OKC Mom Boss Collaboration

tim-mossholder-174907-unsplashAll I want for Christmas is to see other women succeed! That and a nap. Or at least a really big coffee. This collaboration piece with three local mom built businesses shows how Paige, Emily, and Mandy turned dreams into reality. I am in awe of women who take excellent care of their families, but also manage to make something uniquely beautiful in the process. When looking for gifts this season, I encourage you to look to Orchid & Olive Floral Designs, Auntie Em’s Sweets, and M Spring Jewelry Designs. Supporting a mom finding her passion and growing it is a cause that fills my cup. It’s what you are doing by reading and sharing this post. I love to write. I feel especially gratified when I know my writing is reaching and resonating with other women. What a gift it is to use my platform to support others. I hope you will join me.

Orchid & Olive

 

Paige Wilson began artfully arranging her floral and succulent designs while on maternity leave with her son, Ralph. Inspired by a similar concept out of Dallas, Paige created beautiful designs between feeding sessions before launching Orchid & Olive into a full on home business. Orchids and succulents both being extremely on trend home accessories, Paige has something for everyone available either through ME Home or via custom order. While Paige has beautiful fresh options available, I tend to lean toward her incredibly lifelike yet low key faux designs as I was not blessed with a green thumb. Her fabulous faux offers the perfect home accent without being one more thing you have to take care of. Some days keeping the toddlers alive is hard enough! Arrangements that compliment any décor, Paige can craft the perfect gift for anyone from a boss to a best friend.

Contact: orchidandolive@gmail.com for custom design or shop ME Home 2925 Wilshire Blvd OKC

 

Auntie Em’s Sweets

 

Beautiful can also mean delicious when it comes to Emily Mayfield’s baking service. Emily started Auntie Em’s Sweets as a passion project when her daughter was an infant. After growing up in a house where food was always the center of family connection and a source of showing love, Emily found baking to be a natural outlet. All of Emily’s treats are homemade and highly customizable in terms of flavor or dietary preference. Check out my Instagram feed @motherhoodbymeredith next week for pictures of the airstream trailer cookies she is making for Avery’s ONE happy little camper first birthday! Emily stresses the importance of celebration and saying thank you when I talked to her about her business. She believes treats are a great way to accomplish both of these things. In such a fast paced world, stopping and connecting with loved ones for a birthday or holiday over a delicious treat is a memory to be savored long after the last crumb is gone.

Contact: http://mayfield.kitchen (405) 701-YUMM (9866)

 

M Spring Designs

 

Mandy Spring is owner and designer at M Spring Designs. Her passion is creating fashion forward on trend jewelry that won’t break the bank. Mom to two daughters, Mandy understands how motherhood pulls us in every possible direction, but wanted to harness her creativity in a chic way. Her jewelry combines a variety of materials, but I am currently loving her acrylic and tassel earrings. They make such a statement without being too heavy on the ears. The right accessory can turn a simple black dress or t shirt into something special. Perfect for a holiday party! Who doesn’t love an effortlessly darling gift that will win you style points? Mandy’s creations are available for purchase through her Instagram page or in the boutique section of Hello Love Salon which you may remember from my Downtown Edmond post.

Contact: Instagram @mspring_designs Hello Love Salon & Boutique 130 N. Broadway Edmond, OK

As a stay at home mom myself, finding something that was just my own to maintain that sense of self is so important to me. Supporting a small business doesn’t always mean purchasing (although that’s great!) Businesses grow by shares on social media, word of mouth and any other publicity. I am honored to do my part. I am so proud of all of these mom business owners for building something they love, continuing to be great mothers, while teaching their children the importance of going after one’s dreams. I am always looking to partner with local businesses for collaborations in addition to my regular content inspired by my everyday life as a wife and mother. If you’re interested in working together on a future project contact me at motherhoodbymeredith@gmail.com Happy shopping!

