When a new baby is born, it is just the beginning of a new adventure. Danielle Fisher had a baby girl in December of 2013 and has already faced many changes in her life with her new born baby.
Danielle said her baby is a gift from heaven and she can hardly take her eyes off her baby. “Take time to rest and get to know your baby when a baby comes,” she said. “It takes time to heal after having a baby for mommy and baby!”
Let’s see what Danielle said about three things she wished she had known before she had her first baby. She also shared some great solutions to prepare for baby.
Wish #1–Rest and get to know your baby
“A new mother has healing of her own to do from childbirth and also sleep patterns will change and if you breastfeed that's a new adjustment as well,” she said. “Sometimes the labor and delivery was hard or hopefully it went smoothly, no matter how it went, both baby and mother have healing to do. Plan on taking it easy for the next few weeks. Does not have a lot of time to sleep; in fact, no sleep for some. Babies consistently wake up every two hours. Some may even face baby sleep problems. Hopefully parents take turn getting up and feeding them, but a father can't do that if mom needs to breastfeed the child.”
“If possible have your husband take time off of work or school so you both can be with and get to know your little one,” she said. “Having your mother or mother-in-law, or a good friend, come in town to help with house and assist with household duties and meals.”
Wish #2–Endless learning
“Learning doesn't stop with a baby; in fact, this is a time to learn about many different topics including baby nutrition, education, parenting skills etc,” she said. “I wish I knew of more parenting websites and blogs before.”
“I have been reading a lot of articles and blogs on good parenting skills. I am really interested in child nutrition and enjoy this blog called Plant-Powered Kitchen,” she said. “I also have recently been listening to some podcasts like "New Moms, News Babies: Tips, Tricks, Sanity Savers" There are also some really great books out there like: “Secrets of The Baby Whisperer,” by Tracy Hogg “Your Baby's First year week byweek,” by Glade B. Curtand and "The Womanly Art of breastfeeding" by Diane Wiessinger. It’s great becoming a mother and taking care of my precious babe!”
Wish #3–Time commitment
“Babies are the greatest thing but are a time commitment,” she said. “Babies need feeding, diaper changing, and love at almost anytime of day. This is a new adjustment (Think of it like finals week in school where your schedule is different and you don't get a lot of sleep, but it's totally do able!)”
“Be patient with yourself,” she said. “I get worried how I can keep her alive. I struggle with remembering to water our plants in our home, let alone take care of a little person. When a baby is asleep, I try to take a nap with her, so I can be well rested and be a better mommy. I feel that when a mother feels overwhelmed, your baby feels that, too.”
Danielle is from Utah and has lived in China for part of her life. She said home is where the heart is. She lovesbeing with her husband and baby, speaking Chinese, traveling, nutrition, yoga, and reading. Her favorite book is Harry Potter and her favorite movies are “Emperors New Groove,” and “Return to Me.” Her role-model mothers are her mom, aunt Jeannette, mom in law, and Grandmas.
Esther Garfield is the Founder and Editor of Buy Modern Baby. She has been a big help to us over the last little while and graciously agreed to answer a few of our questions. We are excited to introduce her to those of you who may not know her. We think she is awesome and are sure that you will too.
Describe your family in 3 words.
(I crowd sourced this on my personal Facebook page) Creative, fun, together
What is your favorite family activity and why?
Our favorite family activity is reading! Yes, it's a family activity at our house. Most nights before bed dad reads to one child and I read to the other. It's a great quiet time to just be together and relax without other distractions.
What is one kids related item that you just cannot live without and why?
We try to make to with as little as possible to keep from having too many kid-specific items around the house. At this point with kids 5 and 8 we've gotten rid of the stroller, travel beds, pacifiers, etc... but there is one thing in the house that only the kids use, and they use them every single day. The plastic cups from Ikea are just the right size, don't break, and are dishwasher safe. The kids have been using these for years. We keep them in an accessible drawer and whenever they need a drink, they grab their own cup and fill it with water from the fridge dispenser. I love the independence this has allowed them to have and the freedom I've had all these years from getting them drinks all the time.
