Momlife Truth: I Can’t Do What I Used to Love Because I’m a Mom, and That’s OK.

Momlife Truth: I Can’t Do What I Used to Love Because I’m a Mom, and That’s OK.

There are some little secrets and momlife truths that we don’t really understand or even realize until we’ve been a mom for quite a while. The first year or two is a whirlwind, and while it doesn’t get easier as they get older, the beginning phases of being a mom generally just include holding on for survival. 

But even as our children get older, we don’t really snap back into our old selves. A momlife truth is that we are different, and our lives are different.

Like this momlife truth: Motherhood stops me from doing what I used to love. But that’s ok.

It’s not that I literally can’t. Sure there is a way I could figure it out, make it work. It’s just I don’t really want to anymore.

I’m not interested. Too tired. Outgrown it. The reasons are numerous, but the bottom line is I just can’t do what I used to. And while I’m a little bummed, I can’t say I’m really sad about it.

The truth is, those things wouldn’t really make me happy anymore.

Think about it… What makes you happy now? Do you even know? (besides your kids/family)

It’s not just a matter of remembering. It isn’t just that you’re so tired you can’t quite get a grip on who you used to be and what you used to enjoy, it’s that the person you once were doesn’t exist anymore.

Part of her is still there. She still lingers on the outskirts of your soul.

But now a new woman is inside of you.

You’ve been changed by motherhood.

So even the basic things you enjoy now aren’t the same, or have shifted even if in subtle ways.

I used to love to travel. And for the last four years since I became a mother I have held onto the idea of traveling as hard as I could. I mean, you could try to pull my passport out of my cold dead fingers.

But the reality? It’s not just that travel is nearly impossible right now with a 4 year old and twin 1 year olds, it’s also that I just have lost some of the desire.

The idea of packing up a family of five and traveling anywhere beyond the 2.5 hour trek to my moms, sounds terrible!

And travel isn’t the only thing.

Going out to bars? Wine tasting? Shopping? Knitting? Leisurely strolls through farmers markets followed up by day full of luxuriously cooking rich dishes from expensive ingredients? Even going to the gym?

Nope. None of that is happening.

But it’s taken me the entirety of motherhood thus far to come to grips with the fact that I either can’t or don’t want to do the things I used to love.

But I’ve finally accepted it.

Now that I accepted it? I love it.

I finally realized this… what kind of person would I be if I still had all of the exact same interests I did before I was a mom?

What kind of person would I be if I never tried anything new, or learned anything new?

At the least I would be pretty boring, and the most I’d be really unhappy.

Motherhood forces you out of any and all comfort zones. It’s a crucible. A gauntlet.

Sink or swim. Though really there is only the choice to swim.

Time is precious.

When just having a shower without an extra little body bobbling around in there with you seems like a luxury, you have be super intentional about how you spend that free time.

It’s not just a matter of remembering. It isn’t just that you’re so tired you can’t quite get a grip on who you used to be and what you used to enjoy, it’s that the person you once were doesn’t exist anymore.

Part of her is still there. She still lingers on the outskirts of your soul.

But now a new woman is inside of you.

You’ve been changed by motherhood. Momlife is not the same as single life.

So even the basic things you enjoy now aren’t the same, or have shifted even if in subtle ways.

I used to love to travel. And for the last four years since I became a mother I have held onto the idea of traveling as hard as I could. I mean, you could try to pull my passport out of my cold dead fingers.

But the reality? It’s not just that travel is nearly impossible right now with a 4 year old and twin 1 year olds, it’s also that I just have lost some of the desire.

The idea of packing up a family of five and traveling anywhere beyond the 2.5 hour trek to my moms, sounds terrible!

And travel isn’t the only thing.

Going out to bars? Wine tasting? Shopping? Knitting? Leisurely strolls through farmers markets followed up by day full of luxuriously cooking rich dishes from expensive ingredients? Even going to the gym?