https://motherhoodbymeredith.com/2018/11/20/shop-downtown-edmond/

Shop Downtown Edmond

As a non-native Okie, I surprised even myself when I pushed to move back here after my husband finished his medical training in Virginia. This time instead of living on the south side of the metro we moved to Edmond. As a girl who previously thought Nichols Hills was pretty much as far north as I needed to venture, I knew I had a lot to learn about my new surroundings. Edmond has so much to offer. During this holiday season, I want to encourage everyone to shop local. This post is the first in my two part series highlighting some great local places to shop for the holidays and beyond. This post will showcase three of my favorite downtown Edmond shops Hello Love Salon and Boutique, Moore Home Interiors, and Urban Agrarian.

While these three business may seem like they are more different than they are alike, there are a few common threads that weave them together. Firstly, they all share retail space along Downtown Edmond’s iconic S. Broadway. Secondly, I am a patron and lover of all three. I would not write and share that of which I do not love. And finally, each of these fabulous businesses took a leap of faith. They saw in the community and within themselves, a calling. This is something that really hits home for me. I think so often we sell ourselves short of our dreams, but these businesses are out there working hard, hustling for what they believe in and what they think they can bring to the table here in Edmond. I just want to be a part of supporting that kind of a labor of love.

Hello Love Salon & Boutique

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photo credit: Dani G Photography

What is it all about? This darling salon owned by mom boss MacKenzie Edgeman, is a full service salon additionally housing boutique space featuring adorable housewares and gifts. More than just a salon, Hello Love, is a home for clients. MacKenzie’s character is so clear in her business model. Hello Love provides haircuts for the homeless, has a special program Beautiful You for women battling cancer, raises money for child abuse prevention and so much more. The salon is extremely family friendly making it an ideal place for moms to get pampered. Know a mom or MIL or sister that has everything? I have never met a lady that doesn’t like spa and beauty treatments. Especially from a salon with such integrity and passion. Let MacKenzie and her fabulous team make you or your gift recipient feel as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside!

Contact: (405) 285-2021 130 N. Broadway Ste. 140 helloloveok.com

Moore Home Interiors

 

What is it all about? Erin Moore created Moore Home Interiors as a way to harness her unique eye for blending vintage design with modern luxury. Erin grew up antiquing with her mother in Houston and when life gave this sweet southern bell the lemons to make lemonade she jumped right on it. Her original location is housed inside the Broadway Antique Market, a quintessential Edmond spot, if you haven’t had the pleasure of exploring its treasures. Erin’s wares range from the beautifully scented Lampe Berger oil diffusers to vintage furniture to art and everything in between. Her endeavors have been so successful that she is opening a second location at the Market at Quail Springs. In addition to her brick and mortar locations, Erin has also helped several clients with interior design consultation services and just started working with a builder on home staging. This girl knows her décor! Stop on in for the perfect gift that will surely win you points with your impossible to buy for cousin or just a little something for yourself.

Contact: (405) 340-8215 114. S Broadway moorehomeinteriors.com

Urban Agrarian

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What is it all about? Urban Agrarian is new to the Broadway, but not to the Edmond community as a whole. This landmark farmer’s market stand took on a major growth spurt this year opening two storefronts, one here in Edmond and one in OKC. With a cheese case and butcher on the horizon, as well as breakfast and coffee (every mamas dream come true), the store features locally sourced delicious and gorgeous food. Everything from produce to farm fresh egg to packaged locally sourced goods. An additional service that I know moms will drool over, is their grocery pick up. By reserving your online order by Tuesday, locally sourced items will be available for pick up the following weekend. I love how the store makes me feel both like I am in a big city and a small town at the same time. One of my favorite things to do for the toughest people on my holiday shopping list is to make small gift baskets. Urban Agrarian would be the PERFECT place to get your hands of some beautifully items for such a basket. Local honey, chocolate covered toffee…come to mama. Check out their website for online ordering and food sourcing information.

