How MomFriends Make or Break your #Momlife

Momfriend: A friend you make with the common bond of both being moms

The term “momfriend” didn’t enter my vocabulary until I had my first baby. Before that, I just had “friends” or “girlfriends.” Fast forward four years and my “momfriends” are just my friends, because the only friends I have left are moms (with the exception of a few).

“A good momfriend is a lifeline when you’re drowning in a sea of crying babies, unfolded laundry and cranky husbands.”

It wasn’t until I became a mom that I realized the crazy bond momfriends have. I literally feel like I could not live without my momfriends even though I know I technically could, but it would really, really suck. Because mommin’ ain’t easy.

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A good momfriend is a lifeline when you’re drowning in a sea of crying babies, unfolded laundry and cranky husbands. A good momfriend is there for you to vent to whenever you need it and it’s judgment free; sometimes it’s via text, sometimes it’s a phone call, sometimes it’s over Snapchat with a funny filter. If you need her, she’s there. A good momfriend is down for a night out and sometimes it’s at a moment’s notice because you’re losing your sh*t and need a break. A good momfriend loves your child almost like they are an extension of their own kin – they treat them with genuine care and understanding. At a BBQ with a bunch of people and your kid trips and hurts himself/herself? A good momfriend swoops in and plays the mom role if you’re not around. Did your child accomplish something? A good momfriend is genuinely proud and excited for him/her – and there’s zero passive aggressive comments made about how their child did it earlier and is so advanced, blah blah blah because a good momfriend would feel sick if she knew she made you feel anything other than happy and proud of your child. Is your child struggling at something? A good momfriend finds the silver lining and helps you to see it in a more positive light. She encourages, supports and loves and you give all of that right back to her. Making a medical decision for your child? A good momfriend never ever criticizes it because she knows those types of decisions can only be made by the mother/father. She tells you to trust your mom gut – and she definitely does not send you links from .org websites to argue her point that what you’re doing is harmful to your child.

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You know what’s sad? Finding good momfriends like this isn’t easy. If you’re new to this mom life, don’t be discouraged! You’ll find your mom tribe, but you may have to weed out the not so great momfriends, or learn to tune out their garbage. But once you find even just one true and genuine momfriend, the amount of enrichment you’ll get from that relationship is immeasurable. Yes, husbands and family are super important too; not trying to belittle those relationships. I just want to spotlight the female bond of motherhood because is unlike anything you’ll ever experience. So let’s all strive to be the very best momfriends to each other: whether you work outside the home or inside the home. Whether you’re “just a mom” (that phrase irks me) or your child spends their weekdays at daycare. Let’s do less of the snarky/passive aggressive comments. Let’s do less Facebook posts of articles that say our way of mothering is the better way. Whether you get an epidural, have a home birth, elective c-section, breast-feed, pump and bottle feed, formula feed or a combination of both, let’s all be good momfriends and give nothing but support, love and encouragement. If moms were all besties, we’d take over the world. So let’s make that our goal, shall we? 😉

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How Momfriends can make or break your #momlife - tips on how to be a good Momfriend

All you need is Love and a JORD Wood Watch

img_1956Valentine’s Day has always seemed a little silly to me. I never understood why society needed a designated day to celebrate love. After all, Ryan and I celebrated each other all the time with dates, sweet notes, random flowers, and just laughing and enjoying life together.

It sounds like it was all sunshine and roses because for the most part, it was. We very rarely had any sort of an argument and we did everything together! We wrote love notes; he brought me random bouquets of flowers; we had date nights every single night, even if that just meant we were at home; we took trips together; we watched entire movies together; we went on runs together; we went wine tasting like every other weekend.

Then we had a kid.

Ok, I started to sort of get it. But still, Valentine’s Day seemed a bit blown up to me.

Then we had a second kid.

And now, I GET IT.

I finally understand that Valentine’s Day serves a purpose: It forces you to designate time to celebrate your special relationship, even while entrenched (maybe even drowning) in parenthood.

Honestly, Ryan and I can barely have a conversation when the kids are awake and by the time they’re in bed, we are pretty drained. Our feeling of togetherness is constantly interrupted by a chatty three year old, diapers, picking up toys, cleaning up messy floors 700 times a day, the never ending laundry, the time-outs, the crying, the kissing of the boo boos, the frantic “what’s in Preston’s mouth!” It’s no big shocker why marriages statistically suffer after having kids.

We’ve had countless discussions about how important it is that we make time for each other, but that’s easier said than done when you have young kids. Never before have I cherished moments alone with Ryan like I do now. With one kid, all we had to do was put Porter down for a nap and boom, alone time. But with two, there’s a good chance their naps won’t overlap, giving you zero breaks and it’s exhausting.

