As we enjoy some time off from our regular duties and celebrate the holidays, I just wanted to remind all the mamas out there that you are appreciated and loved. Self-care is definitely spending time with your loved ones. Studies have shown that interacting with family and loved ones can significantly reduce depression, anxiety as well as other mental ailments. Incorporate self-care during this holiday season and spend time with your family. Enjoy every moment that you have with your loved ones because tomorrow is not promised. From my family to yours, I want to wish you a happy holiday!
Grief is a difficult process to endure, but experiencing it while being a mother can be quite the challenge. This past February, I unexpectedly lost my dad. I was about 3 months pregnant with Luciana when I discovered that he passed, and how I found out left me completely traumatized. That day is on repeat in the back of my mind. It was a normal day, I dropped off Ysabel at my sister’s before work, nothing out of the ordinary until I received a message that would change everything. During my lunch break, I received a text from my cousin to check on my dad because he wasn’t responding to my aunt’s phone calls or text messages which was quite unusual considering they talk everyday. His work friend was even worried because he usually picks him up and takes him to work. On a Monday, my dad told him he wasn’t feeling well and will be going to work the next day. The next day came and went, his friend didn’t hear from him, he even showed up at his house but he didn’t answer the door. I sent him a text message that didn’t go through, tried to call him and it went straight to voicemail, I started to panic because I knew something was wrong. He would always answer his phone or would call me back if he is in the middle of something. I couldn’t take the suspense and decided to leave work shortly after my lunch break. My mom and I decided to meet at his house as she had the key to check on him. I arrived before she did and sat in my car, restless. When I saw the house light on and the excessive amounts of mail in the mailbox, fear rushed all over me. Finally my mom arrived, parked behind me, we went to the door together, my heart was pounding and I was quietly shaking. She opened the door, it was so cold in there, and even though the house was full of stuff it felt so empty and vacant. As we slowly walked towards the living room we found him on the floor, our initial thought was that he was taking a nap. My mom called out his name first, no response, then I yelled for him, the house echoed. When my mom reached over to feel his pulse she reported that he is cold and not with us. My heart snapped, and my body ached as if it fell ill. I couldn’t breathe for one minute and thirty seconds then finally I let out a gasp, burst into uncontrollable tears and screamed in disbelief. This was one of my worst nightmares. I didn’t even have the chance to say goodbye. All these questions were running laps in my head. If he was ill why didn’t he call me? Why didn’t he want to say goodbye? I knew I had to pull myself together for Ysabel and my unborn child because they needed someone strong to be with them through this tragic time. I wiped the hot tears from my face while my mom called my brothers and sister to tell them what happened. My mom was definitely the strongest one. She took care of everything with grace and fearlessness. I will always admire her for that, her strength kept me stable when I thought I was going to go insane. I felt like I let my dad down in a way because he didn’t have the opportunity to witness me receiving my Masters or the birth of his second grandchild, but I knew he wouldn’t want me to be so hard on myself, as he always told me he was proud of me. This year was emotionally challenging for me. Holidays, birthdays and other celebrations just weren’t the same with him not being here. Christmas is just around the corner, and this is the hardest holiday yet because this past Christmas was the last Christmas I saw him. I remember having the urge to hug him tighter after Christmas dinner before I left to go home, and I am so thankful that I did.
Mamas, if you experienced a loss, I just want you to know that you aren’t alone. You will never fully get over it but the memories that you have of your loved one can give you peace. Never forget the good times and the impact that they had on your life because that can give you strength. There is no timetable for grief, take your time and feel every emotion, it will soothe your soul and help you heal. Mourning is healthy, don’t be ashamed of it. Grief while being a mother is no easy task, trust me, being there for your kids emotionally and discussing the good memories with them helps not only them, but you too. Even though it hurts, I find it necessary to talk with my daughter about her dear beloved “papaw” because memories are where he is alive and present. I encourage you, mama, to let out the emotions instead of keeping it in, express yourself. Self-care isn’t just about skin products or time away from kids, self-care can simply be an emotional release and taking the time to grief.
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My first child, Ysabel, was quite easy. She slept well after feedings and was hardly ever fussy except for when she was teething and the occasional tummy ache. Before giving birth to my second child, Luciana, I imagined having the same experience, but I was in for a huge surprise. According to the General Society Survey it has been discovered that the second child can be harder on mothers than on fathers. Luciana, indeed, is the exact opposite from her big sister in every single way.
When Ysabel was a baby, I was able to sleep after feeding her and she would continue to sleep for about 3 or 4 hours and even longer as she became older. My dear Luciana, didn’t enjoy sleeping unless I was fully awake. She prefered that I gaze into her eyes before she fell asleep and if I made one move she became pissed off to the point that she would scream bloody murder. When I first heard her cry in anger, I thought that I might have caused her pain, but no, her scream just expresses her disapproval to what transpired. Luciana is a very temperamental baby, she likes things a certain way and considering she is just a little over 3 months the only way for her to tell me that she favors a certain position or if I am irritating her by putting her down is by screaming and crying.
