Big Ups to All Our Mom Haters!

There you are scrolling through your Instagram or Facebook, reading posts about parenting, and advice. Something resonates with you so you click on the comments. There you see a mile long list of people judging the author of that post for her take on raising her child.

Now you feel attacked because seconds ago you were nodding along like “hell yeah mama,I feel you!”

Or, maybe you joined a group on Facebook for mothers. Maybe a topic is on a particular parenting method you’re trying out. You write a question because, let’s be honest, none of us actually know what we’re doing here. You ask for help on whatever subject you are stuck on. You post, and close out your phone hoping some angel will help you out, and make you feel like you’re not alone on this.

An hour later you check your post, it’s blown up. Many lovely, supportive mamas have written back to you giving advice or saying “you got this!” “Do you!” … but then there are the few “I don’t know if you know this but that’s NOT how you should do this”, “I would NEVER!”… you know what I’m talking about.

Here you are, a tired, confused, mentally drained mama just trying to figure out how to raise a kind, happy, little human, grasping for a life line… instead they cast you out to sea without a raft.

Listen ladies. This mom thing isn’t easy. It’s hard, like really, REALLY, hard.

We put our heart and soul into every waking moment we have with our kids. We want the best for them. BUT NO ONE HAS A HANDBOOK!

Not to mention the fact that every single person, mother and child, are so different. What works for one kid may not work for the next.

You may have found the perfect parenting book for you, and the methodology works like a charm for you and your kids. Maybe your family is exactly as you want it… but guess what, your idea of the perfect family may not be mine! You know what else? It’s totally fine.

We all come from different places, different types of families, different backgrounds, so it doesn’t make sense that there’s a one size fits all method of parenting.

I’m so happy that you give your child zero screen time ever, and that it works for you. Seriously, I applaud it, and I tried that. But when I’m trying to get dinner ready and my daughter is overtired cuz she refused her second nap, snacks won’t distract her, she refuses to play independently, wants to be held, and I’m home alone… I let her watch 20 minutes of tv and feel ZERO guilt. Someone else may give their kid a few hours of screen time a day and I want them to feel ok with their choice too!

Just because I want to limit my kids intake of screen time, doesn’t give me the right to tell someone else how they should raise their own kid. I knew this inherently before becoming a mom, so I kind of thought everyone would.. turns out I was wrong!

I have decided to incorporate montessori and Waldorf style parenting, and a respectful parenting approach when it comes to raising my daughter. I joined some Facebook groups for ideas on activities, ways to set up our home to be helpful in this, and support. I don’t do everything by the book. I’m a firm believer in taking what works for you, and leaving the rest.

I never really post, but have seen post after post of new moms trying to learn how to incorporate some of these things, being berated for not doing it the “right” way. Some people are purists, and if they see a mom say their kid is doing anything that strays away from the exact ideology they scold!

You bet your ass I comment on those posts, backing up the poor mama who reached out for help and got yelled at instead.

Moms, you know how exhausting and hard figuring all this out is. So why are we attacking one another for having different beliefs and making different choices?

If you disagree with another mom’s choice of how she feeds her kids, how much screen time she allows, that she lets her kids play princess, that she isn’t pushing gender neutrality, that her 3 year old still has a binky, that she lets her son have a doll, that she cosleeps, that she doesn’t cosleep, or anything else she may choose to do, DON’T COMMENT.

Yep it’s that simple.

If you see another mom being judged for asking a question, or stating how she does something, back her up. Tell her she’s doing an amazing job, and doing the best for her kids.

All that matters is that she’s taking care of her children. That they are loved, fed, and supported. It doesn’t actually matter how!

It’s hard enough trying to learn what works best for your kids, and how to approach all the curves parenthood throws at you. No one needs a negative Nancy telling them they’re doing it wrong on top of it all.

Let’s be the kind of people we want our children to be. Kind, happy, and supportive.

If someone tells you about something they are doing with their kids, and it doesn’t align with your type of parenting, just smile and nod. You’re entitled to raise your children the way you want, and so is she.

Lift one another up, don’t tear another mom down. We’re all struggling in this together. Yes, even the moms who claim to know it all… surprise! They don’t!

Don’t let the mom-shamers get you down either. For every opinionated loud mouth mama I have met, there are 10 more who are ready to cheer you on.

My best mama friends and I do everything completely different and somehow we all still manage to tell each other we’re doing amazing when we need to hear it most. Find a mom tribe that supports you through it all.

Remember that we all feel lost, like we are failing, or don’t know what the heck we are doing at times. Be kind, always.

The way you’re treating others shows your children how they should treat others. So before you go shaming another mom on the internet, or in real life, think about how you’d feel if your kid did that to someone else.

