Teagan's Sandbox

Mom Life

Motherhood Uncensored: November

PC: Celtic Gray Photography

Motherhood is hard, challenging and exhausting. But motherhood is also amazing, rewarding and a true blessing. Every hard moment is worth it when that little babe snuggles up to you, smiles and says I love you or when you watch all of those ‘firsts’ happen.

I have always been honest on this blog about my motherhood journey. I’m not afraid to talk about both the good and the bad times. I find a lot of freedom in vulnerability. I didn’t go into motherhood with rose colored glasses; I knew it would challenge me to my core and make my heart grow more than I could have ever dreamed.

Becoming a mother gives you a natural bond with other mothers both in person and through social media. I watch my mom friends deal with the day to day but sometimes I wonder how their days truly differ from mine. If some days they also feel like they might lose their minds and want to break down and cry. If they have days that are so amazing and special that just looking at their family makes them want to cry with how blessed they are.

This got me thinking that I couldn’t be the only other mom wondering these things. I decided to gather up a few moms I love and ask some real questions and I hoped for real, honest answers. These ladies didn’t disappoint. Below you will find a little information on each lovely mom as well as ways you can follow along their journey too!

Liza- She is one of my very best friends, we were roommates in college and have known each other for over 10 years. She has one son named, Camden who is 2 months older than Teagan. She has an amazing YouTube channel with a variety of content and her positivity always brightens my day. You can subscribe to her channel here and follow her journey on Instagram here.

Tiffani- I met Tiffani through Instagram and instantly felt a connection with her due to how authentic and open she is. She has the most adorable little boys. Her YouTube channel is serious motivation for me to keep my house clean and decorated! You can subscribe to her channel here and follow her journey on Instagram here.

Michelle- She is also one of my friends I know in ‘real life’. We met because our husbands deployed to Afghanistan together years ago and was one of my bridesmaids…that was until we married in St.Thomas with just our family because Teagan decided to come a few years early 😉 . She has the cutest family. A son in 2nd grade and our daughters are only 4 months apart! She runs her blog called Running on Love and Caffeine and you can follow her journey on Instagram here.

Kenzie- She is another mom I met via Instagram. I found her page because she is literally all my toddler food goals. Her creative meals brought me in but her kind heart kept me following her. She has the cutest little daughter and you can follow her page here. I promise it will give you all the motivation to step up your food game.

Jessica- We connected through our sorority, Chi Omega. We have followed each other’s journey on social media for a few years now and it’s amazing to see how the days of mixers are behind us and the days of playdates are in full swing. She has two adorable daughters and blogs at Hello Cava Love. You can also follow her journey on Instagram here.

I sent a list of 11 questions and told them to answer any and all questions they felt comfortable with. Below are some of their amazingly candid responses!

1.What was your biggest fear when becoming a mom?

“I think just being afraid of failing her in some way; in any way. I never had the strongest maternal role model so I’m completely winging it.”- Kenzie

“My biggest fear is Camden’s safety… I don’t want him to ever get hurt badly or lose him and it makes my heart sink to even think about it.” –Liza

“Failing. Failing to show them love in all my actions. Failing to be there when they need me. Failing that I wouldn’t uphold the imaginary mom standards of this world. Failing that I wouldn’t be a good mom… whatever that means… “good mom”. “–Jessica

2. What was the hardest transition when going from one to two kids?

“I had two under two and my second ended up being born a month early due to preeclampsia. I didn’t feel prepared but above everything, I think the hardest part for me was learning how to show my first one the same kind of love she felt when she was the only child. I was drowning in guilt. The fact that River unconsciously felt like she needed to mature faster (she was only 1.5 at the time) and learn how to share attention/love with her younger sister broke my heart. “– Jessica

“I have to say, it was much easier than I thought. While I was pregnant with my second baby, I got a baby doll for my oldest son who was 11 months old at the time. I taught him to be gentle and sweet to the baby. When we came home from the hospital we gave our oldest son a toy from the baby, so right away his baby brother was on his good side. The most challenging part now that the baby is nine months old and my toddler is 2 – is sharing. They fight over toys sometimes but they love each other so much, their bond is unreal.” – Tiffani

3.Did you deal with any postpartum depression/anxiety or baby blues?

“YES! I had horrible postpartum anxiety. Surprisingly, I had never heard of postpartum anxiety. I only heard of postpartum depression. I was so sick from my anxiety that I barely ate, or slept. I wish I would have talked to someone about it earlier, but I was embarrassed and I didn’t want anyone to think I was “crazy.” Finally after 9 months I told my husband. It was life changing. Just the fact of not hiding it any longer helped a ton.” –Tiffani

“Postpartum depression is such a horrible thief. I feel as though someone else lived those months for me and I just watched a highlight reel; as if I lived through those months in a complete fog.” –Kenzie

“My baby blues came in full force at around 5-6 months postpartum after my first. I hated looking at myself in the mirror and would get overwhelmingly upset about my body. I didn’t want my husband to touch me or look at me. I hid when I needed to change. I didn’t enjoy wearing nice things, putting on makeup, and I basically didn’t care because I was upset with the way my body had changed. I started waking up at 5AM before work and I decided to take 1.5 hour walks with my dog. What started as a way to meditate and give myself “me” time, began to be something so good for my health and even for the pup. I started seeing a change in my attitude and my energy. As a bonus, my clothes started fitting better ;-)”- Jessica

4.How has having a kid changed your relationship with your significant other?

