The Mama I was Searchin’ For

Babies aren’t born with an instruction manual. They come fully assembled, sure, but other than that you pretty much get a pat on the back, a congrats and diapers (for you and your baby) and off you go to raise the future generation. No pressure.

“Do your research” they say. “Make informed parenting decisions” they say.

And I obliged. Like really obliged.

I was almost as obsessed with being the PERFECT parent as I was with my sweet little baby. I needed to be a perfect mom. I just knew I would be. I would be that mom. You know the one.

And I’m not talking “sit com mom”, who is always in the kitchen with an apron and a smile handing out packed lunches to polite children, cliche perfect.

I’m talking about the mom who organizes toys in a way that maximizes creativity and development. Ya know, primary colors-no flashing lights and sound- organized at eye level for easy access. I’m talking about the mom whose child eats chicken nuggets, but only home made chicken liver nuggets that are gluten free. Her children can read on a 5th grade level by kindergarten and have a gut microbiome so robust scientist are asking her for their stool samples, perfect.

And parts of me are still with that mom (really, please feed your kids gut flora) BUT I am so far from being THAT mom.

And I fell so far down the rabbit hole of the world wide web searching how to be her that I lost moments that could have been spent finding the mom that I already am.

I searched through articles, Pinterest, mom groups, Montessori and parenting books because I was going to succeed. I was going to be that mom. But in the moments I spent, face illuminated by my phone screen, searching for how to be just that, I missed out on the smallest moments that were already shaping my daughter.

All she saw was her mom playing with something that she couldn’t play with. She has to play with primary colored blocks by herself. What kinda scam was this???

So.

I gave up on the organized shelving in favor of baskets, but my daughters know how to put her toys in them.

Her favorite toy is a barn that makes noises and sounds and all that other hooblah that’s no good, but she knows the names and sounds of all her farm “aminals”.

She loves watching “tartoons” almost as much as she loves being read to, and reading books herself.

And, despite many saved Pinterest recipes, I still haven’t broken down and cooked a grass fed, pasture raised liver to this day. Maybe in the future I will have a taste for offal, but right now it’s just awful.

I’m not giving up on being the best mom, I’m simply being the best one I can be. I will never stop educating myself to make the best choice, but I will stop obsessing over the best choice.

I will never stop striving to give my children the best, and maybe some day that will include gluten free chicken liver nuggets. But in the meantime-no more searching, I’m found.

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Guess Who’s Back

Hello and welcome back after my (almost) 6 month hiatus! I’ve had to spend my time wisely these past few months, and I never wanted to do a post just to do it. I always wait till I have something on my heart and hear that “Speak on it sis” tug. So, the blog has been on the back burner, but in the mean time I have successfully completed sonography school, became a RDMS, and working big girl jobs. Yes I said jobs. Plural. Which is the sole inspo for my breaking of the silence this week.

Working. Mom. Guilt.

I’ll start by saying I haven’t been working the whole time I’ve been absent, only for about 2 months now. And in those 2 months I’ve been more emotional than I was in the first few days after I brought my daughter home. Maybe. My husband would probably protest that one.

When I got my job offer I was more than thrilled. Ecstatic, exuberant, euphoric. You get it. I wanted to get back into the work force but also needed it-financially and mentally. So you can imagine my shock when I cried all the way to my first day because I had to leave my baby.

Side note-I say “you can imagine my shock” on this blog more times than not because motherhood is rather shocking. It’s *john travolta* electrifying. Yes I’m really that lame if you’re new here.

Back to business. I was venting to my sister-a bad ass, seasoned working mom of 3-about missing my baby while I was at work. And she said, “Well don’t beat yourself over what you’re missing, be thankful for what you’re able to do”.

The accuracy.

I don’t get the 8 o clock cartoons, afternoon nap snuggles, or lunch time (cooked by her on her play kitchen of course). But I do get the early evenings playing outside and stroller walks, dinner, bubble baths, and bed time snuggles. I get the weekends-whether they be spent on the beach, on the couch, or in the pool. I get the lazy Sundays and pancakes. And don’t even get me started on the loud “MOMMY!” I get when I walk through the door. Heart melting.

I need to work for my sanity and for financial freedom and I’m okay with that. I’m choosing to focus on what I get, and what I can give in return. No longer will I dwell on what I don’t get, what I miss, and how long I’m gone. My baby may wonder why I’m at work some days, but she will never have to wonder if she is loved more than the moon and stars. And I will fill her cup, just as I fill mine.

And I encourage you, fellow mamas who have to leave your children to do whatever it may be-work, play, school, fun, etc etc etc, to do the same.

Power of Positivity Series PT 1

Giving Advice to First Time Moms: the right and wrong way

Our words hold so much power.

The tone we speak in is equally as powerful as the words themselves.

Positive or negative.

And how we speak about a subject greatly impacts how we feel, our own and others’ success, and overall outcomes.

For example: If you’re going to a job interview and continuously talk whine about how you’re under qualified for the position and how you bombed your interview, you likely won’t be getting that call back. But if you focus on the qualifications you do meet, and that part in the interview where you made your potential new boss laugh out loud at one of your witty jokes, well that attitude might just get you the golden ticket aka pay raise. Thank u, next.

I wanted to kick my 2019 off with nothing but positivity. Or “good vibes only”, as you cool kids say. Which brings me to part 1. First time moms.

One of the most precious times in a woman’s life is during her first pregnancy. She’s learning, she’s excited, she’s preparing to bring a baby into this world and likely a little nervous wondering how the hell she’s going to do it.

