International Breastfeeding Week: A Story of One Mom’s Journey

In honor of International Breastfeeding Week, my dear friend from my Mommy Group, Shelley, is here guest blogging to share her amazing journey/struggles with breastfeeding. Shelley is such an amazing mother and all-around great person and I’m so happy she chose my blog to act as the platform for her amazing story. If you are a new mom struggling with breastfeeding, please read – there are some great resources at the end as well. Without further ado, here is Shelley:

International Breastfeeding Week

My Breastfeeding Journey

By Shelley C.

The latch

Ahh, breastfeeding… sweet, sweet breastfeeding. It’s almost taboo how no one really warns you what lies ahead between you, your soon to be poor, raw nipples, and your little paraná with what feels like razor-sharp teeth chomping down on you.

I remember being pregnant and listening to stories from my mom about her breastfeeding journey, and she had absolutely no troubles. Zero, zip, nada. Not one. So, naturally, I assumed baby pops out, latches like a champ (latch: a term I had no idea I would hear over and over again for the first few months), and the rest is history. Well, not for me. In fact, my breastfeeding experience was quite the opposite. A rough, confusing, extremely painful and emotional journey intertwined with anger, frustration, and doubt. It turns out I wasn’t alone amongst my breastfeeding struggles, and I thankfully was (eventually) able to create a beautiful, positive, blissful breastfeeding relationship between my son and me, who is turning one at the end of the month.

I remember how magical it was after my C-section when they finally brought Tanner to me in the recovery room. They placed him on my chest for skin-to-skin contact and he pecked his way over to my boobies right away. It was amazing to see this tiny little creature have such natural instinct for his mom and his food supply. He latched right on, and no one ever showed concern that something could eventually prevent a struggle.

The hospital I delivered at had a couple lactation consultants on staff who would stop by and check in on you at least once during your stay, because they wanted you to succeed breastfeeding. Mine was named Cari & I remember her popping into our hospital room on day 3 because I was absolutely exhausted. My family and my in-laws were all in our tiny room, and I already felt overwhelmed amongst the chaos. Everyone was so excited to meet and hold Tanner the days following his birth, and inside I remember thinking “Do I ever get to hold my baby?!” I remember how uncomfortable it was that no one excused themselves from my room when Cari was clearly there to observe my boobs, and I knew my nipples hurt so bad I just wanted to lay around topless all day and have her wave a magic wand around to get the pain gone (and for everyone to give me some privacy). Ya, most your dignity goes out the window during childbirth, but there’s still something about whipping your boobs out in front of your dad and mother-in-law that’s just weird & awkward. Cari didn’t have a magic wand, but we did have the bedside curtain to close, and that’s as good as we were going to get for now. I had my mom with me (she’s a nurse and we’re super close, so her seeing my boobs was no biggie) and Cari had Tanner latch on to feed, and watched him nurse. I told her how excruciating it was and had been since his first few latches, but she said his latch looked great, and the pain should only last a couple weeks. A couple weeks?! Ah!! How will I ever survive?! If only I knew that pain would continue for three.more.months. Yep, three.

After Cari came by, the pediatrician came in to do a weigh in. It’s normal for newborns to lose a pound or so from their birth weight, so Tanner’s weight was okay, but he had orange pee crystals, so that was the first red flag he wasn’t getting enough fluids. Instead of someone trying to help me breastfeed further, or call Cari back in, they said the only option was to add formula to some of his feedings. Being a health conscious, I was irritated & confused, but they were the doctors and recommending what’s best for my baby…right? They ensured me they had organic formula and “not everyone can make enough milk.” Are any pro breastfeeders or LC’s losing it right now? Are flames coming out of your ears? Are you throwing things at the computer screen?? I started to hate myself for not being able to naturally provide for my son, and blamed myself (and the breast augmentation surgery I had when I was 22, which turned out to be totally unrelated.)

[Note: I believe ALL moms are wonderful, whether you chose to breastfeed or to not. This is simply my personal journey with breastfeeding & always wanting to breastfeed. I fully support every mom’s decision to provide for their baby in ways that work for them & their circumstances.]

After meeting with Cari again, she said lose the formula and stick with breastfeeding, because babies only need colostrum the first week anyway, and a teeny, tiny amount.

I would cringe every time he would feed

Around week two and a half post partum I was completely sobbing to my mom (thank god for her; she took every single day of her work vacation days & flew out to help us for three weeks; she was my therapist, our house keeper, our chef, our nanny, my go-to – thank you so much, Mom!!) about how badly it hurt every time still Tanner fed. My nipples were literally cracked, bleeding, blistered and scabby. I would cringe every time he would feed, and any new mom knows newborns’ cluster feeding “schedule” (aka 24/7) is NO JOKE, but something just wasn’t right! We Googled how long new mom breastfed nipples should hurt, and every article and source said max two weeks, or to contact an LC (lactation consultant aka breastfeeding guardian angels) if pain was still present. I felt embarrassed and frustrated I had to reach out for help, and figured since my mom didn’t have problems, that neither would I. This was also right around the time we had Tanner’s follow-up pediatrician visit, and he was in a super low percentile and labeled as “failing to thrive.” Which meant my boobs were failing to thrive. More formula was sent home with me to “bulk him up; you’re hurting his brain growth!” with the phrase “some people just can’t produce enough milk.” Great.

The outside pressure

The outside pressure from everyone else around was irritating too because they just didn’t get it. They didn’t understand my struggles because they all bottle fed or didn’t have breastfeeding issues to be able to offer advice. The bottle feeders always said “just give him a bottle, it’s easier.” Actually, it’s not because my husband travels for work and sanitizing bottles, pumping milk, and warming milk all hours of the night is way more overwhelming. P.S. – Don’t ever say that to a new breastfeeding mom who’s hormones are raging out of control. Ever. I was also the first in my circle of friends to have a baby, so didn’t have any modern mama to turn to for help. Lucky, my husband was very supportive of my breastfeeding desire because he attended the classes with me while I was pregnant and learned about all the health benefits. He had testicular cancer as a child, so his ears perked up when exclusive breastfeeders lower their children’s risk for childhood cancer and can help set them up on a healthier path. There’s something so attractive feeling like your husband’s got your back; that you’re a team; that you’re supported.

After we got home from the pediatrician appointment, my mom found Cari’s card and I called her for advice. She dropped everything she was doing and came for a private lactation appointment at my house. She cringed at my nipples and decided to test out my brand new, ridiculously expensive breast pump to see if I could pump anything. We got a drop. Like literally one drop. After 20 minutes of pumping. Devastating. So she had me get in the shower and try to massage my boobs as hard as I could under the hottest water I could tolerate. Turned out almost every single one of my milk ducts was clogged, and I would’ve woken up with mastitis the next morning if she hadn’t massaged the clogs out. Yes, you heard that right; she literally squashed the life out of my boobs for me while I was naked in the shower to get my milk to come in. We tried the pump again and still only got a few drops. Are you kidding me?!? She said it would take time, and that my milk would continue to come in…

I just knew in my gut, something was off

A couple days later, I still never felt my boobs feel full, and I still hadn’t experienced a letdown. I just knew in my gut something was still off, so we found the schedule for the local breastfeeding support group. My mom packed Tanner and I into the car (I actually had to get dressed?!), and came with me to my first breastfeeding support group session. An LC and about twenty other new moms and babies were there, all having problems nursing, all looking for support. I fell in love with that support group right then and there knowing I was no longer in this alone. They ended up being my outlet & some of my closest friends, and came at perfect timing because my mom had to fly back home a couple days later.

