Tidbits for Mia

Ideas for new moms.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

When returning borrowed maternity clothes (to someone who is pregnant for the second time) throw in something new as a Thank You.

I loaned a pregnant friend some maternity clothes because you know how you get bored with the same clothes by the third trimester. When she returned them, because I was pregnant again, she included a new top because she had stained one of mine, which I didn’t notice, even when she pointed it out to me. That was a really nice gesture. When you haven’t seen your maternity clothes for a while, it’s nice to revisit them, but it was also nice to have something new. So when a friend who had loaned me a lot of maternity clothes got pregnant for the second time and needed her clothes back, I included something new for her, as well as some of my maternity clothes for her to borrow. It’s a nice way to pay it forward.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Keep Hand Sanitizer Everywhere For Quick Hand Cleanings

What did we ever do before Purell? I feel so fortunate to be a mother in the age of instant hand sanitizers. Were there that many more colds and flu in the past, or are we now just more germaphopic? I keep it in about five different places and refill the pump bottles with large refill sizes. (Just be careful to buy hand sanitizer rather than hand soap, which I’ve done by mistake. The refill bottles look the same, but you don’t want a squirt of hand soap when you don’t have water around to rinse it off!)

I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer by the changing table and am always surprised that I never see a bottle near the changing tables at other people’s houses. I don’t know if others don’t wash their hands after changing diapers or if they just go to the bathroom, but my bathroom is not near my changing table, so it’s much more convenient for me to use hand sanitizer immediately after changing a diaper than it is to go downstairs to the bathroom to wash my hands afterwards.

I keep a small travel size bottle of hand sanitizer in the diaper bag for use whenever we’re out. I use it for diaper changes out of the house, for hand cleaning after playing in the park, for kids touching dirty stuff while we’re out and about, etc.

I keep a bottle just inside the back door for all of us to sanitize our hands immediately after playing outside, taking out the trash, or touching stuff in the garden.

I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in the middle of the house, especially when someone is sick, for touch ups after blowing noses, coughing or sneezing, or just for general use whenever.

I keep a bottle in the car for use immediately after pick up from daycare or other locations where the kids might have been exposed to illness germs. I’ve heard that the moment the kids get in the car is the moment they start to spread germs all over it and everyone else in it.

I’ve seen some moms squirt some hand sanitizer on their kids hands then wipe it off with a baby wipe. However, that doesn’t allow the stuff to work. You need to rub it around until your hands are dry in order for it to actually sanitize.

Of course, a real hand-washing with soap and water is always better than hand sanitizer because it washes away the germs. But hand sanitizer certainly has a prominent place in a home with small children.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

How do you finish anything in a world of distractions?

Our world is full of constant interruption. I thought it started when I had kids, with the constant interruptions and distractions that they generate. However, now that my kids are older and don’t distract me constantly, I’m coming to realize that it’s not only due to them; it’s also the way life is nowadays. It’s not just Generation Y who has grown up with MTV, computers, and multi-tasking as normal parts of life. Life has adapted to them and forced the rest of us to live with constant interruptions and distractions.

For example, just trying to check my email, my computer sends all these pop-up windows giving me the status of my anti-virus system, asking me whether I want to view the secure and non-secure items on a webpage, asking if I want to enter a secure site, asking if I want to leave a secure site, etc. Even the email messages I receive are bordered with advertisements, include links to other websites, ask me to take surveys, or want me to click for detailed information.

It has become increasingly difficult to focus or concentrate on one activity simply because our lives have accepted the concept of being constantly bombarded by other things. What I hate the most is that the majority of it is uninvited solicitation. It’s others interrupting me, not my own lack of concentration.

I remember not being able to answer the phone during dinner when I grew up simply because it was dinner time. We didn’t even have answering machines at that time! (I’m divulging my age there) Now, people are always answering their phones in places that were once considered rude (of course, they were unimaginable in the past, too), such as in class, during meetings, at restaurants, during performances, while exercising, during a deep conversation, etc. In fact, while some still consider it rude to answer a cell phone in those situations, the fact that people regularly do supports the idea that most others do not consider it impolite.