Contact: (405) 231-1919 1 E. Main St urbanagrarian.com

I hope you will consider shopping local this holiday season. My next post will feature several mom run businesses that I think are fantastic places to buy gifts this holiday season and beyond. If you are interested in a collaboration with Motherhood by Meredith and your business, please email me at motherhoodbymeredith@gmail.com Happy shopping!!

http://visitedmondok.com/events/228/small-business-saturday-downtown-edmond.htm

The Gratitude Attitude: Shifting Perspectives of Stay-At-Home Mommin’

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I love being a stay at home mom. That does not mean I love everything about it. Especially recently, as I await the birth of my second child, I have been struggling with who I am outside of the definition of mom. I am a wife too. But what else? Where are the qualities that are uniquely me? These kind of questions are so important to ask, but the guilt and feelings of selfishness that come along with them are not easy. In a conversation with my sweet husband a while back, he asked if I would rather go back to work. A simple question that should have made me feel like the possibilities for our current arrangement could shift if that would make us happier as a family. Namely, my sweet hubby, was asking what can we do to make you happier? I should have been over joyed and called some sort of awards sales place to get his name etched on a Husband of the Year trophy. Instead, I got upset and offended. Am I doing a terrible job staying home? Is that why he wants me to go back to work? I could have an Olympic medal in reading into statements incorrectly. After some calming down and clarification. Ahhh clarification, the WD40 of relationships. I complained that while I loved being home for each of the milestones of our son, sometimes I felt like I wasn’t using my brain and didn’t feel as fulfilled as I thought I would being a stay at home mom. My husband in all of his brilliance asked, “Did you really expect to be fulfilled by dishes?? They call staying home a job because its work.”

Guys, I am calling the trophy dealer. He may just be a genius. I keep coming back to this statement of brilliance when I am having a particularly rough day. It’s work. But good news is, there is joy in work! A sense of accomplishment. Getting sloppy kisses from my son is a gift. That is not work and I don’t intend to take the flexibility of our situation for granted. It is truly a huge blessing that we can make my staying home work for our family. My challenge is the gratitude attitude. I don’t have to enjoy each toilet ring to enjoy being a stay at home mom. My goal this Thanksgiving season is to find an attitude shift in my top 5 least favorite household and mothering tasks. So here it goes:

  • Waking up Early: I was a night shift nurse for almost a decade. I loveeee to sleep in. That genetic predisposition was not inherited by my offspring. 6:30am is a late check out at Hotel Redmon. Attitude shift: My son is always so happy to see me. I am very lucky to generally get to be the first person to hug him each morning. Bring on the end of Day Light Savings!
  • Toddler Tantrums: This is a new phase for us. I think a lot of my frustration here comes from the fact that sometimes I also want to lay on the floor of Target and scream. I, however, have language skills. I am thankful that I can communicate my feelings (usually) in order to have my needs met.
  • Laundry: Laundry is super gratifying once it’s all folded and put away. I have one (ONE) disciplined chore that I do on the same day every week like my grandmother (mother of eight!). I change my sheets on Tuesdays. I love Tuesdays. I feel accomplished even if all I do around the house is make the bed, I know I will sleep better.
  • Changing Dirty Diapers: A regular child is a happy child. No one likes to be backed up. I will attempt to laugh to myself and think of the book “Everybody Poops”.
  • Toddler Meals Spilled Purposefully onto a Freshly Cleaned Floor: This one is really hard for me. Thank goodness we have a dog without a discerning palate. The issue is several fold for me. I cooked the food and now you destroyed it, made a mess and are likely still hungry. Especially as the months get colder, I will remind myself to be thankful that I have a home to clean up and enough food to make another PBJ. He is only little for just a little while.

So I am not fulfilled by dishes? Oh well. I am still a good mother. As long as I try to shift my attitude to gratitude I bet I find more fulfillment than I thought possible in this work.

