5 Things I Don’t and Will Not Do as a new mom

When you become a new mom, you receive a ton of advice – some solicited, other not so much. This advice is usually given by well meaning loved ones or if you are a nervous first time mama like me, then by some random strangers on the bajillion mommy forums online.

Let’s face it, when you are a first time mom, you want to do everything right… or if you are like me, then at the very least you don’t want to fuck your child up. I don’t want to break my baby ok? (That was an actual fear of mine when she was a few days old, what if I dropped her and broke her bones. I didn’t but still…)

During the first two weeks, I tried to follow as much of the online “wisdom” as I could but some of it just doesn’t work for me. Here is a list of 5 things I am not doing and will not do in the foreseeable future.

1. Skin on Skin Time

Cue the shocked, angry, judgemental tones. But yeah… I am not stripping my baby down for every feeding. NOPE.
When my little one is freaking fussing and wants to eat, stripping her down to her diaper is the last thing I want to be doing.

As far as bonding is concerned, we are happy and are doing well. She smiles every time I am around, either that or she smells milk and smiles. Both of those things work for me.

2. Feed every 2 hours 

Ok so when we were at the hospital I was told to wake my baby up every two hours after a feed but then she started cluster feeding and I just didn’t have it in me to wake her up after 2 hours after 6 hours of continuous feeding. NAHHHH BRAAH
Apart from that, she wakes up like clockwork when she wants to eat and has been putting on weight consistently.

I am sure that feeding every 2 hours works for some babies but my baby was constantly spitting up and had so much uncomfortable gas.

3. Use diaper cream during every diaper change

Why the heck would I slather on chemicals on my baby’s bum without a cause? Coconut oil rules.

4. Leave my baby in a dirty diaper overnight just because pampers are super absorbent

Okay first question: How’d you like to sit in your shit for 5 hours?
I know people say that you shouldn’t wake up a sleeping baby and normally I’d be happy to oblige but I don’t want her to get an extremely angry bum rash.

I am happy to rock her back to sleep or feed her once she is clean.

5. Not rock her to sleep in my arms

I enjoy it and so does she.
She is equally happy to fall asleep on her play mat. I am told she will get used to it but my experience tells me otherwise.

We are constantly told that every baby is different, then why do we try to put them in buckets and tell mothers to follow all of that advice that may or may not work for them? Mamas you know your babies best so do what works for you.

Self Care as a New Mom

Becoming a mom has come with its unique set of challenges. I am definitely grateful but suddenly not having time to yourself can be trying. That’s why self care has become extremely important to me because let’s face it, without self care, I would 100% lose my shit.

Given that I am a millenial (* do I hear you cringe?*), when I decided that I needed to incorporate some intentional self care in my daily routine, I youtube-d it. And lo and behold, every other person, who was talking about self care, wanted me to take several hours to myself EVERY DAY to do nothing. HAHAHAHAH ok. -_-

1. That’s not possible with a newborn
2. Let’s be realistic, is this ever possible even without a newborn? I am lucky if I get 20 minutes of peace and quiet these days. Yes, newborns sleep a lot but if you are a functioning adult who needs food or wants to take a shower or a shit (you do you boo!) then you are basically doing something when they are sleeping. Or, if you are me, you are napping and catching up on sleep.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get some time to yourself. Here are 9 things I have been doing to make myself feel better each day.

1.  Spending time chatting with my baby

I know, I know, I am talking about getting time for myself and I want to spend that talking to my baby? I sound like I have lost my marbles but hear me out.
I am a C section mom, so in the first few days of her life, I couldn’t really talk to her or engage with her a ton without completely exhausting myself. Now that I have recovered, I am taking full advantage of it and I intentionally set aside an hour each day where I do nothing but talk to her.

I find that as a parent I can be quite overwhelmed, especially because she is only a month old, but if I put away all my electronics and just spend time talk to her, not only is it good for her language development, it also helps me relax! I have also noticed that when I do chat with her she starts babbling, which is really the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen a baby do!

