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.

Welcome to the Hood

A few weeks ago my husband and I found ourselves having our regular evening conversation.

We’re still in the beginning stages of parenting so it still goes kind of like this: “she’s amazing, I just love her so much” “I’m so happy she is sleeping, but my goodness I miss her!” “Hey did you take any videos today? Got any pics we can look at?!”

Go ahead and gag if you want y’all, but I know this sweet baby stage isn’t gonna last, so just let me have this okay?!

Anyway, somewhere in this discussion my husband turned to me and said “you know, it used to annoy the shit out of me when people would say ‘you won’t know until you’re a parent what it feels like’ but omg it’s so true! It’s like a members only club, and we finally got the card!”

I laughed and said he was spot on, and we had a good chuckle about the naive, innocent, fun loving, footloose and fancy-free people we used to be 9 months ago.

RIP pre-baby Krupski’s! You had a good run of late nights, and quiet weekends where you could sleep in and nurse your hangovers from more than just one glass of wine. You blasted countless hours of Nicki Minaj on your car rides to work, and dropped the F-bomb freely whenever you F-in wanted to.

These were good times.

Enter Victoria Mary Krupski… the good times went to AMAZING times.

I truly mean that.

Yes, like I mentioned a few lines earlier, I can’t have more than a glass of wine without a raging hangover. Yes, my alarm clock is a squealing baby at 6 am no matter what day it is (ahhh sleeping in I remember you fondly). Yes, my radio no longer plays my favorite bands, and is now screaming “Baby Shark” until my ears bleed. Yes, any and all plans I make for a day are subject to change due to nap strikes, teething, tantrums, and days where all she wants is mama.

Yes to all of the above, but also HELL YES to it’s been the best 9 months of my life.

It’s hard as hell, and there is literally no freaking way to know what each day will be like (which for a planner like me was hard to come to terms with); but waking up each morning to her smiling face, snuggles and hearing her say “mama” as she reaches for me in her crib makes that all worth it.

Some days I want to cry, because I can’t get a single thing done. The days she wants me to hold her or nurse her non-stop. The days she refuses to nap. These are rough days for me, but at the end of the day, I always find myself a little bummed that they’re over. Never knew I could feel like that.

When she falls down and bumps her head, and cries (happening often because she’s determined to walk already), my heart literally feels like it’s breaking. Watching her little tears stream down her face, and hearing her scream cry “mama” kills me.

I never knew I could physically feel my child’s pain. She’ll stop crying two seconds after it happens and I’ll still be trying to recover. I’m so screwed when she goes to school and someone else’s kid does something to hurt her… anyone seen This is 40? Thinking that scene where the mom makes the little boy cry for picking on her daughter is a vision of my future.

The crazy rush of love that I get every single time I look into her eyes is overwhelming. As cliché as it is, there is literally no way to put that feeling into words.

I really can’t wait to put her to bed at the end of the day. I’m all touched out from her clinging to my neck. I can’t wait to sit in silence instead of next to her while she plays, because if I walk away she screams at me. I can’t wait to just have 10 minutes alone once she’s in bed.

Then the weirdest thing happens. I miss that little girl! Soooo freaking much.

I look at photos, Nick and I watch videos. We have conversations that mostly revolve around her. It’s ridiculous! Ridiculously amazing.

My mom was right (I see that happy smirk on your face Mom). All my mom friends were right. I didn’t know until I had my daughter what it felt like.

I have officially received my members only card into the craziest club I’ve ever had the pleasure of joining.

There are sub groups within this club, and they too are members-only.

There are boy moms, girl moms, single parents, co-parents, adoptive parents, parents of multiples, rainbow baby parents, working moms, stay at home moms, stay at home dads, military parents… the list goes on.

Until we have our children, no matter what way, we really don’t have any clue. So let me apologize to all the mamas I rolled my eyes at before I had a baby…. even while pregnant (yes i admit it).

I am so honored to have joined this group of amazing men and women, and to know the most incredible love I have ever felt.

This is the best club I have ever joined, and the weirdest one as well.

After all, there ain’t no hood like parenthood.

No, We are Not Ok, Thanks for Asking

Recently Megan Markle was interviewed about being a new mother. If you haven’t seen this yet stop what your doing and go watch it. The princess was asked how motherhood was treating her and the interviewer asked a question she wasn’t expecting. “How are YOU doing?”.

