Happy Tell Another Mom Monday!!

Email it, Tweet it. Share it or Pin it.

Email it, Tweet it. Share it or Pin it.

Thank you to everyone who made last week’s first Tell Another Mom Monday (#TAMmonday) such a huge success. A whole week has passed and here we are at ready to face another dreaded Monday morning routine.

Send a little love this Monday to another mom. Tweet it to them using #TAMmonday, or post it to their facebook timeline. I’ll have this image posted to facebook first thing tomorrow morning so you can share it with family and friends. And don’t forget you too are a GREAT MOTHER!!

Motherhood Guilt… I will tip-toe all day long

I recently read an article that has caused quite a bit of debate in the world of motherhood, ‘Feminism shouldn’t mean lying about motherhood’. It discusses the so-called truth behind big topics like child care and breastfeeding, and how we should not have to ‘tip-toe’ around maternal guilt. The whole thing kind of puts a bad taste in my mouth and the article really doesn’t take into consideration any emotional aspects of motherhood. The only good thing I can say about this article is that it has sparked me to write about something that I think most moms struggle with, and that is guilt. And unlike the author of this article, I support other mothers regardless of their parenting choices and I do ‘tip-toe around guilt’… because I know too well what it feels like.

So I feel like guilt is something that is bestowed on us when our first child makes their appearance in the world. It’s almost like the stork was annoyed that he wasn’t really the one delivering the baby, so instead decided to drop bountiful amounts of guilt down upon us. I remember the first time I experienced motherhood guilt, only days after my son was born. I actually felt bad about wanting to leave my baby to have a shower. How insane is that? Then of course, it was feeling bad about the feeding. I didn’t enjoy a single moment of breastfeeding which made me feel terrible because it was supposed to be such a natural beautiful connection. And then there is the whole ‘crying’ thing. Was I supposed to love the sound of a baby wailing non-stop all day? And of course there is the desire for those ‘pre-baby’ nights when you actually got more than three hours of sleep. Guilt… with another side of guilt.  Those first few weeks can be so hard, so you damn well should be ‘tip toeing around guilt’. The last thing a new mother needs, is to feel bad about her parenting decisions. Regardless of any study or research, mothers should do what is best for their families, not just for themselves or their children… they should do what is best for everyone involved.

Now that our kids are older, I can tell you that motherhood guilt does not go away. I feel terrible about sometimes ‘checking out’ of the daily activities. I mean I am physically there… but really my mind is elsewhere when I’m playing the tenth board game of the day. I really do despise the game Candyland and I wish that I didn’t cringe when I saw it. In my mind I feel that I should want to play with my kids, but the thought of pulling that dreaded candy cane card when I’m only a few spaces away from the end makes me want to secretly ‘misplace’ the game all together. And then I thought it would be better if I got out of the house and worked part time, I was wrong. Ironically, now I feel bad about not being home to play candyland more often.

I feel guilty about losing my patience and yelling way more than I should. Every time I leave the house I am consumed by my daughters cries and begs for me not to go. I feel terrible about wanting to make more time for me, and I feel bad about actually enjoying it when I do get the chance to focus on myself. I am faced with guilt about spending money on anything that is not for my kids. When it comes to nutrition, I feel guilty that I don’t always provide the healthiest organic snacks that everyone else seems to be serving up. When my children hurt themselves, I question why I wasn’t watching them at that exact moment. Guilt is a very powerful thing that can take over our lives if we let it.

So to sum it all up… yes we should be ‘tip-toeing’ around motherhood guilt. I think most mothers feel guilty about something and there is no reason why we should be adding to that. The fact of the matter is that we are all in this together and despite our different decisions, we should be helping each other through the emotional rollercoaster of parenting… not putting one another down. To all the moms out there who feel guilty about one thing or another, know that I will tip-toe around that all day long. I’ve vowed to support other moms not make them feel bad about the decisions they’ve made for ‘their’ family.  

Yes… my butt jiggles sometimes.

Jocelyn acting as my audience for my morning shower.

Jocelyn acting as my audience for my morning shower.

So showering these days in private does not seem to happen very often. With my husband’s shift work, the mornings usually consist of me trying to pull off a five minute shower, with the door open, praying that there are no loud bangs or high pitched screams. More often than not, I hear the little pitter patter of footsteps and get to wash in front of an audience of tough critics.

The other morning, my three year old decided that she would let me know exactly what she thought of my naked body in the shower.

