Category: kids

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.) ūüėČ 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.

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. ūüėČ

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:

Lets get to the good stuff; the loot:

Freshly Picked Moccasins

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

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

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

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

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


My Daughter; My Greatest Teacher

I wrote this post about my daughter many weeks ago, because I felt absolutely called to write about this topic, and then never posted it. I do this sometimes. I start writing a post, only to abandon it, leaving it in the dugout of the blog-o-sphere among the other would-be posts. This morning I finally pulled it out of my saved drafts, put some finishing touches on it and here I am sharing with you.

My Daughter; My Greatest Teacher   A blog post about teaching our daughters to have self esteeem, through practicing to love ourselves

When something becomes undeniably clear to me (especially in my motherhood journey), I just know that there is another mother or father or person who can probably relate. I know these things because you’ve told me this, which has me inspired to continue to write from a truthful space. So thank you, for relating to me and letting me know when¬†you relate to me. Without that, I may not be brave enough to ever hit the ‘publish’ button.

When it comes to motherhood, I am literally learning more about learning more, on a daily basis. I always think the lessons are going to be about about my child or her age or her stage or her season. But the deeper in I get in to this mama business, the more I seem to uncover and learn about myself.

What I continue to discover is that most important thing I can do for my daughter, is to make peace with myself. Maybe that sounds obvious or simplistic to you. Maybe it sounds unrelated to parenting. But here is what I know.¬†Our children are watching us when we don’t think they are watching us. They view themselves as extensions of us. This means that they don’t fully understand the difference between us and them as separate human beings. I have always been intentional and cautious about the way I speak to myself in front of my daughter, because¬†I have battled my way out of the nasty habit of negative self-talk. And if I am being honest, (and you know I am), I still have to battle that mean, little inner-critic, from time to time. It is important to me as a mother of a girl especially, that I empower her with a kind view of herself and equip her with self-esteem.

Here is¬†what has become true¬†for me though, my actions toward myself speak just as loudly as my words–sometimes even louder.¬†My actions toward myself, are a direct result of my thoughts of and toward myself.¬†You simply cannot fake self-love or self-care, which both have everything to do with self-esteem. In essence, my sweet daughter is learning how to treat herself, by watching how I treat myself.

What I have also noticed, and don’t particularly like to admit, is that the¬†behaviors¬†that get under my skin the¬†most when it comes to my daughter, are the very things that I am not quite ‘ok’ with, in myself.

Example: I was always labeled a ‘hyper’ kid. I was told I talked too much, I was too distract-able and I was too loud. What I ‘heard’ as a child was, “you are too much, something is wrong with you¬†and you are not good enough as you are.” No one said these things to me directly, but this is how I internalized it. So I spent many years feeling this way, and I did destructive things to myself to try to become ‘smaller’, and to have less of a presence. Only in my adulthood, have I come to realize that these things that I believed about myself, were never true. I was perfect in the exact way that I was created, chattiness and all.¬†I have worked very hard to have this simple realization and to overcome those old ideas, and self-destructive behaviors that accompanied them.

When my 4 year old acts like a 4 year old, (distract-able, hyper and chatty), I tend to lose my patience much quicker. I immediately hone in on her ‘me-like’ behaviors, and I am quick to shut it down. Specifically when this happened recently and my daughter wouldn’t–actually, couldn’t sit still, I felt my frustration grow quicker than it should have. I was having a physiological reaction to her behavior, and my emotions felt disproportionate to what she was doing. And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t want her to be like me.

But here is the flip-side to this. My sweet Ayden thinks I am “the most perfect, ‘bestest’ mommy in the whole world”. (She’s told me, so I know it’s true!) She is quick to forgive me. Always. She is quick to tell me wonderful things about myself. She is my greatest champion, as I am hers. And in that moment of realization that I was battling myself via my daughter, I made a decision to embrace her ‘me-like’ behaviors. In fact, I think they should be celebrated.