Nope. None of that is happening.

But it’s taken me the entirety of motherhood thus far to come to grips with the fact that I either can’t or don’t want to do the things I used to love.

But I’ve finally accepted it.

Now that I accepted it? I love it.

I finally realized this… what kind of person would I be if I still had all of the exact same interests I did before I was a mom?

What kind of person would I be if I never tried anything new, or learned anything new?

At the least I would be pretty boring, and the most I’d be really unhappy.

Motherhood forces you out of any and all comfort zones. It’s a crucible. A gauntlet.

Sink or swim. Though really there is only the choice to swim.

Time is precious.

When just having a shower without an extra little body bobbling around in there with you seems like a luxury, you have be super intentional about how you spend that free time.

Now that I accepted it? I love it.

I finally realized this… what kind of person would I be if I still had all of the exact same interests I did before I was a mom?

What kind of person would I be if I never tried anything new, or learned anything new?

At the least I would be pretty boring, and the most I’d be really unhappy.

Motherhood forces you out of any and all comfort zones. It’s a crucible. A gauntlet.

Sink or swim. Though really there is only the choice to swim.

Time is precious.

When just having a shower without an extra little body bobbling around in there with you seems like a luxury, you have be super intentional about how you spend that free time.

So I am mindful AF about what I do with my time both while I’m with my kids and alone. 

 

I don’t try to live up to some expectations of what I thought momlife should be life, because now I know the truth of momlife

It’s hard, but it’s incredible. 

All the things I used to love (or at least a lot of them), just aren’t part of my world anymore. Maybe they will be again some day, but right now? Nope. 

And I’m happy with that. Being a mom and living this momlife truth is worth it. 

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Balance is Bullsh*t and What to Do Instead of Trying to Balance it All

Balance is Bullsh*t and What to Do Instead of Trying to Balance it All

Yep I said it. Balance is bullshit.

Do you want to know the truth? The truth is finding complete and perfect balance a myth. If you think about a scale, you have to have the exact amount of weight on each side in order for it to be balanced. And in our lives, that is incredibly hard to do; for most of us, it’s pretty impossible.

Instead, the way that I like to think about it is not that I’m trying to balance everything at once, but I prefer to think of my life’s balance as having an ebb and flow, or seasons. Sometimes it’s high tide and sometimes it’s low tide. Sometimes everything is calm and working like a well oiled machine, and then out of nowhere your toddler gets the stomach bug and you’re up to your elbows in puke.

This is life. Life is messy and can’t be perfectly balanced. Plus, the whole reason we want balance in the first place is for peace of mind! We will have no peace in our lives if we are constantly trying to juggle that perfect ideal. By setting the expectation that we can achieve perfect balance we are setting ourselves up for more stress.

Instead I propose we set the goal of planning for and prioritizing self-care so that we can rest up, get our strength and be ready for when the going gets tough. If we don’t recharge our batteries as often as possible, we won’t have the power to push through those tough times to get ourselves back into an equilibrium.

With me so far? Great. There are two important and essential components to taking this approach to balance in your life: self awareness, and self care.

Self awareness means that you know yourself and how you operate. The key to this is taking the time to look inward, get quiet with yourself, and really understand yourself. The point with self awareness is to get in touch with your goals and how you’re feeling at the time. You should do this on a daily basis to see how you’re progressing, and also periodically to see if you should reevaluate your goals.

The second point, self care, is pretty straightforward: you have to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself. Our kids, husbands, jobs… All of these outside forces are putting pressure on us as moms! And they ask things of us, and need things from us. But if we are not taking care of ourselves, we cannot provide for anyone or anything else.

This is a little overused, but true… It’s like how in the event of an emergency on an airplane, all passengers are told to put their own oxygen mask on before they try to help anyone else. You literally have to equip yourself so that you can help those around you. It’s the same principal here as a mom, a wife, an employee, a friend.