Monster list of tips to increase milk supply

Cari, Nicole, and Janet were the three LCs who ran the group. Each new mom would introduce herself, her baby, and discuss the issues she was having. All the moms were suffering from some sort of breastfeeding issue; nursing pain, latch issues, thrush, low supply, oversupply, over active letdowns, nursing twins, etc…When my turn came around I opened up about my issue, which ended up being classified as “low milk supply.” So after Cari observed Tanner’s latch, which was determined to be good, I was left with a monster list of tips to increase my milk supply…

  1. Pump after every nursing session to try to tell your body it needs to create more milk. (EVERY NURSING SESSION. I felt like a cow. I literally didn’t wear a shirt for weeks).
  2. Bake lactation cookies (thanks, mom!)
  3. Drink Gatorade for electrolytes; some women swear by the red or blue. (Who knows! At least it’s a change from water.)
  4. Drink 90oz of water per day. (Some days I thought I was drowning! PS – never drink all your ounces per day at once; that can be dangerous).
  5.  Eat 2,000 calories full of healthy fats, protein, dairy, and fiber. (Because we totally have time to go grocery shopping and cook. Hopefully your better halves, parents, or friends can help you in the kitchen – it’s for the baby!)
  6. Start taking Goat’s Rue and More Milk Plus by Mother’s Love. Also used Dairy Diva. (You can find them at Whole Foods or online).
  7. Continue to nurse on demand. (If baby is ever sucking their hands the first few months, it’s probably not for comfort; it usually means they are hungry.)
  8. If baby still seems hungry after breastfeeding, supplement with an ounce or two of formula, then pump after for 10 minutes. (This was the most exhausting process!)
  9. Don’t exercise yet- you can lose what supply you do have burning too many calories too quickly. (Be gentle on yourself and your post-partum body. I started working out at 8 months post-baby because I felt confident with my supply, my eating habits, and my water intake. DO NOT DIET while trying to keep your supply up. I know many women who wanted to lose “those last 15 pounds” and they all lost their milk around 5 months because they were limiting their calories. If you’re eating healthy foods, you can still reach the calorie intake you need).
  10. Try power pumping – (keep your pump hooked up to you for an hour. Pump ten minutes on, ten minutes off, for 60 minutes. Obviously try to time when baby doesn’t need to breastfeed).
  11. Try to get some sleep (seriously?)
  12. Your milk is “best” from about 11pm until you wake up, so pump before the last feeding of the evening, the middle of the night feeding, and the first feeding of the morning to boost your supply the most. Your supply is worst from around 4pm-10pm, so pump to stimulate then. (Eek…this mom thing is definitely a full time job!)
  13. Drink More Milk Tea (Sold at Target or Whole Foods. You literally have to drink like a gallon a day, so pre-make a big batch and mix with honey or lemon because it’s GROSS. PS – From the herbs & tea, your sweat and body will start to give off an herby smell, be ready for that 😉 
  14. Try Milky (an herbal blend of milk boosters; it tastes way better than the tea but I’m not sure if it really helps or not).

I tried all of these things for months. It became my life. I was literally obsessed with the fact that I wasn’t going to give up. I was determined to exclusively breastfeed. When I would have to supplement I felt so guilty, like I had failed. And I was becoming mentally and physically exhausted. At night it was the most brutal; Tanner would nurse for literally an hour, then I’d have to supplement, then I’d pump for ten minutes. By the time I was done with that cycle, I had to start it over. My husband was also traveling for work 2-3 weeks out of the month, and that started when Tanner was two weeks old, so the bottle & pump cleaning was a nightmare and so hard to keep up with. When my in-laws would come over to see Tanner, I would secretly wish they were cleaning & doing my laundry instead! I was super grateful they brought me meals a couple times, I would’ve probably starved to death when Kyle was gone.

About two months in of these crazy supply tricks, I was still going nowhere. We’d weigh Tanner before and after feedings at class and he was still only getting an ounce after nursing for nearly an hour. And on top of that, my nipples were still totally scabbed, so I was now referred to the nipple shield. The nipple shield is a soft piece of plastic that goes on top of your nipple so the baby’s mouth sucks on that instead of direct contact with your skin, causing less pain and allowing the scabs to heal (like putting a bottle nipple over yours). It helped a little, but Tanner had gotten so used to using it, that he was soon refusing to nurse without it. Ugh, a new battle. Once my boobs felt a little better, It took me two full weeks to completely wean him of using the shield. And then the scabs returned…

We were creeping up on three months post partum (still supplement after some feedings, still dealing with scabs, still pumping after each feeding to stimulate a supply increase, taking goat’s rue and more milk plus three times a day and eating BF cookies like it was my job) when a speech therapist came to our support group to observe infants for the first time. She was there to look for upper lip and tongue-tie issues. I had overheard chitter chatter about this mysterious tongue tie thing from a mom I got close with in support group; her baby, Charlie, had just had both her upper lip and tongue tie removed with a laser. But, no one had ever mentioned that diagnosis to me, so I just thought it was some rare thing.

My Hail Mary

The next group meeting, the speech therapist was there again to observe. I introduced myself and told her that everyone says Tanner has a great latch, but my nipples were still raw going on three months post partum, and I’m still only able to get about an ounce per feeding, so I was still having to supplement. I told her she was literally my Hail Mary, and asked her to observe tanner’s nursing. She watched him eat for thirty minutes and…wait for it…said she was pretty sure he had both upper lip and tongue tie. (There’s a fancy frenulum name for it). Ummm..wait, frenulum what??

As frustrated as I was that it took three months for someone to throw this new diagnosis at me that could be causing my low supply and soreness issues, I was actually excited that there could be a reason for all the madness and my low supply wasn’t going unexplained. Charlie’s mom, Stephanie, referred me to the dentist she went to that specialized in tongue and upper lip tie removal via laser (which is considered to be far more accurate at removing these ties than it being snipped, and is supposed to heal quicker as well). I called the office that day and they scheduled Tanner an appointment the next morning.

When I got to the dentist, I was really nervous and didn’t know what to expect. The one thing I did know right off the bat was that the staff was incredibly warm and friendly, and the office was decorated so cute for fall, smelling and looking like home. I had great vibes from the moment I walked in and was greeted by the receptionists. They took us in like we were their family. (And this was South Florida!) Once we were called back, we met the dentist and other staff, and they were all incredibly friendly as well. They took one look in Tanner’s mouth and said he had one of the thickest, longest upper lip ties and tongue tie they had ever seen, and couldn’t believe I was even still nursing. After they explained everything thoroughly they asked if I wanted to move forward with the procedure. They went over everything in full detail until I felt full informed; like how lip & tongue tie can lead to tooth decay, speech issues, latch issues, and other problems later on in life. And that is cost $1000, which is due upfront, but insurance may cover it partially. The answer was obvious to me – YES. PLEASE HELP US! When children get older, they have to be sedated and have sutures to close the removal of the ties, but when they’re infants, laser is fast, virtually pain free, and the recovery is only a few days. Tanner just made the cut by a week. After three months, they have to be monitored in an outside facility. They put Tanner in the most funny, teeny tiny glasses I’ve ever seen to protect his eyes. I gave him lots of love and snugs, then I left the room so I didn’t have to watch. They preformed the laser on both ties then and there. I was sent home with recovery instructions, and they had him latch immediately after the procedure to see if I could feel a difference. I’m not sure if I was so desperate for an improvement, or if I really felt an immediate change in his lap, but I was convinced I could. (Update: our insurance is 80/20 so they covered 80%, which was incredible! Although, it ended up being priceless to me).

Could this mean he was finally getting more milk from me?

