10 Sentences I Thought I’d Never Say

There are things I say as a mom that I never thought would exit my mouth. When the words hit the air it’s like a slow-mo scene from any Wes Anderson film. The sentence is lined up just like a cast of perfectly paired misfits moving toward their wildly unreasonable goal.

My goal, in most scenarios, is to keep my boys from hurting themselves or just being decent humans.

So, in the name of raising decent humans, these are the 10 things I never thought I’d say, but did:

1. Don’t shoot your Nana! (With a water gun.)

2. No! You can’t bite your brother!

3. Don’t sit on the sofa without undies on.

4. Please keep your feet off the dinner table.

5. We don’t paint with yogurt.

6. Take that quarter out of your mouth!

7. Never put money in your mouth.

8. Don’t put your hands in the toilet.

9. Sure, you can wear your Flash Lightning shirt for the third day in a row.

10. Ohmygosh! Are you eating a cookie in Mama and Dada’s bed? No, don’t eat cookies on our bed. (Said to my 18 month old.)

These 10 are just a few of the many, and I know they will keep on keepin on.

photo by Miley Eaton

Searching for Real Stories from Moms

So, here’s what’s up. I’ve been a mom for 4 years. That’s degree-worthy time. I feel like I’ve changed so much over the years. I mean, just look at this photo. Gorgeous. Anyway, I’m thinking that now is the time to begin writing a book. I’ve been nesting this idea, over here, like a stubborn chicken who won’t get off her egg.
 
So, here’s whats up again: I’m beginning my search for real stories from real women of all ages and stages in motherhood. By real I mean don’t be all “I don’t have a funny or good or whatever adjective you want to dump in there before story-story.” I want authenticity. We all need authenticity. I want vulnerability. We all need vulnerability. Both make us better humans.
 
I geek out over hearing how we mother. There is always a hilarious moment or maybe a somber moment that will help us all feel more normal and less alone. Feeling more normal and less alone has always been a winning combination.
 
I need your voice. Your voice is brilliant and diverse. Since this book is a collection of stories from our diverse neighborhood of moms, your brilliance needs to show up.
When you figure out that you do have a funny or real honest story that fits into one of the chapters below, email me a blurb and I’ll set up a time to interview you.
 
Email Teresa at writeladywrite@gmail.com
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A time when comparing trapped you, and what you learned about yourself along the way?
 
A time when you chose to stay and love, even though walking away would have been much easier?
 
When you tried something daring and messy and the outcome was also messy?
 
Do you have personal hygiene hacks to share? (the good, bad and the ugly.)
 
Stories about failed or funny attempts to mom-date your way toward real life friendships.
 
Anything you tried and it didn’t go as planned?
 
A story about feeding yourself and your family that went crazy wrong or crazy right?
 
Stories about trying to talk and listen to your kids, to your partner, to your friends but it seemed like you were stuck in a communication breakdown?
 
Stories about how it used to be and why we might be glad to learn from the past. These are stories about raising kids as a parent from 1980/1970/1960s.
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Let’s tell our stories. Email me at writeladywrite@gmail.com
 
Thank you, and love you more than candy!
P.S. This is a staged photo of me and my boys. The truth about it is, en route to the photo shoot, I remembered I never brushed my teeth. Like, all day. No brushing. I ate a peppermint Altoid and smiled for the camera.
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8 Essentials for Moms

Some of these things you can buy, and some of the stuff isn’t found in a store nor can you ship it to your front door. However, all of these eight things are going to make your transition into motherhood a little bit easier.

#1 Pockets

Pockets will be your extra hands. I recently saw a mom meme that said something like, if evolution was a real thing, why don’t mom’s have three arms? We don’t. So buy stuff with pockets. Get yourself a few sweatshirts or sweaters with pockets. Pajamas with pockets. A robe with pockets. Find a pocket for your t-shirt. Get pockets on your nursing bras. Just everywhere. Pockets.

#2 Slip On Shoes

You’ll be carrying your baby everywhere. When running out the door, 10 minutes late, just slip your shoes on. Honestly who has the time and energy to bend over and tie laces? Not you. You’re a mom to a newborn. You have to keep a human alive. Ditch the extra work, grab your diaper bag, baby carrier complete with cuddly baby, water bottle, baby blanket, car keys, snacks, phone, lip balm….you get the point. Just slip on your shoes.