A Mama’s Guide to Cold & Flu Season

rawpixel-1113214-unsplashWhether you’re a thieves or a bleach household, nothing breaks a mama heart quite like a sick baby. And nothing makes you feel more helpless than those all nighters with a coughing, stuffy, bodily fluid excreting little that you cannot trade places with …until a few days later when you inevitably get it too. I am by no means an expert and nothing in this post should replace the advice of your pediatrician, but I can promise all the information is scientifically sourced. I get a few a lot of texts from mamas when their kids are sick due to my background as a pediatric nurse. I would say the panicked curious texts occur in the greatest numbers after pediatricians offices close, on the weekends or over holidays. You know, when kids get sick! So here is my quick guide to cold and flu season highlighting the most common subjects of those text messages.

My child has a fever. What should I do?

A fever is not a sickness in and of itself, but rather a symptom. It can be a scary one, especially when you see your child not feeling well. A fever is a temperature of 100.4 or greater. As great of mom super powers as you have (and I am totally guilty of this) you cannot guess a fever with your hand on your kiddo’s forehead. You actually have to take it. Generally speaking, managing the symptoms of the underlying illness are all you have to do for a fever. Keep your child comfortable, stay calm, and make sure he or she remains well hydrated (fevers make children dehydrate more quickly). Young infants (less than 12 weeks) should be seen by pediatricians immediately for fevers as should any child with changes in behavior or consciousness. Read more at Fever Without Fear.

What is the difference between Tylenol and Motrin?

Piggybacking off our last topic, the most common reason I have given either of these medicines as a mama is either teething associated pain or fever. To understand which one to chose its good to know how they differ.

Tylenol/Acetaminophen is one of the oldest pain medicines we have for kids. It’s also one of the safest! I love safety swoon. Tylenol is best used for pain and for its antipyretic properties which is a fancy way of saying fever reducer. The main caution with Tylenol is liver toxicity (ie don’t use for a wine hangover if you’re post thirty- if you’re younger than this you’ll understand someday) so pay close attention to either the box dose or your pediatrician’s recommendations for dosage. Cliff notes: Give for pain or fever. Give the right amount every 4-6 hours.

Motrin/Ibuprofen is part of a drug class called NSAIDs which are anti-inflammatory medications or medications that reduce swelling/inflammation. I really like Motrin for teething associated discomfort for this reason because of the gum swelling that occurs. Motrin also is a great fever reducer. Motrin cannot be given to children under six months of age. Cliff notes: Give for pain or fever in children over six months every 6-8 hours.

When you need to use both medications, say for a stubborn fever or to maximize pain control you may alternate. This is probably the number one question I get: These are two different medications, you will have the best coverage if the doses are spaced out, but there is no set time frame for how close or how far apart they have to be when you alternate Motrin and Tylenol. You’re thinking too hard, mama.

Do we need antibiotics?

Maybe, but probably not. I say this with a major caveat. No one can answer that question via text message. A question like that requires an exam. We, as loving mamas of our littles, want to fix them when they are sick. We want to kiss the booboo and make it all better. The thing that sucks, and that’s the right word for it sucks is that most illnesses this time of year are viruses. Antibiotics only treat bacterial infections. The Flu (influenza), RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus/Bronchiolitis), Croup and so many others cannot be fixed with antibiotics. If you take an antibiotic with a virus and get better, that’s coincidence. Only your pediatrician can tell you if you need antibiotics. They are well educated and follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines for prescribing those medications. And please, please don’t go in there demanding them. They have risks so if they aren’t what your child needs, then you don’t want them.

Here are a few other points I would like to add in for good measure:

-Don’t send your child to school/a birthday party/etc sick. Generally schools have a handbook that dictates criteria for returning healthy. In most cases its 24 hours after symptoms have resolved.

-If your child gets sick after a play date and you let the other mama know, that’s kind of you. If someone let’s you know, respond with grace. These things happen. Unless its a pattern, make like Taytay and Shake It Off.

