What I’ve Learned as a Mom…So Far

Welp, still pregnant over here! I’m 39 weeks (as of yesterday) and I’m in that weird/excited/anxious place that exists when you know you could go into labor at any moment. It’s definitely an intense and strange mindset to be in, but I know that baby boy will decide to come join us when the time is right!

This was from Henry’s newborn photos, seems so long ago!
In the midst of doing last minute things to prepare for his arrival, I’ve also been thinking about what I’ve learned in the past (almost) two years as a mom. And while that may sound deep or insightful, trust me, this post is really not…ha! I would love to put into words some profound thoughts on what motherhood has taught me or share a detailed post about being a stay at home mom, but honestly, I just don’t have mental capacity to do anything like that with my current pregnancy brain. So instead, I thought I’d just share my personal top four “must haves” and “mom hacks” 🙂

Love this one from our family photos last summer when Henry was still a roly poly bebe 🙂

So first up, my mom must haves! I realize that if you asked most moms what day to day items they couldn’t do without, chances are they’d probably list some or all of the following items. So while they’re not necessarily mind-blowing discoveries, these were the top four things that came to mind when I thought about the items I personally rely on pretty heavily when it comes to this mom gig:

1. Dry Shampoo – I use this stuff almost daily because after becoming a mom, I realized that washing/drying my hair on a daily basis just wasn’t going to happen. Using dry shampoo definitely extends the time I can go between shampoos and as a result, I feel like my hair is less oily since I’m not washing it so often. I’ve tried all different brands from inexpensive drugstore to pricier options from Sephora and my absolute favorite is the Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo. It’s little spendier, but so worth it in my opinion and you can buy it a Target, which is a huge plus since I go through it pretty frequently. It’s one of those dry shampoos that makes your hair feel dirtier, but as a result, it looks less greasy and limp, as opposed to dry shampoos that make your hair feel clean but still looking really flat. I have fine hair so I love that this dry shampoo helps to add volume and I’ve yet to find another brand that I like better. (But I’m open to suggestions!)

2. iPhone – Ok, I know this seems like an obvious one, but I couldn’t not include it! My iPhone has definitely become my primary camera since having Henry and I’m rarely without it. My favorite photo editing app is definitely Photoshop Express, but I am by no means an expert when it comes to apps for backing up/organizing photos. I paid for increased iCloud storage so my photos are being backed up there, but I’d love to back them up another way too so I’m open to suggestions!

3. Crockpot – Seriously, how do people live without a crockpot?! When I was working, I used my a ton but I use it even more now since becoming a mom. I love being able to put together dinner while Henry is napping and then that way, I’m not scrambling at 5pm to start cooking. You can make so many different recipes in a crock pot and we use ours at least once a week, if not more. (This is the one I have, just FYI!)

4. Amazon Prime – Having a baby means you end up needing random things that you never knew you needed, and so we are constantly ordering stuff from Amazon Prime. The annual fee is so worth the 2 day shipping for as much as we use it, plus there are lots of other great benefits. One of my favorite things about it is that here in Portland, Amazon Prime has partnered with the grocery stores we usually shop at for grocery delivery, and it’s free as long as you spend over $30. I don’t do it all the time, but some weeks it’s just so much easier to order the groceries online and have them delivered right to my door vs. trying to brave the store with a toddler!
(And I didn’t bother including coffee or wine on this list because I feel like those go without saying)

Love this picture from our maternity photos this summer
As for my personal mom “hacks,” or the tricks and strategies I’ve discovered that help make managing life as a mom a little easier, these four are definitely at the top of my list:

1. Mom friends are essential – I can’t stress this one enough! It’s so crucial to have fellow mamas to support you, especially as a new mom. There are so many amazing, frustrating, and just plain weird things about having a baby and watching them grow, and it’s incredibly reassuring to have people in your life who are going through the same thing. I know that it might seem challenging to make those connections, but it’s so worth putting in the effort to build those relationships.

2. Agree with your spouse on household responsibilities – Once a baby enters the picture, so many things in your life change. Not only are you and your spouse assuming new roles as parents, but babies are often super unpredictable which can throw a major wrench into managing household responsibilities in the way you’ve handled them in the past. That’s why I think it’s critical to be on the same page about what priorities are most important to each of you, and what things aren’t as big of a deal. Because whether you stay at home or you work out of the house, with a baby it just often seems that there are never enough hours in the day to get everything done the way you used to. For Cameron and I, we’ve come to an agreement that in terms of priorities, cooking and having healthy food in the house is always going to take precedence over cleaning. That’s not to say the house is never clean or that we don’t spend time on that at all, it’s just that we’ve determined on days where time is limited, food is more important. So for example, during Henry’s nap time, I’m going deal with prepping dinner first and if I have time to do other things after that, awesome. But if it ends up being a crazy day and at the end of it the house is messy but we had a healthy dinner, then we’re both OK with that. Priorities are different for everyone, but I think just being in agreement about what you value most helps prevent a lot of conflict.

 3. Do what you can in the car – With a baby or toddler, it can be really hard to get out the door a lot of the time. So for me, I’ve found it super helpful to multitask and do what I can while while we’re in the car. Hear me out, I’m definitely not trying to advocate being unsafe and doing a bunch of crazy things while driving around with your baby. But, if I have to choose between trying to drink a cup of coffee at home in the morning while getting Henry ready and I know I’m going to end up rewarming it in the microwave a bunch of times, I’d rather just opt to wait and put it in my travel mug and drink it once we’re on the road. The same thing goes for eating; I’ve found it’s often so much simpler for me to just pack myself something easy to eat in the car vs. trying to sit down and do it when we’re trying to get out of the house. I also keep a my basic makeup essentials in my console for those mornings when the unexpected happens and I don’t have time to get ready. Even if that means that I’m putting mascara on in the parking lot of wherever we’re going, sometimes it’s just so much easier to do it then while Henry is strapped in his car seat vs. dealing with it before we leave the house.

4. Keep chocolate chip cookie ingredients on hand – This isn’t so much of a mom hack I guess as it is one of my life rules, ha! I just think it’s important to have a go-to recipe you can make quickly and easily in the event that an occasion comes up where you need to bring food or you’ve got unexpected guests coming or you’re just having a rough day. For me, it’s chocolate chip cookies and so I always make sure I have what I need to whip up a quick batch on hand just in case!

Tiny baby Henry, it’s so wild we’re about to have another one of these!

Like I said, my secrets are dry shampoo and cookies…not exactly earth shattering, ha! But I personally love hearing what other moms do to make life easier, so hopefully some of you out there might find it helpful! And I know there’s going to be a lot to learn going from one kiddo to two, so I’d love to any suggestions on making that transition as smooth as possible!