Balancing Work and Baby | Mom Tip Monday

Motherhood is a big transition and finding the balance between working woman and mommy can be difficult. For this week’s Mom Tip Monday, we welcome Michelle from No Ordinary Momma — a mom, Vice President of Media at Media Design Group, blogger and BabySteals fan. She is here to share tips on how she stays sane while balancing work and family, and even hangs on to her own identity in the process.

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Michelle and baby Jayce, keeping it balanced.

Hello fellow parents! Whether you stay at home, work from home, or work outside the home, I hope you can all find something useful to take away from today’s Mom Tip Monday. Let’s face it, at the end of the day we all work really hard. We all want what’s best for our kiddos, but it’s important to remember that you used to be numero uno before these little babes came into the picture and sucked the life out of you! I kid, I kid (sort of). Let’s jump into this, shall we?

1. Multitasking is so 2010. I get it, you’re busy. But sometimes doing less is more. Take time to be in the moment and make those moments count. If you’ve only got one hour in the morning with your baby before you’re off to the office for the day, make the most of that hour. Half-heartedly singing Old Mac Donald while checking your Blackberry isn’t fun for anyone. Put the phone down and sing that “E-I-E-I-OOOO” loud and proud. Those are the memories that your child is going to cherish years from now.

2. Park your car. Each time you get in your car to run a simple errand, you are wasting time. There are so many great sites where you can shop for all of your baby supplies, clothing, gifts for that birthday party next weekend, and anything else you can think of. My biggest time saver is that I only go grocery shopping once a month to buy things like meat or bread and then freeze it…all of my produce and milk is delivered weekly to my home, and it’s organic and local! Similar services are popping up all over, so look online for something like this near you. Avoiding the market on a weekly basis saves me a lot of time, which I can spend focusing on my family.

3. Step away from the baby. You thought these were tips to spend more time with your baby? No, these are tips about balance! I realize it sounds crazy to take time away from your baby after you’ve been at work all day, but this is one of those counter-intuitive things. While it’s important to spend time with your child, it’s equally important to maintain your own sense of identity so you can be the best possible you for your kids. You know how some humans begin to resemble their dogs?!? The same thing could happen with you and your baby if you don’t get a life outside of your kids…you’ll end up drooling with stains all over your clothing. A little “me” time is completely appropriate and can work wonders for your sanity. Get a massage once a month, have a neighbor over for a glass of wine once a week after the baby is asleep, take a photography class and use your new skills to capture your amazingly well-balanced family!

4. Sign up for a mommy/baby class. One of the best things I’ve done with my baby was signing up for a mommy/baby class that was specifically geared to working moms. These types of classes are held in the early evening or on the weekends to accommodate a working mom’s schedule. We discuss a lot of the same topics as a regular group, but we also share information on things like nannies and daycare. It’s been wonderful meeting other moms that face the same challenges and can relate to issues specific to a working mom. We’re a great source of support to each other and offer to help out with anything from “AHH! My nanny didn’t show up today, can I drop my kid off at your house?!” to my favorite “I forgot to buy diapers and my kid is wrapped in paper towels, can you drop off a few on your way to the office?”

5. It will always be “your first.” When my son was born he went straight to the NICU. About one week into his stay, I squealed with glee when he opened his eyes for the first time. The nurse burst my bubble when she told me that he had been opening his eyes since 3am that morning, I just hadn’t been there to see it. One week into his life I learned that although I might not be there for all of his firsts, there will always be that moment of excitement when I see his new skills for my first time. It really helps me to think of things from that perspective and appreciate the moments that I do have with him.

6. Work it. Although it may be difficult at times, suck it up at work. It’s hard to think of working as a privilege, but in today’s economy, it really is. When you are at the office, leave your problems at the door. Put in 110% and stand out as a rock-star employee. You want your employer to know they can depend on you to get the job done, not think of you as someone who always has personal problems that need to be tended to. There are going to be times when you need to take your child to the doctor or go to a school play, but let those be the exception, not the norm. It also helps to think of the office as a runway and work all of those great clothes, heels and jewelry that are no longer practical when you’re at home with the baby.

Part of being a parent is providing, and that sometimes means that both parents need to work. Another part of parenting is being a role model whether you’re at work or home. It makes me happy to know that I’m showing my son that a woman can be something extraordinary — an ambitious, hard-working provider with a wide variety of interests, who loves him more and more each day. What are some tips and tricks you use to strike a balance between work, home and self?

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Thank you Michelle for these awesome, life-balancing tips for working moms. Stay tuned for another great mom tip next week! We’d love to hear your ideas so be sure to submit your entry.

What parenting questions would you like answered from our BabySteals community of experts? Click here to ask a question.

Have a mom tip? We’d love to hear from you! Click here to enter a submission.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Steal Network or its employees.

10 Tips to Save Money with Baby | Mom Tip Monday

Wee ones are cute, but they definitely aren’t free — budgeting with baby can often be a challenge. We are all about saving you money here at BabySteals, so we came up with ten tips to save you money on baby products, gear, food, diapering, activities and more.

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 1. Buy baby products for a steal.
Get deals on baby items — buy the quality items you want, but without paying full price when you shop at BabySteals and KidSteals. Clipping coupons on the items you use regularly or buying in bulk can also save you hundreds a year. Before you buy any baby or children’s products online, search KidCrawl to be sure you are getting the lowest prices on the web for baby gear, baby nursery furniture and supplies, toys, even diapers!


2. Make your own baby food.
You can save a lot of money and control what you feed your little one by making your own baby food at home.  Check out blogs like Wholesome Baby Food or Weelicious for some yummy and nutritious baby food and toddler food recipes.


