If you’re getting ready to expand your family or preparing to welcome twins, you'll probably be looking for baby gear that will make your life easier. That's where the double stroller comes in. But just like with all baby gear, there are so many options, and the info to sift through is endless! Should you go with in-line or side-by-side, splurge-worthy or budget-friendly, lightweight or full-feature? It really depends on your children's age and lifestyle. We’ve rounded up ten double strollers, including a cool hybrid cruiser, you should consider for your growing family. 1. Baby Jogger City Select Lux, from $629.99. The Baby Jogger City Select Lux is an in-line stroller that you can use as a single to double or, from day one, as a double for twins. The two seats are the same size and hold the same weight capacity, which isn't the case for many double strollers out there. The City Select Lux offers over 20 seating options; and even though it is a full-feature double stroller, it is narrow and has a very impressive compact fold. Parents have the option of using a toddler seat as an alternative to a ride along board once their oldest outgrows the stroller seat. 2. Mountain Buggy Nano Duo, $499.99. Weighing only 20 pounds, the Mountain Buggy Nano Duo has the look, feel and convenience of a lightweight stroller. It is easy to fold and very compact -- so much so that when it is folder, you can carry it on your shoulders, with the shoulder strap. This double stroller is also newborn friendly, and while it cannot be used as a travel system with car seats, the Nano Duo can be paired with a newborn cocoon for infants. 3. Nuna Demi Grow, $799.95. The Demi Grow is Nuna's first single-to-double stroller, and it's packed with special touches that the brand is known for -- including Nuna's signature dream drape. When converted to a double stroller, the sibling seat is identical to the main seat; and it remains pretty small, so it's a great stroller if you are hoping to save space. That said, the Demi Grow offers fewer configurations than other in-line double strollers because the sibling seat can only be placed behind the main seat. But this isn’t a reason to write it off. Many toddlers find this to be a fun way to ride, and parents find it easier to push a double stroller with the seats in this position. 4. Bugaboo Donkey, from $1299. The Bugaboo Donkey is a luxury stroller that can be purchased in either single to double (mono/duo) or twin mode. In the mono setting, the Bugaboo Donkey not only gives you the advantage of more under carriage space than most strollers, but it also includes an added side basket. While some parents prefer in-line strollers because they are narrower, the Bugaboo Donkey offer the benefits of a side-by-side with a narrower frame -- only 30 inches wide. The Donkey’s design also allows you to make your little ones face you or face the world, and both seats can recline fully for naps. 5. Graco UNO2DUO, $449.99. Graco's newest edition, the UNO2DUO is not only a budget-friendly single-to-double stroller option, it’s got major longevity, which will save you even more money down the road! But what makes this stroller special, besides the price point, is the already small frame that extends only 5 inches once you convert it to a double. A built-in standing platform makes it easy for your older child to ride on without the extra purchase of a ride on board. The UNO2DUO is ideal for newborns because it’s compatible with the Graco Snugride car seat, and the stroller seat converts to a cozy infant bassinet. 6. UPPAbaby G-Link, starting at $399.99. UPPAbaby is known for its Vista stroller -- one of the most popular single-to-double prams out there. But the brand also has a double umbrella stroller that we absolutely love. The G-link, which is ideal for both newborn babies and older children alike, collapses quickly and even stands when folded. We also love the extra-large canopies that keep little ones protected from the sun with UPF 50+ sunshades. 7. Bumbleride Indie Twin, $769. For those who prefer eco-friendly baby gear, the Bumbleride Indie Twin will be an obvious choice. The fabrics on this side-by-side double stroller are made from 100% recycled polyester and are Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Class I certified, which means it is free from harmful chemicals. With its car seat compatibility and 90-pound weight limit, the Indie Twin will be with you for the long haul; and its large air-filled tires (pump included!) and narrow frame makes it the perfect stroller for adventuring with your two littles. 