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5 Baby Shower Ideas For First Time Mothers

5 Baby Shower Ideas For First Time Mothers

Baby showers are a fun time for celebrating the new life joining your family. New mothers have a lot to look forward to the first time they get to experience a shower thrown in their honor. Baby showers today frequently include a decoration theme, creative baby-related games, mom-friendly foods and of course showering the mother with gifts.

Whether you’re throwing yourself a baby shower or your friends, family or co-workers are throwing one for you, this day is going to be about you, which means you should enjoy it to the fullest. Here are five ideas for fun ways to spice up your baby shower.

1. Gender reveal event

Although some mothers prefer to know their baby’s gender ahead of their baby shower and receive gifts based on that knowledge, others may prefer to keep the surprise until the baby shower and keep guests guessing.

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A fun way to celebrate your new child and reveal the gender at your baby shower can be in the form of a gender revealing event. Someone, ideally other than the parents, learns the gender of the baby and prepares some sort of decoration to open. Popular forms include a cake with pink or blue coloring that is revealed when cut into, or a box filled with color-coded balloons that fly out when you open it.

2. Diaper raffle

No matter what gender your baby is, you will go through a mountain of diapers. One excellent tip to stock up is to set up a diaper raffle as part of the baby shower.

Guests are promised one spectacular prize—see if someone is willing to donate the cost of an iPod, a 3DS, a Polaroid camera or another fun electronic—as a raffle prize, and every bag of diapers earns each guest a raffle ticket. Friends and family will be eager to help you prepare for the baby and potentially earn a fun new gadget at the same time.

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This game works best if you let guests know ahead of time, such as on the invitation, about the raffle and the prize.

3. Baby Bingo

Another fun game that can motivate your guests to bring you helpful gifts and have a good time is Baby Bingo. This game involves drafting up suggestions for gift ideas based on future baby needs. Good ideas to include on the card are baby bottles, diapers, formula, a baby towel, a rattle, washcloths, or baby clothes.

Give each guest a unique bingo card and 10 to 15 Hershey’s Kisses before gift opening time. As the mom opens gifts, each guest can put a Kiss on the appropriate tile, and the winner can get a fun prize or gift card.

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4. Baby food game

Another fun game for the baby shower involves tasting various baby foods and acquainting yourself with what your future child will be eating. The baby food game is a taste-testing challenge

To play this game, you should set up a variety of flavored baby foods without the labels visible (cover them with tape, peel them off or draw over them, but make sure to remember which is which). Line the bottles up on a table and give each guest one Popsicle stick per flavor.

Let them taste each bottle and write down what they think the flavor is. At the end of the game, reveal one by one the real flavors of your baby foods; whoever guesses the most correctly wins a prize. This game is more challenging than it appears, as baby food flavors come in inventive and varied flavors nowadays. Get creative with your options.

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5. Onesie decoration station

This baby shower idea gives new moms a chance to let loved ones create something personal for the newest member of the family.

Purchase plain white onesies in varying sizes; many online places allow you to order in bulk to save on cost. At the shower, set up non-toxic fabric markers and paints for guests to use, and give everyone a onesie of their own to decorate. Your guests will love the chance to personalize something your child will wear, and you’ll have something to keep as a reminder while your baby grows.

Baby showers are an excellent time for friends and family to help a new mom get all the things needed to prepare for a newborn and celebrate a new life. Make the most of yours with these fun ideas to personalize and celebrate your event.

Featured photo credit: Family O’Abe via flic.kr

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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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