3. Borrow or rent expensive baby items.
Ask around with fellow mama friends to see if you could borrow items like a swing, bouncer, bassinets, etc. Bassinets are nice to have, but can be pretty costly when you consider you only use them for the first couple months. You may even be lucky enough to get a hand-me-down of items like these.


4. Swap babysitting with trusted friends.
Rather than always hiring childcare, find a trusted friend with whom you can swap childcare with on a regular basis. They watch your baby for a few hours a couple days a week and you reciprocate. That way you both save your sanity while saving money.


5. Fill your baby registry with practical items.
As a new mom, it’s easy to register for all the fun and frilly items, but try to hold back. Fill your registry with plenty of practical things you need. You will likely still get lots of the fun and cutesy baby shower gifts too, but with a good mix of those must-have baby items.


6. Save money on diapers.
Plenty of moms have latched on to the cloth diapering trend — they aren’t your grandma’s cloth diapers anymore. It’s now pretty easy to make the switch, plus they come in adorable prints that make those tushies even cuter while saving you hundreds a year. If you’re not into cloth, be sure to find the lowest price online per diaper with this diaper calculator.

7. Buy quality baby items.
Spending more may actually save you more if it lasts. When you are buying certain items like a stroller, car seat, nursery furniture, etc., buy items that will last you a long time, especially if you plan on having more kids. Look for weight limits and versatility and read reviews before  making a purchase.

8. Buy gender-neutral.
While some items you may want specific for boy or girl styles, you can save and reuse gender-neutral items — think anything that you would want to use after one child, especially those that are on the expensive side — strollers, car seats, swings, bouncers, exersaucers/jumperoos, high chair, possibly some clothing, toys, etc.

9. Make your own toys.
Has baby ever gotten a gift and like the box and/or wrapping more than the gift? There are plenty of do it yourself baby toys — think drums from wooden spoons and pots or a rattle in a bottle filled with beans. Baby won’t know the difference and it can definitely save you a fortune in toys.

10. Play for free.
Baby classes can get expensive, so why not find other local moms and create your own playgroup? You and baby will both have a blast while saving your pennies and making new friends. Find free events in the community, spend a day exploring music with your children, head to the library for story time together — anything that gives mom and baby some socialization and stimulation. Heaven knows mom needs it just as much as baby.
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Stay tuned for another great mom tip next week! We’d love to hear your ideas so be sure to submit your entry.

What parenting questions would you like answered from our BabySteals community of experts? Click here to ask a question.

Have a mom tip? We’d love to hear from you! Click here to enter a submission.

Fitness Tips for New Moms | Mom Tip Monday

Squeezing in fitness between naptimes and all baby’s needs can be quite the challenge for new moms. Not only is it hard to find the time, you may be reluctant to resume exercise after pregnancy since your body has gone through so many changes. This week’s Mom Tip Monday comes from Annie Goodchild, Sport and Recreation programmer and coach, who brings some advice for new moms looking to get back in the groove after baby.

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Annie in full fitness action

Whether you’re returning to physical activity after your pregnancy or getting active for the first time, a new mom can feel apprehensive about getting her body moving again. Working in the sport and recreation industry for many years for a women-only sport organization I have often been asked for advice on how to get into sport after pregnancy and I have been asked many questions that I know are in the heads of other moms.

For women who want to get back into physical activity, there are some very important things to consider before you start.

1. Time
How long will it take you to get to wherever you’re going? Can you bring baby? If so, how long will it take to prep for the trip? If someone can watch the baby for you, consider your needs to pump and make sure your activity fits in well. Individual activities like running, yoga, cycling, hiking are great for breastfeeding moms because you can easily manipulate your day to fit in an outing when your baby can be cared for and you won’t need to pump.

2. Baby-Friendly
Team sports that utilize substitutions are a great place to start. People who are on the bench can keep an eye on the baby while you play, and should baby need you, it is easy to call a substitution. Many cities offer recreational level leagues or introductory programs for those new to sport. Never be afraid to try something new because you have the best excuse for being out of shape — you’ve been growing a baby for nine months, birthed the little thing, and for some, continue to expel many calories feeding that same baby.

3. Diet and Water Consumption
Be aware of what you’re eating and drinking to ensure that your body has all it needs to keep up with your new activity. This may mean consuming even more calories (healthy ones) to fuel your body and drinking even more water to stay hydrated once you start sweating. Remember: if you get thirsty, you didn’t drink enough water that day. Bringing a big bottle to the activity won’t really help — hydrate all day!

4. Listen to Your Body
Don’t fight through pain. Injury can put off your reintegration into physical activity even longer, which will keep you from reaping the benefits even longer. Stretching is the best way to avoid soft tissue injury so stretch thoroughly after any activity.

5. Your Healthy Habits Rub Off
If your little one is introduced to physical activity by watching you participate, they are far more likely to be physically active as an adult. Bring your baby along as much as you can so that from a young age physical activity is considered the norm. This will also give your little one an opportunity to see their mother do something positive for themselves which can go a long way in molding a healthy self-acceptance later in life.

Physical activity benefits everyone in the family — even your baby! Contact local recreation departments or fitness professionals in your community to connect to what’s going on around you.

Always consult with your doctor or medical practitioner before starting any new physical activities. A thorough check-up is the first step to establishing where your body stands in preparation for physical activity.

Also, remember that you’re a new person now and your old activities may not fit as neatly in your life as they used to. Mommy-friendly groups are a great place to start and a great place for women new to physical activity to try something in a supportive, non-competitive environment.

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Thank you Annie for these tips on fitness for new moms. Stay tuned for another great mom tip next week! Be sure to share your ideas with us.

What parenting questions would you like answered from our BabySteals community of experts? Click here to ask a question.

Have a mom tip? We’d love to hear from you! Click here to enter a submission.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Steal Network or its employees.