You Can Sit With Us

‘Love my tribe’, ‘squad goals’, ‘good vibe tribe’, ‘girl squad’, ‘wolfpack’… Sound familiar? It should, because it is literally everywhere these days; on t-shirts, prints, coffee mugs, hashtags and so forth. The influx of these cute little catch-phrases are here to stay, it seems.

Motherhood can be lonely when you don't feel like you have a 'tribe'. But we are all in this thing together, so lets smash the idea of exclusivity in the mama communnity. #motherhood #tribe #squad http://chasingaydencom/tribe

I honestly wouldn’t have given it a second thought until a recent conversation I had with a new mom, who expressed that she was having troubles finding her ‘tribe’. This appealed to the codependent in me, and it got me wondering if this whole ‘tribe’ business felt like the new ‘you can’t sit with us’, to some people. I am a person who by nature, wants people to feel included; maybe because I know how terrible it feels to be excluded. Ahh the woes of an empath… But I digress. As a person who has often referred to my community as my ‘tribe’, mostly for lack of better word, I certainly do not want to perpetuate an idea of exclusivity, (especially in the mama community).

So then begs the question I have to ask myself, what exactly is my tribe?

In all honesty, I have never really felt ‘a part of’, when it comes to groups or cliques or ‘tribes’. I am sure there is a deep, psychological reason for this, but let’s not hijack this post with that business. What I do feel ‘a part of’, is individual relationships and connections; In fact, I thrive in those types of settings. When I really examine this whole idea of a tribe, what it boils down to is not so much some imaginary boundary of a select group of people. It is intended to be inclusive. It is meant to refer to the connectedness we can all share through relating honestly.

So if you’re struggling to feel a part of, (especially you new mamas), know that you are a part of my tribe, and you can most definitely sit with us.

xo, Em

‘Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.” -Oscar Wilde

The Truth About Baby Weight

Baby Weight. I’m just gonna leave that right there for a minute, so we can all marinate on those two infamous words.

The truth about baby weight, and what you might be doing that's keeping the weight on. Read more: http://chasingayden.com/baby-weightThe post-baby body is a curious thing, and really seems to be glossed over. In fact, if I were to rely on my social media feed, I might be led to believe that I am the only woman who has struggled with post-baby weight. Thankfully I have learned that if I am experiencing a struggle, chances are so are other mamas out there. So I am going to delve into this not-so-instagrammed-topic of baby weight, and what it all means.

Now I do realize there are some genetic lottery winners out there who walk out of the hospital in their pre-baby jeans, and to you I say, congratulations on life. Seriously. I don’t even hate you; I marvel at you. But for this (late) 30-something, 5′ (almost) 4″, short-waisted mama, this has not been my experience.

As with other topics, I am going to try to be an open book here, albeit not the most comfortable subject to shed light on. I think this might have to do with what I–what society even, has made weight-loss troubles mean. What does it mean? Some things I have made it mean in the past are, ‘I am not where I should be’, I am somehow ‘less than’, ‘I am no longer attractive’, ‘I am stuck with this weight’, ‘I am failing’, ‘I am weak’, ‘I am not valuable’.

What does it actually mean? It actually means nothing. It means none of these things; it says nothing of my worth, my beauty, my intelligence, my strength or my value.

I really struggled with this type of negative self-talk after my first baby was born, and I’ll tell you what; it really hindered me from losing weight. Enter double-edged sword. So the more I thought about how I-wasn’t-losing-weight-and-I-couldn’t-lose-weight-and-I-was-stuck-with-this-weight-and-it-meant-bad-things-about-me, the more I held on to the weight! Luckily, I had a nice 5 year gap to work on this, (cue sarcasm), and things feel quite different this time around.

Like I said before, this has always been a bit of a taboo topic for me, but if I hold on to that idea; the idea that weight-loss is a forbidden conversation, then I am holding on to that old thinking. And that would be completely inauthentic to who I am and who I want to be, today. So I am going to go ahead and take a stand for myself via this post, and take the shame out of discussing what has in the past been a huge struggle for me.

There is really only one traceable thing that is different this time; my thinking. What I have learned is that my thoughts have great power. I create my entire reality with my thoughts, and if you’re in to the whole law of attraction thing, you already know that ‘like attracts like’. What ever we focus on gets bigger. So in my case, ‘I can’t lose weight’, was creating a space of not losing weight, and everything I did was stemming from that thought-point.