#3 Time

Imagine freezing time. You’re standing in your kitchen meal prepping your heart out before your baby is born. It’s going to be perfect!  You’ll simply need to pop a homemade frozen lasagna in to the oven for dinner on a day when you didn’t: shower, didn’t take off your pajamas, and your baby didn’t let you put her down. Didn’t even put her down when when you had to use the bathroom. Yes, that’s something moms do. Use the potty while holding or wearing your baby. This is a day when you are desperate for more time. You won’t have more time. You will see more of the 24 hour day than you care to. You will shake hands with 3:52 am like a boss. Time will slip away and be stuck at the same time. Just realize the time you have is yours. Don’t be tempted to do more with it to impress anyone. Give yourself permission to do less and to love more during that first year, and even beyond the first year. Time will have an entirely new agenda and meaning for you as a mom. Go with it. Not against it. And for the love of time, eat your reheated lasagna in your pajamas even if it’s 2:43 am. You can’t freeze time.

#4 Pants Sans Zippers

As previously mentioned you might find yourself needing to hold or wear your baby a lot. Even in the bathroom. Go ahead and gift yourself with one less annoyance: just pull your pants up and don’t worry about zipping or buttoning anything. Aint nobody got time for that! The other liberating fact about pants without zippers:  they feel like you are wearing your pajamas even when you are not. As a new mom this will become hugely valuable. Your body has gone through extreme changes growing a baby. It will go through extreme changes once you’re carrying said baby on this side. Let yourself wear your maternity pants as long as you want to. Be okay with leggings, which also look adorable with slip on shoes and can be paired perfectly with all tops that have pockets. So in summary: pockets, leggings, slip on shoes. It’ll save you time and you’ll feel comfortable. Tired, but comfortable.

#5 Comfortable Socks

You’ll be on your feet more than you think. Give yourself the gift of simple joys like quality socks. Even in the summertime, having your feet hugged by fabric and fluff makes you feel a little like you’re walking on a cloud. Reality will say you’re walking down the hall for the 20th time to get something, but you forgot what it was. If you step on a toy or the dog, your socks will cushion the blow. Oh, and socks will cover that pedicure you got before your baby was born, but now it’s been about seven months later and you’re not sure what your toes look like because again, aint nobody got time for that! Socks will help.

#6 Nalgene or Yeti or Both

Get both. Stay hydrated. A Nalgene will hold you accountable to drink 64 oz a day or more. Those little measuring marks are like your personal pep rally in a bottle. Drink, drink, drink… . The Yeti is awesome for extreme cold or hot needs. Coffee, tea, iced anything…fill that Yeti up and it’ll stay the exact, or darn close to, the temp you poured it in at for 24 hrs. And as we have already chatted about, you’ll see more of the 24 hrs in the day than ever before in your natural born life. Stay hydrated, Mama!

#7 No Expectations

Really, toss those commercial reels in your mind from Gerber, Pampers, State Farm, whatever your mother tells (love you, mom!) you or your favorite mom influencer on Insta. Just ignore those ideals you hold so closely to your heart. You are about to birth a new person into the world. People have their own ideas and agendas. Your baby will have his own agenda. It starts with how he enters the world and just rolls right on through the rest of his life. When you surrender and let go of your expectations you will be so free to enjoy life as a parent. Really. Hang on, you’re about to go on an adventure and the itinerary is going to be filled with alternate times, milestones, and missed appointments. You, however, will be filled with an intense love for your new normal that it’ll all balance out…if you’re wearing pockets.

#8 Smart Watch

Get a watch that will tell you how many steps you’ve done. Who is texting you. A watch that glows at a touch so you can actually see that you’re waking up at 4:19 am. I personally love my Garmin 230 Forerunner. It has helped me eat enough during the day so I didn’t fall over from lack of calories. This is a reality when exclusively nursing a baby while chasing around a toddler. I could visually see that while still in my pajamas and feeling like time was melting all around me, I actually walked a 5k inside my cozy house. My watch partnered with me to track the hours I did or did not sleep. And that data helped me rationalize my extreme exhaustion at one in the afternoon. I was kinder to myself and my toddler, because I had data telling me I only slept for three hours the night before. It was smart when I was not. Get a smart watch.

Before I go, I want you to know, you will be the perfect PERFECT perfect mom for your child. You are made for such a time as this. Buy the leggings, drink the water, dump your expectations, and fall deeply in love with your time as a mom.

Love you more than candy,

Teresa

Postpartum Anxiety

This time last year I thought I was going to die.  If I wasn’t going to die I thought one of my kids would. The winter months were frozen with fear of getting sick, then dying. It was awful.  I wasn’t sleeping much and my hormones were a mess. It also turns out that I was clueless about postpartum anxiety.

Last February my low point collided with a moment of long approaching clarity.

Read more

If you’re a mom, then you are a badass. Period. Done. No need to go above and beyond the typical around the clock labor of love called momming to be noted as a person who is impressive due to courage, skill or toughness. You got that badge the moment you found out you were pregnant and then chose to walk boldly into the next chapter of your life raising another human being.

Where is this coming from?

