Why It’s Important to Celebrate Moms

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day this past weekend! Whether you’re a mom or you have a mom or you have a lot of mom friends, I hope you found meaning in the day and were able to celebrate moms in your life, in some way.

Mother’s Day has a special significance to me now that I am a mom, and a stay-at-home mom at that. I won’t say my kids are my whole world, because that sounds cliche, but I will say that I am with them A LOT, and my motherhood role feels all-consuming most days. With a one and two year old at home with me, I am truly in the thick of this mom thing.

Why It's Important to Celebrate Moms

And that’s why it’s so important to have a day to celebrate moms, because many of us do feel like we’re in the thick of it. I have learned that being a mom is exhausting and joyful and overwhelming in all of the ways. I’ve also learned that motherhood can feel lonely and isolating.

Even with a great mom community around me, some days it still feel like I’m struggling, or even achieving, and no one notices (or cares). Maybe that’s one of the reasons I love social media and this blog, because I can see other moms doing mom-things and I have an outlet to share some of my own experiences.

Mother’s Day (in my opinion) is about making moms feel seen. It’s about saying “I notice you. You’re doing good and important work, and I know you’re doing the best you can day after day.”

There isn’t a lot of positive acknowledgement in motherhood. Unlike in the corporate world, I don’t receive emails praising my performance of a certain task, I don’t receive bonuses, and I’ll never get promoted. Plus, this project doesn’t have a deadline!

But I still try my hardest. Even if all heck breaks loose one morning, I still try to make it to an appointment or play date on time. I change diapers, make breakfasts and lunches and snacks, clean up constantly (only to have a huge mess to clean up again 5 minutes later), calm crying babies, bounce and bounce and bounce some more, take walks, make plans, research preschools/activities/developmental milestones/recipes/ALL OF THE THINGS, keep a family calendar, kiss ‘owies’ comfort and encourage and play… did I mention I clean up messes? There are so many messes.

And that’s just a small portion of the mom stuff, not to mention that I also try to be a wife and friend and an independent being with my own interests. It is a lot of effort with minimal rewards (other than the joy that motherhood innately brings, which I don’t mean to dismiss).

So we get a day in which society says “YAY MOMS! Thanks for all you do!” (Don’t get me started about how society in general is the problem and how it’s ridiculous that we don’t get ANY mandated paid maternity leave and how childcare is the sole responsibility of families, making whether to work or not a non-choice for many moms… I digress.)

I hope you were able to find a way to celebrate the moms in your life over the weekend. I hope you were able to convey the message that you see them and the work they’re doing to raise decent kids, or to just get through the day. Let’s not stop there, though, let’s try to always build one another up and help moms to feel seen right where they are.

Let’s continue to celebrate and empower moms to keep doing this hard, exhausting, necessary work, because the spirit of Mothers’s Day shouldn’t be confined to one day. Moms are so, so important, so let’s keep remembering that for the other 364 days of the year.

Some suggestions to celebrate a mom:

  • Make a quick phone call or text to see how she’s doing.
  • Drop off a meal if you know she’s having a rough week.
  • Inquire about her kids and herself.
  • Offer to watch her kids while she runs errands.
  • Invite her out for coffee or happy hour.
  • Send some small, meaningful gifts or a card.
  • Pray for her.

(Sidenote: Let’s remember moms outside of our community, too! ThirdLove will be donating 10% all Mother’s Day Gift Box sales to Every Mother Counts throughout the month of May, so if you’ve thought about purchasing something from them, now would be a great time!)

I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day and if you are a mom, I hope you feel celebrated and appreciated every single day of the year!

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A thank you to the moms in my life

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms out there! (And to all of those women who are having a particularly hard time on this day, for whatever reason, my thoughts are with you.)

If you are a mom and celebrate this holiday (and you should! It’s all about you!) I hope that you’re being spoiled rotten. I, for one, can’t wait to see what the girls have planned for me today. I hope it involves some solid naps (for them). I know that I’m getting a card at some point because this is the conversation we had over ice cream yesterday:

Clara: Do you like your card?

Me: What card? (trying to hide a smile while shooting a knowing glance to Tim)

Clara: The surprise card.

Tim: Clara, she hasn’t gotten the card yet, remember?

Clara: Oh, okay.

… and then she went back to eating her ice cream.

Today is filled with a lot of emotions for me (it’s my third Mother’s Day as a mom and time goes by too fast!), but I especially want to focus on how thankful I am for the moms in my life.

Thank you to the moms in my life

Thank you to the moms…

— Who were in my first moms group right after Clara was born. It was so nice to navigate new motherhood with such a wonderful group of ladies who could chat about a wide variety of life topics, but also sleep training, breastfeeding, and still all things motherhood.

— Who made my family meals after both of my babies were born.

— Who have offered me so, so much advice over the years.

— Who were among the first people I met in Seattle at MOPS, and who made this new area of the country immediately feel like home.

— Who babysit my kids.

— Who host playdates and offered me coffee and a listening ear and have even fed my kids when we found ourselves still chatting at lunchtime.