‘Eew… that’s gross. Your butt is jiggling,’ Jocelyn yells.

‘That’s not very nice Jocelyn,’ I respond, while the two kids giggle and point.

‘Your butt is jiggling and you’re not even moving! Why is it doing that?!?’ my son chimes in.

They laugh hysterically until James gets the hiccups and then they carry on with the rest of their morning routine or driving me crazy. As they left the bathroom, all I could do was laugh and think, ‘Can one’s butt really jiggle if they’re not even moving?’ Okay… that’s besides the point. I need to write a post about the ‘post baby body’ and why we can become so obsessed about it.

So the one thing that really annoys me about reading articles on body image, particularly after childbirth, is that it seems like the photos posted are a little dishonest. I often wonder if it is seriously the best picture the person has ever taken of themselves and then perhaps even helped a little with photoshop. If I’m going to write to other moms about how I feel about my own body… I’m going to do it up a right with some real honest photos. I was very tempted to photoshop out the gigantic pimple on my chin… but then figured that we’ve all had a zit or two in our lifetime. Who cares.

And of course before I go any further, I love my kids and would do it all again, despite all the things that having children did to my body. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I need to address something we mothers do to one another. We ask about the baby weight. Don’t do it. It’s great that some women lose their weight right away, but let’s not rub it in. I don’t ask you if anyone’s crater sized belly button is back to its normal shape, so lets not bother with the weight question either. And by the way, I don’t want to ‘embrace’ my post baby body either. I work with what I have… I don’t need to do anything other than that.

My push up bra and spanx. Just a few of my secrets.

My push up bra and spanx. Just a few of my secrets.

When I get compliments from other moms, which I do on occasion, my immediate reaction is that I have somehow tricked them into thinking I look better than what I do. I tell them that my chest is held up with an amazing push up bra, and I have spanx on underneath my dress to keep my tummy from becoming ‘untucked’, and I found some great foundation that covers up all the extra wrinkles I’ve acquired. Okay, so if you know me, you might be thinking I am totally exaggerating. Well, here’s the thing, women and especially mothers are hard on ourselves and each other. So, the reality is, most of us don’t like something about our body. And that’s okay.

Let’s be honest though and help one another out. My butt jiggles. I just realized that the blue lines on my legs are varicose veins. My daughter informed me that my stretch marks look like tiger stripes. My belly button may honestly have just made it back to it’s original size. My c-section scar just started to fade so it now longer looks like it is constantly smiling at me. My extra skin hangs only a ‘little’ compared to when it once was a flap hanging over my jeans. My feet never went back to their original size… and I often feel like ‘sasquatch’ when most fashionable shoe stores don’t have my size.

I know… I’m a real catch. Honestly, I wrote this for the moms who think they’re the only ones that don’t ‘embrace’ their post baby body. Be truthful with other moms because at the end of the day we are supposed to be on the same team. Tell another mom about your secrets and your insecurities. I love my family and myself… but that doesn’t mean I have to love my stretch marks or jiggly butt. To the moms out there that don’t love everything that pregnancy did to their body… I’ve got your back.

Family Vacations require a lot of freaking Hard Work

I was recently listening to a discussion on the radio about family vacations. There was a study that discovered that with children over the age of four, some of their fondest memories were of family vacations. In most cases children didn’t remember any specific birthdays or holidays but yet a specific vacation or trip. Good to know. So I guess now I can stop my complaining about all the hard work that goes into these trips.

Hard work? I kid you not. So I’m sure you all know a mother or two that claim their family vacations don’t cause them any stress. Their kids enjoy the ten hour car ride and never ask ‘are we there yet?’. It’s as if they get in the car and in a blink of an eye they suddenly arrive at their dreamy destination looking and feeling great with no puke or bathroom related accidents or fast food spills to show for. Alright… those moms are either wildly delusional or maybe they just forget how easy it was to travel before they had kids. Or maybe they really do have easy stress free vacations… their bags pack themselves, they never forget anything, and all of their kids love car rides. Hmm… I’m betting they are stretching the truth, just a little.

