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Ready for a Baby? 4 Essential Projects for New Parents

Ready for a Baby? 4 Essential Projects for New Parents

Expecting your first baby is scary. No matter how much you read and learn about what you might expect, you might still feel like Alice in Wonderland. Well, experience is what counts here and there is not a thing than can replace it, so just take things slow and everything will fall into its place in time.

However, you can prep the environment around you by taking certain steps. Everyone believes that babies are expensive, but the truth is they really don’t have to be. New parents are guided with “only the best for my baby” and that is the only way to go, but the best doesn’t have to be the most expensive. So, go through the next projects and see what you can do without breaking the bank.

Bad Habits? Quit them

There are two reasons why new parents really need to focus on this little project. First of all, it’s not healthy for a child to be around people who have bad habits – it can damage them physically and mentally and your child’s health is a priority. Secondly, bad habits are a black hole that sucks in money and you will cut your costs in half by getting rid of them.

Finally, this is also the time to think about your own health – in order to take care of your baby, you need to be absolutely healthy and full of energy and bad habits won’t get your there.

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Unsafe Home? Start Babyproofing

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    There’s a mistake new parents often make when it comes to baby proofing – due to a lack of experience they go to the store, get confused by all the items and purchase everything because the nice lady in the store told them they needed it.

    You don’t. Most security measures can be applied using things you already have at home. For starters, you need to secure your appliances by tying them down to furniture and you need nothing more than a strong thread to do it. While you’re at it, fasten all cords and move them out of sight – once again, a piece of string and some tape will do.

    Probably the most important thing to do is moving dangerous substances like medications and cleaning products out of range – an hour or two of moving objects and making a new schedule around your home will do it.

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    It really is as simple as that – create a list of things you need to do and take your time doing it. Shops really do take advantage of new parents that are confused and that’s something you shouldn’t allow.

    No Money? Do the magic

    Parents really are magical – once the baby is born and until it grows up (and after that happens), you will need to come up with various solutions that will seem impossible to conduct at the present time, but you will do it anyway. These supernatural skills will develop in time and you should start working on them before the baby is born.

    There’s a really important secret I’d like to share with mothers to be who don’t have health insurance – you can cut your bill significantly. How, you ask? Just go down to the hospital and ask someone to give you a list of things that are usually included in the delivery bill and simply exclude the things you don’t need. If everything goes well, you can even leave the hospital a day earlier, which will really make a difference in pricing.

    Speaking of bills – having someone throw a baby shower for you will get you many things new parents need and people will be more than happy to help out.

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    There’s one important thing you really will be grateful for having and it be worth every penny you pay for it – a good stroller. So, make sure to do your research before purchasing one.

    Another magical rule is to stay away from branded items, because the fact is that you’re paying for the brand name as well, not just the product. The best friends of new parents are discounts, so dedicate some time every day (half an hour will do) to browsing through online stores.

    Ready for DIY? Roll Up Your Sleeves

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      The fact that a new baby will require some funding doesn’t mean you must or should neglect your home. The aesthetics of your surroundings can have a calming effect on your mind, and it’s up to you to welcome your newborn and enable it to grow up in a loving and beautiful home.

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      Other than developing supernatural skills, you can and should work on your DIY skills. You will be amazed with what you can do with items that most homes have and several useful tools. This inexpensive way to beautify your home can be very entertaining and perhaps even become a family activity in time. You know where to start – online browsing through simple yet gorgeous DIY projects and reading about various methods to complete them is the way to go.

      Nine months may seem like enough time to prepare for everything but they will fly by, trust me. Just stay positive, take your time with each task you set in front of you and you’ll be just fine. Congrats to new parents!

      Featured photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/u/josh-willink-11499/ via pexels.com

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      Published on September 21, 2018

      11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

      11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

      Becoming a mother is one of the most difficult challenges a woman can take on in her life. Whether this happens the “natural” way, with the help of science, or through adoption, being in charge of nurturing another human being is a herculean task to take on.

      Typically, when we think about parenthood, we imagine two parents sharing the responsibility and having each other to lean on. However, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised by a single mother.[1] This is a significant portion of the population that often gets overlooked.

      If you are one of these mothers raising your children on your own, you are undoubtedly aware of the additional challenges that motherhood has placed upon you, including the constant struggle to find sufficient time, energy, money, and support.

      For single mothers who find themselves bogged down by their daily responsibilities and struggle to stay afloat, don’t be fooled by the belief that you have to do all. It is possible to thrive and live as a single mother if you take advantage of all available resources and adjust your priorities based on your situation.

      1. Find your community and ask for help

      As the sole caretaker of your kids, going through the successes and struggles of parenthood can feel isolating and lonely. You have probably developed a strong sense of independence because you’ve had to go at it alone.

      Being self-reliant is necessary in many situations that you have to face, but do not fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need support from others. If you have family nearby, strengthen your relationship with them by visiting and talking more often. Find time to catch up with old friends or co-workers, and don’t assume they don’t want to hang out if they are not parents themselves.

      Would you prefer finding mom friends[2] who have more in common with you? Use resources like apps, Facebook groups, and community events to meet local moms in your area.

      After you have established a support group that you can depend on, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is NOT a sign of weakness or incompetency to admit you can’t do it all, and others are probably more willing to lend a hand than you think.

      If you feel uncomfortable burdening others, suggest trading favors such as taking turns babysitting. Because after all, helping is each other is what community is all about.

