Meals for new moms: Bring just what they need (& want!)

Everything you need to make delicious meals for new moms - Ten Thousand Hour Mama

When each of my girls was born, the steady delivery of meals was an enormous help. I couldn’t figure out how to breastfeed, much less feed myself, so the food friends brought nourished me in a way I deeply needed. In addition, their visits proved to be a much-appreciated and reliable contact with the regular adult world whose primary concern was not how many wet diapers the baby has had today. So if you’re considering making meals for new moms, I say to you: DO IT.

Since my big girls are no longer babies, I’ve had the opportunity to pay everyone’s kindness forward. I’ve brought quite a few meals for new moms and their families, and in the process I’ve learned a lot about what to do—and what not to do—when delivering meals to new moms.

So if you’ve signed up for a meal train, YOU ARE AWESOME. Know that by making a meal (or bringing takeout—that’s totally not cheating!), you are showing this new mama that she is loved, supported, cared for—and that her village will help lift her up as she undertakes the most monumental change of her life.

She is a new mom, and you are helping her become the best mother she can be.

(And that’s a big deal.)

If you’re not quite sure what to bring or what to do, though, you’ve come to the right place. When it comes to making meals for new moms, I share these 12 tips to help you make life easier for the family more focused on umbilical cord scabs than dinnertime.  Read more

DIY Mother’s Day gift for a mom-to-be: Pregnancy journal

This DIY Mother's Day gift is great for pregnant moms! A pregnancy journal with prompts. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

When I was pregnant with Peeper, and then with Kiwi, I did my best to record my thoughts, feelings and hopes for them. My journaling success was hit or miss with them—some nights I wrote long entries about the fluttery feeling of a tiny baby moving inside me; some nights I was too exhausted to do anything beyond flopping into bed. This year, I wanted to make a DIY Mother’s Day gift for some friends who are expecting so they, too, could remember this incredible time.

After some thought, I made a DIY pregnancy journal for two friends who are expecting their second babies. I know from experience that when you’re pregnant with Baby #2, you’re just not as focused on the pregnancy—after all, you’re too busy memorizing Daniel Tiger songs and ensuring your little daredevil doesn’t dart into the street. So I came up with these 30+ journal prompts—questions that will encourage a mom-to-be to reflect on her hopes and thoughts during pregnancy.

A DIY pregnancy journal makes a personal gift for a baby shower or Mother's Day. Plus it takes less than $5 and 15 minutes to make! Free download. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

How public assistance saved my family

With House and Senate Republicans are trying to push through a repeal and replace bill to cut the Affordable Care Act, and with so much shaming going on around people who need any help from the government, I feel compelled to share my own story. You see, before Obamacare went into effect, I was denied insurance at a new job because I had a preexisting condition—I was pregnant. Public assistance saved my family.

Government assistance was the reason why we are not still saddled with thousands of dollars of medical bills. It helped me feed myself and my infant. A series of safety nets caught me and my family. Even with the help of the government, we relied on family members and strangers to stay fed, healthy and warm.

By sharing my story, I knowingly open up my own personal experience to judgment. But I do so because it’s easy to shame a stranger, but a lot harder to assume the worst about someone you know.

How public assistance and health insurance helped us before Obamacare went into effect. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

My linea nigra is gone: The changing marks of motherhood

Just like I realized one day that I no longer have a baby—holy shit, she is a toddler—I recently realized my linea nigra is gone.

That dark line that snaked from my belly button on down disappeared in an equal but opposite proportion to the growth of my baby. In almost imperceptible ways, Kiwi got bigger day by day. She rolled over. She sat up. She crawled. And now, somehow, she grins and peeks around the kitchen island at me, itching for me to chase her down the hall.

Likewise, my linea nigra faded bit by bit, and I didn’t notice until it was gone. I was busy with other things, I guess—things like, you know, doing my damnedest to keep my new family of four alive. More recently, being a mother of two has felt easier, or at least less heartbreakingly hard. So it makes sense that I only now registered its absence.

