Being a mom is the most rewarding yet challenging job I’ve ever had. While I always love being Mommy to Bear and Boone, there are moments when my patience is reeeeeally tested and I am a far cry from June Cleaver. My friends know I’m perpetually 15 minutes late everywhere I go, and chances are I’ve forgotten something important (like the diapers or my sanity) once I actually get there.
But despite the serious Mom Brain that I deal with on a daily basis, I’ve actually learned a few things along the way these past 6+ years. Motherhood isn’t all unicorns and rainbows, but the good outweighs the bad by a landslide. That doesn’t mean we can’t laugh about all the mishaps along the way (once we’re done crying over them)…
5 Things I’ve Learned Since Becoming a Mom:
1. Sleep is more valuable than gold. Everyone warns you before you have kids things like, “Rest while you can!” and “You’ll never get a good night’s sleep again!” and I have to admit, I did some eye-rolling at this pre-kids. While it’s not entirely true (Bear's always been a great sleeper so I was spoiled before Boone), there’s still significant amounts of truth to the fact that you sleep a lot less once you have kids. Even if your kids are great sleepers, you’re still so busy once you have kids and thus exhausted when your head hits the pillow. On the rare occasion that your child sleeps until 9am, it’s worth celebrating because Lord knows when you’ll get that much sleep again.
2. Payback is a you-know-what. It’s a joke in my family that I was always a “meddler”- I was into eeeeeeverything all the time. I stayed at my grandparents’ house quite a bit when I was little and my grandma says that I was surprisingly easy to watch because I’d just spend hours going through her drawers and closets looking at everything. Now I have Boonester, who meddles in anything he can get his hands on. No drawer, closet, or pantry is safe…and I know I’m just paying for my raising.
3. Time flies. Another saying you hear constantly prior to having kids, but another one that rings true. The days seem so slow sometimes, but you look back and wonder where the years went. I cannot believe that Bear is 6 1/2 years old. Just typing it out baffles me because in my mind, I gave birth to him tops 2 years ago. And Boone? He will be a year old in less than 2 weeks and I can’t even talk about it. It’s such a bittersweet feeling to watch them grow and feel so proud of the good humans they’re becoming, while also wishing they could stay little forever.
4. Silence is magical. You learn to enjoy things like sitting in carpool line for 45 minutes, just soaking up the calm before the storm. You regret taking for granted all the times you got to pee in silence without a child tugging on your leg or yelling “MOMMY!” from the next room. Peace and quiet are a thing of the past, and you miss them. But as soon as you go on that highly anticipated and overdue date night? You miss the sound of your little munchkins and talk about them the entire time.
5. It’s worth it. No matter how many times a day you want to pull your hair out, or how many brand new shirts get stained with spit-up, or how many nights you don’t sleep a wink because you’re taking care of a sick child, you wouldn’t trade any of it for anything in the world. Sure, your kids might be little crazies at times but they’re your little crazies, and you love them more than anything.
my swimsuit | earrings | shoes | sunnies
Shelbi's sarong | swim top | swim bottoms | hat | shoes | bag
photos by Ban Avenue Photography
I recently posted a photo on Instagram of myself in a swimsuit and within 5 minutes, had 3 not-so-nice comments criticizing what I was wearing saying that it wasn't an appropriate "mom suit". I'd be lying if I said comments like these don't bother me because I'm a people-pleaser by nature and a pretty sensitive person. I realize that in my field of work, criticism comes with the territory and you have to have pretty thick skin to survive the world of social media as a blogger. However, these comments and messages have started to occur more frequently for me and as a mom I have to wonder sometimes....are they right? Should I be in a black tankini with a matching skirt that goes to my knees? Should I be wearing a hat because sun protection is so important and my kids are learning through my example? Should I not be laying out because it's an invitation for melanoma? There are a million things I could do and million things that I don't do, because I'm not a perfect human. But that's not the point. The point is that as mothers, and women in general, we have got to stop hating on one another.
