Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Category: Becoming a Parent

Pile In The Pup! Welcoming A New Dog

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Welcoming a furry friend to your home is always an exciting adventure. From the love and cuteness your dog brings into your life, and the fun you’ll have getting to know your new dog, there’s a lot to look forward to. Of course, though, along with the good times, you’ll also have to think about the work to be done. An animal is a huge commitment, often costing a small fortune in time and money. So, it’s a good idea to consider this before you go out and buy or adopt a dog. To help you with this, this post will be going through some of the key preparations you should make before welcoming a new dog into your home. 

One of the biggest jobs you’ll have on your hands when you first get a puppy is preparing your home for the new arrival. Making a safe space for your dog to relax when they first arrive is a good idea, along with having an idea on how to potty train your dog and where you will take him or her to the bathroom. Young dogs will eat just about anything, too. So, it’s worth making sure everything is nice and tidy, just to make sure nothing dangerous is swallowed. Baby gates can be an excellent way to keep your new friend out of some areas of your home.

Along with the way that you prepare your home, it’s also a good idea to think about the way that you prepare your cupboards. Food, treats, and toys all need to be stocked up to make sure you have enough for your new friend. When you first get started, it’s wise to have a selection of toys and treats to choose from, giving you the chance to find what they like the most.

Once you’ve got the kitchen filled up, it will just be a small matter of doing some cleaning around your home to make sure everything is safe for your new friend. If you have other pets, products like Pet Lock can help to make sure your house and pets are clear of any parasites, as these can be especially bad for a young puppy. Along with this, though, you should make sure that there isn’t anything around, which could endanger your puppy, such as a hole in the fence outside or wires they might chew.

Finally, as the last bit of preparation you should be making, your new friend is going to need some trips to the vet. As a young animal, they should be seeing the vet very regularly until they are fully grown. This gives you a chance to get them vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and of course, will ensure that they are growing well. Even a dog needs to go to the doctor sometimes. So, it’s worth making sure you know the best vets in your area before you begin.

Hopefully, you are inspired to work harder on your home before you welcome your new puppy. Your time with the new pup is filled with excitement and joy, and this is a very good thing. Of course, though, you can’t let the fun get in the way of making sure the little pup is healthy and safe, too. Enjoy the new addition to your family! 

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It’s Time to Put You First

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Do you ever catch yourself thinking that life would be better if you could take time for yourself a little more? But it’s hard, and caregivers have the hardest time with this. Most people, both parents and adults without children just yet, need to feel needed.  It’s part of life to want to feel useful and vital to someone other than yourself. The ability to help and be compassionate to those who come into your life is one that most people treasure. The trouble with being needed all the time is that it can be extremely difficult to find time for yourself. By the time you’ve tended the needs of family, friends, children, work, and your home, there is very little time in the day that is left to have a moment to remember that you are important, too.

The idea that you must sometimes put yourself first is a difficult one to wrap your head around, especially if you are not used to finding time for your own needs. If you don’t take care of yourself, though, how can you expect to be there for anyone else? People need strong, happy individuals supporting them, and those who don’t take the time to look after their own needs often succumb to stress, depression, and sometimes, addiction.

If you find yourself being trapped in that cycle, where you feel like there is a lack of control over your life, then you need to start putting yourself before others. Stress and depression can lead to other physical manifestations of illness, and taking the time to rectify this is important. Checking into places like Compass Recovery for those who find themselves in the midst of an addiction as a way out of their stress is an important first step. It is not selfish to look after yourself or put yourself before other people, especially in the cases where you have spent so long looking after other people you’ve forgotten how to be you again.

Finally realizing that you matter enough to be important in your own life can set you on a path to freedom. Often, being relied on by so many other people can leave you feeling trapped. Their need of you can be suffocating and debilitating, and the feelings of guilt that you end up left with if you don’t help out on demand are consuming. The freedom you can feel by simply saying no and allowing yourself to be the priority in your own life is immense. The weight on your shoulders of unwavering obligation can lift, and you can start to see life a little clearer and a little lighter. You can still be there for people and put yourself first.