The poised royal answered truthfully that it has been difficult and she isn’t “ok”. She thanked him for asking how she was doing, a question that is usually not asked of new mothers.

When I saw this interview I actually cried. It was beautiful to see this woman, who is expected to be a picture of perfection, get real and raw about how hard it is to be a mother. I Was blown away.

Even Megan Markle was stunned that someone asked how she was doing personally, because not many people ask how WE are doing after the baby comes.

As new moms we just went through the craziest 10 months of our entire lives, had the most physically intense experience, and are given this tiny living creature with no set rule book or instructions.

We are healing from a human being escaping our bodies, most of us have stitches, some had major surgery. Our hormones are wild. Our world has been turned completely upside down.

We are constantly asked “how’s the baby?” but rarely asked “how are you doing?”

The answer… even when we default and say “I’m good!” is probably “I’m not ok!”, and you know what… that’s okay!

I don’t care if you’re the queen of England with all the help in the world, the emotions that come with motherhood are intense. The pressures that come with motherhood can be overwhelming.

I am 8 months in, and while my crazy hormones are finally beginning to level out (although this may not be the case for every mama), the intensity has not.

I can only imagine that as this little girl gets older the pressure I’m feeling and the stress will build. I mean right now she can’t say more than “mama” and “dada”, she isn’t getting bullied by other kids, and I’m not dealing with test scores, homework, dating or driving.

As moms in today’s world we try to balance so many things… key word is try.

We work, we take care of our household, our significant others, our animals, our families. We try to make time to see friends. We try to make time for both sets of grandparents. We try to make time to do things for ourselves, like workout, get our nails done, get a haircut for the first time in a year, take a vacation to target because everyone says it’s important.Oh yeah and make sure your spending enough time bonding with your child, feeding them the best foods, helping them reach their milestones, playing with them, giving them new experiences, and the rest of the list of things society expects us to do to raise an ideal human being.

Believe me there is no balance happening here.

Facebook is flooded with articles directed towards moms about the toys we shouldn’t allow our babies to use, how baby led weaning is better tha purées, “breast is best”. Articles saying you shouldn’t vaccinate your kid, articles saying why you should vaccinate your kid, how we shouldn’t yell at our kids, how our kids need stricter rules, how they need less rules…. as if trying to figure out this parenting thing wasn’t stressful enough!

I know that as time goes on,and my baby becomes more independent and self-sufficient that some things will become easier, but you know what, some other things will become harder.

I mean every time I get a schedule down or think I know how to deal with what my daughter needs, it all changes again. That’s life.

As soon as we feel like we’re getting slightly on top of things, life throws a big old curve ball. I mean… did you know there are like 5 sleep regressions!!??

We need to be ok with not being okay. As mothers we need to acknowledge that no, we in fact are not always ok.

We need support, we need community, we need love, we need help.

I am beyond blessed to have friends that have gone through pregnancy and motherhood before me. I’m blessed to have two best friends that I was pregnant at the same time as, that also have baby girls that I can be open and candid with, that I can cry with, laugh with, and vent with. I’m blessed to have a husband that constantly points out how proud he is of the mother I am to his daughter, and tells me how grateful he is for me. I am blessed to have my mother, mother-in-law, sisters-in-law and so many other family members nearby to help me.

Not every mama has these people.

Some moms are raising their babies on their own, some live hundreds or thousands of miles away from family, some are the first of their friends to experience this, some don’t have people in their life that are open to sharing the hard times along with the good. Some mamas don’t have supportive husbands or family.

To all the moms out there I see you. Know that you are supported by me. Know that you aren’t alone.

Even when we have all the help in the world we can feel alone and isolated.

So moms, friends of mothers, family members, partners, if you see a mom who seems to be struggling offer her some help. Offer her a hug, to hold her child, to watch her kids for an hour so she can go to the store. Tell her she’s doing a great job, because she probably has no idea that she is.

It’s ok to not be okay. It’s ok to struggle. It’s normal.

Let’s lift one another up, band together and be the community each of us needs. We may parent differently, feed our kids differently, live completely different lifestyles but we are all struggling along the same journey.

Let’s be kind to one another and supportive of our differences rather than judge another mom for doing things another way.

Let’s start the hard conversations that no one likes to talk about. Let’s open our hearts and share our struggles.

