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Postpartum Rituals: Dikla Goren Dekel

NYC blogger and mama of 3 dishes on how she makes time for herself.

Postpartum Rituals: Dikla Goren Dekel

*We’ve partnered with Mustela to share how taking care of everyone else starts with taking care of yourself.

If you follow Dikla Goren Dekel on Instagram, you might wonder (like we do), how it is humanly possible to take care of three kids (including a newborn), hit all the coolest fashion events, blog and Instagram on the regular, and look so. darn. good. all. the. time. And yet, it’s impossible not to love this brutally honest, earnest and inspiring NYC mama, who’s constantly bearing all of her motherhood journey (sometimes literally!) for our benefit.

So how does this Israeli transplant do it all, and make it look so effortless? Maybe it’s the community of moms she leans on for support, both locally and online. Or the satisfaction she gets from channeling her parenting adventures into Girl Plus Two. Or maybe it’s her commitment to her own emotional and physical wellness, since she knows that taking care of herself will help her to take care of everyone else. Below, Dikla gives us a glimpse into her parenting journey and shares which postpartum rituals she swears by now that she’s a mom of three.

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What’s it like to be a parent in NYC compared to back in Israel?

From my point of view, it is really challenging to be a parent here. The vibe here is "work work work," and I work a lot. I work right after the boys leave in the morning, and I work while I nurse the baby, and also right after they all go to sleep. And since the cold season here is pretty long, I feel like the kids need to be entertained more indoors...which means more classes and playdates, and less time to get work done!

I don't complain, since I love what I do. And once you have your third kid, you are already pro in handling everything (or at least you think you are!). I didn’t have the need for a "real” maternity leave, but when I tell my friends back home that most women only get 6 weeks of maternity leave here, they are in shock -- in Israel, it’s 6 months!

For me, being a parent here -- struggling, working, teaching without family around, and being there for my kids 24/7-- is almost like being a superhero, and every night before I go to sleep, I tell my husband how proud I am of what we have managed to do. I think every single mom in NYC has to feel the same.

Tell me a little about your mama community.

Out all my friends, I’m the only one that has "big" kids. Most of my friends are having newborns like my little baby, Romi, so for them, I’m the mama guru! Motherhood is totally a different experience when it’s your third time around.

What about the community of moms you’ve met online through your blog and Instagram?

Thanks to the blog, I have had the chance to meet so many moms and to hear their stories. I'm also able to share my thoughts, to ask them questions and to give them my point of view on issues. I was struggling with nursing once, and after I wrote a post about it, I got so much love and advice on what to do. Moms I never met felt comfortable sharing their stories and showed so much love! My mama community on Instagram is beyond amazing and each one of the mamas I’ve "met" there feels so close to me -- we are real friends! We support each other, and that's the beauty of social media. I love it.

How has this postpartum experience been treating you, physically and emotionally?

The delivery was pretty smooth, so physically I felt pretty good right after I gave birth. The first month after I gave birth was pretty intense, though. We had our families here so it didn’t feel like our real routine, the boys were adjusting to their new sister, and I was adjusting to nursing again and to sleep less than before (now I have 2 babies!) It took me a couple weeks to feel that I had control again.

Does it get easier the third time around?

Each baby brings its own thing... with my second it was much harder for me to adjust from having one to two kids, and this time I was struggling with nursing. This time around, though, I feel more secure, and it feels natural to me. But the hardest part is that you have less time to recharge.

What are some of the ways you take care of yourself as a new mom? What are your postpartum rituals?

1. Exercising. I loved being pregnant. I was glowing and I enjoyed every single second of it.... my belly was pretty small, so I never really felt heavy, but once the baby was out I couldn’t wait to get back in shape and have my body back. So one of my favorite parts of the morning is when I put Romi in the stroller and we go for a walk. Recently, I signed up at the gym and started to do pilates.

2. Taking care of my skin. I started using lotion when I was 10 years old, and I haven’t stopped using it since. During pregnancy I always kept my skin moisturized and now, post-partum I use Mustela Stretch Marks Recovery Serum. This serum is on my must-have list for new moms!I'm totally addicted to it because it is free from harsh ingredients such as parabens, phthalates and phenoxyethanol and is safe to use while nursing. This serum is packed with Avocado peptides, which nourish the skin and help to reinforce elasticity. Its’s the only product I consistently use in the morning when I wake up and at night after I bathe, right before I go to sleep. I love the way it feels and smells, plus I don't have stretch marks on my belly or love handles!

