Mothering the Mama
Y’all, I just vacayed back to back. Like legit 2 weeks in a row. You would think that means I’ve had enough self care to last for months but in reality, I need a self care break from vacationing. Ugh I know, such first world problems.

My first vacation was a girl’s trip that I’ll tell you guys all about in next week’s post. My second trip was a family trip for a week long baseball tournament. True Bly occasion if you know my family. But the most important part of this trip for me was after having a girls vacay I was able to come home and have one with my baby boy too.

Honestly, this trip would have taken me out if it wasn’t for one thing; preparation. Listen taking on a toddler with 2 flights, 4 baseball game days (sometimes double headers), and a small hotel room for 6 days is straight madness. And though we had very very minute bumps and bruises along the way I swear Tate was an angel baby. He is truly the best travel companion ever.

To reward his good behavior amongst all the baseball madness, I had to make sure we had some things just for him. That for me was the aquarium and of course the beach!! If you know this mama you know one thing, I LOVE THE BEACH. Like can be out there all day; in the water, in the sand, it doesn’t matter just have me on a beach! So it’s only right that baby boy experienced the tradition right. And guess what?! He loves the beach just as much as I do. I see many more trips in our future and I definitely will continue to be prepared for them all!

Here’s my top 5 tips for an epic beach trip with a toddler:

1. Planning. Plan, plan, then plan again. Plan the dates, the time, the location, the people; everything! For us we knew we would be in Daytona Beach this week for my brother’s baseball tournament so it’s only right we included a beach trip. We knew arrival day would be too much for the beach being it was travel day, so we planned for the very next day early in the morning before the sun got too strong and it turned out to be perfect! Planning keeps you from running around like a chicken with your head cut off. Or at least let’s you save that for later things.

2. Protection. I wouldn’t be a nurse if I didn’t put this on the list would I? This is a very all inclusive part but - sunscreen - hat - floatie Though there is so much more that could be added to this list, these were my top favorites. Sunscreen because nobodies got time for cancer. Hat (which was a fight to keeps on Tater’s head) as an extra piece of protection from the strong sun. Floatie because though Tate has taken his swim classes, he’s no pro yet.

3. Food. If you know Tate, then you know you can’t do an occasion without including some snacks. There are plenty of options for this category. Pack, buy, make. There was a spot on the beach to purchase food and have it personally delivered to you. We used that to get a Snow Cone. I instead packed a few of Tate’s favorite snacks and then my dad got us pizza on the beach! A little mixture of both worked for us just fine .

4. Toys. I feel like this is a must at any toddler function, but especially on the beach. I purchased a $2 shovel and bucket from Walmart and it served as the perfect distraction for my little tot while I took a much needed mama break on the sand aka I laid out and got the most perfect tan ever. Later, I found a mini beach play set and it was so cute! We took this one back home with us.

5. Fun! I mean honestly how can you not include this! I am so very happy that Tate seems to love the beach as much as I do. We ran along the shore, splashed in the water and played in the sand. It was the most perfect beach experience I could have ever asked for. I cannot wait to do it again with him! 

Though vacations are fun, I think I’m done for at least 2 months haha. There’s nothing like your own bed. Use these tips to take your little one to the beach and let me know how it goes! I love beach stories almost as much as I love the beach!

Take care of you too mama,

Aysia B.

We all know those days. Every child in the household has cried at least twice. Mommas cried at least once. The dishes have piled up and the kids are lucky if they get one wholesome meal today. 

It’s a bad mama day. 

You’re at your whits end and you’re not even sure what to do. 

It’s time to reset and restart the day. 

Just like any other bad day you want it to end so a new one can take it's place; the fact is you can do that! But it has to intentional. You have to intentionally require yourself to forget all that has happened prior to that moment. 

And here’s how you do that: 

You set the standards to be different. 

Just like a teacher is in control of the feel of their classroom, you are in control of the feel of that household. Let your little one know you understand it has been a rough day for both of you but at that moment you both are going to restart and try to finish the day better. 

Tell them ways that you plan to do things differently for the rest of the day then ask them how they plan to exhibit the change. 

As always, children learn by example first. So show them how you’re trying really hard to make the day different too! If you’ve been yelling a lot, try not yelling but talking instead. If you’ve been giving lots of time outs try different methods of discipline instead, such as redirecting or attention. 