-For real, you don’t need a ZPack every time you sneeze (or albuterol, but that’s a whole other rant.)

-Get a flu shot (and all your shots) and you know you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. If you do not know this, I would love to give you some peer reviewed resources on why this is so.

-The NoseFrida is your friend. Know her. Love her. Use her to treat all the snotty baby illnesses.

-Text a friend anytime. No one can do motherhood alone.

I would say those are the big three: fever, medications, and antibiotics. I hope this has been a helpful roundup of information. Most importantly you are the mama. You know your baby like no one else. If something doesn’t feel right, you know in your gut. I don’t know a pediatrician I respect that would ever be upset with a peace of mind phone call.

Special thanks to my medical friends who assisted with this post!

Find more helpful health information for your kids at https://www.healthychildren.org/English/Pages/default.aspx

 

True Mama Confession: I Kind of Hate Halloween

rawpixel-1048261-unsplashTrue confession: I love fall, but I kind of hate Halloween. Sure the precious babes all decked out in their darling costumes make my heart smile, but beyond that…ehhh. I hate scary movies and anything occult. Maybe it all goes back to not being invite to the cool kids drinking party in middle school, but choosing instead to hold on (a little too long) to trick or treating. I will tell you, even though my oldest is but a toddler the thought of middle schoolers consuming alcohol is way scarier than any horror film I can fathom. Are you like me? Are you a Halloween hater or are ghosts and ghouls your jam? If the skeletal season isn’t for you, here are some tips I have found that have made my least favorite cold weather holiday more fun.

Make it about the kids.

This one is easy. From my first “mom” Halloween pregnant with my oldest, we made Halloween about handing out candy to little darlings and it was all the more fun. We dressed as a quarterback and a pregnant cheerleader, I thought I looked huge, quiet laugh for the sixteen week pregnant belly of a first time mom. Also of note, my lack of understand of how this costume could be offensive showcased how motherhood is a long lesson in sensitivity training. Long gone are the days of dressing up as a sexy fill-in-the-blank at a party filled with Jell-O shots. I am not sure I really enjoyed it when it was age appropriate. I’d much rather wear black yoga pants and a black t-shirt and cat ears or a witch hat. My son, Ben, told me this year he wanted to be an astronaut. Which shocked me, mostly because of the number of syllables in that word and the fact that I had no idea he knew what an astronaut was. See future posts entitled, “Why I Love Mother’s Day Out.” And “What Screen Time Teaches My Children While I Mindlessly Facebook.” Avery is going to be an alien because after 45 min on Pinterest it was available via Amazon Prime.

Candy.

I saw a meme the other day that according to the US government we are really doing our kids a disservice if we don’t take 40% of their candy as “taxes”. I support this. Who am I to keep my kids from learning a valuable lesson? Can I help if primarily Reese’s and Twix are the taxed candy? Nope. I’ll claim it’s random. (spoiler: it’s not.)

Use it as a Holiday Season Bench Mark.

After Halloween it’s completely acceptable to start watching Love Actually on the daily and eating pot pie weekly. I am already looking up recipes for Thanksgiving and have even bought a few Christmas presents. Don’t worry though, the epic (EPIC I tell you) procrastinator that I am will still leave most of the prep until the very last minute. I do love to use my pie dish regularly. Since my body hasn’t worn jeans, at least jeans without lycra in them, consistently in about four years I owe it to my yoga pants to test the seams with some holiday baking. Maybe I’ll get crazy and try a little yoga in them as well. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Anything can happen.

I’m off to Target to replenish the bag of Halloween candy that clearly had a hole in it for our pending trick or treaters. I will be answering the door cauldron in hand with a smile on my face and two costumed little darlings. Until bedtime, that is,  when the porch lights go off and the candy wine pairing experiment begins. Ring the doorbell after that at your own risk.

