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Why should I change?

Do you know that in this exact moment, there is someone out there who would trade places with you? Did you know that they consider you successful, happy and very fortunate just for having a meal every day, clean water every day?

I had a moment of realization when I fell into one of those infinite loops of despair today: I was feeling lonely, mostly I was feeling emotionally distant from my husband. He’s been apathetic about managing employees and dealing with too many people at once. At this point, I realized that we all have that impossible mountain to climb, we look up to the snow and our hope and faith dwindles as we see it stretching forever. We despair,  we feel overwhelmed, lost.

It’s easy to lose hope, but getting to the mountain top should not be your purpose in life.

Why should you change? Why should I change? Well, what you are currently doing is NOT working for you, is it? The only way out left of your despair is to either run away or change your attitude. Look at the problem from a different angle because you and I, we’re not quitters. We don’t run away, do we?

Why should I change? Why can’t my husband change? Well, waiting for someone to change won’t really yield you any more results than pure frustration. 

Therefore, the only real way to move forward is to change. What should you change? What should I change?

I don’t know! But I know that following every instinct that I have so far has been wrong. Perhaps my instinct is wrong, perhaps I need to change my whole personality and not trust myself because… Where has that got me? Tired, unhappy, miserable… And I should feel fine, because I have everything I wanted/everything I can have… A loving happy family, a supportive husband, a business that support my expenses, and stability in my home. We all have debt, but why lose sleep over it?

Perhaps what I am looking for is more… More peace, more freedom, more time with my family, less stress. Don’t we all?

It’s easy to get lost in the routine of your life and never see beyond that long hike up that infinite mountain. Perhaps, though, every now and then it is time to stop, look up and down and celebrate how far you’ve come. 

Celebrate all the small and big things in your life: be thankful. 

Why should I change? There is only so much time left in our lives to waste it feeling miserable. I’m going back to the drawing board and redrafting my plan for what I think is a good route to hike up the mountain. After all, when I get to the end, I’ll just be dead. Might as well enjoy the scenery, snowy as it might get.

You never know if the most terrying, impossible moment in your life can turn out to be this wonderful view that you will thank for later.

Why I quit cloth diapering

Parents in United States are at an all-time low happiness compared to non-parents, and even compared to parents in other countries.

This article from the Huffington Post says “Even Ireland, the country closest to the U.S. in terms of the disparity between parents’ and non-parents’ had a parental happiness gap that was 20 percent smaller than ours, meaning the disparity here in the U.S. was particularly pronounced. And in some countries, including Russia, France, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Hungary and Portugal, parents reported being as happy or happier than non-parents. Most members of the OECD are high-income countries.”

When I read this article, something struck in me. Just the lack of support for parents in the US is unbearable. Not only are we supposed to work with NO maternity leave, but we also have to pay extremely expensive daycare that is equivalent to a small mortgage! Mix in the sleep deprivation and the INSANE hospital bill from the delivery and you have an obvious recipe for disaster.

Now, the point of this article was to explain why I quit cloth diapering, but for that I needed to paint a picture of the overall parenting situation for most of us. Stressed, tired and overworked.

Once the realization of this hit me while I was loading yet another cloth diaper laundry on the washer, I asked myself: “why?”.

Just, why I would I do this to myself? Why would I spend hours laundering, folding, putting away, buying and changing cloth diapers?

Now, to some cloth diapering it is great to save money. But are you really saving money? Couldn’t you work a side-gig to earn extra income instead of washing all those diapers?

Others say that they are saving the environment, and while I agree with this, there has to be a way to meet in the middle by just doing cloth diapering half-time using only all-in-ones (those are pricey!) for busy moms.

Now other do it for the cuteness factor or to buy all the diapers-collect them all! Hard to find prints! Limited edition! Are we really that consumer oriented? Why not just donate that money to a mom in need who can’t feed her child?

To all this, I have a stash of over 50 diapers and I deeply regret it. While it was a fun ride, it got tedious at times. Now that I am working outside home, it makes zero logical sense for me to spend all that time and effort cloth diapering. 

My main reason for cloth diapering was because of my child’s sensitive bottom and his constant diaper rash of I didn’t use cloth. However, as he grew and potty trained, he didn’t need this. Using Vaseline, as recommended by his pediatrician, to keep rashes at bay has proven enough, even at nighttime.