8. Bob Revolution Flex Duallie, $639.99. Not even twins can slow you down? Then you’re going to need a reliable running stroller, and the Bob Revolution Flex Duallie is the best one for the job. State-of-the-art suspension means it can handle any terrain; a swiveling-locking front wheel provides extra stability; and hand-activated rear drum brakes increase downhill control. And as if this running stroller couldn’t get any better, each seat can hold up to a whopping 50 pounds, meaning you’ll have many a running day ahead of you. 9. Veer Cruiser, $599. What happens when you combine a stroller and wagon? You get the Veer, an all-terrain cruiser. While the Veer does not replace the traditional double stroller, it’s a very cool new option on the market for toting multiple children around. Think of it as your family’s adventure companion: with the Veer you can push or pull you’re little ones over any terrain, fold it flat to easily pop it in and out of your trunk. Not to mention, you can even connect a car seat on it! 10. SNEAK PEEK: Thule Sleek Convertible, $799.95. If you can wait to purchase a stroller, you may actually want to. Thule is known for their rugged outdoor equipment -- think bike trailers and cargo carriers. But they also make strollers; and their newest addition, the Sleek, is a single-to-double stroller that will make its debut in June 0f 2018. Even as a full-feature stroller, it only weighs in at under 25 pounds. Also unique to this stroller, an enclosed basket that keeps your belongings dry in bad weather, is easy to access without unzipping every time you need something, and when the stroller is folded your goods stay put, which is pretty cool. Shop the post:
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Easter meals bring the family together in ways that few other meals can. Spring is finally in the air and the feeling of new beginnings and hope is all around. But we know it can be hard to find the time to make delicious meals, and even harder to find recipes your little bunnies will agree to eat.
But fear not, mama! We've searched around the internet and found some of the easiest, most delicious and, yes, kid-friendly recipes out there that will take your entire family from morning until night. So happy cooking and happy Easter!
Here are our 13 favorite easy + kid-friendly recipes:
1. Easter bunny waffles
Waking up on Easter morning is a pretty magical experience as a kid. Add to the fun with these adorable, easy and actually kind of healthy waffles!
- frozen waffles
- strawberries, sliced, for the ear, mouth and bow tie
- banana slices, for the eyes
- blueberries, for the eyes
- raspberries, for the nose
- shredded carrots, for the whiskers
1. Toast 3 waffles.
2. Slice one waffle in half and use it for the ears. Slice another waffle in half and use one part for the shoulders and then cut out two circles for the cheeks.
3. Add the strawberry slices and place them on top of the ears to fill in.
4. Assemble the face and bow tie.
Baked French toast
The Pioneer Woman
Breakfast meets casserole in this delicious make-ahead dish. It's perfect for prepping the night before a busy day, especially if you have overnight guests.
- Butter, for greasing
- 1 loaf crusty sourdough Or French Bread
- 8 whole Eggs
- 2 cups Whole Milk
- 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
- 1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
- warm syrup, for serving
- butter, for serving
- 1 cup fresh blueberries, for serving
1. For the French toast: Grease the baking pan with butter. Tear the bread into chunks, or cut into cubes, and evenly distribute in the pan. Crack the eggs in a big bowl. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover the pan tightly and store it in the fridge until needed (overnight, preferably). Or you can make it and bake it right away—it's delicious no matter what!
2. For the topping: Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and some nutmeg in a separate bowl. Stir together using a fork. Add the butter and with a pastry cutter, and mix it all together until the mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.
3. When you're ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the casserole from the fridge and sprinkle the topping over the top. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture or for 1 hour-plus or more for a firmer, crisper texture.
4. Scoop out individual portions. Top with butter and drizzle with warm pancake syrup and sprinkle with blueberries.
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman
Hashbrown egg cups
If you're craving something savory, these hashbrown egg cups will absolutely hit the spot. Just consider leaving out the cayenne for those littler taste-buds.
- 20 ounces refrigerated hash browns
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 tsp kosher sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 8 large eggs
- 2 tbsp milk or half and half
- 4 sliced cooked bacon, crumbled
- chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Generously spray a standard size muffin tin pan with baking spray, set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the hash browns, 1/2 cup cheese, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne. Press the mixture into the bottom, creating a nest.
- Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese, eggs, milk, and bacon. Pour into the baked hash browns, then return to the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes or until fully set.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before removing.
- Garnish with a pinch of salt and pepper and freshly chopped parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.
If your littles will be off hunting eggs, these quick and easy to grab sandwiches will be just what they need to keep them going.