After each time Tanner nursed for a week I had to rub under his upper lip and under his tongue. They have you do this because the mouth is the fastest healing place on our body, so they don’t want the ties to grow back. You have to keep disrupting the tissue growth. That was by far the saddest and most painful part to watch after the removals, because he was in a lot of pain when I rubbed them (obviously, ouch!). I had to give him Tylenol the first two days for discomfort, but after a week, he was completely pain-free, and the wounds were healing greatly. I was so relieved because we were flying to California the next week to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I was actually able to supplement with the tiny amount of milk I was collecting from pumping after feedings that week, rather than formula. And he was only taking about one ounce. Could this mean he was finally getting more milk from me? Could this really have been the culprit for my supply issues all along?

We got to California for vacation a girl I went to high school with (who was also nursing her son the same age as Tanner) dropped of bags of donor milk for me to supplement with in case I was still having issues. When I was supplementing with organic formula, Tanner wasn’t pooping and would wake up screaming all night from gas pain. (I had been SO fortunate with breastfeeding mamas around me. At first I was using a mix of organic formula & donor milk from a friend of the family in Florida, but didn’t want to risk bringing the frozen stash I had in case it thawed & went bad). I was in awe how generous other mamas were. Once you’re a breastfeeding mom you have this instant bond with other breastfeeding mamas.

I don’t know if the California Gods were with me, if it was finally getting to relax with my family & holiday cheer, or if it was just the perfect timing (2 weeks) after Tanner’s tongue tie procedure, but my milk came in the second day I was home. I could cry just writing this and reliving that day. I woke up and my boobs were HUGE. Like full for the first time EVER. He nursed like “normal” that day & I was literally in shock when he wasn’t crying for more milk after nursing. And he was feeding for an efficient half hour rather than dragging feedings on for an hour+. I continued to pump after feedings that week just to be safe, but after a week of that, I no longer had to anymore. My supply issues were finally over. I couldn’t believe it…His tongue-tie was fixed. It was his latch all along. Three of the longest months of my life were finally behind me.

I feel like it’s my mini calling to help other moms suffering from low supply issues or supply issues related to tongue-tie now. It robbed me of enjoying the first three months with Tanner because I was so focused on being able to breastfeed and all the struggles along our way, that it was literally my 24/7 job.

I’m actually thrilled to announce that eleven months later I am still exclusively breastfeeding, and even happier to report I have just donated around 80 ounces of my beloved freezer stash I had at home (from the whole time I was pumping during my Thanksgiving & Christmas visits) to a mama in the area who was unable to breastfeed due to IGT. Talk about my breastfeeding journey coming full circle! If you have breast milk you won’t be using, please don’t toss it! There are so many moms looking for donors, and you can pay it forward here – https://m.facebook.com/profile.php?id=180419095335971&tsid=0.2959478737320751&source=typeahead

Use my journey as an outlet to educate yourself, find support and gather advice

If you’re reading this and struggling with low supply, I hope you can use my journey as an outlet to educate yourself, find support in me, and gather advice. Most of all I hope you know you are doing the best you can. You are an incredible mama.

Turns out, there are many different reasons for low milk supply. For example, IGT, chronic low supply, thyroid issues, hereditary issues, breast reduction surgeries, etc. This was my personal experience with low supply related to upper lip and tongue-tie. If you need more support, there are some wonderful groups on Facebook:

Tongue-Tie:

Low Supply:

General Breastfeeding Support:

What is Tongue Tie?

If you are struggling from low supply and want to continue breastfeeding rather than switch to formula, first and foremost, find a lactation consultant in your area. Go to a breast-feeding support group. Actually, find a few LCs and go to a couple support groups. 1. You’ll need all the love and encouragement you can get. You are not in this alone, and there are other mamas struggling just like you. 2. You’ll sometimes need a second (or even a third) opinion to really pinpoint your issue like I did.

To find an LC near you, visit the following:

 

Breastfeeding is hard. Being a mom is hard. But they are both two of the most rewarding experiences I have ever experienced. Happy International Breastfeeding Week, and I’m sending all the positive milk- making vibes possible to you!

 

 

Fab Moms: Nicole Gomez of Hiring Done Right

I’m excited to introduce you to my next guest blogger, Nicole Gomez of Hiring Done Right. Nicole and I actually go way back, having attended the same Elementary and Middle School in Sacramento and playing in the same softball league growing up. We’ve recently reconnected as we’re on similar life paths, both as new mothers and starting our own consulting businesses. Nicole is the ultimate Fab Mom because she’s the mother to two beautiful TWIN girls (they’re absolutely gorgeous!) Nicole also recently launched her own HR Consulting Business: Hiring Done Right.



Here is Nicole’s Fab Mom Spotlight:

