I just made my second breastmilk donation. It's a rewarding experience to be able to donate such a special and life-giving substance. As a mom, you know that this stuff is "liquid gold". Remember what it was like when you dropped a splash on the floor while pumping and almost cried! Yes, it's that emotional. Our milk sustains our babies, helps them grow and creates a bond unlike any other.
As I get closer to the weaning stage, I start to evaluate the freezer stash of frozen milk. My baby will no longer take a bottle, no longer drink that rich, early milk. So, I am faced with two choices. Throw away the stash or donate it to babies who can use it! By donating, I am able to help one or multiple babies who need nutrition.
Last year, I donated to the Oklahoma Milk Bank and was so happy to deliver 750 ounces of my frozen pile! The Oklahoma Milk Bank distributes milk to NICU facilities all across the state to help little babies who need it most. Here is the their website if you want to learn more: okmilkbank.org/
Another option is donating to another mother in need, one who no longer has a supply and wants to continue feeding her baby human milk, or one who cannot afford formula. There are also small midwifery services that take these contributions and are so happy to accept them! I contributed 324 ounces this time and it is such a wonderful feeling!
These donation options allow mothers with an oversupply or overstock to help those who need it most. I encourage Moms to consider donating if you are wondering what to do with that freezer full of frozen bags. It could just save another baby's life.
We got goats recently. Goats! It's been my goal since we got married to have acreage and get goats. Finally, folks, my dreams have come true. Yes, I am now the crazy goat lady. But, it's not really about the goats.
I grew up on a ranch. I had room to run, explore and have lots of animals. One of those was a goat. Some of my best childhood memories are around that goat. Daisy was her name. My brother and I chased her around, she went on trail rides with us and was really just part of the family. I wanted to create the same environment for our kids since I believe a child's environment is so important in shaping them as individuals!
I wanted our kids to grow up with the freedom to explore, imagine and be around animals. I wanted them to have chores to do each day, just as I did. Now, they can! The goats will give them something to care for, to look forward to and to play with on a daily basis.
We often post videos of us chasing the goats, trying to tame them and occassionaly, actually catching one! We hope this can bring a smile to some faces, as friends and readers see us living our real, crazy and funny new lifestyle.
Ranch living is a way of life. It's opening up the door for our kids' imaginations to flourish. It's also giving us room to breathe. We love trees, our pond and the feel of being in the country. It's not a huge acreage but it's perfect for us. Perfect for the life we want to create. And it's a way to live simply, enjoy the little things and be outdoors!
The goats. Well, they are just a bonus.
As of mother of three, I get asked a lot of questions about the products and must-haves I have used for my children. I also get questions regarding how I manage being a mother of three while running a full-time business along with a household and taking care of a needy husband. Just kidding on the needy part. Kind of.
With each child that has grown our family, I have learned something new. Whether it be time management, a new tool to help us function more efficiently or a lesson that changed my mindset, each day and year is a learning process.
Here are my top five things I believe every mom needs:
1) A Great Baby Carrier- My best accessory that I have for my baby is my carrier. When my babies are little, I use a Maya Wrap to keep them close and snug to me. As they get bigger, I transition to my Ergo Baby carrier. It's light, easy to wash and very comfortable. My babies have all loved it. They feel safe and secure in it and almost always take a nap when I am "wearing them". My advice: Invest the money into a good one, use it regularly and keep it in your car so it is always accessible. As a busy mom, you will need your hands-free and ready for whatever life throws your way!
2) An Awesome Stroller, or Two or Three- My husband also jokes with me that our garage is full of strollers. I try to make him understand that I have a stroller for every occasion. One for jogging, a double for jogging, one for shopping trips (narrow enough to fit into doorways), one for zoo trips (wide and easy to push), and an umbrella stroller (for easy fold-up and hauling). You get the idea. I am a stroller hoarder. When you are a mom on-the-go, you will need something to push those babies around in for whatever the occasion calls for. Whether you have one for all your many occasions or several like me, never go without your stroller handy.
3) A Nice Breast Pump- This maybe TMI. Sorry, not sorry. If you are a mom and plan to breastfeed, get a good pump. Enough said. It will save you time and be more effective. Also, get one with a car adapter so you can pump in the car when needed. This will allow you to go and do what you need to do, without being tied to a wall adapter. You will also need a bra that will hold your breast pumps. These are life savers. Get one. You will thank me later.
4) A journal for each child. I only write in it every month of two. I record major milestones or maybe a funny thing that they said. I write how I feel about them, about our life and about their future. It helps keep me grateful and centered. I plan to give each of them their own journal when they are older.
5) A Mom Group- Get involved with a group of moms who can encourage you, answer your questions and help keep you sane. Seriously. Find a group or put a group together. I have several groups. I have one that meets regularly for park dates and zoo trips. I have one that chats online and shares funny jokes and bits of encouragement, plus I have moms that I can just call with questions when I need advice. Get some mom friends. It will help make you a better mom.
Most importantly, remember that your child needs you. Your time, your energy, your encouragement. You are their MOM. They rely on us for so much. Sometimes it is exhausting, sometimes it is hard, sometimes it is wonderful.
Is there really a perfect way to raise babies while running a business? For me, the answer is no. Perfection, nor the need to believe in it, does not exist in my world. There is, however, a way to balance it all. It is a form of controlled chaos. Learning to just roll with it. It's a way to feel 100% in business and in life. A way to find happiness and fulfillment in both!