I often have people ask me, “So, how does it feel to be a mom?” and I never really know how to answer that question. The first response that pops into my brain is usually: “busy but loving every minute of it!”. I have such a hard time trying to describe to someone how incredible it feels to have a baby but also how challenging it can be without talking their ear off. Motherhood is not an experience that can be described in one simple statement and it is not an experience that is the exact same for every woman. However, there are many aspects and moments in my motherhood journey so far that I believe other mommas might be able to relate to. So, for me, motherhood is:
Packing a diaper bag that is so well stocked, you could last a couple of weeks in the wilderness with it but forgetting your wallet and phone.
Worrying about your child having an identity crisis because you have at least 17 different nick names for them already.
Feeling your heart swell every single time your little one smiles that sweet toothless smile at you.
Turning on your favorite house-cleaning playlist only to realize it is comprised of songs that really aren’t appropriate for your 6-month-old daughter.
Thinking extensively about how amazing it is that you grew this tiny human inside of you.
Having arguments with your husband about the correct lyrics to a Moana song.
Realizing your own mother has been and probably always will be right about almost everything.
Learning to advocate for yourself and what you know is best for your child.
Being excited to put the baby down for the night but then missing them fiercely the instant they are out of your arms.
Covering up the original hardwood flooring in your home with soft carpet because you don’t want your baby learning to crawl and walk on hard floors.
Wondering if the rest of the world knows how freaking adorable your baby is.
Literally milking yourself like a cow so that your baby has breastmilk if you leave the house without them. Ahhh, the rhythmic sound of a breast pump.
Finding that the days may seem long, but the weeks fly by.
Realizing your daughter has your fiery Irish temper and your husband’s stubbornness and that – yikes- you have your work cut out for you.
Thinking that you are totally prepared for the whole parenting thing and then quickly realizing you’re not and nothing can prepare you but the real thing.
Connecting with other moms and making new friends, because there is nothing like bonding over diaper blowout horror stories.
Crying every time your baby outgrows a size of clothing or diapers.
Watching your husband fast asleep and wondering how he doesn’t wake to the baby’s cries the way you do.
Taking turns walking with the inconsolable baby up and down the hallway during the hours of 8-10 pm every night for a month.
Wanting nothing more than to slow time down.
Learning terms like 4-month sleep regression, let-down, and colostrum.
Calling your mom to ask questions like, “how do I know if the baby has a fever?” and “is it normal for the poop to be this color?”.
Pushing a little human out of your body and realizing in an instant that you would give and do anything for the baby you only met moments ago.
Realizing that you are suffering from PPD/A and being strong and brave enough to get help.
Googling things that a person should never have to google and then being pleasantly surprised to see that others have googled it as well.
Gaining a new best friend - someone to listen to you babble on as you fold the laundry, have dance parties with, and teach all of your favorite things to.
Looking into your child’s eyes and wondering if your heart might actually explode from the love you feel towards them.
Spending as much time at Target as humanly possible but having an even better excuse for it than before.
Making eye contact with another mom at the grocery store with a screaming baby and nodding because, solidarity sister!
Reminding yourself over and over that you are the adult and you are in charge but still questioning it to yourself.
Spending an extra 5 minutes in your already short shower to pick the hair off yourself that you have been shedding since 3 months post-partum.
Smelling like partially digested breastmilk all day and being totally fine with it.
Feeling both inadequate and frightened for what is to come.
Knowing that you are going to do your absolute best as a momma while loving your baby unconditionally and that will be enough.
Wearing adorable jewelry that not only compliments your outfit but gives your little one something to keep their hands busy.
Maybe I will print some of these out on business cards and give them out when people ask what its like to be a new mom! If I had to narrow it down to one sentence, I think it would be this: Motherhood is a
whirlwind of the purest joy, selflessness, transformation and beauty that has altered the way I look at myself and the world around me. What is motherhood to you
We weren’t sure how we would introduce the idea of a baby growing inside my tummy or how breastfeeding works to our then 3 ½ year old. Thank goodness we had 9 months to prepare him to not be our “baby” anymore. These are a few suggestions I have for mamas to help their little ones get ready.
Read To Them
My favorite book to read together was “What Baby Needs” by William Sears, Martha Sears, and Christie Watts Kelly. This one helped me give the run down of breastfeeding would be like once a baby came into the world. My son certainly didn’t remember nursing, and the thought was slightly confusing to him, so this was nice to read about together!
Another book I highly suggest is “I’m A Big Brother!” (Or Sister) by Ronne Randall and Kristina Stephenson. I love how this one explains to the sibling that babies grow up slowly, and cannot play, roll balls, or interact with them right away.
A few other cute ones are “The New Baby” by Mercer Mayer as well as “The Birds, The Bees, and The Berenstain Bears” by Stan & Jan Berenstain.
Big Brother/Sister Gifts
Once we got close to my due date I got together a fun little big brother gift basket. He had just turned 4 so we ordered some fun water beads, a new space book, an interactive Minion coloring book for his Ipad, and new pajamas to stay over at Grammy and Poppi’s house while we were at the hospital! I had planned to get him a disposable camera to use at the hospital to take pictures of the baby and our family, but we ran out of time to buy one.
