I’m going to share something that I am a tad embarrassed to admit…that for some time, even with just two kids, the laundry situation in our household was severely out of control. It seemed that the pile of dirty laundry would grow until it was overflowing out of hampers. The washing, then drying, the folding, the putting away – it was my most dreaded household chore. When I did get around to putting a load on, the clean laundry rarely got folded which meant it ended up in a gigantic pile on the bed (and then pushed onto the floor) and we would just get dressed from the pile of clean clothes on the floor. And when I did take the time to fold and organize the laundry, the clothes rarely made it back into their proper drawers and closets and instead we just had a overwhelming amount of folded clothes sitting on the floor that would end up becoming a mess when the boys decided it was a mountain they had to climb or decided to toss pieces all over the room and all of the clean clothes would eventually just get mixed with the dirty clothes. Please tell me I am not the only one that has lived like this?!?! Well, I finally decided to get our laundry situation under control and these are a few habits that have helped us create an efficient laundry routine. And guess what, since implementing these tips, I don’t hate laundry anymore!
Do a load every day. By doing one load every single day, you avoid the massive pile up that can easily accumulate over a few days. This way you won’t get behind and end up feeling overwhelmed.
Fold immediately. I’m usually taking a load out of the dryer to exchange it as I am running out the door for an adventure with the boys and before, I would just toss them into the laundry basket and promise myself that I would fold them when the boys went to sleep that night. Well, that night-time folding party rarely happened because I would much rather relax, catch up on emails, or spend time with the husband. Tackling the folding right away only takes a few extra moments and made staying on top of the laundry so much easier.
Put a load in before bed every night. Putting a load of laundry in the washer before going to bed every night has become a ritual that helps me stay on track for a load a day. When I wake up, I switch it to the dryer and then after breakfast and before we head out for the day, I fold the laundry and put it away. This has been working really well for us because doing laundry after the boys go to bed is really the last thing I want to do at the end of the day.
Get the kids involved. My boys LOVE helping with laundry. There’s something about pouring in the detergent and throwing in the dryer balls that is just so exciting for little ones. Both the boys also love helping me move the wet clothes from the washing machine to the dryer…Holden likes to pretend it’s a contest to see how strong he is (since the wet clothes can get so heavy). It has become something fun to do together!
Use the right products.Both the boys have really sensitive skin and we have always been really careful about what we use to wash and dry their clothing. There really is nothing worse than washing clothes in something that doesn’t work or results in rashes or feels stiff or doesn’t smell good and having to redo multiple loads of laundry. We use and love the Babyganics Fragrance Free Laundry Detergent and the Babyganics’ 100% natural wool dryer balls. We just recently added the Babyganics dryer balls to our laundry regime which eliminate the need for conventional fabric softeners and dryer sheets, resulting in less static and softer clothes naturally, and we love them! They are non-toxic, non-allergenic, biodegradable, compostable, and free of chemicals, PVC, fragrances, and dyes. Growing up my mom always used dryer sheets, but I’ve avoided them because of the boys sensitive skin and so we were always battling a lot of static in their clothing. These dryer balls have solved all of our static issues and make the boys’ clothing so soft! The dryer balls also reduce drying time up to 25% and last for up to 1000 loads of laundry!
And to make things even better, they are now sold at Babies R Us!! They also just launched a diaper subscription on Amazon to make life even easier on us busy mamas.
I have been taking the boys to the beach on my own since Gray was one week old. We live right at the beach and spend so much time in the sand and the ocean that I’ve had a lot of time to figure out what works at the beach with little ones and what doesn’t. Dustin works during the week so he isn’t able to join us, but the weekdays are our favorite days to go because it’s less crowded, there’s more parking, and sometimes we even have the entire beach to ourselves. And when I’m on my own, I want our trips to run smoothly so that we can all enjoy the experience without any frustration or stress.
Below are a few things I’ve learned that help make beach days with kids happy and fun without unnecessary stress…
When you have kids, you need a lot of things at the beach. But that doesn’t mean you have to carry in ten bags – because that’s not only impossible, but it automatically starts your beach trip off with unnecessary stress. Lugging ten bags over your shoulder while you walk through the sand and try to keep track of your kids is just not fun. And there’s nothing worse than making ten trips back and forth to the car with your little ones in tow who just want to get into the sand and start playing.