2. Taking a 20 minute walk every day

Each day, I ask my partner to look after the baby for a minimum of 2 hours so I can get some me time. This can even be scheduled when she is taking a nap.

During this time I can take a shower, read or go for a walk. Since the weather has turned warmer, I have been opting for more walks instead of reading or sitting around.

3. Put some lipstick on

Something as simple as putting on some lipstick in the morning makes me feel put together and happy for the rest of the day.
Admittedly though the weather in Toronto is hot as shit right now so I have been avoiding putting lipstick on because I hate the melting feeling on my face. UGH.

4. Have some tea

Image courtesy of David’s Tea Instagram

Because tea is magic!

I lovvveee love love tea! I don’t care how hot it gets, tea always makes me happy!

5. Drink lots of water

Our little one is exclusively breast fed so drinking water is high on my priority list, especially on these hot days. AHHH GOD! SO HOT! Can we go back to winter already. DAMN IT!

I have the pink S’well bottle and it makes me feel oh so fancy even when I am just drinking water. You don’t need to have a fancy water bottle but I like having one so I use it!

6. Ask your partner for help 

Let me take a moment to acknowledge my privilege – I have an incredibly supportive partner. I already mentioned this before but I have been asking him for help to look after our baby for 2 hours each day. He is around all the time but during those two hours I read, bathe, sleep or do whatever my heart desires.

7. Meditate

I do this by colouring in my mandalas! You can use one of those meditation apps too, here’s one that I am currently obsessed with

https://www.calm.com/meditate

8. Blog

I find that not only does blogging help me relax, it also helps me get organized when I can get my thoughts out on paper or in this case in a blog post.
I have always found blogging to be extremely therapeutic. Doesn’t matter if people are reading your blog or not, do it for yourself and perhaps your kid down the line.  It is also really fun to go back and read posts you wrote several years ago and see how you have grown as a person.

9. Eat well! 

I can’t stress this enough! Eating well gives you the energy to take care of your baby & yourself.

Mamas, I want to know how do you take care of yourself?


Disclaimer: It took a while after Iman’s birth for me to start taking care of myself or to even figure out what I need to be doing & by no means do I have it all figured out.

ABOUT OUR FIRST BORN & LABOUR 👣🌝🍼❤️😊

Saw this on facebook and wanted to partake (:

1. Did you have an epidural? 
HELL YES! and then some…
2. Was your husband/boyfriend in the room?
Yes
3. Were you induced? 
Yes
4. Did you find out the sex?
Yes
5. Due Date? 
11 April 2017
6. Did you deliver early or late? 
1 day late
7. Did you have morning sickness? 
No
8. What did you crave? 
Cheesy Cheetos, 
Ice
9. How many pounds did you gain?
10 lbs
10. What was the sex of the baby? 
Girl
11.Did you have complications?
No, just some good old UTIs, low iron…
12. Where did you give birth? 
Mount Sinai
13. How many hours were you in labour?
25
14. How much did your baby weigh? 
6lbs 1oz
15. What did you name the baby? 
Iman
16. How old is your baby now? 
1 month 2 days (:

Come on mamas! Let’s hear your story!

Motherhood – Update

Hey y’all!

I hope everyone is doing splendidly. Iman and I are happy, healthy and thriving and boy she sure does love drinking milk, which roughly translates into extremely sore and raw nipples for mom (real talk, p.s: Coconut oil is my bff). Honestly don’t know how our mothers did it or my paternal and maternal grandmothers, who had 8 and 6 kids respectively. They didn’t even have fucking epidural.


Life is awesome as a mother but figuring out how to not lose yourself is pretty tough. I don’t have baby blues as such but there are days when I really want to go for a walk and I do (because that’s just how I roll) but once I am outside, I worry that my child is going to need me so I better hurry back.

My partner is trying to be supportive (but doesn’t quite know how yet) and we are slowly (real slowwwwly) getting the hang of it. Kudos to single mothers who do it all on their own. Be kind to all the mamas in your life.  Oh and now I totally get why parents want to share every little memory of their child on Facebook and why they are fascinated because sure all kids smile but when your kid does it, it is extra special.