So here I am at almost 5 months post-baby, and I have lost the weight that I put on from baby number two. I am currently chipping away at the residual weight from baby numero uno, and here is the absolute crazy part; it isn’t a struggle. Let me clarify… I am doing my part as far as what foods I consume and trying to stay active, but with the absence (most of the time), of that awful negative internal dialogue, it doesn’t feel dire. It feels slow. But it doesn’t feel hard. Is it challenging at times? Absolutely. However, since I have let go of that damaging way of thinking, it’s an entirely different experience. And I share this not to brag, but rather because it’s a freakin’ miracle. And even more than that, I want to start an honest conversation. I want to create a space where we can talk about our baby-weight (and non-baby-weight) woes, without the attachment of shame or inferiority.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might notice that I at times post in my stories about my weight-loss journey. It’s not as prevalent as me stalking my children with my phone, but in order to stay honest and accountable even, I’ve been trying to include this very real part of my Motherhood journey. In the past I never would have done this, out of fear. Fear of judgement, or fear of ‘jinxing’ myself. But then I get to remind myself that I don’t believe in ‘jinxing’; that it’s a self-created belief system to keep me from being happy and enjoying my victories. And as far as being judged goes; who does someone else’s judgement really speak of? It speaks about the judge-er, and how they feel about them-self, (at least this is the advice I would give a friend.) And if my experience can help another person who might be struggling, then judge away!

So in conclusion, (I know, this was a long one), if you are struggling with weight, I encourage you to work on the thoughts behind the struggle. I encourage you to give yourself grace. I encourage you to remember that your body, your dress size, the numbers on the scale say absolutely nothing about your value as a beautiful, magical human.

xo, Em

Breastfeeding Month: Part Two (The Importance of Self-Care)

This is a topic near-and-dear to my heart, and it extends far beyond the parameters of breastfeeding. Let’s talk about the importance of self-care.

The importance of self-care in breastfeeding and in LIFE http://chasingayden.com/self-care

Between working PT from home, entertaining my 5 year old, keeping my 4 month old alive, making sure the dog gets walked, the laundry, the dishes, feeding my family, gymnastics, dance class, soccer and just plain life; finding even an hour a week for me can feel impossible at times. But, I am well aware that taking care of me not only preserves my own sanity, but also makes me a much more enjoyable wife, mother and human to be around. Additionally, it is directly related to my milk-supply, which is the current life-source for baby Frankie. This is a biggie for me, because the one time I offered her formula, she wanted nothing to do with it, (unlike Ayden, who I could easily supplement).

I recently experienced a drop in my supply due to a ‘fun’ combination of lack of sleep, change of diet and not taking the time to really care for myself. I have been working–yes, it is work, rigorously to get my supply back up to where it needs to be so that I can continue to breastfeed Frankie. So this post comes right on time, for yours truly.

We have compiled a list of 10 ways to practice self-care, for the people who don’t really have time to practice self-care:

  1. Take ten deep breaths every day.  Inhale counting to 4; and exhale counting to 4.  You can do this while you are nursing.  Oxygen is like a light switch for stress release. (Thank you @cherishedlifeyoga for this amazing tip!)
  2. Acknowledge your feelings and talk about them. Bottling up feelings (especially feelings of stress or loneliness), helps no one–especially you. Your body, mind and spirit are all connected, and allowing yourself to become emotionally backed up or blocked, can translate quite literally in a physical way. So find a pal, and vent when you need to!
  3. Sleep as often as you can.  I know, I know… You’re a mom; when is there time for sleep? But seriously, even if you can go to bed 30 minutes earlier, or skip folding Mt. Laundry, try and rest your eyes just a little more.
  4. Exercise, exercise, exercise. 20 minutes a day any way you can get it in, is totally sufficient. Hey, you can even use your sweet babe as a weight and do some squats and lunges!
  5. Do something you enjoy.  Even if it’s watching trashy tv and eating popcorn in your bed, try to find a bit of time in your week to do you.
  6. Find your mom tribe.  Remember tip number 2? This is where a mama-tribe can seriously save your booty. Side note; a ‘tribe’ can be a couple of close friends who you trust.
  7. Eat properly. It is oh-so important on so many levels that you are nourishing your amazing body! Remember… body, mind and spirit!
  8. Get some sunshine. Get outside and soak up some of that glorious Vitamin D; it’s amazing what 10 minutes in the sun can do for your mood!
  9. Ask for help if you need it.  You can’t save your ass and your face at the same time. Swallow that mama-pride, and ask for help! #noshame
  10. Be easy on yourself.  GIVE YOURSELF GRACE. You are nourishing another life. You are raising tiny humans. You may not be perfect, but there is NO ONE more qualified or the job, than you.

