Stress Free Parenting

stress-free parenting, parenting without the stress, happy parenting

 

*This post is sponsored by Palmer Lake Recovery*

Everyone jokes about parenting and how hard it is. The truth is, even though I babysat more times than I can possibly count, I never expected parenting to be this stressful. How did I create a tiny tribe of people who cry, simply because I put a shirt on them?

We do not spank our kids. Spanking a child teaches fear over wisdom, and is far too easy an out that allows parents to express their own frustration and negative emotions by hurting their children. There are plenty of studies that show how spanking negatively effects children, even as adults, and we agreed to never allow it in our home.

Because we were both raised in “spanking” homes, this commitment to gentle parenting takes an incredible level of calm and self-control. I will admit that I’m not always the calm parent. There is only so long I can hold it together when I have a tiny tyrant whining, asking the same question 50 times in a row and crying before he even hears the answer.

The other day, after my toddler had done a lap around the living room, intentionally destroying everything in his path because he was so tired you could almost see his brain shorting out, I put him on the couch and told him to stop. In a split second, his eyes broke my heart and changed my entire parenting. His eyes told me he was experiencing stress and didn’t know how to control himself. He looked so helpless. I turned off all the lights (except the Christmas tree), turned off the tv, and held him on the couch. He fell asleep within the minute.

It is absolutely not always easy to control my emotions. As a parent, you have little sleep, constant noise, and no alone time. It’s like a lesser form of torture. It can drive a sane person a little batty. It’s definitely stressful.

Related: Your Brain on Exercise

Setting boundaries for yourself as a parent is just as important for your mental health as it is the mental health of your children. Children learn how to interpret and react to the world from their parents first, so it is important to emulate emotional maturity and how to deal with stress.

Although it sounds silly, setting boundaries with your little people isn’t that difficult. It just takes consistency. Here are a few healthy boundaries:

Respect your children

Children are people, just like their parents. They experience stress and don’t know how to handle it. As a young child, I heard the definition of stress and off-handedly remarked to my mom that I was “so stressed” and I was told I didn’t know what true stress felt like. While I didn’t know the stress of balancing bills and keeping humans alive, I remember feeling the weight of living up to expectations placed on me, learning so many new things, and learning how to balance the discipline of completing my work when I just wanted to go play with my friends.

Children don’t reach a magical age where they all of a sudden “get it” and become an adult. It’s a process that everyone goes through. Respecting their journey is the foundation of understanding and helping them learn to work through their experiences.

Count to five

Kids go nuts. They just do. They experience big emotions and aren’t able to fully express them, so they just kind of explode from the stress. Count to five before you respond so you don’t respond in anger.

Change the focus

My toddler is the King of the Target Meltdowns. We are that family that you can hear across the store. Before kids I was making faces in the aisles, wondering why the parents couldn’t control those noises. Heh….heh….yeah. In those moments, rather than get upset by my son embarrassing me (because it’s not like he cares anyway, nor do I want to train him to behave in a way that makes *me* look good), we change the focus. I have been known to lead Tristan in sun salutations (yoga poses) with Dean strapped in my baby carrier in the middle of the shampoo aisle. This helps Tristan take a few deep breaths while doing something he thinks is silly (which helps him calm down). It also gives me a minute to stop, breathe, and recenter.

Eat well

Did you know that your gut health directly influences your mental health? Most of your brain hormones are actually formulated in your gut, so eating healthy actually helps stabilize hormones and facilitate mental wellness. Eating foods rich in probiotics and probiotics and limiting processed foods are ways you can nourish your mind and maintain your calm.

Get help

Occasionally, mental health as a parent requires extra help. In those cases, look for a therapist or a doctor with a holistic mindset, who will provide you with a toolbox of aides like recognizing and responses to triggers, nutrition suggestions, and therapy if necessary (with or without medication).