Hiring Done Right

  1. Who calls you mom and what’s his/her/their age?
    Layla Rossi Golfieri, 13 months (June 1st) and Emelia Grace Golfieri, 13 months (June 1st).
  2. What do you do? (SAHM, business owner, blogger, full-time/part-time employee, etc.)
    Business Owner – When I became pregnant with my twins I knew that corporate america was no longer going to fit into the lifestyle I wanted for my family. 3 amazing things came from 4 months of bed rest: Layla, Emelia and the launch of my business, Hiring Done Right.
  3. What does a typical day look like for you? (And the word typical should be taken with a grain of salt – I know they’re hardly ever typical)
    In addition to building a business I am also planning my wedding. Of course, losing the baby weight to get into my wedding dress has proven to be a big challenge. Before the family wakes up I try to run to the gym or a spin class. I get the coffee brewing and straighten up the house from the disaster it was the night before, return emails and of course, check social media. The twins and their daddy wake up around 7. We play for a bit, have breakfast, get dressed and ready for our day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays the nanny comes to the house, and I work from my home office or go out and meet with clients. Mon, Wed and Fri I am home with my sweet girls. After their morning nap, we usually try to do 1 fun activity outside the house everyday. From swinging on the swings at the park, to spending time at the beach or going on a play date with our friends, it’s always a great time. By the time afternoon nap time rolls around, I usually try to get some work done. When the girls wake up from their naps, we play and wait patiently for daddy to come home from work. My fiancé and I usually cook dinner together while the girls sit in their high chairs and eat “appetizers”. After we all eat dinner together at the table, the girls take a bath, we read some books and cuddle up until bed time – which is about 8:30.
  4. Any advice on how to “juggle it all”?
    I certainly don’t have it all figure out but I must say communication with my partner is key. It took some time, but we have learned how to be excellent communicators. From our daily schedules, to our daughters eating habits, to how many more pounds I need to lose before I can fit in my wedding dress, we talk about everything . Because we are so open about what we want and need, I feel like we are willing to make sacrifices to make sure our each others needs are being met. We are more of a team than ever before. There is no way I could do any of this without my fiance, he is willing to bend over backwards to accommodate my needs and the needs of our girls. If your husband, wife, baby daddy or life partner knows what you need help with, they just may surprise you and step it up to support you in ways you never imagined. All mommies are super stars, but we cannot always do it alone.
    The other way I have learned to “juggle it all” is to put one of the “balls” down. Less to juggle makes life a lot easier. For example, I have learned to lower my standards when it comes to keeping up the house. There are toys everywhere, the dirty laundry has overflown out of the hamper and onto to the bathroom floor, there are tiny handprints and lick marks all over my mirrors and windows. To learn to let go of what used to be an immaculate and adorable house took some time, but I have learned that it’s just not as important in the grand scheme of things. My kids are never going to look back and say, “Mom, those chipped walls from us banging the stroller around the living room has had a huge impact on who we’ve become as adults”.
  5. When was the first time you really felt like a mother?
    A lot of women say they feel like a mother the moment they find out they’re pregnant. That wasn’t the case for me. I didn’t even feel like a mother when I held my babies in my arms for the first time. The first time I felt like a mother was when my own mother (who stayed with us for the first two weeks) flew home to Northern California and my fiancé went back to work for the very first time. The girls were two weeks old and we were laying in bed, alone for the very first time since they were brought into this world. All of a sudden I was overwhelmed with emotion, I felt a deep and unexplainable love that I never could have imagined and I just cried. I was theirs and they were mine.
  6. What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?
    I constantly worry about making the right decisions for my girls. I worry about society, the community, and keeping them safe. I stay up at night and worry about the “mean girls” in middle school. For me, that is by far the hardest part of being a mother. I want the absolute best for them and I second guess myself and the decisions I make at least a dozen times a day.
  7. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a mom?
    The most rewarding thing for me as a mother is seeing how happy my girls are. When I see their genuine smiles and hearing their laughter give me a sense of security in knowing I must be doing something right. The girls have also started showing affection. They are now giving me big hugs and kisses, it melts my heart. Those little actions of love my girls show make up for the sleepless nights 100 times over.
  8. What’s the funniest/most shocking thing that has happened to you since you’ve become a mom?
    I can’t remember the single “funniest” moment that has happened since I’ve become a mom, there are just so many. I can tell you that I am the most shocked by how unaffected I have become by bodily fluids. I used to gag when people would spit in front of me, now I go out in public with throw up in my hair and pee-pee on my yoga pants.
  9. I wrote a post about “mental snapshots” that I’ll always remember, even without a photo. I know it’s hard to choose one, but what is your favorite moment, or “mental snapshot”, with your little one(s) so far?
    My favorite mental snapshot is when my girls were just about 6 months old, they were in their high chairs looking at each other smiling and laughing. All of a sudden, they both reached out for each other and held hands. They sat there quietly smiling at each other holding hands for about 15 seconds. I literally cried watching that beautiful moment. I LOVE how much they love each other.
  10. What has been your best baby product purchase so far and why? What age is it appropriate for?
    Dr. Browns Natural Flow Bottles – they have been a life saver. The girls have had the same bottles since they were born and absolutely LOVE them – we just switch out the nipples for faster flow as they get older. (newborn – present day).
  11. What’s something new you have learned about yourself after becoming a mother?
    Since becoming a mother I am more confident with who I am and what my priorities are. I’m not consumed with what other people think about me, my outfit, my hair or my car, my whatever. My family is my number 1 priority and I will do what is best for them 100% of the time. I like this strong and secure version of myself. Also, I have such limited time, I have really been able to evaluate relationships in my life, the people who are important in my life are still there, while I’ve learned to let go of others.
  12. What do you do to unwind/relax when you have some rare time to yourself?
    I love being able to workout in the morning, it gets my day started on the right foot. Once a month I like to schedule a night with girlfriends. After the babies go to bed, I have dinner and cocktails with some of the fabulous women in my life. On the occasional Saturday morning, I love to sneak away for a massage.
  13. What is your favorite outing, to date, with your little one?
    My most favorite outing was a recent trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. My brother and sister-in-law recently had a baby boy, Colton. We took our girls up to visit our family and meet Colton for the first time. I absolutely loved sitting in the back yard with my fiance, daughters, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews and watching all the kids play. It was a magical day seeing the whole family together for the 1st time.



  14. I have a running list of Whine & Dine Restaurants that are family friendly in San Diego. What’s your favorite restaurant that you frequent with your baby/kids/family and in what city? Why do you dine out there?
    Pitfire Pizza in Marina del Rey is incredible. The staff is warm and inviting, the food is delicious and they have the best sangria. There are always a ton of kids around so I don’t get dirty looks thrown my way if one of my girls has a melt down.
  15. Pretend your best friend is pregnant and about to have a baby. What’s the most important piece of advice you would share about “motherhood” (and assuming she is willing to hear it :))?
    Follow your gut. There are so many different opinions and ideas out there about how to raise children. You have to ignore all of it, listen to what your gut is telling you and do what is best for your family.

If you know a #FabMom who would be perfect to spotlight in this series (or if you are a Fab Mom yourself) please email: mommyprojectsd@gmail.com – we’d love to feature you!

 



A Look Behind the Rose Colored Posts: Motherhood is hard

I wrote this post about a month ago when I was going through a bit of a rough patch with Blake not sleeping through the night and not taking naps and I was really feeling like I was at the end of my rope. I’m happy to share that things have completely turned around since I first wrote this – more sleep for baby (and mom) does wonders for quality of life – mostly sanity! I still want to share this post though, because I think it’s very honest in showing that motherhood is not always butterflies and rainbows over here – as I know it may appear that way sometimes on this blog, other blogs or on social media. 

I write a lot about the joys of being a first time mom, because honestly, 99.9% of the time – it’s all joy – of course trying at times, but still all joy. Some days, I even feel like I’m ON FIRE – juggling all of life’s pieces with a baby in tow as if it aint-no-thang. Those are glory days! Then, there are the doomsdays – the 0.1% of the time where things just fall apart and you realize, this is hard. Today, I’m getting a little more personal than I usually do and sharing one of those days because – honestly – it wouldn’t be fair to always only show the bright side of being a first time mom. Plus, I think it’s therapeutic to say it out loud and share.

How are we going to make it through today?

This morning I just stared at myself in the mirror: dark bags under my eyes, a dazed look on my face and lifeless eyes staring back at me. How are we going to make it through today?

Blake woke up three times last night, once to eat and twice just to remind me that she was still there and that she knows how to roll over. I swear the second she learned how to roll from tummy to back to tummy – the child will not stop rolling. This includes rolling in her sleep, which means she’s waking herself up several times per night, which means I’m waking up several times per night helping her get back into a sleeping position. This has been going on for 8 weeks now and, to put it simply, I’m tired. Really.Freaking.Tired.

The Predicament

So after Blake woke up nice and early after a horrible night sleep, we all (Tucker, Blake and I) go downstairs and I let Tucker out in the backyard to go to the bathroom. Tucker, still being the pup at heart that he is, decides to dig a hole around some of our plants in our backyard and then proceeds to re-enter the house and prance around in triumph – tracking mud everywhere.  I finally chase Tucker back outside, shut the door and try to put Blake down in her bouncer so I can go clean the mud off of Tucker’s feet. But Blake begins wailing because she doesn’t like when I put her down during the day. You see, she’s going through a “stage 5 clinger” stage where she only wants Mama right now. I leave Tucker outside so I can pick Blake back up, but Tucker is barking and barking and  jumping on our glass door, smearing mud everywhere. I just sit there baffled because I’m not sure what to do at this point. There is a puzzle game in front of me: muddy dog, muddy house, crying baby – and at this moment, I don’t know how to make the pieces fit back together so we can go about our life.

I feel the urge to flee the scene and when I realize that Blake and I need to head to the grocery store because there’s no food (or coffee – yikes!) in the house and I’m starting to get hungry, I give myself a mental high-five, “Brilliant! Let’s get the hell out of here so we can deal with this mud fiasco later.” I’m also kicking myself for not going to the grocery store over the weekend when Mike was home to watch Blake. I need to remember to do that next Sunday so I don’t run into these “no coffee in the house” predicaments anymore!

The Incident

Blake and I complete our grocery store trip and on the way out of the parking lot, I sideswiped a parked car. A PARKED car. Are you kidding me? I get out and assess the damage which was quite minimal since we were going 2 mph, but still – ughh, why today? As I’m leaving a note for the owner of the car with my insurance information, she appears in a frenetic state and I immediately understand that this conversation is going to be much more dramatic than I had anticipated. I was right. Over the woman yelling at me and carrying on over her scratched bumper that was all my fault (she reminded me several times), I hear Blake crying from her car seat and I quickly end our conversation and tend to my daughter.