¬†The love I have for my daughter, challenges me to love myself in ways that I didn’t know I wasn’t loving myself. And more so than anything I could provide for her materially, this might perhaps be the most¬†valuable and lasting gift I could ever bestow upon this child. My actions and attitude toward myself will ultimately dictate¬†how she learns to treat herself. My commitment to her, to myself and now to you,¬†is to practice seeing myself through the eyes that she sees me with. I am openly inviting you to do the same in your own life. Even if you aren’t a mother or a parent, you can practice seeing yourself as your loved ones do.

Your comments, thoughts and realizations are always welcomed and appreciated.

xo, Em

The Most Ridiculous Reasons Kids Throw Tantrums

The other night we gave Ayden a bath, brushed her teeth and her hair, dressed her in pj’s, read her a bedtime story and kissed her goodnight. We then proceeded to lay down and watch Netflix, because that’s how we like to party. About 15 minutes later, she called us in because she was thirsty; this is pretty standard. Then about 15 minutes later she got out of bed to go potty; also pretty standard. Then, silence. She was asleep, (or so we thought). Suddenly we heard crying–hysterical, tantrum-esque crying.

The most ridiculous reasons kids throw tantrums. A collective and hilarious list from real moms, of the most outlandish reasons that their kids have thrown a tantrum. Find the full list at:

What could possibly set off such despair and frustration to this magnitude, you ask? She had taken her braid out, and was beside herself. Never mind that Mike re-braided her hair for her, (yes, he braids–swoon). She was already in full-blow melt-down mode, and had to be soothed and hugged back to calmness and ultimately sleep.

This got me thinking about all of the seemingly minor and ridiculous reasons that babies, toddlers and kids lose their sh*t. I thought of all the times I have had to hold back laughter in the face of an absurd tantrum. So I took to our Facebook Mama Forum, because I knew someone would be able to relate. I was met with such overwhelmingly hilarious examples of fantastic tantrums, that it inspired this blog post.

Reasons why my toddler / kid / baby had a tantrum:

Because she finished her applesauce. ~Courtney E.

Because it was windy. ~Bequi B.

Because she asked me to cut her sandwich — and then I cut her sandwich. ~Krista B.

Because I took him out of his carseat when we got home. ~Amanda H.

Because I wouldn’t let her play in the thorny bushes. ~Grace F.

Because she couldn’t go down the drain with the bath water. ~Mary J.

Because his dad dipped a chicken nugget in his BBQ sauce. ~Mary J.

Because I wouldn’t let her eat a Lego. ~Brenda T.

Because I took away the iPad. ~Samantha P.

Because she took her shoe off. ~Elyse H.

Because I asked her if she wanted a graham cracker, (her favorite). ~Heather C.

He wanted water instead of milk. ~Annika L.

He wanted the dog to sit. ~Annika L.

He wanted the light on, then off. ~Annika L.

 Because he threw his cars on the floor. ~Annika L.

Because I wouldn’t let him play with the vacuum. ~Sofia L.

Because his sister (who is 1) wouldn’t “rescue” him from the couch when he asked her to. ~Elizabeth J.

She wanted the scissors. ~Jonna W.

Because she wanted to eat a rock, and I wouldn’t let her. ~Lindsay G.

Because her Minnie was facing the wrong way in bed. ~Katie M.

Because I got off the couch to pee. ~Tara S.

Because she doesn’t have ‘ice powers’. like Elsa. ~Maggie R.

Because I said I was going to take a shower. ~Cynthia M.

Because she wanted to take the trash out of the trash can. ~Jonna W.

Because I clapped too soon thinking her solo singing performance in the living room was finished… ~Somer S.

Because I wouldn’t let her wear her pjs to school. ~Katrina L.

Because my parents house wasn’t ‘shiny’. ~Elizabeth D.

Because the movie ended. ~Amber N.

Because I was doing laundry. ~Stacy D.

She flipped out because I said her brother was getting in the bath after she said she wanted to take a bath with him… ~Sarah C.

Because she didn’t like the color of her socks. ~Ashley M.

Because I sneezed. ~Amy S.