Who do you idolize/wish you were more like as a mother and why?
I think mothers are always looking around and comparing themselves and their children with other mothers and parents around them-- who takes their kids to more activities, who spends more time outdoors, which kids spend too much time on their iPads? But you never know what struggles people are facing and what their lives are really like, so there's no use in wishing you could be more like what you believe someone is like on the surface. I wish I could be a mother with more patience, who cooks more and has more time to spend playing instead of cleaning up, but I'm pretty sure that's what we all wish and I'll just keep working on it!
Parenting is tough sometimes. Describe an experience or experiences where you thought "this is what makes it all worth it."
Kids may say "the darndest things" but my kids seriously say the most amazing things all the time. I love having conversations with them and hearing what they have to say and how they say it. Listening to them explain their thoughts and feelings to me and hearing how their minds are connecting things is incredible to me and makes it all worth it... especially when they try to explain to me how much they love me!
Now for the practical stuff:
I saw from your bio on Buy Modern Baby that you have two boys. I also have two (18 months and 4 months). any tips on keeping up with an energetic toddler?
Toddlers are tons of fun! They want to try EVERYTHING! My secret with toddlers was to have lots of short activities for them to do throughout the day. This keeps you and them more in the same mind frame. For example, a trip to the park with a toddler isn't just a couple hours at the park, it's really 5 minutes in the toddler area, 10 minutes on the slide, 5 minutes on the swings 5 minutes kicking around the dirt, a 10 minute trip to the bathroom etc... If you've prepared yourself to explore activities one after the other, you'll both be working at the same pace!
One of the biggest concerns we have coming up is how and when to potty train. Any advice for tackling this milestone?
Once you've decided the time is right and you're not pushing it, just go forth fearlessly! I've learned that it's not completely in your control when and how potty training will "click".
My two boys were two completely different experiences. The older one was stubborn and we just had to be just a little more stubborn. We stayed in the bathroom with him for an entire day one day (fortunately we have a large bathroom) and didn't let him use his diaper even though he cried and begged. That was all it took. It was his last day wearing a diaper and he never had a single accident.
His brother decided on his own one day that the diaper wasn't the way to go anymore. The only problem was that we happened to be on an airplane that was landing, the seatbelt sign was on and we couldn't take him to the bathroom. He cried until the plane landed and he waited for me to take him. The timing wasn't ideal but what can you do? He wasn't quite as consistent as his brother had been but he still met our goal of potty training before he started preschool.
Don't assume there's one way to do potty training "right". Some kids will just have an easier time and others will need more time. Roll with it! It won't last forever.
Today we've been lucky to have a guest ask-a-mom post. :-) She introduces herself so I'll let you jump right into it.
My name is Willa Suggs. My parents Caroline and Jack met as young children and decided to marry when my mom was about 19-20. They eloped to Las Vegas and were married by a one legged man. I was born in California where my father was stationed in the Marine Corps. My mother, brother, and I moved to KY when I was two and my dad was stationed overseas. My sister was born in Paducah. My parents divorced when I was eight. My father remarried and I have a half-sister named Heather. I met my husband when I was working at the MTC in 1M. He was my supervisor. I worked custodial. There was a really weird fellow who was looking for me to ask me out so Howard intercepted and told me that I could use the excuse that I was going to go out with him. He’s slick like that. We started dating that weekend and dated every weekend afterwards until I returned to KY to go to graduate school. On his urging I returned after the summer to Utah, and we were engaged and then married in 1996. When we decided to begin having children we discovered that we had fertility issues. After a couple of years of fertility treatments we decided to consider foster care and adoption as a way to build a family. I continued fertility treatments for a little while after we had children placed with us.