As we get back in the car to leave, I feel myself wanting to go anywhere but home because I know Tucker is waiting for me with muddy paws and our house is a disaster zone from his stunt this morning. I try to think to myself how I’m going to unload all of these groceries, while keeping Blake happy and having to listen to Tucker bark at me from the backyard. I shake my head at myself because these are all such simple tasks: unloaded the groceries, clean Tucker’s feet, vaccuume the house – but at this moment you might as well tell me that I need to find a way to fix this country’s current debt catastrophe – it just seems impossible.

Hi, it’s Kristin…I’m incapable of small life tasks at the moment

Blake is in a mood when we get home because she’s about 20 minutes past her usual nap time, thanks to the incident in the parking lot. I put her down in her crib and then run to the car to grab the groceries. She begins screaming bloody murder as Tucker is barking and jumping on the back window. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5. I count in my head really slowly to calm myself. After running up the stairs and putting Blake’s pacifier in her mouth several times, she continues to scream bloody murder even though her eyes look so tired, poor thing. I decide to let her cry it out for 5 minutes. I never let her cry, but I’m feeling desperate. I lay down on my bed, watching the baby monitor and note the time so I know when the 5 minutes is up. 2 minutes pass and you would think the child is getting tortured in there with her high-pitched screaming. I also hear Tucker barking downstairs and realize that I NEED to go and put at least the cold groceries in the fridge before food starts to go bad. I feel tears starting to flood. Why is this so hard?  I’d like to “dial a friend” and ask for help – “Hi, it’s Kristin – can you come unload my groceries? I’m incapable of small life tasks at the moment. Thanks.” or “Hi, it’s Kristin – are you looking to adopt a 70 lb. golden retriever dog? I have just the one for you.”

Don’t Call it a Comeback

After some deep yoga breaths (oh yea, that fun relaxing thing I use to have time to do), I somehow collect my thoughts and “return” from my frantic mental state. I walk into Blake’s room, rock her for a minute or two and give her the pacifier. She goes right to sleep! I feel like I just scored the winning goal in the World Cup. GOOOAAAAALLLLL! A small victory dance ensues in my head.

I run down stairs, unload all of my groceries in record time (seriously, Guinness Book of World Records: Hi, I have a new one for you) and head outside to clean Tucker up. I finish my whirlwind of accomplishments with vacuuming the downstairs dirt and scrubbing the mud out of the carpets. BOOM. Success!

Sometimes You Just Need a Minute

Bottom line, motherhood is hard, and sometimes you just need a minute (or several). Simple tasks become a matter of moving mountains, and if one thing goes wrong, you feel incapacitated. I find myself questioning my old life, pre-baby: did I really juggle all those work projects at once and then come home and cook dinner like it was no big deal? Am I that same person? Where is that gal when I need her?

Raising Tiny Humans

Sometimes I underestimate what goes into raising a human. Just think about that for 5 seconds though… we’re raising tiny humans aren’t we? It’s kinda crazy when you think about it. This is the hardest job – especially on the 0.1% days where all seems lost and you have no idea how to get it together.

But don’t fret, I remind myself – 99.9% of the time, you’re doing OK, mama – you have it together, even if you’re just barely hanging on to sanity and any sort of “life order” – you’re rasing  your daughter, a tiny human, and that’s impressive.

The Mommy Project

Fab Moms: Heather Gibbs Flett of Rookie Moms

I’m so incredibly excited to introduce you to my next Fab Mom – Heather Gibbs Flett of Rookie Moms. If you’re not familiar with Rookie Moms, please allow me to digress for a moment about how this site has changed my life as a new mom.

If it wasn’t for Heather and her business partner, Whitney, Blake and I would probably still be hiding in our house, too scared to go out and face the real world! Ok, I know, dramatic – but seriously, finding the Rookie Moms 52 weeks of challenges was the best thing I could have stumbled across as a new mom. It gave me small little goals to accomplish with my little one and the gentle push I needed to get out of the house. Without Rookie Moms, I wouldn’t have joined a Mom’s Group, which has led to so many wonderful memories and friendships, and I wouldn’t have planned a mom’s night out, which led to me now writing for the local site, San Diego Mom’s Night Out. Plus, there have been so many other fun moments as Blake and I completed, and continue to complete, exciting adventures together.

If you are a new mom and looking for fun activities to do with (and without) your new bambino – GO CHECK OUT ROOKIEMOMS.COM immediately. It’s a life changer. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Additionally, they run 510 Families for all of the Bay Area mamas.

Now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, here is Heather’s Fab Moms spotlight:

Heather Flett

  1. Who calls you mom and what’s his/her/their age?
    I have three sons: Holden (9), Milo (7), and Sawyer (2 ½)
  2. What do you do? (SAHM, business owner, blogger, full-time/part-time employee, etc.)
    I’m a WAHM as a full-time blogger these days
  3. What does a typical day look like for you? (And the word typical should be taken with a grain of salt – I know they’re hardly ever typical)
    On a school-day, I wake up at 6:00 to shower and get dressed before waking the boys up at 6:30. We all eat breakfast and do our morning jobs before the “shoe time music” goes off at 7:35 to tell us to get out the door. My husband usually walks the older two to elementary school and I drive the littleone off to preschool. I’m home by 8:30 to begin work of writing, social media amplification, and dodging my emails. Around 4:20, I sign off everything to begin my rounds of picking up children. We’re usually back home around 5:45 to watch a show (them, based on a schedule of who gets to pick on which day) and make dinner (me!). Bedtime for the kids is around 7:30, at which time my husband and I collapse in front of the television.
  4. Any advice on how to “juggle it all”?
    Lots of deep breaths.
  5. When was the first time you really felt like a mother?
    Of all the memories that flash through my mind when you ask that question, various medical emergencies all fight for attention. Being responsible for taking care of my oldest son during little and big medical events made me feel very parental like, “OMG, I’m really in charge here.”
  6. What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?
    It can feel very thankless at times.
  7. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a mom?
    The snuggles and giggles… and I love looking at them when they are peacefully asleep.
  8. I wrote a post about “mental snapshots” that I’ll always remember, even without a photo. I know it’s hard to choose one, but what is your favorite moment, or “mental snapshot”, with your little one(s) so far?
    I love the morning pile-on when the little ones wake up not-too-early and climb into our bed. The moment right before the kicking and poking gets to be too much is just precious.
  9. What has been your best baby product purchase so far and why? What age is it appropriate for?
    I think the Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair is fantastic. It works for ages 6 months to 16 years because it is fully adjustable as a chair. I sit in ours sometimes, too.
  10. What’s something new you have learned about yourself after becoming a mother?
    I see all of my anxiety and self-doubt reflected back in my children’s personalities and behavior. It makes me want to be a better person… or at least accept myself for the person I am. Not easy!
  11. What do you do to unwind/relax when you have some rare time to yourself?
    I run, watch movies, eat dark chocolate, have meals out with friends.
  12. What is your favorite outing, to date, with your little one?
    I love to visit the children’s museum with a curious toddler. In Berkeley, we have Habitot and Studio Grow. In Sausalito, The Bay Area Discovery Museum is paradise.
  13. I have a running list of Whine & Dine Restaurants that are family friendly in San Diego. What’s your favorite restaurant that you frequent with your baby/kids/family and in what city? Why do you dine out there?
    Picante in Berkeley is terrific. The food is excellent for all ages AND they offer curbside pickup so it is also a busy mom’s saving grace.
  14. Pretend your best friend is pregnant and about to have a baby. What’s the most important piece of advice you would share about “motherhood” (and assuming she is willing to hear it :))?
    I love how you say “assuming she is willing to hear it” because I no longer make that assumption! I would suggest that she say, “yes, thank you” to all offers of help!