We’re all struggling one way or another. Even the mom who bakes everything from scratch, only feeds her kids organic, personally sewed her kids Halloween costume, and is dressed to the nines has her moments of self doubt and tears.

I see you mamas. I am here for you.

Let’s be ok with not being okay, because differences aside, we’re all going through this together.

Trigger Happy: How Motherhood Can Trigger Us and Tips to Work Through it

Becoming a mother has been the greatest journey of my life. It has blessed me in ways beyond what I even have words for. It has also changed me more than any other life event I have yet experienced.

I’d like to think of myself as a pretty confident person. I pride myself in my ability to make new friends, I can laugh off most of my silly mistakes, I have sang my heart out in front of audiences of complete strangers, and have rocked a crop top after age 25.

That being said, every single person has moments of self doubt and self consciousness, and I have many.

I’ll be honest. It had been years since I have had issues with my self esteem, and my body image. I worked super hard on loving my body and myself and I am beyond proud of that. I can honestly say that for the past 6 years my self confidence level was at an all time high.

I rarely doubted an outfit choice, I ate what I wanted with no regrets or hesitations, and I rarely cared about leaving the house without a lick of makeup on.

Enter motherhood. The most amazing, beautiful, complicated, and triggering transformation of my life.

Becoming a mother has changed me in so many ways. I am much more open (I mean here I am sharing my story with you), more loving, and accepting; but, as I have shared in the past it has also been one of the hardest changes in my life.

Mentally, it has taken a toll. I have suffered from postpartum anxiety and so many issues from my past have come back to haunt me.

Most know me as a easy going and happy person, and for the most part that is true. What may surprise people is my past relationship with my self image and my very disordered relationship with food.

From the ages of 15 to about 24 my relationship with my body was very toxic. For 3 years in high school I starved it, restricting calories to about 600 a day and working out every night for at least an hour so I could burn off whatever I had consumed. When I got to college I went through bouts of binge eating, followed by restricting again.

I had days where I would look in the mirror with such disgust for what I saw reflected back to me, and I cried. I had days where even at my lowest weight in high school I changed 10 times because I truly believed that I looked “fat”. No matter what I did, what I ate, what I weighed, I was unhappy with my body and myself.

I finally worked on my mental health and healing this relationship with my food and my body around 25. I researched nutrition, and taught myself how to fuel my body. I began working out not to punish my body but because I wanted to feel healthy and to treat my body with love. I surrounded myself with body positive images, friends who built me up and supported me, and really worked on self love.

I finally began healing myself. I finally started to love myself and my body.

When I got pregnant I thought my changing body may trigger my past thoughts but it didn’t. Instead, I was one of those women who truly loved watching my body change and grow the beautiful life within me.

I even remember the first week I was home with my baby feeling such pride for my body and what it had just accomplished. It literally grew a baby from a cluster of tiny cells into the perfect angel that was placed into my arms that beautiful day. It kept her strong and healthy, and when the day came for her to be born it endured the most physically challenging event of my entire life! Who wouldn’t be proud?!

Well, around the time my postpartum anxiety showed up so did my negative thoughts and feelings from my past.

This is pretty normal for mamas after having a baby. We look in the mirror and see cellulite, extra skin, extra weight, stretch marks, dark circles that just won’t go away and we think to ourselves “who even is that?!”

Now (and trust me when I tell you this is not to brag) I am well aware that for someone who had a baby 7 months ago I am in very good shape physically. However, mentally this has been a difficult internal struggle.

Body dysmorphia is a very real mental issue. Sadly many women deal with this today. How many of us know someone who you can compliment about their looks and they just can’t seem to accept it as truth? Some days the image I see in the mirror is what others see, and others my body dysmorphia takes over.

9 months before giving birth to my daughter I was in the best shape of my life. I was eating well, I had found a workout routine that worked for my body and I had ample time to fit it in daily, and I was confident in myself. Here I was a few weeks after giving birth to my baby, and suddenly life as I knew it was upside down.

Schedule was thrown out the window, eating healthy became a luxury that took a back seat to convenience, and the person I saw in the mirror was unrecognizable to me. I had been in such a comfortable place for so long, in the flow of routine, and in just a few weeks motherhood catapulted me out of it.

Losing control of my lifestyle and my routine really began to trigger me.

