On Sleepless Nights and Parenting Advice… Healthy Strawberry Orange Smoothies

I’m tired. Despite my greatest intentions, I don’t get as many things done during the day as I’d like to. I haven’t written as many blog posts over the last few months as I feel I should. Some nights, scrambled eggs or a smoothie are about the only thing I have the energy to make for dinner. And, even then, I rely on my husband to wash the dishes. Let me just say, for the record, that I have no idea how single parents do it. You are my heroes.

In my head, I know that this is probably normal for a new mom to a sweet 5 month old baby. And, she is sweet and adorable, and we love her to pieces (though, we much prefer her in one piece). But, when she doesn’t sleep at night (which has been almost every night for almost 8 weeks now) and refuses to take naps during the day (since she was born!), I blame myself. When I don’t get things done during the day because I’m too exhausted, I blame myself.

When I’m completely honest with myself, most days I feel like a lousy parent. I know in my head (or at least I hope) that it’s not true, but those feelings constantly come creeping up. Perhaps if we had the right bedtime routine, she would sleep better at night. Or should I be giving her more to eat? Less to eat? Maybe she’s too cold or too hot? Maybe I should hold her less? Or more? Should I carry her in the Moby Wrap? Or, wait, some people think that will make her too clingy… And it goes on and on.

While I know that everyone means well (Ok, so I’m giving some people the benefit of the doubt here), parenting advice, when I didn’t ask for it and have only slept a few hours, only makes me feel worse. I find it kind of humorous that everyone always points out when the baby is tired. “Oh, she’s rubbing her eyes… She’s so tired!” Yes, I’m aware of that fact… Abundantly aware. But, unless you’re offering your nanny services (not your nanny advice) and plan to come hold her and feed her and put her to sleep every night, I can probably do without the reminder that she’s tired. I already feel awful about it.

Honestly, when I do get enough sleep, or have one of those moments of clarity that seem to come after hours and hours of being awake, I know that all of this is a phase. It’s a phase that I will most likely look back on in a few years (or even months) and wish that I could have back. I’m doing my best… I’m spending time with my baby and doing everything I can to keep her healthy and happy. So, even though we may both be rubbing our eyes when you see us, please refrain from commenting on how tired we look.


These smoothies are my homemade (and healthier) take on one of my shopping mall favorites – the Orange Julius.  I’ve substituted coconut palm sugar for white processed sugar (and also used a lot less for a not-so-sickeningly-sweet smoothie) and added some yogurt. I’ve been making them for years, but they have recently become a favorite – for breakfast, lunch, or a snack!  If you’re extra hungry, throw in a whole grain muffin. Then you can call it dinner.

Healthy Strawberry Orange Smoothies
Makes two 16 ounce smoothies

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
    (to keep the sugar content low, be sure to look for 100% juice)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
    (or regular granulated sugar would be fine)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups milk

Combine the strawberries, orange juice concentrate, yogurt, coconut palm sugar, and vanilla extract in your blender.  Add about 1 cup of milk and begin to blend.  Gradually add enough milk until the smoothie reaches the consistency you like, blending until smooth. (I prefer mine on the thick side!)

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10 Responses to On Sleepless Nights and Parenting Advice… Healthy Strawberry Orange Smoothies
  1. Liz @ The Lemon Bowl
    April 2, 2013 | 7:58 am

    Such a relatable post from the early months of parenthood!!! Love the smoothie recipe.

  2. Traci
    April 2, 2013 | 9:25 am

    Love the use of coconut sugar. I use coconut sugar in a lot of my dessert recipes now. Thanks!

  3. Paula
    April 2, 2013 | 9:26 am

    I love how you are so honest.

    Thanks for sharing the healthy smoothie recipe.

  4. Lorene
    April 2, 2013 | 9:57 am

    Hey Jen! Keep doing what you’re doing, you’re doing a great job! No one knows what is right for you and your baby. Sometimes you have to make it up as you go along. Just keep trying different things, and I’m sure you will find something that works for your family :)

  5. Natalie @ Oven Love
    April 2, 2013 | 1:27 pm

    We all have these days as parents- you are not alone and you don’t have to feel guilty! I say you deserve a medal for just keeping a child alive- it takes a lot of work and a lot of practice to figure out what each individual child needs. They are all so different and by them time you have them figured out, they change things up again- especially babies. Take a little mommy break soon for your sanity and be encouraged! We are all right there with you. :)

  6. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write)
    April 2, 2013 | 4:34 pm

    Thanks for being honest Jen. And hey, I DON’T have a baby and some nights (like tonight!) I’m eating toast for dinner ;) These look fabulous. Hugs to all four of you XO

  7. Cherie
    April 3, 2013 | 6:45 am

    someone commented to me recently that parenting gets harder as they get older.
    I disagree – it’s different, and it’s HARD now that my ‘babies’ are 10, 13 and 14 – but having a baby is so all-consuming – I remember where you are, when you could barely think straight and you can’t believe it’s nighttime again and where did the day go and how did your house get to look that awful?

    Sigh

    I have no magic words, though it WILL pass. But please don’t fret about her not sleeping as much as she ‘should’ or that you’re not doing well enough. Some kids just don’t sleep much! They’ll be uber-productive adults LOL. If she’s healthy, growing and happy you’re doing a BEAUTIFUL job as a parent. There will be time for the rest later on.

    I’m sorry about the exhaustion – that is HARD and no real solution other than don’t hesitate to nap when you can because everyone needs what they need, even mamas

    Cant wait to try the smoothie – we never use juice in ours but I think this combo would be just what my 13yo would love

  8. Brian @ A Thought For Food
    April 5, 2013 | 6:09 am

    Oh darling… I’m sorry she’s not sleeping and that you’re not sleeping. That’s no fun for anyone. But, yeah, I have a feeling she’ll get through this phase at some point and all will be well. But it sounds like it’s been rough.

    Don’t feel bad about making smoothies or scrambled eggs for dinner. I think it’s very smart of you to at least come up with things that are full of protein.

  9. Aimee @ Simple Bites
    April 6, 2013 | 6:48 pm

    Hang in there, hon! It gets better. Beautiful, honest post. xox

  10. eav
    April 6, 2013 | 10:51 pm

    Just want to say: I hear you! Hang in there. You are the best parent for your little one no matter what anyone says.
    Also, I may get some hate for saying this….do I dare?? Okay, here goes: have you tried to put her to sleep on her tummy? It was the solution for 2 of my 3. Since you don’t know me, you can totally choose to ignore this if you like. :)

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