Per the doctor’s orders, I was put on modified bed rest just shy of 27 weeks due to a constant pattern of contractions. This is not unusual in a multiples’ pregnancy, and I’d been mentally preparing myself to slow down right around that time, so that direction from the doctor came as no big surprise.
Almost 5 weeks at home and 2 weeks in the hospital later, I delivered at 34 weeks. During that period of time, I shed many tears, had lots of anxiety and was bored beyond reason. Here are 10 tips to bed rest sanity that really helped me along the way:
1. Visitors. I needed to see people frequently. Hear different voices, anticipate visits. The important thing to note was I did this when I felt up to it and when it worked best for me. Sometimes I didn’t want to see anybody. And that was ok. When they did come, many of them helped with cleaning around the house. Even hearing them clean helped my OCD (I really struggled with anxiety hearing the house “live” around me without any input or control. Yup, I’m a nut.). And I admit, visitors were required to bring food. Ha. I lived vicariously through the awesome snacks they brought me since I couldn’t cook for myself.
2. Netflix. Did you know there are 120 episodes of Lost? I watched episode 120 the morning before I was admitted to the hospital for the last two weeks of bed rest. Netflix is THE. BOMB. The first thing husband did when I got put on bed rest was to buy me a new Blu-Ray player that had Netflix (and Amazon Prime) already in it. He set me up like a Queen!
3. Social Media/Blog. Social media is the obvious connection to the outside world. It’s a lot easier to keep up and stay connected than back in the dark ages when they put the pregnant chick in a back room in the castle with the windows covered up. Share your journey! It will feel good. You’ll need the pep talks from around the world!
4. Mini Fridge. This one probably should have claimed the number 1 spot. We had a fantastic friend offer one to us (she even delivered!) and it was such a major asset. The husband would stock it up every morning on his way to work and I had everything I needed for the day within arm’s reach by the bed.
5. Hobby. Being a photographer, I had the great luxury of plenty of creative work at my disposal to pass the time. I’ve heard of people who took up knitting and knit a million sweaters or cross-stitch or any other hands-on hobby that kept their brains busy and the hands moving.
6. Books/Magazines. My Kindle Fire is my best friend. I went through so many awesome books during my time on bed rest. And then I asked visiting friends to bring over their favorite books and I read those too. It was neat to see what different people brought and I learned some more about their personalities and style too! I joined Goodreads to keep up with my progress and find new books to read. Super cool!
7. Puzzles/Games. Having other children while on bed rest is super tough. Not only is it frustrating to you to not feel like you can provide the care for them that you would like, it is frustrating for them to feel your “absence” in their own daily routine. Setting aside time when they come home from school to sit on the bed and play a board game with you or do some other activity together can brighten your day and help them still feel connected and important. (Check out this post with 8 Tips for Helping Your Older Child Adjust to New Siblings!)
8. Develop a Routine. In those darker bed rest moments, you can sometimes feel yourself falling into the abyss of boredom and in truth, a little bit depressed. Feeling so sedentary can have some major negative effects if you’re not careful. Establish a routine! In the hospital, I made a point to try and wake up by 7:30AM, order breakfast each day at 8AM, read 2 chapters of my book, then watch an episode of whatever show I was on. Even the stupid stuff. I made it my routine. I gave my time and day value.
9. Skype. FaceTime. Google Hangout. Praise God for technology! Sometimes you need to see a face that’s far away. We’re blessed with the tools to do so.
10. Stay Ordered. And Clean. There were so many mornings that I just didn’t feel like brushing my hair or getting dressed. I made myself do it anyways. On those most rare days when I had just had too much and felt batsh*t, cabin fever, about to go psycho, crazy and didn’t do those simple human tasks? Well, those days got worse. Even when I didn’t want to do it, making sure I made an effort to stay clean and ordered, I felt better for it afterwards. It was important to still try and feel like a woman, even with the most minimalist efforts. Ya know?
There will be super highs and super lows on bed rest. You have one job…baby grower. Embrace that and do your best to find peace in your heart. It won’t always be easily identified, but work to stay calm and focused on keeping the best mental state for your little babe (or babes!) as they grow inside you. Every second spent on bed rest allows them to take one step closer towards full development. It is worth every bit of hard work, energy and dark moments to know that each day you’ve passed a new milestone and given them a better chance at the best life. Every day counts.