Make sure you head to my Instagram page for your chance to win another giveaway!

xo Em

Breastfeeding Month; Part One (Healthy Foods to Boost Milk Supply + a GIVEAWAY)

National Breastfeeding Awareness Month: Healthy Foods to BOOST Your Milk Supply + A GIVEAWAY! http://chasingayden.com/breastfeeding-one

It’s National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and to be honest, I had no idea this even existed until I was approached to be a ‘Breast Friend’, alongside some other fab mommy-bloggers (in partnership with Happy Mango). What that means is, I get to give you free stuff (yay!), and learn / write about all things breastfeeding. I want to preface this by saying fed is always best, and I am in no way anti-not-breastfeeding. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and I appreciate that, but being that it is National Breastfeeding month, this is a celebration of that.

This will be my first post in a 4-part series, and this first topic couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Recently I began modifying what I am eating, in order to shed a few pounds in a healthy, slow way. What I noticed, however, is that my milk supply started to drop, and as a mama of an exclusively breastfed baby, this is no bueno. So we are going to talk about foods that promote a healthy milk supply; and specifically foods that are lower in carbs. (I am not promoting low/no carbs, however, this is what fits my current lifestyle).

Almonds

Almonds aren’t just packed with protein; they’re a good non-dairy source of calcium. And the every little bit helps. Breastfeeding moms should take in 1000mg of calcium per day. That’s because the milk you make is high in calcium, and if you don’t get enough in your diet, your bones and teeth could be robbed of calcium they need. (Yikes!) So go nuts, and eat your almonds! (Get it? nuts..?)

Salmon

This tasty, fatty fish might be the perfect meat for breastfeeding moms. It’s high in protein, and also contains large amounts of DHA, a type of fat that’s important to the development of baby’s nervous system. Wild-caught or farm-raised salmon are both good for you. If you don’t eat dairy, you can eat canned salmon, which contains tiny salmon bones, to get some extra calcium.

Spinach

Actually, pretty much any dark green, leafy veggie is a breastfeeding super food. That includes broccoli and Swiss chard. They’re all-around nutrient-dense and even high in calcium. (This one’s for you vegan moms!) So you can get a veggie serving and a calcium-rich serving in one, delicious, leafy food. So make like Popeye, and eat your greens!

Yogurt

Stocking your fridge with yogurt is smart because the creamy stuff has got both protein and calcium. Plus the active cultures are great for feminine health.

Sesame Seeds

Who knew? Sesame seeds are packed with calcium, and are a good source of fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. Toast them and sprinkle them over a salad of dark leafy greens, or add some to your veggies.

Water

Drinking 8oz of water every hour can help to increase milk supply. Plus it will give you a beautiful, glowing complexion, and who doesn’t want that?

Now… for the GIVEAWAY!

Once you have read this post, head on over to my Instagram feed, and ‘like’ the corresponding post and comment that you read this blog post, for a chance to win a $25 E-giftcard to Milky Mama Boutique. (This would also make a great gift for your favorite mama, if you happen not to be one!)

xo, Em

Your Baby Is a Good Baby

Your Baby is a GOOD Babyhttp://chasingayden.com/your-baby-is-a-good-baby

Motherhood is a strange place, (yes place), that truly cannot fully be described to someone who hasn’t experienced it. You cross over, not only in to this incredibly life-altering new role, but also in to an alternate Universe. In this Universe there are all sorts of opinions and ideas and expectations orbiting around you. This isn’t like a gradual immersion in to a new lifestyle, either; oh no. The moment that baby is birthed, there is a shift and you are now a permanent resident in this new world.

A protective, mama-bear-esque instinct accompanies this new territory, and your baby cub is instantly the most beautiful, incredible and precious creature you have ever laid your eyes on. So naturally, you want the world to receive this tiny being with the same adoration.  I think this is especially true for first-time moms.

After I had Ayden, I remember people asking me almost immediately, ‘Is she a good baby?’ My knee-jerk response was, ‘yes, she’s soo good’, subconsciously validating myself via my newborn.  I then started to notice more and more, other moms praising the ‘goodness’ of their babies, but not talking so much about common hardships that accompany the arrival of a newborn.

