Why I’m Glad Being a Mom Was Hard Today

IMG_2131Recently I’ve read several articles written by mothers who, for one reason or another, feel suppressed by their current situation. For the most part the issue comes down to four things: feeling overwhelmed by housework, putting others’ needs before their own, not feeling acknowledged for all that they do, and lastly, not having enough time for themselves. I’m here to say, I get you. I get you 100%.

But I’m also here to explain why I’m glad that being a mom was especially difficult today.

My 15-month-old is in the middle of getting 6 teeth. At. The. Same. Time. The term “growing pains” has never rung more true for my little guy and I can only imagine how he’s feeling. As long as I keep the Tylenol coming he’s a pretty happy kid but he’s also discovering a tantrum phase which any mother can tell you, isn’t fun.

After a rough night, and yet a decent morning, Calvin wouldn’t go down for a nap this morning. He cried for 30 minutes and when I went in to soothe him he wouldn’t cuddle with me like he usually will. I let him stay up and I turned on a movie while we had some lunch. When I suggested a nap (an hour later) he melted down and I decided that one way or another – this kid had to sleep.  After wrestling with me for a bit he did eventually go to sleep and as I quietly walked out of his room I felt like I could finally breathe.

With some time to myself I took stock of what needed to be done. Piles of dishes on the counter, clothes needing to be washed, emails to be sent and a home to be tidied…but with all of that I decided to make the bed and take a shower. When the bed is made and I’m clean I feel like I handle things much better. As I waited for the water to warm up I thought about how stressful the last 12 hours had been and felt really glad to have a minute to take care of myself. But as the cold water splashed on my toes I realized that it wasn’t going to warm up (still have no idea why – it was 2 in the afternoon?!) and choked back tears. Nothing was going right and while I realized this was definitely a first world problem – they’re still hard to deal with when you’re in them.

I turned off the water and felt like my only option was to move on with my day when I was reminded of the freezing cold showers I would take in the MTC when my companion and I would go running and only make it back just in time to get ready for the day. I thought to myself how the water coming out of my shower today wasn’t that cold and that if I really wanted to be clean then I could deal with it. I tried to avoid getting completely wet as I took a shower and I thought about my mission and other hard times of my life. I also thought about being single and how care-free life is when it’s just you.

And that’s why I’m glad being a mom was hard today. We might have loads of laundry to do but we have clothes on our backs and loved ones to serve. We might have piles of dishes to get through (I hope that unlike us, you have a dishwasher) but we have food to eat and people to eat with. We have children to nourish and love. And when we only have 10 minutes alone to shower or sneak our favorite snack or get some work done it’s because we have little souls who look to us for love and guidance and a wonderful life.

If you’re not living the life you want then do something about it.

If you work from home like I do and things aren’t going your way, take an honest account of how you spend your time and look at what can be done. You might need to suck it up and realize you’re wasting time. But if you’re not, outsource what you can — have your groceries delivered, have your laundry picked up, or hire a nanny or a friend to watch your baby so you can work. If you’re not making enough to have those expenses then do what you can to get more clients — if that’s most important to you. And if you’re having issues with your husband (not spending enough time with you, or not helping out, or not picking up after himself or whatever) then TALK TO HIM.

We only get this one life! And at one time this is exactly what we wanted. So let’s all buck up and look for the blessings in the mess. Women are tough. Women are strong. Women can do really hard things and it’s ok to have difficult days. After feeling sorry for yourself that your shower water isn’t warming up – let’s realize that it’s really not that bad and get back to being *awesome*!

You got this momma!

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Calvin’s 1st Birthday

I’m sure every mother feels the same way I did when Calvin’s 1st birthday came around. I couldn’t believe an entire YEAR had gone by! It feels like it was just last night that I was standing over my teeny little newborn in the hospital, desperately trying to change his diaper in my exhaustion, only to discover seconds later while I was drying to wet down those stupid dry wipes that he had started pooping again.