I’m so thankful for that first book, “What Baby Needs” that we read over and over after his little brother was born, to help him realize he will always have mommy to spend time with and mommy just needs to feed brother because he can’t eat like him. We ended up having a smooth transition and he was a wonderful big brother to his baby. Good luck to all you expecting mamas out there!
written by VHS contributor// Britney Kaufman
The Busy Boy Mama
I'll admit I'm a control freak. Not even a little one, a huge giant control freak. It's hard for me to relax during a normal week, but add holiday stress into the mix and I'm a hot mess. Finally after 5 years of being a working mom I'm learning to ask for help and do things for myself. I'm realizing how important self-care is for my mental health and without that, I can't properly take care of the kids and myself.
Here are my self-care tips for mothers, especially new mothers, around the holidays.
Let others do the cooking.
Touching on the topic of me being a control freak, I used to stress myself out doing a million things rather than try to ask for help. This is definitely the hardest for me. Why would I want to spend 10-15 minutes explaining something and answering questions, than just doing it myself? Well it took me almost 5 years to figure out that I didn't have to do everything myself and if I took 10 minutes explaining how to clean or cook something, or even where to take the kids, I could have 45+ minutes to myself. Instruct someone how they can help you out by cooking or what to cook. If you're hosting a holiday party, have people bring side dishes and desserts!
Pictured below is an incident from one week after Christmas, being at 37 weeks pregnant trying to bake birthday cupcakes:
Take a walk.
I'm not talking about around the mall while you're shopping for gifts, I mean getting outside! Exercising can boost your mood, and this is especially important to postpartum mothers. Also, if you live somewhere where it's cold and gray during the winter, you could also be at risk for Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is another good reason to get outside in the (limited) sunshine during the winter and get yourself some vitamin D.
Whether It be an extra coffee, tea, glass of wine, massage, or splurging on that $10 bath bomb. Make sure you do something extra for yourself! You are more than likely doing most of the shopping and planning for the holiday, you deserve an early gift.
Take a break from social media.
Taking a break doesn’t have to mean a week; even if it's putting your phone up for a few hours, or a whole day. It's hard to not compare yourself to other families or moms that have their whole homes perfectly decorated. I grew up in a house that was beautiful every year, and do I remember what it looked like? NO! I remember the experience of putting ornaments on a tree and going to dinner at my grandmas. Live in the moment with your baby/kids and enjoy it!
Hope these tips help you relax a little bit and remember it’s ok to be selfish once in a while!
written by VHS contributor// Britney Kaufman
The Busy Boy Mama
We can almost smell the turkey and mashed potatoes! Who else is getting stoked for Thanksgiving?! If you haven't noticed yet we love to celebrate holidays around here by giving away printables! This free "thankful and blessed" printable is just perfect for this time of year. Frame it and this would make a wonderful (and inexpensive) hostess gift to give to whoever hosts Turkey Day in your family! I have mine hanging in our studio with some cute washi tape. If you're thankful :) for it let us know by pinning or sharing this post and we will keep the free printables a coming!
We're also having some fun over at our Honey Mamas Facebook Fan Group ! If you're not a Honey Mama Fan yet we would love for you to join us. Our Honey Mamas have access to exclusive coupons, flash sales & giveaways! Oh and we're even offering an exclusive necklace (at a special sales price woot woot) for members only! So come hang out with us.
I take my job as milkmaid seriously. I also enjoy being prepared for anything and everything. So when I began my third journey with a newborn I got a bit wiser and put together my breastfeeding kit; a cute and portable basket filled with all the items I may need for a nursing session. These are things I use multiple times throughout the day and night and having them within easy reach (especially at night!) has been invaluable.
Water bottle- you can never drink enough water while breastfeeding! I occasionally wake up with dry mouth and know that's my cue to drink more water!
Snack bar, apricot fruit leather- once you settle in to nurse, getting up for anything proves difficult. Keep some snacks on hand.
Nursing pads- no one likes to spring a leak ;)
Soothies gel pads- I like to keep these refrigerated for a cooler compress but any way they feel ah-mazing. A friend gave me this tip which is genius- since you're only wanting to cover the nipple, cut each round into fourths to make them last longer!
Lanolin- to soothe cracked nipples (heaven forbid)
Vintage Honey Shop nursing necklace- have a grabby baby? Wear one of these stylish and functional nursing necklaces to occupy baby’s hands so they can concentrate on eating.
Burp cloth (not pictured)- just in case!
Extras for baby:
Sun drops- our pediatrician recommended these vitamin D3 drops and all it takes is one drop applied to the nipple to avoid the hassle of getting your baby to take them orally.
Nail clippers and nail files- since my son still falls asleep during nursing sessions I take the opportunity to trim and file his nails.
Boppy- this won’t fit in the basket but I cart this positioning pillow throughout the house.
Those are my breastfeeding essentials that make up my kit! Hope this eases some new mom anxiety and supports lactation!
written by VHS contributor// Whitney Smith
Work it Mommy
Joel is now 8 months! But I've rounded up a few must have items that kept baby and mama happy from month 3 through 6.
Well that’s all for my must have items for a 3-6 onth old baby. Stay Tuned for 6-9 months!
written by VHS contributor// Aseky Bonnaire
Aseky + The Boys