I struggled with postpartum anxiety, and found myself often comparing me (and even my baby) to others, especially via social media. I started to experience the woes of a baby that liked to party throughout the night, and who almost instantly fell asleep while nursing, thus rendering me a human pacifier. Sleep deprivation had me in its death-grip, and slowly but surely, I started questioning the ‘good-ness’ of my baby, and in turn myself. It wasn’t pretty, but it’s what my truth looked like.

6 weeks post-baby, I finally had enough of my noisy head, and called my OB, who without hesitation offered a remedy for my PPA (postpartum anxiety), and almost instantly, sanity returned to me. This is when I had an ‘a-ha’ moment that would shift my perspective in a much-needed way.

All babies are inherently good. The idea that a baby could not be ‘good’, (regardless of how much or little they sleep, cry, nurse, barf, fuss, fart, spit up, etc), is absurd. The question itself, ‘is she a good baby?’, is kind of ridiculous if you stop and really think about it. Does anyone really ever answer, ‘no! She’s a terrible, bad baby!’ So why then do we continue to ask and answer this question?

I am not even sure I have an answer to this question other than humans really like to categorize things as ‘good’ and ‘bad’. And I am not in the business of making people wrong for being human. All I am saying is that language is a powerful thing, and whether you are on the asking or receiving end of this question, it’s something to consider. You don’t have to take in and digest things that don’t fit for you. You do not have to categorize your baby, unless you want to. This is something I think I might have appreciate hearing when I was a new, first-time mom, so here I am passing it on.

This post felt important for me to write for the new mom out there, who maybe feels less-than, because her baby isn’t living up to the unrealistic, (often posed/staged) baby photos that flood our social media feeds. This is for the mom who when asked, ‘is he/she a good baby?’, thinks about her sleepless nights and fussy baby, and begins to question the very good-ness of her baby and herself. I want you to know, deep down in the pit of your soul,

your baby is a GOOD baby. 

 I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with this; your comments and feedback are always welcome and appreciated!

xo, Em

Things You Might Learn About Your First Child, After Having Your Second Child

Hello my beautiful friends! As most of you know by now, we welcomed our sweet baby girl in to the world on March 30, 2017. Frankie Grace is made up of the purest form of sweetness you could ever imagine. We are all so very smitten with her; no one more so than her wonderful big sister, Ayden.

I knew that adding another member to our family would come with some changes and even some growing pains, but all of the anticipation in the world couldn’t have possibly prepared me for the explosion of love that has happened in our family. It’s seriously a beautiful thing. However, and this is an AND statement, bringing a new child in to the mix, definitely came with some fun(ny) discoveries about our first child. Maybe you can relate:

Child #1 Suddenly Has an Instant Growth Spurt

My first born baby-child was a cute little 5 year old the day before I gave birth to #2. But somehow in the span of 24 hours, she became a Giant KID. I am being 100% serious. Her face changed, her eyebrows changed, her hands grew–everything! 2 months later, and I am still staring at her trying to figure out who she is.

Child #1 Becomes Louder than LOUD

Have you always been this loud?! Seriously, child. Why must you YELL when you speak? Why must you speak at such volumes when the itty bitty baby is asleep? In fact, why must you speak at all? Just kidding… sort of.

Child #1 Does Not Know Her Own Strength

Do you remember Lenny from ‘Of Mice and Men’, when he loved the baby mouse so much that he actually squeezed it to death? Yeah… Fortunately my first child loves (and I mean LOVES), the new baby. Unfortunately, she hasn’t quite figured out that she’s got a good 35 pounds on her baby sis. Can you say aggressive hugging?

Child #1 Has an Incredible Capacity For Love

I knew this kid was a lover, but this new baby sister unlocked an entire new world of feelings for our first. It is quite miraculous to see the instant love and care that our oldest had for her baby sis. Cue allllll the feelings.

Child #1 Wants to Help with Everything

And I mean EVERYTHING. Only it’s not exactly helpful to have an extra little body and set of grabby hands, trying to assist in every little task.

Child #1 Becomes a Monkey Gymnast

Suddenly, every baby contraption and piece of furniture in our home has become a potential jungle gym. I honestly don’t remember if my first born was climbing the walls (quite literally) prior to the arrival of numero dos, but I am sure as heck aware of it now.

