Family

6 Tips to Survive a Rough Pospartum Period

Oftentimes, a woman has very little support after a baby is born. This can make the postpartum period a challenging time.

I’ll use the birth of my third child as an example. I had a rough few last months of my pregnancy and then a traumatic birthing experience. It was also my third kid in three years and I was emotionally and physically exhausted. I was released from the hospital 24 hours later. From there, I was taken to my parents house and cared for the next 4 days, but I got little rest as I was adjusting to this new life. On day 6, I was left alone with my two children all day and had to pack everything to go home. We got home that night, exhausted. Now I was home all day with the girls (18 month and 3) for 12 hours.

Thank God my parents sent me home with some leftovers. I don’t know what I would have done otherwise. That was my next three days. Then was Sunday, with church, eating out and shopping. Monday brought another full day of shopping. Then back to being home by myself for 12 hours a day, except my oldest daughter was now really sick. I then watched my husband get sick and then my other daughter. My husband still worked his 12 hour days, but I was left nursing all the sick ones in the house. I was only 2 weeks postpartum when everyone was sick. Going into the third week, I got sick. Let’s just say that things got really tough then. Now the postpartum period is usually considered to be six weeks. I was still supposed to resting and not doing much of anything but taking care of baby. I never really even had that kind of resting with my third child at all. 

Along the way, I picked up some valuable tips to surviving a rough postpartum period. I’m sharing them with you, in case you ever have to face a situation like that one. 

1. Free Food

If you can get any kind of help at all, having meals delivered is the most helpful thing, especially if the mom has more than one kid. I didn’t have to think about feeding my family. It was already done for me. If there is no help to be had, using a mail subscription meal service, like Blue Apron, can really help as well. You don’t have to worry about thinking up meals and shopping. All that is done for you and the recipe and ingredients are delivered to your door. 

2. Rest

When you can’t stay in bed for hours on end, rest when you can. And yes, that means ignoring the dirty floors, the piles of dirty clothes and dishes, and the toys scattered everywhere. While it’s not the most fun to sit in a messy house, rest is vital to your recovery!

3. One Chore a Day

On the other hand, yes, the chores need to be done. If you can’t get any help with these, then choose one chore a day to do. No, the house won’t be spotless, but what is necessary to live is getting done. I had a rotating schedule between dishes, laundry and some basic cleaning (kitchen, floors, and bathroom.) It wasn’t until much later, that I was able to clean in any depth.

4. Keep Distractions on Hand

When you have other children in the house, especially younger children, having distractions will help retain your sanity and help you reset. In our house, we don’t have cable and rarely watch movies. However, an exception was made for this time. Their grandma bought them Frozen and my girls watched this daily until we all had the movie memorized. But it gave me a two hour gap to rest and kept the little ones resting when they were sick.

5. Have Adult Visitors

If you spend your days alone and/or with kids all day, you need a break! Whether it is finding a babysitter for the older children and going out with a friend (with baby of course!) or just having someone drop in for a chat, being with another adult can really be a breathe of fresh air.

6. Ask for Help

Now granted, this one I’m still working on, but asking for help is important. I even asked my sick husband who worked 12 hour days to occasionally put a child to bed or take out the trash. It can be hard to ask for any kind of help, but there is no shame in needing help in this vulnerable and overwhelming time of your life.

I know that a rough pregnancy, birth and low/no support during postpartum can be a really rough time. I pray that you don’t have to go through that. However, if you are ever in that unfortunate situation, I hope these tips help you survive. I know they helped me survive and I also know that I will be much more insistent on help with the next child and will be asking people ahead of time for the specific help I need.

Have you ever had to survive a rough postpartum period? 

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Recipes

Indoor S’mores

Have you ever sat there on a rainy fall day, where the air is cool and crisp, and wanted s’mores? How about any time of the year, when where you live doesn’t have any access to a fire for s’mores? We’ve managed to find the perfect solution!

