A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood
Print Friendly and PDF
My six-year-old son could hardly wait to get home from the skate park the other day to tell me about the treasure he found. “Mom, mom, you have to see this. I found a rock that said ‘have fun skating’ and they painted a big heart on it. It was the coolest thing I have ever seen.” 

Figuring it was probably painted by someone who got bored watching their boyfriend or girlfriend try to ollie and kick-flip their skateboard yet one more time, I dismissed this little round symbol of hope as just another rock. Little did I know that the rock with a special heart on it was placed there intentionally and the smile and excitement it brought my son was exactly the point of this contagious movement.

Kitsap Rocks” was created by a small group of women who had an idea to do art projects with homeschooled students that benefited the community. “We thought it would be a great avenue for our kids to make art on rocks and beautify our community,” said Cathy Tomko, co-founder.

The women exchanged Facebook messages back and forth about other groups, like Port Angeles Rocks. One comment of, “Hey, we can do this here?” followed by, “Maybe we could create this together,” was all it took. Kitsap Rocks Facebook page was born as a result of a few creative women with a desire to make their community better and now has over 2300 members.

It has quickly become a place where people can post their latest creations, show off the rocks they have found and also give hints about where to find hidden ones. Other members are finding inspiration just in the Facebook posts: “This is the happiest place on Facebook…You all ROCK!”


Connie Quatermass, another co-founder, recently shared with me the reasons behind her passion for Kitsap Rocks. “What I love about this project is that it encourages creativity, gets people outside, creates connections with others, is a great family activity and it’s for all ages from toddlers to senior citizens. And most of all, it’s about being creative, doing something positive, and sharing joy with others.”

With messages such as: “Take the first step – the rest is easy,” “Let go,” “Dream,” and “You’re worth it,” it’s no wonder that the feeling of hope and kindness is inspiring so many people to get out and capture this synergistic energy. Just like Pokémon Go has taken over the world, Kitsap Rocks has taken over the community of Kitsap County (and word is spreading fast). 

It seems like the residents of Kitsap County have found the secret ingredient that Pokémon Go is missing: spreading kindness and hope while interacting with the natural world is what we all really need right now.

And spreading kindness and hope is touching so many lives. Quatermass shared a few of her favorite stories with me that seemed to really resonate with her. “A gentleman was on his way to a cardiologist appointment when he found a rock by one of our young Kitsap Rock artists. It had a heart painted on it. He said he’s fighting cancer and needed to get his heart checked before moving forward with treatment. At the appointment, he received good news about his heart and says he’s going to be carrying the heart rock in his pocket throughout his treatments.”

She went on to say that “it amazes me how this simple project can have such profound effects. As we create art rocks, we gift them into the universe, and then the universe seems to use them sometimes to be found by the right person at the right time. People can see them as a sign or answer to something in their life. Or simply to brighten their day.”

This very simple idea of spreading a bit of happiness has turned a fairly large community into a tight knit place of absolute kindness and inspiration. People are organizing painting parties with family and friends and even inviting other members; it’s creating community.

Families, Boys and Girls clubs, community groups, nursing homes; you name it, they are out there designing, hiding, and finding rocks. The Facebook posts are addicting as pictures with #kitsaprocks are being posted every couple of minutes along with hints and clues about where to look. Captions that read: “these can be found at Jackson Park and Horseshoe Lake” and, “My kids rehid two rocks in Bremerton where your teeth get cleaned (off Perry Ave),” make hunting for rocks feel like an exhilarating game of hide-and-seek.

Kitsap Rocks has motivated other communities to start their own group of rock artists and Quatermass and Tomko have shared many of their tips for getting started.

Community rock groups are easily set up on Facebook. Make them public and keep the guidelines simple (no rock hiding in national parks, state parks, private property, cemeteries, etc). Let the group grow naturally.

Appoint quality administrators for the group. As the group grows, it’s helpful to have more than one admin and they need to be positive and encouraging. To keep spam off the group page, admins must check out the member “join group” requests. Tip: it pays to be extra careful when screening prospective members.