What do you think of Halloween? Love it or Leave it?

 

A Shout Out to Situational Friends

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Friends Forever. Surely we all had charm bracelets or anklets if you were an eighties babe like me. But most of our friendships probably have an expiration date. It took me a really long time to come around to this concept. In fact, I don’t know that every day I am totally there, but some people are just meant to be situational friends. And that is 100% Okay! God puts people into our lives to teach us a lesson or help us grow in a particular phase. Then when our life, or their’s twists and turns, as lives always do, the friendships fade away. I spent a lot of time mourning the loss of these relationships, instead of doing what I should be doing. Honoring them for the gift that they were and moving the hell on with my life. Here’s some things that have helped me on this imperfect journey:

Situational friends are completely necessary.

Thinking about moving into my college dorm room, riddled with anxiety I needed the friends I made in those years to talk me through bad college relationships (thank thankfully also did not last), bad grades on tests I tried to wing, and all the pressures that came when my non-fully developed frontal lobe thought that college was the “real world.” I don’t keep up with most of my college friends. I think that’s a product of moving back to the middle of the country after going to college in Philadelphia and having most of my friends remain there or in Manhattan after school. Nothing happened really to most of those relationships, just time and distance. I will, never be able to thank those friends enough for being there for me the first time I was on my own.

It is (usually) not my fault.

Things just happen. People move away. People get into serious relationships and shift priorities, interests, or just change themselves entirely. I used to think that any time a relationship dissipated, it was my fault. Was there something wrong with me that I couldn’t manage to keep all of my friends forever? Sure,I have some friends that I have managed to keep around a long time, but why did it seem that more friendships ended than celebrated friendiversaries? The more I talked to other women the more I realized this is a very natural progression in life. I was not unique. Now I’ll be honest, I have my flaws and I’m sure some friendships did end, in fact I know some did, because of things I did. The most important thing in those friendships was to look for the lesson.

And there is always a lesson.

Have you ever been used by a friend? Or someone you thought was a friend? I’m sure we all have. Learning these lessons made me truly value the kind generous people in my life. Unfortunately, the best teacher of this is when I treated someone badly. I joke with my toddler that I’d rather have him get hit at a play date than hit a kid. I know, I know that sounds terrible, hear me out! I handle being gracious, much better than feeling guilty. The lesson is much bigger when we have to face our shortcomings head on and learn from them. Ugh! Personal growth. Its actually the worst. Haha.

The ones that last are gold.

I have a group of friends that have known me since I was fourteen. Acne covered, braces, and awkward fourteen. They saw my first boyfriend dump me and watched me get married. These ladies know me in a way that predates my knowledge of myself. This is amazing and also terrifying. They can call me on things in a way many other friends cannot. I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. I say this to make you, dear reader, treasure your long term friendships, but not to deter you from making new ones. Because while these ladies know me historically super well, I see them maybe once a year. Distance, jobs, children, you know life gets in the way. My friends that I am doing motherhood with on a daily basis can tell you what my toddler will eat and where I hide candy from my kids. Are all of these friends lifers or are some of them situational as well? Only time will tell. I think Girl Scouts said it best,

“Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.”

I hope you have a life filled with both silver and gold!

Can You Share Opinions With Out Being A Sanctimommy?

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Is it possible to be opinionated on parenting via social media and not come across like a total sanctimommy? In all honesty, I’m not really sure. I have several topics on which I am extremely passionate. Passionate probably to a fault, especially in how I express my opinion. From research I have read, one is unlikely to change the opinion of an opposing view point by berating or at least typing in all caps on Facebook. Ok, I am kind of paraphrasing but you get the gist. Hence why everyone hates all the judge moms roaring all over social media. In church today, our pastor finished up a sermon series called Jesus Didn’t Say That. This final week focused on “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin.” A phrase I’ve heard more since moving below the Mason-Dixon Line, but essentially it’s the Christian equivalent to internet mom shaming. Even if your intention is good, no one is going to listen to the point of your message if shame is the overarching tone.