I put a short sleeved shirt on him in 85 degree weather.
I know, I’m terrible…
~Amanda R.

Because her older sister tried to share a banana with her. ~Heidi S.

Because I wouldn’t let him bite me. ~Isabella P.

Because her sleeping beauty dress was too long to walk in without tripping, so I tucked it into her shorts band. ~Ashley D.

¬†Because I was changing her¬†one year old sisters diaper, and I wouldn’t show her the poop. ~¬†¬† Molly L.

Because she dropped her stuffed animal on the ground. ~Jonna W.

Because his push-pop broke. ~Kelly G.

Did any of these resonate with you? What are some of the best reasons that your kids have thrown tantrums? Comment below, and add to the growing list. A special thanks, to my Facebook mamas!

xo, Em

Romper Roundup

Nothing screams Spring & Summer, like a romper! If you haven’t noticed, these super comfy, light-weight, one-piecers have become a major wardrobe must-have for kiddos, (and grown-ups). If you are anything like me, you typically end up shopping for your mini-person far more often than for¬†yourself. I have rounded up some of the sweetest, cutest, coolest rompers (ranging in prices), for your littles! I hope you find something you love

>> click photos to be directed to website <<


Romper Roundup // 12 of the cutest and coolest rompers to dress your kids in this Spring and Summer


Conscious Pear Suit H&M

H&M Conscious Romper

Patterned Jumpsuit H&M

H&M Patterned Jumpsuit

Desert Floral Sleeveless Romper in Mint, Pale Pink and Ochre on Black – Thief And Bandit

Thief and Bandit Kids Desert Floral Romper


Rose Pink Ikat & Mint Reversible Romper ‚Äď Paush for Sweet Threads

Paush for Sweet Threads Pink Ikat Romper

Little Parachute Romper Roxy

Roxy Romper

Organic Orange Romper GAP

Gap Organic Orange

Run Wild Bubble Romper Ry & Rue Kids

Ayden in Ry & Rue Kids aydenromp6


Bella Romper by Bloom And Beetle

Bella and Bloom Bella Romper


Black & White Playsuit by Little Boss Shop

Little Bos shop Playsuit


Radical Baby One Piece by Feather 4 Arrow

Feather 4 Arrow


“Heart Breaker” Romper My Little Love ClothingMy Little Love Clothing


Floral Jumpsuit Target


Did I miss some fab rompers? Grow my list, and tag your favorites in the comments below!

xo, Em

Giveaway Time!

Hello Lovelies!

As you may (or may not) know, I have been making some fun wall tapestries / banners and selling them in my Etsy shop. It’s a fun, creative outlet for me, and of course making a few extra bucks that I can contribute to my family is a nice bonus.

Handmade boho tapestry banners // Win one now at

What you may not know is that recently I was selected and accepted as a participating vendor in the upcoming Mermade Market craft bazaar. I am over-the-moon about this for a few reasons: A.) I Love the Mermade Market and have been to every single one since the fabulous Elise began putting them on. B.) I adore Elise; she is just plain Rad. C.) I filled out the vendor application as a shot in the dark, never truly expecting to be selected. So as you can imagine, I am honored to participate in this incredible, mama-fueled popup market. 

The Mermade Market is May 7, May 8 & May 9, 2015. Elise will be running several vendor product giveaways before the actual event. 

Help me choose which tapestry to enter as part of Mermade Market’s giveaway, and you can win the tapestry that you vote for… annnnd a matching pair of Freshly Picked Moccasins.¬†

*Tapestries are on 12 inch dowels, and retail for $30 a piece; Mocs come in size 1 -9,  and retail for $60 a pair. (Other color options available for winner).

Tapestry & Freshly Picked Giveaway via

Here is how you enter to WIN:

Comment below with your color choice, and sign up for the Chasing Ayden Email / Newsletter list (where you will be privy to new posts, recipes, DIYs, FREE digital prints and giveaways). 

This counts as one entry.

And / Or

Head on over to my Instagram page @aydensmommyy, follow me, @mermademarket and @freshlypicked and repost the contest photo (in my instagram feed) with your color selection in the comments of your re-post.