As a nurse one of the things I hear from parents in the emergency room the most is: “yea I just couldn’t take it anymore. It’s been a rough day”. Now yes- there’s is slightly different because they are dealing with an illness. But the principle is the same. They just kept doing the same thing until they couldn’t handle it anymore. 

Today, try finding a different solution before getting to that breaking point. 

Here's 3 tips to restarting a bad day:

1. Talking with your child.  As I said, let's all be intentional about changing this day.  The middle of the day right after nap time is usually the perfect time for me to have this talk this since I’ve had a little break and tend to feel semi recharged. Another great time to try to talk is during lunch time.  For me, Tate is sitting in his high chair and he's finally contained.  That's my usual "talk time".  He can't run away and he's intently focused on me since I have his most prized possession in hand: food.  I usually spend this time going over ABC'S or other things, but if it has been a rough day, this is my reset period for both of us. 

2. Change of scenery.  Get outside, go for a drive, etc.  Changing the scenery can create a better mood for everyone involved.  Plus "a little fresh air never hurt nobody"!

3.  Take a small escape.  Maybe your kid's being their usual self but today it's a little harder to deal.  Well give yourself a small break.  A longer bathroom break or a steamy shower. Your reset button doesn't always have to include the kids, sometimes it can be just an extra 5 minutes that you take alone!

No matter how hard or difficult the day is, it can always be restarted. Remember in mamahood the days are long but the years are short. 

Want to take it a step further? Download my 2 page printable of 10 affirmations to help restart a rough mama day! 

Take care of you too mama,

Aysia B.

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ParentingWithPrimoH2O #CollectiveBias
I totally just remembered I never shared the closing of my breast feeding journey with you guys!  Well if I’m honest, I’m not even quite sure when or how I stopped myself.  One day after Tate was with his dad for a few days I just stopped.  All at once and suddenly.  My thought process was that since he had gone "x" amount of days without it I guess he didn’t need it anymore.  My milk was starting to decrease in supply and it was something I just knew in my heart was right.  Truthfully, when I think about it to this day it still makes me sad.  I miss the closeness of breast feeding I felt.  Something only me and my baby boy could share that no one else could do but us.

I know most moms are going to hate hearing me say this, but the process was a simple one for me.  All in all, it took three days of stern “no’s” for him to be done with daytime feeding.  Eliminating night time feeds was a little more difficult but still only took about 5 days before he got the idea.  We were done.  It wasn’t something that only he was mourning but something I was too. 
If you’ve read some of my other posts, you know that breast feeding was one of the parts of motherhood that came extremely easy to me.  Knowing that I am very blessed, it is not something I take lightly.  Not only with lots of blessings and God’s grace was this possible, but also with having the right tools around me. 
I figured instead of making this a sad post about what I lost I would make it a bit brighter.  So here I am giving you my top 5 tips that helped make breast feeding easier for me:
1.  Hydration: Hydration, Hydration, Hydration.  If you’re like me and did some "before baby research" this was one of the main things seen on every website.  Drink your water.  But for me drinking just any ol’ water was not enough, I had to drink the right water.  And purchasing my Primo® First Steps Bottom-Loading Water Dispenser, was a no brainer.  The Primo Water dispenser goes through a multi-step purification process that eliminates any harmful substances to ensure you’re drinking high quality, safe water that you can trust.  It's self-sanitizing function boils water in warm water reservoir to
 ensure quality.  To people and families who want to live healthier lives, Primo is the home drinking water solution that is proven to help people drink more water, while taking a stand against potentially unsafe tap. If you would like to see the amazing process of how Primo Water system purifies check it out here

2.  Set up.  Make sure you are set up before starting to feed.  The last thing you want is to get baby latched, you both in a comfortable position and realize you forgot your phone on the counter 5 steps away.  Now you’re staring at it the entire feed just wishing it was in your hand and secretly rushing your baby.  This can lead to stress and stop or decrease your let down.  When I first set up my breast feeding area I made sure my chair or wherever I was sitting was close to everything I would need.  Burp rags, diapers, table to hold my phone/book/etc, and most importantly right near my water station for frequent fill ups.  The Primo Water system easily set up in minutes and I was able to start hydrating in no time with no tools, plumbing or installation needed. And it's convenient bottom-loading design, allows me to easily slide in a 3 or 5-gallon Primo water bottle (sold separately at a retailer near you) into the cabinet. Plus, now that my baby boy is older and we are past breast feeding, my water station still remains close by for both of us to get frequent sips.  With Primo Water's amazing accessibility feature little Tater Tot is able to get his own water himself, which he absolutely loves.  What's even better? The piping-hot water side has child-resistant safety feature so I can ensure my little dude stays safe while he exercises his new found independence. 

