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I can go from happy to frustrated to mad to okay again in one single hour as a mom

When I’m out and about with my three little ladies, I often get comments like, “That phase goes too fast!” or, “Oooh they are so cute! Enjoy them now before they turn into teenagers!”.


And I want to shout, “I AM! I SWEAR I AM!”

I get so defensive (even though I know they are well intentioned!), and I think it’s because when I hear stuff like this, I get a little panicky. Am I enjoying these moments enough? Am I stopping to lovingly watch my daughters play together enough?

Am I cherishing every second of young motherhood enough before we move into the next phase of parenting? Will I one day be old and gray and saying, “I wish I enjoyed that trip to the park on May 1, 2017 more because it was a beautiful day and the kids were playing so nice and you answered that work email and you shouldn’t have because you could have watched your daughter swing on the swing for another thirty seconds and man! You really messed up.”

But then last night, I had a rough night with the kids.

My 3-month-old cried for a full hour and a half while I was attempting to make dinner while I was also feeling anxious about the messes and the piles surrounding me while also knowing my husband was coming home later than normal while also trying to get my two and 4-year-olds to eat their dinner while also giving up on getting them in the bath while also knowing I had some work I wanted to finish up when this was all over while also feeling exhausted.

So, to the “Cherish the moment!”-ers, I have a few questions.

How am I supposed to cherish the stress I feel while trying to complete five tasks at once but really not completing any and instead, just causing my blood pressure to rise?

How am I supposed to enjoy my babies while I’m also feeling the anxiety that is asking-the-kids-to-put-their-shoes-on-50-times-while-shoveling-breakfast-in-my-mouth-and-typing-an-email-and-running-late-for-the-dentist?

How am I supposed to feel when you tell me to “enjoy them before they turn into teenagers!”? Because if I’m being honest—that scares me. A lot.

Are you trying to instill a sense of fear? Is this some sort of hazing thing? I know each phase of parenting has its hardships, but surely they’re not going to turn into the Demogorgon from Stranger Things on their 13th birthday are they???

(Are they???)

Something I’ve realized as of late, though, is a shift in my perspective.

Instead of feeling this pressure to enjoy every second of every day—every puke, every dirty diaper, every meltdown, every harried moment—I’m trying to be okay with unapologetically feeling all of the feelings of motherhood.

If I’m happy—to pause in that moment and take a mental photo (or a real one!) and remember the feeling of pure bliss. To bask in the feeling of ‘Dang! Motherhood is amazing, isn’t it?!’

If I am impatient or frustrated—to acknowledge to myself that I am on the verge of losing my cool. To then transition to dealing and coping and calming with deep breaths or taking a break or knowing what I need to do to work through that feeling.

If I am sad or in a funk—to let myself cry, to sit with my sadness, to let my guard down and talk about it with my husband or a friend. If I am asked what’s wrong—if things aren’t actually fine, I’m learning not to just say ‘fine.’

What I want to do is get real. There are so many different truths of motherhood for different people—and that’s what makes this sisterhood beautiful. So let’s talk about them! Let’s celebrate them!

‘Mother’ is the most complex role I’ve ever had. And what a good thing that is. Because complexity is interesting. Complexity is what makes us different, yet still the same. Complexity is my truth. And as Oprah says, “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”

And my truth?

My truth is that being a mom is so hard and so incredible.

My truth is that being a mom is exhausting and energizing.

My truth is that being a mom is heart wrenching and heartwarming.

My truth is that being a mom is painful and beautiful.

My truth is that being a mom is frustrating and inspiring.

My truth is that being a mom is confusing and validating.

My truth is that being a mom is complicated and easy.

My truth is that being a mom is all of who I am and only a part of who I am.

In one single day, heck, some days in one single hour, I can go from happy to frustrated to mad to okay again to laughing to feeling sad to needing more caffeine to gushing over something cute my kid did to feeling impatient back to happy and laughing and also wondering why time is standing still.

There’s a lot of feelings. And these days are going too fast, I know.

But, regardless of time, I still have feelings other than happiness and awe and inspiration.

So, I’m going to feel all the feels.

Not just the moments of pure beauty and love, like when my 3-month-old giggled at me for the first time (THE BEST!) or when my 2-year-old says, “Guess what?” then whispers “I love you” in my ear (my heart melts every single time) or when my 4-year-old tells my husband, “We need to buy Mommy a special gift because she’s such a good mommy.” (I mean….I can’t even.)

But the moments of worry and uncertainty and loneliness, too. I’m going to allow myself to be in the moment with my feelings—without guilt. Without panic. Without pressure. Without fear.

Because 2018 is the year of truth. And I’m ready to live it.

When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, there are many factors that, as a mama, are hard to control. Who's going to wet the bed at 3 am, how many times a small person is going to need a sip of water, or the volume of your partner's snoring are total wildcards.

One thing you can control? Tricking out your bed to make it as downright cozy as possible. (And in these times, is there anywhere you want to be than your bed like 75% of the time?)

I've always been a down comforter sort of girl, but after a week of testing the ridiculously plush and aptly named Snug Comforter from Sunday Citizen, a brand that's run by "curators of soft, seekers of chill" who "believe in comfort over everything," it's safe to say I've been converted.

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Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


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