- 1 loaf of extra thin sliced bread
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- ⅓ of an English cucumber
- 3 tbsp finely shredded carrots
- ½ tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
- ½ tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- ¼ tsp garlic and herb seasoning
- salt and pepper, to taste
- With a bunny and Easter egg cookie cutter, cut out an equal amount of bread for each sandwich and set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, add cream cheese, shredded carrots, fresh chopped chives, fresh chopped parsley, and seasonings.
- Combine all ingredients and mix well.
- Cut an English cucumber in half and slice thin slices of your desired amount of cucumbers.
- Spread the carrot and herb cream cheese on both sides of a sandwich. When spreading the carrot and herb cream cheese on don't forget to do the mirror side of the bunny.
- Place your desired amount of cucumber slices on each sandwich and top with the other the matching bread cut out.
Ham and cheese crescents
This is the perfect recipe for a busy lunch. It only has three ingredients, and is so yummy!
- 1 (8-ounce) can refrigerated crescent roll dough
- 16 deli ham slices (you can use carved ham leftovers)
- 8 slices cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Separate dough into 8 equal pieces (they usually separate into triangles).
- Place 2 slices of ham and 1 slice of cheese (folded in half) on the larger end of the triangle.
- Roll the crescent up with the ham and cheese inside, and place it tip side down on a baking sheet (you can use a baking mat, or line it with aluminum foil for easy clean-up, too).
- Bake for 15 minutes, until tops are golden brown.
- Serve warm.
Recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff
Bunny veggie dip
Eating veggies has never been so fun… or cute!
- Bread loaf
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 container (16 ounces) sour cream
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 package Knorr Vegetable recipe mix
- 1 can (8 ounces) water chestnuts, drained and chopped
Veggies for dipping:
- cherry tomatoes
- celery sticks
- bell peppers
1. Combine all ingredients and chill for about 2 hours.
2. Carefully cut out a circle from the top of the bread loaf for the bunny's head. Then, cut the opening bigger so that dipping was accessible.
3. Using your hands, hollow out the rest of the shepherd loaf so that it can hold the spinach dip. Save the chunks of bread that you pull out for chowing down on with your dip.
4. Cut the two ends off of a baguette and situated them as the bunny's ears.
5. For the face, used black olives cut in half as the eyes, and quarter a half of a black olive to make the nose.
6. Make the whiskers from thin strips of celery, and the mouth is a cross section piece of celery. Put a little dip on the back of each of the facial features to keep it adhered to the bread.
7. Pour the dip into the bread bowl, arrange the veggies, and serve.
Recipe from Nesting Coral
English muffin bunny pizza
These little bunny pizzas are perfect for serving your kids while the grown-ups eat their fancier dinner (though we totally get it if the grown-ups decide they just want to eat these, too).
- English muffins
- Pizza sauce (jarred is great)
- 1/4 cup mozzarella shredded cheese
- 2 black olive pearls, sliced olives
- 1 piece of sliced pepperoni
- 1 stick of mozzarella string cheese
- 1 breadstick
- Spread some pizza sauce onto the English muffin (a few tbsp should be enough).
- Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the sauce.
- Add 2 sliced olives for eyes.
- Cut the piece of pepperoni into 1/4 pieces and position a piece for the nose.
- Bake the breadstick according to the package directions.
- Bake the pizza at 425 degrees F for about 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is turning a little golden on the ends.
- When the breadstick and pizza are done, slice the breadstick in half.
- Grab a plate and place the pizza in the middle, add the halved breadsticks for your bunny ears.
- Pull some pieces of mozzarella off of the string cheese to make whiskers and serve
Recipe from Kid Friendly Things To Do
Instant Pot leg of lamb
Is there anything the Instant Pot can't do? The answer is a definitive no—including the fact that it can make your Easter dinner a complete (and easy) win.
- 5 cloves garlic, divided
- 4 lbs boneless leg of lamb (or bone-in)
- 3 tsp Kosher salt, divided
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 cup chicken broth, low sodium
- 2 tsp red wine vinegar
(Optional) to thicken, mix together:
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 tbsp cold water
- Slice 4 of the garlic cloves lengthwise. Pierce the lamb in several places and push the garlic slivers into the cuts. Then sprinkle 2 of the tsp of salt and the pepper over the entire roast.