3. Relax.  Trust me, the same way you can feel the stress in your shoulders and neck, the baby can feel your stress too.  Making these moments stressful can again lead to decrease let down and affect the way your milk gets to your baby.  Relaxing and taking a deep breath always helps.  One of my favorite relaxation techniques was to sit back and picture my milk flowing down to my baby.  I know, it sounds weird but I swear it worked.

4.  Round up support.  Two’s always a party.  Feeding with your partner, friend, mother or whoever around can be a good time.  It allows you to focus on something else while also getting the task done at hand.  Plus, Primo® water gives everyone access to safe, great-tasting water with the First Steps Bottom-Loading Water Dispenser. This dispenser will grow with a family’s needs as the options for icy cold and hot water are also part of this station. But with all the fun, be weary of two things.  One, if your baby is nosey like mine he may be more likely to detach often with a crowd around.  So remind him what he's there for and assist him to re-latching frequently. Two, don’t forget that breastfeeding is also a special moment and you will definitely want to make sure some moments you get to share privately. 

5.  Have fun.  Just like mine, there will be a time when this period of just you, baby and breast ends. There will be a time when a cheeseburger looks more tastier to your baby then the milk you have been giving them for months.  It may be stressful and even time consuming at times, but like many other parenting moments, it only lasts for a short while.
Ending my breast feeding journey was not easy.  And there are days where I question if I made the right decision stopping when I did.  But I know in my heart that the times we shared is something both Tater Tot and I will cherish forever.  Until my next baby, these memories will just have to hold me over.  For those of you expecting a little one yourself, or maybe you're just as interested as I am to give your family quality water, add Primo First Steps Bottom-Loading Water Dispenser to your baby registry, or see here
Take care of you too mama,
Aysia B. 
When I became a mom, there were 2 things that were for certain: I had no clue what I was doing and I was losing myself in the process. Somewhere between the diaper changes and feedings I forgot what it meant to take care of me. This would all be fine and dandy if this change was something that was necessary to my child’s well-being. But what we mamas always forget, WE are necessary to our child’s well-being, And not just us, but the best darn version of ourselves that we have. 

Now hear me out. Yes, diaper changes and feeding times are crucial to your baby’s survival and should never be something you skip out on regardless of the situation. But your self care should be almost as important to yourself as your baby’s means for survival is to them. Because for you, it is necessary. 

Did you know that it has been medically proven that taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health? That is saying doing something that helps you feel relaxed and comforted is just the same as having open heart surgery. A little dramatic? Yes, I agree. But it is as important as you taking a jog or a day in the gym.  The reality is paying attention to the way you feel at the top of your body (your head) can help affect the things towards the bottom end of your body. 

If you joined my Self Care Email Challenge then you’ve heard me say it; self care is not just bubble baths and massages every day. But it is finding ways to intentionally take time out for you in a way that makes you feel loved and cared for. The important word there is intentional. Just saying oh yea I’ll be taking a break at 4pm is not the same as saying it’s 8am and I know I want to take my break at 4pm so I am going to finish up my 3:00 meeting by 3:45 and push my email clean up to 5 so I can be sure to make it to my 4pm break. It is saying at my 4pm break I will walk outside around the block. It is not saying at 4pm I’ll figure out what to do and once you find nothing you start your email clean up early since “there’s nothing to do anyways”. 

You remember me talking about my beginning emotions with my baby boy. Well those emotions were hard. As most initial emotions with a baby are. You are battling yourself not only emotionally but physically and it takes a toll on you every day. You don’t think that earns your little brain a break? When I first started noticing that my own love tank was getting low I knew I had to make a change. I knew that in order for me to properly give my son the love and affection he needed I had to first give it to myself. It’s similar to the saying: 

"You can’t love someone else to the best of your ability until you first love you". 

Oh what, you thought your baby was exempt from that because of the fact that he came from you? Nada mama, wrong answer. This falls under that same principle. 