Child #1 Has Way too Many Dolls

Speaking of baby contraptions… I am pretty sure that my oldest thinks that all of the baby equipment and swag is for her baby dolls. In fact, I did not realize just how many dolls this child even had in her possession. I can tell you that there are enough to occupy every single baby chair, swing, car seat, basket, bassinet, carrier and changing table, simultaneously.

Child #1 is Incredibly Resilient

As with most things in life, no one can really prepare you for monumental changes, like adding another human to your family dynamic. There will be a transitional period, and it will  make you question your life choices. The good news is, it passes. Child number one will not only survive it, but might just knock your socks off with her resilience through it all.

Does any of this ring true for you? I’d love to hear about your experience!

xo, Em

Birth Plans, Expectations and Motherhood

Well, some time has lapsed since my last post, but you’ll have to excuse me as I have been busy growing a human. 😉 So here I sit, 39 weeks (and some change) pregnant, and all backed up with stuff I meant to write about. However it’s hard to think of much else other than pregnancy and the anticipation of a new baby at this point, to be honest.

Birth Plans, Expectations and Motherhood

I tend to like to write about the secret truths that aren’t always talked about as openly as I believe they should be. And lately I have become present to some doozies.

A couple of months ago, my doctor asked me what my birth plan was. I consider myself a pretty easy patient, as I don’t have many demands or plans about my delivery, (or so I thought). My response was, ‘Well… I’d prefer not to be induced, and not to have a c-section.’ He was pretty confident that we could achieve those two goals, especially because I was able to go in to natural labor with Ayden. I didn’t think too much of that conversation again until recently.

My first labor experience was not the most ideal of situations. I had a very long labor (36 hours), and by the time my contractions were full-force at 1 minute apart, my body was stuck at 2 centimeters and not progressing any further. As I understand it, typically by that time, you would be pretty close to push-time (and close to 10 centimeters dilated). There were some scares during labor, with the baby’s heart rate dropping, and I was closer to an emergency c-section than I ever knew. It was a dramatic scene, and drama is really the last thing you want in your delivery room.

So, cut to present day… 39 weeks with baby number two and desperately hoping for a different labor experience. Last week I geared up for my 39 week appointment. This pregnancy has been different than my first in several ways–for starters, it has been more physically grueling. But on the upside, this baby dropped a few weeks ago, and Ayden never dropped until labor. I was super confident that I would leave my doctor’s office finding out I was 2 or 3 centimeters dilated. I was excited to get checked! But to my dismay I was 0 centimeters dilated. 0% effaced. 0, 0, 0!

I honestly didn’t even realize the weight I was placing on those numbers. I didn’t know that I was using them as a scale to determine whether I was doing things ‘right’, or whether my body was doing what it ‘should’. And finding out that there was no visible progress, I made it mean that my body was wrong, and that I had failed.

It took a few days of processing, (and me being cranky), to realize the full impact of thinking this way. And when it hit, it hit hard. Thankfully, I got honest with my Mama-tribe, and when I heard my own words sort of repeated back to me, I realized how incredibly untrue these perceptions were. When I thought of my friends birthing stories, I did not rank them in order of meaningfulness, importance or legitimacy based upon how they brought their children in to the world. In fact, it didn’t even cross my mind. I respect and admire each of these women for the mere fact that they are incredible, aware and loving mothers. So why then, was I placing this burden on myself?

In mulling this over for a few days, I realized that I was letting some strange, imagined, social media-imposing, societal expectation dictate how I felt about my own body and labor story. And I realized, it is total bullshit. You don’t get extra credit for delivering your baby with or without drugs, surgically, naturally or induced. The reward isn’t any less sweet, and you certainly aren’t a failure for not doing it someone else’s way. It seems logical when I write this all out, but the pressures (real or perceived), of bringing a life in to this world, are hardly logical.

The past few days have been emotionally intense as a result of this realization, but I am grateful to have uncovered this about myself at this exact, perfect time. It has cleared a path for acceptance, and I am left with the mantra / affirmation, ‘I trust my body; I trust my baby’. I wanted to write about this, because I can’t possibly be the only mother-to-be who has fallen prey to this thinking-trap. And I will be completely honest, I still hope that my body will naturally go in to labor, but if it doesn’t, that is ok too. I am still a mother-freakin’ rock-star. I prayed and waited for this miracle-baby, provided a strong, healthy vessel for her to grow, and soon I will bring her earth-side by whatever means necessary.