Bonus Tip! Enjoy the slower pace. While quite literally bored to tears while on bed rest, I sometimes find myself looking back on those days among the chaos of twin toddlers, sleepless nights, epic tantrums and indescribable moments of filth and boy nasty, and go “Man, those were the days.” I wouldn’t trade my chaotic little piece of heaven for the world, but I sure would like a week, jeez…an hour! of time where I had to do absolutely nothing but lay in bed. Ahhh…even now, I am dreaming of it. One day.
Make Learning Fun With Robots
In today’s world, technology is everywhere from our kitchens, to our offices, to our cars. We use smartphones every day not just for work, but also for play. Maybe you’re reading this article on your phone right now. Some moms are worried about the impact of such widespread technology on their kids’ education. They may be worried that all the cell phones, computers, and smart TVs in today’s environment are too distracting for young people.
However, technology is a real part of children’s future careers. It can help kids learn any subject, especially when robotics are involved. More and more mom blogs are discussing the intersection of learning and technology, it seems like it’s the blogger’s choice as long as it’s relevant to their children’s education.
There are even competitions sponsored by everyone from the government to colleges for children to really show off what they’ve learned. One example is the Robot Olympics and another one is the Robots 4 Us video challenge. No matter where you are, there’s a fun way for your kids to learn about STEM and STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art and math — in an educational, engaging way.
One great place to start is by watching some videos and making robots at home. These fun, futuristic tutorials help kids learn how to make all kinds of things, like a motorized coloring machine, and more.
If your kids really like at home projects and watching robotics videos, why not try an afterschool program or a summer camp. There are many options out there for any curious boy or girl of any age. One first step to take is to look up your state and school district on the Afterschool Alliance page to check out what’s available.
Today’s technological options might seem a bit too new to those of us in the older generation, but they’re really not so scary. Kids can have fun and learn skills at the same time. The economy of the future is becoming more and more focused on technology and STEM skills.
By getting your kids into robotics, whether it’s a summer camp, an after school program, or an at home project, you’re giving them a future edge not only in school, but in their career as well. And as a parent, you’ll also learn valuable skills for your own career, as well as having lots of good, clean, family fun.
Self Care Tips for Working Moms
Being a single working mom of twins and a teenager means I often put myself at the bottom of the to do list. Whether I’m playing chef, chauffeur, bandager of boo boos or homework advisor, the hat I put on least often is woman. As a married working mom, I practically forgot I was a beautiful woman and wife. As a single working mom, I struggle to embrace myself as a confident available woman. Focused mainly on carrying my family through the days, I forget that taking the time to focus on myself every once in awhile ultimately makes me a better parent. Here are some fun self care tips for working moms that could spark that little feisty woman you know is in there but haven’t seen in forever.
1. Boudoir Shoot: Yup. I’m certain a great many of you just went “Yeah, right. Thanks for nothing.” WAIT! Seriously…I know this is what I do for a living, and I’m not listing this one at the top of the list as a shameless plug. I’m listing it at the top of the list because of the why behind what I do as a photographer. Our tagline at Modern Femme Photography is “because you deserve to feel beautiful.” A boudoir shoot is a fabulous way to celebrate and embrace your unique journey as a woman, be pampered, but most importantly, be reminded that you are beautiful, just as you are. And because it’s important to practice what you preach, I hopped in front of the camera a couple of weeks ago as part of a two-session process I’ve planned to reclaim my confidence and self-worth as a newly single woman.
2. Support Group: We have a great online community growing at Working Moms United that gives support and encouragement at those low points where being a work mom chips away at your energy, self-esteem and willpower. It’s a wonderful resource for moms on-the-go who need a pep talk but can only pop online here and there or might not have available time to meet up with others. I’ve also recently joined a local church and have been attending their quarterly women’s brunches. They provide child care for a few hours while I sit and chat with other women, feel refreshed and feel supported in prayer as a woman of faith. I’ve also identified a few key accountability partners in my life. Girl friends with similar life circumstances who can serve as trusted encouragers and keep me on track.