If you know a #FabMom who would be perfect to spotlight in this series (or if you are a Fab Mom yourself) please email: mommyprojectsd@gmail.com 

Fab Moms: Joelle Khannakhjavani of Mother Earth Brew Co.

Today I’m so excited to introduce you to my next Fabulous Mom in the series, FabMoms! Meet Joelle Khannakhjavani, one of the owners of Mother Earth Brew Co. here in San Diego, California! Mother Earth Brew Co. is an awesome brewery with a tap house located in Vista. Their tasting room is family friendly and offers some of the best San Diego beers on tap. Joelle also happens to be one of my good friends who I met in college and an all-around great person and rad new mama! You can follow Mother Earth Brew Co. on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, too!

Mother Earth Brew Co.

  1. Who calls you mom and what’s his/her/their age?
    My little Valentine, Zane, born 2/14/14.
  2. What do you do? (SAHM, business owner, blogger, full-time/part-time employee, etc.)
    I work part-time for our family business, a MicroBrewery in Vista, Ca called Mother Earth Brew Co.  I do a little bit of everything; right now I mostly manage our Homebrew Store but soon I will be working closer with our sales team.
  3. What does a typical day look like for you? (And the word typical should be taken with a grain of salt – I know they’re hardly ever typical)
    On a day off, I like to meet up with a mommy group or other friends around the area, hit the park, the pool or go for a walk.  If my husband is home we do an outing to the store or maybe even the driving range.  On a work day, fortunately I am blessed with lots of family that lives close by so Zane is watched by my Mom twice a week and either his GiGi (my mother in law) or my aunt the other day.
  4. Any advice on how to “juggle it all”?
    Take help when it’s offered! Whether it’s a friend bringing dinner, your brother offering to babysit or your mom coming over to vacuum, take it.  Also, a little bit of normalcy goes a long way.  Have a glass of wine or a pint once the little one goes to bed, or go out on a date with the hubby as much as you can.  A glimpse back at the “pre-baby” you can re-set you after a long week, and that can do wonders.
  5. When was the first time you really felt like a mother?
    When I overheard my husband asking Zane “Are you ready for Mommy to give you breakfast?” after Zane was a few days old.  Hearing someone else refer to me as “Mommy” made it hit home.
  6. What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?
    Finding time for me, my husband and me, AND my son, my husband and me.  It’s all a balancing/juggling/scheduling act that is endless but exciting and necessary too.
  7. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a mom?
    The first time I heard Zane laugh, it felt like I was actually doing a good job.  It meant he was happy, and I was the one keeping him that way.
  8. What’s the funniest/most shocking thing that has happened to you since you’ve become a mom?
    My husband was changing Zane’s diaper early in the morning.  The way the room was situated, Zane was pointed directly at the head of our bed.  We happen to have a Temperpedic Ergo and I was raising the head of the bed to nurse him.  Right when the bed was at the right height, Zane EXPLODED and poo shot out exactly in the spot my head would have been had I not raised the bed.  We about died laughing, and quickly cleaned up the mess.
  9. I wrote a post about “mental snapshots” that I’ll always remember, even without a photo. I know it’s hard to choose one, but what is your favorite moment, or “mental snapshot”, with your little one(s) so far?
    Again, that first laugh.  I’m not a super emotional person but I about broke into tears the first time I heard that raspy belly laugh.  I was sitting on my brother’s couch, and I was holding Zane so he was sitting up facing me.  I would lean toward him and say “HIIIIiiiiiIII” and he just broke out into his first ever giggle.  It was so amazing.  My husband wasn’t there but luckily my mom, brother and sister-in-law got to hear it too!
  10. What has been your best baby product purchase so far and why? What age is it appropriate for?
    Oh my there are soooo many life savers, but I have to go with the Baby Einstein Neptune Play Gym.  Not only is it a great distraction so I can get some dishes and laundry done, but you are actually able to watch a lot of their developmental stages.  From newborn and just trying to focus on the objects, to seeing themselves in the mirror, to grabbing the toys, now pulling and chewing on the hanging objects.  It’s also great for Tummy Time and has a portable music player that lights up that you can move to the car or crib.
  11. What’s something new you have learned about yourself after becoming a mother?
    I’m a lot more patient now.  I used to always feel like I was in a rush so things could be done, but now I’ve learned to relax a little more, not fully, but more than before 😉 Mostly because there are just some days you can’t do it all, and that is OK.
  12. What do you do to unwind/relax when you have some rare time to yourself?
    Mani/pedi or drinks with my Hubby or the girls. Resets the soul.
  13. What is your favorite outing, to date, with your little one?
    Well, there have been many since I was never one to stay at home, but one of my favorites had to be the beach.  We were staying with my mom in San Clemente and went to the Pier for a few hours.  We took sandwiches and laid out on a big quilt under an umbrella.  Then I dunked his feet in the water and took the stroller to the end of the Pier.  It was a beautiful day and he was all smiles the whole time.
  14. I have a running list of Whine & Dine Restaurants that are family friendly in San Diego. What’s your favorite restaurant that you frequent with your baby/kids/family and in what city? Why do you dine out there?
    Well this might come off a bit biased but of course our top place is Mother Earth Brew Co.  We are family (and pet) friendly and have lots of space for strollers or carriers.  I’m one of the lucky ones and Zane LOVES background noise so he usually passes out when we get there.  We don’t serve food but usually order a pizza or Mexican food from the neighboring restaurants, and relax for an hour or two while the little one either sleeps, or gets passed around by friends.  It’s great for big groups or just the three of you.
  15. Pretend your best friend is pregnant and about to have a baby. What’s the most important piece of advice you would share about “motherhood” (and assuming she is willing to hear it :))?
    I would have to say it goes back to #4.  Take help when it’s offered, in any form, and find any normalcy that helps you get through those tough days.  EVERYONE has a bad day, or 16, but it always gets better.  That, and anything that vibrates will help with naps 😉 (that’s not supposed to sound dirty haha).

If you know a #FabMom who would be perfect to spotlight in this series (or if you are a Fab Mom yourself) please email: mommyprojectsd@gmail.com 

Fab Moms: Lindsay Eidahl of My Creative Days

Happy Friday! I’m excited to introduce you to the next guest blogger in my series, #FabMoms – Lindsay Eidahl of My Creative Days. Lindsay loves finding frugal and creative ways to decorate her home, and create fun crafts or activities to do with her kids. And seriously, how cute are her kids? You can also find My Creative Days on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