- If the roast is coming apart from the bone being removed, tie it together with butcher's string.
- Turn on the pot's sauté setting. Wait for it to get hot, then add the olive oil. Place the lamb roast in the pot and let it brown for several minutes. Then turn it over and brown the other side. Remove it to a plate.
- Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot, using a wooden spoon.
- Add the wine and continue to cook, still scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot (called deglazing).
- Add the rosemary and thyme sprigs, remaining teaspoon of salt, remaining clove of garlic (minced), chicken broth, and the red wine vinegar. Stir well. Then turn off the sauté setting.
- Add the lamb roast back into the pot.
- Press the pressure cook/manual button or dial. Then press the +/- button or dial to select 70 minutes (20-30 minutes for a rare roast). For a bone-in roast, select 85 minutes. This will yield a nicely fork-tender leg of lamb. If your roast is larger than 4 lbs, increase the time by 5 minutes.
- The pot will take a few minutes to come to pressure. When the cook time ends, let the pot sit undisturbed for 20 minutes (20-minute natural release, 10 minutes for a rare roast). Then turn the steam release knob to the Venting position to manually release any remaining pressure/steam. Turn off the pot.
- When the pin in the lid drops back down, open the lid. Carefully remove the roast to a platter and cover. Remove the herb stems from the pot.
- Skim the fat off the top of the liquid in the pot, or use a fat separator to defat the liquid.
- OPTIONAL: Return the liquid to the pot and turn on the sauté setting. Mix up a slurry of 1 tbsp cornstarch to 2 tbsp cold water. When the liquid is simmering, whisk in the slurry and stir until it thickens.
- Serve the roast sliced, with some of the defatted sauce over it.
Recipe from Simply Happy Foodie
Slow cooker ham with brown sugar glaze
Ham is, perhaps, the most quintessential of Easter meal choices. And with the ease of a crockpot, this recipe will become your go-to favorite.
- 1 boneless ham
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Spray the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray. Remove ham from packaging and place in a slow cooker set at low heat.
- Make the glaze by combining the brown sugar, dijon, and vinegar in a small bowl. Pour over the ham. Cook ham at low heat for 5-7 hours or until thermometer reads 140 degrees F.
Recipe from This Delicious House
Brown butter garlic honey-roasted carrots
These carrots are so good you won't have to convince them to eat their veggies before dessert.
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb baby carrots
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 dashes ground black pepper
- 1/2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp chopped thyme or parsley
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Heat an oven-safe skillet and cook the butter on medium heat until it starts to form and turn into golden brown. Add the garlic and quickly saute before adding the carrots. Stir a few times, then add the salt, black pepper, honey and thyme or parsley.
- Transfer the skillet and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the carrots become tender. Serve immediately.
Recipe from Rasa Malaysia
Birds nest cookies
These no-bake treats are the perfect easy Easter dessert (and oh-so-cute)!
- 12 ounces milk chocolate chips
- 12 ounces butterscotch chips
- 12 ounces chow mein noodles
- 36 candy eggs
- Place the milk chocolate chips and butterscotch chips in a large bowl. Microwave in 30-second increments until melted. Stir until smooth.
- Add the chow mein noodles to the bowl and toss until coated in the chocolate mixture.
- Spoon 2 tbsp of the cookie mixture onto a piece of parchment and shape into a nest; top with 3 candy eggs. Repeat the process with the remaining cookie mixture and eggs.
- Let nests set until firm, then serve. These cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Recipe from Dinner at the Zoo
Easter egg fruit pizza
For a dessert that is delicious and healthy, this Easter egg fruit pizza checks off all the boxes.
- 1 package sugar cookie mix (1 lb 1.5 ounces)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted & cooled
- 1 egg
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup strawberries chopped
- 3 cups fruit (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries) sliced
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 13″ pizza pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, add the cookie mix, melted butter, and egg and mix with a spoon until a soft dough forms.
- Press the dough evenly onto the pan.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let it cool completely, about 45 minutes. Cut into an egg shape (I just used a butter knife).