 

Yes, balance is bullshit, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make an attempt at it so long as we have set the correct expectations for ourselves. Figuring out what balance means to us and implementing it the key to thriving and not just surviving in motherhood. So, let’s do this!

What Self-Care Really Means for Moms? Being Your OWN Mom.

What Self-Care Really Means for Moms? Being Your OWN Mom.

Self-care as a mom is almost a joke at this point. It seems like some luxury we will never be rich enough to afford either with enough money or time. We feel like we are always running on a deficit of either income or sleep.

But self-care isn’t about the mani/pedi’s and girls weekends we know we should do but can’t. It’s about the basics sometimes. It’s about finally taking ownership of our own well-being. Self-care as a mom is about learning to be your own mom. Self-care as a mom is about learning to mother yourself in the big and small ways.

“You’re going to need two root canals.” the dentist said.

My heart sank and my stomach tied itself in 5,000 knots.

I had never had any dental issues beyond an occasional cavity, and yet here I was at 31 needing not one, but two root canals! I knew it was coming. I had a sense something wasn’t right for a while, but it wasn’t until my daughter needed to go to the dentist that I relented and made an appointment for myself.

This was my first time at the dentist in 4 years.

Yes. Go ahead. Shake your finger at me and tell me how bad I am. I should be going twice a year. I know. If I would have been keeping up with going to the dentist, I never would have needed two root canals.

But in the throes of motherhood, this small thing just kept being pushed off and pushed off. My kids got to the appointments they needed, but me? My own health was always put on the back burner.

As I sit typing this, I am halfway through this dental work, having had one tooth done, and another one coming soon.

Beyond the obvious discomfort this caused, it’s also costing thousands of dollars that our insurance doesn’t cover, and it also made me realize something about my emotional state. To say this is an inconvenience is definitely an understatement.

A big part of the reason I didn’t go to the dentist sooner was because I just didn’t think I had enough pain. Sure there was the occasional discomfort, but I wasn’t in agony. I wasn’t in constant pain, and so I thought it wasn’t that big of a deal. I minimized it. I compartmentalized it. The dentist was shocked I wasn’t in agony, but I believed it was just mind over matter. So I blocked the pain out. I didn’t believe my pain was valid or necessary, so I put it in the back of my mind and refused to feel it.

Do you do this? Whether it’s skipping dentist or doctor appointments, or maybe it’s making sure the kids are always on time for their myriad of after-school activities, but then when it comes to being on time for yourself and the things that light you up, it just doesn’t happen.

I have to admit that when it comes to doing anything for myself, I just… don’t.

And I’m not just talking about the fun stuff like mani’s and pedi’s. I’m talking about the necessary, like not waiting until the final day to make sure I have health insurance from the marketplace.

Perhaps it’s about nourishing my body with healthy food. Some days I look at the clock and realize it’s 3pm and all I’ve ingested so far is black coffee.

I have totally suck at adulting when it comes to caring for myself.

But there is one aspect of life where I totally rock as an adult, and that is in motherhood.

My kids are happy, cared for, nurtured, loved, and have all their needs met.

One day it clicked.

It wasn’t enough for me to just care for my kids. It wasn’t enough to just be there for them. I needed to be there for myself too.

I needed to be my own mom.

Yeah of course I have a mom, but I’m a little past the age of having her make my dental appointments for me, or ensuring that I’m fed.

I love going home to my mom’s for a weekend and just letting her feed me, but that is the exception, not the rule. Someone needs to take on this role of mother to me the other 99% of the time, and who else will if not me?

This created a whole new framework that I have used to build a way of caring for myself, and it meant that the term “self-care” took on a different meaning. It no longer had a feeling of superfluousness or luxury, but instead turned to mean survival (not to mention thriving).

Viewing the idea of self-care through this lens of learning to mother myself, and being my own mom made it more clear what I needed to focus on. Instead of making it all about these superfluous things that I didn’t view myself as needed, I got back to the basics. 