We use just one bag, The Beachmate, to carry everything! The Beachmate system is a genius invention for anyone that takes kids to the beach. It is an all-in-one stackable storage system that organizes the whole family’s beach essentials in one bag that you can simply carry over your shoulder. Complete with durable buckets, shovels, soft cooler for snacks and water, and plenty of pockets for sunscreen, extra sand toys, wallets, and other essentials. The Beachmate system comes with a collection of stackable buckets that make for pretty epic sandcastles and can even be flipped over and used as lunch or snack trays. The Beachmate system will pretty much change the way you go to the beach with your family – trust me!
Put sunscreen on before you leave the house
There is nothing worse than putting sunscreen on in the sand. Sand inevitably makes it way into the sunscreen as I rub it in on my boy’s legs which is not a pleasant feeling and makes them want to avoid sunscreen altogether. Applying sunscreen before we leave the house, or even before we hop out of the car once we have arrived at the beach, saves the trouble of chasing down kids in the sand or accidentally exfoliating their skin.
Wear protective clothing
Holden has particularly fair skin and I really have to be on top of reapplying sunscreen when we are spending the entire afternoon in the sun. However, there are times that we are having so much fun or we’ve walked down the beach in search of sea treasures that I’m late reapplying. Therefore, to make my (and his) life easier, I always make sure to cover every inch of skin that I can in UV-protective clothing to prevent any sunburns. The boys now wear their wetsuits and sun hats when we go to the beach so that I really only have to worry about reapplying sunscreen on their faces, hands, and feet. Plus little kids in wetsuits are just adorable. And don’t forget to clothe yourself in UV-protective clothing as well.
Don’t worry about sand
Don’t worry about sand because if you do, it will make you crazy! I never understand the people that freak out over sand getting on their towels or blankets when they are at the beach with children. Little ones don’t meant to, but they are going to step on your blanket or inside your tent and get sand everywhere. It’s pretty much impossible to not get sand into every single nook and cranny when you are at the beach and guess what…that’s ok! It is just part of going to the beach. Let go of that and you’ll have an amazing time. Even when Gray was just a week or two old, it wasn’t fair to ask Holden to not get sand anywhere near the baby. I mean it really is impossible, especially for little ones. So I accepted that Gray would get sand in his car seat, there might be sand on the blanket where he was lying, or Gray might even sand in his eyes! But you know what, by acknowledging beforehand that was a possibility, I didn’t over react when it did happen. And guess what, we all survived a little sand here and there. The Beachmate towels are super lightweight and quick-drying which also means you can’t shake out the sand at the beach and leave it there, without dragging it all to the car with you.
Bring lots of snacks and water
All of the running, digging, swimming, and splashing makes for some pretty hungry kids. Pack more than you think you will need because there is nothing worse than getting to the beach to have one of your kids say the words “I’m hungry” and you realize that you don’t have any food with you. Also, make sure to keep plenty of water on hand because running around in the sun and sand can make everyone dehydrated.
***And because I want you ALL to have an amazing time with your family at the beach or lake or while you’re on vacation, you can now get 10% off your order at Beachmate by using the code MEMORIALDAY. Offer ends after memorial day weekend (Monday at midnight)!!! Don’t miss out…trust me…this bag will change everything :)***
At 6 weeks old, Holden began having severe breath holding spells. A handful of these resulted in prolonged seizures because he held his breath too long and after that first time, I worried he would have a seizure with every single spell.
With breath holding spells, there is no real diagnosis. You basically rule out everything else with cardiology and neurology and then say if it’s not this or that, it must be breath holding. In the back of my mind, I always worried it was something more serious. Of course I spent so much time researching that I found some scary stuff when googling and some of those stories that I read I just couldn’t ever get out of my head. There are no experts on breath holding spells and most pediatricians aren’t particularly educated on them because children out grow them between 4 and 6 years of age and there are no true or prolonged real health risks. I found it hard to find and trust a pediatrician because I always felt like I knew so much more about what was going on with Holden than the Doctors themselves did.