My Creative Days

  1. Who calls you mom and what’s his/her/their age?
    Landen (10) and Gabrielle (8)
  2. What do you do? (SAHM, business owner, blogger, full-time/part-time employee, etc.)
    I am a blogger at mycreativedays.com and I also watch children in my home.
  3. What does a typical day look like for you? (And the word typical should be taken with a grain of salt – I know they’re hardly ever typical)
    Run, work, after-school activities, write, read, bed. This sounds so simple and straightforward – they are not always like that, but sometimes they are.
  4. Any advice on how to “juggle it all”?
    You just have to do what you can do. Make your priorities and stick with those. Right now, our schedule is more hectic than it has ever been and I really don’t like having something planned every night, but we are getting through it. Don’t try and keep up with anybody else. You need to do what works best for your family. I like to keep things organized and scheduled which really helps me juggle everything. If I didn’t, everything would be a hot mess!
  5. When was the first time you really felt like a mother?
    From the very first time I held them.
  6. What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?
    Letting go. At every stage they go through, I have a hard time letting go and letting them do more on their own. It is sad when they don’t need mom for certain things anymore.
  7. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a mom?
    The laughter, the hugs, the fingerprints on the wall, the homemade gifts and cards, the kisses, snuggle time…… the list could go on and on.
  8. What’s the funniest/most shocking thing that has happened to you since you’ve become a mom?
    I can’t believe how much I say and do things that my mom did!!!
  9. I wrote a post about “mental snapshots” that I’ll always remember, even without a photo. I know it’s hard to choose one, but what is your favorite moment, or “mental snapshot”, with your little one(s) so far?
    Our family vacation to Disney World a few years ago. We still talk about it today.
  10. What has been your best baby product purchase so far and why? What age is it appropriate for?
    I still use baby wipes for a lot of things. They are great for getting stains out of clothes, taking make-up off in a pinch and for wiping off sticky hands in the car.
  11. What’s something new you have learned about yourself after becoming a mother?
    That I need to work on patience and letting my kids do more for themselves.
  12. What do you do to unwind/relax when you have some rare time to yourself?
    I like to run in the morning when no one else is up. It is the only alone time I get in the day.
  13. What is your favorite outing, to date, with your little one?
    My daughter and I like to get pedicures and my son will ride his bike while I run sometimes in the summer.
  14. I have a running list of Whine & Dine Restaurants that are family friendly in San Diego. What’s your favorite restaurant that you frequent with your baby/kids/family and in what city? Why do you dine out there?
    We don’t dine out that often, but when we do, we keep it simple with places like Panera and a couple of local restaurants in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where we live.
  15. Pretend your best friend is pregnant and about to have a baby. What’s the most important piece of advice you would share about “motherhood” (and assuming she is willing to hear it :))?
    Don’t compare you, your child or your husband to anybody’s elses. Everyone has a different situation and nobody is exactly alike so trying to compare them is like comparing apples to oranges – they just aren’t comparable.

If you know a #FabMom who would be perfect to spotlight in this series (or if you are a Fab Mom yourself) please email: mommyprojectsd@gmail.com – 

Fab Moms: Laura Wifler of Oakland Avenue

It’s Friday so that means I have another fabulous mother to spotlight in my #FabMoms series!

Meet Laura Wifler. Laura and I are fellow Rookie Moms completing the 52 weekly Rookie Moms Challenges. Laura blogs over at Oakland Avenue from Twin Cities, Minnesota and I’m a huge fan of her blog! All of her posts are so relatable and I love her sense of humor and honesty about all things motherhood. You can also follow Laura on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Laura Wifler

  1. Who calls you mom and what’s his/her/their age?
    I’m blessed to have one little bambino, Eli, born in April 2013.
  2. What do you do? (SAHM, business owner, blogger, full-time/part-time employee, etc.)
    I typically consider myself a full-time SAHM but have recently realized that I’m more of a part-time WAHM, between my blog and picking up freelance writing projects here and there.
  3. What does a typical day look like for you? (And the word typical should be taken with a grain of salt – I know they’re hardly ever typical)
    Definitely tough to summarize my days into “typical,” but mainly, I try to get up a few hours before my son (he wakes at 8 a.m.) to shower, blog and have my coffee. Once he wakes we usually spend the morning at home, playing and catching up house work. After his morning nap, we almost always leave the house. Errands, a lunch date with a friend, or even just a walk to the park, we’re outta the house and hopefully outside. Once we’ve come back, I usually work on freelance writing projects and some additional housework while he naps. When he wakes, we usually take a longer walk before we come back so I can prep dinner. By the time it’s on the table, my husband is home and I’m off the clock. Well, at least I like to tell myself that. We play, maybe take another walk, go out for ice cream, etc. before it’s Eli’s bedtime. Once he’s down, all bets are off for what happens, but usually we’re super exciting  and I read blogs while my husband reads ESPN. We be cray.
  4. Any advice on how to “juggle it all”?
    Ha! We all know no one can, but if you’re going to try – my advice includes two things: Lists and coffee. Stay organized and stay awake. Oh, and set your expectations low. Good luck!
  5. When was the first time you really felt like a mother?
    Oh man, I’ll never forget this moment. Eli was about three weeks old and he was crying. I remember I was in a room with a handful of people and no one could calm him down and they were passing him around and offering tips to each other to try to get him to stop. I was dying to hold him and “just do it,” but I was patient. Finally they gave him back to me and immediately he stopped crying. It was the first time any baby in the world had done that for me and I felt like the queen of the universe. I just couldn’t stop smiling about it – I had to leave the room I looked so goofy!
  6. What’s the hardest thing about being a mom?
    Not feeling like you can meet your baby’s every need. Especially in that first year, so much of being a mom is guess and check, and each time a guess is wrong, you feel terribly! But you keep trying or eventually it seems to get better on it’s own – so you can just blame it on the all-inclusive “teething.”.
  7. What’s the most rewarding thing about being a mom?
    Seeing your baby smile at you and knowing they’re really saying, “I love you.” It’s so cheesy, I know – and I swore up and down I wouldn’t say stuff like this, but it’s true. I love the smiles and snuggles and just knowing how safe Eli feels with me. How he’ll sit on my lap or lay his head on my shoulder. It’s bliss and makes everything entirely worth it.
  8. What’s the funniest/most shocking thing that has happened to you since you’ve become a mom?
    Probably getting pooped on in the face. It was a series of unfortunate events where I wiped him “just so” as he was he was pooping (a common occurrence in the newborn stage). It was certainly shocking.
  9. I wrote a post about “mental snapshots” that I’ll always remember, even without a photo. I know it’s hard to choose one, but what is your favorite moment, or “mental snapshot”, with your little one(s) so far?
    Oh this is hard to choose! But if I have to pick, probably the time my son and husband reunited after being apart for three days. The way both of their faces lit up was priceless, and I just felt so blessed in that moment.
  10. What has been your best baby product purchase so far and why? What age is it appropriate for?
    I really love my Sakura Bloom Ring Sling. It’s super easy to put on and you can use it from newborn to about two or three depending on the size of your child. I also love having a car mirror. It’s so fun to look back at my son and make funny faces (While I’m in the passenger seat of course!) and it’s been super helpful to figure out if he’s fallen asleep!
  11. What’s something new you have learned about yourself after becoming a mother?
    While I may not be a “kid-person,” I can be an “Eli-person.” I was nervous to become a mom because I never grew up babysitting or even really liking kids, but having Eli took all those fears away and I’m shocked at how much I love spending time with him, caring for him and sacrificing for him.
  12. What do you do to unwind/relax when you have some rare time to yourself?
    Read blogs! I love hopping around blog-land checking out what other people are up to and learning.
  13. What is your favorite outing, to date, with your little one?
    I love visiting farmer’s markets with Eli. It’s so fun to walk around and he loves looking at all the booths and people. Plus, I can use him as an excuse to get some food from a vendor to eat while we walk.
  14. I have a running list of Whine & Dine Restaurants that are family friendly in San Diego. What’s your favorite restaurant that you frequent with your baby/kids/family and in what city? Why do you dine out there?
    We actually don’t eat out too much, but when we do, we like to stay close to home. Cafe Ena and George and the Dragon are two places we can walk to from our house in Minneapolis that are kid friendly and have great food. George and the Dragon even gives kiddos blueberries right when they sit down!
  15. Pretend your best friend is pregnant and about to have a baby. What’s the most important piece of advice you would share about “motherhood” (and assuming she is willing to hear it :))?
    My advice is actually about fatherhood. During those first few weeks and months of motherhood, it’s easy to feel like you need to do everything, and no one can do it right but you. You’re learning so much as you care for your baby and it can be easy to start to feel alone in parenthood. My advice is to loosen those reigns a little and start to learn about your baby with your husband. Make it a point to let your husband be very involved. I found that my unintentional controlling attitude caused my husband to not be confident in raising our son, so he while he took direction from me, he didn’t really take initiative. By stepping back and choosing to learn how to care for our son together, we quickly found a difference in our attitudes and understanding of one another, and my husband became a lot more confident as a father! I actually wrote an entire post on this topic it’s so important to me, so if you like, check it out here.