Pregnancy // Motherhood // My linea nigra is gone // Pregnant belly // Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

My literary comfort blanket: Roald Dahl’s The BFG

This post contains an affiliate link to the book The BFG. Please see my policies and disclosures page for more information.


Growing up, Roald Dahl’s the BFG was a BFD. I seriously loved that book.

Scratch that. I love—present tense—that book.

When I'm stressed, I turn to children's books and literature to relax. Roald Dahl's The BFG is my go-to title. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

The BFG (which stands for the Big Friendly Giant, for all of you not in the Roald Dahl know) was my favorite book for years. Over and over I read about how Sophie befriended the BFG and together with the Queen of England’s help rounded up all the mean, children’s bone-gnashing giants.

I laughed at (and gobblefunked with) the BFG’s hilarious words (snozzcumber!!!) and wondered what dreams he’d trumpet into my room each night.

So today, on Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday, I say thank you to my all-time favorite children’s book author. Read more

Happy Mother’s Day to Me: You made it

This guest post is by Chanler Jeffers, who blogs with the belief we all can make a difference in the world around us. She dishes up inspiration and food for thought at TeamJeffers.com. In this Happy Mother’s Day to Me series, mothers are celebrating themselves for the dedicated, loving, tireless mamas they are. Check out all the posts in the series!


 

Happy Mother's Day You Made ItHello, Beautiful—

Look at you.

You made it. Twenty-one years have passed, and somehow you made it.

Your tiny baby is now a beautiful young woman, despite everything that came in between.  Who knew, starting out, how extraordinarily difficult this journey would be? Certainly not you, because life spun you a different story than what you’d written for yourself, didn’t it?

Remember at the beginning—the discomfort as your tiny baby grew inside of you? How her feet and arms and head pushed bits and pieces of you aside that you never even knew existed? Remember how it felt she was not only crowding your body, but your very soul, as she slowly came to exist? Remember how you had to shift at night, to try and get some rest? And remember all those silly worries you had? That your baby would be ugly? Physically ugly? Remember that one? Remember how terrible it made you feel to admit that, because you knew how shallow it made you seem? You were still worried, though—weren’t you?

And remember those first labor pains? They made perfect sense somehow, but they were still so foreign. And the birth. Merciful God… how do we endure that as women? That quiet nod, and tight smile—you can always tell when a woman has given birth as she faces a newly pregnant woman, can’t she? As if to say, “Just wait, hon. You have no idea, but you’ll be okay. We all have to do it.”

Then came the difficulties no one tells you about. The having to discipline, even when you’re exhausted and unsure. The constant demands, the constant wondering if you’re doing the right thing, the constant worry that your child will end up a failure because of something you have or haven’t known how to do.

But guess what? You made it, Beautiful. She’s launched.

And even though her life wasn’t perfect, and absolutely nothing at all turned out the way you wanted, or hoped or expected on that long-ago day you brought her home from the hospital, you did it. Read more

My peach

pregnancy and peaches

A blog I follow, Mama Said, just posted a poem that shot me back in time.

This summer I went to the orchard with my mom and Peeper. I was almost 8 months pregnant, and the baby girl growing inside me kicked and stretched, making me wince—and smile.

We had come for the cherries (and the farm animals, which Peeper simultaneously loved and feared), but it turned out that peaches were in season, too. We made a short detour on the dusty road, pulled over and found ourselves under a canopy of trees buzzing with sweetness and potential.

I didn’t have a bucket or a spare bag, so I balanced the peaches I picked on my belly. And I couldn’t resist—I bit into one (or, ah, several). I ate them surrounded by branches heavy with fruit, and the juice dripped down my chin and stained the shirt stretched taught over my big belly.

They tasted full—alive, vibrant, practically bursting with flavor.

Peeper was less interested in fruit picking than she was in feeding the goats, so we left not long after that. I drove us home, my sticky hands leaving smudges on the steering wheel, as Kiwi squirmed inside me and Peeper sang “Old MacDonald” in the back seat.

My life felt like those peaches—full and vibrant in the sweetest way.