Better Than Real Life Advice: Triple Threat

Dear Lauren,
I’m writing to ask about posting pictures of children online. I have a young daughter and I love to share new pictures and videos with family and friends. However, I know that her entire life will then be online. How do you strike a balance with this?

Sincerely,
Picture-happy Momma

Dear PHM,

It may not seem like it from the over-sharing that happens here and the amount of Gabe photos on Facebook/instagram, BUT! Kamel and I are actually very strategic in what we do and do not share about Gabe.

Most of what I write about involves my experiences with motherhood vs my relationship with Gabe in particular. With photos I am very aware of over loading the universe, so I try and respect the fact that Facebook is not my personal website.

On one hand I want to be mindful of image sharing, but on the other I am not afraid of the internet. I know there are bad people out there, but they are both online and in real life and I can’t really function if I am always living in fear of them. The internet community I have fostered is very important to me and I don’t want to shut myself off from that. But! If you are uncomfortable with sharing many photos at all on general social media, that is absolutely your choice and there is 0 things wrong with that.

Most of our Gabe-sharing (including videos/photos) are strictly family only. Because we have family all over the country we use the iCloud Photostream. It links up through i-devices and the people you invite into the sharing pool will get an alert whenever videos or photos are posted. This is where bath time photos go, random videos of Gabe dancing in our living room, and on and on and on.

Once Gabe is old enough to have an opinion I’ll ask him before posting anything, just like I ask Kamel before posting any photos of him or writing about him. Right now Gabe is just an adorable goober, baby photos are made to be lightly exploited for cuteness and future embarrassment. We live in the internet age, and I’m ok with it.

Love,
BIRL

Dear Lauren,

I swore that when I had children that I would maintain a balance in my life. I needed to be Me first, a wife second, and a mom third. If I lost balance with any of those, I knew I wouldn’t be good at the others. My question is how do I maintain the me-time balance? I’d like to work out regularly or even just have time to scroll through social media (how do you tweet, facebook, and instagram?!?). Any advice on how to strike that balance?

Sincerely,
Dying for a date with myself

Dear Dying for a Date,

First: masturbation is the underrated overlooked me time of mothers.

Second: You and your partner have to give each other’s “me” time weight and respect. For example, I know that a happy Kamel is a Kamel who has time to himself to watch his nerdy movies that I don’t particularly enjoy and play video games. I make a point to take the baby and allow Kamel alone time in the apartment some weekends, or he plays games at night after the rest of us have gone to bed, or he goes to a movie alone while I watch Gabe for the afternoon on a Saturday. This is just as important to me as it is to him. On the flip side, Kamel watches Gabe in the evenings a few times a week for an hour so that I can write, he  solo parents so that I can go to happy hour with my friends, and I get to enjoy morning time alone in the bed because Kamel agrees to work out first in the morning (we work out in the living room and take turns). These things keep me sane and they keep my marriage happy.

Third: I had to laser focus on what the important things are and let a lot of the other stuff go. As much as I would love to connect more with some new friends I’ve made through work, I know that my social availability is limited now, and I want to make that time as quality as possible, so I reserve it for my close group. I have let a lot of social media go. I am barely ever on twitter anymore, I just can’t keep up. The blogs I read regularly have been whittled down to a handful. My “me” time is precious! So I use it much more efficiently. I carve out my own small moments, 15 minutes of tea and quiet on a Saturday morning, waking up at 5:00am during the week so that I can work out and have some quiet time before the baby is up for the day, and so on.

Find the things that are meaningful to you. Is it a night out with your friends once a month? Is it going to a movie alone once in a while? Painting? Quilting? A bi-weekly pedicure? Make those things happen. I scroll through social media during my commute, I read on my lunch break, or I go for a 40 minute walk, or I write, or I run errands with Kamel. My evenings are 95% Gabriel, so I make sure to alert Kamel when I need an hour to myself. Make the things you need important and they will become important.

Love,

BIRL

Dear Lauren,

Let’s talk post-baby bodies. I still have quite a bit of stomach flub that needs to go. And it’s squishy. What are your tips for dressing the new shape? Also, what are your tips for accepting where you are while working to get back to the before?

Sincerely,

Not amused when my husband pokes my stomach fat

Dear Not Amused,

Ugh. The stomach flub. My tummy is also not the same as it was, even 1.5 years postpartum. (Ah! That seems like such a long time!) The squishyness is what gets me. Why do I suddenly have rolls when I sit? The worst! But, acceptance. It is there. My acceptance is here, it lives between the rolls of my tummy. Because you know what? Bodies change. I don’t look like I did when I was 14 and I am grateful. I don’t look or feel like I did when I was 18 and I am grateful. We change and grow because of our experiences and life adventures. We had babies!! That is spectacular! So our bodies changed. We will one day be old (Hopefully) and our bodies will be different then too. This flubby tummy is just one part of my experience, my story, it is just one part of who I am.

