About Chantel Smith
I grew up in Idaho, but I have also lived in California, Utah, Texas, Georgia, and now Boston, Massachusetts. I love living in different places because I can reinvent myself in a new city and be freed from past expectations. My husband is from southern California, and he is an astrophysicist at MIT. We love to travel and were actually in Australia when we found out I was pregnant with my son.
I used to work at a big tech company helping small businesses acquire their equipment, but I left to be a stay-at-home mom. It was such a hard decision to make, but it ultimately felt like the right thing to do between the high cost of childcare in the area and feeling unsafe with the pandemic. I also have a side-hustle of selling Mary Kay, which is dear to me since my mom has been a successful Mary Kay director my entire life. I think it is so important to cultivate a hobby or a job outside of mothering so that you still feel like an intelligent human being at the end of a long day of continually saying, “don’t put that in your mouth!”
Life as a First Time Mom during a Pandemic
We had our baby two weeks before the pandemic shut everything down. I’m grateful we had a “normal” hospital experience in that there were no masks and we were allowed visitors. But that was where “normal” ended. At first, it was nice; I wasn’t in a big hurry to get out of the house for the first two months. But as the months dragged on, it became more difficult. For a long time, I could count on one hand how many of our friends and family had met our baby. We had no family that lived close by. I felt like the world was robbed of seeing my darling baby boy grow up, and I felt robbed of being able to show off my hard work!
Our apartment had barely been big enough for the two of us, but adding a baby and all the gear plus a makeshift workspace meant that we had almost zero floor space left. For the first six months, we were all in the same room together for most of the day. It was so hard trying to keep a baby quiet during all the conference calls! Thankfully, we moved into a slightly larger apartment right when our little guy was starting to crawl.
The phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” takes on a whole new meaning in a period of isolation. To me, my “village” became online parenting classes and books. It’s pretty amazing that the internet has given everyone access to top nutritionists, sleep consultants, and other baby experts. I firmly believe that motherhood is a skill, not an innate ability, and each new milestone brings its own challenges. Luckily, each new challenge usually has a book or online class that I can use to learn more and feel more prepared!
I also (still!) rely heavily on many different parent support groups on Facebook. I made a great friend through a support group because I boldly DM’ed her after she posted a picture in the group. Our babies were very close in age, and they got their cranial helmets on the same day, and I was feeling all the feels. I was so nervous after sending the message; I had just borne my soul to a complete stranger just because of a picture she posted. Was I that desperate for validation? Quickly I got a very kind response and the validation that I needed, and we kept in touch for several months throughout the helmeting journey. I’m glad I was able to find a friend with perfect empathy for my situation.
Why I Love SlumberPod
The first time we stayed in a hotel with our little guy, we literally hid in the bathroom for 30 minutes so that he could fall asleep in a dark room. Definitely not ideal! I had a friend offer to let us borrow their SlumberPod for a camping trip, and we used it inside a travel trailer. This was our first camping trip as a family, and I was nervous about how well we would (all) sleep. He slept just as well in the SlumberPod/camping setup as he did at home! That’s when I knew the SlumberPod is worth its weight in gold. Seriously.
You better believe I signed up for all the notifications and obsessively checked the website so that I could get my own SlumberPod. I saw the post on Instagram and set the alarm, and I screamed and cried and hugged my husband when I got the order confirmation. The last time I was that excited to buy something was when the 7th Harry Potter book came out! When it arrived, we set it up in the living room, and our little guy was so excited about his “tent.”
My grandfather passed away recently, and I flew across the country alone with my little man to attend the funeral. The service was right during my son’s nap. I planned to set up the SlumberPod in an empty room at the church and put a sign on the door “baby sleeping.” He fell asleep almost instantly when I put him in the SlumberPod and slept for 3 hours! I was so grateful for the SlumberPod in this instance because I was able to give my full attention to celebrating my grandfather’s life without the distraction of a noisy/sleep-deprived toddler. I even got to enjoy a kid-free meal after the service since he slept for so long!
He still gets so excited whenever he sees his “tent” being set up. I’ve used it in several hotels and family houses since, and he falls asleep so quickly because it is instantly a familiar environment. And having pockets for the fan, sound machine, and baby monitor is simply genius. I no longer have anxiety about how well we all will sleep on vacation because I have a SlumberPod!
SlumberPod Customer Spotlight Blogs
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