It wasn’t about long bubble baths anymore, it was about making sure my basic care was included in my plans. 

When I called to make those doctor’s appointments for the kids, I took the extra 5 minutes to make on for myself. Instead of letting the gas tank get to E, I stopped for a top up. Instead of wearing yoga pants with holes, I decided to spend the $20 on a new pair.

 Self-care as a mom is not so far out of reach if we start to change our mindset around it. If we begin to look at this way, we start to see it as an essential piece of our lives. The essential piece that it in fact is, even if we ignore many times.

Are there weeks where we come last? Sure. But that needs to be true of our kids too. There must be times where we come first because that whole cliche of pouring from an empty cup is true. We need to take the time to fill ourselves up, and be fierce about take the time to do that. 

We can’t just mama bear the kids. We need to mama bear ourselves and our own most basic care. 

So while I am not a proponent for letting my kids cry. Go ahead, put the baby in the pack and play, let her fuss and go have that nice 5-minute shower, brush your teeth, and throw on some new clothes. The world will not end, and if you looked at yourself as if you were your own mom, if you started approaching self-care as a mom in this way, things will start to change little by little.

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3 Reasons It’s Harder for Moms to Keep Resolutions

3 Reasons It’s Harder for Moms to Keep Resolutions

Every year I do it. I try to defy the odds and finally complete just one resolution.

But as the years have gone by, it isn’t getting any easier. In fact, it feels harder! Becoming a mom has not lowered the bar, and it’s clear that there are more than a few reasons that it’s harder for moms to actually complete their resolutions. So let’s talk about some of the top reasons moms have a harder time with resolutions than others.

How about you?

Super stoked about those big New Year’s resolutions you just made?

Don’t wanna be the one to blow the buzzkill horn, but let’s be real. Around 80-90% of resolutions fail. They are hard AF to uphold for most of the world, but for us moms, they are even harder.

But we don’t want you to fail, mama! We want you to crush it, and having the tools and info will help get you on that path to success.

So, let’s talk about three reasons why it’s so much harder for moms to keep resolutions, and what you can do to hack those stumbling blocks so you can actually keep your resolutions this year!

Problem: Multi-tasking and distractions.

The trope of moms not even being able to pee alone is 100% accurate. We even multitask our urination, probably opening a granola bar or some other ridiculois things asked of us by our overlords while we try to use the bathroom.

There is always constant distraction, which leads to the multi-tasking. At this very moment I am typing this into Evernote on my iPhone while my 3 year old sits in my lap and 11 Month old twins crawl around. I have just a few minutes before one of them starts fussing for snacks.

Beyond the fact that my time isn’t fully mine, it’s mostly theirs, there’s this other sneaky little devil called context switching that totally screws productivity. (http://www.apa.org/research/action/multitask.aspx) what is context switching? Basically, it is when you move from one task to another quickly or back and forth between multiple tasks. It takes your brain some time to catch up to the change so you won’t be performing at peak levels of productivity for some time. So if you are constantly multitasking and context switching, it’s like working with one hand behind your back.

All this multi-tasking and context switching makes it so hard for us to focus in on what we are trying to accomplish.

You get zeroed in on an important task for your goals, but keep getting pulled back out until you say “screw it,” and put it off another day. A day we all know never actually comes.

Solution:  Focus. Sounds simple, but with all the things on our plate it can be difficult to chill the hell out for a sec and prioritize. So then we end up doing it all at once. But studies show that multi-tasking actually makes you less productive. Time to cut that out. Don’t freak out mama. I know this sounds like it’s not really all that doable, but just for a second imagine doing (gasp!) one thing at a time.

This will take prioritization, but you can do it.

This means no checking email while fixing breakfast. No chatting on the phone while paying the bills. When we are constantly having our attention pulled in a million directions,

Problem: Busy with #allthethings (we don’t have time).