- In a food processor or blender, add the softened cream cheese, ½ cup chopped strawberries, powdered sugar, and vanilla and pulse until fully combined and smooth.
- Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the cooled cookie.
- Decorate with the cut-up fruit.
- Slice with a pizza cutter and serve.
Recipe from Persnickety Plates
Easter chocolate lasagna
There's really no explanation needed here. It's chocolate layered with more chocolate. Done.
- 36 Oreo cookies
- ½ cup unsalted butter-melted
Cream cheese layer:
- ½ cup unsalted butter-softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup Cool Whip
Chocolate pudding layer:
- 2 (3.9 oz.) packages chocolate instant pudding
- 2 and 3/4 cups cold milk
- 2 cups Cool Whip
- 1 ½ cups crushed Oreo
- Peeps bunnies, Easter egg candies, and other fun toppings
- In a food processor, finely crush Oreo cookies into fine crumbs. If you don't have food processor, place Oreo cookies into ziplock bag and crush the cookies with a rolling pin.
- Using a fork mix crushed Oreo with melted butter, then press the mixture into the bottom of 9 x 13 inches dish. Place in the fridge to firm.
- Beat cream cheese, softened butter, sugar and vanilla until it's light and creamy. Stir in 1 cup Cool Whip. Spread the mixture over the crust and place in the fridge.
- In a medium bowl mix chocolate instant pudding with 2 and 3/4 cups cold milk. Whisk for a few minutes until the pudding starts thickening. Spread the pudding over the cream cheese layer. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Spread 2 cups Cool Whip on top and sprinkle with crushed Oreo. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
- Garnish with Peeps and Easter egg candies.
Recipe from Oh My Goodness Chocolate Desserts.
The fight against the coronavirus in the U.S. reached a heartbreaking milestone this weekend as Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the death of an infant in his state believed to be caused by COVID-19.
"I know how difficult this news can be, especially about this very young child. Upon hearing it, I admit, I was immediately shaken, and it's appropriate for any of us to grieve today," Pritzker, a father of two, said at a news conference Saturday.
Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike also spoke, telling reporters, "There has never before been a death associated with COVID-19 in an infant. A full investigation is underway to determine the cause of death."
Officials have not said how old this baby was or what their health was like before contracting COVID-19 but we do know that the youngest baby to die in China did have a preexisting condition.
Still, health officials are asking parents of children without pre-existing conditions to take the recommendations on physical distancing seriously.
While preliminary research suggests that children with COVID-19 usually don't get as sick as adults, the youngest age groups—infants and preschoolers—see more severe cases than older kids do. According to a new study posted online pre-publication by the journal Pediatrics, babies and preschoolers can become severely ill if they get COVID-19, and this case in Illinois certainly proves it.
At the presser in Illinois, Dr. Ezike asked everyone, parents and non-parents alike, to follow the recommendations and stay home.
"We must do everything we can to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. If not to protect ourselves, but to protect those around us, Ezike said.
Earlier this week Motherly reported that multiple hospitals in New York City were asking birth partners to stay home during coronavirus pandemic, which meant people were having to give birth without the support of their partner or birth companion.
Banning birth partners and companions from delivery wards contradicts the World Health Organization's position on childbirth during the COVID-19 pandemic. The WHO states that mothers have the right to have their companion of choice present during the birth—and this weekend New York state's Gov. Andrew Cuomo recognized that, too.
On Saturday Cuomo's office announced an executive order in progress aimed at ensuring "women will not be forced to be alone when they are giving birth," according to Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa.
This follows a New York Department of Health Advisory issued Friday which clarifies visitation policies and " requires hospitals to allow one support person in labor and delivery settings if the patient so desires."
The advisory lays it out clearly: "For labor and delivery, the Department considers one support person essential to patient care throughout labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum period. This person can be the patient's spouse, partner, sibling, doula, or another person they choose. In these settings, this person will be the only support person allowed to be present during the patient's care. This restriction must be explained to the patient in plain terms, upon arrival or, ideally, prior to arriving at the hospital. Hospital staff should ensure that patients fully understand this restriction, allowing them to decide who they wish to identify as their support person."
This comes as a relief to those who were petitioning for partners and companions to be allowed during delivery, and after a change.org petition demanding that attracted 613,678 signatures.
