Dear me, You got this. (A letter to my past one-child self)

By Celeste

Yesterday Claire guest posted on my blog and today I did on hers.  We pulled the old switcheroo on you.  She asked me to write about advice for having more than one kid (she has one kid :).

I decided to write a letter to myself back when I had just one kid.  I was pretty overwhelmed at that point, so I think I would have benefited from my own advice to not be such a worrywart.

Anyway, check it out:  post here.

Strengthening Marriage While Transitioning Into Parenthood

By:  Claire Cervino

This is my e-friend Claire.  Isn’t she and her little family the cutest?!  She crafts, she cooks, she’s an attorney- she’s pretty much superwoman.  Reading her blog, you can tell she has an excellent relationship with her husband, so I knew we needed to gain some of her wisdom and asked her to guest post.  They just had their first child six months ago, which can be a super rough transition.  Here’s some awesome tips on how to make it easier.    -Celeste


Hi friends, my name is Claire and I’m happy to be here on A Thing Called Love today! I normally blog over at Casual Claire where I share stories from my life related mostly to parenting, fashion, beauty, and of course my kitchen. I’m not a marriage counselor. No, I’m far from it. I’m an attorney turned stay at home mom and blogger. The only thing I’m really an expert at is eating insane amounts of chocolate, writing up ridiculously unhealthy recipes, and changing dirty diapers.

What makes me qualified to even write a post like this then? Well I have a six month old baby, these last six months have been the most stressful and sleep deprived six months of my life (please note here that these six months have trumped even law school and taking the bar exam), and my marriage is the strongest it has ever been. Ever. Hopefully this gives me some credibility to share with you what has worked for me and my marriage, and maybe these tips will help someone out there in a similar situation.

When you have your first child your whole world is turned upside down. You can’t even imagine how much your life changes until you go through it. If you are expecting or plan to have a baby soon I’m sorry to say this but you have no inkling of what you’re in for. It’s not a bad thing, babies are glorious little creatures and are completely worth it, but it’s hard! It’s also going to completely shake up your marriage. Your first baby is a make it or break it experience. I’ve personally seen marriages fall apart with the transition into becoming parents. For some the stress and hardships of a new baby is too much and the marriage is either severely strained or falls apart completely. I don’t say this to scare anyone, but to give you a chance to be prepared for what you’re in for. And other marriages flourish with the arrival of the first baby. This is what I want everyone reading this to know – it is possible to grow and strengthen your marriage throughout the experience of adapting to your life with your first baby and achieve the best marriage you’ve ever had. Here’s what helped us to do so:


1. Focus On Your Faith

Don’t push your faith and spiritual journey to the side when your baby arrives. No matter what your faith may be, make sure you still engage in it and practice it regularly. For my husband and I, this has been an immense help. We are nondenominational Christians, and found our faith to be a source of strength and support through the difficult transition. Once our baby was old enough, we returned to attending church services weekly. This gave us a little baby break to worship, and allowed for our baby to start getting accustomed to being left with other people from a young age and allowed her to interact with other babies. Also, never underestimate the power of having a village around you to help with a new baby – a church family can definitely be a integral part of that village. Because we continued to invest in our faith and religious beliefs, we kept somewhat sane which in turn contributed to our marriage staying strong. At any point in your marriage, not just when you have a new baby, growing your faith alongside your significant other is going to also strengthen your marriage, that’s just life.

2. Give Each Other a Break

Both mama and daddy are going to need breaks sometimes. Acknowledge this and help each other get those breaks. Sometimes I start to think of my husband’s days at work as his break and don’t understand why he would want to do anything without the baby on the weekend. But being at work isn’t a break, and he still needs some alone time to relax and rejuvenate away from the baby. On the weekends or your spouse’s day off from work watch the baby and let them go off and do something they enjoy. For my husband this is playing golf. And of course he returns the favor. My first little break was when our baby was only 3 weeks old – I went to dinner with some girlfriends. It was much needed and appreciated. Now I take a little break at least once a week to do some activity with my girlfriends, or even just to get out and do some shopping by myself. Afterwards I always feel rejuvenated, refreshed, and have energy to tackle parenting head on, which keeps me from strangling my husband, which I would say helps our marriage.