The important thing to remember is that parenting children will effect them for their entire lives. Raising the next generation of world leaders isn’t just a cutesy saying, it’s a reminder of the heaviness of the reality of parenthood – these children, who ask 50 times in a row if they can watch Teletubbies and eat M&Ms, will one day be adults, and they will learn how to be adults from their parents. These adults will vote, interact with other people in the world, and create their own families. It is our job to help these children master the big challenges (like self-control and inner strength) so they can focus on their gifts to create a better world.

For more ideas on stress-free parenting, be sure to check out the Parenting Super Bundle, with tons of ebooks, worksheets, and more to help you be the best parent possible.

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Completely Honest Review: PinkBlush Maternity

PinkBlush maternity clothing, stylish maternity clothes, trendy clothes for moms

I am a new mom, and I am tired.

Exhausted, if I’m honest.

You see, while my newborn has slept through the night in 6-8 hour stretches since he was 2 days old, he doesn’t actually go to sleep until at least 1am. Which is about the time our toddler gets lonely and comes into our room, crying and wiping his sob-snot on me while he climbs into our bed for cuddles.

And then there’s the whole “I had a baby 2 months ago and then when he was 4  days old we bought an RV, moved into it, left Nevada and moved to Minnesota, left Minnesota, and moved back to Missouri for awhile and are now adjusting to me working from home” 3 weeks of hell. Dean is 2 months old and has lived in 3 states. It’s been a whirlwind, I learned many painful (and avoidable, and expensive) lessons. In many ways, I am totally worn out, haggard, and bedraggled. And it shows.

So as the crazy was starting to wind down, PinkBlush Maternity contacted me wondering if I would like to be spoiled a bit with something new. I jumped at the opportunity to get out of my rut of stained t-shirts and leggings! I drooled all over their trendy maternity clothing all through this pregnancy, but between moving so much and not needing anything, I couldn’t justify the expense. But I love the brand, so I was thrilled they wanted to send me something fun!

The best thing about PinkBlush clothing is that the clothes are designed to go from pre-pregnancy to maternity to postpartum. They have tunics, sweaters, maxi dresses, pants, and accessories. I decided to pick something totally outside my normal style (aka, solid colors) and went with a floral pattern. I’ll be honest, when I saw the pattern on the model, I thought it looked totally matronly (read: old lady-ish), but I thought I would be able to modern it up a bit.

 

Ya’ll, it’s my favorite.shirt.ever. I seriously have to limit how many times I wear it in a week before it becomes my uniform. As it is, this outfit is officially my “cool mom” outfit. Yes, I name my outfits. Is that weird? Yeah? Oh well…

Anyways, I usually only wear cotton shirts and was nervous about the rayon in the material since synthetic fabrics make me sweat more. This shirt is so soft, and so breathable! It feels like brushed cotton, and I don’t feel self-conscious about sweating at all.

Oh, AND the sleeves are long enough for my Gumby arms and the torso is long enough to cover the mommy tummy I haven’t bothered to start to get rid of yet.

So basically, it’s my favorite shirt, it’s totally on-trend, and I feel like I’m actually only 28 again instead of 40-gazillion. And it goes so great with my TOMS shoes. Wins all around.

Outfit deets:

Shirt: PinkBlush Maternity

Jeggings: H&M 

Shoes: TOMS classic canvas in Blue Spruce

Earrings: similar

Thanks to PinkBlush Maternity for providing me the shirt for my honest review, and for giving me the boost I needed to start dressing better again!

 

{Some links are affiliate links. Please read my full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting Crunchy Hippie Life!} 

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Top 6 Reasons You Need An Instant Pot


Oh, Instant Pot, how did I ever manage in my kitchen without you? You make my life so much easier!

