At Lil Helper, we think it’s important to celebrate all types of people and families. We are proud to host a diverse group of parents on our blog, so we can all learn from and connect with each other. Today we are sharing Alex’s story – a single parent, and a trans and gay dad. For more great parenting community, check out our Facebook group Lilhelper: Unsnapped.
Read on for Alex’s story.
I’m Alex. I’m a 20 year old parent, a trans and gay dad to my 2 year old son, Gray.
I carried Gray. I hadn’t started my medical transition when I was pregnant. I was out socially, and I knew my child would call me ‘Dad’. I love being called ‘Dad’, and I will constantly fight to be called ‘Dad’. I will fight to get people to understand I am a dad even though I gave birth. For me birthing my son doesn’t make me a mum or dad, it’s how I act and the role I choose to set for my son.
5 main tips for being pregnant and not a woman!
Don’t be afraid to correct people on your pronouns and they way you want to be addressed.
It’s difficult seeing your body change. Remember it’s not forever. It’s only for 9 months.
Set boundaries for what you are and aren’t comfortable with. If you don’t want people to touch your bump, let them know. If you don’t feel comfortable using the word pregnancy, let them know!
It’s ok to feel not ok! During pregnancy lots of hormones change and you can feel like a different person.
Don’t feel forced to explain yourself and your situation! If you don’t feel comfortable explaining that you are pregnant and don’t identify as a woman that is ok. It is your story, explain if you feel comfortable doing so.
More of my story
When Gray was 4 months old, I started my next step in my transition. I saw two different doctors and I traveled across the U.K. to see them. The second doctor I saw prescribed me with testosterone. Gray was 6 months old when I had my first injection and he came with me for all my injections and blood tests.
I became a single parent at the age of 19. It was tough and I think it’s tough for all newly single parents. I felt isolated, being 19 with a 5 month old at home. As time progressed, I started to realize that I really enjoyed being a single parent. I get all the cuddles and all the special moments with my son and the bond we have is amazing.
For me and Gray, going to the doctors is a normal occurrence. I have my testosterone injections every 3 weeks and I have blood tests done every 2-3 months.
Being a parent and a trans and gay dad can be isolating. There aren’t many people in the same position. If there is, normally they are in other cities, counties, and even countries. I’ve found so many online friends that we’re all going through the same thing all over the world. It makes you feel like you’re not alone and can talk to someone who knows exactly what it’s like.
My main goal is to provide a happy life for my child regardless of the hate and transphobic people. I started my Instagram @daddy_to_gray to find more people in the same situation as a parent who is trans. I’m so taken back on how many people love hearing my story.
You’re less alone than you might think. What is something you have struggled with as a parent? Share in the comments and let’s all connect and continue to build each other up! We are all in this together. No matter the things that make us different, we just want what is best for our kids.
For many of us, the last year has been hard. We’ve changed the way we work and play, and now we are ready for some normal. At Lil Helper, we are always working to make the best products for parents and families, and this time we are launching 3 amazing new products for preorder that are sure to make you smile! From everyone’s summer essentials to the perfect gift for Mom, Lil Helper has you covered.
Meet Lil Helper
Lil Helper first began as a team of rocket scientist dads, who wanted to create a better diapering option. What began as a mission to create the best possible diaper, has expanded to create reusable and sustainable products that bring joy and excellence to every aspect of life! By mixing kindness with a drive for excellence, this Canadian company boasts some of the best products and stellar customer service you can find.
As new products, prints, and redesigns have released, they have sold out and crashed the website repeatedly. With three new products to release, and knowing demand would be high, it was decided to create a pre-order, giving access to the ground floor of the product launch of these summer essentials, and a pretty sweet discount on top of it all!
The Lifesaver XL Mat: Essential for family adventures at home and on the go
Our Lifesaver mat has become a favorite amongst our customers who use it for so many different things. When requests started coming in for a super sized version we had to say yes. This mat has you covered.
Created just like the original Lifesaver and Lifesaver mini, our Lifesaver XL mats feature a soft charcoal on one side, and a water resistant PUL on the other. This means that one side is perfect for absorbing messes (hello, couch protector during potty training days) and the other is easy to wipe clean (making it a cozy and amazing picnic blanket).
More than summer essentials, our mats are great for play indoor and out no matter the season! What can you use this giant mat for? Sensory play with your toddler, bare bum and tummy time for your baby. They are excellent mattress protectors for pregnant and postpartum moms. Even without kids, they are the ideal picnic blanket or camping companion that keep you dry on wet ground, or a cozy and wind resistant lap blanket for soccer games, camp fires, wherever life takes you!