We’re all gonna get a little mom shaming from time to time, and for those moments I like to use the beautiful words from Shawty-Lo: “Big ups, to all my haters!”

You do you mamas, I support you. You got this!

We Plan… Baby Laughs

I have always been a planner.

I like to plan what I’m eating for each meal, I like to plan my weekends (a good 5 days ahead), I like to plan what time I’ll be in bed. I just like to have a plan!

Since becoming a parent, planning has become super interesting. Plans become EXTRA important in many ways.

We have to plan ahead and pack 100 diapers… just in case our kids randomly decide to poop up their backs. Hand in hand with that, we need to make sure we have an extra outfit in case they do, have an extra layer in case it gets cold, extra socks, cooler clothes, pjs… just in case!

We need to plan a time when we absolutely have to start getting everyone ready so that we’re only a few minutes late, and not an hour late. We need to plan waaaaaay ahead of time if we want to do anything without our kids, because we need someone to commit to watching them.

There’s a whole lot of planning going on here!

Today I planned on taking my daughter to a play date at our church. It’s a weekly open play date held by the local mother’s club, and I was excited to finally go to one with her. I RSVPd on Facebook a week ago with excitement! I seriously love taking Tori to play with other kids, because she lights up around them.

My best friends also had planned to take their little ones, which I appreciated because I’m shy around new people.

My daughter woke at 7:30 this morning, just as I finished writing up my last report for work. PERFECT! That meant she would take her nap by 8:30, and be up by 9:30, giving us just enough time to get dressed and get out the door to make it right on time! We played for a bit, read some books, I nursed her and right on cue she started rubbing her tired eyes.

With a smile on my face for my perfect planning, I brought her to her room to lay her down. I kissed her, handed her her pacifier and waved as I closed the door, proud of myself to sticking to such a good schedule.

She didn’t make a peep! Wonderful! This was going just as I planned…

I began emailing the reports I had finished. I got about 10 minutes in, and that’s when I heard it.

“Maaaaaaama! Maaaaaaaaaama! Daaaaaadaaaaa!”

She was not sleeping. Not even laying down. I opened my baby monitor app and low and behold, my sweet angel baby wasn’t napping. Nope, she was preforming a concert for her stuffed animals in her room. She sang loud and proud, and bounced her knees as she smacked the side of her crib to keep the beat.

I waited. “She’ll go to sleep, just give her a few minutes,” I thought to myself.

Well, 30 minutes passed, and she was on her second set. It sounded like her teddy bears were demanding an encore, and she wasn’t going to disappoint.

She was happy, so I let her continue her merriment.

About 45 minutes into her performance, she took her final bow and laid down for her nap.

I looked at the clock… plans had been derailed. There was NO way that we were gonna be at the play date before 10:30, and at that point it was far more work to get there than it would be worth it.

I texted my girlfriends “why is it that every time I make plans my child refuses to take her nap?” This is universal code to our other mom friends for “hey… don’t kill me but we’re probably not going to make it.”

Within seconds I had two texts back saying the exact same things. No ones plans were going the way we had hoped.

#MOMLIFE… am I right? Why do we even bother trying sometimes?

It seemed that none of our babies wanted to nap, and wouldn’t be up in time for the play date. This didn’t stop me from having hope for a few minutes!

We even attempted a new plan to possibly go for a walk instead after the girls napped… key word POSSIBLY.

You guessed it… that didn’t happen either!

The planner in me wants to freak out when these things happen.

In my head my daughter and I were going to have a beautiful day. We were going to meet other moms, she was going to play with other babies, and we were all going to have so much fun.

I’ve grown used to plans changing quickly and abruptly over the last 9 months, and I’ve learned to embrace it. It is what it is.

Yes, it would have been lovely to get out of the house for an hour today and have some adult conversation. Yes, Victoria would have had a blast and probably taken a nice long nap for me this afternoon. Yes, time with my girlfriends would have been amazing.

It would have been great, but it’s ok that we couldn’t make it. There will be others.

I used to beat myself up when I’d make plans and they got all thrown off. Now I have been forced to learn to accept it and go with the flow.

No, my plan didn’t work out today.

Instead Victoria and I took the dog for an extra long walk on the farm after we fed our ducks. She and I sang and laughed the whole time. We ran into her aunt on our walk and she got to see her and smiled from ear to ear.

We laughed together as I showed her pictures of my grandmothers and asked her if she had met them in heaven (pretty sure she said yes). She learned how to say “Nana” and “Oma” (what HER two grandmothers go by). We danced to some music.

We snuggled.

We smiled… a LOT!

