebook groups can change that because they connect you with moms who are feeling the same way! Knowing you aren’t alone is often the best medicine.
My favorite mom group is Purposeful MomLife with Allie Casazza. It has grown a lot since I joined and now has 25,000 members. If you ask a question, you’ll get helpful and supportive answers.
It’s Your Turn…
What is your favorite resource for moms? I’d love to hear about it!
Some babies sleep through the night from 6 weeks old and are excellent nappers. Hopefully, that is what will happen to you but it’s not quite what happened with us!
5 Baby Sleep Tips
Here are 5 things that I learned about baby sleep that I hope will help you as you struggle or thrive through the first year.
1. Baby sleep is extremely complicated
There are lots of books and websites out there that promise to help you achieve the perfect sleeper. Ha! Your baby will enter the world with his own ideas of how to do things and you’ll probably end up jumping through lots of hoops to get him (or her) to sleep. There is no magic solution. Some babies are great sleepers, some are not. Just knowing that makes things easier!
I had no idea how complicated the word “sleep” would become when I became a mother. You have to figure out awake times, nap times, nighttime, self-soothing plus the nightmare called an overtired baby and it won’t always be easy. They will refuse to sleep, sleep at the “wrong” time, require you to move mountains to get them to sleep – it’s a full-time job.
You might find yourself driving or wearing your baby to sleep, using a yoga ball to bounce them to sleep, hoping that 5 minutes of crying will get them to sleep – I’ve done it all! Baby sleep can be very complicated but you will figure it out as you get to know your baby. It will get better in time.
2. Read the books, but don’t take them too seriously
My baby slept through the night on Christmas Eve when she was 7 weeks old. She slept for 6 hours straight in her Swaddle Me and it was heaven. For some reason, she was a great nighttime sleeper (except for months 6-9, see #3) but naps were a totally different story.
For the longest time, she would only nap for 45 minutes and she was very high maintenance. So like any responsible first-time mom, I decided to read all the major sleep books out there! I read The No Cry Sleep Solution (my favorite) and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, as well as The Baby Whisperer and of course Ferber’s book.
I learned something from each book but I also found myself getting extremely stressed out after reading them. A lot of what they said did not match up with my experience or my baby and the advice I tried did not work! I found myself getting more and more anxious about my baby’s sleep (or lack thereof) when I should have been spending more of my energy just enjoying those precious and fleeting moments.
My daughter was not the perfect napper and sometimes it really wore me out and frustrated me but you know what? We are okay. She was not permanently damaged by those short naps and I have (almost) forgotten what sleep deprivation feels like. I wish I had worried less about her sleep.
3. Regressions are normal
Your baby will have regressions. Mine had one at 6 months when, for several reasons, she needed to nurse a lot at night. This went on for 3 months and she didn’t sleep more than 3 hours straight for even one night! I tried all kinds of methods from the books I mentioned earlier and nothing really worked. Then, right before she was 9 months old she started self-soothing and a couple weeks later she was sleeping 12 hours straight at night. It was a difficult 3 months for me but it is normal and it won’t last forever. Most sleep regressions are not that long so don’t worry too much – just know that things will improve.
Then, right before she was 9 months old she started self-soothing and a couple weeks later she was sleeping 12 hours straight at night. It was a difficult 3 months for me but it is normal and it won’t last forever. Most sleep regressions are not that long so don’t worry too much – just know that things will improve.
Regressions can happen with toddlers too. Your little one might have been sleeping through the night for months and months and then all of a sudden they start waking up. For us, the cause was the dreaded molars and it went on for a couple of months. The night awakenings were not that difficult to deal with but we didn’t expect it! Eventually, things got back to normal.
4. Take care of your own sleep
Sleep deprivation is rough and it is easy to give all your attention and energy to making sure your baby is sleeping. However, it is important that you remember yourself! If I could go back in time, I would try harder to nap. I refused to nap because I felt like I was abandoning my baby even though someone else would be caring for her. Part of that was probably New Mom Syndrome and another part that I was breastfeeding. I felt like sleeping was the same thing as disappearing and I felt so much responsibility for keeping that precious baby alive and well.
However, I would have functioned much better if I had taken naps because nighttime was really rough. So please, make sure that you get the sleep you need. Forget the house cleaning for awhile, ask your family and friends to help out with the cooking, and make sure you rest because sleep deprivation is not for the weak!
5. Every family is different so do what’s best for yours!
One of the least fun things about being a new parent is all the advice you get. I try really hard not to do this to my friends and family now that I have been through it. No one likes to feel criticized or judged because of how they are going about handling a new baby. However, chances are that you will get lots of advice. Try to remember most people are actually intending to be helpful but don’t worry about what they are saying. Are you safely co-sleeping or bed-sharing and your mother-in-law
Try to remember most people are actually intending to be helpful but don’t worry about what they are saying. Are you safely co-sleeping but your mother-in-law is appalled? Do you have friends telling you that you’re creating bad habits, spoiling your baby, or just plain doing it wrong? Don’t be afraid to ask them to kindly let you do it your own way because it is your baby and your family. It’s okay if you do things differently even if people in your circle don’t understand. Do what is best for your family and remember that every baby is different. Follow your gut!
Also, you will sleep again. I PROMISE.
You might also like…
- 10 Must-Have Baby Items for the First 10 Days
- 10 Easy Ways to Save on Baby Stuff at Target
- 5 Baby Items to Avoid
- Baby Freebies
Originally published on December 6, 2013.
Are you interested in using sign language with your baby? Lane from Tiny Signs is starting up a free 7-day baby sign language challenge on Monday, January 30! She’ll show you some easy signs (new ones if you participated in a previous challenge) and share quick tips to help you get started. She’s really great!
Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe is only $1.99 for the Kindle version right now. I really could have used this book last year but after reading the reviews, I think it’ll be good so it’s been added to my list of mom books to read this year.
Desperate is for those who love their children to the depths of their souls but who have also curled up under their covers, fighting back tears, and begging God for help. It’s for those who have ever wondered what happened to all their ideals for what having children would be like. For those who have ever felt like all the “experts” have clearly never had a child like theirs. For those who have prayed for a mentor. For those who ever felt lost and alone in motherhood.
(Thanks, Money Saving Mom!)