Sometimes when I told people that he held his breath, they would laugh and say nonchalantly, oh ya I know so-and-so who did that and it was so funny because every time he/she would get upset, she would throw a temper tantrum and turn blue. This was not the same as Holden’s spells. His were severe. He would turn blue, his eyes widen in fear like a person drowning but in mid-air as he desperately gasped, he would claw and scratch my face as he tried to take a breath until his body would collapse and he would pass out. We would shake him and say Holden, wake up! and after a few seconds he would regain consciousness and then begin crying again.
I didn’t ever leave him, I put him to sleep every single night, I didn’t take my eyes off of him no matter where we were, I had to avoid anyone that has even the slightest cold (getting sick made his spells 100x worse), and it was that way until he outgrew them at 4 years old. If I left him, all I did was worry about him so I could never enjoy anything when I was apart with him. It was terrifying and overwhelming when we were going through it. It dictated my life.
And yet, although a very traumatic experience, it shaped and molded who I am as a mother. My child turned blue and stopped breathing ten times or more a day for four years and every time I would wonder if he would take that breath again. This has made me grateful for every single breath and every single moment I have with him (and Gray). It has given me patience during the tough times because instead of getting upset over the fact that he was crying in the middle of the night, I would think to myself, at least he is crying, and remind myself how grateful I was to have the ability to hold him while he was crying. It doesn’t matter what the experience is, I just feel happy that I get to be able to experience every little thing with my children, even the tears, the late nights and the early mornings. I definitely look at life differently because of it.
And it changed the way we parented, choosing to do things that worked for us and our family even if they were outside the norm. I opted for extended breastfeeding and we co-slept with Holden until he decided he wanted to sleep in his big boy bed, amongst a lot of other parenting choices that I might not have considered if it hadn’t been for our experience with breath holding.
We all have different experiences and backgrounds that make us who we are as mothers, determine the decisions we make, and change the way we see the world, but just because they are different from one mother to the next doesn’t mean they are wrong. You won’t hear me complaining about a rough day or that motherhood is difficult because my experience raising Holden has forced me to be overwhelming grateful for it all…every single piece of it. And that’s just me and my experience. Breastfed/bottle fed, co-sleep/crib, rock to sleep/cry it out, stay-at-home/working, etc.
We may all do things differently but we are all just trying to raise these tiny humans to be happy and healthy the best way we know how and we should celebrate motherhood no matter what it looks like.
i kind of wish i was that perfect housewife. you know the one that has gourmet meals waiting on the table upon her husband’s arrival home from work. the one that goes grocery shopping on a regular basis and always has the refrigerator and pantry stocked with healthy snacks. the one that keeps up with the laundry so that the hamper is never full and the clothes are always folded and put away in their proper place. the one that cleans the house daily so that it is always spotless with no stray toys for you to step on at night. you know, that person? well, 19 months into this whole motherhood thing, i’m still trying to figure out how to juggle it all. i’ve decided to start trying a little harder on the whole keeping the household together thing (because that always seems to come second to well, everything haha) so yesterday i meal planned, went grocery shopping, cleaned the entire house, finished (and put away!!!) the laundry, and currently have this cooking on the stove. feeling like this just might be the start of a new me.
“If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don’t expose it to the elements. You don’t make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special because you have made it so, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.” – F. Burton Howard
over the weekend, dustin and i spent the entire day together, without holden, for the first time in 19 months. and in stopping to think about it, we realized that it is kind of a shockingly long time for us not to have an extended amount of alone time together. for months we have said that we should do it, my mom has offered countless times to take holden for weekends, but then the time would come and we’d get excited about a random family outing or decide we were too tired or just not and choose that instead. or we wouldn’t have anything specific in mind and decide that it didn’t really matter.
but on a whim, we decided it was time. without any planning, without showering, without as much as running a brush through my hair, dustin and i left for the entire afternoon and evening. on saturday, after putting holden down for his nap, we asked my mom if she would watch holden for the rest of the day and of course she eagerly agreed, excited to spend some alone time with her grandson.
with absolutely no plans, we drove into the city and wandered around our old neighborhood. we stopped in at our old house and reminisced on the times we enjoyed there as newlyweds. we walked, we shopped, we talked, we ate, and we remembered that our relationship is the priority.
upon arriving home to see that holden was happy, content, and couldn’t stop talking about how much fun he had with grandma, we have decided that it is something we need to do more often. knowing now, that even a few hours to ourselves is important and integral part of maintaining our marriage.