This counts as one entry.

***If you enter both ways, it counts as three entries.

Contest ends Friday, March 27 at midnight (PST). Winner will be announced within 24 hours. Good luck!

xo, Em


Mommy Super Powers

If there is one thing that I can say about motherhood, it is that it really allows you to experience your own resilience. When you enter in to motherhood, a warrior-woman ninja from within emerges.

Mommy Super-powers // A blog post dedcated to the AWESOMENESS of mamas everywhere -

As parents, we have all had some really tough moments, but I think it is safe to say that we have also all had those really proud moments. You know the ones I mean. The moments of  super-heroism, where there is no one else there to witness your true greatness but you and your baby/child, (who is completely incapable of understanding your awesomeness in said moment). 

I took to my amazing ladies in The Mama Support Forum, for some Mama Super Hero moments. Here is a compilation of some of my favorite Mommy Super Powers:

1. We have 4 hands:

Stuart and his feet

Anatomically speaking we may not look any different from your average human, but tie a mommy’s hands¬†up with a baby or kids? And¬†she will quickly learn that her feet work as well as hands, (with a little practice).

2. We have a 6th sense for trouble

Mommy Super powers //

You hear silence and think ‘ahhh, time to relax’. We hear silence and immediately know something is being destroyed.

3. We are car contortionists


If you have ever experienced the incessant whining of a toddler who desperately¬†needs a toy / snack / doll / drink / etc while you happen to be driving through traffic, then you¬†understand the¬†urgency one might experience to make the¬†whining¬†stop. I have literally made body parts stretch in Gumby-esque ways, (while driving) to reach objects wedged between hard-to-reach spaces, all in the name of a few moments of silence. (I hope you are getting a good mental image, because it’s as awesome as it sounds).

4. We have a bionic sense of smell (for poop)

Mommy Superpowers

You think I’m joking, but I’m not. We can smell poop from three rooms away. It is an¬†acquired¬†skill, and while we are slightly grossed out by it, we are equally proud. (We can also identify our own kid’s ‘brand’, if need be.)

5. We have catlike reflexes

When it comes to our children, we can move thousand pound cars, if we have to. But what you may not realize, is that we possess the ability to catch our little ones mid-catastrophe, from precarious positions and/or situations, (averting imminent crisis.) Go-go gadget arms…

6. Ninja style nursing

Mommy Superpowers // htp://

We are capable of nursing our babies while doing any of (but not limited to) the following: walking, cooking, eating, peeing, conversing, cleaning, baking, exercising, etc. We can even nurse in such a manner that you might not even realize that it’s happening right in front of you.

7. We are baby-wearing bandits

Mommy Superpowers //

There is very little that we can’t do with a child strapped to our bodies. We clean entire houses with tiny humans strapped to our chest. And let’s not forget the mamas who wear two children at once¬†tandem-style, (one on the front; one on the back).

8. We can cook with one hand tied behind our back

Mommy Superpowers //

This is a mommy super power you may not be aware of, because typically meals make it to our table looking and tasting pretty darn good. What you missed is the behind-the-scenes madness that most likely preceded the food-fest before you. This might entail wrestling with tiny humans, holding one or more kid while cooking, allowing child to ‘help’ cook, breaking¬†up toddler sparring matches or¬†just saving the world in general.

9. We can turn off our bladder

Mommy Superpowers //

Sometimes stopping to pee is not an option. We talk ourselves through the pain of really¬†having ‘to go’, by reminding¬†ourselves¬†that we survived child-birth. (Maybe this is why I have to involuntarily pee every time I try to jump rope).

10. We can outwit the flu

Moms get sick too. But what we don’t get? Is to lay in bed and¬†be sick, (especially if there are other family members who are also¬†under-the-weather). Enter the mommy superpower that allows |forces|¬†us to rise above said sickness.

11. We have mad multitasking skills

Mommy Superpowers //


It’s truly frightening how accurate this picture is.

