I Love Being a Mom, And

By De Elizabeth

There’s a special kind of nagging, annoying, feeling of guilt that is unique to motherhood. So much that there’s even a term for it; aptly, it’s called “Mom Guilt.”

For me, and so many others, it sneaks up a thousand times a day: if I take 30 seconds to answer an email instead of playing with my daughter, if I spend 25 minutes getting ready rather than 20, if I arrange a rare night out and leave her with anyone who isn’t me. Mom Guilt is always there to remind me I didn’t come up with a fun Pinterest’y craft that week, or that she’s eaten mac-n-cheese three times for dinner instead of whatever colorful nonsense I see on those toddler meal Instagrams. And Mom Guilt loves to have a party whenever I find myself missing my pre-mom life, or wanting to indulge parts of myself that isn’t wrapped up in the identity of being a mom.

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For Now, The Brownie is Just a Brownie

By De Elizabeth

CW: Eating disorder and body image talk.

A few days ago, I enlisted the help of my 2-year-old while making a batch of brownies. (Actually, they were cookie-brownies: the kind from Annie’s that is essentially a brownie with a cookie on top — you’re welcome.) I helped her stir the mix, let her lick the spatula, and asked her to scoop the cookie dough with a little spoon. While it was baking, we turned the oven light on and she stood in front of the door, alternating between patient self-reminders of “they’re cooking!” and impatient exclamations of “wanna eat!” Once they were cooled, she tasted her very first cookie-brownie, somehow even more delicious I think, because she helped bake them.

There’s a lot I love about watching my daughter discover things about the world, but arguably one of the cutest is seeing her get excited about her favorite foods. A few weeks ago, I purchased a pack of muffins from the bakery, eliciting a squeal of “Ooooh a muffin!” She’ll announce everything on her plate at lunch — “PBJ! Cheese! Crackers!” — and she’s become inexplicably fascinated with one of my cookbooks, asking questions about everything she sees.

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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

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

We Are Not Duchess Kate – And That’s OK

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By Catherine Miele

After giving birth to her third child, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, exited the hospital looking flawless.

Bright-eyed, subtly made-up, perfectly coiffed, and wearing high heels for god’s sake, she is the envy of all new moms. Hell, 3 years after giving birth to my first, I wish I looked that put together on date nights!

Except…here’s the thing: it’s Duchess Kate’s job to present herself in a certain way for the public. Continue reading

I Hope I Never Forget

I Hope I Never Forget

By Becky Houdesheldt

This weekend Andrew and I were reminiscing about when our son was a baby. I mean, he is almost 13 months. But 13 months is a lot different than 3 months. I miss the early days with him, when he needed to be held all the time, when it was ok to snuggle him as much as we wanted, when there was no such thing as spoiling the baby. When I would wake up and see my husband in the nursery, asleep with him in his arms in our green glider. Getting up with him in the middle of the night, sharing the responsibility, getting bottles and diapers and swaddles ready.

I have fond memories at our little house with our new little baby. The house I bought on my own at 30, because after I took the trip of a lifetime and recognized I didn’t need anyone or anything to live my life, I finally felt empowered and I took the leap into home-ownership. It was an adorable 2 bedroom home with a 1 car garage, a pretty red door and the cutest bathrooms. It had a kitchen with exposed cabinets and that 60s charm. It had an oven in the wall that was so small hardly any of my dishes fit in it, but man did it cook fast. My girlfriend and I painted half the basement right away – a beautiful shade of light blue, with white trim. It felt beachy and relaxing. I broke my foot the day I moved, and she helped me set up the basement so we could watch Star Wars and eat pizza. As time went on, I made more changes to make it mine. I hung pictures from twine in the hallway. I painted the small wall in the dining room a dark purple, and hung an eclectic mix of artwork around the window. It was so decidedly me. I loved it. Continue reading

Motherhood Is Not a “Before and After”

By De Elizabeth

When I was younger, I believed in the idea of separate selves. Throughout high school and college, I felt myself consistently shifting — not so much changing, but disappearing and then reappearing as someone completely different. I divided portions of my life into chapters, all of which neatly fit within the pages of my journals that I kept as a teenager and early twenty-something. If a friendship ended or I went through a breakup, I felt like “the girl that I used to be” during that time also ceased to exist. I marked endless “before”‘s and “after”‘s with physical alterations: a new haircut, a shopping spree, a dramatic weight loss, the change of a season. Continue reading

Does It Make Me A Bad Parent?

Does It Make Me A Bad Parent

By Chelsea O’Neal

Does it make me a bad parent? That’s the question that kept running through my head the other day. That’s the question I repeated over and over in regards to every parenting decision I am making. Does it make me a bad parent?

Does it make me a bad parent if some days I feel parenthood is just a little too overwhelming? Does it make me a bad parent if some days I just want her to sleep all day so I can get a breather? If I get annoyed sometimes when she’s climbing all over me, fussy and wanting me to hold her? If every time she grabs a handful of hair and yanks and I just want to yell “stop!Continue reading