Ahh motherhood 🙂

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Needless to say, things have really been great since that night and I absolutely love being a mother. Calvin is so much fun and unless he’s cutting a new tooth he’s really happy. I knew that going into his birthday with high expectations would be a recipe for disaster so I told myself that as long as I got ONE good picture that would be great.

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And guess what? His birthday was great, we had so much fun, and I got a ton of cute pictures! I’m so glad I approached his birthday with minimal expectations because I was able to focus on what was happening and just watch Calvin enjoy his birthday.

I meant to make him a sugar-free, baby friendly cake and practice the week before his birthday but what with everything else going on that just didn’t happen. The night before his birthday we grabbed a few traditional decorations like a Happy Birthday sign and streamers while I got the essentials for the cake and I have to say, I’m pretty darn proud of how it turned out! My mom helped me engineer Calvin’s little cake and was a great sounding board for how much dye to use to get the ombre right – so glad she was there!

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Calvin was really more interested in playing with the cake than eating it 🙂 We all had lunch and cake then went to Hoboken to enjoy an afternoon in the park. We took the chance to rent bikes and show the town off to my parents – which I would definitely recommend! Biking is a great way to see the neighborhoods and all of the waterfront without getting exhausted.

All in all, Calvin had a very successful first birthday and I think everyone else enjoyed themselves too!

 

That’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Beauty Hacks for New Moms

Becoming a mother has been the most amazing experience of my entire life. From the moment the doctor told me to open my eyes and take my son in the delivery room I fell head over heels in love with him.

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Calvin is pretty much an angel child but something I didn’t anticipate was being completely okay with putting ALL of his needs before my own. He’s just so darn cute that it’s way more fun to watch him sleep than go take a shower, or a nap.

I remember when Calvin was 2 weeks old I got out of the shower and heard him crying in his swing – like really crying. That was the first time I had heard him cry like that, where they still make those little gasping sounds while they calm down. It broke my heart and in that moment I swore off showers for the rest of my life.

Not really, but I seriously considered it for a second.

Taking care of yourself can go out the window pretty quickly as a new mom. Every baby is different and every woman approaches motherhood differently so it goes without saying that some moms don’t need these hacks – they’ve got it together. Pretty sure those moms are also imaginary.

But if you’re not imaginary and you’re very much real, here are five beauty must-haves I’ve discovered make life a little easier.

Makeup Removing Wipes

As a brand new mom my days and nights blurred together for a while so my nightly routine went out the window. Several brands market makeup removing wipes but I prefer Neutrogena. These wipes make it easy to clean your face before you hit the hay for a few hours or when you realize the next morning that you look like you were partying all night when in fact you were just trying to keep your little human being alive.

You’re doing great, by the way. Keep it up.

Tinted Moisturizer

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Of all the time-saving products out there I think tinted moisturizer is genius. Pregnancy did a number on my skin so if I’m meeting up with someone or going to church I still use my separate lotion and foundation but for an every day natural look, this works! The 2-in-1 product is every mother’s best friend.

 

Dry Shampoo

I didn’t think to use dry shampoo until Calvin was almost 3 months old! Let me save you the hassle – do it. Buy it, use it and love the fact that if you don’t manage to shower that day your hair won’t look like a bird’s nest. Unless that’s what you’re going for.

Mascara

Now that your face is clean, skin tone evened out, and your hair is on point it’s time to bust out those lashes! Your eye lashes might feel like the only asset you have left after having a baby. Recovering can be emotionally hard too, so feeling great about the way you look doesn’t always come easily. Mascara is a staple for me because I feel like as long as your hair isn’t insane, your lashes are defined and your baby is still alive — you’re doing pretty darn good for a new mom.

Essie Nail Polish

essieGorgeous nails are the icing on my beauty cake. I realized pretty soon after having Calvin that getting a predictable hour to myself wasn’t going to happen. So I’m crazy about Essie’s Gel Couture nail polish! In 30 minutes you can have fabulous nails that last for 2 weeks! So far I’ve stuck with a neutral color because it goes with whatever I end up wearing that day. If I actually get dressed.

