I didn’t really know this was a real thing until I had a baby. The Mommy Wars – oh man, it’s real and it is RAMPANT, and to me, it’s very sad. I started to feel it when I was pregnant the first time around – people would come up to me and tell me these HORROR stories about what life will be like after kids, telling me to “enjoy it now” and give me all of this unsolicited advice, most of which wasn’t really something I (a) wanted to hear or (b) agreed with. I never really understood why MY pregnancy allowed others to dump their advice and comments on me, just tell me congratulations and to enjoy the journey ahead! But over the past 19 months I have seen more and more that these “Mommy Wars” can TRULY consume you as a mother/parent if you let them. They will make you doubt your own choices, cause you to lose confidence as a mom, and will really bring out a critical and judgmental spirit, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in that kind of bondage just to be “right”….do you?
Not sure what I am talking about, here are some examples:
Breastfeeding v. Formula Feeding:
I personally breastfed my child for about 14 months because that is what worked for us. I was VERY blessed that it wasn’t a physical or mental challenge for me or Elliot, and my schedule allowed this to work. Honestly, we did try forumla for a few feeding because pumping was very unproductive for me, but she ended up being allergic to the formula we tried and then rejected all others – so that just didn’t work for us, we had to find another solution, so we did. Where is the war in this? Some mamas who breastfeed look at mom’s who use forumla and immediately apply the labels “selfish and lazy.” They utter things like “why can’t she just get over herself and do what is best for her baby” without ever really knowing the full scope of the situation. How are you to know if she struggles from severe PPD and needs to be on medication that is not safe for breastfeeding so she can simply function to care for her child? Or what if her baby couldn’t physically latch on to nurse? As a bystander, there is NO way for you to know what led that mom to make the choice she is making, so is there really room for judgement? As a new mom you are told “breast is best” – even the forumla companies say that, but you know what, breastfeeding does not work for all moms, AND (GASP!!!!!) there are some moms who might simply choose to go the formula route because that is what WORKS for their family….oh the HORROR of making a choice for your family! Does that make them selfish? I don’t think so. That’s a pretty harsh statement to someone who is working really hard to feed and care for their baby, just maybe in a way that you wouldn’t for your child. I’ve even heard women say “well, she shouldn’t have even had children if she can’t make sacrifices for them and is so selfish she can’t even breastfeed.” OMG….for real? Makes me scared to know what people are saying about choices I made for my babies if someone shouldn’t have kids because they chose a different feeding method.
What is the point of this? How does the choice that I am making for MY child affect you? Why should it bother someone so much if they see a baby being fed a bottle? I actually had a friend tell me the other day she was ashamed to pull a bottle out for her baby because she felt like people were judging her. Seriously? That is ridiculous that we as moms do that to one another. Why blast women on Facebook or try to give them a bunch of unsolicited advice for their choices for their children? This isn’t a war, why make it one? Make the choice for your family, be confident in that and don’t judge others for that choice.
Co-sleeping v. Crib Sleeping
Ahhh….another hot topic! If you aren’t familiar, co-sleeping is a method of keeping your baby in your room/attached to your bed/in your bed (there are several methods), and crib sleeping is pretty obvious…haha! It’s so funny to be that these are issues of the mommy wars. Co-sleepers will tell you that your baby is safer and less likely to die of SIDS, crib sleepers will tell you that their way is safer because there is no risk of rolling over the baby, suffocating them, etc.
In our house we have been crib sleepers since day 1 and plan to do so with the second baby. We made this decision for several reasons (1) Chris is a light sleeper and is woken up very easily by noises; (2) I am an INCREDIBLY heavy sleeper and worried about having a baby in my bed; (3) we really wanted to keep our room “ours” and have our kids have their rooms – for me personally it wasn’t a big inconvenience to walk to Elliot’s room in the middle of the night to feed her (our house is very small) – this is what worked for our family so that is the choice we made. I can’t really say much about co-sleeping because it’s not something I have any experience with, but I know there are lots of mamas that do co-sleep and it is what works for them, so…..great!
This is another one of those issues that I don’t understand turning into a debate. How does my sleeping arrangement have any affect on you or your children? Does it make me a bad mom because I choose to put my kid in her crib? I don’t think so. Does it make her “unattached” to me? Not that I have seen. So, why try to argue with me over something that is working for my family? Does where my child sleeps affect you or your child/family? I don’t think so, so let’s move on!