I will be the first to say this is not something that is within my list of strengths. I am good and judging. I can spot a scrunchy from like a mile off. Maybe that’s because I am praying if I am talking about that poor soul’s scrunchy you won’t notice my third day of dry-shampooed hair and VPL (visible panty line) through my yoga pants because let’s be real, some days a thong just ain’t happening. It’s a part of our culture, that whole worrying about the sins of others while blatantly ignoring our own.

The sheer number of times I have gotten caught up in comment wars is embarrassing and I am so glad I don’t have hard data on things like this. I am fiery and highly emotional. There are benefits to this, I do have off the charts empathy, but I cannot watch even a commercial with a hint of injustice without waterworks. I want other parents to know what I know from experience. Especially from my nursing experience. I want people to understand the difference between a good, scientific source for information and an opinion (like this ironically). But I do fear that often that passion is misconstrued or mishandled by me and comes across as too much.

I scour the internet constantly for parenting tips de jour. Because doesn’t it seem like as soon as you master one phase, a new one comes at you like a freight train or at least like Thomas the Tank Engine? Maybe that’s why we are all so keen on noticing the flaws in each other’s styles. None of us has any idea what we are doing. Quite frankly the moms who scare me the most are the ones who are unafraid. If you are completely convinced that you have this parenting thing down you might just be a Martian in my book.

If you’re worried about being a good mom that means you already are one. –Jodi Picoult

I am not going to attempt to squelch my passions because that’s not honoring who I am meant to be, but I will pause and take a breath. Maybe 32 (coming up fast in November) will finally be the year I know my thoughts before I hear them coming out of my mouth. Or at least recognizing the power of the backspace button. Probably not, but it’s a great goal. The whole purpose of my blog is A) to build a community however small of women who recognize this time in motherhood is messy beautiful and B) to grow as a woman and writer. So if you need me, I’ll be ordering a scrunchy off Prime, I’d make one off Pinterest but we should really embrace our strengths and mine is clicking rather than stitching. I will be attempting kindness over judgment as I wing my way through each parenting phase. And by wing I mean cry/google/laugh my way through. I hope you’ll join me with comments and your own experience.

Go On That Mom-Cation: Tips For A Successful Cup-Filling Trip

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Go on that Mom-cation. Having just come back from a long weekend with two girl friends, I can personally attest: Stop making excuses, make a plan, and GO! The concept has been all over the media recently with viral articles such as Psychologists Suggest Mothers Take Breaks By Going on Mom-cation. For both a brighter and darker view of humanity I suggest you read the comments. Going on a girls only mom trip does not mean A) you don’t love your children B) you are a selfish jerk or C) Dad shouldn’t get his time too. What it does mean is that having a 24/7 unpaid often thankless job of motherhood, regardless of whether or not you also have a job outside the home, entitles you to a little R&R every once and a while. Here are a few pointers to help you plan your own such getaway.

A Resort or Even a Destination is Not Required.

So you and ten of your closest girls want to spend the week on an over the water bungalow in Tahiti? Well, I have neither the derriere nor the Kardashian cash to make that happen. For my trip we borrowed a family members beach condo (FREE), but it could be as simple as shipping one lady’s hubby and kiddos to grandma’s and loading up on popcorn and Netflix at her place for the weekend. The point isn’t the scenery, it’s the rest and the late night (9pm) chats without having to wake up 5 times through the night.

Your Spouse and Kids will Appreciate You in Your Absence.

Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder. I think it is so good for my children to witness what a great parent their father is without mommy around. Although this isn’t easy to admit, often as the primary caregiver (because I stay home) I find myself saying or doing things that undercut his wonderful parenting just because it’s not exactly how I may have done something. So what? Our kids benefit from the balance between different parents as long as they present a united front on big issues. It’s also so sweet to miss the little monsters who have my whole heart, but also drive me a little bananas most days. I didn’t check the monitor on my phone every night while I was gone from my phone just to watch them sleeping or anything…

Expect Changes to Your Plans.