So, when my parents took me camping when I was young, they always packed all the fixin’s for s’mores; but they were for me. We found a similar recipe on a box of cereal and ever since then, my mom always made these for every camping trip. I loved both and still to this day, love this recipe. It’s the perfect recipe when I’m craving s’mores on those cold winter days. It always brings a bit of summer weather feeling into the house.

Indulge in a bit of outdoorsy life brought to the indoor life. You’ll enjoy these and wonder why these aren’t more popular!

Indoor S'mores
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Ingredients
  1. 8 c. graham cereal
  2. 1 bag (10 oz.) mini marshmallows
  3. 1 1/2 c. milk chocolate chips
  4. 5 Tbsp. butter
  5. 1/4 c. sugar
  6. 1 Tbsp. water
  7. 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Grease a 13x9 pan. Pour cereal in a large bowl. Reserve 1 cup marshmallows.
  2. In a saucepan, melt the remaining marshmallows, chocolate chips, butter, sugar and water over low heat until completely melted. Remove from heat and mix in the vanilla. Pour the chocolate mixture over the cereal and stir until completely coated. Mix in remaining marshmallows.
  3. Pour into greased pan and press firmly. Let cool for 1 hour. Cut into bars and serve!
Adapted from Betty Crocker
Adapted from Betty Crocker
Goldilocks Domesticated http://www.goldilocksdomesticated.com/
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RV

8 Tips for Preparing Three Meals a Day in a RV

Living in a RV means your kitchen space is tiny. While I do have a bigger than average kitchen than most RV’s, it’s still really small compared to most kitchens in a house. So how do I cook for a family of five in a tiny RV kitchen? I’ll tell you how!

1.The fridge is bigger than you think!

I was worried about our fridge at first. It seemed so small compared to our previous full-sized fridge. By the end of the first month, I was pleasantly surprised! While space was tight, by careful arranging of the fridge, I was able to store a week’s worth of groceries, which included 2+ gallons of milk, a gallon of water and a gallon of juice.

2. Clean as you go!

With space so limited, there’s just not a lot of room to spread while you’re cooking. Putting away ingredients that have been used and placing the dirty dishes in the sink really helps keep the counter free.

3. Size your meals correctly.

Most meals we had would give us only one container of leftovers. However, we had some meals that drowned us in leftovers. I had to learn how to cut some recipes down, so we weren’t overwhelmed with food. 

4. Take advantage of the nice weather.

During the summer, lots of meals were cooked on our outdoor grill or stove-top in the outdoor kitchen. This gave us extra room to cook and keep the heat out of the RV. Another fun idea (especially with children) is to make a campfire and make hot dogs over the fire and s’mores for dessert!

5. Keep meals simple.

While possible, cooking a five course meal in a RV is not very practical. Why, you’d drown in dishes alone! So keep it simple. One or two dishes is all you need for a good meal.

6. Keep up on your dishes.

There’s not many dishes you can pile in the sink before they overflow. Plus, every meal you make adds more dishes. Getting the dishes cleaned consistently is one of the best tips I can offer. There are many times I haven’t wanted to make dinner because it would just add more dishes to an already huge dirty dish pile. 

7. Buy only what you need.

Buying something “just because” will fill up your pantry/refrigerator space faster than anything else. It can make it difficult to keep your kitchen organized and may keep you out of the kitchen because of how hard everything is to access.

8. Make simple meals from scratch.

One of the biggest space wasters in any kitchen is prepackaged goods, like bread, crackers, chips, etc. I’m not saying get rid of them all together, but try to narrow them down into the ones most used. I’m trying to narrow down my pantry to two types of bread, tortilla chips and crackers for my kids. Everything else is just an ingredient. 

So here are some tips to prepare multiple meals a day in a small RV kitchen. While the space might be tiny, it is definitely possible and even just as enjoyable as a regular kitchen. I hope this has helped you!

What are some tips that you’ve used to cook in a small kitchen?