12. Sleep? We don’t need no stinkin’ sleep

Mommy Superpowers //


Normal humans need anywhere from 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night to properly function; not us moms! We can get by on as little as 2 hours of sleep. 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep is a luxury; 6 hours in a row is pretty much a vacation.

13. We can fix anything

Mommy Superpowers //


Broken toy? No problem. We¬†will find a way to rig it back together. Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation that allows¬†us to think outside of the box so freely, or maybe it is an aversion to crying and whining.

At the end of the day, we are all super heroes to someone, (whether you are a mom or not). It is easy to get caught up in our short-comings, but today let’s all celebrate our mini victories. And hey, if no one told you yet today, you’re doing an awesome job.

xo, Emily

St. Patrick’s Day DIY Roundup

It’s that time of year again, where everyone is Irish for a day. It may not be one of the ‘major’ holidays, but who doesn’t love an excuse to drink green beer, pinch their friends and say silly thing like ‘Kiss me, I’m |not| Irish!’

St. Patrick's Day DIY Roundup //

Yes friends, I am talking about Saint Patrick’s Day, or in my world, another excuse to do a craft with my little one. I have rounded¬†up some fun |and of course cute| DIY crafts that won’t break the bank, and won’t take too much time.

Lucky Penny Letters

St. Patrick's Day DIY Roundup:

via Made By Marzipan


St, Patty’s Clay Pot Planters

St. Patric's Day DIY Link Party:

via The Merry Thought


Mini Pallet Art

St. Patrick's Day DIY Link Party:

via View From The Fridge


Bell Pepper Shamrock Prints

St. Patty's DIY Roundup:

via Crafty Morning


Pot of gold

St. Patty's DIY Roundup:

via The 36th Avenue


Rainbow Fruit Cup

St. Patty's DIY Roundup:

via One Sweet Appetite


Leprechaun Popcorn

St. Patty's Day DIYs:

via Skip to My Lou


Lucky Treats

St. Patrick's Day DIY Roundup:

via Sweet Designs


xo, Em

Discovering: I Am Not Less of a Mom

There’s something I have been wanting to write about, but have been putting off. I think I have been avoiding it because I know some feelings¬†are sure to arise. I am not a big fan of being publicly vulnerable, but I am a person who processes feelings through writing. My intention for this blog, has always been to be relatable to others, and to keep it honest. Which brings¬†us to this post–a touchy¬†subject¬†for some folks.

not less of a mom

A funny thing happens when you start dating someone–people start asking you if or when you plan to get engaged. Then you get engaged, and people demand to know if you have set a wedding date. You set a date and get married, and then everyone wants to know when you will be having kids. (Ok, in my case we didn’t go in this exact order, but stay with me here). Then you become pregnant, and people want to know the baby’s gender and name. Baby is born. Life changes–you cross over in to the parenting world. And then people start asking when you are having another, since your first is so cute and all.

It is actually a bit exhausting, and if you don’t have some solid internal boundaries, it can add up to a lot of pressure. I blame¬†human nature and our desire to inquire.¬†(I am most definitely guilty of some of these inquiries.) But with that being said, I am going to tell you what may (or may not) be going on, on the other side of these questions.

After Mike and I had Ayden, our world was rocked, (and that is putting it mildly). No one was getting much sleep at night, Ayden was a difficult feeder, she liked to party at night and  only wanted to be held. Mike was working full-time and in school full-time. Money was tight. Emotions (hormones) were wacky. Life was hectic. That aside, Ayden was also an incredibly happy and smiley baby, who hit all of her fun milestones crazy-early. One thing was for sure, life was in session in the McAllister home.

A¬†couple of months in to parenthood, we started getting the inevitable questions about when we would be having more kids. Most people had an opinion about the matter telling us things like, ‘You don’t want them too far apart’, or ‘You don’t want her to be an only child–then she won’t have anyone’, or ‘Don’t wait too long!’ To be honest, these comments felt intrusive and presumptuous, though I didn’t fully realize it at the time.

