Tuesday, March 31, 2015

15 steps to creating the perfect kid's room/ nursery:

Hi Moms,

I finally finished my perfect nursery. Yes,I know, I am only a year and then some late. But between not having enough space in New York and then waiting for the construction team to exit our new apartment in Bombay (which we squatted in the luxury of my parent's home for 5 months), I didn't get the chance to set up my nursery until now.

I did however, spend my spare time (defined by a few minutes in the middle of the night per night, when  I am supposed to be asleep and know that I will regret staying awake when the human alarm goes off unexpectedly in the middle of the night), trying to make things for my nursery - don't hate me moms.

Here are some tips to help you create your perfect baby space, whether you are planning while you a pregnant or after your baby is running around.

15 steps to creating the perfect space for your little one: 

1. Remember that this is YOUR space, your nest, and your right as a mother.
Sorry moms, that is a partially DIY wall (on the left is embroidery, and the right is drawings, and the center is something I put together with clothes and pictures, and his own caps.)

2. Like with everything related to parenting - advice can be welcome but can also piss you off, so take it only if you want it.

3. Pick a theme but try not to make it too complicated. It can be based on something as simple as a crib mobile that you like, a color shade, or a disney character you have always loved. If your child is older, you can go by what he or she enjoys (though keep in mind that kids tend to outgrow toys faster than even their clothes). I picked Mickey Mouse, cause I love Disney and also I figured that it's recyclable with my next child as I just have to add on bows for a girl.

4. Your theme doesn't mean you go nuts shopping and only buy Mickey mouse stuff, you can if you want to! But you can also just be creative and try to match colors and patterns instead of inflating Disney's (or whoever else's) shareholder value.

5. Look for one of a kind items - not necessarily at Tiffany's, it can even be something small and funky you find at a flea market (and thoroughly clean after that). These don't have to fit your theme, you can work your theme to fit these, or just add them around the room for character.

6.  Pick your bedding, curtains and wallpaper (if any). If these go with your theme, nothing else is needs to match. For example, if you are doing a classic theme, and choose your bedding, and curtains to match, all you would need to add is an interesting lamp or  one stand out piece on the wall and you are good to go.

7. Play with your baby's name.  You chose it for a reason so use it to personalize the room.
That's a cricket bat, but letters can be used in many different ways.

8. DIY - I am aware that these are some of the most hated alphabets in every mom's dictionary. However, you don't actually have to sit and make something tedious for your child. Check out Etsy (for those in the US), or Pearson's personalized frames, and you can create something with your child's shoes, clothes, foot/hand prints, hospital bracelet, without having to do much at all.
Hand prints, hospital bracelet and baby shoes.

9. Think outside the box.. or sometimes think inside! Use clear boxes to store items around the room that may be ordinary but can actually brighten up your space.. Eg, pacifiers! Even rattles, or smaller toys can be stored this way.

10. Book it all together. There's no better way to get your child interested in reading then to keep books at a level where he or she can reach them. They will naturally be curious to know whats in there and reach out to the book shelf. Keep in mind though that for your kids, board books are a better option than anything they can rip apart.
Guess who got those books out...

11. Arrange comfortable seating - for you and for your little tot. Whether it is a nursing chair, or simple stool that your child can sit on while flipping through a book, or wearing his shoes, it will add to your room in functionality and in style.
Nothing comfier..
12. Use photographs of your little one to personalize the space - he will enjoy these when he is older but you will enjoy them forever.

13. Put functionality on hold and think about fun - what will your child really enjoy in his room?

14. Make it night friendly - add nightlights, lamps (sturdy ones not floor lamps), or even glow in the dark stars (don't worry they do not glow long enough to keep your little one up at night).

15. Revel in your creation and you will find that this will be your favorite nook in the house.

Note to all the other pet parents around: don't forget to add a little something for your furry baby, even if it's just water and a cushion to let them know that they are always welcome. 

Enjoy the process moms!
More to come.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

14 things every new mom should know about their new self:

Hi Moms,
I often tell you to focus on yourself and try to get some me time. So I am going to practice what I have been preaching and give you a few minutes of me time by talking about you today, and not your babies.

