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Krista: Welcome to Secret Mom Hacks. This is Krista and I am your host. I am really stoked for today's interview because I have a very special guest, my very own cousin, Jill, and as someone who is an only child, and now Jill does have siblings, but she has brothers, so I kinda like to say, We're the sisters we never had. I've grown up with Jill my entire life. She's a couple years older than me and so, and she even started her motherhood journey a couple years ahead of me as well. So I have learned a lot from her in this parenthood journey.

I know our listeners are very excited to hear your story. With the guests that we have on Secret Mom Hacks, we've got, my mom on an episode. I've got some friends who are on episodes of [00:01:00] this podcast, and it's really exciting to have family on this podcast with me.

So wherever you're listening to us from, I wanna say thank you for joining us. Jill is coming to us from Louisville. I'm coming to you from Nashville. Thanks to technology for bringing us together today to talk about our motherhood journeys. So Jill, do you wanna share just a little overview about who you are, what you do? You've got two kiddos, you work full-time. Anything important that you think our listeners ought to know about?

Jill: Well, I'm a teacher. I've been high school, middle school, now I'm elementary, so I'm with kiddos all day long. See 'em at the best, see 'em at the worst, everything in between. It is a journey every day at school. And then I come home and I've got my own two kiddos who are currently five and six, but it doesn't sound as close as it is.

My [00:02:00] six-year-old will be seven very soon in November. So they're about 22 months apart.

Krista: So you are around kiddos all the time. You are supermom. Let's talk a little bit about whatev however much or little you care to share about your birth stories with your kiddos.

Jill: So my daughter, my eldest. Of course, first time mom, right? I mean, going through the whole thing, I didn't know really what to expect. I had prepared for it as much as you can when you've never been through it before. For her, I actually went over my due date. My due date with her was actually October 30th. I took my due date off of work cause I worked all the way up until my due date. And then didn't have her on my due date. So I went back to work on Halloween. I worked all day on Halloween with people, making comments and looking at my, my very pregnant belly, you know, as I worked and then [00:03:00] later towards the end of school that day I was having some pains and I drove home kind of having some pains, but my doctor had given me the advice that it's not time to go to the hospital unless you can't breathe or you can't talk. I'm sorry. You need to be able to breathe, but you can't talk through the pain that you're having. If you can still talk in, in the pain that you're having, you're not in enough pain to come to the hospital.

So, I went home, was home all evening. I used to sleep like rock before children. That's something that will change, um, if you're having kids. But I used to sleep. I, I mean, so good. My husband was envious at how well I slept, and so I actually slept through most of my labor with my daughter that night.

I remember coming in and out of consciousness. And being in pain here and there. But then I just fall back asleep. And so it was like seven o'clock or eight o'clock in the morning that I woke up and was like, [00:04:00] honey, this pain is, it's hard enough. I, I think we need to go. And then it really like, I took a shower because you know, you need to shower for you go.

You won't get to shower again until after you had the baby. So I took a shower and we made the bed and I mopped the floor and then somebody had told me you won't be able to eat once you get to the hospital. So we went through Wendy's and I got breakfast and then it was like, okay, we've made a mistake here.

I should have been at the hospital an hour ago. I'm in a lot of pain. Get me to the hospital. So we got there though. 14 hours later. I actually had her. I was in enough pain that I could not talk. I mean, I, it would hurt. , but I stalled out, my centimeter stalled out at like around eight, I don't know, seven, eight.

And then I kind of back-slid a little bit and then I went forward a little bit. So it still took like 14 hours to get to the total 10 centimeters that we needed in order to give birth. It was [00:05:00] on the time change night. Actually that I gave birth to her. So on record it looks like 13 hours, but I count every single hour.

Jill: It was 14 hours.

Krista: As you should. You earned every one of those hours for sure.

Jill: Exactly. And then of course my son, I had him 22 months later and, the second time you're going through it, you feel like, oh, I had an idea of what to expect, even at the very beginning with pregnancy. And that is one of like something that no one told me about being a mom.

Everything's different. Like you think, oh, I've done this before. I kind of know what's gonna happen or what's gonna go on. It's different when you have another child, especially when you switch genders. It's different. My pregnancy was not nearly as smooth. I was super nauseous with my son and I sailed through my pregnancy with my daughter.

It's no problem. My water actually broke with my son at [00:06:00] home. My water never broke with my daughter. The doctor had to break it for me. With my son. I had woke up like 4 30, 5 o'clock in the morning to go to the bathroom. And like, I know nothing happened in the bed.