Here’s some tips on self care: 
1. Make it intentional. Again, decide when and what you’re going to do with your activity and allow nothing but the earth stopping its orbital spin stop this.
2. Understand this is not only important for your well-being but necessary for it as well. 
3. Enjoy it! Don’t always let self care be a moment when you’re at your whits end with the kids and physically can’t take it anymore that you now have to walk out and take your “you moment”. All that does is place ill- feelings on a situation that is supposed to be a positive experience. 

Plan it, understand the need for it and then do it. Your family will thank you, your baby will thank you but most importantly, YOU will thank you. 

Take care of you too mama, 
Aysia B.

p.s. towards the end of the week I will be announcing a pretty big announcement over on Instagram and I am sooo excited for it! And trust me, your self care is excited for it too. See you then! 

This shop has been compensated by Tiny Love.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I am a nurse by profession. Not a teacher, not a daycare personnel, and not a nanny. Yes, I have had my fair share of baby sitting but that mostly presented itself as you drop your kids off I’ll make sure their fed and alive when you return. In short, I am in no way trained to enhance a child’s developmental stages.

When Tate was first born I could do the essentials. Wash, bathe, feed, cuddle (oh boy could I cuddle!) and the list goes on. Being a pediatric nurse those things came very easy to me. Between my precious stages of baby sitting and my current career, I was however trained in the art of caring for a child. As he got older, I realized how quickly I was getting out of my league. I mean yes, trust me to keep a kid alive but to make sure they’re developing intellectually ?! That surely couldn’t have been a job for me. Until, it was.

In discussion (and lots of persuasion) between Tate’s dad and I, it was decided that Tate would remain home from daycare until he was a little older and we both felt comfortable sending him into the care of a facility. That meant it was then on me to ensure that in his days home he was still getting the developmental challenges he would in a daycare setting. I knew I couldn’t do this alone and began to turn to articles and research as well as to products that I knew could make it a little easier on me in the learning department.

When TinyLove reached out to me about testing out their new Super Mat I knew it was one I had to jump on. The super sleek and compact design of the mat makes it so I can easily transport it to provide my busy baby boy with a constant place to sit and learn. Once we had the place to learn, it was easy to focus on other areas.

Here are my top 5 tips for creating an intentional play space for baby:

1. Understand what you’re trying to facilitate in each environment. Being as though Tate does not have one designated area of play in the house, that means every area of play that he goes into will have to be designed a specific way. For example, he knows when it’s time to read he sits in his rocking chair and focuses on reading at that moment. And if it’s time to free play, there is an entire basement filled with toys that he can walk around and explore. By putting these structured areas into place I am teaching him consistency and order.  Like the saying goes, “there is a time and place for everything”.

2. Having the right equipment. As I spoke of before, Tiny Love mat is my go to for creating a space of developmental play. On this mat Tate is able to explore both his fine and gross motor skills. Playing with the wind chime or baby book while sitting up allows him to use his hands to learn how different toys work all while sitting in one designated area. This mat also focuses on language development, cognition, sense, emotional intelligence, imagination and creativity.  And for my mamas with younger babies, this mat starts facilitating development in babies from day one and as they age.  What's better than a play toy that grows with your baby!

3. Be present. Oh trust me there is plenty of times that I let Tate play wild in that basement while I have the TV running watching my 4th episode of Law and Order SVU rerun. But I know that if I want to ensure he’s learning and benefiting from his play at all times, it is necessary to be present. Helping him with certain language toys or simply tossing a ball back and forth allows me to assist with any changes or alterations that need to be made so he can learn correctly. And hey it's not all bad, free play allows him to use his imagination. While I also use mine to guess which criminal is guilty!

4. Do your research! As I said, I am not a school teacher and do not have all the answers on building my baby’s brain and motor skills. But I know I can research the heck out of things until I find answers! Being committed to my baby’s development makes it easy to stay on top of finding the right material to allow me to help him be the best he can be.

5. Have fun! This is almost always final on my lists. Learning doesn’t always have to be a super rigid process. Sometimes toys are meant to be fun and playful. You’d be surprised how much you teach your baby when you just play and have fun. Social skills especially!

Being a mom is so much more than growing and pushing out a baby. It is wiping them off when they fall, kissing boo-boos and ensuring you set them up the best way possible; both emotionally and physically. As a mom you won’t do everything right all the time. But hey we sure can try.

Take care of you too mama,
Aysia B.

p.s don't forget there is only 3 more days to sign up for the 7-Day Self Care Email Challenge.  Come get some intentional self care mama!

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