I could go on and on with examples, but there’s no point. Breasfeeding, formula feeding, co-sleeping or not, cry-it-out, sleep training, Montessori, baby led weaning or spoon feeding, staying home with your kids or being a full-time working mom…. I could truly keep this list going, but are any of these choices others are making for their kids going to directly affect you? I don’t think so. (I’d love examples if you do think they will!) So….let it go!
So what IS the point of this post? Moms, let’s end these wars. It’s not worth our time or energy to judge other mom’s who are making the choices they are making for THEIR family. Don’t you find it exhausting to live to please others? I know I do. I have worked really hard the past few years to make my decisions for our family and not care about what others think and wow…it is so, so freeing! And can you imagine being on the other side of your criticism? What if someone came up to you blasting you about being selfish, or self-centered, or whatever – how would that make you feel? I don’t know about you, but as a mom I want to raise my children to love others, show Christ’s love to others and not live in judgement, and they will only learn that by example. It’s in our nature to be self-centered, so let’s work against that and support other moms (well, really all people!) instead of beating them down with our words (or thoughts!) – to their faces AND behind their backs. Be confident in YOUR choices for your family and MOVE on…let other mama’s do their thing for theirs!
And before you speak – to someone or about someone, try thinking to yourself: is it kind? is it necessary? is it true?
Let’s end these Mommy Wars….I am SICK of em!!!
The past 19 months of my life have been SO humbling for me, it’s kind of humorous. I used to say I would NEVER have kids, I didn’t want to ruin my life with kids and I wanted my freedom. Well, obviously that has changed…life officially ruined. Kidding, kidding!!!! I really can’t even express in words how much being a mom has enriched my life and I never thought I would be so content and truly thriving in this role.
I thought this post would be funny because there are several things I said I would NEVER do, and am quickly learning I should probably stop saying that about anything! So, here is my list of things I said “NEVER would I EVER” to:
1. I would NEVER be a stay-at-home-mom. Annnnnnd, foot in mouth! Refer to my previous posts as that is now my reality. I was so scared being a SAHM would be boring, but I have to say I truly tell Chris everyday “how did I ever have time to work on top of all of this?!”
2. I would NEVER have my kids toys take over the main part of my house.
Exhibit B: the “parking lot” for walkers and ride-on toys
Exhibit C: her chair. This usually lives in the corner at night and when we have people over, but during the day it sits right in the middle of the living room!
We live in the city and have a very small house – which means we don’t have a playroom. I am not really sure where I thought her toys were going to go, but some of them have definitely “taken over” our main area, and honestly, I am ok with that! She has toys in her room, but she also needs things to do in the main area when I am cooking, cleaning, doing email, etc – I like to be able to keep my eye on her which ::GASP:: means I have to have TOYS in my living room!!! We do try really, really hard not to keep a lot of toys in the house as we just don’t have the space, so what you see here is pretty much it, other than some books and a few other toys in her room!
3. I would NEVER have those stupid magnet letters take over my kitchen appliances!
TA -DA!! See image: stupid magnetic letters. I did draw the line at putting them on my fridge as that was the first thing you saw when you walked in my front door (told ya my house was small!!), so the dishwasher is a great compromise! She loved these letters and they are a distraction when she is hanging on our legs as we try to make dinner.
Those are just a *few* examples I thought of as I was looking around my house this morning, and I have to say, I am so glad I was wrong on every single one of those statements! I love that our home feels like a HOME (although, I gotta be careful it doesn’t get cluttered) and that kids can feel comfortable to come in and play without fear of breaking something….and so their parents can feel comfortable. Our life is so, so full of blessings, and I am SO glad I was wrong!
So, what did you say “NEVER would I EVER” to that has become a reality in your life?
Well, I made it through my first week as a stay-at-home-mom! My transition is a lot different than most because I have already been working from home for the past 18 months, the biggest change is that I didn’t have to squeeze in a full-time job on TOP of doing all of the mommy-duties! As I mentioned in my last post, I was so scared I was going to be bored and didn’t know what I was going to do with my time…well, that is not the case. It’s to the point that I am starting to think “when am I going to get all of these projects done?!” Here’a a snapshot of our week:
Monday: this was a little different! Our yard is getting a makeover right now (yay!) and we needed to get out of the house for the entire day AND night since they were demolishing our driveway, etc and repouring it. We headed up to my mom and dad’s for some shopping (maternity clothes for me, spring clothes for E!), lunch, and just played up there. It was SO nice to enjoy the afternoon and not feel like I needed to check my email 5 million times or that I was getting behind!
