ONE: "We started my son off in an infant seat then we transitioned him to a convertible car seat after he turned one. We kept him rear facing until only after he turned two (as recommended by AAP). While the convertible car seat is is still great for two year olds we were looking for an additional seat and came across the high back booster. Most of the manufacturers guidelines for the high back boosters say they are ok for two year olds (and 30 to 70 (or sometimes 90) pounds). My son falls well within this range but I am still skeptical about high back boosters for a two year old. He has weight on him but the high back boosters are so much less bulky than the convertible seats- I feel like there might not be enough protection in the event of a crash. There are a few high back boosters that come with a five point harness rather than just the belt positioning seats but I just feel like it might not be "enough" What would you do?"
Kilee: "Honestly I think you need to do whatever you feel best about. If your son falls within the range that the seat manufacturer describes, then I would be okay with it. I tend to trust what the car seat guidelines say and go with what I can afford that fits. I typically think that the more expensive car seats or the seats with more features will always try to make you to feel unsafe in any other situation because that is what sells their seats. But if you feel like he needs added protection then keep him in the convertible seat for a while longer. If anything they are more comfortable!"
Erica: "I also have a two-year-old but she's on the petite side so I haven't reached this dilemma yet... but if your instincts are telling you that the booster might not be as safe in the event of a crash, I'd try to stick with the regular convertible seat for as long as possible. I think the only factor that might influence my decision in that sense is how happy/frustrated your son is in the car seat. If he's whining or screaming, it will distract you while driving (which will obviously put you at a higher risk for an accident). But if he's content enough in the convertible, I'd say just wait it out. :)"
Emily: "I think the bottom line is that it's important to follow your gut as a mother, and that usually your first instinct is the best! I have a new four year old that I still have in the convertible car seat because I just feel as though she has more protection and security, so I guess my advice would be to stick with what you have until you feel sure he's ready for the booster since that's what your gut is telling you to do!"
TWO: "I am expecting my second daughter in July and will be taking a year off work to care for my babies. This is a dream come true but what has me worried is how to transition my 3 year old from a 3 days a week preschool (my current place of employment) to a routine at home with a newborn. How do you fit in everything when caring for two kids under 3 and still be able to shower and have a clean house? Any tips/advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you, lovely ladies."
Emily: "Boy, I could go on way too long in answering this one, because having four kiddies in four years has definitely forced me to get organized, haha. The best way to condense it would be to stress the importance of lists and schedules! I wake up before any of my kids, or when I'm nursing my youngest in the morning I'll write out a timeline starting with the things that have to happen like meals and nap times, then fill in the spaces with things that should happen like chores and errands, and whatever time's left over can go to the things that you'd like to happen, like showering and Pinterest time."
Erica: "Unfortunately I'm in the same boat as you at the moment, so I'm not sure how to answer your question! I have a daughter who just turned two and a son that will be arriving any day now. I can tell you how I've been trying to prepare, though. I've created a room in my house that is childproof and has different Montessori-type activities for my two-year-old as well as a place for me to sit and nurse, set the baby down, check my e-mail, etc. This room will be my safe haven when things get chaotic. Other than that, I haven't quite figured out when I'll be cleaning the house, making dinner, taking showers, etc. I guess I'm just going to have to find my rhythm as it comes. My biggest hope is that I can figure out a way to get the two to nap at the same time so that I can have a break! Hah. Sorry I couldn't be more help."
