Hey, mama: Your sleep schedule should be a priority, too

Make a solid night of sleep a priority—and tomorrow’s you will be grateful.

Hey, mama: Your sleep schedule should be a priority, too

The brain of Leslie Newton is a beautiful place. It created not one, but TWO diaper bag brands, wrote a sketch for a little known show called “Saturday Night Live”, and co-wrote this epic rap about life with a newborn.

Her current venture, Newlie, creates diaper bags that don’t skimp on style or function. Because new parents want to have it all—and why not?

It’s safe to say that she’s one epic mom. And one thing she credits for keeping her sanity—and the creative juices flowing—is an amazing thing called sleep.

Now, new mom, you might not remember what sleep feels like. Glorious sleep. Wondrous sleep where the world is full of rainbows and unicorns. Leslie’s got your back. She’s put together six hacks to help you get the most out of your sleep.

Leslie Newton: Once you become a mama, it becomes difficult to get a full night sleep. And I’m not just talking about the newborn years. As your little one gets older, your time is filled up with their activities, as well as any hobbies or work of your own you’re trying to fit in! Trying to manage your time can get super stressful, which can really affect your quality of sleep. Here are my tips for getting that rest.

Tip 1: Put away all electronics at least two hours before bed

It’s so tempting to check social media and emails once your little ones are asleep, but the light from your electronics can help prevent the proper production of melatonin you need in order to help your body fall asleep. If you absolutely can’t do it, there are glasses you can buy that supposedly help to block the light as you look at your electronics–I don’t know if they work, but I guess you can always try?

Tip 2: Take some time to meditate on it

Meditation is a great way to help your body stay calm and grounded throughout the day and at bedtime. If you can, try to meditate for 5-10 minutes a few times a day—or at least before bedtime. You can close your eyes and watch your breath as you breathe in and out. Whenever your mind wanders, just gently bring it back to your breath. Another way to meditate is to listen to a guided meditation. There are a lot of guided meditations online you can download.

Tip 3: Ease stress by stretching

This is a really great way to ease stress out of your body. Find some stretches online and write them down. Then every night before bed you can treat your body to some stretching and decompress.

Tip 4: Unwind with some hot, soothing water

A hot shower or bath is always a great way to settle in before bed. Get yourself some aromatherapy bath balms to enhance your experience! Dim the lights, light a candle, enjoy some soothing music and just let yourself relax. Such a great way to soothe your nerves after a long day.

Tip 5: Get into a routine

Having a nightly bedtime ritual is a great way to get a good night’s sleep. By doing the same ritual every night, you train yourself to calm down and decompress. Any or all of the things mentioned above can be used in a nightly ritual to help you get a great night sleep!

Want more? Here’s some more Motherly Insights from the lovely Leslie.

How do you make your mornings run smoothly?

I try to do anything the night before that I can. I make my daughter’s lunch and have her pick out her clothes for school the night before. My husband also helps every morning so everything doesn’t fall on just me. We work as a team to make sure we all get out of the house on time.

The lifehack or tip that has changed my life. . .

Leslie: I finally really committed myself to exercising regularly and that has really helped with my overall stress. I feel so much stronger and calmer. When I go a few days without exercise, I really feel off.

What superpower have you discovered as a mom?

Leslie: To know that there is no way I can get everything done. Sometimes my house is a mess for longer then I want, sometimes my outfits just aren’t that cute. Sometimes my to-do list gets behind. I’ve learned to just go with the flow. I find it’s the only way to survive!

This quote inspires me. . .

Leslie: “Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it’s stupid.” Albert Einstein

To me Motherly means…

Leslie: Love, strength, and empowerment.

Haley Campbell is the founder of Beluga Baby and creator of the ultimate bamboo baby carrier. She is a regular contributor to Motherly and is an avid advocate for entrepreneurs, and for the new generation of mothers making the world their own.

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10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


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