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A Letter To My 18-Year-Old Self

When I was 18 years old, you couldn’t tell me anything! I was grown and I knew everything about pretty much everything. Oh how laughable that is now! When they say hindsight is 20/20, they couldn’t be anymore correct! I don’t know if it’s my ten year High School reunion quickly approaching, or that my 20’s are going to be coming to an end, but I have been doing some serious reflecting lately. Although I wouldn’t say I have any regrets about the last ten years of life, because ultimately they lead me to where I am now, I would definitely tweak a few things if I ever had the chance. Those tweaks are listed below in a letter to my 18-year-old self.

Dear 18-year-old Leigha,

Don’t Be Such a Bitch.

You know the expression, “I thought you were such a bitch before I got to know you”? Yeah well it definitely applied to me, except that a lot of people still thought I was a bitch even after they got to know me. I honestly don’t know why I was so mean at 18. Sometimes I think it was attributed to growing up in a home where anger was an easily expressed emotion, so I behaved the same. But then other times I think it was just because I had a sour attitude and needed to grow up. Regardless, my first advice to little miss sassy brat, is don’t be such a bitch. The things that are making you angry now won’t even matter in a few years. Like, the boy who was sleeping with his ex-girlfriend the whole time he was dating you. He really isn’t worth the anger that causes you to strangle him in-between classes in front of the whole school (guilty). And the girls that you and all your friends swear you HATE, are actually going to turn out to be respectable people that you don’t even have a problem with. So don’t stress everything as much, and don’t be so ugly! You’re going to soon learn that your favorite people in life are the genuinely kind and compassionate ones, not the bitchy ones.

Don’t Date for at Least the Next FIVE Years.

Trust me on this one girlfriend. You will save yourself from some bad heart breaks and SO much wasted time. Now, I know every relationship is a learning experience; learning what you do and don’t want in a partner, learning what you will and will not give to a partner, and ultimately learning the type of relationship you want to strive for. However, I think learning all of those things closer to your mid-twenties is the better route. Instead of spending all that time in relationships that aren’t the right ones, save these years to focus on yourself; to learn about yourself, to grow as an individual, and to dedicate to making life long memories and friends. And let me just give you a sneak preview sister, the boy you spend hours commuting home to see every weekend, the one you miss out on your college football games and beach parties for, he cheats on you at a house party and then tells every lie in the book to cover it up (true story). And then the guy who you try so hard to impress to be what you think he wants from you, you run into him downtown one night where he blankly stares at you while holding hands with another girl (also true story). Just do yourself the favor Leigha, don’t date for the next five years. Your early twenties are your selfish years, so you go be selfish girl!

Study abroad!

Okay, I may have lied when I said I didn’t have any regrets. Looking back on this one, the chance to take college classes in another Country, with your peers, all set up and organized through your school, yeah I DO regret not doing that. Never in your life are you going to have a more perfect time to do this. You have no huge responsibilities, no career, no babies, AND a twenty-year-old drinking ability! (Gawd how much fun that could have allowed you to have). Forget about the hundred excuses you tell yourself on why you can’t go, like how much it costs, or your restaurant job, or who will feed your cats. Just do it! Take out the student loan to pay for the extra tuition. Put in a leave of absence at your job. Bribe your roommate with sweet sediments to keep your cats alive for the semester. Whatever it takes, make it happen. Cause life is only going to get busier, crazier, and more stressful the older you get. You won’t get an opportunity like that again. And if you’re smart and listened to the ‘don’t date anyone’ advice, you won’t have that stupid relationship holding you back either!

Lastly, for the sentimental side of yourself, hug the ones you love a little tighter each time you see them from here on out. You’re not going to have them all forever.

XO Leigha Signature JPG

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Tips for Battling the Baby Blues

So you’ve just had a baby – Congratulations! Everyone is over the moon excited for you and you are too! This life you have created and grown inside of you the last 40 weeks is finally here, and you’re mesmerized. It’s all new and exhilarating and magical… until a couple of days after bringing baby home and suddenly, it’s not.

It seems like all at once the reality of a newborn and outrageous hormones hit you like a freight train. You’re overwhelmed, sleep deprived, scared, stressed, and in most cases, CLUELESS of what is going on; not only with baby, but with you as well. You’re bursting into tears for irrational things, you’re finding yourself growing angry at the smallest of issues, and you’re wondering what the hell you were thinking bringing this baby into the world with such a crazy mother. Well sister, welcome to the Baby Blues.

Let me be the first to tell you, and I want you to really understand this; YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I feel like the baby blues and postpartum depression are some of the BIGGEST kept secrets about becoming a new mom. You very rarely hear a woman talk about how down and dark she felt after having her baby. Is it because society paints this unrealistic picture of what having a newborn should be like? With all the perfectly posed photos and all the advertisements of a mom rocking her peacefully sleeping baby at night? Whatever it is, open discussions about baby blues is such a taboo in our culture; which makes moms who are battling it feel even more alone.