  1. Never before have I been able to do a full week’s worth of meal prep in the span of a few hours, with so few dishes.
  2. 2. Never before have I been able to dump spaghetti sauce, gluten-free noodles, and (browned) ground beef into a pot, pressed a button, and walked away, only to come back to a fully cooked one-pot lunch in less than 10 minutes.
  3.  Never before have I made perfect, gelatinous bone broth, in any less time than 4 days – except now I can make it in 8 hours!
  4. Never before have I been able to make “dump and walk away” yogurt, even in a crock pot. Until my Instant Pot.
  5.  Never before have hardboiled eggs been so magically easy to peel, making deviled eggs a regular thing instead of a tedious treat.
  6. You can make beef stew in less than 1 hour that tastes like it’s been simmering away all day.

Ya’ll, seriously – if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you need one. It has completely revolutionized how I cook, how I clean up, and the amount of time I can spend with my family.

In Nevada I worked an average 9 hours a day at my job, and by the time I got home I was pretty exhausted. Meal prepping has always been my saving grace (check out my book, Dirt Cheap Nutrition, for details on meal prepping on a tight budget!), but especially in the late days of pregnancy, it was a lifesaver.

The NPR (natural pressure release) feature is probably my favorite feature when making main dishes. Maybe it’s just a mental thing, but I find it very relaxing to know that my food isn’t going to overcook if I don’t jump right up and run into the kitchen the moment the timer goes off. I can actually relax, put my feet up, and not worry about hovering over pots, pans, and the oven.

There are so many options for size and style of Instant Pots. Personally, I have the 7-in-1 DUO60 6qt. I specifically chose the 7-in-1 because it has the yogurt button feature and I knew I would use it frequently. For our small-but-growing family, I find it to be the perfect size, with plenty of room for leftovers. For larger families or families with multiple teenagers, you might consider the 8qt. I know of several couples who find that a 3qt is the perfect size for their RV or to bring camping with them.

I waited months to purchase my Instant Pot, watching for the perfect price. Knowing how I love a good frugal challenge, Peter suggested I wait to purchase one until I could buy it for $50 from our regular weekly budget. I am very pleased to report that after the Kohls cash, Ebates rebates, and a bit of money from a freelancer article I wrote, I spent a total of $25 from our weekly budget.

Need to know where to find an Instant Pot? I have seen great deals at Target, Kohls, and Amazon. I hear rumors that Amazon had deep discounts on their IPs on Black Friday and probably will again (they sold hundreds of thousands of them on Prime Day!), so be watching for that.

Do you have an Instant Pot? Do you love it as much as I do? Be sure to follow my IP boards on Pinterest for loads of healthy recipes your family will love!

 

{This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are entirely my own. Please read my full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting Crunchy Hippie Life!} 

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Welcome, Baby Dean! The Story of Our Second Unassisted Birth

Unassisted Birth Story #2:

Ready for a birth story? If yes, you’re in for a treat. If no, well, carry on my wayward reader.

After two episodes of false labor in the weeks prior (that left me just a joy to be around), I woke up at 5:30 on September 14th in order to be at work by 7am. Because State was in our building for our annual inspection. On my last official week at my assignment. #awesome

About 10 minutes into being awake, I started noticing that the uncomfortable feeling that often accompanies eating bad Indian food was actually going away at fairly frequent intervals. As Peter left for the gym, I mentioned that we might not have had to wake up so early after all, as I was beginning to think that these contractions, feeling different than my last two practice sessions, were actually going to lead to something. I texted my boss (and my replacement DON) to let them know I wouldn’t be in at 7. They were so excited and told me to keep them updated.

I tracked my contractions for about an hour, noticing they were fairly consistent. They were increasingly uncomfortable, but I was still able to walk through them. I rubbed some black pepper essential oil on my back to help with the back labor.

Contractions became irregular around 9am, but still uncomfortable. I decided that a hot bath sounded delightful. MY GOODNESS, I had no idea how comfortable it would be! I could feel the contractions but was still able to relax through them.