My old beliefs about my body began to replace my pride for the body that had given me a child. The lack of time I had to focus on eating healthy, and filling my fridge with fruits and veggies began to stress me out.

15 years later I was seeing myself fall back into my unhealthy relationship with my body.

Thankfully this time I was equipped with tools and experience to bring me back to alignment, along with the biggest motivation for self love ever: my daughter.

I know what it feels like to look in the mirror and have such sad thoughts about what I see, and that is the very last thing I want for my girl. I want her to look in the mirror and be so proud and happy to see the beautiful woman staring back at her. I want her relationship with her body and herself to be healthy and positive. The only way for her to have that is for me to model that for her.

We have to change the narrative we tell ourselves to inspire the narrative our children will tell themselves.

As mothers, it is so easy for us to be critical of ourselves whether it be our appearance, how we keep our house, how we spend our time, or something else. We all want to be the best mother humanly possible for our little ones. It’s also so easy for us to compare ourselves to other moms who seem to have it all perfect.

Today moms aren’t just bombarded with our own fears and thoughts that we are less than, we see it all over social media. Instagram and Facebook are flooded with perfectly manicured mamas matching their little ones and smiling as they bake the most beautiful pie you’ve ever seen in their spotless minimalist kitchen. Their children are groomed, smiling, and dressed to the nines. No crying, stressing or whining here! The mothers in these photos have flawless hair and makeup and their bodies could rival a top model.

With images like these flooding our psyches, it’s easy to see why so many mamas have such doubt about their beauty and competence as a mother.

These images can be super triggering to any mama who is still trying to drop her baby weight, figure out a routine, and just survive the craziness that is raising a child.

One of the first things I did once I recognized I was having these thoughts was unfollow all these insta moms that were fueling my self doubt. Anyone I felt that I was comparing myself to I deleted. It’s seriously amazing how much this helped me.

I began looking in the mirror daily and inwardly noting one thing that I truly love about myself. It could be a physical or non physical attribute. This truly has helped me to start with a positive outlook on myself which carries me through the rest of my day.

I also started telling my daughter every morning “you are smart, you are kind, your intelligent, your powerful, you are important, you are loved, and you are enough.” Saying these words to her every morning not only is helping her learn confidence, but saying those words over and over myself has seriously helped to shift my own mindset.

I journal. I used to do this in high school, but back then it was more a tell all of the sweet things I thought of my boyfriend at the time, or rumors I heard in the hallways at school. These days it’s all my doubts, all the things that I am grateful for, and any inspirations that come to mind. Getting thoughts out on a page has become very therapeutic, and writing at least one thing I am grateful for a Day makes me recognize all the other amazing things I have to be thankful for!

I do things that I know bring me joy and peace. I take walks and leave my cell phone behind. I lay in the grass with my daughter, sometimes for an hour at a time. I take her down to the beach. I listen to my favorite music and dance around the house with her. When you do things that bring you happiness, although it may not bring you immediately back to peace, it will help lift your spirits and get you out of the dark.

Turning to friends and loved ones has always been difficult for me when I’m in crisis mode. Asking for help is not something I find easy. I have always been the friend that listens and offers advice, but for me, asking for it myself doesn’t come naturally.

Thankfully I have some amazing girlfriends, family, and a super supportive husband that are always there to listen, as well as call me out when I’m not acting myself. This should be your first step when ur having feelings like this, and if you don’t have anyone or these feelings are super intense see a therapist.

There is no shame in asking for help, and truth be told Mother’s probably need help the most! We do so much for everyone else in our family that we often put ourselves and our needs on the back burner.

Motherhood changes our lives completely and can trigger so many thoughts and feelings. It’s easy to get stuck in the low vibe, lack mentality, doubt ourselves and feel like we have lost ourselves.

The truth is that to be the best mothers to our children we have to first take care of ourselves mentally. We have to take the time to make sure we recognize what’s going on, and that we give ourselves the space and the tools to get out of it. The best mamas are happy mamas.

I’m not writing this post because I’m an expert on the matter. Believe me, I know that I am far from it. I’m writing this because I too need this as a reminder. Every single day I work on making sure I’m the working towards being the best version of myself that I can be.

I want my daughter to see me as positive, happy, confident and strong. I want to feel this way for myself as well, I mean who wouldn’t? This is something I work towards every day and that I know I’ll have to continue to work on, probably for the rest of my life.