Calvin is 4 months old now and I’m proud to say that most days I take a shower and seldom do I sit there and watch him sleep. He’s great at napping in his crib and I’m great at getting stuff done! Mostly.

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Anyways, if you’re a soon-to-be mom or just became one, CONGRATS!!!!!! it’s the best thing in the world! Get ready to love someone more than you ever thought you could.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself and don’t worry – it gets easier!

 

So that’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

5 Must-Haves For New Moms

Becoming a mom has been 90% amazing and 10% can’t even – mostly because this job is 24/7 and “tired” has taken on a whole new meaning. Luckily, I’ve had a pretty easy go of it with my little Mr. but I also invested in a few life savers every new mom should have.

1. Aiden + Anais Swaddle Blankets

If you live in Arizona you have to get these, it’s not really an option 🙂 These blankets are super soft and lightweight which makes them ideal for hot climates but even here in New Jersey I would still recommend them.

 

Obviously they’re swaddlers so that goes without saying but they also function as a stroller shade, nursing cover, and are key in building baby’s first fort. We have 8+ of these blankets and believe me – we use them. Pair one of these with white noise and if your baby loves being awake like mine they should finally take a solid nap!

2. Milkmaid Goods Nursing Cover

I ended up making my own but if they ever get my favorite fabric restocked you might see me wearing one of their nursing ponchos in my sleep. It’s that cute.

These are a must-have because you get full coverage so you can rest easy knowing you’re not going to flash anyone if baby kicks around while you’re breastfeeding in public. The jersey fabric makes them wrinkle-resistant and easy to pack in a diaper bag. You can put it over your carrier to block the sun (and strangers adoring hands) but still see your baby! If that hasn’t impressed you, just focus on the fact that they’re ridiculously cute.

3. Boon Grass Drying Set

I first saw this when I worked as a nanny in Arizona and promised myself that when I became a mother I would get one. In addition to the cuteness factor it’s really useful.

The grass sits in the white tray so you can easily separate the two for cleaning. The tree and flower hold bottle covers, nipples, bottle rings – all those little parts. I’ve also washed medicine syringes and stuck them over a blade of grass to dry. Moral of the story: drying bottle parts, etc. has never looked so good.

4. Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Bag

In the months leading up to Calvin’s birth I asked around, read reviews, researched & FINALLY settled on this diaper bag. They’re expensive though so it’s only thanks to my Grandma that I even have this bag and I’m so glad because I *love* it.

I could go on and one but I’ll just hit the highlights: The bag is structured so it will stand on it’s own. You want the diaper bag to work for you, not against you. The backpack straps are built into the bag so it easily converts from purse to pack. And check out all those pockets – what’s a diaper bag without compartments? Yes, Petunia Pickle Bottom bags are popular but it’s not just because they’re cute, they’re great bags and I would say they’re worth the price. Several moms told me their bags have lasted a few years without having issues or wearing out. So far, so good for us!

5. Diaper Genie

Not cute, fun or soft but insanely useful like everything else on this list. The lid has a slot for an odor-control pack and the entire contraption is designed to keep your nursery smelling well…not like diapers.

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I don’t know why anyone would buy one without a foot pedal but in case you’re on the fence, GET THE ONE WITH THE FOOT PEDAL! Trust me. Being a mom is all about being as hands-free as possible, right? Especially if you have a particularly wiggly baby and need to keep a hand on them when you toss the diaper – you don’t have three hands. You need that pedal. The bag tears off with a little gizmo inside, you tie a knot at the new end and you’re set to change more diapers! Yay? With all those diapers – you need this.

That’s it! Those are my Top 5 Must-Haves as a new mom. I’m only 3 months in but each one of these has made life a breeze! Of course, having my adorable baby helps too 🙂

New Mom = Busy Mom

“Mr. Layland & Me” has gotten a new look and new plans for more posts, which I’m super excited about. Not to jinx anything but I think Calvin has a fairly predictable napping schedule now which will allow me more time to blog about our adventures!