Of course, cell phones can be ignored. Pop-ups can be blocked or quickly closed, ads can be ignored, and links don’t have to be clicked. However, they are still interruptions to our lives. They still take attention away from the project at hand, if even for a brief moment.

The question is how to finish anything? For every project I start, I’m distracted or reminded of something else that’s also important for me to do, so I start working on that, only to be distracted or reminded again of something else to do. I have a house full of started projects or lists of ideas of things to do, important things to do. In the end, nothing gets done until moments before a deadline. Things without a deadline never get done; they are constantly moved to the “Do Later” pile. Some things get buried in the pile of things to do and don’t get done, despite their deadlines.

Sometimes, I’ll go through my piles of things to do and sort them by importance. However, I’m usually interrupted around the time I finish sorting, and I never get around to doing anything I’ve organized! Everything is organized but sits because I’m distracted by other things in life, like sleep, dinner, children needing attention, etc.

At this point, do I even bother organizing my desk mountain (My desk “pile” has become a desk “mountain”), or should I just start at the top and try to finish whatever is there? But what if more important stuff lies deeper within the mountain? Should I tackle the physically bigger things first so that the mountain looks smaller more quickly? I get so overwhelmed by it that I just close the office door and try to forget about it. Is any of it really that important, or could I just dump the whole mountain in the recycling bin? I don’t know because I don’t know exactly what’s in there.

A great cleaning and organizing website, FLYLady.com, suggests spending 15 minutes a day working on my desk mountain. The idea is that the mountain wasn’t created in a day and won’t be taken care of in a day either. Spending 15 minutes a day is that much more than spending 0 minutes a day on it. I’ve tried that in the past and perhaps one paper will be dealt with in that amount of time. Although I agree with the concept, spending so little time almost seems like another distraction in itself.

Am I just bad at multi-tasking? Do others succeed in finishing projects while working on other things at the same time? How do I ignore all the distractions, some significant (like my children crying), and some irrelevant (like email ads)?

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Join a Parent’s Group

The best thing I ever did as a mother was to join a parents’ group. It helped me, my husband and my baby.

In the parents’ group, I learned of various problems babies might have and various solutions to them. I learned that whatever problem I was having, others were having too, and if I was up in the middle of the night with my baby, so were others I knew with their babies. I also realized that the problems I was having were small in comparison to problems others were having. It helped me cope to know that however difficult I thought parenting was, it could have been worse.

In addition, I met other new moms & dads in my area. My daughter had an immediate play group of local friends, and now some of my closest friends are moms I met through the parents’ group.

Besides all the social benefits of the parents’ group, the facilitator, Beth, was a pediatric nurse and social worker who had a wealth of information and knowledge about parenting, the emotional changes we all go through when we become parents, and local resources for parent/child needs.

My parents’ group was organized through Alameda Family Services, New Parents’ Groups (formerly known as Smart Healthy Babies) (http://alamedafs.org/index.php?id=28).

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“First-a-Day” Calendar

My mom was spending a lot of time with us around the holidays during my second pregnancy and noticed new things that my 18-mo. old daughter was doing every day. Coincidentally, my husband gave me a Tropical Island-a-day flip calendar for Christmas, and my mom suggested I write down the new things my daughter was doing each day and present it to him the next Christmas.

Since the calendar is on my desk anyway, it’s easy enough just to flip over today’s page and jot down a note of the new activity on the back of the page. The hard thing is keeping the calendar bound together as the year wears on.

The endeavor makes me pay more attention to the new or interesting things that my daughters, two at this point, are doing each day. Some days there is more than one new thing, but other days there aren’t any, so I just spread them out because it doesn’t really matter if it’s written on exactly the precise day.

What’s nice is that the recipient, Daddy, Grandma or someone else who would care about all these “firsts” will feel included, rather than feeling he or she has missed out on these activities. It’s also interesting for me to look through and see exactly when my girls first did certain things. Eventually, these could be left for my kids as a memento of their youth, except that I am writing about both kids on the same calendar.

Thanks to my mom for this idea.

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