You lay down in bed at the end of the night, perhaps you know you’ll only get an hour or two of sleep in before a baby cries for their first night feed. You close your eyes and you know that you are so tired and you were so busy today. You did it all, and yet you can’t really remember actually getting anything done!

Solution: Firstly, we need to ditch this idea that we don’t have time. We do. If something is important to us, we will find the time to make it happen. Have a resolution to get in shape? Maybe it is really out of reach to get a sitter to watch your kids three times a week to go to the gym, but you can absolutely throw up some YouTube yoga videos on your Amazon Firestick (my fav way to watch). Then there is what I consider the absolute best exercise for mamas, walking. Load the kids into the stroller or grab their bikes and go outside. It’s family time, exercise and a breath of fresh air all at once.

Next, carve out time in the “Fringe Hours.” I read this book years ago, and I am still obsessed with the concept. We tell ourselves over and over again that we don’t have time for the things that are important to us or light us up because we are busy, busy, and more busy. But how often are you in a period of hurry up and wait? Rushing to get to your child’s school for pickup but then wait for 5 minutes for them to come out? Keep your knitting project or book you’re reading handy. Use those 5 minutes to actually do something related to your resolution instead of just scrolling your Facebook feed.

Problem: We come last and have absolutely no self-care practice.

Do I need to explain? We all understand this right? Everyone comes before us. 

Solution: it’s becoming ridiculous if I’m honest. We talk about self-care all the damn time, and yet so many of us treat it like a luxury. Why? Because a part of us doesn’t truly value ourselves and what we are bringing to the table for our families and ourselves. Think about it. You are either just not prioritizing yourself, or you are putting yourself last. Would you let a friend do that? No.

It’s time we became our own best friends. Held our own hands. How do you expect to reach a goal or complete your resolution when you consistently put your own needs and goals on the back burner?

I know, I know. You’re probably like me and think you should be able to handle it all, right? And the thing is, you can mama. You have the capacity to do and accomplish so much. But you can’t do it when you’re reserves are at zero.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend there won’t be times when things are really hard and you just need to put on your big girl panties and push through. But that’s why it is so critical that during the more calm moments in motherhood. Those precious days and weeks when all is well. Ya know, when there’s no teething or stomach bugs or growth spurts. During those times take time to refill your cup.

 At the end of the day (or beginning of the year) you just have to make a commitment to yourself mama. Focus. Focus on you.

Beyond the fact that it will add to your own level of well-being, isn’t this the example you want to set? One of a woman who has boundaries? A woman who goes for what she wants? A woman who isn’t afraid to say no to other’s outrageous expectations, and yes to her own dreams? 

Yeah??? So let’s do it mama! I believe in you. 

Want to supercharge your chances of crushing it this year? Check these oldies but goodies from right here on the blog:

http://momuprising.com/2018/08/30/5-productivity-tips-for-mom-entrepreneurs/

http://momuprising.com/2018/06/29/5truthsaboutmoms/

http://momuprising.com/2018/06/07/worklifebalanceinmotherhood/

Why I Ignored “Experts” to Embrace My Mama Bear Instincts

Why I Ignored “Experts” to Embrace My Mama Bear Instincts

The mama bear instincts. They are strong. They are fierce. The truth is that we have all the wisdom we need inside of us as mothers. Do we value the input of others when asked? Of course. But the instincts we were given naturally are the most important compass that we can track our way with during the adventure of motherhood.

But so often we end up looking to “experts” and anyone else BUT ourselves to make decisions for us in how we will parent our children.

Why do we look to others? One word.

Struggle.

That’s what I hear most about what being a mother is like right now.

Yes there is love, growth, joy, fear, shame, guilt, discovery.

But the nature of motherhood right now as it exists in 2018 is that of struggle.

Why?

We don’t know our role. We don’t know our place. We look to society, to family, to partners, to movies, to TV, to magazines, to books, and anywhere we can to see what should define us as a good mother.

