Why I Quit the Elf on the Shelf

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Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt personally victimized by Regina….er….Elf on the Shelf.

I know, I know, there’s an entire mob of cookie baking, Christmas caroling, magic making mothers out there who are going to shake their glitter covered fists at me. To you, I offer my deepest admiration. I am not you. I am the mom-friend wearing flip flops and her husband’s oversized t-shirts in the snow as she dashes to the school to drop off a forgotten jacket. Don’t get me wrong, I am capable. Of a good number of things! Just not…this thing.

Like many of you, I came away from my daily perusal of Pinterest, complete with anime heart eyes, at the thought of the magic this elf would help me bring to my children’s Christmas memories. It didn’t take me long to find a used elf to purchase from a fellow mother. Perhaps if I’d had taken just a moment longer, I would have looked into her haunted eyes and seen the warning they held for me. But alas….I tucked that tiny little person under my arm (the elf, not the mom) and gleefully ran back to my van with my treasure.

The first day went well.

And the second.

The third is when it got a little iffy. Our elf forgot to move.

“Mommy! Why didn’t the Lucy move?”

I stood frozen to the spot, eyes wide in terror.

Don’t worry though. I rallied and lied my rear end off. Years of Santa questions had prepared me for just such a moment.

Unfortunately, that was not the last time that blasted elf forgot to move. In fact, it became so commonplace that my kids began to roll their eyes and giggle at her ineptitude each morning.

They may have been snickering at Lucy, but I knew who everyone was really laughing at. I stared into those innocent looking eyes and felt evil in my heart. I swear I saw it smirk.

As the season progressed, I found that my evenings and mornings were filled with an unprecedented amount of dread. I’d watch the clock and burrow into my corner of the couch while our kids slept unawares in their beds. At this point, not moving that infernal creature was a matter of principle. I refused to be ordered around by my naive dreams of Christmas future. But she was always watching.

That elf became a visual reminder of holiday overwhelm.

As mothers, we spend so much time exerting our energy on behalf of our families. We are the makers of memories.

And it was at this point in my life that I QUIT.

I quit letting that doll (who may or may not have ties to the abyss) boss me around.

I quit doing things I hated.

I quit getting so stressed that I was incapable of actually enjoying the holiday.

I quit making it my responsibility to personally craft their childhood memories.

I quit procrastinating.

And most importantly, I quit letting people, social media, and inanimate objects shame me.

May this be the year we take back Christmas from the elves.

And may God bless whomever the poor soul is who picked up our Elf from DI.

Love,

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Not Your Average Pregnancy Gift Guide

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It feels like we’ve blinked and it’s already Christmas again. And this time, you or someone you care about is pregnant. If you’re checking out this blogpost, then chances are, you’re looking for some gift inspiration.

But what do you get a pregnant individual who is most likely already going to be having a baby shower?

Our answer:

Nothing for the baby.

I know, bold move. But stay with me here.

Obviously, we suggest getting the mother-to-be whatever she asks for. If she wants a box of diapers or a car seat, then do it. But if baby’s needs are likely to be met and no requests have been made, then chances are that mom is already beginning to learn what it is to put herself on the back burner.

It’s to be expected, right?

Not on our watch!

So put on your cape and pull open your Amazon app. Here are the top 10 Amazon gifts (under $20) that we recommend:

  1. San Francisco Salt Company gift bag

$12.99

$12.99

Lavender-because you know sleep is hard to come by during pregnancy.

And milk-because that skin isn’t going to pamper itself.

2. “Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be” by Rachel Hollis

$11.49

$11.49

It’s no secret that moms tend to put themselves last. In this inspiring book that helps you kick a little self-butt, women are encouraged to accept and care for the women they ARE, not the woman they think they should be.

3. MAMI WATA Fruit Infuser Water Bottle

$19.99

$19.99

Considering that the average caucasian pregnant woman will increase her blood volume by just under 50%, water consumption is a big health factor. It’s not uncommon to get sick of the taste. These fruit infusers are a lifesaver!

4. Maternity Nursing Hoodie

$21.99

$21.99

Is there anything as comfy as a hooded sweatshirt in the wintertime? I love that this one can be enjoyed throughout the entire pregnancy and postpartum! My daddy would’ve called that an “investment”. You’re welcome.

5. Hey Mama Mug

$19.95

$19.95

When practicality meets style! This mug sends a greeting to your favorite mama with every sip she takes. The bright colors ensure she won’t miss it in her sleepless fog.

6. Gemtye Hair Tie Bracelets

$19.00

$19.00

Is your pregnant loved one ready for the postpartum hair chop? It’s a rite of passage. But if they feel compelled to skip it, treat them to these fancy things. These accessories function as both hair ties and bracelets.

7. Mirrored Rose Gold Wayfarer Sunglasses

$14.98

$14.98

Pregnancy is a time of glowing unsolicited advice. Chances are, mom-to-be will appreciate some actual shades while shading her critics on the down-low.

8. Slippers

$22.99

$22.99

Comfort should be a top priority for pregnant women. These house slippers will keep her feet toasty in style. Not to mention, ain’t nobody got time for laces when you can’t even see your toes.