So mommies, how did you make sure that you still got some time to yourself?

New Mom Alert : April & Our New Family

April brought with itself many changes, the biggest one being the arrival of our daughter Iman (: We are thrilled to welcome our little angel into our family!

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She is the funniest and there are many things I’ve had to do that I never thought I’d ever do for anyone, I love her beyond measure and she makes it so easy to love her. A massive thank you to everyone who has been supportive throughout my pregnancy & helped us prepare for the arrival of our baby and thank you to all of you sending gifts and offering help in different ways, Our little family really appreciates it.

Flowers

Thank you Product Hunt Toronto team for these lovely flowers (: 

I want to journal more and read more but tons going on right now. I am not sure why people think that motherhood is basically lots of sitting around. Sure, to feed I suppose but not beyond that, especially when it is just you and your partner. Will share my labour story on here soon!

Building communities around a movement

This article originally appeared on Claire Rampen’s Medium. For more, head on over to her site!

In conversation with

In honour of International Women’s Day this month, I’m profiling impressive women who are doing work worth shouting about in the sharing economy & community space.

 


Let me introduce Ria Lupton, a woman who deserves to be crowned as community building royalty in her resident city of Toronto. Her achievements in the space are many; Founder of Community Builders, Founding Director of Women Who Code Toronto chapter, Director for SheWorx Toronto chapter, Community and Content Lead for Startup Open House and more, all on top of her day job commitments.

As our conversation unfolded, I began to realise the power of Ria’s innate ability to build communities around herself, which she says began as a child and continues to this day. To give you an example, she tells me that she opened a Twitter account when she moved to Toronto and every time she met someone new (be it in person or virtually), she added them to her follower list. She now follows over 4,700 people.

             A card written by Ria, aged 12 — a love of community started early !

But building a super-sized network wasn’t even her focus. She entered the community world thanks to her academic background (a mix of computer engineering, information systems and UX Design) and a desire to explore her passion for marketing. Looking around, she saw engineering teams building products without really having a community of users identified, and failing when they hit go-to-market. It sparked a realisation;

“you can have the greatest product in the world, but if you don’t have a community, you have nothing.”

So, in an effort to move away from working on products in isolation, she embarked on a career in the world of marketing and found herself supporting the Women who Code movement, back in its early days.


So how did she build these communities to the size they are, and get so many people to join the movement?

The first thing that strikes me as a reason for success is Ria herself; she’s business-like but also open, curious and interested. In essence, she embodies the qualities needed to build a community and attract people to a cause.

During our conversation, she reflected on her experience as a community builder and had a lot of practical wisdom to share:

1. Give without expecting to get

As a community builder or founder, you need to be prepared to sacrifice with no return in the beginning — you can tell a mile off if someone is creating something for their own self-interest.

This first point embodies patience. No matter if the community we are building is for work, our social life, career support, causes, or hobbies; if you set out to quickly achieve your own deadlines, you will not succeed in getting others to follow.

2. Talk about your achievements as a group

Measure your impact! Who is your community serving? What value are you delivering? Talking about this is what keeps people around. Measurement is often overlooked as a business device, but it is crucial even in extra-curricular communities (maybe even more so). If people don’t feel like they’re part of something that is progressing, growing, or achieving its goals, motivation will wane.

3. Identify your purpose

The level of impact your community can have will be directly related to the clarity of your purpose. If you’re not clear and differentiated, people will not follow.

I appreciated Ria’s candidness about impact, telling me stories of communities she’s contributed to which haven’t managed to sustain themselves, or which she’s stepped away from. It illustrated her point perfectly; if people start to forget why they were turning up and contributing in the first place, they will quickly lose interest.

4. True communities are more than their umbrella organisation

Building a true community and building a brand are very different activities. A community should be about fostering relationships and when tested, they should endure, even if the umbrella organisation does not.