As moms, we have the power to break these ridiculous stigmas, together. We can empower one another to let ourselves off the hook, and show each other grace by first showing it to ourselves. Motherhood leaves so much room for judgement, and I will be the first to admit I have at times been guilty of it myself. But that judgement is almost always a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. In taking a stand for myself, I can better stand for you. And so the journey of learning  continues, and this unborn baby has already made me a better human, just by her very existence.

xo, Em

The One Word That Changed My Parenting, (And Could Change Yours Too)

Isn’t parenting a trip? I find myself constantly evaluating and re-evaluating myself and thinking about how I might have handled things better or differently. There are also little victories along the way that leave me feeling like a mama-boss. But for the most part, this journey is all about learning what works best for our family, and learning from others.

The one word that changed my parenting

About a year ago I completed a life-changing, personal development course. It gave me plenty to reflect on in regards to how I communicate with myself and in turn, others. I realized that I had created a world of ultimatums and limitations (both personally and in parenting), using just one common word; ‘but‘.

For example, I might say to Ayden: “I love you, but you cannot stay up all night”.

This statement creates limits and also implies that one thing is mutually exclusive of the other. And in this instance, it unintentionally puts a condition on my love for my child. Obviously the latter is far from the truth, but our words are oh-so powerful, and being the word-nerd that I am, I like to be very clear with my kiddo in my parenting communications.

Instead, if I said: “I love you, and you cannot stay up all night”, the entire meaning of that statement changes in to something more loving. I have now created a dialogue that expresses that my love is unconditional to her behavior, and desire to stay up all night. For me, this realization was a ‘light-bulb’, a-ha moment.

Here’s an example of how you might try applying it in the way you speak to yourself:

“I want to go to the gym, but I am tired”.

In this statement, I have pretty much decided I am not going to the gym, because I am tired. (At least that would most likely be my reality.) 😉 Let’s try it as an ‘and statement’;

‘I want to go to the gym, and I am tired”.

To me, this statement feels more empowering. It leaves space to go to the gym despite being tired.

If you allow yourself to be a non-judgmental observer of your own life and dialogue, you might uncover ways and places that you can replace ‘but’, with ‘and’. The way we speak to others always starts with the way we speak to ourselves, so the best place to practice this is with yourself.

As for parenting, I know it sounds a bit subliminal, but it is my belief that our children are subliminal creatures, always reading between the lines and always drawing their own conclusions when they don’t fully understand things. When I use ‘and statements’ with my daughter, I feel better about what I am saying and how I am saying it. I typically gauge my own behavior on how it makes me feel.

I hope you will give this a try and let me know if it had the powerful impact on you, that it had on me. I am all about easy and simple ways to improve my relationships, and I love when I can pass these little gems along.

Thank you for reading, AND please feel free to share it if it spoke to you.

xo, Em

30 Day No-Yell Challenge

Recently, my husband (gently) let me know that I am ‘a yeller’. I don’t like admitting this or sharing it publicly because who wants to be a yeller?! (Not me). But the fact remains that sometimes, when I feel frustrated or unheard or backed in to a corner by my opinionated 5 year old, I raise my voice. It is effective in that she typically submits when I reach that point, however, it is also met with fear. And then her fear is met with my own guilt. Kind of an ugly cycle.

If you struggle with yelling at your children, take on this 30-day, No-Yell Challenge with a community of other mamas. http://chasingayden.com/30-day-no-yell-challenge

I grew up in a loud house. There were 4 of us, and we are all talkers. Things often got loud-very loud. It was almost as if in order to be ‘heard’, you had to be loud. No one is to blame for this, it is just the way things were. After Mike pointed out my yell-y ways, I started reflecting on this. I am not in the business of pointing fingers and placing blame, but I do have a genuine interest in understanding why things are the way they are. I find it to be helpful in breaking less-than-desirable habits or patterns.

At a baby shower on Sunday, I sat with a friend I trust, and admitted to her that I am a yeller, but that I no longer want to be a yeller. To my surprise, she disclosed that she too is a yeller. I was kind of relieved, because this is a fellow mama who I admire and respect. I felt like less of a schmuck to be in such good company. It didn’t change the fact that I still had this character defect to sort out, but it did remind me that I am not alone in this. We pinky-promised that ‘just for today’, we would not yell at our children.