And then there were the comments from other moms (of two or more children), ‘One is so easy’, or ‘You only have one?’ Granted, this was not my interaction with all moms of multiples, but there were a few and it caught me off guard. I don’t believe that these comments were meant to be malicious, and I have learned to try not to take others personally (operative word being ‘try’), but if I am being honest, (I am), it felt a little passive aggressive.

Once upon a time, when being parents was¬†just pillow-talk between¬†Mike and I late at night, we planned on having two children. We each grew¬†up with a sibling, and it seemed the natural thing to do. We also had very strong beliefs about exactly how we wold raise our hypothetical children. We were strong in or convictions. We would never raise our voices, never let our baby ‘cry it out’, never allow our child to throw tantrums in public, would allow for only minimal TV watching, never¬†use modern technology (iPhones / iPads) as a means of child supervision, make all of our own baby food, etc, etc. We were so¬†sure. And we were so¬†wrong.¬†If I have learned one thing from becoming a mother, it is that¬†plans change quickly after a baby is born.

Cut to: Ayden’s 2nd Birthday, (the time of year we had¬†planned to begin trying for baby #2.) We sat at or dining room table,¬†us two. The conversation began. And then it happened;¬†Mike had changed his mind. I couldn’t believe what he was saying; was he allowed to do this? Was he allowed to change his mind mid-game? I¬†won’t go in to too many details about why, because this is my story to tell. I am speaking from my own experience, and it would be¬†unfair to my husband if I attempted to write his story.

I will say this; that conversation led to more conversations, arguments, tears, praying, debates, soul-searching, a counseling session (with a not-so-great shrink), lots and lots of writing, weighing of options and eventually over time, acceptance. For the sake of my marriage and family, I had to come to a few conclusions:

  1. If I believe in a higher power (which I do, and choose to call it God ), than I am not really in charge of the whole game-plan. I cannot impose my will on anyone else; even my husband. If we are meant to have another child, then it will happen. If we are not meant to have another child, then we won’t. God is either everything or nothing. So in a sense, this situation was forcing me to dig deeper, spiritually.
  2. I was not willing to deceive or trick my husband in order to become pregnant again, and I was not willing to leave the marriage over it. This meant I needed to find a way to be ok with his change of heart. I didn’t have to like it, I¬†just had to find a way to be ok (for now), with it.
  3. In order to become¬†ok, I needed to find a deep sense of gratitude for the blessings that I already had in my life. I had to focus on all of the¬†beautiful¬†things, people and experiences that I am lucky enough to be afforded. I had to recognize that Mike and I are¬†jackpot winners, when it comes to Ayden. I had to remember that not everyone who wants children get children, that some people lose hildren and that I have been blessed beyond measure in becoming a mother. I found that when I stay busy focusing on loving and appreciating what I have, I spend less time worrying about what I don’t have.

This doesn’t mean that some days I don’t drift in to the worrisome head space where I compare myself to or feel envious of others. And on those days, when I feel extra sensitive about it all, I do my best to be gentle with myself. I write a gratitude list about my life, I write down 5 things that I love and appreciate about my husband, I forgive him all over again for not always being perfectly in line with my desires and I remember that nothing is set in stone.

And some days, I am so content with our little trio, that I could explode with joy. I feel a deep sense of closeness between the three of us that is more fulfilling than I am capable of putting in to words.  I feel lucky. I feel full.

Sometimes I feel like the only person in the world that has experienced this with their spouse, which makes it even more daunting to write about. But the chance that someone may read this and relate, forces me to write my truth. Also, I have learned¬†that when my feelings are fear-based, they’re¬†usually off-base.

At the end of the day we really don’t know what other families are going through; whether it be fertility issues, losing a child or situations like mine. What I do know, is that it is never safe to assume.¬†What I have decided to learn from this is that I can be happy. I can be happy if our parenting¬†journey¬†begins and ends with Ayden, or if we go on to have more children. And quite possibly the most important thing that I have learned is that either way, I am not less of a mom.

Click here, to read PART 2 of this story! 

xo, Em

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