Howard and I have parented 12 children. We fostered a 14 year old African American for a month. We fostered a baby that was a biological sibling to Veronica and Trevor, our oldest two adopted children, until he went to live with his grandparents. We have legally adopted nine children and have custody of our 4 month old baby currently who is a biological sibling to seven children that we adopted.
More about Me
My hobbies are cooking and scrapbooking.
I enjoy country music and music by LDS artists and year round Christmas music. I also like 80s hairspray rock.
I can’t narrow down a favorite food. I learned to cook while sitting on the counter watching my grandma. She let me participate in the preparing and cooking food process and passed on many things about cooking that she learned from her mother and grandmother.
My favorite movies are Grease 2, Romeo and Juliet (the one starring Olivia Hussey), You’ve Got Mail, and The Phantom of the Opera. I love Christmas movies as well. Pretty much most Christmas movies.
Some of my favorite books are children’s books and young adult books. I don’t like books with lots of swearing, with sex scenes, or with graphic violence. I don’t like books about child abuse. They are not entertaining to me.
Blogs That I Keep:
Here is the blog that I used to keep. Haven’t for a long time because my laptop is really persnickety and I just don’t get on the home computer very often at all. Plus I share pictures on Facebook now so family can see those and it’s just easier.
Life As a Mom
When I became a mom a lot about me changed. When I was younger I spent a good deal of time and money on clothes and make up and fun activities. I loved to country dance, loved hiking in the mountains in Utah, took ballroom, swing, tap, ballet, jazz, and belly dancing classes. I was in gymnastics in high school. Since becoming a mom I have not had time for any of the things that made me who I was before kids. However, my time is spent caring for my home, caring for my kids, and being involved in what they love. I don’t resent that. I don’t have periods of time where I long to be someone else. I simply recognize that mom is a full time job and the most important undertaking I’ve ever made.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and did my master’s work in Clinical Psych. I have worked in psychiatric residential care centers for kids. I have worked as a case manager for severely emotionally disturbed children. I have worked as an Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist. After ten years of being a stay at home mom I now work as a Special Needs Adoption Program coordinator. During the ten years as a stay at home mom I worked part time from home as leader of a support and training group for foster/adoptive parents and as a special advocate for education for foster/adoptive kids.
My mentors and examples of being a mom are not from TV or movies. I watch my friends with their children and choose qualities that they have and try to add those to my parenting techniques. Good parenting is not something that just happens. It takes research and practice and study and prayer. My parenting skills are effected by my education and my mother’s parenting and all of the learning that has occurred over the years.
Some things that I would not want to live without as a mom are disposable diapers and baby wipes, books, toys, lots of extra socks and underwear for the kids, a washer and dryer, kid safety locks on car doors, car seats, ear plugs, and air freshener.
If I Had a Day to Myself:
I would clean the house. I know that makes me a pathetic person but it’s so much easier to clean when there aren’t little feet walking around messing things up and I really do love my home. It is my safe haven. It is where I am happiest.
People eating with their mouths open, dirty dishes in the sink, people crunching ice with their teeth, and invasion of personal space by anyone other than my husband or children.
What It Means to Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child
The hardest part of being a mom is watching children exercise their free agency in ways that will not end well for them. I do the best I can to teach my kids what is right. I am grateful that we have free agency and that we live in a country that generally celebrates freedom and individual choice. As someone who has lived life a little it is sometimes easy to see what actions will lead to a crash and burn situation. Watching your own children walk to the edge of a dangerous cliff and then not heed the warning signs and walk right off the cliff is both scary and heart breaking.
An understanding of spare the rod and spoil the child requires that one understand what “the rod” means. I believe that “the rod” is referring to the word of God. Thus, I believe that if a child is not reared being taught what God’s commandments are and how to apply them to his/her life then the child’s life does not stay on track. Simple as that. I have children who have suffered abuse and neglect at the hands of the people that were charged by God to protect and love them. I do not believe in the use of frequent corporal punishment. I have, on occasion, swatted my children on their hind ends but I can count on my fingers how many times. And I have never given any of them a “spanking” like I received as a child. And I was never beaten or abused. I believe in time outs, natural and logical consequences, and incentives.