Make no mistake, Lil Helper is not just for parents and babies. With awesome reusable swim diapers and wet-dry bags already in our wheelhouse, we are thrilled to be extending our quality products and famous customer service to all summer lovers and swimmers with the launch of our beach towels!
Not feeling like a reversible towel deserves a standing ovation? This is no ordinary towel. To start, it is amply sized at 30 x 60 inches, yet is lightweight and compact! It folds up to take up the amount of space as a can of soda, yet weighs less! This towel can hold 5x its weight in water, and then the microfiber suede dries 10x faster than traditional cotton. On top of this, the microfiber suede will remain soft, again differing from cotton that can become scratchy when repeatedly air dried. The sand resistant fabric shakes off and rolls up with a snappable strap. These towels are summer essentials for 2021 and will be your must have item for beach days, hiking, outdoor yoga, and more!
Can it get better? Yes. It even has a secret pocket, “Cassie’s Pocket”. The name comes from one of our dearest Ambassadors, Katie, and her daughter, Cassie. Katie loves the outdoors, and true to many moms, loves leggings. With a baby in one arm, gardening tools in the other, she had no place for other items such as a phone or keys. She added snaps to her leggings in order to attach our Combo Bag, and showed our Lil Helper: Unsnapped community.
This inspired Mohammed to add a pocket to this beach towel, so that mom’s like Katie can have one more place to slip those easy-to-lose items when you’re out exploring the world with a little one.
Ready to give the towel the standing ovation it deserves? Offering security on a crowded beach, high absorbency, and easy packing for all your wildest adventures, this beach towel will be your go-to all summer long.
Last but definitely not least is our new crib sheet. As with all the products we offer from Lil Helper, this is no ordinary crib sheet! So much time and energy was put in to make this sheet an essential for any nursery.
The bottom layer is a mattress protector and will protect your child’s mattress from spills and messes from drool to reflux to potty learning accidents. This protector wraps around the sides, leaving no part of the mattress exposed .
The top layer is a super soft minky in unique and new patterns to match your style. This sheet is soft and cozy, and also super absorbing so it keeps your child dry and content all night long. Many of our trial users report their kids have slept better as a result of this sheet!
And like all our products, this sheet is super durable and designed to last. It wraps around the mattress like all fitted sheets but with the added bonus of acting as a mattress protector at the same time. No more layering mattress covers and sheets, this all in one product has you covered!
This pre-order is live now, but will close on March 31st. During the pre-order, the items will be offered at a discount. When they are sold as in stock items, they will be at the full retail price. The anticipated production time will be 3.5 months, marking July as your expected date to receive your summer essentials. Any questions can be directed to: Delight@lilhelper.ca , where a real person will respond within 48 hours to your query.
New to Lil Helper and need a boost of confidence that we aren’t too good to be true? Check out our Facebook reviews, or google reviews! You can get to know our CEO, Uncle Mo, by checking out our YouTube Channel.
Lastly, jump into our community Facebook page, Lil Helper: Unsnapped , where we have fostered an amazing community of kindhearted individuals ready to answer questions, encourage one another, and do our part to make the world a little greener and life a little brighter!
Hey Lil Helper Family! If you’ve been here before, you know we are all about making this crazy parenting journey easier, sharing stories, and building community. Today one of our Ambassadors, Amie, is here to share her experience with exclusively pumping for her little one who was born at 34 weeks. Sharing stories helps us break down the stigma and realize we are not alone. Read on for Amie’s story.
Blood. Sweat. Tears, lots of tears. Feeding a baby is hard no matter which way you choose or have to do it.
My story is about exclusively pumping. My son was born at 34 weeks after a complicated pregnancy. So I started my pumping journey scared and intimidated.
Physical and Emotional Pains with Exclusively Pumping
Immediately postpartum, my emotions were high. I was unable to get comfortable no matter how I sat, because of a tear during labor. Pain was inevitable, add a mask into the mix and it felt like my world came crashing down. I was trying to learn to breastfeed, looking down trying to get the right position. It felt like my view was skewed and I started getting a headache. My son was born on Easter weekend so there was no lactation consultant available. My boobs were so engorged they were larger than my postpartum belly & butt. I remember thinking that the pain was worse than labor.
