Breastfeeding, Pregnancy and Housework OH MY! My SAHM Update

SAHM
I’ve had the privilege of staying at home with my girls full time for the last four months. While life has been busy, it truly has been rewarding and lots of fun. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to have my family and home be my main focus and responsibility. Many people believe the myth that being a SAHM means you get to lounge around all day, talk on the phone and eat snacks; where anyone would get such a ridiculous idea I have no clue!! For me being a SAHM means serving my husband and my children and taking care of home full time without the responsibility of full time outside work. Being a SAHM is work that I LOVE and ADORE doing most of the time but don’t get it twisted, it IS WORK.

Our girls are 2 1/2 and 8 months and it’s so cool to watch them grow and learn new things right before my eyes. Of course there is the constant challenge of learning to balance time with my husband, playing, teaching and disciplining the girls and getting things done around the house. Some days the laundry or the dishes don’t get done and I have to learn to be okay with that.

MOM

To ensure that I get rest and stay sane, I wake my girls up early so that they can be tired at a decent time for a nap and have an early bed time. There’s lots of cooking, cleaning, bathing, playing, disciplining, teaching, cuddling, bathing, tickling, reading and arts and crafts going on throughout the day. I start my day running and by the end of some days I haven’t eaten much, my hair never left my scarf and my body is aching but I go to bed still grateful for the chance to be at home and not in the work force.

BOY

Last November, my husband and I were surprised and overjoyed to find out that we were expecting another baby. Our youngest daughter was four months at that time. In the midst of my shock and mixed emotions, my awesome husband was happy and very encouraging. My husband reminded me that God was with us, we were a great team and everything would be fine. Now I am almost five months pregnant and everything with baby and I has been great. This week we found out that we’re expecting a baby boy!! We’re over the moon excited to welcome our son into our family this July.

To many people’s surprise, Elaina and I still have a great nursing relationship. It IS possible to nurse while pregnant. For me, nursing while pregnant hasn’t been any different from when I nursed my oldest daughter Elyssa. Many people, including one doctor, told that me that my milk would dry up soon after pregnancy and Elaina would refuse my milk but so far neither of those things have happened thank God. I believe that God will give me peace about when to wean her. My prayer is that she and I will both be okay with weaning when the time comes and it will be a smooth transition before our son is born.

The everyday challenges of being a SAHM plus being pregnant, nursing a baby and chasing a toddler makes for some very interesting, tiring days. But I most say that it hasn’t been as challenging as I thought it would be and I give all glory to God for that. God continues to give me the grace, energy, joy and wisdom needed to care for the girls and stay rested and healthy for myself and my son. The days that I have energy I pick different projects to do like cooking multiple meals, clean the house, do laundry etc, and the days that I don’t have energy, I care for the girls and make sure we’re all feed and safe lol. My husband is a great cook and has lots of patience so when I’m tired and short tempered, he steps in, cooks and cares for the girls while I rest. It’s a HUGE blessing to have a spouse who is helpful and selfless with a kind heart. I love you Eddie Willis III and I thank God for you!!!!!

As moms we go through different seasons in life, sometimes we work inside the home and sometimes we work outside the home; there isn’t a right or a wrong regarding this in my opinion. Being a SAHM is not for everyone and I would never say that all women should stay home with their children. Being at home full time requires a certain amount of grace and patience that I believe only God can give and it’s not for everyone! I have my Masters in Counseling and I know that my career days are not over. I love counseling others, helping them overcome obstacles and reach their goals. Let me just say that I loved my job. I was a Social Worker for nine years and I believed in the work that we did to help our community. The last year that I was working, I felt that the time was drawing near for me to close that chapter of my life for a period and start a new one. Now instead of heading to meetings and conducting sessions with families, I’m watching the clock to keep my girls on their schedule, helping them grow, learn and conducting playdates and I LOVE IT!

I’m finding that I have more time and energy for my husband which is awesome. On his off days, we spend time together with our children and without them. As I mentioned earlier, my hubby is a hands on husband and dad and he makes sure he helps around the house and with the girls. (He’s always fixing something to save us money. It pays to have a husband whose good with his hands!) He also pushes me to go out and take some “me time” or hang out with my girlfriends often. As you can imagine with me not having to deal with the stress and politics that come with working outside the home and him helping around the house, things have been pretty hott in the bedroom!!! That’s evident by our current bun in the oven! We’re a young happily married couple and we make time to enjoy one another! We’re determined not to get caught up in work and children and never take time to talk, laugh or love on one another. I desire him and he desires me. Team Willis all the way baby!!

