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As a mom, I'm 'Chief Memory Maker'—a job that is equal parts wonderful and hard


But you know what it is? It's worth it. It's so worth it to me.

As a mom, I'm 'Chief Memory Maker'—a job that is equal parts wonderful and hard

No one said this parenting gig was going to be easy. Seriously. No one I knew who had kids before me ever said, “Don't worry so much about how it will be. This stuff is easy peasy." Those words were never uttered.

Wonderful? Sure.

Wild? Definitely.

Exciting? Yes.

But easy? No, never heard it.

Something that falls under this exciting-but-not-easy umbrella of motherhood? Making memories.

Even though “Chief Memory Maker" sounds like an awesome job—and it is—it also comes with stress.

There's the stress of thinking of fun activities to do, then the stress of planning said fun activities.

There's the stress of piecing together and paying for parties. There's the stress of documenting celebrations and adventures—and sometimes even getting super fancy and creating a photo book after the fact to have proof that these memories happened. (Or at least posting a photo on Facebook or Instagram, because let's be honest—if it wasn't on social media—did it even happen? #RealTalk)

Then there's the stress of packing all the things, and traveling, and stopping to go potty, and figuring out where to change a diaper, and finding places to eat, and figuring out when (if) nap time will happen, and soothing the crying, and negotiating for the whining to stop, etc.

And it turns out—making the magic happen isn't
all sparkles and glitter.

But you know what it is? It's worth it. It's so worth it to me.

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It's so worth watching my children's face light up every time they see the dinosaurs at the museum. Even if a complete meltdown just happened over getting into the stroller to go into the museum twenty minutes prior.

It's so worth hearing my babies squeal with joy whenever they visit the animals at the farm. Even if we spend a longer amount of time between getting ready to leave for the farm and getting in the car to go to the farm and driving to the farm than we do actually visiting the farm.

It's so worth it to watch my mom and dad hold their grandchildren's hands at church. Even if we have to pack snacks and books and a few more tricks up our sleeves to get our kids to sit quietly for (at least some of) the service.

It's so worth feeling my kiddos' excitement as we wait in line to meet Santa or to go on the ride or get an ice cream cone. Even if there's whining about how long it's taking or how bored they are. (And even if I'm silently doing some whining on the inside, too.)

It's so worth hearing my children clap and cheer as we pull into grandma and grandpa's driveway. Even if we had to stop five times on our three hour ride to their house and even if there was fighting and crying and lost pacifiers and snacks needed and blowout diapers in the car seat.

It's so worth laughing with my husband as our perfectly planned day trip turns into a perfectly beautiful mess. Even if we *may* have snapped at each other once or twice. And even if we've both been sweating the whole time because we're on high alert keeping track of everyone.

It's so worth making the time to be with family a priority as we celebrate baptisms and birthdays and recitals and weddings. Even if it's really hard to schedule events with how busy everyone is and even if it's hard to please everyone with all the little details of each event.

We, as mothers, have the privilege of making their childhood magical. My children only get one childhood, and I want to help make it fun

But please know that I firmly believe that not every moment needs to be magical. Because that's not realistic or attainable.

But there's a lot of opportunity for magic in the everyday.

There's magic in finding a small flower growing from a crack in the sidewalk.

There's magic in dancing together to your favorite song.

There's magic in cooking a meal together.

There's magic all around—if you stop to notice it, embrace it and create it.

Childhood is when their imaginations are creative and wild. When going to the post office to send mail can be seen as an adventure. When holidays and family celebrations make them feel so special and loved that they may burst with excitement.

The other day my daughter randomly said to my husband, “Dad! Do you remember when we went to that football game—just me and you?" and it warmed my heart.

These little moments are things our kids remember, and they can make a big impact on them.

I'm grateful to be able to look through a family photo album or pictures I posted on Facebook and remember all the feelings I felt during that outing or party. Sure—the photos may also remind me of stressors from that day, but they also remind me of the laughter, the love and the joy. Of being together and sharing experiences with one another.

No special activity or trip or holiday or party of ours has gone off without a hitch in the history of our family. But these things don't have to be perfect to be beautiful. As I'm continually learning—there is so much magic to be found in the chaos of this life.

I just have to be willing to find it.

A very important letter for new mamas

Listen, mom-guilt is a dirty liar. Yes, it's your job to fill your little human's needs, but you matter too. Don't forget to take care of yourself. Hang out with friends, take a drive blaring 90's hip hop or shower without interruptions—trust me, you'll be a better person (and mom) because of it.

Dear new mom,

You will shave again someday. Today is not that day.

Set expectations low, my friend, and set your partner's lower—at least where body hair and overall hygiene are concerned.

That conversation could go something like this: “From now on let's not consider shaving a “standard," but more like a gift that happens on birthdays and the first day of summer."

Voila, you are a gift-giving genius. You know what else is a gift? Shaving the inch and a half of skin that is between your skinny jeans and your boots. You're welcome world.

You will not be perfect at parenting.

Boom.

I have yet to meet a perfect mother, but when I do, she's going to be a tiger who is insanely good at making up songs. (Daniel Tiger's mom, we salute you.)

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Life

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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