Today didn’t go as planned, but it did turn out to be a pretty awesome day with my daughter. Just the two of us.

That’s what is important these days; not the plans I make and wish would work out. The important thing these days is making the most of the precious time I have with my little girl; soaking up every second of the days I get to spend with her, and giving her my full attention.

She’s not going to remember the group play date that mommy didn’t take her to when she was 9 months old. She WILL remember that I made her laugh, smile, and feel so loved. She will remember how often I just let her be herself and play, and sat back to watch her.

It does seem that every time I make a plan Tori throws it completely off, but that’s ok.

It’s totally fine, because it also seems that the days those plans go out the window are some of the most magical days we have together.

So mamas embrace those plans that went up in flames. Remember to just enjoy every moment we have with these precious gifts we call our children.

Every moment we get with them is a part of the greater plan, and that’s all that matters.

Thank You for Being a Friend… Seriously, Thank You!

As you prepare for your future child you pour yourself into research, you read all the books, you make all the lists.

You browse the aisles of Buy Buy Baby with your partner with a twinkle in your eye as you compile your registry.

You Pinterest all the baby hacks, and things you need to keep your baby alive for their first year.

You set aside a room in your house for the nursery and nest til your little hearts content!

You have your shower and neatly put away all the things that you have been told are completely necessary to raise your little baby (many of which you will never use or open).

Well I’m here to tell you that one of the most important things that you will need when your child is born is not on that baby registry. Nope! You won’t find it in that parenting book you have read cover to cover, you definitely can’t buy it in a store, and most likely no one has even mentioned it to you as a necessity.

In my experience so far, this has been extremely important to my survival as a mom. You simply need some really good mom friends.

Sorry husbands, and family members! You are also important. You cooked for me for weeks after the baby came, you cared for me, and you love my daughter better than I could ever hope for. I’m not taking any of you for granted, but hear me out.

Mom friends are so so so important.

Motherhood is the most amazing experience of my entire life, but it can also be super lonely. The days can feel long, and isolating when your trapped at home with a fussy baby, dealing with the baby blues, and trying to figure out how to keep yourself fed and clean on top of the pile of chores around the house.

My husband is absolutely amazing. I tell him all the time that I literally do not know how single parents do this, because without him I would be failing at life.

My parents, siblings and in-laws are wonderful. They have all gone above and beyond to help us out with the baby whenever we need, and have been an amazing support system for us.

Friends who aren’t parents yet are also super important. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to grab a drink with a girlfriend and have a conversation about her dating life, rather than diapers and burping. It’s a breath of fresh air to have a conversation about anything other than your baby when you’ve been taking care of them day in and day out. You need these friends to remind you that you’re still you even after having a kid. I’m beyond grateful for all of my good friends, and love them like family.

That being said, a good mom friend is the only person that can make it feel like you aren’t alone on new parent island!

My husband is a very social person. He will make friends with just about anyone. Seriously… we’ll be in a store 100 miles away from our house and I’ll come back from another aisle and find him laughing with some random person, and when I ask him who it is he says “I don’t know, just some guy I met in the aisle.” Needless to say, he’s always making new friends.

I am not this way. I am friendly, but slightly shy.

I’m horrible at keeping up with friends. If you haven’t heard from me in days, weeks, months, years it’s not because I stopped liking you, it’s because I literally cannot take care of myself and my home, (and now my child) and remain in contact with other people as often as if like.

In the past I have been known to say to my husband MANY times, “but we don’t need any new friends, I love our friends and I find it hard enough to keep up with socializing as it is!”

Well people… things change! Give me ALL the mom friends!

You know who doesn’t give a shit if you text them daily or weekly… other moms! They aren’t annoyed or thinking you hate them! They’re just as frazzled as you are, and odds are they read your last text and forgot to respond for a month because their baby woke from their nap as they opened it.

You know who isn’t offended that you are late to every single plan you make? Mom friends! Yeah you both said 10am, but you also both know that really meant whenever you manage to escape your house after battling your child.

You know who also isn’t offended that you canceled your plans an hour before you were supposed to meet? That’s right! Your mom friends! They get it. They have felt the sting of defeat when their child won’t nap, and is screaming at the top of their lungs as you try to get them dressed to go somewhere.

They just get it.

They’re going through these same things you are, and they couldn’t be happier to share all these hair pulling, tear jerking moments with you, as well as all of your triumphs.

It feels so good to have friends that text you back “oh girl, I am right there with you” when you feel like you could scream after a day of your child going on nap strike.

When you lose your shit, you need someone who is losing their shit right along side you, so that you don’t feel like you’re the only one who may be headed to the mental ward. It’s good to know you’ll be heading there with a friend or two.