“It has made us stronger than ever. We are 60/40 parents. I do 60% and he does 40% and the only reason I say that is because I am breastfeeding so I get the extra percentage. I admire what an amazing father he is and it makes me love him even more. I also love how much he respects me even more for carrying and delivering our babies.” – Tiffani

“We’ve learned to be more communicative and strategic about our time. Having two under two is chaos. I don’t know how people handle twins. (Seriously, you guys are on another level.) We don’t have time for passive aggressive anything.” – Jessica

“It has definitely made it stronger – seeing my husband as a father has made me fall even more in love with him! We also seem to be on the exact same page when it comes to raising our son, which I think strengthens us as a couple.”- Liza

5.When your child is having a really rough day, therefore you are having a rough day, what’s your best tactic for shifting the mood?

“I’m still figuring this one out. One’s 2 and the other is 8 months so when we’re having a rough day, it’s real bad for everyone. I have noticed though when we go outside for some fresh air, it tends to do the trick. Not always, but everyone can use some fresh air.”- Jessica

“Get in the car. We go for a drive, get a doughnut and some iced coffee and just restart.” – Tiffani

“I just give Camden all my attention and try my best to make him happy until bedtime. Then I pour myself a huge ass glass of wine… 🙂 “- Liza

6.Highs and Lows of being a SAHM?

“I think it’s pretty obvious that being a SAHM allows you to be the one to see all your child’s firsts, be the one they rely on for everything, but for me, the greatest part is being the one responsible for teaching her all about life. Lows definitely happen.  Your days start to feel monotonous and repetitive, mundane even. Constantly taking care of someone else’s needs above your own can be taxing, so be sure to take part in some type of self care.” – Kenzie

“Although I am a relied NICU nurse, I am mostly home. The highs are not having to miss much of their childhood, and I feel blessed to be able to be home with them. The lows are sometimes just not having adult interactions, and for me sometimes the constant “MOMMY,” whining overstimulates me and I feel like I am going to lose my mind, but then nap times comes (on good days) and I get to reboot.” – Tiffani

“The highs are definitely getting to spend every second with your little one, seeing them grow up before your eyes, all their milestones, and overall being able to feel that bond & closeness each and everyday with them. The lows would be sometimes it feels like groundhog day and I find myself needing more adult interaction!” -Liza

7.If you have two kids, how do you ensure you are getting quality time with both?

“My toddler is definitely stealing the show right now. He pulls my hand to play with him and tells me to put his baby brother down but the majority of the time; all three of us are doing something together. When one naps and the other doesn’t or they wake up at different times, I make sure to get in some extra one on one snuggles.” – Tiffani

“It is so hard to transition from one to two kids. I didn’t realize how difficult this would be till I had my second. You are constantly feeling like you’re being pulled in two directions. Since my toddler takes up more of my time due to her age and needs more than my school aged child does, I make it a point to make sure my son (my oldest) gets one on one time with me and my husband. Once my daughter goes to bed he has our full and undivided attention for the next hour and a half until he goes to bed. We read, play games, or just watch a movie. I know that he really loves his time with just us and we love it as well.” – Michelle

“My husband and I started to implement dates with our first. She loves the one-on-one times with us. She feels loved and treasured and you can tell by the joy she radiates when she hangs with us. We’re waiting for our second one to get a little older to appreciate the one-on-one dates!” – Jessica

8.When and how do you take time for yourself? When was the last time you did something for yourself?

“This is my downfall. I don’t get enough time for myself and usually feel guilty if I take time for myself. The last time I did something for myself was probably a month ago when I got my nails done. However, I will say my husband and I started going on a date once a week and that feels like “me time.” It has been really nice to get out of the house and have adult conversations without any distractions.” – Tiffani

“Let’s be honest. I’m terrible at this. I’m lucky to have a husband who reminds me to go out for myself. Lately though, it’s been late night Target runs all by myself and it’s been pretty amazing.” – Jessica

9.Have you lost friends since having kids? Or have your friendships changed? Both in good or bad ways.