3. Keep Your Marriage Fun

Every few weeks, once a month, whenever possible, however often you can figure out a way to have a night out sans baby. For us this is hard, both financially and without a lot of family close, but we make it work! The first time we left the baby was hard, we missed our baby so much, but after a couple times out we were able to really have fun when we went out without the baby. Babysitter not a possibility? Do fun stuff with your baby! We take baby with us out to eat with friends, to different festivals, parties, etc – anywhere that is baby friendly we will go! Our friends love getting to see her, and usual want to hold her and pass her around which gives us a little break. The more fun you have the happier you will be, and every great marriage relies on each spouse being happy.


4. Show Affection

This one is probably more important for men to remember. I, like most women, am one of those people who needs affection. It’s my love language. Sometimes when my husband and I are both stressed out over the baby, what I really need from him is a hug, and sometimes that’s what he really needs from me. I always say actions speak louder than words so find a way that really shows your spouse that you care, you love them, and you appreciate the work that they are putting into your new baby.

5. Remember You are in This Together

When baby is screaming at 3 am and you are awake, at wit’s end, and just don’t know what to do and are more frustrated than you thought possible remember – your spouse is at the exact same point. Adjusting to having a baby is going to be hard… for both of you. It’s not just hard on you, it’s hard on them too. Remember this. Be sympathetic towards each other. Husbands, if your wife has been at home with the screaming baby all day come home, listen to her, give her a hug, and watch that screaming baby while she has some me time. Or if your wife has been at work all day and is emotional because she had a hard day at work, missed the baby, and just needs time alone with the baby go cook her dinner and do some cleaning so that she can have that time with the baby without worrying about other chores. Wives same goes for you. If your husband has had a hard day and needs a break at night suggest ordering pizza so you don’t have to work and can focus on the baby and your husband can relax. If he needs baby time then let him have it and use it as a chance to get other stuff done around the house. Both need to de-stress? Pack that baby up in the stroller and go for a walk or run.

And being in this together goes farther than that. Short on money because babies are expensive? Realize what costs you can both cut to contribute. You are a team and you need to work together as one. Have something around the house that needs to get done? Take turns with who works on it and who watches the baby. Or maybe one of you wear the baby so you can get that project done together.

The amazing thing about marriage is that you are a unit. You are not alone. Even on the worst of days you still have each other to fall back on. This is also why it’s important to keep your marriage strong and healthy.


I’d love to have you follow along on our journey! You can follow me on BloglovinInstagramTwitter, and Facebook. I’ll respond to any comments left below so if you have any tips of your own, or comments on what I’ve said, go ahead and let me and Celeste know!

3 Tips To Help Your Marriage Survive That Little Green-eyed Monster (a.k.a. your newborn)

Three tips to help your marriage survive a newborn.

By:  Nancy Clark

Celeste here.  Nancy has two qualities that made her perfect to write this guest post: she’s married and she just had a baby.  🙂  Also, she makes me laugh literally every time I’m around her and she’s my neighbor who feels obligated to say yes to me. She and her husband are so great together. We love them so.  Here’s Nancy.


Obviously the little green-eyed monster I’m talking about isn’t jealousy, but your newborn. So maybe yours is actually a little blue-eyed or brown-eyed one, mine is still in the “can’t really tell what color her eyes are anyway” stage. All kidding aside, the newborn stage is a magical time when you get to welcome this new little person into your family. This new little totally helpless person that requires around the clock attention, but can’t verbalize any of their needs, so you’re left to your own devices trying to figure out what they want in your bleary-eyed state of constant exhaustion. Just magical.

Six weeks ago I had my third baby. It’s always quite apparent to me that my relationship with my husband suffers some neglect during those first weeks when the postpartum hormones are raging and all I can think about is the feeding and pooping schedule of our new little bundle.