Let's start with the fact that you deserve a medal. Not only because you are an involved enough mother to be reading up on parenting, but because you did it - you grew a baby in your belly, and gave birth to it (for my pregnant readers, you too will be here soon but don't shy away from accepting your current accomplishments, and also ofcourse keeping your feet high up!). Really, the list of your accomplishments since you found out you were pregnant are endless, but so is the list of changes that your life and your body has been through.

Here are 14 things about your body and health, that you should know:

1. You're body has been through it all. Every organ has felt stress and felt change, and what our muscles have been through is even more taxing. It is okay to no longer feel like you did before. The fact is that your life has changed, not just your body. So at some point, you need to take a step back and embrace the new you.

2. This doesn't mean that you don't strive to get your figure back (or whatever else you feel you are missing). However, with the hormone changes we have been through it may be harder for you than you imagine (I know it is for me). We all know moms that look like they never had children, but if you are not one of those few don't worry, you are in good company.

3. Your husbands unfortunately, may have forgotten everything that you have been through, even if they were in the room and helped to hold your legs in the air. Trust me, take every opportunity you can to remind them, it will help when they start to ask you what you do all day that keeps you away from the gym, or are rude about how your body is different now.

4. If your feet grew, try and look on the bright side and allow yourself to shop for a whole new range of shoes. I haven't indulged yet because I am in denial about all my never worn shoes not fitting me again (and frankly, I'm sticking to flats nowadays), but if you can afford it, feel free to go on ahead.

5. Do be careful though about the fact that there is alot more stress on your body while carrying a child (even one that is outside of your body), so try to be a tad bit practical as well to make sure that you do not aggravate your already taxed joints - your knee, back and hip do not need any more strain.

6. Did you know that holding your baby on your hip can actually change the curvature of your spine? Which eventually will affect all your joints. Try and keep baby in the center, but if he throws a fit (mine does), then make sure to alternate which side you hold your koala on.

7. Swollen hands? These take a while to come back to size, if ever. Set a goal in your mind (either in time or in weight - eg, "when I am 1 year post partum/ when I weigh 150 lbs...) and when you get there, if your fingers haven't shrunk back, you will have to accept that your hands will never be the same, and then just get your rings re-sized.

8. If you are among the many, many of us that have polycstic overarian symdrome or disease (they are actually two separate conditions, with similar consequences), you may be lucky enough for your hormone profile to actually have reset with the changes that your body has just been through. However, if you are among the unlucky minority (like me), who did nor receive this long awaited relief, it may be even harder for you to lose weight (and unfortunately, even more necessary) - but try to be positive and stay at it. Whichever category you fall in, you will find changes to your hormone profile post baby so try and focus on the positive - whether it is your hair, skin or weight.

9. IUDs (intrauterine devices) - a lot of people don't know about these little things. They are a completely reversible and extremely safe form of contraception that is recommended for those who do not plan to have another child for a year or so. They are actually effective for 5 years but can be removed at anytime. Feel free to ask your doctor about it. (If you are a fellow PCOS victim though, beware that there is a small chance for you to experience bloating with this and have a slightly harder time losing that post baby weight - I know this from experience though it is extremely unusual and only affected me because of my already messed up hormone profile).

10. The stretch marks will eventually fade... eventually, or so I hear. But till then try and wear them with a little pride (since there's nothing else you can do).
Yes, they are called stretch marks. 
11. Try to insulate yourself from the rat race - and not just when it comes to comparing how the kids are doing, but also when it comes to how you are progressing.

12. Postpartum depression is very serious, very real and not something to be ignored, or ridiculed. If you know someone suffering from this or if you yourself have been affected, do not shy away from seeking help.

13. Ignore anyone who offers you any advice or tells you that you can do it better! You already know how to take care of yourself (and your child), so trust your gut.

14. Don't shy away from getting a drink once in a while even if you are nursing. It is safe (you can do the strip test with milk alcohol strips, or use a rule of thumb: Wait 2 hours for wine, and 3-4 for the harder stuff). So, fill up and relax when you get a minute, you deserve it. Cheers!

A mistake I myself make is thinking I need to do it all by myself while juggling how I am feeling. It is easy to get overwhelmed, and doesn't make you (or me) any less human or any worse of a parent. Ask for help when you need it, and when it is offered to you, try and take it even when you don't think you need it, because it will recharge you for the next few hours if not days. It used to take a village to raise a child, so why do we try to do it all on our own? 

More to come!

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