I love photography and this past December I started my own business called J. Victoria Photography. I’ve worked with some amazing people and children and I’m having lots of fun! I’m still developing my skill and learning the business but I’m enjoying the process! I created a studio inside my home so I get to work from home doing a few sessions a week and it’s something I love doing so that’s really cool! I want my clients to have a great experience and receive good quality pictures at an affordable price. I’d love for my readers to “like” my J. Victoria Photography Facebook page and if you’re in Michigan, message me about our promotions and packages, please visit https://www.facebook.com/Jvictoriaphotography

If you’re a stay at home mom please be encouraged. I know some days you may not feel appreciated, hubby may not say thank you and the children may behave like wild animals, but tomorrow will be better. We must continue to seek our Heavenly Father and thank Him for providing us the chance to be home for this season and ask Him to continue to equipt us with everything we need while we are in it. Remember, you ARE a great mom and you ARE doing an awesome job!!!

Life With Two What To Do?!

girls

On June 13, 2013, I became a mommy of two! Two car seats, two cribs, a double stroller and a house filled with toys and pink clothes and bows galore!! Our oldest daughter Elyssa, is now 28 months and she is smart, sweet, funny, full of energy and curious about everything. Our baby girl Elaina is now eight weeks and she holds her head up, laughs and loves to nurse. Our girls keep us on our toes but they keep us laughing and enjoying every moment.

girls2

So the title of this post is a very valid question; life with two what to do!? How do you chase a toddler around the living room when you have a infant crying to nurse, a husband who has needs and a house that’s in desperate need of a cleaning?! For me the answer is simple, breathe, ask God for patience, wisdom and grace and let my love for my family keep me going. The word of the month for me is organization. I’m trying to stay on top of the housework and the laundry so that I don’t find myself overwhelmed. My helpful husband and I work opposite shifts so he cares for the girls while I’m away and I care for them while he’s away. He cooks sometimes, I cook sometimes. We try to keep the laundry from piling up and try to keep Elyssa’s toys from consuming the whole house. Some days I say forget it and I just enjoy my family and pretend as if I don’t see the piles of clutter lying around.

As mothers we’re usually the first ones up and the last to go to bed. The ones doing majority of the cooking but the last to get to sit down and eat. We work hard to make sure that the house is run smoothly and somehow have the courage to continue to add more children and more responsibility to our plate as the years go by. WHY do we do this to ourselves?! I know my answer, I love being a mom. I love nursing, serving, cuddling, teaching, playing and watching them grow. Being a wife and a mom is the hardest but funniest and most rewarding job I’ve ever had. I was made to do this! I don’t know what I will do when Elaina becomes mobile and I have two girls to chase around but you know what, God will give me the grace and the energy just like He continues to do now. Parenting a two year old is no joke and I don’t always get it right but I’m grateful to God for a hands on husband and the support system that we have around us.

Being a mother of two for this first 8 weeks has been lots of work and lots of fun. I will post about my mommy experiences as times goes by. Until then, stay strong mommies and know that you’re doing a great job!!

11 Month Mommy & Big Girl Update

Today (3/1) at 11:55am, our little lady will be 11 months! For the past 7 weeks straight she has been sleeping through the night peacefully!! The doc gave me a lecture about getting her on a sleep schedule, putting her to bed earlier and not continually going in her room at night. I was nervous but I took the doc’s tips (which my husband had been trying to convince me of also) and it worked!! Now Elyssa sleeps from 9:30pm-7:30 am every night! She nurses at 7:30 am and goes back to sleep for an hour or two. We’re still working on the daily naps, she usually just takes cat naps but because she sleeps so well at night, we’re not complaining!
Sunday we noticed she has her fourth tooth coming in! It’s her first top tooth and it’s already broke through. She’s handling teething very well. She likes to take off her bibs and chew them and sometimes when we’re not looking, she tries to take a bite out of us! We gently tell her no and she just smiles and finds something else to relieve her gums.
 
I’m still breastfeeding and loving it. Now when I get home from work, Elyssa doesn’t want hugs or kisses, she wants her milk and she’s not playing! After she nurses she gives me smiles and starts telling me about her day in her special baby talk language. Even though Elyssa has teeth, she rarely bites me. 99% of the time she is gentle and when she starts being silly and tries to bite or play with my nipple, I pull her away and say no. If I put her to me again and she does it, then we take a break. Most of the time, she’s so ready for her milk that she doesn’t bite or play.
 