"I cannot express my gratitude to everyone that signed and shared this petition over the last week. To those of you that went further and tweeted, wrote letters, made calls, spoke to the press: I am forever grateful," New York City doula Jess Pournaras (who organized the petition) wrote Saturday.
Pournaras continues: "Together, we gained international attention and safeguarded the right of pregnant people in New York City to not have to give birth alone or parent alone. We set a critical precedent that should help to ensure the rights of pregnant people everywhere to have support in the hospital."
The WHO makes it clear: Pregnant people have the right to support during birth, even in a pandemic.
I have been pregnant for 245 days, and in the past 12 of those, everything I have come to know about how this baby will enter the world is on the chopping block.
It began when I walked into a lab three weeks ago to do an elective urine test to keep an eye on my proteins. It was two days before things became unglued in California due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and when I walked into the lab everyone was wearing masks and gloves. The woman at the counter pointed to the iPad to sign in.
"I'd rather not," I said hesitatingly, not wanting to touch the screen. "I just need to pick up a jug to pee in."
As I waited for the lab to supply the jug, a man walked through the door with sad and frantic eyes. He went on to plead, "I see on the door it says that you guys don't have the tests and not to come in if you're not well... but I think I have it. I need the COVID-19 test and my doctor told me to find a place to do it. I don't know where to go!"
My stomach dropped and I instantly recoiled, feeling immediately vulnerable. I was standing there, not only pregnant but also with my child. I grabbed my daughter's hand, scared of the world in a way I hadn't ever been before.
Get me out of this room! I made a sharp turn for the door and went straight home. I haven't been out to a medical appointment since that day, and my whole paradigm changed at that lab.
California went on lockdown two days later. And with these snowballing changes, I began questioning what a birth at a medical facility would look like as thousands of people—sick people and healthcare workers—get hit by this pandemic in a place without enough resources to help them out.
There is no short supply of unsettling tales to lose yourself in. I have heard stories of mothers in Seattle giving birth in hallways because there are no beds left. There have been many stories of overcrowding due to the influx of COVID-19 patients. I've read accounts of women in New York being told they must deliver their babies without even one support person or partner in the room in an attempt to keep visitor numbers down and protect undersupplied hospital staff.
These stories replay in my mind as I float through day after day in quarantine at home with my 2-year-old daughter. "Can I kiss baby sister?" she asks innocently.
"Ohhh! Yes, baby," I reply to her as I snap out of my thoughts and into my current reality, smiling at her sweet face.
I am living in a world of two extremes. On one hand, it is intoxicatingly beautiful—we have been "forced" into slow quality family time with one another. But we're also living in anxiety about the fear around us. Thousands of people will need hospital care in California and I can't help but wonder how this will affect my baby's birth.
So this begs the questions I believe we must all ask of ourselves: What do I have control over at this time? What will my takeaways be when I look back and reflect on how these pages of my life were written? What are the things I find the most valuable and how do I retain those things so when I look back at how this all played out, I will still be in awe of the beauty within chaos?
For me, this experience has led me to deeply consider the idea of having our daughter at home as long as that is a safe option for me. After much research, I have found a midwife I trust. I have also started looking into my insurance options and playing out worst-case scenarios knowing that decision time will soon be upon me.
This change means facing my fears about pushing a baby out without the safety net of already being in the hospital should an emergency occur. This challenge means believing in myself, my baby and my midwife to work together in order to do something I feel I was made to do. This new potential birth plan means casting aside worried friends' and my OBGYN's judgments about my having a homebirth and instead, confidently believe in my own decision—should it be the one I make.
But quite candidly, deciding to "follow my mom gut" has been an exciting and freeing feeling from the stress of this pandemic. The idea of walking freely in my backyard while in labor, potentially sleeping in my bed the night of delivery and importantly, holding my husband's hand throughout the birth of our last baby gives me romantic feelings for a reason.
We enter this ocean of motherhood accepting an atmosphere of imperfection and uncertainty. Very quickly after giving birth, our bodies and natural instincts remind us that the world doesn't always feel safe enough for our perfect little babies. Our minds paddle over small waves of fear like surfers going out to sea—distracted drivers, chemical pollutants, too much screen time—we let the water break over our heads, emerging in the valleys of the waves. We see the beautiful break in the water in front of us and forgive ourselves for the fear, as our hair has become wet and our skin a little more wrinkly and sunkissed.
