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Charlotte+Asher creates chic diaper bags for the stylish, modern mom.

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Parenthood related topics written by the founders of charlotte+asher.

Filtering by Tag: Mom

How to survive when baby arrives

Chantal Standafer

Baby Boyd resting peacefully at the hospital. 

Baby Boyd resting peacefully at the hospital. 

When we had our first child 3.5 years ago I didn't have a bunch of seasoned moms around me. Most of my friends were not yet having children. I had ideas of how things would happen, and had read some blog posts. I felt prepared in terms of what to purchase. But I really wasn't sure what I was getting into. 

On one hand I thought I'd be able to do it all, while on the other I was totally freaked out and wasn't sure how I'd get anything done. But mostly I was under the impression that I could, and therefore should, take care of everything. I had planned to have our freezer stocked with meals. But we moved a couple of weeks before my due date and it was crazy hot. So I didn't feel like turning the stove or oven on to cook. And Gaby was born a week early. Needless to say, we weren't completely unpacked and we didn't have meals on hand. 

And then my mom came to the rescue! She moved her flight up a week, and helped us finish unpacking, fed us and helped with the baby. She even stocked our freezer with meals for us to have after she returned home. Like I said, mom for the win. 

But once my mom left, I still had to figure out how to get meals on the table. And get the laundry done, and shower, and sleep, etc. Basically I had to figure out how to do it all on my own. And I didn't know how to ask for help. It took a while, but eventually I made simpler meals, and cooked extra so we didn't have to cook every night. 

 

Just when I thought I had found a safe space for the baby to rest, the toddler figured out how to climb into the crib. 

Just when I thought I had found a safe space for the baby to rest, the toddler figured out how to climb into the crib. 

Fast forward two years and I felt way more prepared when we had our son. I knew I would have extra demands because it wouldn't be just me and the baby. With a toddler on hand I wouldn't be able to nap as easily during the day, I'd need to get out so she could run around, plus our business had launched. I knew that I would need help! 

One of the best ways that the help came was in the form of a meals from friends. One close friend offered to set up an online meal schedule where people could sign up to bring dinner. For a couple of months we received a meal or two a week from some wonderful friends. It definitely took pressure off my plate--not needing to plan meals and figure out when to make them made a huge difference! 

So my key to surviving after baby's arrival: have a friend set up a meal schedule (we used Meal Train). No matter if it's baby number one or two, three, etc., having this checked off your list for at least a couple times a week will make a huge difference! 

What is your top suggestion for helping new parents? 

 

Mom goals: from chaos to order

Chantal Standafer

Gaby making sure mommy doesn't forget a crucial part of her day: coffee. 

Gaby making sure mommy doesn't forget a crucial part of her day: coffee. 

I am not one to make resolutions. In fact, I cannot remember a time that I made one. And really if I started now, what would it look like? Make my life calm, organized and relaxed? Complete my seemingly never ending task list? 

As 2016 came to a close,  I was inspired to create goals for the changes I wanted to make in the year to come. One day on Instagram, I stumbled upon what looked like a great planner. It had monthly overview calendars,  as well as weekly calendars with each day blocked into sections. Plus it had dedicated spaces for goal setting. Perfect, I wouldn't have to create something myself! 

Fast forward a few weeks and 2017 had begun. With that, I started using the planner. I realized that at the beginning of each week there is a page for writing weekly goals. So I thought about it a bit and wrote down a few things that I wanted to accomplish that first week. Easy, right? Well, turns out that I forgot to look back at the goal list during the week. This meant that I didn't complete all of the tasks. The same thing happened the next week. So then by the third week when I sat down to make the goal list, I realized that I needed to come up with a plan to actually accomplish them. 