I had absolutely no idea that managing and working through my baby blues would be so incredibly hard with my first baby, Ellie. With Enzo being my second baby however, I was able to handle them much better this time – mainly because I made a conscious effort to recognize and communicate what I was experiencing. So naturally I wanted to share what helped me the most, so that I may be able to help another mother that is struggling like I did.oh baby banner jpg

TIPS FOR BATTLING THE BABY BLUES

Recognition

The first thing that helped so much with my baby blues was admitting that I was experiencing them! With my first baby, I was convinced that I had turned crazy. That there was surely something wrong with me, because who cries over having to wash bottles for the third time today? I had heard how much a baby can change a woman, and I was scared that I was going to be a mess of a person forever. With baby number two however, I would still burst into tears for the smallest of things (like when my toddler refused to give me a hug), except this time I knew it wasn’t me acting psychotic, it was the hormones. Once I accepted the fact that I was going through the baby blues, it made it so much easier to allow myself to be emotional while also knowing that this too will pass.

Communication

The next GREATLY important tip that saved me from crying myself to sleep at night was communication. If I was feeling sad, I would say it. I wasn’t trying to hide my erratic emotions from anyone, and that helped me so much. I am incredibly lucky to have the friends, family, and Fiancé that I have. I texted Krystal at all hours of the night just to articulate and talk through what I was feeling. And after every conversation with her, I felt better. I had family members ask me what I needed help with, and when I shared that meals were becoming overwhelming for me to prepare, serve, and clean up, guess what happened? They brought me dinner. When I cried on my Fiancé’s shoulder one night and told him I was feeling all alone, he came to the baby’s room after putting our toddler to bed to cuddle with me as I fed Enzo to sleep. The moral to all of these instances is that if you communicate with the people around you about what you’re feeling, they will respond with exactly what you need at that moment.

It is Not Happiness All The Time

Lastly, and I don’t think enough women truly understand this one, but having a newborn is one of the hardest things you will ever experience, both physically and mentally. There isn’t much to be excited about when all they do is scream at you when they are hungry. Or wet. Or hot. Or cold. Or tired. Or, …you get the idea. And it is OKAY for you not to be happy about all of this. I felt so guilty about feeling unhappy with my first baby that I would tell myself how terrible of a mother I was. I mean, why didn’t I feel rainbows and butterflies every time I looked at her little face like all the other moms said they felt all over social media. Oh that’s right, because social media is only the highlights of that mother’s day. She isn’t posting a crying rant at 3 am when their baby is refusing to go back to sleep. She isn’t posting a video of her baby hysterically crying any time she gets put in a car seat. And she isn’t posting a picture of herself with hair that hasn’t been washed in days and clothes that have baby fluids all over them. Once I started to IGNORE the lie social media portrays of motherhood, I stopped being so guilty about how I was feeling. It’s not only okay to not be jumping for joy during this time period, it’s actually normal!

So relax, new Mama. Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can and rest assure that this time will pass and it will get better. You are a warrior now. You are a mother.

XO Leigha Signature JPG

I truly thank every friend who checked in on me and every family member who took the time to give me a call or bring me a meal. But most importantly I thank my Fiancé, who has not only catered to my every need these last two weeks, but also exemplified what an amazing father he is to our children each and every day.

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What’s In My Hospital Bag | Plus Video!

Just like other first time moms, I had no idea what I was doing when it came to most things baby related. This included packing my hospital bag for my labor and delivery stay. When I tell you I packed enough for a small vacation, your girl ain’t lying! I had to dig through all the extra crap I packed in my family sized suitcase, I mean, bag, just to get to what I really needed; the basic essentials! So using my first mistakes as lessons learned, I now feel like I have exactly what I need in my hospital bag for my 2nd attempt at being a new mommy.

Hospital Bag – For Baby

While in the hospital, baby really isn’t going to need much, besides all the newborn snuggles in the world of course! If your hospital is anything like mine, they provide you with almost everything you need: diapers, wipes, formula, pacifier, blankets, etc.. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t still bring them a few things. I packed two cute swaddle blankets that have a matching hat to wrap baby boy in for his grand announcement photo. (Not that this is necessary, but c’mon, I’m a blogger and have been planning out this picture for weeks now!) I also threw in 3 different footed pj’s in new born size with THE CUTEST prints on them. Although, I know baby will be swaddled the majority of our hospital stay. And I’ll just pick from one of those for his going home outfit!

Hospital Bag – For Mommy

As far as items for momma bear, I tried to pack just the essentials. Well, for the most part anyway. I did throw in some nail polish and basic makeup items, which some may not consider to be an essential right after giving birth, but I am hoping to not look so much like a mommy monster this time around!