But none of those sources give us comfort.

There is an “expert” out there advocating for every single parenting and mothering style.

“Letting your baby cry it out makes you the devil!”
“Bedsharing is dangerous and creates creepy, codependent, and psychologically messed up kids.”
“Stop holding your baby you’re spoiling it!”
“Your baby should never leave your side, even when you need to take a massive dump.”

Holy cow ladies…

The feeling I feel right now even just typing that is like nails on a chalkboard. It makes my skin crawl and itch and I just want to shout at all of those voices to shut the hell up, right now!

But… What about science? Surely there are studies out there to show up the best choices to make for our children, right?

Ummm no.

For examples, many studies show breastfeeding is awesome and increases a kid’s IQ… but then there’s a ton of criticism of those studies because there could be other factors that lead to a higher IQ in those children, like being born to wealthier families who were able to afford excellent education.

So what to do?

There is only one place to go now.

Just one person who knows what’s right. The one person who must make the decisions.

You.

It’s time to enter the one realm of study that you can’t Google.

Yourself. Your intuition.

The Divine Mother inside of you.

How?

Taking ownership.

I am in a bazillion moms groups on Facebook and I am shocked every single day by how many times I see someone say…

“My doctor won’t let me…”
“Baby’s pediatrician isn’t letting us…”
Etc.

Let’s cut that out right now.

Your doctor, your child’s doctor, is not YOU.

YOU are the mother. YOU are in charge of your child’s care and your own.

A doctor is hopefully a trusted advisor who you can count on to give you sound advice, but let’s please knock doctors in general off their pedestal.

Yesterday in one of these groups, a mom was asking about how to keep her ONE MONTH OLD baby awake more because her doctor said she should only be napping twice in the entire day.

Any mother (or anyone who has read the most basic baby care books) knows that this is outrageous. Babies that young NEED a lot of sleep. The advice this doctor was giving was absolutely wrong.

I see this over and over and over again. Uninformed doctors giving advice that they are not trained to give.

For example, my boys’ pediatrician wanted me to supplement them with formula when they were three days old because they had lost weight.

I did not listen.

I had nursed my daughter for over two years. I knew what I was doing. (I also consulted an actual lactation consultant and my midwives too.)

The boys had lost weight, but not more than is expected for a newborn, and my milk had just come in that day. They latched beautifully and I knew they would thrive.

They are now the fattest little chubby boys you could ever see from my milk (and solids we introduced at 6 months).

This doctor’s advice was very upsetting to me because if I had not been an experienced mom who knew what I was doing I probably would have just given them formula.

(Look – I am not bashing formula. I was a formula fed baby and think I turned out pretty awesomely.)

My goal was to breastfeed. I was very committed to that goal, and if I would have just gone ahead and given them formula it could have negatively impacted the breastfeeding relationship, and crushed my supply.

I then would have beaten myself up because I would have believed I was deficient. That I wasn’t good enough. That I couldn’t accomplish the most natural thing a mother could do… breastfeed.

This is the struggle many women are in.

They question their very own worth and value as a mother because (unbeknownst to them) they got crap advice from a supposedly trustworthy authority.

This is why we must always check back in with ourselves and follow what our gut is telling us.

Take the advice of others, your own research and that gut feeling – that knowing that mothers have – and then choose.

Do not quiet your own voice.

You are the mother. You are powerful. You are in control. You are the one making decisions for your child.

No one is making you do anything. You are choosing.

Even if you agree with experts, and follow their advice… that’s great! But don’t lose your sense of agency in that decision.

Wrestling our voice and instincts from modernity is essential if we are in fact going to rise as mothers. Everything we need to make all the decisions for our children and ourselves is already living inside of us.

It’s our intuition. It’s our instincts. It’s in that archetype of the mama bear. 

We already have it. All of us.

Let’s use it.