So, here are a couple tips that I think can help you focus on your spouse during this very special, but sometimes very trying time in your marriage. All of these tips are things I am hoping to get right on the next kid because a peaceful friction-free transition during the newborn phase still eludes me. On to the list!

**** I just want to preface all of these by saying that I think the wife deserves a free pass for at least the first few days (or weeks). Especially if the delivery was a stressful one. Oh wait, having a child emerge from your body in any way, shape, or form can be slightly traumatic, so a little time to let all those new emotions settle that becoming a mother elicits is a good idea.****

1. Be overly appreciative for even the little things your spouse does for you.

I know when I have a newborn I turn into a crazy person that is always asking the people around me if they’ve washed their hands and are up to date on their vaccinations. It’s funny how having a baby can suddenly make everyone look like a walking petri dish full of contagious disease or is that just me? Anyways, I know that the little things like my husband telling me he made sure to boil the bottles or put cream on the baby’s bum help to put my new mommy mind at ease. I need to make sure I verbally acknowledge these things, so he knows I appreciate him and that his mindful deeds of service aren’t going unnoticed. A heartfelt thank you when he steps up to be Mr. Mom for our other kids, while I pump away for the baby, can sure go a long way.

2. Connect physically somehow with your spouse everyday.

The sleep deprivation alone that a newborn can cause can take its toll on a marriage. Then on top of that a doctor telling you not to have sex with your spouse for six weeks is basically a recipe for disaster or at least a grumpy husband. My personal advice during this time would be to make out a lot. Make out like teenagers in the backseat of a Chevy, at a drive in, parked at lookout point, on prom night, you get the idea. So maybe you’re not quite feeling up to “doing the deed” yet, but connecting with your husband physically whether that’s holding hands, a back rub, or just holding each other for a few moments while your newborn wails over the monitor can help you both remember that you’re a team and really the most important relationship in the house.


3.  Try, try, try not to criticize and don’t make everything about the baby.

Babies are adorable and demanding and taking care of one is a full-time job that each mother has her own special way of doing. So go easy on your husband as he learns all the differences between binkies and boppys and bumbos and bugaboos. A new baby brings with it a use for a whole new set of skills and vocab, so be patient with your spouse and try to bite your tongue if he doesn’t put the diaper on or swaddle the baby exactly as you would and just be grateful he wants to help. When you have a new baby it’s sometimes hard to believe that not everyone is as interested in talking about the tiniest details of you baby’s day (bowel movements, spit ups, etc.) as you are. There have been times in the past few weeks when my husband was trying to talk to me about his fellowship applications and I couldn’t register anything he was saying because I was too preoccupied with thinking about when the next feeding was or if the constant-lack-of-sleep headache between my eyes would ever go away. I try to make a conscious effort now to ask him about his day and to talk about things relating to us and not just the baby’s latest poop blowout.

The time passes quickly, so soak up that new baby scent and nibble that peach fuzz head. Just don’t forget about your spouse and showing them your love and building your relationship because that is what will get you through all the many enjoyable, but sometimes challenging phases that lie ahead.



Last year sometime I got together with a bunch of gals from my hometown.  Most of us hadn’t seen each other in years.  Some were married, some not.  Some had kids, some not.  As the night progressed, the ladies with kids tended to congregate together to discuss the gamut of kid topics (public tantrum stories, sleep training, power struggles, etc etc).  I joined right in, chiming in with my kids’ antics.  After a while one of the married with no kids ladies said, “Sheesh, I don’t think I ever want kids.”  The comment was made in jest and no one thought anything of it, but for some reason it stuck with me. 