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DIY Hand Soap

I’m not a big fan of commercial soap. It smells too fake and it’s always very strongly scented. As I’ve moved into more natural living, I’ve found that I don’t need things that smell strongly. I’ve come to associate cleanliness with a lack of strong smell (other than when I’m cleaning with vinegar…and even then, the vinegar smell disperses quickly.) If I’m smelling something strong, that means something needs to be cleaned, pronto! I actually prefer it that way. It also makes more sense to me as well. When did strong floral or citrus smells come to mean cleanliness? Anyways, I digress.

This hand soap is made with three ingredients, one is water and the other is optional! It’s very simple to make and only takes a few seconds. When you’re busy running a house and things are crazy, you don’t need a super complicated recipe to put together, just for hand soap. At that point, it would almost be worth it to just buy soap. The best thing about this simple recipe is that it works very well! My husband even likes it, which is a huge thing. He’s actually avoided using some hand soap I’ve made before by going to the kitchen to wash his hands after using the bathroom. 

I’ve used peppermint castile soap for the base and added orange essential oil. It sounds like a weird combination, but actually smells really good! I originally used tea tree essential oil (for its antibacterial properties), but my husband didn’t like the smell. You can use any of the other castile soap scents that are out there. I know Dr. Bronner has almondeucalyptus, rose, lavender, tea tree, and citrus varieties. You can also just use plain castile soap and use essential oils for the scent. This recipe is easily modified for your preferences. 

What scent combos do you like best?

DIY Hand Soap
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 c. liquid peppermint castile soap
  2. 1/2 c. water
  3. 5 drops orange or tea tree essential oil, optional
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a clean soap dispenser.
  2. Turn dispenser over to mix all ingredients gently.
  3. Enjoy!
Goldilocks Domesticated http://www.goldilocksdomesticated.com/
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Easy Baked Beans

What BBQ is ever complete without baked beans? In our house, never! This dish is a staple every 4th of July. It just wouldn’t be a 4th celebration without baked beans! I would say that I even like this more than any of the other dishes (besides the dessert and fruit). 

I was having a housewarming party for the RV (RV warming?), and my mom brought this dish. She heated it in our oven and then took it out to the table. Well, it was a glass table and even though we had a hot pad underneath it, the table shattered from the heat. While we managed to save everything else, the baked beans were gone. I was heartbroken. I literally was trying not to cry because I was so looking forward to having some (I was also 7 months pregnant at this point. Food was a huge deal for me). One of our friends who hadn’t arrived yet picked up some canned baked beans. It was a very disappointing substitute. 

The fun part about these is that these are what I like to call “semi-homemade”; having the baked beans easy to make and just as delicious as ones made fully from scratch. It’s literally cooking up some bacon, sauteing onion in the bacon grease and then combining everything into a pan and baking for about two hours.

I bet you’ll be be impressed by the taste and easiness of this recipe. Try it out and let me know what you think!

Easy Baked Beans
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Ingredients
  1. 8 slices of bacon
  2. 1 cup onions, diced
  3. 4 15 oz. cans of pork and beans in tomato sauce
  4. 4 Tbsp. brown sugar
  5. 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  6. 2 tsp. prepared mustard
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Fry bacon over medium-high heat until crisp; drain, reserving 4 tablespoons drippings. Saute onions in remaining bacon grease until tender. Add all ingredients to a 13x9 pan and mix to combine. Bake, uncovered, for 1 hr. 45 min. to 2 hours. Enjoy!
Goldilocks Domesticated http://www.goldilocksdomesticated.com/
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RV

How to Hand Wash Laundry in a RV

A lot of the fancier RVs these day have a washer/dryer combo installed on them. This makes it fantastically easy to do your laundry while on a trip or living in a RV as long as you have full hookups. However, the travel trailer we live in doesn’t have one of those handy gadgets. So that leaves two options to getting your laundry done: laundromat or hand washing. Neither are my favorite, to be honest. However, we are blessed to live close to my parent’s for now, so when we go to church on Sunday, we bring all our laundry from the week and wash it. If we don’t finish our laundry before we head home, my mom will finish washing and drying the clothes and then put them in garbage bags for us to transfer home. I do all the folding at home before putting them away. 

