The really miraculous thing about creating a human

I used to think that growing a baby from zero to 8 pounds of real human being was a miracle. But you know what’s really miraculous about biology and parenting?

How fast you forget the hard parts: how quickly the sleepless nights, the zombie days, and the confusion about how to do the most mundane things—like cutting their nails or feeding them—fades into distant memory.

 

Ain’t that the truth

My daughter is almost two, and I’ve already forgotten the infant months so thoroughly that I struggle to buy baby gifts for friends welcoming new little ones. Beyond that, I can’t even really piece together what I might need for this new life I’m growing (baby boy coming June 2018, what what!). And even if I could remember, I’m sure whatever I did the first time around could easily be improved on.

While I might not remember what nose bulb worked best for us, I am still overwhelmed and confused by the sheer sensory overload of all the baby products on the market. In fact, I don’t know what half of them even do. So when Babylist offered me a chance to try their new Hello Baby Box, a free gift for parents who create a new registry on Babylist  (yes, a free gift, just for making yourself a gift list, #signmeup), I was all over it.

I created a registry immediately, something I hadn’t done with my daughter, because, to be honest, I had zero idea what to even put on a registry. I relied on gifts and crossed my fingers we’d be prepared enough. Needless to say, that haphazard approach translated into a lot of last minute, panicked trips to the store and rush shipping orders as we tried to fill in the many holes in our baby product arsenal.

This time around, I’m more organized, and I’m so proud of myself. I gave my memory a jumpstart with some of these registry ideas, and browsed some of my favorite mom blogs to help round out my registry. (Fun fact: Babylist has a bookmarklet that you can use to add any product, from any site, to your registry. It’s like pinning a picture from your browser. It’s SO easy and I love how efficient it is; ain’t nobody got time to keep track of multiple registries at multiple stores).

Creating my registry helped trigger my memory of what those early days were like, and what products were truly lifesavers vs those that ended up being money down the drain. Baby Merlin Sleep Sack? Send me a half dozen in each size. Skimpily-proportioned swaddle blankets? Hard pass.

My growing list of must-haves has gotten me excited in a whole new way about welcoming a baby boy into our home; it’s like a digital version of nesting, as I think through what we’ll need and what will make our lives easier after we bring him home.

You can check out my registry here (hint hint 😉 ) and also create your own, or browse sample registries if you’re looking for gift ideas or things you might need yourself.  

My Hello Baby Box is full of new-to-me products to try out, including everything from nipple ointment (so necessary) to those cute little “I’m X months old!” stickers you see attached to babies all over Instagram.

I didn’t even know where to get these stickers last time!

 

I’m really excited about all the samples I get to try with Moonshadow (his in-utero nickname, we’re not that hippie, thanks), from a little device that helps them pass gas (hoping and praying this is a miracle-worker) to $50 of free babysitting on Urbansitter. Yes, you read that right, $50. F yeah. Urbansitter is where I found my daughter’s nanny so I’m a huge fan of the platform and of course I am a huge fan of anything that puts a dent in my babysitting bill and gives me more time for myself.

Presents!!

There are also breastfeeding supplies, boogie wipes to keep in your purse, and lots more significant discounts on clothes and other gear—basically everything from necessary to fun.

The Hello Baby Box is such a genius idea especially for first time moms, when often you don’t know what you don’t know, and might need some expert guidance on sorting through the profusion of baby products on the market. It’s more or less what some of my mama friends did for me when I was pregnant with my daughter, sending me glamorous things like lanolin and gel pads. I had no idea what those were for … but I quickly learned, and quickly started resupplying in bulk.

I can’t wait to go into round two a little more seasoned, a little more prepared, and with a few secret weapons in my back pocket.

To qualify for your Hello Baby Box, register here with Babylist.

This post is sponsored by Babylist, but if you know me at all, you know my general confusion about parenting and love of bookmarklets and efficiency are entirely my own. I so appreciate your support of the brands who partner with the Sweat Pink community!

Limits are so last year

gixo iamlimitless

When we first got married, one of the ways that I could reliably frustrate my husband was by being overly optimistic about timing. For example, if I was out to dinner with friends and our food hadn’t arrived yet, I’d tell him I’d be home in about 30 minutes. That estimate totally covered time to eat, pay the bill, get another drink (or two?) and of course the one hour plus commute home from San Francisco.