It came to the point that I hardly had two hours of sleep each night because she would just cry and after she cried she would sleep for 15 minutes and then want to feed again because it took me almost 3 hours to calm her down. I tirelessly searched Google to find out what could be the problem and the best solution for her. I discovered that she needed a probiotic because it improves mood, I quickly ordered it and hoped for the best. Fortunately, the probiotic served its purpose and it improved her mood. However, it seems to not last or become effective for long periods of time.
My second child is literally hot and cold. She can be content and 30 seconds later, cries like she is an abandoned child. I partly blame this on her teething before turning 3 months. As I am writing, she is taking a nap, but before she went to sleep she required her pacifier, to be rocked in her bassinet and me singing her favorite song Ilusion by Julieta Venegas. She sleeps about 3 or 4 hours at a time, currently, through the night but that is only because she sleeps right next to my chest for her comfort. I am praying that she will be able to sleep on her own soon so I can sleep comfortably at night as well. Only time will tell how she will act as she becomes older ( stay tuned for updates).
I am sleep deprived but at the same time, I am enjoying every moment with her because I know that this phase doesn’t last forever because children quickly grow. If you are a mama that is having the same experience as me, do not be dismayed because we are boss mamas, we got this! Be encouraged, the lack of sleep will not last forever, this too, will pass!
Sometimes it can be a challenge to maintain a clean home while you have kids, especially if you have more than one child, but it’s a challenge worth accepting if you want to have a better mood. Being a mom, I can completely understand how exhausting it can be to clean after attending to kids all day, but trust me, it will help give you a peace of mind. I compared how I feel when I have a clean home to when it’s an utter wreck, and I must say I feel better when my space is clean. In fact, I feel like I can breathe better.
Cleaning doesn’t always sound like an enjoyable task, but it’s well worth it. When we have clean spaces, it actually has mental health benefits. Studies have revealed that having a clean space improves focus and attention span. When I need to clean, I try to make it fun by using my favorite cleaning products that smell amazing and turning on my favorite tunes to help make the process go smoother.
Some of my favorite cleaning products that I love to use are: Fabuloso in Lavender, Clorox disinfecting wipes, Febreze Odor Eliminating Refresher and Mr. Clean dry erasers. I noticed that when I have a clean home, it gives me decorating ideas to make my space look nicer and more appealing. It’s also less stressful if cleaning becomes a daily task, even if it’s just 20 minutes a day. Mama, don’t dread cleaning, become inspired! You can turn that frown upside down and take control of your environment to make a clean space!
When we exercise, we typically have a mindset to lose weight and maintain our figure or strive for an ideal one. Sometimes we fail to realize that exercising comes with more benefits than just losing weight. Exercising naturally releases endorphins that cause the body to relax and gives off a positive vibe. This may sound odd, but if you can’t relax, try exercising for 30 minutes, this will help release tension and improve daily function.
I particularly find it necessary to exercise when I am stressed. Studies have proven that exercising for at least 30 minutes, five times a week, reduces anxiety and depressive moods. Additionally, it helps reduce insomnia, for a better night’s rest. With an infant, I find it difficult to go back to sleep after she is fed, during the night, but I noticed that if I include exercise in my daily regimen, I don’t struggle as much to fall back to sleep in between feedings.
Emotionally, exercise can boost self-esteem. You will have more energy than ever before even if you haven’t met your fitness goal yet. Fortunately, the age of technology has blessed us women to conveniently download exercise apps from our phone. Some great exercising apps include: Verve, Daily Workout Fitness Trainer, All Out Studio, and Pear just to name a few. These apps are specifically designed for women who have a hectic schedule and desperately want to fit a workout in. So what is stopping you from feeling great? Girl, get your workout on to trigger self-positivity!
Did you know that burning candles and meditating is a part of self-care and mental health? Personally, burning candles helps bring me peace and tranquility, especially after a busy day. Additionally, meditating clears your mind and helps reduce stress and anxiety. When you burn your favorite scented candle it creates a soothing effect which stimulates part of the brain that harbors emotions and nostalgia.
Meditation can also have the same effect. Practicing meditation can give peace, tranquility, and balance, that can be quite beneficial emotionally as well as physically. It has been proven that meditation lowers blood pressure, reduces stress and improves breathing. Trataka is an excellent way to both utilize meditation and candles. Trataka, a gazing meditation, is when you focus on the flame of a candle. This type of meditation helps improve concentration and memory.
I find it particularly helpful to meditate and burn a candle after I finish showering. For me, showering, automatically helps me relax, including meditation with my favorite scented candles gives me the ability to mellow down and focus more on positivity and less on daily stresses. After this self-care practice, I am more calm, content and relaxed. Go ahead mama, fire your favorite scented candle and meditate, you are definitely worth it!
Fall is here and winter is just around the corner, which means drier skin. Personally, it’s quite essential for me to be heavily moisturized considering I naturally have drier skin and hair. Here are some products that I recommend that will make your whole body become completely hydrated and moisturized:
Pond’s Dry Skin Cream (6.5 oz.)
