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Toddler Tuesday: Relocating the Kids

Sometimes a family move is harder on mama than anyone else.

Toddler Tuesday: Relocating the Kids

Last year, my husband and I got a little adventurous—some might even say crazy. We packed up our Denver bungalow, kissed our Australian Shepherd goodbye, sold most of our furniture, and moved ourselves and two toddlers across the country to New York City. It was a major move for anyone, especially two corn-fed Midwestern kids who had gotten very used to the big spaces of the Western plains.

I was worried about the culture shock, of course. But I was more worried about my daughters and their transition. I could only see the things we were taking away from them: Mountain views. Proximity to grandparents (especially since I consider my own mother to be the greatest mom who ever lived). Backyard gardens and grass of their own. Little friendships they’d begun to form. School programs they were learning to love. The ease of a schedule that comes from living in a smaller, car-driving town. I felt guilty for uprooting them from all of their general familiarities, whether they were old enough for attachments to have really formed or not.

When we sat down with our oldest, who was just three at the time, to tell her about the move, I approached the topic with trepidation. “I don’t want you to worry,” I told her, trying to find the best way to make it all sound normal.

My husband, on the other hand, made it all into the dreamiest adventure. “We’ll live by trains!” he exclaimed. “By parks! And playgrounds! By a hundred different kinds of donuts. We can drive to the beach! We can drive over bridges! There will be more people than you can imagine!” All of this ignited our daughter’s enthusiasm, and she couldn’t wait to go.

Maybe it wasn’t my daughters I was worried about. It was me. Instead of focusing on the amazing things I knew we’d gain from our move, I was mourning our losses, even though I couldn’t identify it at the time. We were leaving behind the house I’d brought my babies home to, the place where I’d watched them live the first few years of life and make sensational discoveries. It was just a small sliver of our story together, but for me it was still a major chapter. In my mind, my leaving this was also their leaving it. It felt like we were all walking away from the only place I knew as home.

My mother had the best advice, as mothers do. “Remember when you brought your baby home, and you had been so worried that you wouldn’t have everything ready? That the laundry wouldn’t be washed or the nursery wouldn’t be decorated or you wouldn’t have found the right gear? But all that baby needed was you. You and maybe a blanket or two. Well, that’s still what they need. Just you.”

I was reminded of being little myself, of going around the world with mom and dad—or even just a trip to the grocery store—feeling totally normal because they were there. I remember the crazy way my dad drove down mountains, my mother clutching on to his arm, me and my siblings in the back seat either peacefully sleeping or blissfully taking in the views. I remember moving place to place and feeling like it was a family adventure. If my parents were there, I always felt that they knew what they were doing and that they would keep me safe. It was always home.

Sure enough, my daughters have acclimated to their New York lives rather beautifully. Their wide eyes and trusting hearts have reminded me to let this place continue to be sensational and to let it become our norm. Like my husband encouraged them, they find all the best parts of things from the safety net of just regular life with mom and dad.

As my daughter turns four and we are working our way through schooling decisions, extracurricular activities, new friendships, and the like, I strive to operate from this place. I want to remember that, while I will of course stress over every little decision or reaction or method I’m told I should be using, in the end, all my babies need is me. I won’t be the perfect mom, even if I make what I think are the perfect choices. But I will always be their mom, and that’s enough to make a home.

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Find out more about Sarah Ann Noel here.

14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

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This incredibly soft comforter from Sunday Citizen is like sleeping on a cloud

My only complaint? I've slept through my alarm twice.

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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This viral post about the 4th trimester is exactly what new mamas need right now

"We are alone. Together. You are surrounded all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation. You are held by all of us who have walked the path before you and who know how much you must be hurting. You are wrapped in the warm embrace of mama earth, as she too settles into this time of slowness and healing."

Artist and teacher Catie Atkinson at Spirit y Sol recently shared a beautiful drawing of a new mom crying on a couch—leaking breasts, newborn baby, pile of laundry and what we can only assume is cold coffee, included. Everything about the image is so real and raw to me—from the soft stomach to the nursing bra and the juxtaposition of the happy wallpaper to the palpable vulnerability of the mother—I can almost feel the couch underneath me. I can feel the exhaustion deep in this woman's bones.

My heart feels the ache of loneliness right alongside hers. Because I remember. I remember the confusion and uncertainty and love and messy beauty of the fourth trimester so well. After all, it's etched in our minds and bodies forever.

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