I continue to make her baby food in the blender with the breast milk. We purchased a portable high chair and she loves it! It’s her big girl seat and she enjoys eating with us up high. Currently I have 100 oz of frozen milk and I continue to pump twice a day a work. Daily I confess over my body that it will produce milk for Elyssa as long as she and I need it to. I won’t allow others to pressure me into stopping nursing when she turns one. Of course everyone has a opinion but my decision to nurse or not is not up for community vote. My husband and I agree that I will continue to nurse and do what’s best for Elyssa and I.
Elyssa is enjoying learning how to drink from her sippy cup. Some days she likes to hold it and chew on the nipple but I’ve seen her lift it up correctly and actually drink without our assistance. That was an exciting moment, esp since she never took to bottles or the pacifier well. 
Elyssa started walking in January when she was 9 months. She’s walking like a pro now and even trying to run. She has lots of confidence and walking and discovering things brings her such joy. She has escaped from her barricaded play area a few times, which was surprising, scary and funny all at the same time. I left her in her fortress (that’s what we call her play area) and I looked up and she was standing in the bathroom with me! This occurred one hour after I put on her new walking shoes. I say those shoes gave her some baby power because she’s been a walking, running, escape artist ever since! We have a gate up and she has to be in her pack in play, activity chair or booster seat if we have to step out of the room for a second. She enjoys following us around the house like a little duckling, just walking, clapping and laughing. She’s a happy, peace and smart baby girl. Thank you Jesus for blessing our family with such a amazing child. She has brought us all so much joy! I will write a post about her 1st birthday party. The special party plans are underway! 

9 Reasons Why I Love Nursing My 9 Month Old

While nursing can sometimes have it’s challenges, it’s been an awesome joy and experience for my daughter and I. I wanted to share why nursing is great for us and I also hope to promote breastfeeding and dispel a few myths! Enjoy the list and feel free to post why you enjoy nursing. This pic is of me nursing my daughter at a park when she was 6 months old.

I Love Nursing Because:

1. It’s a wonderful way for Elyssa and I to bond. She likes to hold my fingers and gaze into my eyes while nursing. She enjoys cuddling up close to me and nursing till she’s satisfied.

2. The breast milk I produce is the perfect nutrients to keep her healthy, strong and developing on target. Breast milk also protects my baby girl from many illnesses and future health issues, therefore it’s worth the minor challenges I encountered in the beginning.

3. It’s super convenient and easy once she and I got the hang of it. I’ve never had to prepare bottles in the middle of the night or get frustrated when I run out the house and forget her diaper bag. I can just find a nice comfy spot and nurse her. My body provides her with everything that she needs. Now, latching is like second nature to her; she doesn’t need my help at all.

4. I’m able to educate those around me about the benefits and joys of breastfeeding. I’ve been blessed to have an awesome breastfeeding experience and to learn a lot along the way. I love posting about nursing on my Facebook status, having discussions with others online, at work, church and family events. Many moms and moms to be have sought me out to process their concerns and challenges about nursing and I’ve been able to help, encourage and give them resources. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to help another mom breastfeed successfully.

5. Nursing has helped me to lose 60 pounds! I lost the 30 that I gained during my pregnancy soon after birth and since then I’ve lost an additional 30 pounds. This week my coworker complimented me on my weight loss and asked me how I did it. When I told her that all I’ve been doing is nursing and Elyssa AND I have benefited greatly from it, she was very surprised and said she never knew that weight loss was a benefit of nursing.

6. Nursing has helped us to save lots and lots of money! Breast milk is what’s best for babies and it’s FREE!! Between breast milk helping babies to remain healthy, it being free and helps with weight loss, I’m not sure why more women don’t nurse. Trust me, nursing is worth the initial challenges as mom and baby learn the techniques. Don’t believe that nursing is very hard, that it hurts and is too time consuming. Everyone’s experience is different but my experience has been easy and rewarding.

7. I use my breast milk to make baby food. Elyssa’s pediatrician gave me the great idea of using my breast milk when making her food due to me having a big milk supply. Making her baby food has been lots of fun and very easy. Also making her food helps us to control what goes in her body and saves us money. I can spend $2 on 2 jars of baby food or I can take $2 and buy a few fresh veggies and prepare a few trays of pureed food.

8. I can donate my breast milk to help other moms and babies in need. I’ve donated 405 oz of milk so far and I plan to donate more in the future. I’ve been blessed to have a high milk supply and Elyssa never took well to bottles so the milk that I pump at work each day starts to pile up. I hooked up with the Human Milk For Human Babies Facebook page and located the Michigan page. I went to the page and let the moms know that I had milk to donate and I hooked up with 5 moms over a 2 month period to donate the 405 oz. It was an amazing feeling to be able to bless those families!

9. It brings my daughter so much joy. When I come home from work each day, Elyssa is smiling and reaching for me because she’s ready to nurse. In the middle of nursing, she stops, looks me in the eyes and gives me the BIGGEST smile! Sometimes she even babbles a few sounds as if she’s saying, thank you mommy, I love you. Those moments make me feel wonderful and reminds me why I nurse.

Bottome line, breast is best! I hope this blog post has helped you and answered some of your questions or concerns about breastfeeding. Feel free to email me questions at http://www.joanna.willis@hotmail.com

Helpful FB breastfeeding pages

https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Breast-Feeding-Mommys/116929728388525

https://www.facebook.com/#!/BreastfeedingMothersUnite

https://www.facebook.com/#!/BlacktatingBlog

https://www.facebook.com/#!/hm4hb