I was scrolling Facebook and someone shared an article about a recent Ironman competitor, who is also a mom, but it was shared with the caption “this mom is definitely a badass.” I was all like, wow! Yeah she is! But then I was like, hold up. To the mom who never left her house today because her baby was sick and her toddler is potty training and her first grader wore high-top sneakers with no socks and no raincoat on a cold and wet November day…wow, you are badass too!

Ok, so you can read all about runner-mom’s amazing finish and race here, Air Force mom pumps milk in 70.3 mile Ironman and smashes her personal record. because yes, the fact that this fellow mama actually made time to train insane amount of hours and continue to fuel her body while also keeping her kids fed, one who is still obviously being breast fed is ah-mazing! Air Force mom inspires me and makes me want to do harder things. Really. It really is all about the effort and the training season that leaves me awestruck, and can I just make the leap here to say that you, we, us–we are all in a training season and making a definite effort.

Why does it matter? 

We can all totally understand the amount of discipline and community it takes to enable a mom to train for an endurance race. Right? Like, I have to work hard at eating 2,300 calories a day and drink 96oz of water and I’m not training for anything, Yet I’ve definitely had days when I bonk, like an energy depleted endurance athlete in mile 62 of her 100 miles. Minus the obvious finish line and good press that might accompany a grand effort to finish while, say, pumping milk.  Seldom do moms get the level or recognition they deserve for the insane amount of courage they bring to each new day. I mean we have an entire grown population of millennials who know how to pee on a toilet (mostly) and we can thank our grandmothers for that. That training wasn’t easy. Amen? Amen!

Here I am feeding another human being with my body, while also raising and nurturing a pre-schooler. I’m also nurturing my nursing baby, too because I know that a person needs love and food to survive. All moms know this and do this…they feed, love, shelter and nurture. Sometimes we forget to do the same for ourselves, and that’s the badass part of it all. We just keep going. We put our obvious needs aside and run hard.

Run Sister, Run! 

Now go on with your brave and courageous day. Hydrate, eat well, sit down for a few minutes at a time and realize when your daily finish line is in view, that you ran an amazing race today. You did.

So, if you are a mom, then you are badass. Period. Done.

(I’m dedicating this post to my sister, Nicole, who recently and miraculously delivered her third baby within four years. You are is most definitely a strong and courageous woman doing the valued stuff of life, while surrounded by community.)

 

 

 

Beyond the Hustle

I’m at a point in my journey as a mom where time has taken on new meaning. Specifically speaking, I don’t like to be constrained by a time commitment. It really stresses me out. Now more than ever before. I respect that people assign times to begin and end things like play dates and nap times, and for the most part I can make it on time to nap time. However, getting out of the house on-time for anything else is a major hustle.

For context, at the time I’m writing this, I’m six months pregnant and raising a strong-willed very curious and super observant toddler. He’s two. I could have just wrote “he’s two” and you’d understand, but I figured I’d share a bit more than his point in time. These two truths seem to be a perfect mix of getting nowhere on time or in the time my rational adult brain thinks we should arrive or depart.

This morning I hit a tipping point and fell into freedom from the unnecessary hustle we moms so often find ourselves in. I intended to run errands, but when I looked at the weather forcast and it was too perfectly classic of a summer day to waste pushing our bodies around stores.  So in an instant I said to my two-year old, “We are going to the splash park!” We both cheered. Then came the moment of total freedom, when I casually began preparing a picnic lunch and getting us ready to get out the door, without freaking about a time crunch. We’d get there when we get there and we actually got there when I secretly wanted to get there!

My heart rate stayed totally consistent while my little person begged to read a book on the couch.  Throughout his protest to not wear pants, and then a second protest to not wear water sandals.  I remained calm during his slow and distracted walk to use the potty. Before, during and after he begged me to play a quick game of pretend baseball. Then, I even gave myself some grace as I heard my stomach grumble for food just before I was about to load everything into the car. It’s okay, I thought to myself, no one is expecting me and I’m not letting anyone down by pausing to feed myself and my developing fetus. Eat mama, eat! So, I did.

By the time I opened the car door I felt a little tense. Mainly because I was aware of how I was judging myself to be more timely and prompt. That’s when I noticed my heart rate rising and my patience dwindling. That’s also the exact time my little person insisted on putting himself into the car seat. I wanted to say no, but slowed down and realized this is a kid who is growing and needs to gain independence where he safely and rightfully can. Like, climbing into his car seat. Even if it is totally not the way I would have put him in or climbed in if I was his age, and even though it took him nearly four minutes to do something I’d do for him in one minute.

