My husband and I were in a hard place financially last year around Christmas time. The bills exceeded our income. I had been home for a year caring for our one-year-old daughter who suffered from a chronic skin condition. My husband was working, but it was not enough to supplement all of our expenses. We did not have much money and I felt a lot of shame around not being able to give our daughter a BIG first Christmas. But then I heard about the Five Gift Rule on the radio and it changed my whole perspective on gift giving. It also helped our family create a new Christmas tradition that doesn’t involve spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on gifts for our child.
Good Morning Friends!
My dear friend gave birth to a beautiful baby girl just a couple of weeks ago. She has quickly learned that there are things that make the new parent’s life easier and wants to share with all of you. This post was extremely enlightening for me and I hope that you will find it helpful as well. Read Anna’s post down below.
Trying to figure out what you need as a new parent can be a daunting task. Do I really need a wipes warmer? What is a “Boppy” and why does everyone keep saying I need one? Aren’t all these “baby essentials” posts and articles just trying to sell me stuff? (No you don’t, yes you do, and yes, they usually are). If you’re like me, you don’t want to waste money on things that don’t work, or that you don’t actually need. With that in mind, the following are items I’ve realized are very useful in making a new parent’s life easier:
This week, I was given an unexpected gift when a special woman decided to give me free meals, a quiet space to rest, and a safe place to just talk about all the things weighing on my heart (finances, a past due project, insecurities, and marriage).
I work a little over 40 hours a week and blog part-time. Most nights I do not get to bed until after midnight because I am only free to write at night. Most mornings I am up at 4:30am to get ready for work. Because our car is currently not working, I commute to work by train and walk a half mile to and from work every day. After work, I pick my daughter up from childcare and walk for about 10 minutes to get home.
This is not an ideal situation. However, I am not complaining, nor is it my motive to broadcast my problems for attention. I just wanted to provide context so that you are able to understand how grateful I am for the gift of rest and extra help this week.
Spring and warm weather are here! I’m so excited about outdoor meals, playing at the park, visiting the zoo, short trips, BBQs, water park days, library outings and more! I am ready to explore the city with my little one! In fact we have already started creating a spring/summer to-do list (post coming soon on planning for summer activities).
One thing I have learned is that when you have a child who has eczema & food sensitivities, you MUST prepare for days away from home! There were times when I did not prepare and this is what happened:
I have really enjoyed watching my daughter and husband’s relationship develop over the past year or so. It is breathtaking to watch my husband fight against the stereotypes that plague fathers in the black community daily.
It is monumental to watch him invest time, money and effort into his relationship with our daughter when I know he never experienced this investment himself. It is beautiful to witness him have courage every day to father in his own creative way, since it was never properly modeled for him. I am extremely proud of him and grateful for his commitment to our family. Our daughter is experiencing such a wonderful gift of having her father present.
I almost interfered with the progression of this relationship because I did not know how to let my husband be the father he wanted to be to our daughter.
Meal Baby is an online service that allows family and friends to arrange meals for loved ones who could use a helping hand. I hadn’t heard of it until I joined a moms small group. The moms in my group had great experiences and highly recommended the online site for those who are expecting.
I was slightly skeptical and unsure of whether or not I should use it. However, I decided to let my small group leader sign me up and it ended up being a really good experience. In fact, my husband and I received free meals and gift cards for up to six weeks after our daughter was born. We were truly blown away at the generosity of family and friends. As a new mom, I really appreciated all the visits and support. It made my transition into motherhood a lot smoother due to not having to worry much about grocery shopping or meal preparation.
Meal Baby is free and easy to use! Here’s why new and expecting moms should sign up:
“If you want to keep a secret from a black man, put it in a book.”
Each day since hearing this phrase as a child, I read often and encourage others, especially African Americans, to do the same.
I grew up reading books featuring mostly white characters. It was rare to see the face of a black person in my books at home or at school. This made me feel as if blacks were not valued or smart enough to be featured in a book; before I knew it, I found myself trying to mimic white culture. White culture was what seemed acceptable and popular, not only in books, but on TV, magazines, and radio stations. When I was a child, the black race was mostly publicized for being criminals, gang members and drug addicts, not intelligent, creative or valuable.
As a mother, I have fallen in love with reading children’s books with African American illustrations to my toddler. I believe it is vital that my daughter sees children’s books with illustrations of characters that look like her.