3. Making time for “me-time.” It's almost impossible during the daytime, but I'm trying to make time for myself right before the kids come home from school, or when they’re napping, or after they go to sleep... even if it means that I go to sleep at 2am. At night when the house is quiet, after I finish working, I'll make a cup of coffee for myself. This time I'll drink it hot (I’d rather not count how many times I have to warm my coffee in the morning when the kids are getting ready for school!), and I'll sit on the sofa and relax or chat with my husband. Sometimes I’ll take long bath, then take some time to moisturize my body. Or I’ll treat myself to a facial or mask before bed.

4. Going on dates with my husband. I don't think that you have to give up on who you are just because you have kids, so I'm trying to do things I did before, even if I do it in smaller portions now. One of those things is going on a date with my husband! Once a week we go out and have a nice dinner, just the two of us, and once or twice a week, we’ll have a date during the daytime while the kids are at school. Even if it's just for a coffee or breakfast, or a foot massage in Soho (my latest addiction!). We have time to catch up, to relax, to laugh, and to think clear. The one on one with him is super important for me -- I totally feel recharged when the kids are back home, and I think it does magic to your relationship.

 

Photography by Ben Abarbanel for Well Rounded NY.

*This post was sponsored by Mustela.

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    Why right now is the best time for a drivable getaway

    Flexible schedules mean more vacation options. 🙌

    Looking back now, last winter feels like a lifetime ago. At the time, my husband and I were eagerly planning our summer vacation just as we've done in years past. You know how the next part goes: COVID-19 came into the picture and changed our plans not only for vacationing, but for so much else in life.

    In the time since then, we've gained a truly valuable new perspective on what matters—and realized we don't have to look so far to make beautiful memories with our kids. By exploring getaways within driving distance of our home, we've developed a new appreciation for the ability to "pack up the car and go."

    Of course, that isn't to say that travel is the carefree adventure it once was. With COVID-19 still a very big part of the equation, we've become much more diligent about planning trips that allow for social distancing and exceed cleanliness standards. That's why we've exclusively turned to Vrbo, which helps us find nearby accommodations that meet our new criteria. Better yet?

    Thanks to the money we've saved by skipping air travel and our remote-friendly work schedules, we're able to continue with the trips throughout the fall.

    Here are a few more reasons we believe it's a great time for drivable getaways.

    Flexible schedules allow us to mix work + play.

    After months of lockdown, my family was definitely itching for a change of scenery as the summer began. By looking at drivable destinations with a fresh set of eyes—and some helpful accommodation-finding filters on Vrbo—we were able to find private houses that meet our needs. (Like comfortably fitting our family of five without anyone having to sleep on a pull-out couch!)

    With space to spread out and feel like a home away from home, we quickly realized that we didn't need to limit our getaways to the weekends—instead we could take a "Flexcation," a trip that allows us to mix work and play. Thanks to the ability to work remotely and our kids' distance-learning schedule for the fall, we're planning a mid-week trip next month that will allow us to explore a new destination after clocking out for the day.

    We’re embracing off-season deals.

    With Labor Day no longer marking the end of our vacationing season, we're able to take advantage of nearby getaways that mark down their rates during the off season. For us in the Mountain West, that means visiting ski-town destinations when the leaves are falling rather than the snow. By saving money on that front, we're able to splurge a bit with our accommodations—so you can bet I search for houses that include a private hot tub for soaking in while enjoying the mountain views!

    Vacationing is a way to give back.

    If we've learned one thing this year, it's that life can change pretty quickly. That's given us a new appreciation for generous cancellation policies and transparent cleaning guidelines when booking trips. By seeing both of these things front and center in Vrbo listings along with reviews from fellow travelers, I feel confident when I hit the "book now" button.

    Beyond that, I know that booking a trip through Vrbo isn't only a gift to my family. On the other side of the transaction, there are vacation home owners and property managers who appreciate the income during these uncertain times. What's more, taking getaways allows us to support our local economy—even if it's just by ordering new takeout food to enjoy from our home away from home.

    While "looking ahead" doesn't feel as easy as it once did, I am confident that there will be a lot of drivable getaways in our future.

    This article was sponsored by Vrbo. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

    $120

    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

    $30

    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $100

    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

    $40

    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

    $100

    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

    $45

    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

    $179

    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

    $100

    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $33

    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $88

    Balance board

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    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

    $75

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $30

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    In a recent survey shared in the Reproductive Health journal, one out of six women in the United States reported being mistreated while in labor, where mistreatment included, "loss of autonomy; being shouted at, scolded, or threatened; and being ignored, refused, or receiving no response to requests for help."

    One out of six.

    To make these numbers even more sickening, mistreatment was more common among women of color, women with partners of color, women with lower socioeconomic status, and women under the age of 30.

    (And yet people still question the validity of stating that black mothers are at a higher risk of pregnancy and birth-related complications.)

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    Rarely at a loss for words, I find myself almost unable to speak.

    I am a midwife, and I am disgusted.

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