Brittany: "Hi, congratulations on being able to stay home with your children! I don't have any expertise with having two children, but I have a lot of friends with two under age 2 and 3. For me (with just one baby), I take advantage of nap time on days when I need things done around the house or a shower. If I am in need of a shower and it isn't nap time, I usually put her in the exersaucer and give her a few puffs and turn on Daniel Tiger or Angelina Ballerina for 10 minutes while I take a quick shower. Most of the time I just shower at night when she is asleep. As far as getting things done around the house, I usually try to occupy my daughter in the room I am trying to clean with toys or other objects she is interested in. I typically just clean the room she is in while she is playing. Another thing I do is have a dry erase board on my fridge with a few tasks to do each day. This is helpful for my husband for when he is trying to be helpful around the house. My husband is a medical student, so he's not always able to help out, but this is the way we communicate what needs to be done without having to ask, and it works for us. Good luck and enjoy every moment! I just know most mamas say the laundry can wait, so try not to stress over it. :)"
Kilee: "I could write a few posts about how I run our home, but my best advice would be to feel confident, work out a loose schedule, and be patient. The best way I have found to get things done, keep our house together, and be a good mom is to adopt an "I can do it" attitude. I have definitely had my overwhelmed days, but I am confident in myself and my ability to do it all. I am motivated and optimistic when I wake up everyday because I want to have a good day, I have things to do, and I can't let myself get bogged down by a messy house or unhappy kids. We just work together and my kids have learned to expect how things go. My kids expect that I will get ready everyday in the morning and usually that is when they are eating breakfast. Because you have one little one and a baby, I'd recommend doing as much as you can while the baby sleeps, but don't stop doing what you need to do just because the kids are up. I get ready with my kids in the bathroom - I shower while the baby lays outside the shower on the floor. I clean while my kids play or they clean with me. I try to follow a simple cleaning schedule where I pick up in the morning and at night and then clean certain areas of the home on each day of the week. Also when my kids were younger we would do the library on Mondays, play group on Wednesdays, and a music group on Fridays. Its hard to have a set schedule because you have to be flexible with little ones, but a basic schedule is essential. And last I'd say be patient. With the first year of a new baby, as you know, things change all the time. You are always in a new phase, so you'll have to be really flexible and just keep working at it. Also I guess the last thing is that you need a hobby. You need a hobby to work on after the kids are in bed or before they are up or during naps. A hobby will make you happier and give your brain a break from being a SAHM. You will love it!
THREE: "Hi ladies! I'm a stay at home mom to my beautiful 4 1/2 month old baby girl. I am wanting to update my wardrobe but I am at a loss of what I should buy that would work for playtime at home and play dates with friends, running errands, etc? I still want to look stylish and put together but I don't want to buy things that would be impractical or could get ruined by spit up and blow outs. ;)"
Veronika: "Though I work outside of the home, I think the key to building a SAHM wardrobe is to focus on pieces that are versatile so you can mix and match a lot of different items together to create different looks. The other thing that’s important is to make sure you have the basics as a foundation for the new pieces you buy. By basics, I mean a great pair of jeans, a basic white tee that you love the fit of, a jacket that goes with everything (neutral color), some great flats and sandals. I think you’re looking for clothes you can feel comfortable in but also don’t mind getting down on the floor with your kids. For spring and summer, I love J.Crew’s colorful chino shorts that come in a variety of lengths so you can choose what you feel comfortable in. I also love their vintage v-neck tees because they are so simple and comfortable but can be amped up with a long gold chain necklace. In terms of clothes not being ruined, make sure to check tags to make sure items are machine-washable and definitely buy some Honest brand stain spray. That spray has literally gotten blackberry, raspberry and paint stains out of my baby’s clothing (even whites!) and it’s all natural. Another thing that’s important to balance a look are accessories - a great watch, sunglasses, and hats (I love fedoras and wide brim hats to protect from the sun) can all make such an impact. I also recommend a cute, cross body purse; it’s so easy to carry while running errands and looks great with any outfit - my favorites are by Tory Burch, Kate Spade, and Rebecca Minkoff."
Denise: "I totally hear ya girl! I am in the same boat with my 8 month old baby girl! Let me just start off by saying I LOVE TARGET. I seriously find most of my casual tops there and they have comfy, easy dresses that you can run around in too. I also love H&M! I find jeans and shorts there mostly, at great prices (and their baby collection is adoraaaable!). I love JCrew Outlet! If you have one close to you, then you lucky dog you! But if not, you can also shop online."