There are those times when we’re sick and can’t make it on Sunday or we need something washed that day. Packing up three young children to go to the laundromat is a bit excessive in my opinion, especially since I would be there for hours. Even the RV parks that have a coin operated laundry on site do not appeal to me. In the 9+ months that we’ve been living full time in our RV, we’ve only been to a laundromat once and that was a couple weeks ago! (Our son peed all over our bed, so we needed the sheets washed before bed that night). 

So that leaves us with hand washing. The best way to do it is with a bathtub; unfortunately our RV only comes with a shower. So the next best thing is a 5 gallon bucket. I also have a mobile washer (it’s like a plastic toilet plunger with holes in it) that I bought years ago. That’s really all you need besides your dirty laundry and laundry soap.

Washing clothes by hand really isn’t that hard and is easily achieved in just a few steps. The only part that I find difficult is wringing out jeans or pants. You can buy a wringer for that, but they tend to be over $100 for a good quality one that won’t fall apart, so we haven’t gotten one yet. Anyways, here are the basic steps to do your laundry at home.

Step 1: Gather the clothes you need washed. How many pieces you can wash at a time is dependent on your container size. For a five gallon bucket, I usually can fit in a couple pairs of underwear, a couple shirts and a few pieces of my kids clothing. These go about halfway up my bucket. Any more than that and there wont be enough room to fully wash the clothes. Add clothes to your container.

Step 2: Fill bucket 3/4 full with water (I wash with cold water), making sure clothes get fully soaked. (I do all of this in shower, making spills easily go down the drain and easy to drain/fill the bucket.)

Step 3: Add a tiny amount of laundry soap. I use Trader Joe’s laundry soap which is highly concentrated and only put in a tablespoon of soap at the most. 

Step 4: Using mobile plunger, plunge clothes for 5 minutes (or 10 minutes if using bathtub or bigger container). Drain.

Step 5: Fill with water again.

Step 6: Plunge clothing again for 2 minutes. Drain.

Step 7: Pull out each item and wring out as much water as possible. Hang clothes to dry.

I hang the clothes in my bathroom, draped over the shower and cabinet doors. Our shower is a corner shower, so I can’t add a shower bar inside to hang our clothes on that. If your shower doesn’t have that problem, place a spring loaded shower/curtain rod high up in the shower and use hangers to hang the clothes for drying.

The picture above shows when we were living on private property and had permission to hang up a clothesline (really just rope tied around a few trees). All the campgrounds I have looked into and stayed at since then have not allowed this. So using the shower/bath is the perfect solution (also great for wintertime no matter where you live!).

So this is what we do for our clothes. While I haven’t done all our laundry by this method, it’s so useful for when we miss a week of laundry or need something washed right away. My aim is to be able to hand wash everything except our bedding, rather than relying on someone else or the laundromat for our laundry. In our setup, bedding is almost impossible, so while traveling, we will be using a laundromat for those items. 

How do you do your laundry in your RV?

 

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Homemade Queso

This coming Sunday is Father’s Day, so to celebrate my amazing husband, I’m posting about one of his favorite recipes we have (the Instant Pot Hearty Chili is another recipe he loves). Combine the two and my husband is in heaven! So here’s a little back story about my husband eating queso for the first time around me…and how it didn’t turn out like you would think! 

One of the first dates I went on with my boyfriend (now husband) was to a football game. His best friend played, and his sister and sister’s friend did cheerleading for the team. The whole family had gotten involved at first by helping with selling concessions. So, of course, we had to stop by the concession stand and get some food. HoneyBear order nachos. I remember the people behind the counter pumping out this thick, golden yellow goo that was known as queso. Now, I’ve eaten it before, but I think it was at that time that I really started not liking queso. In the dim interior of the concession stand, it almost seemed to glow a faint neon yellow. 

So why am I posting about queso? Well, the answer might surprise you and it definitely doesn’t make any sense. I tried some queso in Texas at the recent family reunion and happened to like it. Encouraged by my finally liking this favorite food of my husbands, HoneyBear began making queso regularly. I didn’t mind and it actually was pretty good.