At the conceptualization of this trip, we had eight of us interested in going. Three went. Babies and kids and schedules are just this phase of life. Who better to be flexible than a bunch of moms? Would eight girls have been fantastic? Of course. But it would have been a completely different kind of trip. With three, we had deeper conversations and less to work around logistically. My daughter vomited two days before we left because that’s just what kids do.

You’ll Return Refreshed.

Much of this phase of parenting young children feels a little like the movie Groundhog Day. It’s fun to have treats that fill your soul and connect you back with friends on a level that sometimes gets put on the back burner while raising small children. I want my children to see me making time for my friendships. I want them to see their father doing the same. Of course we can’t do this all the time. Our priorities are as they should be our marriage and children. I encourage you though to not let so much time pass without giving yourself a break with friends. Even if it’s just an afternoon away or a night at a friend’s house. It will be well with your soul. And that will reflect on to all those we hold most dear.

Why I Think the Breastfeeding Badges Can Send the Wrong Message

dave-clubb-427588-unsplashBreastfeeding is amazing. The amount of bonding and immune support a fragile infant can gain from his or her nursing mother is astounding. I think all motherhood victories should be celebrated because, as I have learned, many are hard fought with blood, sweat and tears. But here’s the thing, not everyone can breastfeed. Publicly displaying a trophy of your body’s ability may make other women in the throes of post-partum mood swings and new motherhood feel shamed and inadequate.

Now before I get too many members of La Leche League sending me hate mail, I will acknowledge that this is just my opinion and I fully support breastfeeding. I breastfed both of my babies through too many bouts of mastitis and a lot of post-partum anxiety. And then I switched to formula at eight months with both kids. I still often feel the need to defend this choice amongst breastfeeding advocates, which maybe says more about me than it does about them. However, the key word for me is choice. Many women, dear friends even, have not had the choice to breastfeed. Whether it be from medications needed for their mental or physical health, supply issues, or lack of support.

The Shame Game

Post-partum depression and anxiety awareness is thankfully increasing in our society, which is fantastic since it’s the numbers show how wide spread such conditions really are. One of the hallmarks of these disorders is shame. Far more often than is acceptable, mothers are told they are inadequate based on their choices, ability to “bounce back” to their pre-pregnant shapes (and personalities), etc. So this post is not a war on the celebration of breastfeeding achievement. I will be the first one to hug you when you’ve successfully breastfed your baby, but I will also bring you a can of formula and a glass of wine when you wean.

Babies need to eat.

I was a part of an online breastfeeding group that was advocating for some downright dangerous practices to avoid formula supplementation. In one instance, a woman’s pediatrician was pleading with her to supplement even so far as having to get DHS involved because she simply could not come to terms with the fact that her baby was malnourished to the point of needing hospitalization. Of course this is an extreme situation. I know there are many support group that do wonders for breastfeeding women. But the fact that this group had over 1,000 members, some of them healthcare workers, and not one member said anything along the lines of do what you need to do to help your baby. Social media has undoubtedly added to the guts of sanctimommies everywhere. People are telling complete strangers what terrible mothers they are in ways they never would in person.

Women are simply incredible.

We should not feel any less so if our bodies or our minds make a choice to feed our babies in whatever way works for us. Motherhood is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. The days are so long and the gratifications is often delayed. I completely understand the desire for social media credit for the tireless work breastfeeding requires. I just think it can hurt others struggling. If you breastfed for 18 months, I am so proud of you. If you breastfed for 18 hours and decided it was not for you, I am proud of you. Don’t let anyone’s need to feel validated for their parenting make you feel inadequate. Breast milk may be liquid gold, but your support about a woman’s choice is worth its weight in said gold.