So goodbye, cloth diapering, I quit! I feel so relieved now and I am looking forward to the day when I have sold most (never all!) my stash. Because let’s be real… Some of that cloth is just too cute to pass up for baby#2.

How I went from being a stay at home mom to working outside home and why?

I had this whole idea inside my head of how I was going to be a great mom and do “all the right things”, make all the “sacrifices” to stay with my child until they had to go to school and focus solely on child rearing.

When I got pregnant, I was in my last year of college, ready to graduate with two semesters left. I was studying graphic design, which was double the workload of most majors (6 credit hours instead of 3 per class) AND I was also doing a double major in Business.

I quickly realized, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the amount of  study hours and stay at home with my child, so I decided to drop graphic design and stay with Business because it was less hours, better paying jobs, and I could switch to fully online.

So I made my first “sacrifice” before I had my child to forgo attending classes -having any human interaction- to study fully online.

Later, my husband and I had a brilliant idea to start a business right after having a newborn. We went $30k in debt and struggled in the beginning.

I struggled to keep up with schoolwork while I became a new mom. I had no help from family because both our extended families live in other countries (Norway and Peru). 

Last but not least, I went into a severe postpartum depression. It started with intermittent crying, a complete inability to take care of myself because I was hyper focused on taking care of this new little life entrusted to me, and a severe inability to let go of my child. I was so attached to my baby that whenever I wasn’t holding him in my arms, I would just cry as if someone had cut off one of my limbs. 

My husband was completely unable to take our child anywhere or enjoy him because I held on to the baby all the time. All the time, I was anxious and scared that something bad would happen to my child, basically if I wasn’t there to protect him, I would never forgive myself for not “being there for him”. 

I went through therapy for two-three months and it helped slightly. I slowly started to go out of the house to do activities outside such as go to the park or go to baby activities, and I felt more overwhelmed.

My lowest, darkest time was when we were $30k in debt, I cried every night thinking we would never go out of that situation and that I would need to go get a job, put my child on daycare, and struggle for years to repay it. Things took a turn for the worst when February 2015 my husband landed on the ER and we thought he had had a stroke.

Thankfully, it turned out that my husband did not have a stroke, he was “just” under a lot of stress… Having a newborn, fights with me and having me depressed all the time, next to no income and surmounting debt took a toll on him.

Yet, this tiny snippet of our life was probably the best thing that happened to us. It made us stronger as a couple, as parents and as entrepreneurs. We learned from many of our mistakes.

Now, for how I transitioned to being a work outside home mom:

After our terrible start, we began to work harder than ever, making sales through every available channel we had to us. We worked on our sales. Most of the time my husband was working ten hour days while I took care of the baby and did half his hours…. and we closed 2015 with $500k in sales and a very nice salary. The best part is that we paid those $30k of initial debt in the same year. 

Once 2016 came around, it was time to move the business out of our apartment, so we rented an office! Our office is 5 minutes away from our home, and it is close to a daycare. Once we moved our business to the office, our stress levels went from 1000 to about 10. We were able to rest at home after a workday and leave work in the office.

At this point, my baby is no longer a sweet little bundle, but a full blown two year old toddler. During the last year or so, we had babysitters for some hours to take care of my toddler while I worked from home. However, I soon realized that I needed to dedicate more time to our business if we were going to grow. Despite having one employee, the business needed me. 

I finally made the decision to enroll my toddler on daycare. The first two months were hell-he got sick all the time, but we only did half-time. Once he got used to the schedule and didn’t get sick so much, we transitioned him to full-time. He now goes to daycare with his daddy every morning with a smile, blowing me kisses good-bye and loves it there with his friends and his teacher.

My depression started lifting once I found a purpose for my life. Yes, I am a mom, but that is not the only thing that defines me in life, like I thought in the beginning. I find pleasure in my work doing photography, human resources and many other great tasks of being a business owner. 

I also took time for myself, much as I felt guilty for it in the beginning. I went to do my nails, I waxed after 4 years, I started to exercise and with some determination, I’ve lost about 20 pounds in 3 months. All this things made me a better mom and wife, because I am happier and more relaxed, I can deal better with parenting challenges. Because I get more help with daycare and from my incredibly supportive husband, I am a better mom.