Right? I, I wasn't just feeling it and thinking that I had went, no, I actually felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. So I got up and then it was the weight of getting up that all of a sudden, you know, in the floor. And so then it was like, honey, get up. We need to go hospital. And he's like, but I thought you had to be like in pain where you couldn't talk before you went.

I said, that was with Reagan, our daughter. When your water breaks, you go to the hospital.

Krista: Mm-hmm.

Jill: I was like, and my water has broke, so we need to be calling your mom and dad to watch Reagan and we need to leave for the hospital. With Reagan, my eldest, I was like, no, no, Pitocin, I've made it this far.

I'm gonna be good. And when I got there, for my son, his name is Lincoln, it was like, go ahead and hook me up to the Pitocin. I [00:07:00] can't do 14 hours on my back again. Like, just start turning it up. Like, let's go.

Yeah, so it was totally different. And, and, and even the after birth was different with Reagan, it was our first and we held her.

Everything was great. With Lincoln, again, one of those things nobody tells you, I got these horrible shakes. I could not get warm. They said it was just the rush and hormones, you know, and everything leaving and, and all these changes in my body. I had the horrible shakes. I was so cold and I could not control my own body.

So I actually didn't hold my son for like, the first hour to hour and a half after he was born because I was shaking so bad. I did not feel safe to hold him. So my husband held him, and held him up for me and stuff like that. And it took a while for my body to come down from that and recover, which didn't happen with my daughter, so again, you think you know everything, or you might know more because you've [00:08:00] had one, and then the ball game changes, you know, because you've had a second one.

It's, it's just not the same.

Krista: Yep. Truly a rollercoaster ride. Every birth story is different. Only having one so far, I would've thought the same thing. All you can do is just plan for the best, hope for the best, and then just roll with the punches.

Jill: Absolutely. One of the things we were gonna talk about was something that no one told me about being a mom. And that was totally it. I don't know if it's just a boy girl thing, cuz I don't know. I don't have two girls and I don't have two boys, you know? But the second kid was just, It was so different from the first one.

Even raising them is completely different. My husband and I talk about that all the time. Reagan loved to swing. You could lay her in her swing and she wanted that thing going as fast as she could, just back and forth. Lincoln is terrified to this day of swings. He hates, I guess, I dunno, feeling out of [00:09:00] control or just like the weightlessness of being in a swing.

Always hated it from day one. He would cry if we put him in the swing, no matter how gentle, he hated it. But that kid loves to bounce.

Krista: That's what I was gonna say. Some kids are bouncers and some kids are swingers, some are both, and some want nothing to do with the other one.

Jill: Absolutely. Yes. And so, and Reagan was that way with the bouncer. She wanted nothing to do with bouncer. You put her in one and she was like a rag doll just hanging there like, what am I supposed to do here? Whereas Lincoln, you think he was gonna rip that thing apart because he is bouncing so hard and heavy.

Like this is the funnest thing you've ever done, you know, in his life. And so, yeah, kids are just completely different. If you're trying to figure out what should I register for my baby? Get the basics because your baby's going to tell you. Your child's gonna be so different. They're gonna tell you what you need to register for.

You know, do [00:10:00] I get this saucer or do I get the bouncer? Wait and let your kid tell you what they like, because they're all gonna be different, like different stuff.

Krista: Mm-hmm. And one of my tips would be to look at secondhand stuff. It is okay to get some of those gadgets. You want it to be in great condition. Of course. But get it secondhand cuz you can get it for a fraction of the cost. You are the one who opened my eyes to Once Upon a child and I love that place.

I have gotten various toys and gadgets from there and certainly clothes, shoes, all of that. But the bouncers, the swings, if you get them brand new, they can kind of be a pretty penny. And it is okay to get some of that stuff, whether it's something like Once Upon a Child or Facebook marketplace, you can often find it for half the, if not a fraction of that off the retail.

Speaking of baby and kid gear, what is something that for [00:11:00] you has been a lifesaver with your kiddos?

Jill: I was thinking about this question and there were a few things that came to mind that just made life. Easier and really one that we still use to this day. My son just turned five and my daughter uses a version of it even at seven, and that is a sound machine.

We had a sound machine in our kids' room from the first day we brought them home, and that was one of the ways that we helped to sleep train them. We would play one sound when it was nap time, like a heartbeat sound or something when it was nap time. And we would play the lullaby at night when it was bedtime and we wanted them to sleep longer.