Be mindful of the environment. Painted rocks should always be sealed and you never want the art rocks to be seen as litter, so don’t use glued-on additions (sequins, stickers, feathers, yarn, etc.).

Basic info: paint colorful pictures on rocks and add a message, then hide the rock for others to find. When you find a rock of your own, you can either keep it or rehide it.

Get involved with community groups. Kitsap Rocks has partnered with several organizations, like the YWCA, to help promote the organization’s message. These community partnerships are one of the reasons behind the success of the group.

When I set out to write this piece, I simply wanted to find out what these painted rocks were all about. What I didn’t expect to discover were the many stories of hope and inspiration; like a rock with a painted heart found at just the right moment and a message of “let go” discovered by a woman who really needed to see those two words.

“The beautiful part of this project is creating and gifting art to someone who might need a smile, a positive message, or just something to get their mind off what is going on in their lives. That’s my favorite story; making someone’s day when they need it the most,” says Tomko.

I’m sure most people would agree that our world is a whole lot better because of the women behind Kitsap Rocks and the thousands of people who have become a part of this inspiring movement. Together, they have shown us that these simple rocks of hope can empower a community to spread a little bit of love, happiness, and kindness. Something we all could definitely use a lot more of!

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

By: Justine LoMonaco

From the moment my daughter was born, I felt an innate need to care for her. The more I experienced motherhood, I realized that sometimes this was simple―after all, I was hardwired to respond to her cries and quickly came to know her better than anyone else ever could―but sometimes it came with mountains of self-doubt.

This was especially true when it came to feeding. Originally, I told myself we would breastfeed―exclusively. I had built up the idea in my mind that this was the correct way of feeding my child, and that anything else was somehow cheating. Plus, I love the connection it brought us, and so many of my favorite early memories are just my baby and me (at all hours of night), as close as two people can be as I fed her from my breast.

Over time, though, something started to shift. I realized I felt trapped by my daughter's feeding schedule. I felt isolated in the fact that she needed me―only me―and that I couldn't ask for help with this monumental task even if I truly needed it. While I was still so grateful that I was able to breastfeed without much difficulty, a growing part of me began fantasizing about the freedom and shared burden that would come if we bottle fed, even just on occasion.

I was unsure what to expect the first time we tried a bottle. I worried it would upset her stomach or cause uncomfortable gas. I worried she would reject the bottle entirely, meaning the freedom I hoped for would remain out of reach. But in just a few seconds, those worries disappeared as I watched her happily feed from the bottle.

What I really didn't expect? The guilt that came as I watched her do so. Was I robbing her of that original connection we'd had with breastfeeding? Was I setting her up for confusion if and when we did go back to nursing? Was I failing at something without even realizing it?

In discussing with my friends, I've learned this guilt is an all too common thing. But I've also learned there are so many reasons why it's time to let it go.

1) I'm letting go of guilt because...I shouldn't feel guilty about sharing the connection with my baby. It's true that now I'm no longer the only one who can feed and comfort her any time of day or night. But what that really means is that now the door is open for other people who love her (my partner, grandparents, older siblings) to take part in this incredible gift. The first time I watched my husband's eyes light up as he fed our baby, I knew that I had made the right choice.

2) I'm letting go of guilt because...the right bottle will prevent any discomfort. It took us a bit of trial and error to find the right bottle that worked for my baby, but once we did, we rarely dealt with gas or discomfort―and the convenience of being able to pack along a meal for my child meant she never had to wait to eat when she was hungry. Dr. Brown's became my partner in this process, offering a wide variety of bottles and nipples designed to mimic the flow of my own milk and reduce colic and excess spitting up. When we found the right one, it changed everything.

3) I'm letting go of guilt because...I've found my joy in motherhood again. That trapped feeling that had started to overwhelm me? It's completely gone. By removing the pressure on myself to feed my baby a certain way, I realized that it was possible to keep her nourished and healthy―while also letting myself thrive.

So now, sometimes we use the bottle. Sometimes we don't. But no matter how I keep my baby fed, I know we've found the right way―guilt free.