Tuesday: We stayed at my mom’s until late-morning then headed home, got a workout in, cleaned the house, did laundry, showered, did some Beachbody work, and went to the grocery store!
Wednesday: went to the gym in the morning, came home for lunch and chores, early nap for E on that day – she was a GRUMP!!!, met my sister and her kids at the zoo and went to dinner with them, came home and watched a webinar and caught up with some of my team of coaches and customers!
Thursday: school day for E! I had a doctor’s appointment which took FOREVER, but it was SO AWESOME to be able to run errands after my appointment before I picked her up – I was practically skipping through Target! Squeezed in a workout during her nap and wrapped up some business items for my Beachbody business (officially an LLC now…yay!), finished cleaning the house and then had guests for dinner.
Friday: this is usually “daddy day,” but we had a big day planned! We met my dad and niece/nephews at Legoland, then we went to lunch. Headed home for a nap (that was ruined by noisy yard workers), then Chris and E headed on a walk while I actually took a nap (hello, awesome), then headed out to meet friends for dinner.
It was such a busy and fun week! I know all weeks won’t be filled with activities like last week, but I am thankful for that because I need time to get stuff DONE before this baby comes!
So, that’s a glimpse into my first official week as a stay-at-home-mom! This week I have big plans of cleaning out the guest room to start on the nursery and work on E’s closet so we can move some toys into her room…but I can already see time slipping away!
**disclaimer: I do not, in any way shape or form want this blog post to contribute to the Mommy Wars going on around us. I do not think that being a stay-at-home-mom makes you a better mom than a working mom, nor do I think being a working mom makes you a better mom than a stay-at-home-mom – we ALL love our kids and are doing what is best for OUR families, so let’s try not to judge other mamas, ok? This is just my attempt to share our story and what the Lord has been teaching me.**
This blog post has been a long time coming…and I have re-written it 6 times now! I have been excited to share this new journey for our family, but the time hasn’t been right, so I am so happy that now it is. Before Elliot was born I swore I would never be a stay-at-home-mom. I said I could do it all and that staying home was boring and not something I was interested in any way, shape, or form. I wanted my daughter to grow up seeing a mom who could do it all, juggle a full time career, owning a business (2 actually!), a strong business woman, and still doing all of the fun mom things, easy right?! As soon as Elliot was born I jumped back into work – I didn’t really take a real maternity leave. Mind you, I love my job and loved what I was doing (and am excited that as owner of such an amazing company I still get to be a part of it!!!), so responding to emails from the hospital bed and working during her naps was what I wanted to do…I also realize (now) that I was absolutely trying to prove to myself (and everyone around me) that I COULD in fact “do it all. ” It just seemed natural to try to get back into the normal swing of things as quickly as possible, then back in August I wrote a “day in the life” post proving yet again how together I have everything and that I could do it all…my goodness, that is so, so not the case. If only you could see my guest room and bedroom right now. :/
But here’s the part I haven’t been so open about. Since Elliot was about 6 month olds I have had this deep longing inside of me to be able to focus my time and attention on her and really wanting to have TIME for her. For my birthday by sister gave me a wooden sign for my house with Nehemiah 6:3 on it – that verse says “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.” (read a blog post on that here) This sign sits in my office and I look at it probably hundreds of times a day, and for awhile there was a quiet stirring in my heart that I was not living this verse how the Lord was calling me to. There have been so many days that Elliot has come up to me with a book asking me to read to her and I say (to a 17 month old!) that I am too busy and mama is working, yes, I am am HOME with her, but I am rarely present…and I feel like I am doing nothing well – from parenting, work, marriage, church planting – everything is getting a tired, worn out, stretched-too-thin version of me, and that’s not fair to anyone! I am so thankful that my job has allowed me to be home and not have to have a full time nanny or put her in full-time daycare, but I am still not here…I’m not sure if that makes any sense to you, but it sure does to me!