That seemed to really take with our kids to really help them. My son, he still has the same sound machine. It's probably time to upgrade him. My daughter though, she just has a regular sound machine. She still can't [00:12:00] sleep without some sort sort of noise in the background. And, I thought about it afterwards and it's like, well, even as adults, we like to have a fan going in the background, just like a soothing constant noise.

But then also if you live in the type of house where your air conditioner heat coming on makes a noise like ours does, or you have pets that walk around on your hardwood floors and they're clicking all the way across the floor or something. Having that sound machine and that constant noise, I would say helps to drown some of those things out for them too that might disturb their sleep. So for us, that was probably my number one thing that I'm glad I used was the sound machine, just to help establish those routines and then to help keep the routine so that they slept soundly throughout the night.

So that was probably my number one. I wrote down a couple of other things that with Lincoln, we had them. We didn't have them [00:13:00] with Reagan because, your first kid, there's so much out there and also as a new parent you're thinking, well, we can't buy everything or we won't get everything, if you're having a baby shower or whatever.

And so with the second kid came along and it was so close to my first one, we had held on to a lot of stuff and I'm like, well, now I don't need as many things, you know, because I already have X, Y, Z. I just get to reuse it. So we registered for some things that I thought were kind of luxuries, and items that after Lincoln, I was like, dang, we should have got this with the first kid.

Um, that I thought were good. Like, the bamboo grass. I thought, oh, it's just cute. It's just decorative. We really used it and it really works to like keep the bottles from falling over so you don't have to rewash them when they fall off the counter, you know?

That was one that again, I just thought, oh, that's just a cute gimme thing.

You know, we're just laid on a towel. No, it's actually so much better. We loved it.

Krista: And you were [00:14:00] so kind to pass that along to me. So I can definitely vouch for that as well. The grass for bottles and the nipples and all of that stuff for baby bottles and all that jazz. Agreed, 100% agreed.

Jill: Absolutely. The Boppy comes to mind. The big pillow again, I'm like, That's just laziness. I can hold her or I can hold him. I don't need the Boppy pillow whenever I'm feeding them or breastfeeding them or something. And then I got one and breastfed with my son with it, and I'm like, So nice. I can look on my phone now cause I'm hands free or I can read a book. I can do something else.

I can take a drink of water without disturbing the baby. It was just so nice that I was like, Hey, I should have had one of these with my first kid. The baby Brezza, I don't know if you've heard of this one.

You put water in it, you put the formula in it and you press how many ounces you want and it [00:15:00] puts it all in there and you know, does all the counting and everything for you.

And again, luxury item, right? With the first kid I'm like, oh, we got so many other things we need. And it's not a perfect machine. Trust me, you're gonna read reviews and things like that, that's like, oh, it's got this problem or whatever. It's not, it's not a perfect machine, and we did not use it full-time either.

We used it at night with my son after a while we used it for him. And you get up and you are so daggone sleepy and you really don't wanna wake up yourself like that cuz you wanna go back to sleep too. But you need to be able to read all the numbers on the bottle and the level scoop, you know, and the scoops that you need and everything.

And so at night we use that thing to just walk in there and press how many ounces we needed on the bottle and have it make it for us.

Krista: It's like a Keurig, but for baby bottles.

Jill: Absolutely, absolutely like a Keurig and like I said, was not a full-time machine. We did not use it [00:16:00] during the day. Because you do kind of lose a little bit of formula in the machine.

Um, but at night so worth it, it was so worth it. So I would do that again if I, if I ever had another child, which is not gonna happen. But if I ever did, I would do the baby Brezza again for nighttime feeding.

Krista: Okay. Good to know. Good to know. Yeah. I never had that gadget, but I've heard of it. I have heard of it.

Jill: And my last one is a baby size urinal. If you're having a boy, get the baby urinal to put on the wall because they have zero aim. They don't even have any idea what it means to aim. It is just a free for all. And so we hung the baby urinal on the wall across from the regular potty and the ricochet or the shooting straight back to the wall that would happen on your regular potty.

It hits the back of that urinal and goes down in it, and you don't [00:17:00] have all the the mess to clean up all over your toilet every time the boy goes to the bathroom.

Krista: Good to know. Yeah. Having a girl, that is not something that I would be aware of. So parents of little boys , bear in mind this tip. I like that. That's a new one for me. What would you say is how you are keeping it all together. With two kiddos, working mom full-time, but you and your husband work full-time. How are you keeping everything between the lines?

Jill: I would say, do what works for you and your family and your kiddos. Everyone's gonna have opinions, everyone's gonna have advice, especially if you're starting out. I know I've given my share, you know, of advice and stuff, but I really try to wait until someone like blatantly asks me a question for my advice.