“A lot of my friends have been amazing about this new chapter in my life but there are definitely times where they try to be understanding but don’t quite get it. Understandably. I don’t think anyone quite understands this life until you actually live it.”– Jessica

“Unfortunately, yes. I have lost a lot of friends. I am grateful though. I don’t want anyone in my life who can’t handle my children. That’s who I am now…I am a mom, I am my children because they are my life.” – Tiffani

“My friendships have definitely strengthened with friends who are new mommies too because we can relate to each other on this journey – and that is really nice to be able to share something like that with your girlfriends, as well as get our kids together…it’s a whole new kind of fun. I have also felt it has taken a toll on some friendships (mostly those who do not have kids) because it’s hard to find time that fits with both of our schedules, and I also think these friends don’t understand that my life now revolves around my son… so things are just different.”- Liza

“Definitely have lost more than I thought I would, but I have made many more connections with other moms and I have gotten closer with a few friends I had drifted away from as well.” – Kenzie

10.Have you encountered mom-shamers/bullies? If so, how do you deal with that?

“Unfortunately, I feel this is very common nowadays. I am grateful to have a strong community of supportive Mama’s on IG, but I find I get a lot more judgement from family members than I expected. There’s a lot of stigma associated with doing things differently than those who raised you did. The old “well, in my day….” lines get old quick, but the reality is you have to do what you feel is right for your family even if it ruffles some feathers along the way. Not everyone will agree with you, and that’s ok. Standing your ground and creating boundaries is really important, just make sure you and your spouse stay on the same page and always back each other up.” – Kenzie

“Oh yes, I am a YouTuber and share my life on social media so this is something I deal with a lot. I usually try and ignore them because I know replying to these women (…or men) will give them satisfaction. Although, sometimes I legit cannot help myself and MamaBear comes out full force! “- Liza

“As a young Mom I have encountered my fair share for Mom-shamers/ bullies. It was always about how young I was. I once overheard a few of the Moms at my son’s preschool joking about me being the age of their babysitters while at a birthday party. But the funny thing was that I was the one running around playing and having fun with my kid at the bounce house while they were there just sitting around and gossiping! I honestly just had to brush it off. The way I see it is there is something they are insecure about that is making them feel the need to talk down me. Yes, I had my son younger than most but that doesn’t make me less of a Mom. There is nothing different about me as a younger Mom than someone who is older than I am, the only difference is that the little love of my life entered my life a little sooner and I feel so blessed that he did! “– Michelle

11. What is your favorite thing about being a mom?

“I could write a story about this one! But I would have to say that it is the unconditional love that I have for my little angels. I could be having the worst day but not matter what my son and daughter are two people who I can count on to always make me smile. There are times when I look at them in awe that they are really mine (I think all of us Moms feel this way too). I am so proud of the little man my son is becoming and watching him grow over these past 7 years has been the greatest joy of my life and to know that there are so many wonderful years to come with him and my daughter fills my heart with pure and absolute happiness. I honestly believe that being a Mom is the greatest gift on earth!” – Michelle

“I’m exhausted. I’m tired. I haven’t slept in what seems like days and I have to stay awake to finish this deadline for work. Then I make my drive in awful DC traffic to pick up my girls. They see me and it’s immediate squeals and giggles. We exchange big bear hugs and kisses… and although my second shift as a mom begins as soon as these girls are in my arms after work, this is my favorite. Knowing that they depend on me to feed them, play with them, and love them. The joy they exude when we’re together is something unexplainable.” – Jessica

“My favorite thing about being a mommy besides the insane amount of love and bonding, is the fact that I get to be a kid again. Watching my baby boys see things for the very first time is the best feeling in the world. I am now obsessed with holidays because I get so much joy seeing them get so excited over pumpkins, and Christmas lights, cookies, crafts, you name it. I feel like I have two little built in best friends and I am so excited and grateful to give this world the gift of caring gentlemen.”– Tiffani

“Being a mom has softened me. Before having Harper I was jaded. I had sworn off the idea of ever even having kids and then the day I found out I was pregnant, that all changed. Being a mom has made me focus more on the future and less on the past. I have much more to look forward to now.” – Kenzie

“The love I feel every single day for my son. I never knew a love like this existed… and although I have always imagined what it’d be like to be a mother, actually experiencing it now has far exceeded my expectations in the best way possible!”- Liza

 

I want to thank each of you ladies for taking the time to contribute to this post and for your candor. I genuinely believe that being open about good and bad times brings us all closer in this crazy, amazing thing called motherhood.

My hope in this series is to shed some light that we don’t all live in the highlight reel that is social media. Motherhood is no joke, sometimes it takes a toll on us mentally and physically, it can make us question our sanity but it is by far the best job in the entire world and while all of our experiences differ slightly, we are all more alike than we are different.

Here’s to mothers supporting mothers and women supporting women! If you or someone you know is interested in contributing to next month’s post, shoot me a note or leave a message in the comments. Every month will have a new series of questions.

    1 COMMENT

  • Allidon November 3, 2017 Reply

    This was such a beautiful post! Motherhood can be hard and challenging but it’s so rewarding. Good to know that there are other Moms sharing the same struggles and joys!

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  • I’m feeling so blessed and full of gratitude for all the things this year has brought our family. I’m especially grateful for my husband, even though he refuses to take pictures unless @celticgrayphotography is behind the lenses!
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