The hours marched on and contractions were still uncomfortable but irregular. I wasn’t concerned since every labor is different. I focused on relaxing. Peter made a labor playlist for me with nature sounds, Native American flute music, and several Xavier Rudd songs. We diffused Balance essential oil and I just focused on relaxing, with Peter checking in on me frequently, topping off my coconut water as necessary. I was also texting many of my coworkers and keeping updated on how the state inspection was going.

Around 3:45pm I was getting irritated at how long this was taking with seemingly little progress. I hopped in the shower because showers make everything better and after about 5 minutes I started getting little tremors and increased pressure. Recognizing this was most likely transition, I got out of the shower and headed to the bed, where I had created a nest of waterproof pads.

I was right. Transition hit hard and furious. Fetal Ejection Reflex was strong, and just after 4pm my water broke. I think most of my 50 pound weight gain had been in the waters, because it didn’t just break, it exploded everywhere (sorry to those of you who are more visual). I called for Peter and told him that my water broke, “and also we might want to get new pillows.” He asked what the water breaking indicated, and I told him that Baby K was coming fast and it would be soon.

Right again. The pressure was so intense I didn’t think I could bear it. It was pressure to the point of pain. I buried my head in my pillow so my moans wouldn’t scare Tristan, who was in the living room watching DinoTrux at the time. That didn’t work well. I yelled/screamed for Peter again, who ran in, leaving Tristan in the living room yelling for me.

When Peter came in, I told him I could feel the baby crowning, and he jumped into the role of birth coach, excitedly updating me on progress. “I see it! There are the eyes! The nose is out – it’s a cute little button nose! There’s the mouth! The whole head!” I breathed out the shoulders and caught the baby as the rest of the body slid out gently (a VERY different birth than Tristan, who shot out head and body all at once like a squid). Peter asked “What is it?” I looked down “it’s another boy!”

We were both shocked, we had been expecting a girl the entire time. Every single old wives’ tale “test” indicated girl, except the Chinese Gender Predictor chart.

Peter let Tristan in immediately and we introduced him to Baby Dean. His face lit up when he saw the baby and we told him he had a brother. He had told us months ago that it was “a brudder” because he wanted to ride bikes with him and “guys ride bikes, mom.”

I took a picture of Dean and texted it over to my boss and my coworker who had been following progress via text all day. She texted back saying that my boss announced Dean’s birth over the intercom system. There was a contest going on at the facility, and $50 went to the staff or resident who had the closest guess for birth date, gender, weight, and length. One of the CNAs won!

our second unassisted birth story
first moments earthside

Peter took Tristan to the local coffee shop to get us some coffee while I relaxed with baby Dean. I did my full nursing assessment, and was surprised to see a true knot in his umbilical cord. Gotta love that natural Wharton’s Jelly, keeping the knot slippery and open during labor!

By the time Peter and Tristan returned, the cord had stopped pumping so it was time to clamp and cut. I wiped off Dean (who had a huge healthy meconium poop all over me, just like his brother), diapered him, wrapped him, and handed him to Peter while I delivered the placenta. I felt great, so I got up and took a shower (my third of the day) and enjoyed the fact that I could fit back in my t-shirts without my belly hanging out underneath.

I drank a bottle of beet juice and snuggled on the couch with my TWO sons while Peter cleaned up the bedroom. Within two hours of birth, we were all sitting on the couch watching The Cleveland Show and texting our friends our happy news. It was so relaxing, and we marveled at how lovely it is to birth at home.

approximately 2 hours after birth

I used my Clary Calm roll on quite liberally the first few hours – those afterbirth pains are no joke! Thankfully, that took the discomfort away and I was able to snuggle with my boys without constantly squirming from the pain.

I recovered much faster from this birth than Tristan’s. I’m not sure whether to attribute that to better nutrition, drinking copious amounts of coconut water during labor, knowing better what to expect this time, or most likely a combination of all 3, but I’m thankful.