— Who love my kids and make sure that they know it.

– Who take time out of their busy schedules to show up at events and parties with their little ones, even though just showing up is not an easy feat!

— Who have swapped sleep horror stories and have empathized with my situation, whatever it may have been at the time.

— Who hold my babies when they’re cute, but more importantly when they’re fussy.

— Who love their own kids and raise them intentionally so that they can be awesome friends and citizens and human beings.

— Who text me at all hours of the day and night complaining, sympathizing, and sharing stories from their own recent experiences with newborns/babies/toddlers. Technology makes motherhood feel much less isolating!

— Who encourage me, comfort me, and lift me up.

— Who laugh with me.

— Who help my kids put their shoes and jackets on when I’m overwhelmed with both of them, and maybe even help me get to the car when my arms are full.

— Who give me understanding looks when my toddler has a public meltdown.

— Who write vulnerable blogs and articles that I can oh-so-deeply relate to.

— Who show up.

— Who give their time, passion, and talents to run programs and events and organizations that benefit many children in the community.

— Who are my role models and mentors, as well as my friends.

Thank you. A million times over, thank you. 

** If you want to spread some joy among the moms in your life, I love this free printable from Coffee & Crumbs!

I hope you each have a most wonderful day!

Posted in holidays, motherhood | Tagged | 5 Comments

Week o’ celebrations.

Last weekend we celebrated Isabelle at her one-year-old birthday party! It was really a fun little morning with a few friends and a bounce house and cupcakes (of course) and pancakes & mimosas. I am a huge fan of the casual birthday party where everyone can get together and enjoy kids running around for a bit. Also, Isabelle loved her smash cupcake and absolutely devoured it.

Isabelle's First Birthday PartyIsabelle's First Birthday Party
Isabelle's First Birthday Party

  • Tim and I had a date night last night! We went to Joule (in the Fremont neighborhood) and it was wonderful. I highly recommend it if you’re in the Seattle area! I was a little nervous because it definitely seems more ‘meat-friendly’ than I am (since I don’t eat it at all), but I was pleasantly surprised with how flexible they were with their menu.
  • Pro tip for bringing kids to a theater: don’t sit in the front row. We learned that lesson the hard way this week! I took Clara to the children’s theater with her preschool class and we sat in the front row (because that’s just how we lined up and where they sat us). Well, after a complete meltdown mid-play, we went to the lobby for a bit and calmed down, and then sat in the back after the intermission. Of course, then Clara loved the play and was very unhappy when it ended. (“But I want to see more, mama!)
  • Also this week was Clara’s May Day celebration with her school. It got rained out on May 1st, and it was cloudy but nice weather for it this week! It was such a cute celebration with flower crowns and a maypole and lots of organic, gluten-free, vegan snacks (this is a super hippy-dippy aka “crunchy” school and I love it), and lots of friends and parents… I love doing holidays and festivals with my girls. Although, I’m not going to lie, it is exhausting having 2 mobile kids. As soon as I took my eyes off Isabelle she was crawling to other families’ blankets to eat all of their food! It was slightly embarrassing but whatever, at least she didn’t go hungry!

May Day Preschool Celebration

  • We started giving Clara a few supplements (Glycine and Melatonin) to help her sleep.So far, so good, but I’ll update you when I know for sure if it’s the ‘magic’ cure. Her sleep challenges deserve an entire post in themselves.
  • I started and finished this book (The Nightingale) and I cried.  I almost never cry during books, but this one just got to me. I highly recommend it!

We had such a busy, fun week! We also went to the toddler gym and swim lessons and preschool and a pediatrician appointment (to talk about Clara’s sleep challenges) and hosted our small group at our house and  I had a MOPS meeting (I’m on the steering committee at our local group), and I babysat a little friend for an hour or so one day, and I even managed to go boxing one time to get my sweat on!

Phew. I can’t actually believe we did all of that! It was quite wonderful and now I’m ready for the weekend!

How was your week?

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Visiting the tulip fields in Washington

Once tulip season begins, I just know it’s only a matter of time before we get to summer in the PNW! It’s seemed like a never-ending winter here (if you haven’t heard, it’s been a year with record setting grey days and rain!) but tulip season reminds me that better (weather) days are just around the corner!

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
This year the tulips bloomed later than last year, so we didn’t head out to the Skagit Valley until the end of April. I looked at the forecast, saw that one Friday in April was supposed to be sunny and lovely, and strongly requested Tim call off of work so we could all drive out to see the tulips together.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Last year I went to the tulip fields when I was 38 weeks pregnant, and this year I was holding Isabelle (at almost one year old!) in my arms in front of the gorgeous scenery! Life is crazy and moves too fast.