9. Beaded Tassel Earrings

$9.99

$9.99

If you don’t have kids, I’m going to let you in on a sad reality. Your mama-to-be’s dangly earring days are numbered. Pretty soon she’ll be holding an adorable baby that will quickly realize that mommy’s ears are adorned with the most fascinating playthings. Help Mama live it up while she can and gift her this season’s trendiest earrings. She’s still wild at heart.

10. She Believed She Could, So She Did Necklace

$12.99

$12.99

Last but not least, inspirational jewelry. Giving birth is no small feat. And it’s not like the journey ends there. Then you have to actually raise the baby! Mantras like “She believed she could, so she did” are often utilized in preparation for childbirth. Jewelry is particularly helpful because of its mobility.


And remember, if you’re ever in search of in-person support for your gestating loved ones, Utah Doulas and Company offers gift certificates. We’d love to help.

Love,

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Best Tips for Pregnancy Discomfort from Your Doulas

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The more I learn about pregnancy, labor and birth, the more miraculous the whole process becomes. From the time your baby is conceived, your body undergoes many changes to support the growing fetus. Your body is designed to do this!

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However, many of the physical changes your body goes through can cause discomforts.

At Your Utah Doulas, we feel you deserve a VILLAGE OF SUPPORT throughout your journey. Below we share our favorite tips to help you feel more comfortable during your pregnancy.


I’ve worked with a lot of pregnant women who have discomfort while they are sleeping. I also have a hard time sleeping and I’m not even pregnant! These are some of my favorite sleeping tips that have really helped my clients feel more comfortable and get a good night’s rest.

Take a warm bath or shower before bedtimeSleep with pillows under your knees and armsRead a good book, or listen to relaxing music before bedAvoid eating large meals within 2-3 hours before bed

 

I also had a hard time sleeping when I was pregnant. I struggled with Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) with all four of my pregnancies. My legs would drive me crazy when trying to fall asleep! It felt like I had the wiggles and my legs just wouldn’t relax or sit still. My husband says my crazy legs would frequently kick him in the night.

Here are some tips for Restless Legs:

  • Be sure you are getting enough Iron. Studies have linked Iron Deficiency to Restless Legs. Make sure you are taking your prenatal vitamin. Additional sources of iron are: lean meats, cashews, spinach, whole grain cereals and breads.

  • I used an Accupressure Sequence before bed and it helped so much. Here is a link: Accupressure for Restless Legs

    • I would press each pressure point and hold it for about 10 seconds, moving from head-to-toe.

  • Use a birth ball/exercise/yoga ball for comfort. I would frequently lean my upper body against a birth ball in the evenings to relieve pressure on my back and hips.

 

A lot of people get leg cramps when they’re pregnant which are a) unexpected if you haven’t experienced them before and b) uncomfortable!

The good news us that usually they’re benign and you can do some really
simple things to help ease those crampy legs.

Calcium: Leg and back cramps can be a sign that you’re not getting enough calcium in your diet to support yourself and your little one. Some calcium rich foods include dairy (if you tolerate it well), almonds, and dark leafy greens.

Exercise & Stretching: Beyond diet, you can ease your cramps with daily exercise and some gentle stretching. This being said, if you are on bed rest, exercise may not be an option but gentle stretching always is.

 

During my third pregnancy, I started to realize that it was so much easier to take some extra steps to prevent the uncomfortable, achy body rather than deal with it later.

Some of my favorite things to make the transition from first trimester to third trimester a little smoother are:

  • Invest in a good belly support band early on! It can help so much to alleviate pressure on your back and hips as baby gets bigger.

  • Prenatal Yoga is so good for loosening up tight joints. It can also make for a smoother labor.. bonus!

  • Compression socks can help with swelling- especially if you have a job that requires you to be on your feet a lot.

  • Find a good Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) that specializes in Prenatal Massage. They will be your best friend!

 

My advice? Move, move, move! Regular physical activity can keep your back strong
and might relieve back pain during pregnancy. With your health care provider’s OK, try
gentle activities — such as walking, water exercise, or yoga.

Lower Back Stretch Idea:

  • Rest on your hands and knees shoulder/hip width apart with your head in line with your back.

  • Pull in your stomach, rounding your back slightly.

  • Hold for several seconds, then relax your stomach and back — keeping your back as flat as possible.

  • If you feel so inclined, it is also beneficial to roll your hips in circles.

  • Keeping your body limber helps to prevent a sore pelvis, muscles and back. As a
    bonus, you will prepare your body for birth!

 

I had terrible Sciatica with my second pregnancy. Around 34 weeks I could barely walk!

My best tips for sciatica are:

  • Get a great belly band

  • Apply heat

  • Stretch Daily or try Prenatal Yoga.

The belly band itself made a HUGE difference for me.

Stretch Idea: Here’s a great stretch that can help. It will relieve some pressure on your sciatic nerve:

  • Stand facing a wall

  • Place hands on wall and lift your right leg behind you to the count of five

  • Switch legs and repeat

  • Do three reps on each side at least once a day

 

My secret weapon in pregnancy has been a Webster Certified Chiropractor. There are so many proven benefits to regular chiropractic care through the duration of a pregnancy! The spine houses the central nervous system, which controls your whole body. From round ligament pain, to sleep issues, long labors, chiropractors do it all. They're also the ONLY chiropractors specially trained and certified to help actually move baby into the best position for an easier birth. Do yourself a favor and find your local Webster Certified chiropractor. You'll notice the difference. Doula's honor!