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Road trip with babies

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Well, I am no expert but I think I have had my decent share of traveling with my little one, so far. He has experienced all modes of transportation – yes, all. I am pretty sure, he knows there is a lot to come in the future as well but for the purpose of this post, let’s focus on road trips and our most recent one in particular. Over this recent long weekend, we did a bunch of fun stuff together but one of the highlights of the weekend was a trip to the Santa Barbara Zoo with our new new-parents friends. We were 3 couples and 4 babies in total (2 little boys and a pair of twins all below the age of 16 months). We had a great day with lots of adventure and laughter. Not that it matters but we were all Indians and spending a day with people who you can talk to in your native tongue has a special kick of its own. Just sayin!

So, here are a few things to consider when you take a road-trip:

1) Destination, of course 

How you travel and where you are traveling to are equally significant. If you are new to the idea of a road trip with your little one/s, a place that is not more than 2-3 hours of a drive is a good place to start. Your destination will give you a rough idea of what items you will need to carry and what items you can leave behind. It will give you an idea about the weather, temperature, food, etc. For example, we were going to the zoo, so items such as sun protection gear, extra food pouches, and extra diapers were a no brainer. I also knew we might make a quick beach stop but a beach mat is always in the trunk considering out impromptu trips to the beach.

2) Time management

Like I said, a good place to start would be 2 hours or less but you could definitely try more if you feel up to it. I, personally, would gradually increase the travel time. If it is a long trip, taking breaks to change the diaper and nurse/feed is always a great idea. Honestly, the distance doesn’t matter as much if you and your baby (and everyone traveling) are well fed, hydrated, and comfortable. So, food, water, and diaper change are key. Another thing to consider is your baby’s nap time and if you could travel during that time, this is of course in case you’ve set up a routine. If you have, great. If you haven’t, no problem. Timing the travel after a meal, freshly changed diaper will result in a happy baby enjoying the window views. For this trip, his nap time synced with most of our travel time-both ways. Ensuring that he is comfortable, I wouldn’t worry too much about it anyway. So, Yay!

3) Packing Essentials

Heres the thing with diaper bags and packing, as new parents, one of your main concerns is going to be whether you’ve got all that you want for your baby. With time and experience, I have come to conclude that the shift from wants to “needs” HAS to happen if I want less chaos. I understand that you want to make sure that you have everything possible but think about it, carrying too much will only lead you to more confusion and stress to manage it all. You know you kid the best, pack accordingly. For instance, on this trip, our bag had water, 4 pureed fruit pouches, an extra pair of clothes, wet wipes, pacifier, a box of Cheerios for munching, warm water flask, formula pouches, a bottle for formula, and disposable table mat. These are all that I knew we would need, not want and we happened to use all of it. In addition to this, I always have a backup bag in the car with his interactive toys while he is sitting in the car seat. I rarely use them because he likes to look out the window and babble.

4) Room for goof-ups, they are going to happen. Flexibility, people! 

True story, we forgot to refill our portable changing pad with extra diapers! *facepalm* It was a classic case of “I thought you did it. No! I thought you did” between my husband and I. Of course, I was frustrated for a just a minute and surprisingly so, we didn’t let that affect the rest of the day. I quickly asked if the zoo’s store sold some diapers, they said no, then one of us ran to the car and grabbed few extras we left in the trunk. Bam! Crisis averted! *High-5 time!* So, the moral of the story is, sometimes, goof ups happen. Flexibility is a key when babies are around. You have to be prepared for surprises.

5) Lastly, take it easy and don’t forget to have fun

As much as you are trying to make the best of all for your kid/s, don’t forget to take it easy and have fun. Try to let go when you have to. Try to capture as many pictures (manual and mental) for memories. If you are going in a group, help each other out when in need. None of the above factors will matter if you all, yes, parents included, failed to have a good time by being stressed out. Learning from mistakes and adapting to a situation is a trait of a happy parent. Just sit back, enjoy the drive. Play some good music or have a great talk or sing songs together have fun.

Remember to be happy, not perfect!

Until next time,
Love,

Mumsy.

Please follow me on Instagram @mumsyland for more pictures and updates.

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Top 10 things I learned after becoming a Parent

10. You CANNOT prepare enough for parenthood, no matter what!

I was one of those new moms (anxious ones) who had lists prepared for everything – hospital bag, postpartum depression kit, infant childcare class for both my husband and I, random hospital drill, backup music playlist, organized nursery before the baby arrives, on-call nurses and doctors in case something happens, etc. I do not like to be dependent on anyone. My backups had backups. It was a different phase of my life and soon after I gave birth, I realized, one cannot prepare for parenthood. It’s like a tide, you face it and ride it, like a boss.