Otherwise, I just try to say, [00:18:00] it's gonna be fine. You're gonna figure it out, you're gonna do okay. It's a learning curve and you just have to go through it because everybody is totally different. So just do what works for you and your family and your kiddos. I say general advice develop a routine. Kids, and this is not just a parent advice, this is from an educator's advice. Kids really do crave rules, structure, and routines. And we can tell a difference as educators when they have been on break for a while and they come back, it is hard to get them back into those rules, structures, and routines at school.

But yet, for some of them, they have craved it. And you can even tell for some of them leading up to a break, their behavior will get worse . Because they know what is coming up and they know there's not gonna be any rules or structures or routines in some of their houses. And so kids [00:19:00] really do crave rules, structure and routines.

So develop some sort of routine for your house, whether that's the same bedtime every night and the same procedure for bedtime every night. You know they want a story. You start with a story or maybe you give a bath and then you go to story time, but develop whatever those rules and structures because the kids, it makes 'em feel safe and it gives them something to look forward to, and it just calms them. You know, it makes everything else go better. So that would be one way I guess I try to keep it all together is I try to keep some structure and routine in my kids' lives.

Krista: How would you say you personally, are keeping it all together? Is there any one thing that you like to do for yourself so that you know, as, as moms, we are always there for everyone else and sometimes it can be so hard to just step away and take a moment for ourselves so that when one little thing happens, [00:20:00] we don't snap and go off the deep end. So is there anything in particular you like to do to just fill your cup as they say?

Jill: I say I'm an educator. I'm actually a library media specialist and one of the things that I do is read a lot. I read books to kids, or I tell young adults. When I was in the high school librarian, I tell young adults about books and so I have to be a reader, an avid reader myself, and I love books.

So one of the things I do for myself and no, it's hard. Like you, you work full-time and you have two kids. How do you have time to read? Audio books! I have a subscription to Audible. And I listen to an audiobook because that's something I can do hands free. I can clean the house or clean a room or give a kid a bath or know, do all these things that require both hands, but I can walk around with an earbud in my ear, know, even if it's just one, because you need to be listening for the kids with the other ear.

I can listen to a book.[00:21:00] know, A book for me is like escapism. It puts me into a whole other world, a whole other set of characters and people that I'm meeting and their story that I'm following. And so I'm able to, I guess, escape in my mind a little bit, as I follow the characters and the stories and everything. And so, know, I do that in the car too. I'll put one earbud in. I may have the kids songs or something playing on the radio for them, but I got my earbud in on my, in my ear, listening to my book . So for me, that's just been a very easy way to keep some sort of self-care or something that I love to do, being able to keep that alive for myself.

Krista: What would be a tip or trick or piece of advice that you would share with another mama right now?

Jill: So this is kind of a, I guess a three parter here, but the overall general message is give yourself so much grace. You are not probably gonna get it right the first [00:22:00] time, or maybe even the second time. You're going to have those moments where, like you said, you just want to lose it or you do lose it.

It's gonna happen because life just keeps coming at you. And sometimes you need a break. So give yourself some grace. We talk about know, devices, how bad devices are for kids, you know, and, oh, I'm not gonna be a mom that puts my kid in front of a device. Or it's gonna be very limited time. Sometimes if they get that extra hour or even two hours on some weekends, on the device, it's okay because if during that hour you needed some me time, you needed to just not be interrupted or asked for something for another hour so that you can hold it together. That's okay. You're not a horrible mom because you do that. Give yourself some grace. Your kids are going to be okay if you take that extra time for [00:23:00] yourself. And with that, I kind of thought about my extended family, especially before I had kids and maybe even once I had kids before that, if people would drop in or like at the last minute, I need someone to pick up my kids or something, and they're coming over the house, I'd be like, oh my gosh or my dishes are stacked so high in my sink. It's embarrassing right now. Or I didn't pick up the living room and there are dirty clothes or the kids' toys all over the place. I'm so embarrassed. You know what? They're family. They love you. mean, That's their job. They are family.

And so when they walk in and see your house like that It's okay because they know how crazy it is to have kids that young. They also know that maybe you're working full-time. You and or significant other work full-time. Um, and that's just gonna happen. But they love you anyway.

And that's all that matters. They're not staring. They're not judging. You're judging [00:24:00] yourself. Even with friends. If you've got close friends that you're like, oh my gosh, I wanna have a girl's night. I wanna have some wine or something with some friends, but this house is a flipping wreck.