 

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I’ve been working from home since we moved to New Jersey but between having a baby and hosting a ton of company this summer there hasn’t been a lot of downtime to move beyond the basics. Somehow I’ve still managed get a little work done on the side!

One of the most enjoyable ways I’ve been working is by proofreading content and reviewing resumes on Fiverr.com which has gone surprisingly well! It gives me a lot of flexibility to work while Calvin naps or when I get these crazy urges to get some work done after getting up with him at 2 am. I don’t know where I get it.

I’ve also been writing for KSL.com — I love that it’s even a possibility to write for a publication headquartered over 2,000 miles away. My most recent article is about Hannah, originally from Tennessee, who is starting her own line of children’s books to increase childhood literacy rates in underprivileged areas around the world. The first book features a story about life in New York City!

I’ve also written about plans for a women’s healthcare unit in Iraq and an amazing engineering project at BYU. When there is so much negativity in the world I feel so lucky to be writing about these wonderful people and the good they’re trying to accomplish!

Now for the most creative way I’ve been using my downtime — my Etsy shop, Peter & Alice. I’m designing custom watercolor decor using themes from classic children’s stories like Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland…hence the name. Mr. Layland is always so supportive of my dreams and goes above and beyond to help me make them happen. This shop wouldn’t have opened without his help!

Calvin sure keeps me busy and some days I don’t even shower (welcome to reality) but he is so happy and sweet I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.

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Yes, adding in these work-from-home outlets means even my “breaks” are busy but don’t worry, Mr. Layland and I still manage to get some relaxing time together.

So that’s life with Mr. Layland & Me!

Mr. Layland & Me + C

After six months of insanity (and not posting) I’ve finally found time to sit down and write a quick update about our lives and all the amazing things we’ve been up to! My life has drastically changed since February and while our date nights now include a third wheel all the changes have been for the better.

Meet the cutest date night stowaway in the world: Calvin.

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Yes, he is always an angel. Just kidding. While he is super happy and has a smile that could melt the coldest heart he is still a baby and does cry and poop. There’s just no getting around those things. But somehow he still manages to look cute when he cries!

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I fell in love with him the moment he was born.

He’s been a solid sleeper and eater since the start and now (8 weeks old) he sleeps 6-7 hours at night! I’m one well-rested Mom…and yet still feel the need for a nap every once in a while. I was nervous about feeling overwhelmed after having him but more often than not when I cry it’s because he’s too cute.

You can’t make this stuff up.

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Mini Birth Story: JUNE 8, 2016: Early that morning Mr. Layland and I went for a walk (after I had been having contractions for 4 hours) and after about 30 minutes my water broke! We got checked in at the hospital around 7:30 am and I’ll tell you right now it’s nothing like the movies. At that point I was dilated to 4 cm and by midday had only made it to 5cm after getting an epidural so they started me on Pitocin. Over the next 8 hours I did what I could to rest and Mr. Layland did his best to not freak out and instead performed card tricks for me. That was a first.

Around 8 o’clock I was (finally) fully dilated and the doctor suggested a practice push to see where I was at. With that first push they could see little Calvin’s head so they called in my doctor, got all the equipment set up, half of my bed disappeared and next thing I know I was having a baby! Thirty minutes later Calvin James Layland was born and he’s been a bundle of smiling cuteness ever since.

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Mr. Layland has been singing to and playing with Calvin from the start. It melts my heart to see them together. I know Calvin is in for some great times with his Dad! The votes on who he looks like seem to be pretty evenly divided but we can see characteristics of both of us in him so for the most part we think he just looks like himself 🙂

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The other big change in our lives was our move to New Jersey which has been an amazing adventure full of new hobbies and new friends. The people here are so warm and everyone at church has offered help and friendship since day one. I’ve started up a new Etsy shop Peter & Alice and now that Calvin has more of a regular schedule I can dedicate more time to designing which makes me really excited.

Posts about date nights, recipes, and nursery decor to come!

So that’s life with Mr. Layland & Me + C