The part that shocked me the most about my post-baby-body was my lack of strength. So, I’ve been focusing (hard!) on core strength and doing a lot of interval training with Jillian Michaels and other people via the kinect and XBox fitness. But you can buy any of these programs at Amazon or Target as well. I find working out in my living room in my underpants much more attainable than going to the gym. It takes less time and once the startup costs are covered, it is virtually free. I have seen a great improvement in the last 3 months since I have really been putting a greater focus on consistent fitness. That being said, be kind to yourself. It took me until I weaned to really be able to push myself physically, and even that was inconsistent until after Gabe was a year.

As far as clothing goes! Open cardigans are your best friend. This is me, less than a year postpartum, I have probably 5+ of these cardigans. Cozy, work appropriate, great over a blouse/target tshirt/maxi dress.

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Also blousy tops paired with structured jackets are very forgiving but still incredibly put together. This was the best example I could find, but I rock a structured jacket to work + a blouse at least once a week.

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Find a good trench that can pass as an interesting top. I wore this one a lot in the first year:

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And definitely don’t forget, the hot mom 1-piece. I will never go back to a 2-piece again. What is the point? To feel self-conscience and stressed about my mom tummy? No way! I would rather focus on swimming and playing in the sand.

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Ultimately if you wear clothes that make you happy, you’ll feel happy and confident. Oh! And don’t take pictures of yourself sitting. A little self preserving ignorance can be a very, very good thing. Be kind to yourself and remember: You made a human! That thing came out of YOUR body! That is phenomenal.

Love,

BIRL

13 thoughts on “Better Than Real Life Advice: Triple Threat”

  1. “I had to laser focus on what the important things are and let a lot of the other stuff go.”

    Such good advice about the “me” time, and I think applicable for non-parents, too. I start to feel guilty when I can’t keep up with EVERYTHING, but the reality is our time is limited, and we have to choose what’s important.

  2. Focusing in is really the key. I feel like Brad and I are still working on acknowledging the need for me-time in each other. He gets antsy if I want a night out with friends. He quit traveling for work in July, but I still feeling like we’re finding our rhythm as co-parents. And now that he’s started a new job, he doesn’t get home until 2-3 hours after I do. He and I both like to relax after work and I definitely feel like I’m missing out on that since I have to be “on” for Elliott until he goes to bed. The good news is that he does go to bed at 7:30 and I can work out in my living room, watch Netflix, or quilt. The reality is that sometimes I just need to crash.

    1. That is a genuinely tough situation. You are basically solo parenting every single day. For this, Brad definitely needs to quit it with the antsy. The more he solo parents the easier it will be for him. But having the crash time is also just as important as productive moments. I make rules and goals for myself, that’s how I push myself to accomplish things, but not everyone can work that way. Whatever makes you happy – do that! And forget the rest.

  3. “Don’t take pictures of yourself sitting.” I think this is the best post-baby body acceptance advice ever. I am fine with my body. I hate the way I look in most seated pictures. Clearly that is easy to change, but I never really thought of it that way!

      1. Oh, my goodness. Midrise jeans are my jam for this reason. Also, the whole my butt isn’t hanging out when I pick up my kid is nice, too.

        Seriously, though, I know my body did this amazing thing. Carrying a child was hands down one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. But, ooh, it is hard to come to grips with the body changes. It’s so funny that I’m hard on myself, because I look at a lot of women who aren’t size 4s and think about how great they look. I think learning to dress yourself is huge. I might be planning a trip to Nordstrom for some cardigans. 🙂

  4. I love this!! The alone time, the me time, is so so so so important! Dating and soon moving in with an introvert (when I am not one) has taught me more and more about the importance of it, and mostly just recognizing that I’ve always needed it and ‘done it’ too, even if I didn’t call it that. So we are being really thoughtful and talky-outy about what we will need in a home life. And it so so nice to have goals up front. Although I’m sure we will have our moments, womp, as we all do. The laser focus that Lauren mentioned is excellent advice! I really need time with my girlfriends, TV-vegging time, random cooking, coffee and walks with friends, things like that – where L needs similar things and also reading, video games, zone out time. And I think checking in about things is important and really helps to build the communication skills for both parties. Like ‘hey I really need X tonight (or tomorrow or this week) – let’s make it happen’. Or ‘I’m going to do this for awhile, can we cook later?’. Basically, “just showing up” to the conversation is almost all you need to make it work.

    1. “Basically, “just showing up” to the conversation is almost all you need to make it work.”

      So true, and it sounds so simple, but it feels like multivariate calculus to remember to USE MY WORDS sometimes. Luckily, it pays off when I discover that, hey, my partner wants me to be happy, they just can’t read minds!

  5. “masturbation is the underrated overlooked me time of mothers.”

    HA. I love that you wrote this. I wish somebody else besides me had commented on it.

  6. iPhone photostream! It’s so great for not overwhelming the internet.

    Also fuck yes masturbation. Me time and the ability to take something off of your partner’s plate.

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