Bumper Stickers Can Wait

By Kate Kole

It’s usually bumper stickers that start it.

I’ll be walking my son in his stroller, watching him pull at his socks and kick his legs happily as he woofs back at dogs in the neighborhood. I’m usually listening to a podcast about motherhood, nodding my head as the women I’ve self-declared as friends talk about how they do mornings and meal times and meet other moms.

I’ll catch a glimpse of a bumper sticker as a minivan rolls by. Something about dance or soccer. My mind will start to wander. I’ll begin imagining recitals and open fields. I’ll think of our blonde little boy chasing a ball. I picture buns and tutus. Orange slices and Gatorade. Cheering on sidelines and carpool lines. 

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The Truth About Postpartum Anxiety

By Becky Houdesheldt

While I sat rocking my daughter in her nursery last night, trying yet another position to get her to go back to sleep, I closed my eyes and rested my lips on her head. I tried to remind myself to relish the time with her while she’s small. She turns 5 months tomorrow, and I lost my first two months with her to postpartum anxiety.

My anxiety robbed me of enjoying my first weeks with her. I honestly thought I was on top of my symptoms. I wasn’t. I finally admitted I needed more help after I acknowledged I was experiencing intrusive thoughts, and it took me 5 weeks before I could get in to a postpartum specialist.

I couldn’t call my daughter by her name. I didn’t want to look at her. I couldn’t be alone with my thoughts because I’d lose myself in a whirlwind of fears and anxieties that I knew weren’t rooted in reality, but I couldn’t pull myself out of them. I felt out of control, out of touch, and at a loss. I returned to a new job after 6 weeks at home, and I was a mess.

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Family Favorite Penne Pasta Bake

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By Kate Kole

I used to be a ‘different night, different dinner’ kind of gal. I’d hop into the grocery store on my way home from teaching a yoga class to see what I was in the mood to make and have that evening.

Then…I had a kid. And I became a ‘how many nights of leftovers will this make?’ kind of person.

Enter our family favorite penne pasta bake. My mom even called it “restaurant quality”. But then again, my mom told me that my elementary school artwork was impressive. So, I suppose, take her review with a grain of salt. Continue reading

Giving Up Blessing Sandwiches

Giving Up Blessing Sandwiches

By Kate Kole

Soon after our son was born, I developed a somewhat standard response to check-in questions. “Hard and best.” That’s how I described my transition into motherhood. Because it felt impossible to mention one without the other. The sleep deprivation without the joy, the loneliness without the fulfillment, the loss of one identity without the discovery of another.

Eventually, I graduated to the blessing sandwich.

You know, the “I’m grateful I get to stay home with him. Sure, sometimes it’s isolating. But I feel really fortunate to have this time together.” Or the, “He’s a really happy baby. Still not sleeping through the night. But all the smiles during the day make up for it.”

One good thing. One hard thing. One good thing again. Continue reading

Healthy Baby, Healthy Mama

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By Kate Kole

I didn’t have a detailed birth plan. Without ever having ever gone through labor and delivery, I was unsure of how I’d feel about pain management or who I’d really want in the room when it was time to push. So, on the hospital form, I kept my preferences short and sweet. Healthy baby, healthy mama. That was it.

At 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant, I went into labor. After 28 hours, I gave birth to our sweet boy. I awaited the moment everyone promises, when all the pain and pushing evaporates and you hold your baby in your arms for the first time. Continue reading

Some Thoughts On Change

Some Thoughts On Change

By Jillian Stacia

I’ve had a lot of change lately. That’s an understatement, actually. In the last year, I’ve gotten pregnant, been promoted, had a baby, went back to work, quit my job, started freelancing full time, and dyed my hair blue.

Things have changed so much so fast, and I still feel like I am reeling.

Here’s what I know: I am happier than I have ever been, probably because I feel more like myself than I ever have. My life is finally a representation of my values, and that feels amazing and right and whole.

But I also feel like I’m floundering. Each time I start to find a rhythm, I am pummeled by change. The carpet is ripped out from under my feet, and I have to start all over again. Continue reading

The Price You Pay When You’re Always Trying to Live in the Moment

By De Elizabeth

Every summer when growing up, my family would take trips to Cape Cod. My brother and I would spend the days leading up to our trip rifling through our CD collections, deciding which albums to bring with us for the six-hour drive (Blink-182, SR-71, and, later, Motion City Soundtrack were always among the top of the list). We’d print out a list of every state in the country, awarding various values to each, ready to play the License Plate Game in the car (Alaska and Hawaii always had the highest amount of points). We’d joke that every year, our parents would get into their “annual fight” before we left, delaying our departure by at least 45 minutes, but then eventually we’d be on our way. We’d stop around lunchtime — in Mystic, Connecticut, at a Friendly’s restaurant just off of the highway. Then, several hours later, we’d cross the Sagamore Bridge onto the Cape, and every year, at this very moment, my mom would turn around, look at us, and say: “Savor the moment.” Continue reading

Are You Ready?

Are You Ready

By Kate Kole

“Are you ready?”

With my due date now only 2 and a half weeks away, that’s the question I unsurprisingly receive the most.

My answer, almost always, is some version of “as ready as you can be.”

Because, I suppose, we’ve planned and prepared in almost all the ways possible. The nursery is complete, the car seats are installed and inspected, the hospital bag is packed, the breastfeeding and caring-for-a-newborn classes have been attended. I’ve flipped through What To Expect When You’re Expecting weekly for the last 9 months and I now know as much as you can know (or at least as much as I’d like to know) without completely freaking myself out. Continue reading

The Things I Never Knew Before Becoming A Mom

The Things I Never Knew Before Becoming A Mom

By Chelsea O’Neal

I never knew many things before becoming a mother. I had heard “stories” from other parents but like many people, I thought “surely those are myths.” And then I became a mom and boy did things change.

I never knew how scary it was caring for another tiny little human. How delicate I’d think she was. How afraid I’d be to make the wrong decision in even the simplest of situations. I never knew I wouldn’t leave the house on time ever again. Or that when I’d finally leave, I’d be toting around a giant bag of everything in the house.  Continue reading

How Moms Are Simultaneously Pressured to Be “Perfect” and “Real” Online

By De Elizabeth

There’s a lot about motherhood that’s talked about on the internet.

Mom blogs are rampant — and you can find one on almost every topic. If it’s not a mom blog, it’s a mom Instagram account. Or a mom YouTube channel. All of which are gleaming with the superficial: lists of favorite products, the ingredients of recipes for a smash cake, brightly-lit photos marking the passage of time. My own blog contains a lot of these things too, I’ll admit. Continue reading