As I sat down to write my goals, I also looked at the week ahead. And then I had an idea. That night I looked at the goals and then at the schedule for the next day. I chose a goal or two (or tasks needed to accomplish them) and wrote them at the top of the column for the next day. When I looked at my planner in the morning, I knew exactly what needed to be done. At the end of the week the goals list was complete. By breaking the goals into smaller chunks, I was not overwhelmed by a long task list. Plus, in taking time to plan for the next day before going to bed, I felt prepared for the day ahead. 

So now a month into the year, I feel like I have accomplished tasks. It feels great. Which makes me want to continue on this path. This is the year I say good-bye to the ridiculously long task lists. Hello order to this mom's life (well, at least in one sense)!

How are you going about accomplishing your goals? 

 

  

Essential Daily Self-Care

Chantal Standafer

Taking time for family mealtime!

Taking time for family mealtime!

We often think of self-care as doing things out of our normal routine. And yes, taking time to pamper ourselves is wonderful. But in the bustle of caring for the kiddos, there are little things we can do each day to take care of ourselves.

One of the most essential parts of life is nourishment. Yet it is oh so common to hear of moms not having proper meals. But how are we supposed to keep up with our little ones if we’re not taking care of ourselves? Not to mention that they learn so much about eating habits (and everything else!) from us.

Not surprisingly, this is not the case in our house. Because I get hangry. And a hangry mom is not a good thing. When it happens, I get headaches that often won’t go away for a very long time, lose my cool pretty easily, and experience a host of other unpleasant symptoms.

So how do I solve this problem? I eat my meals with my kids. When Gaby, our oldest, was a baby, I would nurse her and then eat my meal. But once she started eating solids, her mealtime became mine. I would never have my kids skip a meal. So I don’t do it myself.

And here’s an added bonus: for those who like to complete items on their “to-do list,” you can add your meals to that list. You feel accomplished, and you’ve cared for yourself!

What other things do you do daily to care for yourself?

Getting back into shape after baby

Chantal Standafer

A little mommy-daughter time post-workout

A little mommy-daughter time post-workout

I recently shared about how I stayed in shape while pregnant. Yes, I worked out the day before I had each of our two children. But after having each child I took a break from the gym. My body hurt from childbirth. It took time to heal and frankly, I was tired!

After Gaby was born I started back at the gym at about four weeks postpartum with some stretching (because let’s face it, I wasn’t ready to work out at that point). By six weeks I started doing full workouts again, though at moderate effort. With Boyd, I was so tired and busy (*ahem* life with two kids) that I did not make it to the gym until seven weeks postpartum. Both times it took a good couple of weeks to feel like I was doing the workouts competently. After taking time off to allow my body to heal post-birth, I felt totally out of shape.

I wanted to jump back into everything and pick up where I had left off. But that just was not possible. Here’s what I did to get back to that point:

  • Schedule the workouts: I made set days to go to the gym. While the time fluctuated a bit depending on what was on our schedule or how many times I was up at night, I knew that if it was Monday, Wednesday, or Friday I’d be at the gym.

  • Ease back into the workouts: While my body didn’t atrophy from not working out for a few weeks, my strength and endurance definitely took a little beating. This would happen from any extended break from the gym (like a vacation!). For my first few workouts back after having Boyd, the trainer running the classes suggested I only do half of the workout. I’m so glad I listened to his advice—I was very sore and imagine I would have been completely out of commission had I done the programmed workout. Eventually, I worked back up to full effort.

  • Be realistic: Your body heals a lot when you sleep. So naturally if you’re not sleeping well or very much (hello life with a newborn), then it won’t heal as quickly. It also won’t be as strong. So being realistic with how I felt each day was key. While some days I felt really strong, other days just lifting the barbell felt heavy. I adjusted the workouts accordingly.

  • Be patient: After I had Gaby we did this one workout twice in two weeks. The first time I did not even finish the workout. But two weeks later I not only finished it, I had time to spare. And I felt great. The strength returned, it just took time.

All said, while it was difficult, I’m glad I put in the effort to get back into working out. The most important part, as in so much in life, was just showing up!

What did you do to get back into shape after you had your baby?