Emily: "Wow, that's a huge question! I think the easiest way to accomplish that would be to invest in regular items like jeans and t shirts that A, fit well and B, have fun prints! A print instantly dresses up an outfit so it doesn't look so 'boring mom' if you were to run out for errands without having time to change, but they'll still be comfortable enough and washable enough that you won't feel like you're dressed up for the dishes. Also, as much as I like wearing brighter colors especially during warmer weather, I wear dark colors more and more these days with a 4, 2, 1, and 4 month old. They just hide everything!"
Lynzy: "My wardrobe has definitely changed significantly since I had Olivia! Most days I wear comfortable jeans (found some great options at H&M) and a tee with some espadrille canvas shoes (so comfy and more dressed up than sneaks!) In the summer I will mostly live in dresses - so comfy - easy on and off!"
FOUR: "What advice or encouragement can you give for the girl who literally knows nothing about babies (me...) and is considering starting a family. I wrestle with feelings of unpreparedness, embarrassment over lack of knowledge, and anxiety. What prepared you or at least made you feel more comfortable with impending motherhood?"
Lynzy: "Okay so let me first start off by saying... you are never fully prepared for motherhood. Ever. There is never a "good" time to start a family because there will always be SOMETHING - whether it's "we need more money" or "we want to travel first". I can tell you that having Olivia is hands down the best thing that ever happened to me and my husband. There are definitely days where my patience is tried and I feel like I need a break, but we made this little nugget and she is ours and it is a beautiful thing. I haven't read many books or anything, I just use momma's intuition. It's a real thing. ;) "
Emily: "That's tough to condense, but I guess what comes to mind is that everyone will have advice on how you should do things, and they'll always conflict. But in the end you just have to do what you feel is right for your babies and trust your own best judgment, because no one knows your babes like you do and no two are the same! I remember how scary being pregnant with and having my first baby was, and really it's not gotten any less scary. It's a wild, messy, silly, amazing ride so just make sure you don't spend too much time being sad that he or she never wore that one adorable outfit or that you never took 6 month pictures. It's the little tummy giggles and feeling their little downy fluffy heads that matter the most. Your babies will love you unconditionally, and if you have a question there's always Google!"
Denise:"If you’re heart is being led to have children then you are as prepared as you need to be. Honestly! With that said, there are plenty of books to read during your 9 months of pregnancy and golly day thanks goodness for those million doctor visits you go to because they give you information! And then, once that little baby lady or baby gent has arrived – their pediatrician will give you tons of information at every appointment. So truthfully my advice, is that you are ready. You are ready where you are right now. You don’t have to have any experience with babies or any knowledge. You will be scared to death with or without that knowledge but something kicks in when you become a mama called instinct. Oh and thank goodness for Google. :)
Veronika: "I think no one is ever truly prepared for deciding to pursue parenthood and it’s a learn-as-you go process because every baby and every family is so different. A lot of the times it’s about trusting your own instincts and also turning to others you trust for support and encouragement. If you already know you want a child but are just nervous about motherhood, I will tell you that though it has many challenges, it is also the most rewarding experience and you may surprise yourself at how it all comes together as you learn and grow with your baby. I did read some books and I did work with children when I was younger, but nothing compares to the experience of having your own child so no matter how much experience you have (or don’t have) you just have to “go with the flow.” I know how difficult that sounds because my own personality is to plan things, but the truth is that you may have a really “easy” baby or a baby with colic (and that’s just one example) and you have to cross that bridge when you get there. The best thing you can do when deciding to become a mother is to be sure that your relationship with your partner is strong and that you can count on your partner to support you and provide the assistance you need with pregnancy and childcare. Having a child can really test even the strongest relationships so making sure that foundation is strong and based on mutual respect, love and trust is crucial."
I hope you read or found something helpful! I know some of you mentioned in the readers survey that these weren't your favorite posts, but I think there is benefit in sharing opinions and view points between moms. I would LOVE it if you had more to add to any of these answers - your comments and experience would be welcome additions to the post!