This is probably the only skin cream that I can use on my face without it over drying. I apply this on my face after each wash. For only $4.99, this cream seems to last forever. I can go months without purchasing another one. Pond’s leaves my skin hydrated and well-moisturized without using a copious amount of it.
Dove Winter Care Body Wash (22 oz.)
In general, I love using Dove on any given day, but Dove Winter Care body wash is exactly what my skin craves during these colder months. The smell is amazing and the way it treats and moisturizes your skin is out of this world. This product retails for $5.94 and it contains a lot in just one bottle. Dove Winter Care is a part of a limited edition, so only available for this season. It’s selling pretty fast, get yours today!
Love Beauty and Planet Coconut and Mimosa Flower Shower Oil (6.7 oz.)
I like to use this shower oil after using the Dove Winter Care body wash to add extra moisture before stepping out of the shower. Love Beauty And Planet Coconut and Mimosa Flower Shower Oil is a great addition to your shower routine if you want softer, more radiant skin. This retails at $6.99 and it’s an excellent product to include in your self-care routine.
Johnson’s Shea And Cocoa Butter Baby Oil (20 0z.)
Johnson’s Shea Cocoa Butter Baby Oil is not just for babies, but for mommies too. This product is great to lock in the moisture that your body received from the other aforementioned products in the shower. This baby oil is a great alternative for lotion, it smells wonderful and leaves your skin feeling softer than ever. This product is only $4.99 and it’s worth every single drop.
Johnson’s Baby Lotion With Coconut Oil (27.1 oz)
This lotion is like fine wine, it just becomes better over the years. If you want to add even more moisture to your daily shower routine and smell amazing simultaneously, this product is just for you. This provides a good amount of lotion for just $5.38.
If you are a curly girl with a drier hair texture, this leave-in conditioner is for you. This product smells absolutely glorious and instantly provides the right amount of moisture when applied. This is an excellent accessory for the colder months, it’s also reasonably priced at $12.99.
These products can help your skin prepare for the upcoming colder months. Mama, treat your skin and give it the self-care that it needs!
Social media has helped us stay connected to family and friends during this rigid pandemic. However, sometimes I have felt completely overwhelmed by constantly being exposed to tragic news, drama, death and economic problems. Being in the age of technology, we are taught that being in the “loop” and remaining connected to our social platforms is important to live a normal life, but I discovered that it’s impossible to achieve, especially if you want to maintain a healthy state of mind. Self-care isn’t just about taking a break from our kids or utilizing products that make us feel good, but it’s also being aware that your mental health matters. Social media can convince us that we aren’t living up to societal standards by not having a specific lifestyle or looking a certain way causing us to react negatively towards ourselves. Studies have shown that an unhealthy amount of time spent on social media can increase the risk of developing anxiety, depression and even suicidal ideation. There have been plenty of times where I disconnected completely from social media because I just needed the mental break. During this time, I reevaluated what was really important to me and how to better care for myself. I discovered building a better relationship with my family, meditating as well as being physically healthy is way more important than who said what on social media. Even if it’s just for a few hours, I encourage you to take a break from social media and go for a walk to clear your mind, listen to your favorite songs or do whatever it is that helps you relax and distress. Mental health is necessary in order to function and be the best boss mama you can be. Social media will always be there, but your sanity may not. It’s not mandatory to always be socially involved. Sometimes the best and most meaningful moments are spent not knowing about some spilled “tea.” Mama, go ahead and log off for a greater peace of mind.
When my oldest daughter Ysabel, was around 3 years old, we used to live in this old semi-rundown townhome. One afternoon, Ysabel was playing with her toys in her room. She invited me to play with her, I thought it would be fun so I happily accepted. As we were playing with her toys, a spider appeared out of nowhere and fell onto the ground from one of her toys. I noticed it first and it took a second to register what it actually was. Once I realized what it was, being the mature adult in her life, I panicked and yelled “Ysabel what is that?!” She looked at it and immediately realized what it was and screamed at the top of her lungs, she said “mommy a ‘pider!!!!” Leading by example, I ran out of the room first, and she quickly followed behind me. We only made it to the hallway when we started to scream back and forth like we were speaking in our own language. The screaming continued for about 5 more minutes, ending with shaking our bodies off as if the spider was on us. When we finally calmed down, we hesitantly creeped towards her room, she insisted that I enter first to make sure it was safe to be in there, I reluctantly agreed. Slowly, I tipped-toed to the spot where the spider decided to scare us, lo and behold, it was smashed in the carpet with a couple of legs scattered in a nearby area. I am assuming when we bolted for the door, we killed the scary suspect. We were both relieved that the ‘pider didn’t have the chance to bite or crawl on us. I was able to clean any evidence of it from the carpet to assure my three year old that she doesn’t have to fear its return ( well at least that particular one), she felt confident to continue to play with her toys without a disruption from a frightening creepy-crawly. As she was playing with her toys, I went to my bedroom, to quietly reflect on what had just transpired. I was in disbelief that I lacked maturity when my daughter was most vulnerable. I chuckled, and promised myself, next time, I will let her run first…