Now, though, I eat it fairly regularly and for a pretty bad reason. I’m experimenting with being gluten-free (that’s a whole other story) and I feel much better when I don’t eat gluten. Queso is free from any gluten ingredients (that I know of) and I eat plain tortilla chips with it (also gluten-free). So I traded gluten for chemicals. Now, I know this isn’t ideal and I’m working on a recipe that uses real cheese, but for now, this is what I eat.

Plus, this one really does tastes like the queso that is served at most concession stands. It’s nice and thick, but runny enough to serve over chips or to add to chili or hotdogs when it’s warmed up. We use green chilis in this recipe, but feel free to try jalapeƱos instead to bump up the spicy flavor. If you’re looking to make queso for pennies and not as many chemicals as the stuff sold in stores, this is the way to go! You won’t be sorry you did!  

Homemade Queso
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Ingredients
  1. 2 lb. sharp cheddar velveeta
  2. 2 cans (4 oz.) diced green chilis
  3. 1 cup milk
  4. 2 Tbsp. butter
Instructions
  1. Dice the velveeta into 1 in. cubes. Add green chilis to a blender and blend until mostly smooth. Place all ingredients in a medium sized saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, until velveeta has fully melted; stirring constantly. Serve warm and enjoy!
Notes
  1. You can substitute some or all of the green chilis with jalapeƱos. The more you substitute, the spicier it will be.
Goldilocks Domesticated http://www.goldilocksdomesticated.com/
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Family

5 Road Trip Tips with Young Children

Recently, our family of five went on a road trip from Houston to Seattle. We were in Texas for a family reunion and decided last minute to buy a car and drive back home. Seeing as we had three young children (3, 1 and 2 months; all in diapers) and no vehicle (we’d been borrowing my parent’s car), this was actually a pretty good idea. We had flown to Texas and I didn’t like it at all. So, after the fun of buying the car, now we had to figure out the logistics of transporting our family cross-country with no preparation.

First was packing our small duffel bag with all the clothing essentials for the trip. This would let us bury the bulky suitcases and not have to move them. Next up was a grocery trip. Here, we bought drinks, snacks and sandwich fixings for the journey. The grandparents donated an ice chest, so that was taken care of. All that was left was packing everything up and heading out. We learned a few things and wanted to share them with you!

1. Buy groceries for the trip

We only planned for one meal a day to be eaten out. This saved us lots of money on food in the long run. Plus, since we had bought plenty of fresh fruit, cheese, meat and crackers, there was plenty to give the girls whenever they were hungry, instead of making them wait for meal time or having to buy expensive, crappy junk food from the gas station we were at. 

2. Pack necessities in an easy to reach bag

The last thing you want to do when you stop (especially when it’s cold) is to be digging through tons of stuff to find what you need. Pack everything you need in a smaller bag, you’ll be glad you did!

3. Pack lots of extra clothes

There would be times when the children would sleep, so we’d keep driving and driving to stop and find out that the kids had leaked their diapers. We used all the clothes we packed and could have used even more! Next time, we’ll make sure the children’s suitcase is the easiest to access! 

4. Kids don’t need as much entertainment as you would think

Our two oldest barely played with anything on the trip. Neither did they have movies to watch. They both had a bag full of their new Christmas toys to play with, plus coloring supplies and books. Instead, they mostly slept or played with their clothes, legs or shoes.

5. Make sure you take a long rest stop a couple times a day

A lot of the stops were just filling up with gas, changing diapers and handing out food. However, we made a point to have a few rest stops a day where we let the kids really run around and burn off energy. This helped keep the whining at bay when in the car and kept up mama’s spirits too! 

Our family had a blast road tripping across the US and hope to definitely do it again in the future. (I’m rooting for this winter, when HoneyBear has three to four weeks off at a time…fingers crossed!) The kids were easy, the miles flew by and we had lots of fun! 

Would you want to travel with your young kids?

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Old Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese

 

When I was growing up, my mom never really cooked from a box. She always did everything from scratch…including macaroni and cheese. My mom always made this delicious mac ‘n cheese that I requested often. It was only at friends houses that I would have the boxed mac ‘n cheese. I never really liked it, and to this day, I prefer the one that my mom made me growing up. 