This past weekend was our first camping trip of the season. And I realize that camping may require a little more planning than some other vacations, but regardless of the type of trips your family goes on, they all have their own unique challenges. I started the entire process of packing a week in advance. After multiple trips to the grocery store, a few meals pre-made and endless amounts of snacks packed, I THOUGHT I had the food situation under control. Then of course there was packing enough clothing for every possible thing that can go wrong while camping. I packed rain coats, winter jackets, mittens, snow pants, 5 pairs of shoes, 8 pairs of socks, and of course all the regular essential clothing for BOTH kids. I THOUGHT I had the clothing packed beyond perfection. I reminded my husband endless amounts of times to pack the bbq, the toys, the lawn chairs and everything that goes on his ‘list’ to pack. I THOUGHT I had remembered everything.

Jojo puddle

Jocelyn… in the puddle. Fun right?

So there we were, some of the first campers of the season. As we drove through the campground it seemed a bit wet to say the least. I wasn’t worried… I packed rain boots. I was prepared. We set up and started our usual ‘camping’ activities of riding bikes and hiking. Within an hour I had already changed three sets of shoes and socks. Apparently puddles and ponds were yelling ‘come jump in me’ louder than my ‘stay out of the water’ screams. By dinner time I only had two pairs of socks and crocs left for them to wear. Dinner time meant drying off in the trailer and having some bbq’d sausages. Hmm.. or did it? My dear husband remembered the bbq but forgot the propane. Did I mention that we’ve been camping since the kids were born and long before that. We were supposed to be experienced campers. After figuring out the dinner debacle, we had a great campfire and headed in for the night. Phew.. made it through day one. They better have some pretty freaking amazing memories logged in their little brains, because day one already kicked my butt.

James swinging

James… swinging in the swamp like park.

Day 2 and 3 rained… and then snowed and actually spewed ice pellets sideways at us. But the kids insisted that they were having fun. Everything was wet, I ran out of snacks, all meals got pan fried and I’m pretty sure I slept less and less as the nights went on. Just in case this wasn’t obvious,  marshmallows and jiffy pop don’t exactly set up flawless nights for children sleeping.

But now we are home. And I can say, that despite having eight or more loads of laundry to do and being tired beyond belief, I would do it all again… because my children have memories that will last them a lifetime. Let me rephrase that… we all have memories that will last a lifetime, I just hope no one remembers me losing it one or two times along the way.

To all the moms out there that work their butts off planning family vacations, you deserve a huge pat on the back. It is a tremendous amount of hard work to pull off trips that everyone will enjoy. It’s overwhelming at times trying to think of everyone’s needs and remember ALL the stuff that prepares us for the worst. And unless you are one of these mystical mothers who have family trips that just plan themselves, you probably feel more tired than when you left for your ‘so-called’ vacation. It’s okay. Hang in there. You are doing such a great job, and when your kids look back and remember all the memorable family vacations, you’ll appreciate all the work it took to get you there even more.

When you can’t see the Forest for the Trees

My name is Shana and I am a twenty something { or at least I will be for the next week or so } who is a new Mommy to a very spunky little lady named Norah. I have wanted to be a Mom for as long as I can remember and although I do truly love it, I openly admit it is very different from what I thought! I started in the blogging world when I was planning my wedding a few years ago and quickly switched to a motherhood/lifestyle focus once the honeymoon dust had settled. If you would like to come and visit, you can find me over here : http://www.shetheblog.com . I love to share my “lived and learned” experiences and hope that you might find something helpful that makes your life a little simpler. Let’s face it, this motherhood thing isn’t easy but it is pretty darn amazing!

Recently I was visiting with a friend whose baby just turned two months old. I could see that look in her eyes as she sat in my living room. I know that look well. I had that look. I still have that look somedays. It is the what on earth did I just get myself into look.  It is that I can’t see the forest for all these trees look. It is the new mom look.

It prompted me to write this post and share what I wish I could say to every new Mom out there and what I wish I could have made myself hear in those early days.

To the new Mom,

It is going to be okay. Not only is it going to be okay but you are doing a good job.

There are probably going to be tears.  You will cry in frustration, fear and a million other emotions that you never knew you could feel. It is okay to cry. We teach our children that it is okay to express what they are feeling and it is okay for you to do it as a Mom. Let go and remember you do not have to be perfect at this. Although you may not feel like it, you are already amazing because you love you little one enough to keep trying and wanting to do better. There may be times when you feel like you can’t go on. When the tiredness goes beyond the physical and into the emotional and you wonder if you have anything left to give. You do and you will. The beginning of motherhood is a amazing and difficult time filled with so much love and excitement combined with doubt and wonder of how things are ever going to feel normal again. Your life is not over, nor will it ever be the same. Everyday find a little something good that happened. Repeat this to yourself : every day is a new day. That love that you already feel is only going to get stronger and before long they will be able to show you how much they love you in return.

Ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness. You are not expected to know everything the day that they hand you your baby. Help may be asking someone to hold the little one while you take a shower. A shower can make you feel like a new women. Help might be sharing what you are feeling. Having someone relate to you helps you realize that you are not alone and reminds you that you don’t have to feel guilty for what you are feeling or struggling with. A cup of tea will always help as well { even more so if you have some chocolate with it}

 

Take that extra minute to kiss your little one and snuggle them when they need it and try your best to be patient when they cry for longer then we would like to mention.  Motherhood is about learning that no matter how you feel, you have control over how you react and that is what makes the world of difference. It’s that first time when you go into their room and they smile because you came to get them when all the rough stuff  will just melt away. Your little one thinks you are a wonderful mother and that is all that matters.

 Lastly, new Mom remember to be gentle with yourself. You will make it through the trees and see the forest in no time.

xoxo,

Now it is your turn my lovely readers, what do you wish you could say to a new mom out there or to yourself reflecting back on those early days?

Join in for another TAM monday

Amazing Mother

Right click to save and email, or pin it at the bottom of the post.

Thank you to everyone who made last week’s first Tell Another Mom Monday (#TAMmonday) such a huge success. A whole week has passed and here we are at ready to face another dreaded Monday morning routine.

Send a little love this Monday to another mom. Tweet it to them using #TAMmonday, or post it to their facebook timeline. I’ll have this image posted to facebook first thing tomorrow morning so you can share it with family and friends. And don’t forget you too are an AMAZING MOTHER!!

Yeah… my first podcast!!

So I’m really excited that I was asked to be a part of the podcast One Bad Mother. I recorded with them yesterday and to be honest… I was a little nervous about it all. I have never been on the radio before and this was my first chance to speak to an audience about the website. I ended up feeling great about the whole recording and I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to give the website a voice. I realize now that what started out as a ‘project’ for me to vent about being judged by other moms, has become something I am far more passionate about. It has become my mission.

I want to thank everyone who has been so supportive of the website and to all the comments and help getting the message out there. If you have a chance to listen to the podcast I’ve attached it below. I was given the chance to talk about who I am, what the website is about and what it stands for. I come on at around the 48 minute mark but the whole show is quite funny and worth listening to if you have the time. Thanks again for all your support and comments, and if you have a story please feel free to contact me. And don’t forget to Tell Another Mom… that she’s a good mom.

The Battle Coat is on

My throat is throbbing. My head is pounding. My nose is running uncontrollably. I am yet again sick. In our house, when one person starts sneezing or oozing… it means that the battle coat comes on and stays on for the next 2-3 weeks while we all pass around germs and illness. What is the battle coat? It is my comfort when I am nursing everyone back to health. It has everything I need including reusable snot rags, chap stick and thermometers. It is my housecoat. My husband started calling it my battle coat about a year ago when I came out with it on and it was no longer light blue… but a sort of blueish tan colour from all the stains. He insisted that I wash it… so I did. It came out smelling much better, but it indeed still looked like a battle coat.

When the battle coat comes on you can be assured that one of the following things has occurred:

– someone has been puking, coughing, or sneezing all over me for more than 24 hours and there is no end in sight

– the dreaded nightmares have taken hold of yet another night of sleep. I’ve fought off monsters under the bed, lions with big mean teeth and scary looking eyes from the closet all night long

– I am sick and have been so busy focusing on everyone else that I have let myself get worn down and past the point of no return. There is no such thing as a ‘touch of something’ anymore… it’s either healthy or ridiculously sick.

– There has been a date night that inevitably turned into a late night. If only the kids knew that  ‘sleeping in’ was a requirement after these evenings. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just hang a ‘do not disturb’ on our doorknobs… at least until 8 am???

battlecoat

This is me…sick and in my battle coat.

The thing is, sometimes we all need a little comfort to get us through the rough mornings, sick days, and draining weeks. My comfort is my battle coat. It has stains, rips and doesn’t always smell great. I love it. It reminds me that there was a ‘last time’ that I got through and there will inevitably be a ‘next time’ I will endure. I wear my battle coat with pride because as a mom I care for my entire family and protect them at all costs. So the next time you’re thinking of something to buy for that first time mom, consider the housecoat. When she steps out on to the mommy battlefield for the first time, she may appreciate the comfort that a battle coat can bring. To all the moms out there sporting their battle coats…. you’re doing a great job and you will get through the rough days. As I cuddle up in my own battle coat, if brings me a bit of comfort to know that sooner or later I will hang it up for another day.