Start small, with evenings to yourself. A cup of tea in peace and quiet and enjoying the time you spend with your own company can be a refreshing change from being wanted and tugged at all the time. Finding a balance is never easy, but it’s one you have to seek if you feel pulled in different directions. Finding you is good for your health, and your health matters.

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Keeping Your Sense of Self When You’re a Mother and Wife

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It’s fair to say, as women, we have drawn the short straw in many respects, and there’s no doubt we have it tough at times. Along with growing, carrying and giving birth to our babies, in most cases, we’re their primary caregiver, too. And as wonderful and special as this is, it does mean that everything else in our lives can be twice as hard as we’re fitting it around our children. One thing many women struggle with after having kids is losing their sense of self or identity. You’re no longer just you, you’re a mother. Your new name is “mom,” and your new role is of a parent and sometimes wife. But just because you are these roles (and as enjoyable as they are), it doesn’t mean you have to totally lose the person you once were. Keeping your own identity is important; here are a few ways you can go about it.

 

Take Care of Your Appearance

As a busy parent, the way you look often falls to the bottom of the list of priorities. In the morning, it’s probably all about getting your little one up and washed, fed and dressed. But you don’t have to give up on yourself entirely, and actually making a small effort with your appearance is one of the best things you can do for your self-esteem. Perfect a super quick makeup routine- some foundation, bronzer, and a sweep of mascara will instantly make you look your best without being too done up. Every now and again, visit the hairdresser. Have a style cut, which is easy to maintain and quick to do in the morning. The trick is to work with your natural texture, for example, instead of shoving it into a ponytail. If your hair is already straight, run it over with the straighteners for just a minute or two. This will make it look tidier, get rid of any frizz or fluffiness, and allow it to sit better. If your hair is curly, you could scrunch through with some mousse; it won’t take long, but you’ll feel much better being well presented. You probably have your comfy “mom uniform” that you wear to run errands and get stuff done around the house; but a few changes here could make all the difference, too. Instead of a tracksuit, for example, a pair of leggings with a jersey skater dress and a long cardigan would look cute but be just as comfortable. If you run into anyone you know or catch sight of yourself in the mirror, you’re likely to be far more confident, too.

Exercise

Keeping fit is useful when you have energetic children to look after! It will allow you to play with them far more easily and generally keep up. You probably don’t have all the time in the world to hit the gym five days a week, but there’s plenty you can do. Go on a power walk with the pram, or take a ball or frisbee to the park and run around with your kids. Instead of driving shorter distances, walk them instead, and go on family bike rides. You’ll maintain your figure and the endorphins will make you feel good.

Maintain a Social Life

You might have hung up your dancing shoes long ago, and a night out with friends these days might not be to a nightclub or bar like it once was. But keeping friends is so important; find activities that you all like to do now that you’re mothers and wives. Whether it’s play dates with the kids, brunch on a weekend, or an afternoon tea, keeping those connections there is so important. There are of course other ways to keep in contact with friends too; you could use a postcard app to send any funny or sweet pictures as a postcard right to their house. You could talk on the phone, video call, or of course, use social media. But having that support and friendship group around you will help you keep a grasp of your own identity.

Go Back To Work

One way you can keep and maintain your identity is through your job or career. As a parent you might not necessarily want to go back full time, when you have children to look after. If that’s the case, how about part time? You could even start a home business or do some freelance stuff online. Either way, maintaining your career interests is a good way to go, and bringing money into the home will make you feel good.

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Cutting The Cost of Parenthood

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From the moment you first find out you’re pregnant and that initial flush of joy fades, all moms-to-be find themselves asking the same question, “How am I EVER going to be able to afford this?” The good news is that nobody’s ever ready for the trials (and joys) of parenthood; and while of course some expectant parents are financially better off than others, it’s worth remembering that parents of all kinds of incomes have been getting by for as long as the human race has been around. That said, there’s no denying that a child can put pressure on your domestic finances. With the average cost of raising a child to the age of 17 approaching $240,000 , it’s enough to make any parent-in-waiting balk.