If you know a #FabMom who would be perfect to spotlight in this series (or if you are a Fab Mom yourself) please email: mommyprojectsd@gmail.com – 

Monday Mashup…on Wednesday

This week’s Monday Mashup is coming to you on Wednesday because I was on vacation this past Memorial Day weekend so I’m a couple of days behind! Hope you’re all having a wonderful hump day! In no particular order, here’s what I’m loving this week:

  1. Growing Child: My fabulous, fellow mommy friend who blogs over at Little Better Halves alerted me to this cool service for parents. Growing Child is a monthly newsletter that follows your child as he/she grows and helps you understand what he/she is learning and how you can help him/her develop. It also gives great tips about how to deal with each month’s changes and challenges as your babe grows. Can’t wait to check this out!
  2. Little Mizz Kit: I had the pleasure of meeting the Founder of Little Mizz Kit last week and as she was describing her business, I immediately fell in love with the product. Little Mizz Kit is a monthly hands on activity kit for parents and their daughters aimed to provide bonding opportunities and building confidence in young girls. How cool is that? I received the first welcome kit and I can’t wait to complete the  different activities with Blake – focused around arts & crafts, fitness, nutrition, life lessons and how-to instructions. I also love this company because a portion of their proceeds go to March of Dimes.
    little mizz kit
  3. Samsung S5: I did it – I jumped ship from the iPhone (gassssp). But before you judge, check out the new Samsung S5 – its camera is phenomenal, photos and data are stored on your Google account so you don’t run out of memory and, drum roll please, it’s waterproof. So far I’m loving this new phone! #Expectmore
    samsung_galaxy_s5
  4. Family Sleep Event: Don’t miss JenniJune’s workshop as she discusses tactics to help your little one take longer naps and sleep through the night. Guests will also receive amazing swag bags and the opportunity to shop some of the best baby gear on the market. The tour kicks off in San Diego and Del Mar this coming weekend and then heads across the US! Receive $5 off your ticket when you register with code: MOMMYPROJECT.
  5. Just Four Paws, Inc.: San Diego readers, if you’re looking for great pet sitting services including daily walks, overnight sitters or a pet taxi service, Just Four Paws is fantastic! While we were out-of-town this past weekend, we used Just Four Paws, Inc. to watch Tucker and I was extremely impressed with their services. They texted me with a photo of Tuck every day and every night and we came  home to a detailed note from the sitter along with a happy pup! I’m excited to have found a trustworthy, local pet service!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

 

My Unexpected Journey to Becoming a Stay at Home Mom

Leaving the corporate world to become a Stay at Home Mom was an easy decision that surprised me more than anyone. If you would have asked me  about my career plans 7 months ago, right before Blake was born, I would tell you that I planned to keep working and building my career. You see, I’ve always had a job ever since I was 14 years old. The day I turned 14 and was of legal age to work in California, I marched myself into Baskin Robbins/Togos and got myself a minimum-wage job scooping ice cream and making sandwiches – I was ecstatic for a paycheck all my own!

I continued working through my high school graduation and then moved to San Diego to attend San Diego State University where I found 2 more jobs that allowed me to put myself through college. At times it was difficult to juggle class, selling advertising space for SDSU’s school newspaper during the day and waitressing at night and on the weekends – but I managed to graduate in four years. The week before I threw my black hat up into the air and celebrated my college graduation, I had already received a job offer from a company in Orange County as an entry-level sales and marketing associate.  It was a great first corporate job and despite me living in San Diego, I was thrilled at the opportunity. I commuted to Orange County bright and early every morning because I felt lucky to have landed a job straight out of college.



As the years passed I continued to bounce around from job to job, pushing myself higher and higher, gaining more real-world experience and building more equity in myself. When I landed my dream job with Hyatt Hotels, I thought, I’ve made it – this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. Flash forward four years later and I was running the marketing department at one of the largest properties on the west coast. Nice suits, a new slick car I bought for myself and an office with a view – I felt important, driven and had big plans to keep scaling that corporate ladder.

The point of all this is that working is in my blood, my DNA, and I’ve worked hard for everything I have.  I don’t know how to not work. So when Blake graced us with her presence last November, I honestly didn’t think my mindset would change all that much. I had an amazing job waiting for me and big plans for my future. And taking into account all of my hard work, since I was 14 years old, how could I turn my back on my self-bought education and all of the years I spent investing in myself?

It’s funny how becoming a parent makes you blind and awakened at the same time. Once Blake was born, something changed in me. I wanted to be there when she laughed for the first time, when she said her first word and when she took her first step – I wanted to raiser her. I could care less about my journey to success – I suddenly was blind to all of those years I spent building my career – they didn’t matter as much to me anymore.   This little family that Mike and I had suddenly created – this was where I was supposed to be. It was so crystal clear and I didn’t doubt it for a second. I was also extremely lucky that I even had the option of becoming a stay-at-home-mom. I know many mothers don’t have that option because of financial reasons or don’t want to put their career on hold, and I totally get it and sympathize with them – but everyone has their own journey.

The Journey is the Destination

I love the quote, “The journey is the destination”. Even though I had bigger plans for my career, I didn’t miss out on the destination – my journey was the destination – and a destination that led me to a beautiful life, loving husband and adorable baby girl.  Now, I still do some marketing consulting on the side and of course I run this blog as a creative outlet, (remember, I don’t know how to not work?) but my full time job is raising Little Miss Blake. And forget fancy suits and an office with a view – this is the most important job I’ll ever have.



stay at home mom

 

Monday Mashup

Happy Monday! Hope everyone’s week is off to a fantastic start! Check out the 5 things I’m loving in this week’s Monday Mashup: 1. 10 Habits of a Successful Mom: This post on Today’s the Best Day blog, really resonated with me because I, too traded in my nice work suits and high heels for flip flops and yoga pants when I left the corporate world and a job I loved to become a full time mom. I love how she refers to the new “mommy job” as a promotion – I totally agree. 2. Moms Night Out at Culture Brewing Co.: Some fellow moms and I experienced Culture Brewing Co. for a fantastic Mom’s Night Out. Check out the article on San Diego Mom’s Night Out for all the details – this San Diego brewery is legit.` Culture Brewing Co. 3. Little Leopard Book: This blog has the best recipes ever! I mean, just follow her Instagram account and you’ll be drooling in no time! Whitney is so cute and she inspires me to start cooking more! 4. StitchFix: I did it – I made the leap and started using StitchFix. It’s such a great idea for us busy moms who don’t really have time to peruse the mall anymore. Plus, I always wanted a personal stylist! And so far, so good – I found one shirt that I loved and kept from my last order and am looking forward to next month’s shipment. The box full of clothse arriving at your doorstep every month is kinda like Christmas for fashionistas – love it! Check it out here. 5. Help San Diego Fire Victims & Firefighters: Last week TEN fires broke out across San Diego county as  intense Santa Ana winds, low humidity and triple digit temperatures only escalated the catstrophe. As I write this, four fires are still burning. At least 25,000 acres have burned in total forcing 125,000 evacuations and dozens of homes destroyed.  To donate goods or money to help evacuees or fire crews involved in this firestorm, here are some suggestions:

San Diego Fires (Photo courtesy of LA Times Photography Twitter: Dramatic image of 72-year-old fighting with garden hose by @RickLoomis via @latpixhttp://lat.ms/RURL8T )

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