A mom’s guide to prepare for sleep training

So your baby doesn’t sleep, which means you don’t sleep. Mama, I so have been there. If that’s the case, you may be ready to try sleep training—extinction, Ferber, cry it out, or whatever name you’re using. And if that’s true, you need to prepare for sleep training.

And I’m not talking about prepping your tiny Sleepless in Seattle. I’m talking about preparing you for sleep training.

Because while sleep training is hard on the baby, it’s equally (if not more) difficult for Mom.

I’ve sleep trained both Peeper and Kiwi—and am SO FREAKING GLAD I did. But it’s still hard to worry about your baby and know you could end her tears by sticking a boob in her mouth or bouncing her for 2 hours on a giant yoga ball.

Despite that anxiety many of us moms feel, studies repeatedly show that sleep training is not harmful in the long run. A recent study out of Australia showed that the babies in a Ferber-like sleep training (where they’re allowed to cry for gradually longer periods until they fall asleep on their own) had just as strong bonds with parents and fell asleep on their own faster than their peers in a control group who did not do sleep training. What’s more, they actually had lower evidence of stress in the afternoon than babies who weren’t sleep trained.

Plenty of parents still debate sleep training, and that’s fine. But for someone reading this—likely a parent who is ready to give it a try—having someone try to convince you that sleep training is unsafe is just not helpful.

That’s why I offer these tips to prepare for sleep training. They’ll help you stay strong, get through the few tough days and make it to the other end. When you and Baby are sleeping better, I’ll take a bet that you’ll be glad you tried sleep training, too.

Prepare for sleep training, cry it out or Ferber—by prepping yourself, Mama! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

How I organize my blog with a bullet journal

I’ve always been one of those people who has to write everything down; that need has become even more vital since I became a mom and all my brain cells were sucked, zapped and fried out of me. So when I thought of a blog post I wanted to write, I jotted down a note in a to do list notebook.

I got more ideas. And more ideas. And soon enough, my ideas were so cluttered that the blog post list wasn’t helpful. The disorganization took a toll on my productivity.

When I actually had a chunk of time to write a blog post, I didn’t know where to start. I’d sift through messy list of ideas or click on the many drafts in my WordPress dashboard to figure out what I needed to do to complete a post.

By the time I actually got to work, I’d have wasted a half-hour. Busy moms and bloggers feel me: We do not have a spare half-hour to waste. 

So when I started bullet journaling a few months back, I knew I wanted to keep track of my blog posts: ideas for future posts, posts in progress and scheduled posts. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read this beginner’s guide to bullet journaling. You might get hooked, too!) So I started to organize my blog with a bullet journal spread.

Voila: my BuJo blog post page.

When I started this bullet journal page, my blogging productivity and organization skyrocketed! This is some serious BuJo inspiration. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

7 must-dos for a kid-free business trip

7 must-dos for a kid-free business trip
Original photo by Jeremy Sternberg, creative commons

You’re on a kid-free business trip, so you’re probably feeling equal parts guilty and giddy. Chances are, you haven’t been away from home and kids in so long that the prospect of dealing with traffic and the TSA, crossing time zones, working long hours and eating what passes for a continental breakfast sounds positively like a vacation.

It’s also likely that you might not know what to do with yourself. I’ve been there, though, so I’ve done you the solid of making a little list of all the things you must do on your next kid-free business trip.

While you’re gone, drop me a line and tell me all about your kid-free extravagances like eating in a restaurant with no play place and sleeping on an un-jumped-on bed. Read more

Home Sweet Preschool: Start your own homeschool preschool

homeschool preschool

Forget health food crazes and packed gyms; the nuttiest New Year phenomenon is preschool visits, if you ask me. But a handful of friends and I are skipping the preschool tours altogether; we’re starting our own. You can, too! Read on to learn how to start a homeschool preschool of your own!

How to start a DIY homeschool preschool = Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Build your ideal nursing station

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When you have a newborn, approximately 90% of your time is spent breastfeeding. (I’m sure there’s a study somewhere that verifies this. Hold on while I find it…) It’s no wonder you need your nursing station to be on point just to feel remotely comfortable.

In the first few weeks when Kiwi was perennially attached to my boob, I was lucky enough to have lots of family around. “Can you bring me my water?” I’d ask the second she latched because of course I never remembered to bring my trusty water jug with me.

Water isn’t the only thing you’ll want on hand while nursing your newborn. After all, you’ll want to be fed, hydrated and comfy during those many, many hours you spend nourishing that tiny baby.

Here, then, is what you’ll need to set up the perfect nursing station.

If you're breastfeeding your newborn, you'll want to set up the perfect nursing station to keep you comfortable during all those hours of feeding your baby. Here's what you'll need. Ten Thousand Hour Mama
Portland newborn photos by Capturing Grace Photography

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Happy campers

Happy campers family camping toddler tentS’mores, winding down around the camp fire and more stars in the sky I’d ever seen: Camping while I was a kid became one of my favorite family activities.

With the Memorial Day weekend just hours away, I’ve been thinking about those experiences in the great outdoors and planning a few for our family this summer. With Kiwi due in July, we’ll likely be keeping our ambitions modest, but still—our tent and hobo pie makers are calling me.

I wrote a guide to family camping in this month’s Metro Parent (see it here in a link or PDF!) with suggestions of the Northwest’s best yurts, car camping sites and backpacking trips. I also gathered great advice from family camping experts on how to make outdoorsy trips fun for the whole crew.

My favorite tip, from Bonnie Henderson, author of Best Hikes with Kids: Oregon:

“Hiking with kids is all about having them have an experience outside, so it’s not about how far you go or the destination. When you go with the kid agenda, it’s about just being outside and having fun.”

I wanted to soak up all the advice, considering our own first family camping trip had its share of ups and downs.

In preparation for this year’s camping season, do you have any tips for family camping? Please share!

Advice for my daughter (that you’ll definitely want to read, too)

Advice for my daughter // raising girls // Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Last week Peeper received a package from her Aunt Bootsie, and the book inside was one of the most touching gifts she’s ever gotten. Each page contained one piece of advice for my daughter, and as you can see, Peeper—and anyone else lucky enough to read it—will definitely be the wiser from it.

Advice for my daughterEach page contains a snippet of wise (and sometimes wise ass but true) advice from her sage aunt. In fact, the pearls are timeless enough that I found myself nodding along. (Was some of the advice secretly for me, too?)

Advice for my daughter Read more