This article is sponsored by Dr. Browns. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

You might also like:

Learn + Play

If there's one item that people claim is *so* worth the price-tag, it's a Dyson vacuum. The cordless tools have become essentials in homes, cleaning up messes quickly, all without the hassle of a cord.

If you've avoided purchasing one because of the high cost, you're in luck! They're having a sale on Amazon right now. Some of the most popular vacuums and air purifiers are up to 40% off.

Dyson Cyclone V10 Lightweight Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner, $379.99

dyson vacuum on sale

Arguably the most popular of the Dyson family, and marked down 20%.


Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

You might also like:


Beyoncé's new Netflix documentary Homecoming hit the streaming service today and gives us an honest look at how difficult her twin pregnancy was.

"My body went through more than I knew it could," she says in the film, revealing that her pregnancy with Sir and Rumi was a shock right from the beginning, and the surprises kept coming.

In the film she reveals that her second pregnancy was unexpected, "And it ended up being twins which was even more of a surprise," she explains.

Homecoming: A Film By Beyoncé | Official Trailer | Netflix

The pregnancy was rough. Beyoncé developed preeclampsia, a condition that impacts about 5 to 8% of pregnancies and results in high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the mother's urine. Preeclampsia poses risks to both the mother and the baby. People who are pregnant with multiples, like Beyoncé was, are more at risk to develop preeclampsia, and the only real cure for the condition is to give birth, which proved to be another medical challenge for Beyoncé.

"In the womb, one of my babies' hearts paused a few times so I had to get an emergency C-section," she shares in the film.

Thankfully, Beyoncé made it through her extremely difficult pregnancy, but the physical challenges didn't end there. The road to rehabilitation for the performer was difficult because, as she explains, she was trying to learn new choreography while her body was repairing cut muscles and her mind just wanted to be home with her children.


"There were days that I thought I'd never be the same. I'd never be the same physically, my strength and endurance would never be the same," Beyoncé recalls.

We know that becoming a mother changes us in so many ways, and in Homecoming, Beyoncé shows the world the strength that mothers possess, and rejects any ideas about "bouncing back."

Becoming a mother is hard, but it is so worth it, and Beyoncé isn't looking backward—she's looking at a mother in the mirror and loving who and what she sees. "I just feel like I'm just a new woman in a new chapter of my life and I'm not even trying to be who I was," Beyoncé said in the documentary. "It's so beautiful that children do that to you."

You might also like:


Warmer weather is finally here, mama—and that means it's time to switch up the family's wardrobes. 🙌 If you love matching with your little, or are determined to *finally* get those family photos made this spring or summer, we're obsessed with these mommy and me matching sets.

Here are some of our favorite mommy and me matching outfits for spring. 😍

1. Ivy City Co Jumpsuits, $42.00-$62.00

mommy and me matching jumpsuits

This linen set is perfect for transitioning from hanging out at home to dressing up for days out. Plus, plenty of space for growth!


2. Madewell x crewcuts Denim Set, $55.00 and up

mommy and me matching denim set

We're obsessed with the '90s vibes these sets give. Now to decide which to choose—denim jacket, shorts, or dress?


3. Old Navy Floral Midi Dresses, $10.00-$22.50

Old navy mommy and me matching dresses

Nothing says spring quite like florals. The whimsical prints are dainty and the rayon fabric is breathable for those warmer days. Shop mama's version here.


4. PatPat Matching Family Swimwear, $19.99 and up

matching family swimwear

Match with the entire family with this pinstripe set. We love the one shoulder look, too!


5. Keds x Rifle Paper Co Sneakers, $44.95-$79.95

mommy and me matching shoes

Twin with your little in these embroidered canvas sneakers. Bonus points for a rubber outsole so no slipping. 👏Shop the version for mama here.


6. Lily Pulitzer Shift Dresses, $58.00-$198.00

Lilly pulitzer matching dresses

Still not sure what to wear for Easter or that summer soirée? Pick up these matching shift dresses for the most beautiful family photos. Shop mama's version here.