All too often we moms get together (online, in person, whatever) and the conversation naturally tends to flow toward things that drive us crazy about our kids (I’m the worst perpetrator).  Sometimes I think this is absolutely necessary to keep your sanity as a mom.  It can be unbelievably helpful to vent with other moms and hear that there are others out there whose kid won’t eat anything that’s not the color white, whose baby is not the only one not sleeping through the night.  It makes you feel less lonely and less of a failure.  However, there are often others hearing these conversations and like my friend thinking, “That whole parenthood thing does not sound like much fun.  Why do people do that?”


One more story before I answer that question:  I recently had my third child and boy howdy has he been a hard one.  Crying?  Big fan.  Sleeping more than two hours at a time?  Not such a fan.  He’s now four months old and things have calmed down quite a bit, but for a while there, it was all I could do to talk about anything other than my colicky situation.  A good friend of mine who has two kids often got the brunt of these venting sessions and one day said, “You know.  We’ve been talking about whether or not we want a third and honestly your situation is making me lean toward no.”

This made me feel terrible.  Truly.  All too often I told her about the crying, the lack of sleep, the constant juggling of the needs of my other two kids.  But what I didn’t tell her was how my heart melts every time I go to pick my little guy up from his nap and he gives me the biggest smile.  Or how my oldest daughter has this special knack for making him belly laugh and the times the three of us can’t stop laughing together are often the best moments of my day.  Or how every time Rich comes home and I see his face light up to see his son and make him smile, my own heart expands.  Or how when my two year old wakes up in the morning and asks “where’s wittle buddy?  Tan I hold him?” it makes it all worth it.


I’ve since told my friend these things and she said, “Oh, I know!  I’m a mom.”  Of course- she has a million of these little moments stacked up for herself.  But not everyone does.  They can imagine I’m sure (everyone’s seen Life is Beautiful right?)  But I just want to make a case for kids for those on the fence about this whole kid thing (and also to publicly appease my conscience for those I’ve unwittingly turned against having kids or more kids (which I probably do every time we go to the mall where tantrums are frequent and fervent).

Kids are worth it.  Spouses are worth it.

Both take a lot of work, but are definitely worth it.  They are worth it because they bring the deepest, most satisfying kind of happiness this world can provide- the kind that comes from forgetting yourself and giving yourself completely to somebody else.  It happens when you get married.  It happens when you have kids.

A husband and kids have let more happiness into my life in the aggregate absolutely.  But it’s not just day-to-day drudgery for some abstract sense of overall happiness (as you would maybe think hearing of how hard a mom’s day is).  Day-to-day can be hard, absolutely, but there are a million little moments of pure bliss sent straight from heaven where your heart just wants to explode, that it’s worth it in the day-to-day also. 


This morning I came back from a run in a bit of a pouty mood since I had woken up early with Lennon and didn’t get to go back to sleep.  I was wondering how I was going to make it through the day being so tired and then I noticed my girls playing this game they had just made up called “ding ding” where one of them bangs a comb back and forth against the posts of our chair and the other one claps and dances on one of the couch cushions they had pulled off onto the floor, then they switch.  Watching them wiggle their little bodies and giggle with each other made me laugh in spite of myself.  They lifted my spirits out of self-pity. 

Yesterday, I went to get Ivy up from her nap, but she was still so grumpy I was thinking she maybe needed to go back to sleep for a little bit, so I took her out of her crib and cuddled with her on Ellia’s bed.  She immediately curled up into me and fell back asleep.  Watching her little face asleep in my arms- it felt like magic. 

When my two youngest were napping, I read a book with Ellia.  She was wearing a dress and I loved the feel of her soft bare legs, making her seem younger than she is.  At one point in a silly moment of the book she turned and gave me her sweet Ellia smile and I loved her so much in that moment.


Like I said I noticed more of these moments than normal because I was looking for them, but they still happen enough to make all the bodily secretions, frustrating power struggles and exhaustion more than worth it.  My heart is 4 times bigger since making room for Rich, Ellia, Ivy and Lennon.  I have less time to think about my own problems since I need to work out theirs.  Selflessness and service bring true happiness.

Maybe reading these things will help someone.  But if not, it helped me to write them down to remember to make a case for my own kids 🙂