So the last thing she needs is your negative energy, Margaret.

(Sorry if your name is Margaret and you’re really positive, but we all know a “Margaret” let’s be real)

Stop using your own struggles as a threat. Moms need positivity, not scare tactics. And chances are, she probably already knows what’s to come.

Below I’ll list some common phrases a mom may hear when she announces she’s pregnant vs what she should be hearing. And let’s all agree to do better. And spread more positivity. Or vibes. Or energy. Whatever suits you.

Breastfeeding is miserable, it’s hurts and takes way too much time and effort

Breastfeeding can cause some discomfort at first but should never be painful. If you’re miserable, seek some advice from an IBCLC. Time with your nursling is fleeting, when it seems like your babe may be nursing forever just put your feet up and enjoy that time. Take in all those tiny details, Mama. And bonus: Breastfeeding has almost as many benefits for you as it does baby. Did you know that breastfeeding is associated with lower risks of breast and ovarian cancers?

Well you better get ready because labor is the worst!

Labor is painful, that’s a given, but it’s also empowering and amazing. You were literally made to give birth so obviously you will rock it.

Better sleep now because you’ll never sleep again.

Get as much rest as you can because you are growing a human and your body is working overtime.

Enjoy eating a hot meal in peace while you can because you’ll be eating dinner cold in 3 minutes for the rest of forever

Make sure you’re eating protein, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables. You and baby both need it! Don’t worry about how much or when you’re eating, just listen to your body and baby.

Your body will never be the same!

Your body will never be the same, because

it will be so much better. It will be the body that made your special little person, and that’s a miracle that outshines your physical appearance any day.

Being a mom is SO hard. It’s exhausting, mentally and physically so be prepared.

Being a parent has its challenges and there will be days that require a glass of wine, heavy pour, but the best things in life require effort. There is more beauty and happiness in being a mama than you can fathom.

Speaking about motherhood in a positive tone is far more beneficial to a new mom than “preparing” her for motherhood. Ain’t no hood like motherhood, we know. We just need to hear more of what we’re gaining rather than what we’re losing.

Mama Knows Best

Whether you grew one and birthed it, adopted one, acquired one, or found one floating down the river in a basket you have been blessed enough to be that one’s “Mama”.

And all too often I see Mamas who have forgotten the importance of their place, their role in shaping the future via tiny humans. And Mamas who let their voice be silenced. But that voice serves a purpose and that baby is yours for a reason. Whether you believe it or not, you specifically were chosen for them.

You. Specifically.

I’m here to tell you Mamas, you need to look inside yourself and find your Mama pride. Because those babies are yours. And its exhausting to constantly see mamas being bullied, and their authority stripped because they are young, or a first time mom, or single, or holistic or whatever else society deems unacceptable.

I don’t care if its a family member, a friend, a doctor, someone who has had multiple children and “been there done that”, I don’t care if its Michelle Duggar herself. No one knows a baby better than it’s Mama, and for that reason her wishes have to be respected. Its for the greater good, really.

A Mama’s decisions, whether they be based on her own research, lessons learned or strictly mother’s intuition, are made with careful consideration and love for her child. And wanting her child to thrive. Thriving and surviving are different, contrary to popular belief. We know you survived, but that’s not our only goal anymore.

Now don’t hear me wrong, I’m not discrediting wisdom. I’m discrediting judgement. I encourage you to call your own Mama, or your Grandma, or Aunt, or best friend. Ask for help. Ask for their advice when its needed. Use your Grandma’s special stain removing trick that can tackle even the worst of the worst blow outs, find out what helped your Sister’s teething baby when they were screaming at 3 am, ask your Mama to show you that “sweet spot” that instantly relieves gas pain. By all means, it takes a village. Just know that when it comes to your own tribe, you’re the Queen.

When it comes to when and what your baby eats, when and how they sleep, what goes in and on their bodies, what they watch, how they play, what they learn, who they associate with and every other seemingly minuscule detail of their lives that will shape their future… well Mama that’s for you to decide and enforce. No more a-little-won’t-hurt jabs at your authority.

Straighten your Mama crown, and know you it was given to you with trust, responsibility, and purpose. You are capable and worthy.

Team Soggy Squash

I’m not easily excited. Either I’ve lived too many past lives to be excited over trivial day to day activities or I’m just too “extra” but I don’t get giddy for any ole reason.

In fact, my mom used to get so irritable with me because she would happily exclaim “Oh Jessica did you see that so and so is graduating?! Look at them in their cap and gown! How awesome!”

And I would be like…….

Okay? Don’t we all? Isn’t that what your supposed to do?

I know, I know. It’s not the most polite attitude to have. I’ve tried to find that joy. I’ve tried sharing in other folks excitement and saying well “Good for them!” instead of just an awkward “Okay…”

So you can imagine how surprising it was to myself when I almost came out of my chair (okay, I actually did come out of my chair) over my child feeding herself zucchini. A soggy squash variety had me so giddy I almost peed myself….. or maybe that was the weak pelvic floor accompanied with the jumping out of the chair. Either way.

I was thrilled, exuberant, buoyant, euphoric, “grinnin’ like a possum eatin’ a sweet potato”, and all of the above.

Because my sweet, darling angel was feeding herself for the very first time.

And that’s when I realized that maybe the seemingly trivial, day to day activities are worth being excited over. Because in the grand scheme of life the smallest moments usually make the biggest impact. And maybe cheering on others as they make accomplishments, big or small, isn’t so bad after all. Life lessons via Lively💕