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      2. Make peace with the past

      Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past and not let it define you or rule your life. Whether your journey to single motherhood was through divorce, death, or never having a relationship the father, it is crucial that you leave behind the feelings of abandonment or betrayal you may be struggling with.

      You cannot change the past and the hurt you had to endure, but you can use the strength that you gained from overcoming those obstacles to work towards making the best life for yourself and your child. Learn from the past but live in the present and look towards the future.

      3. Make plans and set goals

      The daily repetition of trying to balance work and home life can make you feel like you are on operating on autopilot. However, it is imperative to set goals for yourself and to keep working towards self-improvement.

      In your personal life, you can set a fitness goal (train for a 5k), a reading goal (read 20 books in a year), or a travel goal (take a trip to Europe). At your job, you can set career goals such as gain leadership experience, get a promotion, or earn a degree or certificate.

      Spend time creating a realistic plan to on how you can go about achieving these goals. Not only will working towards these goals make you a more well-rounded and successful person, they will bring more purpose and fulfillment to your life.

      4. Look for role models

      A great way to jump start your plans for the future is to find a role model or mentor who is further along in their life or career experience. This person can be a great resource when you need guidance on what types of goals to set for yourself and how to achieve them.

      It’s also important to have people to turn to for encouragement during difficult seasons of life. Someone who has been through it before can provide the most genuine reassurance that tough times will get better and that staying positive is best approach.

      5. Rethink your priorities

      Single parents have twice as many responsibilities to take care of, so priorities and expectations must be adjusted accordingly.

      Know that you are not superwoman and striving for a perfectly clean home, no dirty laundry, and home-cooked meals for your kids every day is not a reasonable expectation. It’s okay to take shortcuts sometimes, like serving your kids cereal for dinner or waiting until the next day to wash the dishes.

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      Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and let go of the guilt that you feel for being the only parent that your kids can count on. Give yourself a break and don’t sweat the small stuff.

      6. Make time for me time

      Even though it can be difficult to find, making time for yourself is critical to maintaining your sanity and well-being. Without a built-in partner to take over, finding time to be away from the kids must be done intentionally and planned in advance.

      If you are sharing custody, use the time away from your kids not only doing productive things but also making sure you are taking care of yourself. Sleep, exercise, and balanced diet are not things that can get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Also make time for fun activities, such as hobbies and creative outlets.

      Even though being a mother is the most important job you have, don’t let it be the only thing that defines you. Time for yourself is more difficult to find if you are the sole caretaker of your kids.

      Use the resources that you have to devote time to self-care, and you and your kids will thank you for it in the long run.

      7. Stay organized

      With so many things to juggle, great organizational skills are an absolute must in order to keep everything moving smoothly. Use apps such as Mint for your finances, Mealime for meal planning, and Cozi as a family organizer for everything from appointments and shopping lists to after school activities.

      Maintain constant contact if you are sharing custody so that it is clearly communicated who will be responsible for what when it comes to your kids. Follow consistent routines in the morning and nighttime so that your kids also know what to expect on a daily basis.

      8. Be flexible (Don’t be a control freak)

      Although it is important to be prepared and stay organized, things don’t always go according to plan.

      When kids get sick and have to stay home or babysitters cancel at the last minute, allow for flexibility by having a contingency plan for childcare and with your employer.

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      For example, make a list of people you can call when you need last minute childcare, or talk to your boss in advance about working from home when emergencies come up.

      Most of all, don’t let unexpected changes stress you out and ruin your day.

      9. Learn to say no (Don’t feel guilty)

      Single mothers have limitations in time, energy and resources that families with two parents wouldn’t be able to understand. Because of these circumstances, it’s important you let go of feelings of guilt and stop trying to do everything and be everywhere.

      You don’t have to say yes to every single birthday party your child is invited to. Your kids don’t have to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities every night of the week.

      Limit the things you do to only the ones that are the most enjoyable and meaningful for you and your family. Doing more things does not make you a better mother; simply a more tired one.

      10. Live within your means

      When you have to raise your family on a single income, budgeting and spending within your means becomes more important than ever.

      If you have outstanding debt that is accruing interest, make it a priority to pay those off as soon as possible. Outlining a budget is the best way to visualize how much money is being spent every month on various things and what is left over.

      Find ways to save money on the necessities by looking for sales at the grocery store, buying some things secondhand, planning out meals.

      After the necessary bills are paid, determine how much can be spent on luxury items such as eating out, vacations, and going to the movies.

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      Don’t let finances be a source of anxiety for you and your family. Keep your bank account in good shape while teaching your kids how to spend money responsibly at the same time.

      11. Spend quality time with your kids

      The time you spend with your kids is so precious and much more limited as a single mother. Make the time that you spend with your kids count.

      Rather than sitting in front of the TV, take them on fun and budget-friendly outings to the park, the playground, or a museum. Use meal times as the perfect excuse to ask them about what they are learning in school and the friends they spend time with.

      When your kids ask you to play with them, look at it as a privilege and an opportunity to bond with them, rather than a distraction or waste of time. Be present when you are with them, with no work or multitasking on your mind. Your relationship with your kids will absolutely reap the benefits.

      Final thoughts

      Being a single mother is not an easy job. That’s why it’s important to use all the resources available to you in order to make this job a little bit easier.

      Using technology, an organization system and a supportive community are just a few examples of things you should utilize to your benefit. It’s also important to shift your mindset and be more practical when it comes to things like priorities and finances.

      Most of all, don’t forget about your own self care. Only when you take care of yourself can you best take care of the people you love.

      Single mothers are some of the most hard-working people out there, and you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life.

      Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

      Reference

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