Cosmetics

  • Toothbrush & Paste.
  • Shampoo & Conditioner & Body Wash.
  • Body Lotion & Face Lotion.
  • Chapstick! (Extremely important girlfriend!).
  • Hairbrush & Hair Ties/Head Bands & Hair Spray.
  • Deodorant.
  • Prenatal Vitamins (You’re going to want to keep taking these even after you give birth!).
  • Makeup & Nail Polish – I’m a dreamer, okay? 😉

Clothes

  • Going home outfit – take your biggest and most comfortable maxi dress. Trust me on this one.
  • 2 outfits – loose fitting and comfortable. I have roll over yoga shorts that I will keep unrolled up&over my belly, and loose fitting high-waisted capri pants. Both paired with a baggy t-shirt provided by my Fiancé’s side of the closet.
  • Adjustable sports bras. (You’re going to be swollen).
  • Large, unattractive underwear. (If you don’t want to wear the mommy diapers the hospital will provide).
  • Socks.

Snacks

  • Pop-Tarts
  • Special K Bars
  • Fruit Gummies
  • Pretty much anything you typically like to snack on. You know, for when you’re waiting on baby daddy to bring you your gourmet take out!

For your viewing pleasure, I have also filmed all of this exciting information for you and posted it on our YouTube Channel. Yay! You can watch that below <3

Because we have Ellie, our 2 1/2 year old, daddy will be staying at home with her during the nights of my hospital stay. Therefore, he gets nothing in my hospital bag! Ha. I am so excited to bring this baby boy into our lives, and can’t wait to share him with you all! Stay tuned.

XO Leigha Signature JPG

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Three Types of People You Should Avoid in Life

The older I get, the more I realize just how much control I have over who I surround myself with. People within your circle can really influence you and the way you see things in life. After all, you are who you associate with. And because my happiness (and sanity) is just such a precious thing these days, I try to make a conscious decision of weeding out the bad seeds (see what I did there) before they can negatively impact my thoughts, mood, or behavior. At this point, I have done a pretty good job at identifying a few specific people I do not want within my circle of happiness, and you shouldn’t eitherGood People Quote jpg

1. The Never Happy for Anyone Else Person

You know who I’m talking about. You could have just had the best day in your entire life, and they will find a way to deflate your happiness like a needle to a balloon. Picture this: You unexpectedly receive some money from the angels above and get to purchase that brand new Kate Spade purse you have added and deleted from your shopping cart at least a dozen times. Beaming with happiness, you share this news, and like clockwork Debbie Downer responds with, “I wish I had gotten a check. I need a new purse so bad, mine is like 5 years old with holes in it.” …… WELL ALRIGHTY THEN! Thank you, Deborah, for sucking all the joy out of that for me and now making me feel guilty for my tiny win. I will try not to accidentally hit you with my new Kate Spade purse next time I walk passed you. Ugh. These people are just genuinely not happy when people other than themselves have any type of success. And for that reason alone, you should try your best to avoid them!

2. The Always Gossiping Person

This person is not only like a private detective – knowing EVERYONE’S business, they are also like an open book when it comes to sharing everyone’s business as well. It is almost a talent really just how well, and quickly, they can find out the details of someone’s personal life. (I don’t know how they do it!) But nevertheless, they are just as quick at sharing it with you and every Joe Schmo that will give them the attention. A good rule of thumb – if someone is eager to talk about others with you, they are most definitely just as eager and willing to talk about you to others! Be careful what you share with the always gossiping person; even the smallest hint of something happening in your personal life can lead to an office wide discussion of how they think your marriage is in trouble. Wait, what?! Now, you can be friendly and polite to Mr. Inspector Gadget of course, but keep a safe distance. And know that he is probably going to talk about you regardless. Eye roll.

3. The One-Upper Person

This one’s name is pretty self-explanatory, and someone I am sure we have all encountered throughout our lives. The one-upper person isn’t always the one who has topped WHATEVER it is you are talking about, but you can bet your last dollar they know someone who has! You went sky diving in Australia during your summer vacation? Yeah, well their cousin jumped out of a plane with no parachute while holding a baby kangaroo. And they are going to immediately interrupt your story to talk about their cousin’s story for the next 20 minutes. (And now your RBF – resting b*tch face – is in full activation mode.) This person has a story for everything you mention and it is just somehow ALWAYS slightly better. Or bigger. Or more expensive. You get my drift? Once you’ve identified the one-upper person in a group, just smile and wave. Conversing with them will just leave you feeling like such a mediocre member of society. Although, they probable know someone more mediocre than you as well.Learning Quote

OH! And just one more person you should avoid at all costs – a black coffee drinker. Because, you just don’t want such mental instability around you in life.

XO Leigha Signature JPG