No one else knows the feeling of wanting to murder their husbands almost every single day, while simultaneously loving them, and being ridiculously grateful for them at the same time. Yes men, you thought we were complex before… wait til we become mothers.

The other night I had the pleasure of grabbing a glass of wine with 4 other mamas. One of my friends started a story by saying “oh my gosh I have to tell you this story, because I know none of you will be shocked when I talk about poop!” Ain’t that the truth!

No one but a fellow mom will bond with you over poop stories. If I were to talk to any of my friends who’ve yet to have children, and recount the amount of blowout stories I have I’m pretty sure I may never hear from them again. You know who is happy to hear you vent about your kids “fun with feces”, and will happily compare stories with you? A mom friend! They are glad to compare and see who’s day was literally shittier!

You can talk about your kids non stop! You know when you’re out with a bunch of your friends who aren’t parents, and your having a conversation, and then you realize “oh my goodness, I’m just rambling about my kid… I can’t even stop! Have I run out of non-kid things to talk about?” Well, no worries about that when you’re with your mom friends!

The best thing about finding good mom friends is the support. No one lifts me up like my mama friends.

If I tell them I’m having an awful postpartum anxiety day, they check in on me. If any of us are having a hard time with something we get on our group chat and ask advice. We cry on each other’s shoulders. We tell each other “you’re right” when we need someone to reassure us.

We vent to each other about all the heartaches, emotions, and difficulties of mom life. We pour each other a glass of wine and let each other know it’s going to be ok. We try to get each other out of the house kid free (key word try).

We are all different. We each will parent our children differently. However, we are there for each other; there for all the hard times as well as the beautiful ones.

It doesn’t matter how you became a mom, if you are a stay at home, a working mom, or something in between. It doesn’t matter if you are super outgoing or super timid. It doesn’t matter if you have all the help in the world, or are struggling to stay afloat. This is the hardest job any of us will ever have. Having mom friends is like having a team of coworkers who you can bitch at the water cooler with.

If you are a new mom, or the only mom in your group of friends, I highly encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and find a mom friend. Even just one!

Take your kids to a play group, a baby program at your library, a mommy and me workout, join a mother’s club! Trust me, I am super shy when it comes to meeting new people, but it is worth it!

If you need a mom friend in your corner, I’m here for you.

Find your mom tribe, because no mama should ever feel alone; and because you’ll never feel more seen than you will sipping your cold coffee with a fellow mama who also isn’t quite sure if she brushed her teeth today or not. We’re all in this together.

Baby’s First Paints: edible and easy to clean

My daughter is 8 months old now and super curious. I’ve been noticing she gets bored much easier lately, and a bored baby is a cranky baby.

Our house isn’t very big, and I try not to clutter it with tons of toys for her. Honestly, her favorite things to play with lately are pots and pans, bowls and boxes.

I’m a firm believer that less is more for little kiddos. When I was younger, although we had plenty of toys, my favorite playful memories were made using my imagination. Kids today have so much technology and so many toys around them that I think it’s a little harder for them to tap into this part of their brain than it was for us.

I try to encourage Victoria to use her imagination already. I set down in her play area a few toys and let her play on her own with whatever she chooses however she chooses. It’s amazing to watch her little brain work when I’m sitting back and watching her play independently.

The other day she saw me painting at the kitchen table and seemed pretty curious. It gave me an idea.

She loves sensory play so I thought finger painting would be super fun for her. My one hesitation was that she’s also still at the age where EVERYTHING goes in her mouth.

I have non toxic paints for her… but I just didn’t feel comfortable with my 8 month old put a handful of chemicals that shouldn’t be ingested straight into her mouth. I’m sure it will happen eventually but I’d like to avoid it for now.

I researched some options and finally decided to make my own.

I combined 3 simple ingredients

  1. Flour
  2. Water
  3. Food coloring

In 3 ramekins I put about 2 Tbs of flour and slowly added some water and mixed the two until the mixture was the consistency of paint. Some I had to add more flour some I had to add a few more drops of water.

Once I got the right consistency I added the food coloring til I got the color I wanted.

I taped a piece of paper to her high chair tray, stripped her down so I wouldn’t have to do laundry, and let her get to work!

She immediately tasted every paint, and once she realized it didn’t taste like much got to painting!

She finger painted for about 30 minutes and then decided it was time to be done. But she sure made a masterpiece!

The paints wiped up easily off the high chair and a quick bath cleaned her right up! No staining no big mess. It was great!

I highly recommend trying this with your little one! The whole process of making the paint took less than 5 minutes and she had so much fun!

Happy play time!