In other words, I was 100% dishonest. It came from a well-intentioned place of not wanting to let him down in the moment: saying “I’ll be home in 30 minutes” sounds so much better than “at least 3 hours from now, and that’s if the after dinner cocktails aren’t super delicious, and if the train schedule improbably works in my favor.” Of course my lie would come back to bite me in the ass when it was inevitably revealed, but that was a future problem that I could avoid for, well, another 30 minutes.

It’s not a respectful way to treat your partner, consistently and knowingly offering alternative facts about your plans.

My habitual tardiness may be a silly example of how well our culture teaches us to fudge or obscure any news that we fear might be poorly received. (Just look at how many women intensely identified with Cat Person).  I know I’m guilty of dissembling to maintain (an imagined?) social good all the time, for matters mundane and trivial.

In recent years, that unwillingness to put others out has manifested more in form of not asking for what I need, because the idea of either inconveniencing someone, or feeling as though I’m asking permission, feels alternately uncomfortable or stifling. And since I’m at a life stage when I need help more than ever—toddler mom, knocked up, full time job—not asking for support means I’m not showing up for myself. I’m putting up walls and limits where they don’t belong. I’m sacrificing my own health and well-being for … what, exactly?

This year, even though all the cool kids agree that resolutions are dumb, I’m using the new year as an opportunity to reflect and reset. This year, I want to reassert myself. To make space for me without guilt or excuses. To ask for the support I need instead of hoping it will be offered.
sweatpink iamlimitless gixo
In 2018, I recognize that the limits I saw on what I could achieve and who I could be were self-inflicted. In 2018 I choose to leave behind those restrictions. I choose to be limitless. The decisions and sacrifices I will make this year will be thoughtful and proactive, not reactionary or fear-driven.
I’m going into this a realist. I know my toddler and my unborn child’s needs will ultimately come first, but from here on out, that’s an approach I choose instead of a condition I submit to.
sweatpink lovetabio
In 2018 I show up for myself, without reservation. Without apology.  Without regret. With honesty. With full presence.  With an eye to the big picture.
sweatpink iamlimitless gixofit
Also, I’m going to stop reading the news so damn much. Not helpful.
This year, in partnership with Gixo, we choose to leave behind all that doesn’t serve us, and to declare #IAmLimitless. Join us for community support in achieving your goals this year, and doing more than you ever dreamed possible. 

 

 

If pregnancy magazines were honest

I spent over two hours waiting for my doctor at my last prenatal appointment. Most of that time was in the tiny exam room, just one chair and a speculum and a rack of pregnancy magazines. Four paces across, in case you’re wondering. Not that I spent 90% of that wait pacing back and forth, feeling trapped in pregnancy jail, wishing I had saved at least one of my snacks beyond the first 10 minutes of that interminable wait.

I flipped through a few of those magazines but quickly went back to pacing the room like a madwoman. What a load of bullshit they are, with headlines like:

Love your partner the whole 9 months

🙄 Right. That’s totally possible. 

Gain just enough weight: 6 little secrets that make it simple

Does puking all day count as one of the secrets? 

No more jelly belly: lose the baby fat fast

You are definitely not ready for this jelly.

 

Anyway. While the hangry ramped up with every round trip across the exam room, I started imagining what an honest pregnancy magazine would cover. And then I decided to make one.

 

What do you think? What’s on YOUR pregnancy magazine cover?

 

This is happening!

Guess what, friends? You know how I’ve spent over two years now ranting and occasionally raving about the ups and downs of pregnancy and motherhood? Well, I guess there were enough rewards to convince me to do it again.

Photo: Laura Puzic

That’s right, there’s a baby boy on the way here. Estimated arrival: June 2018.

Guess that means I’ve got a whole bunch of new material to share with you. 😉

Coming up soon: how this first trimester was radically different from last time (but still somehow fell short of the “fun” category).

 

This at-home spa treatment will make you feel fancy AF

Self-care is ALL over the internet these days; seems like every outlet and Instagrammer is finding new ways to meditate and essential oil yourself into serenity.