Motherhood is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I mean that when I say it. It is truly beautiful, but also so triggering.

I hope that sharing my story helps other moms know that you aren’t alone. You aren’t the only person out there feeling lost, or wondering where your old self has gone. I hope this will inspire other mamas to start difficult conversations with each other, to support one another.

Let’s embrace that we aren’t those “insta moms” who have everything perfect. Our lives are messy, they get dark sometimes but at the end of the day they are beautiful and we’re all just doing our best.

We got this mamas!

Sorry, Not Sorry! What I Refuse to Apologize For

I have noticed that as women we seem to always be apologizing. It’s almost as if “I’m sorry” is just our default answer when we don’t meet the expectations of others. Maybe this isn’t your case, but I know this is the case for so many women.

We’re sorry we can’t fit everything in our schedules. We’re sorry we can’t fix everyone’s problems. We’re sorry we didn’t do everything perfect.

Motherhood changes you. I mean OBVIOUSLY. The moment you become a mom life as you know it ends. You are rebirthed! Becoming a mother has truly shifted my entire life, inside and out. It has made me a stronger person than I have ever been before. It has also shifted my mindset. My priorities, and the things that I once worried or cared about have completely changed.

If I’m being honest those first few months of parenthood are no cakewalk, and as a mother and a wife it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning. I am not about to sit here and tell you that I didn’t try to be Stepford mom the first few weeks home with the baby…. but I think we all try that.

I remember saying to my husband that if I was home with the baby I promised to keep the house spotless and food ready for him when he walked through the door. Anyone have a time machine so I can go back in time and laugh in my face?

Everyday is completely out of my control. Some days my daughter is happy to play on her own and entertain herself, others she needs my constant attention. Some days I’m able to get the house squeaky clean and dinner on the table, other days it looks like a bomb went off and I’m begging my husband to pick up takeout. This is life now.

I decided to really look at all the positive aspects of this new life. First I have THE most amazing baby ever… at least I personally think so! I feel so complete when I look into her beautiful blue eyes. If I feel so whole when I’m with my daughter, how can any part of me be missing right? She is my number one priority and she is such a happy girl, so I know in my heart I am doing a good job, even on days when it may not feel like it. Even on days when the house is a mess, dinner is nowhere near ready, and i feel like I have a million things to apologize for not getting done.

When you come from a place of positivity it is easy to let go of a lot of worries. It also helps that you don’t have the energy for all that worrying thanks to your new mom schedule! When I’m not stressed about all those things I’m a more present mother and wife.

So you know what, I decided that I’m happier when I let go of all those things society may tell me to be sorry about. I’m not sorry, because the time I used to use to accomplish these things is now spent being the best mama I can be.

Without further adieu, here is what I no longer apologize for, and you shouldn’t either:

  1. Bless this mess! My house has literally NEVER been at the level of untidy as it is currently. After several drop ins (anyone else hate this? Seems to come with the territory of having a baby) and several apologies for my messy home I just decided I don’t care. If the cleanliness of my home reflects my life and who I am, here is what it reflects: the dishes in the sink reflect the meals I’ve made for my husband and baby to keep them nourished. The piles of laundry that I’ve folded but haven’t been put away reflect the time I’ve been away at work to help support my family. The dust bunnies in the corners of the rooms reflect the snuggles I have given, books I have read, and precious time I have given to my daughter instead of sweeping. Will my daughter remember the extra piles of laundry, the fact that I couldn’t get to the dishes until she was asleep, or that there was a little extra dust on my shelves? Nope! But she will remember all the time I spent playing and bonding with her! After all, that’s all I remember from my childhood!
  2. Saying no to plans: before my baby I felt the need to say yes to every single plan a friend or family member would throw my way. Last minute plans to go to a winery… um yes count me in! Sure, I’d be at your party, after working at the farm stand and rushing to a quick dinner with someone I haven’t seen in forever! Well, no I am so so so happy to use the word “no”. No I won’t be attending that party because if my child doesn’t get to bed by 7, I’m paying for it tomorrow morning when she wakes up at 5 am instead of 7 am! Nope, I can’t make it to that dinner because I am so exhausted from all the other things piled on my plate that I actually need 2 hours on couch to watch mindless TV in between my child’s bedtime and my own. I’m not even a little sorry about this one. Yes on one hand I’m sad that I can’t fly by the seat of my pants anymore and say yes to every last minute plan thrown my way… but on the other hand, if I can squeeze in an hour to actually sit down with a glass of wine by myself I’m taking it! It’s not that I won’t miss the company of good friends and family, it’s just that some days I’m not sure when I’ll actually get to be ALONE. If I have that chance, mama is gonna pick that over overstimulation any day and there is no way I’m feeling sorry for it!
  3. How I choose to parent. This one is SO important for all of us to hear. It’s 2019, and we all know that everyone is different and that’s what makes this world beautiful! My whole life I’ve heard “there is no one exactly like you and that’s why you’re special!” This is absolutely true for everyone! So how in the hell can we expect everyone to do things the way we do them? I’ve only been a mom for 6 months, and the amount of mom shaming I have witnessed is astounding! How can we spread a message that our differences make us beautiful, and then turn around and talk behind some moms back because she didn’t breastfeed her baby? Oh you never let your child have screen time because of that study you read on Facebook? That’s great, but don’t turn around and point your finger at the mother who needs her hands free for 30 minutes while she tries to cook dinner for her family and has no one to hold her screaming toddler! We all read the books Karen, and you know what I learned? Every freaking psychologist has a different theory of how we should raise our children and they all think they’re right! You know the truth? Every mother is different, every child is different, every family is different. What works for one probably won’t work for another! I started my child on Whole Foods and skipped the cereal and had more than one person judge me. Do you mamas! My kid was stealing sweet potatoes off my plate, so I chose to give her the damn sweet potatoes (dr approved of course), and she was ecstatic! If you choose to start with cereal I think that’s great! Neither one way or the other is better. It’s just different! I’m choosing to raise my child with the “respectful parenting” method. I already try to explain to my daughter everything we are doing. When I change her diaper I explain to her “I’m going to change your diaper now”, if I put her down I say “ok, I’m putting you down for a few minutes, I understand you’re upset, but Mommy has to clean up and then I’ll pick you back up!” Yes she’s 6 months old, and YES I have been told she doesn’t understand and this is ridiculous. At the end of the day this feels right to me and I refuse to say sorry for it! If you do it completely differently that’s amazing and I think you’re doing the best for you and your children too! Our differences are what make us beautiful remember?
  4. My appearance. Shower…. that’s that thing in the bathroom that sprays water out of the wall right? Yes I remember it fondly! Just kidding. I do shower, but is it everyday? Show me one mom that says she hasn’t missed a shower in a year and I will give her a medal. Now that my daughter’s naps are on a schedule this little luxury has finally started coming back into my life, but there are some days it still doesn’t happen. Make up? I mean I use mascara! That’s about all the time I usually have to do it. Shampoo? Yeah I use that about once a week! Dry shampoo is a mamas new best friend am I right? I have literally caught myself going to the store looking like I rolled out of bed, and I only noticed when I caught my reflection in the door on the way out. I could spend more time on my appearance, but when the trade off is time with my child, or attempting to cross a chore off my never ending list, I’m gonna pick one of those.
  5. Not replying to your texts or calls. Hey remember that time when no one had cell phones? Remember when texting wasn’t unlimited, and you had to wait for the weekend or after 7 to call your friends? Remember when the way you contacted your friends was AIM and if you put an away message up no one cared if u didn’t respond for hours?! Yeah those were the good old days! Now people feel totally ok with calling your cell phone ten times until you pick up, or texting you “hello?!?!?!” if you haven’t responded in two seconds. I am guilty myself, trust me! How sad is it that we have become a culture of now? We can’t even give the people we love some space to be away from their phones or computers? We need them to answer us the second we text them! Well, one thing I consider a blessing is how much time away I spend from my phone now that I’m a mom. I don’t want my daughter to see me on my phone. I want her to have a mom who is present when she is present. So unless I’m taking a photo of her I try to keep my cellphone in the other room. So if you text me or call me 10 times and it took me hours to answer that’s why. Sometimes I look at your texts, and then she wakes from her nap or needs me to remove her from her playpen because she’s overstimulated. Yup, I of course forget to reply. Sometimes it takes me days to remember! I’m not gonna apologize for choosing my child over my phone and neither should you! No one is going to die if you don’t answer their text immediately, and if it’s an emergency they should probably call 911 not you. Never apologize for being present, because that is a gift.
  6. Taking time for myself. You bet your bottom dollar that I’m taking a few minutes a day for myself. At least I try to! No I’m not taking hours and hours on end to go to the spa, or have my nails done. I’m taking 20-30 minutes a day to keep myself sane. This may consist of a workout, a walk, sitting outside with my dog and a cup of coffee, reading a book, or watching Bravo on tv until my mind melts. I NEED this time. As moms and wives we are constantly doing things for everyone else. My life is literally all about helping my daughter learn and grow. It’s my favorite job, but I can’t help her feel like her needs are being fully met if I don’t also meet my own. What kind of mom and wife would I be if I was resentful and cranky because I didn’t allow myself 30 freaking minutes to decompress? I know I’m a better mom and wife when I give myself even just this tiny amount of time in my day to make myself happy. If you’re not doing this you need to! It will make your day that much better. After all, we can’t pour from an empty cup!
  7. Being myself. I honestly never really apologized for this, but I did sometimes feel guilty. When I was in the first grade, my parents attended parent teacher conference day and were told that their daughter was a daydreamer. That I spent more time daydreaming and up in the clouds than I did paying attention to class and to others. She also told my parents to never try to change that because it was special. Well people, nothing has changed! That’s not to say that I don’t work really hard, and focus when I’m at work or home trying to accomplish my goals. However, I tend to say things that are in my head without thinking it through, do really spacey things, forget what I’m doing at any given moment, cannot control my facial expressions AT ALL (if I’m thinking it but not saying it… my face is). This is who I am. I’m not malicious, and I of course always feel bad when someone doesn’t understand me, but I never mean to hurt or harm anyone. I’m just up in the clouds! It took me 30 years, but you know what I’m proud of who I am and I’m no longer apologizing. I’m a dreamer, and sometimes that doesn’t compute with people who’s feet are firmly planted on the ground. This is me and I’m not changing. Never apologize for who you are. Your people, your tribe, your family will get you. The people who don’t, they aren’t for you and that’s ok! If we all realized this I think the world would get along so much better! Let’s accept and celebrate our differences. You are exactly the person you were meant to be. Never say sorry for that.