Tell Another Mom Mondays

Youre_A_Good_mom

Right Click to save and email, or Pin it at the bottom of the post.

So since starting Tell Another Mom, I’ve had so much support from other moms reaching out and wanting to help get the word out there about the mission. It got me thinking… I need to make it easier for moms to encourage one another. In a perfect world, we would all walk up to random mothers and tell them that they are ‘good moms’ or that they are doing an ‘amazing job’. Taking this leap of faith and hoping that the response is a positive one can be somewhat intimidating (although I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to hear that they’re a good mom!). So, after some thought I’ve decided to start up the Tell Another Mom MONDAYS.

What does this mean? Simply put, it’s one day a week that we put our differences and insecurities aside and ENCOURAGE one another by sharing a few kind words. You can be involved by doing any of the following:  SAY it, EMAIL it, SHARE it, TWEET it or PIN it (I’m sure that I am missing some form of social media here… so please if I am, feel free to let us all know).

Each week I’ll have a new picture within the post that you can right click and download so that you can email it to another mom. On facebook I’ll post that same photo so that anyone can share it to another mom’s timeline. On twitter, simply tweet to another mother something encouraging and hashtag it #TAMmonday or include @TellAnotherMom. (i.e. @MarieOsmond you’re an amazing mother #TAMmonday)

How involved do you have to be? As little or as much as you desire. I’m going to start by telling three mothers that they’re doing a great job (who knows… I may even get a little out of control and tell more). I’m supporting my friends, other bloggers, moms I don’t know, celebrity moms. You name it… whoever that I feel really needs to hear those four words… YOU’RE A GOOD MOM.

So, I’ve given everyone the heads up, seeing that today is indeed still Sunday. I hope at least a few moms out there will join the mission to tell another mom that she’s a good mom (or any other encouraging words). The first time someone I didn’t even know told me… I had no idea how badly I really needed to hear those kind words.

Motherhood… a whole other level of EXHAUSTION.

I am exhausted. I am physically and mentally tired so often that I honestly have just stopped recognizing how exhausted I really am. I am a perfectly healthy active young woman (well… young may be exaggerating), yet I feel like I am constantly just overcoming the feeling of being worn out. I look around and I see other moms that have just as much on their plate that always seem to look like they are full of energy. Am I missing something?

So last night my daughter was up almost the entire night with nightmares about dinosaurs and lions with big teeth. I have been dragging my feet all day and am honestly just waiting for that oh so quiet ‘down time’ when I might be able to close my eyes for just a quick minute. But then again… the laundry isn’t going to do itself and dinner certainly doesn’t magically appear on the table. I skip the ‘down time’. Now, to my surprise my daughter has a burst of energy and wants to play hide and go seek outside. We go out and play nonstop for an hour until we have to go and pick up my son from school. To anyone looking from the outside in, they would have no idea that I feel like a walking zombie, just trying to get one step closer to bedtime while still enjoying the day and not losing my patience.

So, my guess is that I am not the only one that is beyond EXHAUSTED. If you are sitting at home at this very minute thinking that you are alone in feeling like you are tired beyond belief… just know that I am too. Oh, and by the way… now is NOT the time to tell me that your kids have slept through the night since they were born. It is also NOT the time to question why my daughter has nightmares about lions, or tell me to nap when my kids nap.  Now is the time to tell me that I’m doing a good job, and that sometimes motherhood is just downright exhausting. I’m not complaining… really I’m not… I’m just simply pointing out what seems obvious but sometimes needs to be said.

Motherhood is such a great blessing, but it is also a lot of hard work. To all the moms out there that are dreaming of three solid hours of ‘down time’… you’re doing a great job. I’m not sure if you’ll ever get that time you need to recoup and overcome the feeling of being worn out… but you will get through it. Some days I feel far less exhausted than others. Today I am tired. I am worn out. I feel like sleep is something to look forward to. So the next time you are feeling the same way I am today… tell another mom. Tell another mom that you too are exhausted. It makes it just a little bit easier to get through the day knowing that there are secretly other walking mombies out there too.