In those four minutes I paused and had this thought: early motherhood cannot be rushed. Tiny people’s lives are developing within the hustle.  As we buzz throughout our day like queen bees managing time and tasks, our littles get swept up in the purposeful crazy, when all they want to do is learn and grow.  And, isn’t the point of early mothering to foster learning and growing? That’s what I had day dreamed up before becoming a mom, but it’s so easy to forget.

Maybe this is what living in the moment feels like? I don’t know because basically my entire life I’ve thought about the future and how to be most prepared for putting my best foot forward. Now, however, I’m going to proudly “slack off” and kill the hustle. I’m about 90 days out from welcoming a second person into our family, which also means my little boy is also about 90 days out from not being an only child. We have big beautiful adjustments in our future. So for now, I’m going to chillax and enjoy the thrill of doing what we want when we want. Early motherhood changes so fast. I’m going to attempt to slow it down and live in the freedom that being my own boss allows.

Let’s raise a wine glass and cheers to letting go of the hustle so often found among the hood of awesome mamas. Sip it slowly. It’s your time. I’ll join you, after my baby’s born and while I’m learning an entirely new level of time management as a mom of two under three. Hahahaha…no, really, it’s going to be ah-mazing!

To You, Strong Mama.

To you, strong mama, who knows love.

You know what it’s like to wake up three times a night and still rise for the day with the sun.

To you, strong mama, who knows compassion.

You know what it’s like to carry and nurture a small life while facing poop, puke, endless dirty laundry and dishes.

To you, strong mama, who believes deeply in the future for your children – you are a visionary.

You see past the daily stuff, and can rise above a toddler’s melt down in the cereal aisle, to see a developing independence that will drive your Little toward great future goals.

You can look into the eyes of your frustrated kid and see passion and determination- things that will make the world a better place.

You can see past your needs and confidently walk into social situations without a shower in the past three days.

You, mama, have a tenacious love. You are deeply valued at home and in society. You are beautiful, brilliant and you are the perfect person for your important role in life- now and later on. For always.

 

Photo credit by Pixabay

The Top 10 Essentials For Raising A Baby: A list for the new parent.

I had my first, and so far only, baby when I was in my mid-thirties. It was a perfect surprise for us, but we both knew we were totally ready to be parents.  At the time, we had been together for 11 years. You’d think that was plenty of time to ease into the role of “parent”, but we were wrong.

There is no amount of time that adequately prepares you for taking care of a tiny little infant human. You just need to show up and do it. Looking back, we both reflect on the first three months of our son’s life as a blur. We were always tired, always hungry, and always asking ourselves if we were doing it right. I’d change that last part.

There is no “do it right” route. There is, of course, safe ways to keep your tiny human alive and healthy, which could be considered doing it right.  We did that. We just don’t totally remember it all. Then, right around the fourth month of his little life, things changed. We changed.

We began to understand our baby’s likes and dislikes. We began to understand our own likes and dislikes as his parents. We were still sleep deprived and still always hungry, but we were less concerned about doing it right and more focused on loving and living together as a messy growing family of three (plus our dog and cat so that would make five of us in our home). I think what happened during the fourth month is the intense love and awe that we felt, from the moment we heard our baby cry, started to win over the fear of being perfect parents. That made a huge difference.

Recently, when I friend asked me what a few essentials are for helping new parents with their first year, I crawled back to those first three months of my little boy’s life (and maybe I began wanting another baby, but we won’t talk about that now) and really thought about the essentials. Since every parent is different, because every baby is different, the essentials will be different. Right? Right. And, let’s define essentials as: making life with an infant easier and safer.

I jumped on Facebook and conducted non-scientific qualitative research. I asked parents to share the top four items they couldn’t live without in the first year of their baby’s life. There were so many on-point recommendations, and so much mention of legal stimulants (for the parents). I have narrowed in on the most mentioned helpful essentials and dropped them into a list for you or your friend, or your friend’s friend.

The Top 10 Essentials For Raising A Baby: A list for the new parent.

  1. Diapers and Wipes (Pampers was a hit, night diapers and cloth were major too)

  2. Baby Carrier (car seat, wearable carrier, stroller)

  3. Crib (Pack n Play, Fisher Price Rock n Play)

  4. Community (friends, family, trusted babysitter)

  5. Legal Stimulants (coffee, wine, beer, bourbon)

  6. Swaddle blankets (muslin wraps, Zipadee, sleep sack)

  7. Monitor (video or just audio, but more so video)

  8. Sound machine

  9. Pacifier

  10. Patience

Parenting is a blast. You’ll learn so much about life and your limits. You’ll learn how to love while also getting pooped on, literally. If you’re doing this parenting thing solo or with your partner, remember one thing: you’re not supposed to be perfect, you’re supposed to unconditionally love your Little. And, that begins with liking you. Plus, stocking up on the essentials helps. Cheers, to you, Parents!