Time to pump. There I am fumbling with the phalanges trying to get the right position on my engorged boobs so I can get some of that liquid gold. I was mad it was so hard. Looking at the output I just felt defeated. How is it that my body failed me and I gave birth too soon and now its failing me again and I can’t even provide food for my son? To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement.
So I broke exclusively pumping down into parts because I wanted to be able to master it for my son.
Have a Plan, Stick With It
I set alarms for every 3 hours even if it was my husbands turn to feed. Before every pump session I would have a glass of water. I was terrible at remembering to take care of myself when all I could think about was my teeny tiny baby in the warmer, with all of his tubes and wires. Once I got going though, it was as if the gates to Niagara falls opened. I couldn’t stop it. Milk went EVERYWHERE. I soaked the pillow and everything in a two foot radius it seemed. So here I am 3 am leaking all over trying to get the pump to stay on so I don’t waste a single drop.
From then on I pumped and pumped. It felt good to know I was able to contribute something to get my son to where he needs to be so he can come home. We had our own fridge/freezer in our room and each day I kept adding a little container or two to start building a stash. I felt like I was hoarding my milk not wanting to waste a drop. I got mad at my husband for pouring more in the bottle than what the nurse said. But the little man ate it all, so my husband filled the bottle up again for the next feed and he could only eat half. I started to ball. I don’t even think it was an ounce of milk that was wasted and I had over 50 oz stashed in the freezer, but I couldn’t help but cry.
What I learned from Exclusively Pumping
It’s okay to cry over spilt milk because pumping is HARD work. You’re up every 3 hours regardless if your baby is up yet or not. Your boobs get yanked not to mention the pain you feel if you have the wrong size of phalanges on. If I can say anything about pumping, its don’t be scared to ask for help! It so hard, but it’s so worth it to see your baby falling asleep in your arms with a full and happy belly.
About Our Guest Blogger
Amie is a FTM to a 10 month old son who was born prematurely due to a high risk pregnancy. She is a cardiology technologist, and DIY enthusiast. Amie fell in love with Lil Helper after ordering the trial diaper deal, and is now an ambassador for the company.
Lil Helper is so much more than cloth diapers, we pride ourselves on being a community of ultra supportive parents. Looking for more on feeding your little one? Check out this post on switching back and forth from nursing to exclusively pumping and even more stories of different breastfeeding journeys here. Do you relate to Amie’s story? What was your feeding journey like? Tell us about it in the comments!
As some of you may know, Lil Helper is actually (mostly) run by Moms.
Some of us are “stay-at-home” moms who fight to get work done with a squirmy pre-schooler on our lap and a baby on our boob. Some of us have full-time day gigs. We attempt to get work done somewhere in the dance of supper, bedtime routines, and passing out on the couch that makes up our evenings. But regardless of the details of our circumstances, we are all parents who struggle to find a good balance between working and raising tiny humans.
And can I just say: It. Is. Rough.
Juggling the responsibilities of work and family is a struggle, whether you have kids or not. And I am going to put a disclaimer right here, saying that I am most certainly not an expert.
I have two kids, work a full-time job, and write for Lil Helper. Most days I feel like I’m not doing much more than being fantastically mediocre at all three of those things. Other days, I hit it out of the park with one but drop the ball on the others. And some days I feel like I am failing abjectly in every way.
So let’s break the problem of finding a good work-life balance down and see if we can figure out how it can be tackled.
What is Work-Life Balance?
Those of us struggling with work-life balance do so, in part, because we’ve never been taught what it looks like.
For a long time, our society has put a lot more emphasis on the “work” part of work-life balance. Working, grinding, hustling, getting ahead. That was what our parents were told to focus on and, to a certain extent, that focus hasn’t changed.
A hyper-competitive society has left a lot of us feeling like balance is out of reach.
But, slowly a lot of people are beginning to realize that maintaining some level of self-care is just as important (if not more so) than hustling to get ahead. And the concept of work-life balance goes hand-in-hand with this shift.
So finding work-life balance doesn’t just mean spreading your time out equally between work and home. It is also about feeling satisfied with both roles and having them conflict as little as possible.
In fact, the article further breaks down work-life balance into three main components:
Time balance: finding a good division of your hours between work and home.
Involvement balance: making sure you feel psychologically involved and invested in both roles.
Satisfaction balance: feeling good about both roles and the way you are handling them.
When you take these three components into account, you quickly come to realize that work-life balance is probably going to look different for each person.
They also give you a good place to start looking for ways to make a change, if you are trying to maintain your sanity but struggling with balance.