7. Maisonette x marysia Swimwear, $57.00 and up

Mommy and me matching swimwear

These are definitely splurge-worthy, but we can't get over how adorable they pair together.


8. PatPat Gingham Dresses, $17.99-23.99

mommy and me matching gingham dresses

These will be your go-to pick for every outing this spring and summer.


9. Old Navy Striped Oxford Shirts, $13.00-$22.00

matching striped oxford shirts

A relaxed oxford is a staple in everyone's closet. It's versatile enough to dress up or pair with denim for a more laid back look. Shop mama's version here.


10. Pink Chicken Garden Dress, $72.00-$198.00

pink chicken matching garden dress

Whether you have a spring wedding to attend or want something flowy to wear for vacation, we adore these garden dresses. Bonus points for working for maternity wear, too.


Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

You might also like:


Being a perfectionist has naturally been part of who I was since as long as I can remember. I could blame living in the continental U.S., where perfectionism is highly esteemed, or the family dynamics that come with growing up in a household of five women.

Deep down, though, I think it all really stems from a deep and instinctual longing to be loved, accepted and approved. Whatever the reason, it has never really been a part of me that I considered a problem.

That is, until, I became a mom.

When I had my first child, I did the best I could to keep it all together, to prevent people from seeing how my perfection was being pulled apart at the seams.

A nap schedule was, of course, essential. My son was easygoing and slept through the night like an angel baby. My house was still spotless and I managed to somehow work part-time and keep healthy meals on the table every night, but I did struggle tremendously with breastfeeding.

Since I took this failure as a great assault at my abilities to properly nurture my child, I let mom guilt run rampant over the issue. I decided I would just step up my perfect-parenting game in another way by pumping breastmilk around the clock until my son was around 18 months old.


For anyone who has ever exclusively pumped, you know it can become total madness and take away the joy of feeding your child.

Managing a toddler was definitely wild, but with my background in pediatrics, I knew how to keep him busy while I kept things "under control." In other words, with just one child, I could still play the part of being perfect. All was fine until I became a mom of two children. It wasn't long after my daughter was born that I realized I needed to start letting go of perfection.

I was living alone in a new city with no help and my husband worked long hours. Managing a 2-year-old and a newborn, all while trying to keep a perfectly clean house and healthy dinners on the table every night, was, to my surprise, impossible in every way. My body was a wreck, not "bouncing back" as it did with my first. My daughter never slept for more than three hours until she was over a year old. She cried for hours on end most nights, as I tried relentlessly to calm her.

I remember bouncing her in her carrier for hours trying to get her to calm down and settle in for sleep. Meanwhile, I was a zombie and my son tore every square inch of the house into pieces. Keeping a naptime schedule was nearly impossible with another child to consider. Dinner was often takeout. There were days when I didn't look in the mirror or have proper clothing on until 5 pm.

The demands of motherhood laughed at my idea of picture-perfect motherhood. Every night I went to bed feeling like I had failed my children. I cried. Oh man, did I cry.

It wasn't long until I came to the realization that if I wanted to be a good mom, that is, to focus on things that are actually important, I had to stop sweating all the small stuff.

Even though I didn't really know how I was relieved that I didn't have to keep up with myself anymore. I had grown so weary of the high standards I had set for myself and those around me. I wanted a way out of the perfectionist trap and to loosen the reigns.

I realized that the most beautiful encounters with my children had been when I decided to say, "Oh, don't worry about it!" (i.e. the house, dinner, naptime schedules, etc). Love and joyful encounters with my children was incomparable to the latter. I knew my children needed me to look at them and not the 3-day- old stain on the dining room floor. The beauty in the moments, when I intentionally chose stillness and gratitude over productivity, was the reason I decided it was time to lay down a life-long pattern of perfectionism and control.

The problem was, I didn't really know where to start. I had been living this way for more than three decades. But I did know that I needed to start somewhere. So I started practicing being imperfect. Just like I had been teaching my 4-year old son. "The only way to get better at something is by practicing," I would tell him.

So, I did. And so I still am, practicing being imperfect.

You might also like:

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.