There is so much freedom when we give up apologizing for everything. I’m not telling you to never say sorry. I will always apologize for hurting someone’s feelings, for letting someone down, or for messing up. Just remember that to live life to the fullest may mean giving up some chores, missing some phone calls, taking 20 minutes to chill out, skipping a shower, saying no to plans, and leaning into who you are!

Let’s spend less time apologizing for who we are mamas and more time celebrating ourselves, each other, and all the ways that make us unique and special! You’re doing an amazing job mama! Never apologize for it.

Sleep When the Baby Sleeps, Clean When the Baby Cleans: Things I’ve Learned From the First Month of Motherhood

Well it’s been a little over a month since my sweet baby girl was born. Let me start off by saying that I am still brand spanking new at this whole thing, and I am so NOT an expert. That being said, the first month has taught me many things, and I feel it is important to share them with other new mommies and future mothers.

The first month of your baby’s life is how what I would expect bootcamp to be like. You are up at the crack of dawn (or any other hour your baby is), you are constantly working (feeding, changing, bouncing, laundry), and you follow all commands your tiny adorable general gives you or suffer the consequences of ear piercing screams!

Don’t be scared future mamas, because it is also the most amazing time of your life. Yes it’s tons of work, and you will be exhausted; but, you get to bond with the little human you housed for 10 months. There will be lots of smiling, laughter, and adorable, heart melting moments as well that make everything else so worth it!

So let’s get into all that I have learned this past whirlwind of a month!

There No Holy Bible for Parenting:

(image from http://www.scienceofmom.com)

There is sooooo much information out there about parenting it can be overwhelming. There are so many books out there written by parenting experts that all claim to be the book that will teach you all you need to know. There are so many schools of thought on how to care for your newborn, talk to them, respond to their cries, etc. that it may literally leave your overly tired head spinning.

Wanna know why there are so many? That’s because not one of them is the right one. I recommend reading one or two (because too much can drive you nuts) that you feel you can get on board with, and take what you want from them and leave the rest.

Every baby is different, every mother is different, every family is different. How can one book on parenting work for everyone? Do you! Heck don’t read any if you don’t want to, you’ll figure it out!