9. You can do anything but not everything.

Try to be happy, not perfect. I always had a problem with this unnecessary glorification of what a “perfect mother” should look and behave like. Motherhood is glorious but it is as real as real can get. It is an abundance of hard work combined with zero gratification from the other party (aka. baby), for few years at least. You gotta do what you gotta do but telling yourself that you have to do everything to be a ‘good mom’ is unrealistic. Continue reading

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Ideas for ‘me-time’

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My last post was an unfiltered and candid account of my first me-time encounter. I am pretty sure, you may have sensed the importance it holds in me. There were days when I used to be super busy up until I got an hour for myself and I didn’t know what to do. It was like some sort of a withdrawal. I would spend all my time wondering what to do until I figured out there is so much I could do to be happy. In this post, I am going to share with you a few things you can do during your alone time or your ‘me-time’, not in any specific order of significance:

  1. Take a long warm bath/shower
  2. Eat a fresh and warm meal
  3. Have a glass of wine
  4. Watch TV/ Netflix
  5. Doodle
  6. Write a journal
  7. Sing a song and record it for your little one/s
  8. Finish your chores
  9. Create a mini-spa
  10. Read a book’s chapter
  11. Go on a hike
  12. Pack yourself a picnic
  13. Lay on the grass
  14. Watch the clouds
  15. Meditate
  16. Paint your nails
  17. Organize your wardrobe
  18. Run
  19. Make play lists of your favorite genres
  20. Do absolutely nothing, just be and breathe.

So, these are few of the things tried and tested and enjoyed by yours truly. I wish and I hope that you get some time for yourself and that it helps you recharge and be happy just to hustle again, like a boss. Let me know if you have something that you do in your alone-time that makes you happy or makes you touch base with yourself. I would love to add them to my list too.

 

Until next time,

Love,

Mumsy!

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Candid ‘me-time’ story from a PPD Mum

Whether you are a new mom or an experienced one, or even if you are neither, the importance of getting some ‘me-time’ is paramount. Having some alone time to yourself is critically important for you to establish a healthy relationship with your surroundings. It’s like recharging your phone. I cannot stress how important and empowering it is to disconnect with everything only to reconnect better.

Let me tell you how I started my ‘me-time’. Before we get into it, you should know, I am that new mom, who strongly insisted on giving her son his first bath home and all his other firsts even though she underwent an episiotomy and had a 40+ hour long labor, and was sleep deprived courtesy breastfeeding. I did it all. I stepped out of the house only for our doctors’ appointments. When my son was about 14 days old, my parents had to go back to India due to a tragedy in the family. They were the only extra help I had because my husband also had to go back to work. It was also the same time when the postpartum depression hit me real bad. So, everything happened at once.

My son was about 2 months old when my husband almost kicked me out of the house to go for a drive by myself while he took care of our son. He said, “Pooja, I got this. You need to go out and get some air. You need to go out, drive around the block if you want but do something – without us.” I thought he was being so insensitive at that time. How can I leave the most precious thing of my entire existence and go out? Alone? Is this some kind of a joke? A bad-insensitive one? How careless! I am not that kind of a mom, I said. He gave me the keys and walked me out and shut the door. He said, ‘I will see you in 15 minutes.’ I left, reluctantly. I wanted to see what kind of a difference will it make and honestly, the naïve me wanted to prove him wrong. I drove around the block, then I took a turn at a minor intersection, then I took another one at a major intersection. I didn’t realize but I drove for half-an-hour, without music. It was just me and sounds of the car. I rolled down the window and I heard the cars zooming swiftly next to mine. I felt the breeze. I didn’t like how it played fizz with my hair. I rolled them back up. I returned home. As he opened the door and greeted me without saying a word, I hugged him tight and wept like a baby. I cried so much. It was as if I had to go on that drive that day to disconnect myself from everything. To remind myself that I am the same 20-something girl who was (and still is) this ambitious person beyond being a new mother to this beautiful baby boy. I felt like I was under too much pressure to do the ‘right’ thing on my own with this huge responsibility. That day, for the first time in a long time, I felt refreshed. I felt rejuvenated. I felt like I can do better as a mom, as a wife, and as a person. It felt like I was thirsty, on a hot summer day, and someone just offered me an ice-blended margarita, with salt. Okay, maybe a glass of chilled lemonade or water.

I liked this feeling. It energized me and this ladies and gentlemen, was the day I had a bulb-moment about the importance of ‘me-time’. I managed to carve out that me-time for myself on most days ever since. I worked closely with my son and we both were taking cues off of each other to balance out a rhythm. I took advantage of his nap-times and treated myself with a hot shower or an episode of my favorite show or a quiet meal-time or finishing my chores or sometimes, I just wanted to lay down and not move an inch. I am and will always be incredibly grateful to him for that day and for all days when he takes charge and has his father-son time to ensure I also get my break. In fact, my boys are out having fun at the park while I write this right now.