Final Words of Advice for Moms (and Parents):
My parenting advice is to do research and decide what makes a good parent. Watch parents around you and extract from their parenting styles what you like and what seems to work. Get creative with incentives and consequences. Don’t parent all children the same…they are not. Tailor parenting to the needs of the child.
I don’t know very many people when asked who is your hero don’t immediately think of their mom. Life can sometimes be a rat race, especially with mom’s feeling like they have to outdo each other. My mom loves analogies and used this to describe how she handled the pressures of being a mom, “Smart drivers adjust their speed to accommodate adverse driving conditions. Wise mothers recognize that the well being of their child is more important than maintaining travel speeds of their former ‘fair-weather-conditions’.” She taught us to be ourselves, and hey the world seems to like me alright. Well I want you to get to meet my mom, and see how fun it is to be yourself.
Teresa and her famous butter-horn rolls.
Favorite Activities -
Cooking, Crafts, Pickleball, Walkie-Talkies, Family Activities, Picnic Barbeques, Playing Games
Favorite Food to make -
Breads, Cookies, Breakfasts, Anything that my kids love to eat
(which was pretty much everything except pickles and cheesecake)
Favorite Books -
All of Gerald Lund's books
Favorite Movies -
Hallmark, Fox News, Shark Tank
(Ha, so more or less, probably less, a movie. But in all honesty, she bought the same romantic movies week after week and fell asleep exhausted after the first 15 minutes. Wonder when she last sat through a whole movie)
Favorite Blogs -
I don't follow blogs
Where Is Home For you -
Past- Wyoming; Present- Utah; Future- Where my husband is
(Cheesy and Heartfelt, I love it!)
Guilty Pleasures -
Sugar and late night movies
Mother Teresa Time:
If you ever had the chance to talk to her, she would love to feed you and tell you the answers to all your life’s questions while you stuff your face on endless heavenly homemade scones. Of course you will never get to know someone truly till in person, but here are a few insights she had that seem to help us see it is ok to be ourselves no matter what life throws at us.
Her First Thoughts About Her First Baby -
He’s perfect. Simply a gift from Heaven, Miracle. And can’t forget … Yea it is over, I can't believe he is real even though I knew he was in there!
(Awwww, she does know how special I am, haha just kidding. I love her too!
Any Worries of Being a New Parent -
How am I going to keep him away from all danger and disease.
Hardest Part About Being a Mom -
Watching your children suffer whether or not it is from their own doing.
Mom's that I try to emulate -
My mom, Laura Ditto, Cindy Watkins, Katrina Johanson
(Doesn’t help any of you I bet, but I admit these neighbors of ours were pretty awesome!)
Kid item I would not want not to go without -
TV and swimming pool
(Sure wish I knew that the TV belonged to us kids while I was growing up lol
Ultimate Advice to New Moms:
Slow down and take time to be there!
Here’s what she told me she would want every new mom to know: The shepherds may have been viewed in their day as mothers are viewed today: underpaid because they were under-educated; undervalued because they were under-productive..... However, it was because they were not too busy pursuing the pathway of their own personal and worldly renowned careers that they were in the position to hear and see the angels and receive the visitation proclaiming the Birth of the Savior of this and all Worlds.
Smiles, hugs, kind words, and fun laughter is what makes being a mom worth it. Now I don’t know if it was fun laughter because of how ridiculous I was as a child, or if it was because I knew I was the coolest thing since s’mores whenever I played the dancepad. Whatever it was, in the end she was her awesome self, free from all the pressures of the world.
Let us know what you think as we continue to work on expanding our meet a mom blog series.