We named him Dean Alexander Sirius. He weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces (only 3 ounces heavier than Tristan! I was expecting a much larger baby), and was 19 1/2 inches long. He has super long fingers like Tristan and I did and smaller feet than Tristan, so he can fit in all those adorable footie pajamas that Tristan could never wear. He sleeps for long interludes (including overnight) and is just starting to show some lady-killer dimples.

Sometime in the near future I’ll share about our second night as parents of two. But for now, I have baby snuggles to return to.

Oh yeah, and we bought an RV.

Talk to you soon! 🙂

 

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Take That Shot – of Turmeric!



When I started on my accidental hippie journey, I wasn’t anticipating learning about using plants as medicine. Sure, I already knew to drink echinacea tea when I caught a cold, but that was about it. Garlic for acne? Elderberry syrup for immune strength? These were all things that I needed to learn.

I have a love of Indian food that started when I cared for an Indian baby at Children’s Hospital. His mother always brought her own food rather than buying things in the cafeteria. There was a strong, almost overpowering, aroma of curry that seemed to surround her near meal times, but her food looked delicious. And despite her intensely stressful situation, she stayed healthy and her skin positively glowed.

This was when I started learning about turmeric and its many healing properties.

Turmeric has been used as more than just a food flavoring for over 4,000 years. The characteristic orange-yellow coloring has lent this root to be used as a food dye alternative, but turmeric powder (and its most powerful ingredient, curcumin) also carry many health benefits. 

Turmeric is chock-full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. This means that turmeric not only decreases inflammation within the body, but also aids in the body’s natural protective mechanisms to collect and dispose of free radicals.

Basically, turmeric cleans up areas in the body that house cell-disruptors, calms down other areas of chronic inflammation (making it a natural alternative to pain medication when taken regularly), and supports the immune system.

Pinterest is full of turmeric recipes, especially for Golden Milk lattes, a coffee-free beverage loaded with anti-inflammatory turmeric and healthy fats like coconut milk. I’ve also heard of people adding turmeric powder to their morning bulletproof coffee mugs.

As always, how herbs and roots are prepared influences the effectiveness of their use. Some brands of powder add colors to make it brighter. It is best to avoid these brands, especially if using turmeric for the medicinal benefits.

So when I was contacted by The Pulp Story about trying out their turmeric juice shots, I jumped at the chance to try their shots of juiced turmeric. Through juicing, the delicate enzymes are kept whole. This process keeps the curcumin and other beneficial enzymes intact, which makes the juice shots potent.

For the past week, Peter and I have been taking a daily “shot” of turmeric juice. I love the convenience of the individually bottled shots, which means I can throw one in my lunch box for health on-the-go. I’ve been able to try all four flavors, and I can honestly say they are all delicious. I appreciate that some flavors are more mellow, like the “Turmerics of Endearment“(just turmeric and pineapple juice), while some also include ginger juice and cayenne (“Some Like it Spicy”). I haven’t given any to Tristan, but he would probably like the “Cherry Poppins” or “Pomegranates of the Caribbean” flavors since they are the most fruity.

daily health routine, turmeric juice shotsMy morning routine is delicious!

The biggest change I’ve noticed in the past week is a decrease in my sugar cravings. This makes complete sense, considering the anti-inflammatory benefits. I’ve also been sleeping better, which is great since pregnancy-induced insomnia is a very real thing and I don’t have time for that. Not sure if my increased energy is from the antioxidants in the juice or the side effect of actually sleeping, but either way, I appreciate it!

To get started with your own Pulp Story experience (they have cleanses!) check out their products on Amazon. Your package will be delivered in dry ice, keeping your juice as fresh as possible. Once they arrive, be sure to keep them in the fridge.

Have you ever tried using turmeric medicinally? Let me know in the comments!

 

{Some links are affiliate links. I was provided with these products for free. All opinions are my own. Please read my full disclaimer here.} 

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