Mothering the Mama

Whoever thought having a decent meal with a busy toddler was easy was wrong.  But the person who decided doing it in a busy restaurant was easier, you’re dead wrong.  When Tate had turned just about 12-13 months restaurant eating was my biggest fear.  The quiet tables, long wait times and restraining high chairs was easily enough to make this mama go mad.  Then I realized I was going about it all wrong.  I needed steps and tricks to make this thing work and it just wasn’t going to happen overnight.  

Similar to when you tackle any task you need to first realize what you are trying to get. And for me, I’m trying to get a nice dinner with a quiet toddler. Not too much to ask right?

Here are my 5 top tips I use when restaurant dining with my kiddo:
  1. Company.  As we know with all kiddos it’s never 100% what you get.  Some days they wake up and they are absolute angels.  Saying please and thank you, using their words instead of crying or just simply hugging you just because.  Then theres other days, they spend the majority of the day mimicking their favorite movie, Tarzan, aka they’re straight savages.  Screaming at the top of their lungs, all of a sudden they don’t know how to talk and oh look at that, they decided poop is better on walls then in their diapers. I say all this to say choose who you dine with carefully.  We all have that friend who stares at us with embarrassment when our kid misbehaves in public.  Yea, don’t take that friend to the restaurant.  Instead take your understanding friend that gets sometimes kids will just be kids and theres nothing you can do about it.  You’re going to try to keep your baby calm with these next few steps but choosing a good partner right here at this starting point makes things a little easier in the long run.  
  2. Seating.  When you go into the restaurant it’s probably best to NOT choose the seat right in the front or the one directly in the middle.  We don't want to steer away the incoming customers nor do we want to make it a terrible time for the majority of the restaurant by sitting right in the mix of things.  Try asking for a table in the four corners of the restaurant.  Those spots are typically less ideal spots for other eaters and it’s quiet.  In these spots you can feel less embarrassed if your babe starts to cry and if they do need to get out and “stretch their little legs”, you can do so without chasing them away from other tables while they act as the restaurant greeter.  
  3. Distractions and play.  Now, I understand how a lot of mamas feel about this but if you follow me on Instagram, there are a lot of times you’ll watch my stories and Tate is completely engrossed in his ipad.  So let me just say this clearly.  I am a iPad mama.  I don’t believe in letting perfectly good resources go to waste.  However, this is not saying this works for everyone.  It just works for me and mine.  Tate is one of the smartest little boys I know and we hear that from teachers, other parents and friends too.  So no, the iPad isn't ruining his brain or delaying his development.  Plus we watch a lot of learning/ singing songs.  But, I digress.  Waiting for your food as an adult is hard.  Every plate that walks by makes your stomach growls a little louder each time.  So imagine as a little person when your hungry and bored.  It’s hard!  This is why distractions are so important.  For me distractions usually start out with the coloring sheets they give all the little ones in establishments. But being as though my little guy is only 17 months (#where’dmybabygo) coloring is sometimes not the best for us.  He easily gets over the activity and crayons soon become darts at the person across the table.  Our next activity is usually pulling out the "restaurant toolkit".  You can download what I have in mine HERE.  Whatever will keep him quiet the longest is what goes first and sometimes, they all have to come out and make an appearance.  Whatever works for you and your little one make sure to always have it on hand in any waiting period especially at a restaurant. 
  4. Meal choice.  Now this one is one me and Tater tot are still trying to figure out.  If you remember when Tate first started eating food, I was making his food from scratch and it was a guessing game of what he would eat and what he wouldn’t.  Well, nowadays we have made a full circle and have returned to this fun stage of life.  One day he loves chicken and it’s all he wants to eat and the next he hates it and will have a full on crying fit if I place it in front of him.  Refer to number one for my toddler by day, savage by night reference.  When choosing an item off the kids menu I not only look for things that are healthy choices, but I choose an item I know my baby boy will eat and enjoy.  Thus, being another activity that will keep him busy and quiet for the next hour and if we’re lucky, the remainder of the meal.  
  5. Relaxxxx.  I know I use this one a lot of times with my tips but the fact is, it’s the best advice I can give you for every walk of motherhood.  Staying calm is the way to get through most situations in life, but especially as a mama.  No matter if it’s breastfeeding, beach trips or the restaurant.  Remaining calm helps you not only see the problem differently but allows you to get through the situation without any added stress.  Enjoy the moment with your little one.  After all, it’s like a date with your mini best friend. 

Every stage of life with your little one will always come with it’s own trials and tribulations.  Ours right now happen to be perfecting restaurant visits.  And whether we’re at Applebees, Olive Garden or Ruth’s Chris, I want to be sure that Tate’s behavior is as on point as a 1 year olds can get.  Using these steps we’re on our way to yet another conquered stage.  

Take care of you too mama,

Aysia B. 

Download my top 5 toddler restaurant kid must-haves HERE!

We’ve all heard the saying;

"It’s takes a village to raise a child” 

And after I had my son I learned how much that was true. Without some of the people in my corner for last minute baby sitting gigs, rides and more, I for sure would have lost my mind in some situations. But what’s more important in all of that, is that while they thought they were just taking care of Tate they were truly taking care of me and my needs too.

Mamas don’t get many moments to themselves. But when they do it’s important the moments help fill up theirs cup so they can get back home and pour into their babies and family.

As you know, this past month I went on two trips. One with my girls and one with my family. This literally was the best balance I could think of. I was able to get some quality time with my girls without having to think of diaper changes, feed or sleep schedules. It was simply amazing.

But I would never be able to do these things if it wasn’t for my village. My parents kept Tate for the extended weekend making it easy to not worry about his care during that time. And my girls gave me just the right amount of mix between fun and relaxation to make it an unforgettable vacation.

I think at times we mamas forget the importance of our own self care needs.  And that of course is okay.  I mean think of all the other things we have on our plates!  What's important is having people around you who remind you to take this time.

My village doesn’t just support Tate. They support me as well. They support my mental health, my emotional health and definitely my physical health.

Finding your tribe is one of the most important things you can do in motherhood. Don’t just let the village raise your child, let it help raise your motherhood too.

Take care of you too mama,

Aysia B.

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. 
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