What we see on social media is only half the story (less really)- I refer to my Instagram as my "highlight reel" for a reason. There's always a big mess behind the scenes, but that's life! What the women who commented on my swimsuit photo on Instagram failed to realize is that I wasn't having a pool day with my kids. One fellow mom wrote: "This is a pretty provocative swimsuit for a pool day with your kids (insert frown emoji)", which has since been deleted because I want my page to be a place of happiness rather than negativity. The real reason we were at the pool at all is because I was doing a photoshoot there, and my boys (Zach included) got to come with me. There wasn't a single other soul there- we had the place to ourselves. Zach was watching both boys (#superdad) while I did photos, so a "mom suit" wasn't needed that day. The only reason Bear was actually getting to swim, and he had the time of his life by the way, is because I was shooting at the location. Had I been able to get in and splash around with him like I normally would, of course I would've chose a suit more comfortable for play. Honestly, it has nothing to do with how "provocative" the suit is....I'm breastfeeding so my boys see my boobs all the time. Bear could care less what swimsuit I have on as long as I'm in the water playing with him. And you know what? I'm not looking around at other moms, judging whether or not their swim attire is "appropriate". Because I'm in my own lane, doing my own thing. As we all should be. I'd much rather be enjoying my time at the pool with my little fishies than worried about what someone else is wearing.
We're currently teaching Bear the timeless Bambi rule- If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all. It's amazing how many adults struggle with this simple concept. I realize that every outfit I wear is not going to appeal to everyone. In fact, I look back and don't even like certain outfits that I've worn! I don't like everything I see on Instagram; I don't think anyone does. But I would never, ever comment something negative on someone's post because....what's the point? It accomplishes nothing. If you don't like what you see, it's easiest to unfollow someone or just keep scrolling. It's quite simple, really. If something deeply offends you, of course you have a right to say something. But a bathing suit photo shouldn't rock your world to that extent. Rather than pointing out what you don't like, focus on what you do. We should be building each other up, especially as mothers. This parenting job is HARD, y'all. We should be rallying around each other and telling one another "You got this, mama!", no matter what outfit we might be wearing. While it's my job to promote things like clothing, that's so trivial in the grand scheme of things. Our focus as moms should be on raising our babies as best we can and knowing that the mom down the street might do things a little differently, and that's okay. If I see the mom down the street on the struggle bus one day (Lord knows I've been there), I'm going to encourage her and tell her what a great job she's doing. A few kind words could make all the difference in her day.
I want to be better about this....I think back to times when a stranger has paid me a compliment and how much that made my day. I want to be better about giving strangers I pass in the grocery store or the mom I always see but never speak to at baseball practice a compliment. You never know how a kind gesture could positively affect someone and help them in some small way. I'm challenging myself to spread more positivity and do everything I can to stop the mom shaming, because it's a real thing and it's not okay. We're all just doing the best we can as wives, mothers, daughters, friends, sisters, girlfriends, etc. Empowering and encouraging another mom might help them more than you even realize; it means the world every time someone does this for me. If you are a mom and you're reading this post, know that you are doing an amazing job and you should be so proud. You may be exhausted, running on fumes, having your fourth cup of coffee at 10am, and trying to tackle a mile long to-do list, but know that you are killing it. You love your kids, and they know that, and that's what matters. Wear what you wanna wear, do what you wanna do, and keep on mommin'. You got this.
When I first found out we were expecting, of course I was overjoyed because we'd been trying for a little over a year and knew we wanted to expand our family. Soon after, however, I started to wonder just what it would be like to love another human in the same way I love Bear. After 5 years of giving him my constant love and attention, I wondered how much I'd have left to give another child and if my heart could split between the two. It didn't stress me out, but the thought was in the back of my mind for months and it wasn't until Boone was born that I got my answer.
The moment baby Boone was placed on my chest, I felt an overwhelming emotion of pride and joy and happiness all in one. It's impossible to explain the euphoria of it, really, but I know I will never forget that moment with either of my boys. If there's a feeling of heaven on Earth, that moment has to be it (followed closely by eating Nutella crepes at the Eiffel Tower but that's beside the point and now I'm hungry). When I held our new baby, our second-born, my heart didn't feel torn at all. In fact, it grew. Sounds cliche, but I didn't realize until holding Boone in my arms that my heart could love two little humans that much.
I feel so thankful to be these boys' Mommy and while my heart wants to explode on a daily basis when they do something cute or funny, I also take this parenting role very seriously. I'm trying to do "special things" with Bear often so he doesn't feel left out with the new baby, and cuddle Boone as much as I can because this newborn stage is so sweet and fleeting. It's a juggling act, for sure, but I wouldn't have it any other way. These boys are my greatest gift and I will forever be finding ways to let them know just that. Between all the dirty diapers and 37 King Kong toys mysteriously put in our Amazon cart yesterday (any guesses on the culprit?), our life is somewhat of a circus currently. But it's our circus, and I love it.