The good news is that the cost of parenthood can largely be ameliorated by a combination of ingenuity, thrift, invention, and common sense. While the default setting for many new parents is always “worry”, cutting financial costs is one of the many ways in which moms and dads can make life easier for themselves. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Never replace when you can repair

We live in a culture of disposability, where the pervasive logic is that when something breaks, it should be replaced rather than repaired. This is a shame because with a wealth of knowledge available to new parents through digital means, you can learn to fix just about anything from torn clothes to broken toys. While kids grow out of clothes quickly, you can learn to make alterations that can significantly expand their lifetime, and it’s worth looking into different types of embroidery machines. At a younger age, when kids grow emotionally attached to their clothes yet haven’t learned to be fashion snobs, this is particularly useful.

Plan your meals and batch cook

Whether you’re a parent or not, one of the surest ways to waste money is over-reliance on takeout and restaurants. Sure, everyone loves a treat after a hard day’s work, but a home cooked meal can rival anything bought at a restaurant at a tiny fraction of the cost. You can make a family night in just as special with candles and music without paying ludicrous restaurant prices.

You can also make substantial savings at the supermarket by shopping smart and avoiding impulse purchases. You can plan your week’s meals and shop accordingly, plus save time and effort by cooking in batches and making a bolognese or curry sauce, chili, or lasagna that will last the family for several meals. Reducing meat and dairy and upping the veggies will ensure that your weekly shop lasts longer, too.

Get creative with vacations

Family vacations are often perceived as way more expensive than they need to be. A great family vacation requires only three things; fun, family, and love. Everything else is bells and whistles. Taking a road trip not only saves on expensive flights, but allows your family much more freedom and control over your vacation, reducing the risk of stress and things that can go wrong.

Mom and son photo at the top of the post found here

 

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Midwives VS Doulas: What’s the Difference?

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As a soon-to-be parent, you’ll be introduced to a whole new world of prenatal classes, pregnancy advice books and terminology you’ve never heard before. It can be a pretty daunting time, especially as the strain on your body grows every day and hormones start raging. Luckily, there are trained people who are there throughout your pregnancy, birth, and even after. You are not alone by any stretch.

Two types of experts can help you through your pregnancy. One of those is a midwife, and the other is a doula.

You’ll be forgiven for not hearing of a doula before, not many of us do until the time comes to need one. But why have a doula AND a midwife? Both of these professionals have a different role to play in your pregnancy as well as different qualifications and skills. Let’s talk through them.

Doula

Doula services are invaluable to a woman during pregnancy. Doula literally means “woman’s servant” in Greek, and they are there to be your support, friend and confidant over the nine-month period.

A doula is not medically trained, and therefore is not a substitute for a doctor or midwife. There are two types of doulas: birth and postpartum, although some carry out both services. You can use a doula as a friend during pregnancy; they will give you advice, help you out when you are struggling and will come up with a labor plan with you. They are ideal for expecting mothers who don’t have a partner.

During birth, a doula will be present to offer relaxing breathing techniques, to keep you talking and distracted, and to help you move into different positions throughout labor. And in postpartum, they can provide you advice and support in those first few weeks of motherhood.

Midwife

A midwife is, of course, the person who will deliver your baby alongside a doctor. They are medically trained and can perform gynecology exams, conduct ultrasounds, provide you with painkillers throughout labor ,and advise you on which method of birthing to choose.

A midwife’s primary duty is to provide medical care for pregnant women, to detect any abnormalities or medical issues throughout pregnancy, and to perform emergency procedures when necessary.

Unlike doulas, midwives undergo training, education, and clinical work experience before becoming certified.

Do I Have To Choose?

As discussed, both of these professionals have their own merits and benefits for an expecting mother. A doula acts as a friend, keeping you calm and informed throughout the pregnancy and helping you decide what your best options are for birthing, while a midwife offers medical care and looks after the well-being of you and your unborn child throughout pregnancy. They teach prenatal classes and perform medical procedures.

You can choose to have both of these aids present throughout pregnancy because they both offer something that the other cannot. Having trained professionals like these present throughout the nine-month period will put your mind at ease and allow you to enjoy your pregnancy and birth. They can also make your life easier as a parent once the birth is over.

Source for photo above, click here.

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