The movement is getting all sorts of backlash—is it selfish? is it a manifestation of privilege? etc etc—and a lot of those criticisms ring true, but one thing I am appreciating about this renewed focus on chilling the F out is that there are all these new creative ideas coming out about how to chill out … in ways that are more accessible than usual. It’s not just, go on this 3 day luxury wellness retreat and feel restored unto the universe, but also practical stuff like, hey, got 2 minutes? FLOSS. Waiting for the bus? Take some deep breaths already.

Those reminders to take space that already exists in your day and make it into something restorative feel really relevant to me right now. One of my most intense secret fantasies is disappearing for an afternoon to go to the spa. I don’t even want a treatment; I just want to surrender to an infinite loop between hot tub, sauna, and steam room. I imagine coming home and pretending like I had been at work the whole time. What, my skin looks extra buttery and silky? Weird, it must just be my natural glow.

Sounds dreamy, right?

Now that you know my (basic, banal) most secret desire, I feel like I can trust you with my backup plan, my spa treatment that I can implement at home, even while a toddler repeatedly crashes her doll stroller into my ankles.

I recently got to test out one of those super fancy Korean face masks—the kind that cost upward of $100—and see if it gave me the same glow as my annual splurge facial (plus of course the infinity loop of spa facilities).

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Here’s the inside of the pretty box: it feels like a luxury item from start to finish.

The Onyx Youth Magnet Mask is magnetic skincare therapy, using the power of magnets to moisturize your skin and reduce signs of aging. (I had no idea magnets could do that, but hey, for those results, sure thing!)

I put this to the test at the exact moment when I’m least likely to feel fabulous: Friday morning, shortly after waking up, after a couple of days of being sick, and going on three days since I last washed my hair. It would take a miracle to make me feel all self-care-refreshed and glowy.

My takeaways:

My Victory Band headband was a champ at keeping my hair out of the way.

The mask is really easy to use. You spread it over your face with the included spatula and it glides on like butter. I appreciated that I didn’t have to get my hands messy to apply it. Even with a few toddler collisions throwing off my balance, I didn’t make a mess.

Mac was not a fan of my new look.

You should not post any internet selfies without context. While I let the mask work its magic (5-10 minutes), I got Mac to take some selfies with me. She was a little suspicious of my new look, and kept saying, “Mama take face OFF!” I appreciated that it was a quick process—just a few minutes of marination during which my toddler was extremely wary of my face. I also suspect that if I had posted this look on in the internet, sans explanation, it would have been too easy to misinterpret what I was up to. 

Taking it off is really easy, too. The included magnetic wand is kind of magic; it grabs onto the mask with no effort on your part, and even as the mask piles up onto the wand, it still continues working. You look at the collected mask and think sure you’re going to start rubbing it back on your face, but thanks to the power of SCIENCE, it just keeps removing more and more mask.

I did have to touch up a few spots with a washcloth: I found that the wand couldn’t quite maneuver into tiny crevices like around my nose, but that was a minor issue and so easy to just spot-finish.

I got the glow! Here I am, all dewy and super-moisturized, immediately after removing the mask. My bathroom light is pretty substandard, but my skin looked as dewy and glowy as if I’d just had a legit spa treatment.

You get more than I realized for the money. For some (unfounded) reason, I assumed this was a single-use product, which made that $110 price tag even more fancy. But, there was a ton of product left after I finished.

Ugly photo, but you get the point.

I can (and will) keep using this for a quick, self-care touch up when I’m feeling most bedraggled or dehydrated.

It’s on sale right now! If you want to try it yourself, or, if there’s someone you want to give a super luxe gift to (this would work great as a gift; it’s such a beautiful experience, the packaging and branding make it feel really luxurious and special), you can use the code BEMAGNETIC for 20% off here.

 

I received the Onyx Youth Magnet Mask for free—thank you Onyx for the opportunity! As always, all opinions are my own. 🙂 

p.s. Speaking of beauty—if you’re the kind of person who, like me, has failed spectacularly at replicating makeup tutorials on Youtube, here’s a channel that upends the whole genre. By far my favorite thing on the internet recently. Enjoy!