Our children are the future in front of us. We mothers are propelled to move forward and past fears by our innate love for them. When looking at the big picture in front of me—delivering a child at this very scary time—I am finding it more important than ever to remember I am still pointing towards my own destiny, no matter what decision I make.
Have you found yourself already thinking, "Alexa, teach my children" or channeling your inner Ross Gellar saying, "I'm fine" when someone asks you how homeschooling is going so far?
I can assure you, mama, you are not alone.
In these unprecedented times, feeling overwhelmed is an understatement. And totally understandable. The world as we knew it has been completely flipped upside down. You now find yourself unable to go about your normal routine, potentially working from home full-time with your children as your new co-workers and on top of that—homeschooling too (for who knows how long).
You may be worrying like every other parent is likely worrying right now, "How will I make this all work?" or "How can I teach my children? I don't have a teaching degree!"
Well, I hope I can assure you—in any small way—that you can do this. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, you are already an incredible teacher. You've taught your children to walk, talk, feed/dress themselves and have helped them with their math homework (even though it is completely different from how you learned in school—"borrow," "regroup"... potato, potahto).
From me, a teacher and fellow mother, to you, I want to emphasize that your family's well-being comes first. Academics are secondary at this time.
You may be thinking, "Why would a teacher be telling me not to worry about school?!" Well, quite frankly, because this is unchartered territory. I NEVER learned—in college or throughout my nine years of teaching—how to teach during a pandemic.
We, as in teachers, parents, caregivers and students, are making history and setting the tone for these unsettling times.
I am not saying to completely disregard academics, but just be gentle with yourself and remember you're doing your best. These tips might help you and your kiddo both feel more confident on this new-to-both-of-you journey of "distance learning."
1. Provide a predictable routine.
One that you can adapt to your family's situation. Maybe mornings are too hectic because you have conference calls to make, so the afternoons would make more sense to work on academics. Be realistic, flexible—and most importantly, gentle with yourselves.
2. Monitor and keep track of expectations given by your child's teacher.
Maybe it is completely digital, maybe your child has packets to work on—sit with your child when you are able to have focused time together (even if it's five minutes or less!) and create a plan in the beginning of each week. Maybe it's Sunday afternoon, or maybe it's Monday morning after breakfast. Whatever works for you.
This is a great time to teach time management skills—utilize checklists, sticky notes, a notebook—you may have some trial and error figuring out what tools will work best for your kiddo. Don't be afraid to reach out to your child's teacher for help or clarification.
3. Give your child the opportunity to have a say in their learning.
This'll give your little students a sense of autonomy and ownership. For example, ask them which subject they would like to work on first—math or reading. Little do they know, they'll eventually have to complete both! Even small things like giving them a choice to use a pen instead of a pencil can make a BIG difference.
4. You have two new BFFs: Google and YouTube.
Don't know how to teach something specific or you want to give your children some extra practice? All you have to do is type the grade level, skill and "worksheet" in the Google search bar and you'll get links to many different website options—even free ones.
YouTube has a plethora of videos to utilize, although I do suggest screening them yourself first. You can also use Safeshare.tv or Viewpure.com to take away advertisements before and during the videos.
5. Use this time to focus on life skills.
Cursive writing, reading and following recipes, writing a letter, taking care of a plant, completing a research project on a topic of their choice, doing laundry, how to write a check—now is the time to teach or reinforce these life skills (all of which have some sort of academic tie-in).
All in all, just remember this won't last forever.
Despite what any meme says on social media, we are not going to evaluate your teaching abilities—promise. Be patient with your children, their teachers and most importantly, yourself.
Have you ever heard yourself saying (or maybe just thinking) , "If I only had the time…" or "They grow up so fast, I wish I could…"?
Well, now can be that time.
So let them sleep in, wear their PJs all day, make blanket forts in the living room—those are the things they will remember most vividly.
Remember to give yourself some grace, mama, you're doing the best you can.
And know that we miss your (our) kids, and we're cheering you all on!