The Lord has been stirring and stirring in my heart since Elliot was born – showing me that this is what He is calling me to, and I simply didn’t want to hear it. As the months progressed I realized more and more this was the decision I needed to make – but I was SO scared. How would we do it financially? Am I going to be SO bored? What will I DO all day? So many questions and doubts rolled through my mind. I constantly had it as a prayer request and one day a friend (and mentor) of mind said quite simply: “Leah, would you rather act now in obedience to God’s call on your life, or would you rather face his discipline for not listening?” ummmm…I take option 1 please!!! Chris and I had always said I would likely quit working once our 2nd child came along, but it seemed like God was telling me NOW is the time – even though there was just 1 child in the picture. So after a lot (more) conversations with Chris (of which he always said it would be totally fine whatever I decided), I officially made the decision to resign….and the next day (no joke!!!) I found out I was pregnant. I love that God so clearly honored and confirmed the act of obedience I was so scared to make with that positive pregnancy test!
So here we are about 4 months after making that decision and I am officially a “stay-at-home-mom”…whoa! We have been working with a financial counselor to get our finances in order and I have spent a little more time focusing on a business I have pushed to the side for the past 4 years (I am a coach with the company Beachbody) that provides in amazing ways for our family without a lot of time away from them. I am SO thankful that the Lord has allowed that business to thrive and flourish and provide financially in ways I could have NEVER imagined. I remember setting a goal for myself when I first started this business: “I want to be able to stay home with my kids and be active and present in their lives.” welp…check that off the goal list!
So we move forward. I have officially left my full time position and am now my own boss (yikes) and a stay at home mom….that is so weird! I am SO thrilled that I still get to play an active role in the strategic growth at (once like a spark) and have my hands in the amazing things happening there (thank you for not kicking me out completely, girls!! ), but it’s just going to look a little bit different than it has for the past 4 (amazing, incredible, growing) years.
Here we go….on to new adventures! I am excited, thrilled…and terrified! Stay tuned for (hopefully) a lot more posts from me in the coming months!
Since E turned 1 I stopped doing the monthly updates, but I kind of miss them! Chris even asked if I would start them up again, so, no promises, but I wil try to post more regularly about her development. Elliot is going to be 17 months tomorrow and I can’t believe it. Here’s what she is up to these days:
- she started walking right about 12.5/13 months and now she RUNS everywhere she goes
- she LOVES the park, but forget the baby slides and playset, she has to play on the big kid slide! There is one HUGE slide at our park that I thought would terrify her, but she walked right up and went all the way down on her down – it was kind of hilarious because she is so little!
- she goes to preschool 2 mornings a week and has been doing really well. She struggled with separation anxiety for the first few months, but now she just walks right in and says “bye bye!”
- speaking of words, she is a talker (shocking, I know), her vocab includes: mama, dada, Jack, bad dog (hahaha!), sit, eat, go, slide, outside, kids, paci, baby, night night, bath, cheese, grapes, yogurt, juice, water, shoes, socks, more, please, ouch, bite, no way!, see ya!, Yaya, Papa, eyes…that’s all I can think of right now!
- she is a great eater and will eat *most* things you put in front of her, but then she has days she won’t eat anything, so, she’s very much a toddler in that sense!
- she LOVES to play outside and will stand at the front door saying “outside?” until you give in to her cuteness
- she is incredibly busy. If you leave her alone to play for 5 minutes it looks like a tornado has ripped through our house. Exhibit A: this happened in about 2 minutes:
- she really loves working on “projects.” I felt like she was getting bored of playing with toys, so I did some quick searches for young toddler activities. Her 2 current favorites are putting pipe cleaners in the holes of a colander, and playing with pom poms and containers. These activities can keep her busy anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour…which is a WIN in toddler world!
- she *loves* her baby – she says “beebee” and calls her “my beebee.” She pushes her in a stroller, puts her night night, gives her bottles…she is a little mommy which amazes me because it’s all stuff she picked up on her own. I love watching her play!
- she is a great helper! Her cleaning up may not be how *I* would clean up, but if I ask her to clean up, she does. She hums a little song while she does it which makes me wonder if they sing while they clean at school.
- she is great at independent play, but loves when people sit and play with her. If she wants you to play with her she will say “sit mama?” (or dada, or yaya, etc) over and over and over and over until you sit and play with her.
- she loves Jack, our dog…bummer. She cracks up laughing when Chris plays with him and absolutely loves to throw toys for him – and then take them from him and run away saying “mine!”
I am sure there is so much more I could say, but I can’t think of anything else right now! She is such a fun, sweet baby, even though we have our challenging toddler days too! She is going to be a GREAT big sister and I can’t wait to see her in action!
And now…more pics!
a day at the aquarium…..
checking out the fish!