Although tulip season is now over in Washington, it’s never too early to start planning for next year so I’m going to leave you with some…

Tips for seeing the tulips (with toddlers):

  • If you’re near to Seattle, go to Roozengaarde in Mount Vernon. In my experience, it’s the best tulip farm in the area. Yes, it will be crowded, but it’s also great for kids because there’s an awesome display of tulips only a few yards inside the entrance, so if your toddler wants to slowly walk around there, you can still get a few good pictures with minimal effort.
  • Bring snacks. I mean, this is basically an all-the-time tip for doing anything with toddlers. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from having a 1-year-old and 2-year-old is that everything takes way longer than I anticipate. In my mind, seeing flowers will take about 15 minutes – when in actuality the whole event took us all day.
  • Also pack a change of clothes (for the kids). Like the naive and hopelessly optimistic parent I am, I dressed the girls in cute outfits, hoping to get one good picture of them in the tulips. Well, of course, Clara lasted about 10 minutes in her adorable dress before she wiped out in a mud puddle. Did we have a change of clothes for her? Nope! So when we went out to lunch (at Calico Cupboard in La Conner) afterwards, Clara was dressed in Isabelle’s (see-through) tights and a sweatshirt. Obviously, she got quite a few sympathetic looks from strangers at the very-crowded restaurant, because they probably assumed that her parents have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to children and daughters and appropriate attire. Whoops, our bad, sorry kid.
  • Don’t bring a stroller. The same mud that Clara slipped in makes it impossible to use a stroller in the fields. Bring carriers to wear if your kiddos are small enough, otherwise they’ll have to walk as far as you can get them to go before the meltdowns happen.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

If seeing the tulip fields isn’t on your bucket list (whether or not you live in the Netherlands or the PNW), add it! Seeing the fields is truly an amazing sight and I can’t wait for it to be an annual tradition for our family.

But seriously, make sure everyone has a spare change of clothes.

Posted in adventuring, seattle, travel | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

To Isabelle on her birthday

I’m pretty sure I have a baby book for Isabelle, but honestly, I have no clue where it is. Clara has a baby book, but she was the first child and that pretty much explains it all.  The first child has a baby book (with pictures!), the second child has a book but I don’t know where it is, and if we ever have a third kid I can guarantee there will be no book at all.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the formatting in baby books, anyways. I’m more of a free-form type of gal. So, this past year I started jotting down little notes to the girls every few months. I keep them all in a file on my computer and maybe someday I’ll do something with them, or maybe not. I guess it all depends on whether I continue to be an underachiever in the memory keeping department. Sigh.

In any case, I thought I would share the letter I wrote to Isabelle last week, so here it is!

Isabelle at One Year Old!

To Isabelle on her first birthday:

To my one year old! ONE YEAR OLD.

Isabelle. Belle. Belly. Busy Izzy. We haven’t settled on a nickname for you just yet. We’re still figuring out which name best fits your seemingly every-changing personality. I know you’re a year old, but you’re still very much my baby. And you always will be, whether you like it or not!

In terms of big milestones, we’re still waiting for you to take your first steps. You don’t walk yet, and to be honest, you don’t seem like you’re going to start anytime soon. I know you could, but you’re happy crawling to wherever you need to go. You have lots of teeth. You still love nursing (but I’m going to wean you off during the day soon), and you’re over 20 lbs of pure joy and adorable chunky leg rolls. You love clapping your hands, trying to talk, blowing ‘raspberries’, swinging on swings at the park, and playing with your sisters’ toys.

Speaking of Clara, you love your sister. There is no one who can make you smile the way she can and I hope that never changes. Your whole face lights up when your daddy gets home from work, and you’ve started saying ‘dada’ (or something that sounds like it) when he comes through the door. Ozzie might be your favorite member of the family, though, and you love feeding him all of your food, much to my frustration! But, even though you smile when you see any family member, you’re completely a mama’s girl. I am still the best at comforting you and knowing what you want.

You love eating everything and anything. You hate being hot. And by ‘being hot’ I mean that you hate any temperature over 65 degrees. (It’s a good thing we live in Seattle!) You have always been our sensitive and challenging (in some ways) child. You know what you like and you know what you don’t like, and you make sure we know it, too!

Your dad and I love hearing you laugh. We love watching you ‘read’ books. We are amazed that you already know how to feed your baby dolls their bottles. You love wearing shoes and try to put them on yourself. You love ‘sharing’ with other people and will hand anything to anyone. You love strangers and familiar people equally and will crawl up to anyone to be held or cuddled. You have no separation anxiety (yet). You have always been my snuggly baby. I know I shouldn’t compare you to your sister, but you’re so much like her. You are a climber and you are fearless. You take every babyproofing effort on our part as a challenge. Take the baby gate that we have installed at the top of the stairs, for example. You are always, ALWAYS trying to go under it to get down those stairs. The problem is, of course, that I’m not sure you know how to go down a flight of stairs, so I can’t see this adventure of yours ending well.

I know how much you’re going to change by your next birthday, and I’m already sad that at this time in 2018 you’ll be a full toddler and won’t seem like a baby at all. That being said, I can’t wait to see how your personality continues to develop! The world is a better place with you in it, my love.

Happy Birthday, sweetest.

— Mommy

 

Posted in isabelle rose, motherhood | Tagged | 4 Comments