3. Learn Something New: Switching up the routine and enjoying something fresh and new can be a great way to recharge. Recently, I booked a makeup lesson with Dhalia Edwards of The Bride’s Corner. Dhalia is not only a dear friend of mine, but she’s incredibly talented both in her technique and her warm-hearted care of her clients. She patiently took 3 hours of her day to sift through my old, dated make up, repurpose old tools for new styles and teach me proper application techniques for everyday looks. Not only did I feel pampered and pretty when I left, but I felt rejuvenated and more confident in how to achieve a flawless look on my own.
4. Schedule Quiet Time: Spare minutes are a hot commodity for the working mom. Every second of every day feels tied to a never-ending to do list that typically revolves around everyone other than yourself. You need to make a choice to declare a bit of each day for yourself. Whether it’s 5 minutes, 20 minutes or the luxurious full hour, diligently schedule quiet time. Take the time to breathe in the quiet, write in a journal, pray, speak out gratitudes, do a few yoga stretches…whatever your peace may be. Do not allow yourself to skimp on this part of your day.
Remember, the first step towards being a better mom is being a better you. That better you needs some TLC! It may feel overwhelming or even scary to put any of these self care tips for workings moms into practice, but trust me, you’ll be glad that you did. Remember the positive, reclaim your beauty, refresh your soul and recharge!
Year-End Money Tips for Working Moms and Female Entrepreneurs
I don’t know about you but the end of the year brings two thoughts…well, three thoughts for me. One, CHRISTMAS!!!!! Two, fresh start on January 1st! And three, holy cow, what’s my money situation? Taxes are coming.
A big, big thank you to Kristen Robinson, SVP of Women and Young Investors at Fidelity Investments for taking the time to develop these year-end money tips for working moms and female entrepreneurs!
2 Tips for Female Business Owners / Entrepreneurs:
Keep Your Future in Mind with the Right Retirement Account for Your Needs
- Look into the different plans available to business owners, such as a 401(k) for Small Business, a self-employed 401(k), SEP IRA or SIMPLE IRA. You may need to appoint a plan administrator- someone who takes care of administrative responsibilities and ensures the plan is operating according to the Plan Document. Learn more about these different types of accounts here.
- Contribute to your account. The deadline for depositing employer profit-sharing contributions for the current calendar year is generally the business’ tax-filing deadline, plus extensions (for unincorporated businesses, this date is usually April 15 of the following year, plus any extensions).
- If you own a business, have you considered how best to plan for the future? If you plan to keep it in the family, consider creating a structure that makes it easier to transfer the business’s assets to other family members, such as a family limited partnership or a family limited liability company.
- There are many options; your attorney or tax adviser can help you select one that is appropriate for you in light of your specific situation.
4 Tips for Single Moms:
Get Involved in Your Family’s Finances
- It’s important to have a full picture of the family financial situation. At minimum, know what accounts you have and with whom. That includes banks and investing accounts, life insurance, mortgages, and loans. Having a handle on this information is an important foundation as you plan for the future, and can bring greater peace of mind.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes! Yes! Yes! I am still getting a grip on my finances after the divorce. I realize now how little I knew before and how problematic that can be.)
Save for Retirement
- Retirement is not a destination but a journey, and it’s never too early – or too late – to start putting away savings for the future. Along the way, there are myriad opportunities to get off the path—and back on it. And at virtually any turn in the road, there are possibilities to speed up your progress.
- Make it a goal to save 15% or more of your income each year. If that’s not reachable today, make sure to make it a priority to carve out what you can. Even smaller amounts will add up over time.
- Aim to have no more than 50% of your take-home pay go toward your “must-have” expenses.
Try to Save Three to Six Months of Essential Expenses in an Emergency Fund.
Look for Growth Potential from your Investments
- Knowing your financial personality can help you determine the right mix of stocks, bonds and short-term investments that match how comfortable you are with risk, and have the growth potential to meet your life’s needs, be that when you want to retire or when you want to send kids to college.
- If you’re not sure where to start, read up online, or reach out to a professional. There’s never a fee to come into Fidelity to talk to a financial planner, but we do recommend you reevaluate twice a year. Just like you take care of your physical health by visiting the doctor and dentist, think of this as taking care of your financial health, which is vitally important as well.
Protect your Legacy
- In order to ensure that what you’ve accumulated is distributed to your children, family and causes you care about most, it is important to name beneficiaries and create a will and health care proxy. Yes, it can be uncomfortable to think about the ‘what it’s,’ but it’s important to be prepared for the unknown. Do you really want someone else making these decisions for you?