Five Tips For a Better Work-Life Balance
Now since a good balance is going to look different for everyone, there are no hard and fast rules on how to get to where you want to be. But there are some general things that may help.
And re-prioritize often. In order to address both involvement and satisfaction balance, you need to make sure you are putting focus and resources into the things that are truly important. Evaluate your goals and your values and decide which ones take precedence. Then you can put your focus into things that are aligned with what you have deemed a priority.
You also need to make sure that you are re-evaluating your priorities as things in your life change. Your priorities as a twenty-something single person are going to look different than when you are a thirty-something parent. And that is okay, you just need to make sure that your priorities shift as you do so that they stay relevant and aligned with what is most important to you.
When it comes to time balance, prioritization is also helpful. While your supervisor or your mother-in-law may try to convince you differently, not everything is equally important.
Time is the part of work-life balance that people struggle with the most. Usually, it’s because we don’t put enough thought into what is most important and what actually must be done now. So do fewer things at once and do them well. Focus on stuff that must be done or going to get you disproportionate results and backburner other things. And make sure that you are putting your time into things that only you can do and delegating where you can.
2. Get Organized
I know this one seems a little out of place but as we just discussed, time is one of the hardest things to manage when dealing with work-life balance. And while I may not know much about actually achieving balance, I do know that making the most of my time is about 1000% harder when either my desk, my house, or both are a disaster.
So set up easy-to-maintain organizational systems for yourself, that make it easy for you to get right to work or right to play and spend as little time as possible farting around with mess or clutter. This could mean getting your kids’ toy situation figured out. It could mean using reusable snack bags to make your lunch an easy grab-and-go affair. It could mean using some smaller bags to get your work tote or desk drawers under control.
Basically, anything that is going to save you time and stress. This will make it way quicker to do the stuff you have to do so you can focus on the things you want to do.
3. Set Work-Life Balance Boundaries
This is another one that can also seem daunting. Especially these days, because we all have about 867 ways that people can get in touch with us. This means that we get pressured by people in both our work and personal lives to be constantly available.
My full-time gig is teaching. So this means that I have administrators, parents, and students coming at me at all hours of the day. I literally had a student email me at midnight last week. And get mad because I didn’t answer until the next morning (which was a Saturday, for the record).
When I was younger, I felt a lot more pressure to bring work home. As do a lot of people who are just starting out in their career. Now that I am a bit older, that has changed. Mostly because my priorities have changed (see the “thirty-something parent” comment above). But also because I have just realized that drawing a line between work and home is important and valid. So even if you are still early in your career, find where that line goes and draw it.
4. Be Consistent
This is the secret to getting people to respect where you draw your work-life balance line-in-the-sand.
There will be people (like my student) who try to push you on this. And while there are always legitimate emergencies and exceptions, if you cater to people who cross your line they will learn to expect it. Not because they are mean, but because you didn’t keep the line consistent and they didn’t know they were crossing it.
So if the work-life boundary is breached, use it as an opportunity to re-establish what you are comfortable with (respectfully, obvs).
5. Be Present
Yes, I know, this sounds very hippie-dippy. But, 1) What did you expect? You are on a blog run by a bunch of tree-hugging cloth diaper lovers and 2) Hear me out.
Like we said earlier, involvement and satisfaction are two-thirds of the holy work-life balance trinity. And how likely are you to be fully involved or satisfied with things at work or at home if your mind is always on your other role?
So, even though it can be easier said than done, try to keep things compartmentalized. When you are at your desk, focus on the grind. When you hit your front door, leave it behind. You will probably find that you get more done and are happier with the results.
See, I’m a wise hippie.
Now, I know what you are thinking: “I am already overwhelmed, so finding a good work-life balance just feels like something else to add to my never-ending to-do list.” And, girl, same.
But I really think that is because, when you look at it as a whole, the concept of work-life balance is so big and so foreign that it can feel overwhelming. So my last tip is to take it slow. You didn’t get out of balance overnight, and you are unlikely to get it all together that fast either.
BUT, if you focus on one tip or even one component of your current work-life balance and work to make some changes, you’ll have everything in better balance before you know it.
Or, ya know, mostly.
About the Author
Amanda is a teacher and mom of two from small-town Ontario. When she isn’t struggling to keep up with her boys, you can find her reading, crocheting, or writing poop-jokes for Lil Helper’s website, emails, and blog.
What do you think? Will these tips help you find a better work-life balance? Is there something else you do to keep things in your life balanced? Let me know in the comments!