Nobody Knows What the F They’re Doing:

Seriously. Even the most put together, calm looking mama is winging it.

The general consensus is that we are all just fumbling around, trying to do the best we can. I don’t know a single mother, whether their children are young or grown, who feels like they have all the answers. We’re all just doing the best we can, and hoping we don’t screw up our kids too much in the process.

Welcome to the Club, You Aren’t Alone:

You may feel like you are detached from the rest of the world the first few weeks. Your husband is back to work, all your friends are going about their normal social schedule and posting pics of it on Instagram, and you’re stuck on your couch all day with your baby attached to your boob. You’re gonna have a LOT of questions, and you may feel weird bothering your friends who have been through it before while they’re busy living life.

Don’t worry mama, you aren’t alone. A big thing I read before having the baby was to join mothers groups to make new mom friends once baby was born. So what are you supposed to do the first two months (especially during cold and flu season) when your pediatrician advises you to keep the baby away from crowds and children until they are vaccinated?

Well, no matter how bad of a reputation social media has these days, there are some amazing things that it has created. Mom groups are all over Facebook, Instagram, and baby apps like the Bump, and Baby Center. You literally just have to search for them and book you found your new mommy group!

My favorite for the past month has been the Mama Said Facebook group. This group is for listeners of the Mama Said podcast (if you haven’t heard of it, and you’re a mom, do yourself a favor and listen to it! Thanks for the tip Lew!). It is a group of women who ask any and all questions you may be thinking of about motherhood: breastfeeding, sleep, how to deal with postpartum, bottle feeding, etc., and also talk all about things like mommy guilt and openly confess our (pardon my French) “shitty mommy” moments. Ask a question or share a story, and within minutes I promise you will have supportive uplifting responses. I’m so glad I found this group!

Sleep When the Baby Sleeps, Clean When the Baby Cleans:

I mean how annoying is the age old advice “sleep when the baby sleeps!” Ok Karen… because that pile of dirty laundry, and that sink full of dishes aren’t giving me agita! You can only sleep so many hours during the day and avoid your chores before you run out of dishes and clean underwear.

Yes your husband should help out around the house now that your full time job is baby care; but, odds are he’s working full time too and is also lacking sleep thanks to baby. I’m not gonna lie the first week or so I took naps when baby was napping. You are gonna feel like a truck ran you over that first week. You’re also gonna have lots of family and friends around bringing you meals, and offering to help clean or hold baby for you while you do some chores. Well folks, that gravy train ends and you better be prepared for it!

My biggest piece of advice and what I think has been the most helpful, is go to bed with the baby, and make sure it’s early. Yeah, it’s hard to imagine getting into bed at 7pm when you’re usually up with your husband watching Netflix til midnight… but trust me.

I accidentally started going to bed with her around 7pm the first week we were home because I was so shot from being in the hospital and giving birth. It happened to be a VERY happy accident. I get in bed with her and nurse her to sleep, so she’s usually out by 8pm, and I turn the nightlight out and fall asleep myself. She wakes up about 3-4 times a night, giving me at least 2 hour stretches and according to my Fitbit (I totally recommend wearing one to bed to see how many hours you’re getting) I usually get between 7-9 hours depending on how she sleeps that night.

Babies tend to be up for the day around 6:30-8am, so if I went to bed any later I would probably get about 6 hours or less. By going to sleep when my daughter does, I no longer require naps during the day. I’m not saying I always feel refreshed, because let’s face it interrupted sleep isn’t the most restful; but, I feel good enough during the day to skip naps and get whatever I can done while she’s sleeping.

If you can, give this a shot. Sure you’re not gonna be able to watch that show you’ve been binging with the hubs, and you’ll have less alone time with him for these weeks, but this is just a season. Once baby is sleeping longer you can go to bed at a normal time.

And there you have it folks; all the most important things I have learned over the past month. Like I said, I am no expert mama by any means, but I figured that if I shared some of the knowledge I picked up over the last 5 weeks. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that moms have to stick together and help each other out, especially during the most trying times.

I hope you find this helpful! Would love to hear what you’ve learned as well in the comments. Don’t forget mama you are not alone, and this is only a for a season: a beautiful, crazy, sleep deprived, love filled season I know we’ll all miss.