They can't come over here tonight for a last minute drink. They're your friends for a reason. They're not going to judge you for having your dishes full in the living room look like that. They're just gonna be like, you know what? She's apparently had a week and she needs this wine time tonight,

You know? So again, give yourself some grace when it comes to all that.

My last piece of advice, and I try to remember this for myself. Put yourself in the picture. Most of the time moms are the ones taking the pictures, right? Normally we remember that we need to photograph Christmas morning or we're going to the pumpkin patch and we need to take lots of pictures, but then you're not in any of them because you've been behind the camera, and so you're gonna look back or your [00:25:00] kids are gonna look back at those pictures and be like where were you? Well, I was taking the picture. Somebody had to take the picture, so put yourself in the picture. I sometimes have to either turn around and say, all right, family selfie. know, Our kids get in here, hold the camera and put it to myself. Or sometimes I just have to point it out to my husband and say, will you take some pictures for a while of me, interacting with the kids so that I don't have the camera in my hand all morning or the whole time that we're here.

Ask or selfie, whatever you have to do, if there's no one to ask, but put yourself in the pictures because those are your memories. Those are your kids' memories later on, and they wanna see that you were there with them, and what you were doing with them.

Krista: That is such great advice. Great wisdom, Jill. Well, what else do you wish that I would've asked?

Is there anything else you feel is important to cover?

Jill: I have one other thing and that is to deal with breastfeeding. We were [00:26:00] talking about it actually before we started and it's, it's what made me think of it. Um, Don't shut me off right now. Like if you, oh my gosh. You mentioned breastfeeding and I'm a bottle feeder. That's what I'm getting ready to say.

It is not a big deal. I feel like anytime someone has asked or like it gets brought up. People feel ashamed if they're not breastfeeding. I swear to you, I am not judging you if you don't breastfeed. Totally your choice. I know I was apprehensive as to whether I was going to do it and I set small goals for myself.

Like, oh, if I can make it my six weeks of maternity week, you know, I'll be doing. Well, okay, now I'll try another month. Well, now I'm going back to work. And you know what my, my daughter, I only had one kid. I made it nine months. Yay for me. My son, he was colicky and he was not like anything, didn't set well on his belly.

He was just a very difficult baby. Plus I had two [00:27:00] at that time, and then I went back to work. I think I only made a six or eight weeks, but you know what, if I hadn't have done any, if he'd have came out, and I just couldn't realize that with, you know, my daughter at home who was just barely over one at the time, and I couldn't have done it, that would've been okay. He would've survived and he'd be just as happy he is as he is now, if I would have bottle fed him. So, you know, go easy on yourself. If you're thinking you wanna try to breastfeed, great. If you're thinking it's not for you, that's okay too. I swear moms are not judging you.

There may be some, cuz there's people out there that will judge about anything. The majority of us, it's fine. Like we're okay that you're not doing that. It's all right.

Krista: Yeah. Yet you've gotta do what works best for you and what's gonna work best for the baby at the end of the day. Gotta make sure baby's satisfied and happy.

Jill: Absolutely.

Krista: And breastfeeding is [00:28:00] a journey, which is why I have a whole episode dedicated to it with this podcast, if not another episode coming soon.

As well as I also plan to bring in a lactation consultant for a special interview at some point as well because it is a hot topic. Something that is supposed to be so natural is not. I don't wanna say that it's not natural. Something that society perceives as such a naturally occurring thing is a lot of work.

That's all I'll say. It's just a lot of work and it can be very difficult.

Jill: And some women do it and some women can't. And for various reasons, whether it's health reasons or just your lifestyle, it's okay. If it's not you, it's okay.

Krista: Great feedback and insight. Jill, this was such a fun conversation. I appreciate you letting us in and sharing your, uh, the birth [00:29:00] stories of your kiddos and sharing some of the favorite things you've used since you've had them, that, that worked really well for you. And just reminding us to give ourselves some grace. I think that's very important, whether you're a parent or not. But at the end of the day, especially if you are trying to raise humans, certainly give yourself some grace because there is no playbook. Again, that's the inspiration behind this podcast is we're all figuring this out together.

Anyway, appreciate you being here. This was super fun. Mamas. Parents out there. All of our friends out in the podcast land. We appreciate you tuning in today.

Jill, I wanna thank you for your time and mamas remember, take care of yourself cuz if you're not taking your care of yourself, it's really hard to take care of those around you. And we look forward to seeing you on the next podcast. Have a great day, friends!


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