As I started cooking, I was surprised to discover how easy and simple this meal is. It requires only three ingredients and just a few simple steps to put together. While it can be a bit plain to someone who is used to overly processed foods, my family has discovered that a bit of pepper (regular or seasoned pepper) makes the meal very enjoyable.

You can also add ham, sausage, veggies; the possibilities are endless! Just take the base recipe and add whatever your family loves. Our favorite has been to add ham. Just toss in some chopped ham before it goes in the oven and while it’s cooking, toss a salad together. A quick and easy meal the whole family will love!

Old Fashioned Macaroni and Cheese
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Ingredients
  1. 16 oz. pasta
  2. 16 oz. cheddar cheese
  3. 2 cups milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Cook pasta according to directions. While pasta is cooking, dice the cheese into 1/2 in. cubes. Grease a 13x9 pan. After draining pasta, add half of the pasta to the pan. Add half of the cheese. Repeat layers. Pour milk over the pasta and cheese. Bake for 30-45 minutes, stirring halfway through. Serve hot and enjoy!
Goldilocks Domesticated http://www.goldilocksdomesticated.com/

 

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5 Ways to Help a New Mother

 

So someone you know is having a baby. Maybe it’s their first child, or maybe it’s their fifth. While support tends to be freely available for a woman with her first child, it’s the moms with more than one child that desperately need the support. So what to do for that mom? Here are some great ideas that she will love you for!

1. Meals

When you have a baby, its a lot of adjusting and sleepless nights. You are exhausted, but fully in love with that new life. All your energy is focused on getting this right, learning to change diapers on time, breastfeed correctly, burping, and sleeping when you have any opportunity. The last thing on your mind is food. However, it is one of the most important things that a new mother needs to rest. 

The best things to bring are thick, warming and filling meals, the ones you usually eat in the dead of winter. Soups, stews, pasta dishes. You also want soft dishes, nothing really too hard or crunchy. It’s honestly just too exhausting to expend that much energy to feed yourself. 

For bonus point, prepare the food ahead of time and bring it over to mom’s house. Start the cooking of the food for mom, so all she has to do is serve it when it’s done. 

2. Easy single portions for mom

While having meals is great, since mom has to still feed everyone, single portion foods for mom is so handy! One of my friends made these breakfast sandwiches with egg, cheese, bacon on sourdough English muffins. That my friend, was the best food ever. I would heat one up when I was exhausted but starving, with no energy to dig out a leftover container, serve up some food and then wait for it heat it up. They were a life saver! I treasured every single sandwich and nearly broke down in tears when they were gone. So making things like breakfast sandwiches, cheeseburger buns (basically a ground beef cheeseburger wrapped completely in dough), chicken salad sandwiches and other simple foods are so appreciated.

3. Adult time

Especially with a mom with multiple kids, they are often left at home all day by themselves. Just having someone come over and talk to them for a bit is welcome. Just don’t expect to be offered food or water, that new mom needs to rest without having to worry about you. 

4. Helping around the house

As moms are exhausted and focused on baby, the house will fall into disrepair. Washing dishes, starting a load of laundry, sweeping the floors or starting a meal for mom are all things that are very welcome and very appreciated.

5. Babysitting

This can be as simple as coming over, telling her that you are here to watch after the kids and ordering her to bed. Naps are one of the most precious commodities with a new baby. It can also be taking the older children and letting mom and dad have a few quiet hours to themselves.  

So here are some basic ways to help a new mom out. Don’t be afraid to offer your time, as Mom isn’t going to just come up to you and ask for help (unless you are really good friends). Also, don’t just assume that the mom has all the support she needs. I’m well known within my church group, but have very few close friends. I definitely didn’t have much help at all with my third child. In fact, only my mom, my husband’s mom and two friends did anything. While I highly appreciate what they did for me, I desperately could have used more help, especially around the house and with my older children. 

What did you find most useful that someone did for you in the postpartum period?

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