This point really resonated with me as I have worked in the commercial community space in the past. There are many businesses out there who try to connect more deeply with their customers but they never quite get beyond going through the motions. A customer’s desire to help stems from feeling part of the community, be it online or offline, and that will only emerge when you include your customers from the ground up. In other words, include them in your mission, in creating your brand and in determining what it stands for.

4. It takes a community to build a community

Don’t underestimate the importance of mobilising others to help you. Ria shared a useful tip; contact five friends and ask them to each bring someone along. When people are being relied upon, they feel more invested in the cause. Use this to build your community and open its reach wider.


It was such a pleasure to speak with Ria and hear about her community experience. Her genuine desire to build communities, to serve others and wider causes is really admirable, and I can’t wait to see where it takes her next.

Thank you to Ria for being the first interviewee in my mini-series celebrating International Women’s Day!

February in Review – Favourites and Lessons

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Where did February go? It all passed by so quick!

I was really good at blogging regularly in January but then February rolled around and it all went down the crapper. But all things considered, Feb was a good month.

Favourite things and moments from Feb

1. C & I celebrated our second wedding anniversary and prepared for a major life change.

Colin and IThis is a photo from our civil ceremony. LOL check out my $16 Forever 21 dress… ooooh so fancy!

2. I read 3 books this month (or finished reading)

Virginia Woolf in Manhattan by Maggie Gee
Genre: Fiction
Review: Highly Recommended

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The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Genre: Fiction
Review: Recommended but more of a YA feel to it

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Born with Teeth by Kate Mulgrew
Genre: Non Fiction
Review: Is this her real life? Cause WOW! recommended reads…

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P.S: As you can see, I am sticking to my resolution of solely borrowing from the library and I have been really good! Super proud of myself for that!

3. Started my novel writing course – which I am really enjoying and highly recommend.

4. Hosted the inaugural event for Community Builders with some amazing community builders. – creative baby that I have been working on for almost 2 years now.

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5. Finally got comfortable with calling myself a founder – even though I have shied away from the term for the longest time because I didn’t want to make others feel uncomfortable. But I realized that me taking credit for shit that I have done does not take away from others and if people feel like it does, then that’s not my tribe and I do not want to collaborate with folks like that. Thank you Karen with helping me with this. ❤

6. Received my first ever Once Upon a Book Club Box and I am so stoked to experience it for myself!
(soooo I did splurge on books here ;))
screen-shot-2017-03-03-at-1-03-20-am
So what is this book box? Well, it is a phenomenal reading experience.
In each box, you receive a book and several gifts. Throughout the book there are post it notes that correspond to gifts. Once you reach a page with the note, you open a gift that  is labelled with that particular page number & each gift has something to do with the story.
See? HOW COULD I NOT?

I’ll let you know how it goes!

7. Hosted another successful MARKET for work
I am so incredibly lucky that I get to hang out with incredible marketers and get to call it work!
Shout out to Reba and Regan (my colleagues) for working on some dope swag for this event too! LOVVEEE!

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8. Got to hang out at Honest Ed’s one last time!

honest

For those of you that don’t live in Toronto, Honest Ed’s was an iconic bargain store from the 40’s, that is now being torn down to make way for condos. Think of it as dollar store on some pretty good crack.

My work a.k.a RIGHTSLEEVE Marketing designed the merch for the farewell party and as a result I got to hang out there on a weekend with some amazing folks.
Funnily enough, everything I own from Honest Ed’s is Elvis Presley themed. Go figure!

Lessons

1. Setting boundaries is extremely important – not just for others but also for myself.
It is so easy to lose yourself in all the hubbub of every day life.

2. Speak the fuck up
Most people have no clue how you want to be treated or if you don’t like something – so speak up!

3. Self care is as important as breathing
Love yourself and everything else will fall into place!

Things I hope to do more of in March 

1. Read more

2. Blog more

3. More bookstagram photos

4. Get ready for April! EEEEEKKSSS

That’s it on my end for now! I am incredibly excited for March, there is ton of work to be done but there are some really exciting things and projects on the horizon. What a time to be alive!