And that is how, after 2 years, my postpartum depression finally lifted and I became a work outside home mom.

Poll: What is you favorite cloth diaper?

Cloth diapering on-the-go

Who said cloth diapering on-the-go has to be tedious or bulky? Here is a very lightweight way to travel with baby that will help you simplify your cloth diapering experience.

Here are some supplies that will make your life simpler:

A diaper changing kit

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This amazing kit from Skip Hop helps you go lightweight on errands that are up to 4 hours.

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Diaper Bag List

Follow this link for a simplified diaper bag checklist

Wouldn’t you love to have the packing experience of a veteran mom? In this list, I give you the essentials that will save your life in more than one occasion and make your time outside the home stress-free from blowouts, messes and baby cries.

Wipes
    

Who knew there were so many different kinds? There is a wipe for every purpose, and this 5 small packs will save your life more than once. Use them all to help you get out of sticky situations.

Boogie wipes: Clean up that cute little nose with this special wipes that contain saline and will make it easy to remove stuck boogers.
Johnson’s hand and face wipes: A gentle wipe for baby’s face when it gets full of solid foods, or spit-up. Use together with a cotton burp cloth, like the gerber prefolds.
Pacifier Wipes: For those times when your child choose to lose their binky to the floor so they can make a scene. Use a paci wipe and carry on.
Wet Ones: Great for mom cleanups after diaper changes, or for adults handling the newborn to avoid the spread of germs. You could also carry liquid hand sanitizer.
Clorox wipes: Clean up that chair that your child is so happily chewing on, and put a regular wipe over that once it’s dry. Clean up a restaurant chair or table easily or disinfect major areas. It’s kind of strong so make sure to “wash it away” with a gentler wipe once it is dry. (more…)

Newborn Shopping List

For a small checklist of this list, try the Newborn quick list.

Update: try guguguru.com for a simple way to make your registry. They’ll ask you questions and tailor the recommendations to your priorities and lifestyle (urban, citydweller, etc).

You can check out my registry here[LINK]. Consider that I do not have much space, I practice minimalism and I like to travel light.

Where do I begin?

We have all been there, having a minor panic attack after we look up “best stroller” with YouTube reviews and see 200 strollers, up to $2000 prices and mixed reviews on ALL of them.

There may also be many differences in budgets, but we all just want what is best for our babies.

Here is a list of newborn essentials that I wish I would have found when I was trying to figure out a budget for my baby, with things that you will end up getting after the third product trial-and-error. Let me save you some money! Let me save you the hassle of needing to sell baby items on Craigslist.

It would be great if you could add some of this items to your baby registry in case you have very kind and giving people on your life. I suggest adding a variety of small priced items in your registry. Most people will get you clothes as gifts, so try to put a break on overspending on fancy baby outfits, prioritizing those things that will help you heal and take care of your baby during the first few weeks.

Hope to give you a little bit less stress and a lot more relief on those first few days.

The Gear

graco
Graco convertible crib with matress
Convertible Crib: 4-in-1 cribs. You can sidecar the crib next to your bed, have it near your bed and it will last you for a long time since it converts to a toddler bed. You can move it to another room once your toddler wants more space. (more…)

Most Helpful Apps For New Moms

Apps For The First Year of Baby’s Life

There are a gazillion apps out there for baby related feeding, diapering, photo albums and others. Here are the most helpful, and believe me, I have gone through around 20 apps to get to these helpful few. This are the apps that will make your life a thousand times easier. Here they are:

1) Sprout Baby
(Available on iOS only)

Diaper Changes

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What Nobody Tells You About Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is hard (or it is likely going to be hard)!

Once we appreciate the work and dedication it takes, then we can move on to being a little more prepared.

There is enough breastfeeding propaganda out there. Therefore, all I have to say about breastfeeding is if you want to give a try, good for you! If it doesn’t work, don’t beat yourself up and do what works for you! (And don’t let anyone tell you what to do or guilt-trip you).

Having said that, here are a few tips to help you during those initial painful moments of establishing a supply and learning to breastfeed.

What no one tells you about breastfeeding

1) You will need patience and deep breaths. If you are feeling defeated, take a minute or a walk, vent on an Internet forum support group or to a friend, regroup strength and try again. (more…)