So, you can establish your own rhythm with your kids, no matter how old they are right now. I urge you to just take at least 30 minutes away from being the wonder-woman you are. Find your version of what driving was for me that day. It can be anything or nothing too, as long as you are happy and at peace. Reconnect with the girl in you and ask her how she is, what she wants to be happy and figure out how you can make that possible. Or just be you.

If a Mumsy like me can do it, so can you. I promise you won’t regret it.

 

Love,

Mumsy

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How to meal plan to save time/money/food

Food wastage is one of my biggest pet peeves. I am one of those people who will finish what she ordered at a restaurant even if she did not like it. On demand, I am going to share with you how I meal-prep. This is a simple and a realistic meal plan that works for me and that may cater to your specific needs, taste buds, and budget. This will help you save your time, money, and most importantly, food.

Step 1: Do your grocery shopping once your fridge is close to being empty. Clean it and make sure that all items can be visibly stowed.

Step 2: Make a grocery list and stick to it! You can walk right in and out in less time if you have no distractions unless you are in the mood to explore. (I’ve been told its therapeutic sometimes. I personally can’t do it). This will also help save unnecessary purchases.

Step 3: Once you’ve stocked up your fridge, make a clear and condensed list of all items in specific categories such as bread, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and frozen items. The idea is to have a clear picture and identify perishables and non-perishables to avoid wastage.

Step 4: Checking all the items you have, make a master list of dishes you can prepare with all the items you have and organize them in categories like breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner.

Step 5: It’s a good idea to always have an emergency back-up like frozen food. For example, I have a couple of ready-to-eat stuff for the days when something happens and I can’t cook.

Step 6: Prepare a weekly list and put it up on the fridge so you can keep track and it will also help your partner or whoever know what options you have so they can help themselves if needed.  It encourages independence and saves time and avoids wastage.

Step 7: Don’t shop until its needed or your fridge is nearly empty, whichever is first.

Step 8: Include variety and repeat the above steps. It is boring to eat the same thing over and over so a variety of veggies and fruits in order to prepare something different is a good idea to keep your palette and yourself happy.

Here are some examples:

Well, you can do whatever works best for you – from creative to simple. Let me know if you’ve tried this method and if it helped you (or not).

Until next time,

Love,

Mumsy Pooja.

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STOP feeling guilty, Mumsy

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Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing enough? Am I a good-enough

Am I doing enough? Am I a good-enough

Am I a good-enough mum? Or, wait, am I a good mum?

Let me start off by saying the obvious – being a mom is the toughest and the most rewarding job ever! I repeat, e.v.e.r. It doesn’t matter if you are a new mom or an experienced mom, or a working mom or a stay-at-home mom. The categories don’t matter, it is just one of the toughest jobs you will ever do but it is one of the most rewarding at the same time. It sounds pretty cliché but if you are a parent, you know every single part of that is true as true can be. Right? From the things we do to the things we don’t, its all a big mess – a chaotic one at that. I am not trying to demonize motherhood or glorify the challenges here, I am just being candid about how it feels on some days and this post is about “those days”. I don’t want to tell you how to deal with it because honestly, I have no idea. I don’t know your life. I don’t know the things you have going on right now. My simple policy is that if you got through today, without breaking down, YOU ma’am, are my hero! As simple as that.

What I do want to do is to tell you, ‘stop feeling guilty’ and ‘stop feeling sorry for yourself’.

I won’t get into the details of how or what, and why but I feel like once in a while, every mom goes on a guilt trip, a.k.a mom guilt. Here are some things that happen once-in-awhile (or may be often) you should stop feeling guilty about:

1. Getting some ‘me-time’ or ‘alone time’

2. Not “bouncing back” soon enough

3. Going back to work

4. Not being able to work out 

5. Wearing makeup

6. Dressing up

7. Eating

8. Having a drink or two

9. Snoozing that alarm

10. Not having a to-do list

11. Over-clipping your baby’s nails sometimes by mistake

12. Not spending too much time with your kids

13. Feeding store-bought baby food instead of making your own

14. Going out with friends or having a social life

15. Reconnecting with yourself and not just being a mom, all the time

Sometimes, things happen. You’ve got to give yourself a break. You need to know and believe that You are not alone. You are doing the best you can. I know its easy said than done but trust this fellow-mumsy of yours, I have been there, each of the above guilt-trips fully lived and experienced. I learned that if I don’t take care of myself first, I will not be able to take care of my son at all. I wont be good company and that’s the last thing I want. End of the day, it comes down to if we (not just he, I mean, all of us, as a family) had a good day or not – how much I made him laugh, how he enjoyed my company, how happy he is, how independent and strong he is getting, and the rest is figureout-ble.

Love,

Mumsy Pooja


[This is not a sponsored post. This is not the “right” way either. The above content is driven solely from personal experience. For any questions or concerns, write @ writetomumsy@gmail.com]