On Monday I realized I hadn’t raised my voice once, on Sunday. It got me thinking about the power of accountability. It also got me thinking about how I was going to potentially break myself of this yelling business. I started thinking of ways I could divert myself from yelling. Here are a few ideas I have come up with:

  • When I feel like yelling, I could actually say “I feel like yelling”. Sometimes labeling the behavior takes the power out of it.
  • I could find ways to be accountable to my family, by letting them know that I don’t want to be a yeller anymore. I could employ them to help me break the habit.
  • I could sing out instead of yelling–like literally sing. (A suggestion from my fellow yeller mama on Sunday).
  • Instead of repeating myself to the point of anger, I could set an immediate consequence for my child, thus averting the need to yell.
  • I could employ other mamas to take on a 30 day, no-yell challenge with me. 😉

So this brings me to that final idea… After learning that a mama who I have often placed on a pedestal, was actually struggling with the same issues as me, it made me realize there are probably a lot of us who don’t like how we feel when we raise our voices in anger. I heavily rely on my mama community for so many other areas of support; why not this too?

‘They’ say it takes 30 days to create a good habit, so I have decided to challenge myself to a 30 day no-yell challenge. And I am inviting anyone who wants to, to join this challenge. My only rule for myself in taking on this challenge, is to forgive myself when I fall short (because it is bound to happen), and to continue with the 30 days no matter what. Awareness leads to willingness, and willingness leads to the ability to change. If this speaks to you at all, I hope you will join me!

See you on the quiet-side!

xo, Em

 

Fall Giveaway!

Hey friends!

I am really excited to be hosting this super sweet, Fall Giveaway featuring some of my very favorite small shops. These fabulous mama-makers have been kind enough to offer you some free swag for your minis.

Fall Giveaway! Easy to enter, win all sorts of cute stuff for your mini: http://chasingayden.com/fall-giveaway

Lets get to the good stuff; the loot:

Freshly Picked Moccasins

http://chasingayden.com/fall-giveaway

Freshly Picked has been kind enough to supply me with a pair of their flawless, leather mocs (winner chooses color), to gift our lucky winner. Freshly Picked needs no introduction, as they are a household name as the number one leather moccasin company. We all know and love the grass-roots story behind Freshly Picked, and their amazing boss-babe Susan Peterson.

Feather 4 Arrow T-shirt or Onesie

http://chasingayden.com/fall-giveaway

Feather 4 Arrow is a collection of unique printed tees that blend easy comfort with rebellious style. Inspired by the southern California beach culture, the collection is both free spirited and chic with just a touch of tomboy. These rad shirts have become a staple in Ayden’s wardrobe. Bad-ass mompreneur-owner, Jaime, is offering one lucky person a t-shirt or onesie, winners choice.

Little Arrows Leggings

http://chasingayden.com/fall-giveaway

Little Arrows is a collection of handmade pieces made in southern CA. Each piece is individually and carefully crafted with reinforced stitching to keep garments long lasting. Little Arrows has partnered with GoGo Grandmothers, a ministry that provides for orphans in Malawi, to donate 15% of their profits to their foundation. This socially conscious, mama-owned shop is offering the winner a pair of their beautiful leggings.

Little Messengers Shop Credit

http://chasingayden.com/fall-giveaway

Little Messengers has one of my very favorite stories behind its products. Originally, mama-owner, Mercedes opened shop to fund the adoption fees for her sweet little girl Sunflower. After a year hiatus, she re-opened the doors, to begin selling gorgeous, Mexican serape baby blankets. Little Messengers is offering the winner a $20 shop credit.

Smash Company Shop Credit

http://chasingayden.com/fall-giveaway

Smash Company is mama-owned and run by Amber Ash. Amber’s shop was inspired by her spitfire daughter, Sadie Mae, (Sadie Mae Ash = Smash). Smash Company offers chic and modern crib sheets, minky baby blankets and handmade leather pacifier clips. Basically, you can dress your entire nursery in this one-stop-shop. Amber is offering the winner a $20 shop credit.

How to enter:

  1. Go to instagram, and find the contest post on my feed. Like the post, follow each shop and tag friends (one friend per line), to enter. Each tag is an entry.
  2. Subscribe to my newsletter (so you can be the first to know about my next giveaway), for another 5 entries.

Good luck! Contest closes Sunday September 18 at 12pm PST. Winner announced on Monday am on my instagram page!

xo, Em

 

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