Romance has become less grandiose and more about the tiny moments that the kids can’t take away from us, like when Ryan comes up behind me while I’m cooking dinner to give me a kiss; or when we bring each other drinks; the rare occasion when we write each other a note by the coffee pot; the hug that lasts way longer than normal even though Preston is fussing and Porter is saying something completely ridiculous; the offering to take one or both kids to the store so the other parent can get a break; the sharing of tasks when it’s time to get the kids bathed and in bed; couch snuggles during that small window of time between the kids going to bed and us passing out – this is what parenthood romance looks like for us.

And while I’m so very grateful for these sweet moments, it’s not enough. I want more.

I want more of Ryan all to myself. I want more of what we used to have, without giving less to my sweet babies. I want it all.

How the heck do we do this? Literally asking the question because I have yet to find the perfect solution. If you’ve found it, please comment below and tell me what you do. If it involves hundreds of dollars in babysitting money, your advice won’t help me.

I think the answer could be something really simple though; carving out time. If we want more time together, we just have to reserve it. It sounds so simple, so why can’t we do it? Even if it’s just a quick trip out to lunch, a picnic to keep it simple, a movie, a hike, whatever. All we really need is some quality time together that doesn’t involve our little humans we made. I want to recommit to this on Valentine’s Day.

I decided to give Ryan a JORD Wood Watch for an early Valentine’s Day present because it perfectly commemorates how important quality time is for our marriage to stay strong. I want him to look at the watch everyday and remember how much I love spending quality time with him. I gave Ryan this one, but there are so many awesome designs to choose from. It’s a unique watch because it’s literally made out of wood – I love that it’s sleek but rustic at the same time and Ryan’s obsessed. You can click on the links below to see all the different cool watches. I’ve even been eying the women’s line and I like what I see!

JORD Wood Watch Links:

GIVEAWAY – win $25 towards a watch just for entering, could win up to $100!

Men’s Shop 

Women’s Shop

Luxury Wooden Watch
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This is a sponsored post, but all thoughts and opinions are my own

Why I love Freshly Picked Moccs

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When I was pregnant with Porter and found out he was a boy, I became very focused on finding cute boy clothes. In my head, boy clothes meant ugly spider man shirts, onesies with teddy bears on them that say “mommy loves me,” bulky Velcro shoes that light up, and whatever other hideous thing you can think of.

Thankfully, all I had to do was a little Google searching to find cute, stylish clothes I now exclusively dress my boys in, aside from occasional ugly footie pajamas (pajamas get a free pass because they’re warm and not worn in public for the most part).

One of the first brands I fell in love with back in 2013 is Freshly Picked, and I wasn’t the only one. Since then, the brand has expanded and it’s become wildly successful.

At $60 a pair, I admit it took me a little while to bite the bullet and buy a pair for Porter when he was a baby; he didn’t have his first pair until he was about a year old. Once I had them, I regretted not buying them sooner because they are AMAZING. They made my life so much easier because they’re super easy to put on (even with squirmy baby feet), they’re made with real leather with solid construction, they’re durable, they’re stylish AND they stretch, so your babe will be able to wear them for longer than he/she would a more traditional shoe.

logo (1).jpgSince then, Freshly Picked has blown up. They’re so successful, they were able to reduce the cost of making some of the classic colors and they passed that savings on to their customers, because they’re awesome. They also frequently have sales, so you can always get your hands on a pair for less than $60. Check www.freshlypicked.com to see the latest prints and styles, and also to find the reduced priced moccs! Needless to say, my second son Preston has been wearing Freshly Picked moccs since his first month of life. Now that he’s almost 10 months old, he practically lives in them.IMG_2048 2.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I should mention that there are a gazillion knock-off Freshly Picked moccs being sold out there and I have to admit, I did succumb to ordering a pair once and the quality just didn’t compare. They didn’t fit his feet as well, the material felt cheap and they weren’t nearly as durable. I would take one pair of genuine Freshly Picked moccs over 10 pairs of fakies any day!

 

Post sponsored by Freshly Picked, but all opinions are 100 percent my own.

 

How I Sleep Trained my Baby by Accident

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Before I get started with this, I think it’s important for me to make clear that I do not consider myself to be an expert mother. I get frustrated and yell sometimes (although yelling is something I’ve been MAJORLY working on). I do things I probably shouldn’t, like let my three year old have fruit snacks at 8:30 a.m. just to get him out of my hair; I let my BABY watch his big brother’s TV shows; I forget to send thank you cards after my son’s birthday (or I just never get around to it); I force my baby to skip his morning nap because I selfishly want to get all my errands done while my oldest is in Preschool; I prop my baby up on a boppy with a bottle so I can get some stuff done while he eats; I could go on and on about everything I do that I know some moms consider deplorable.

Today I’m going to share with you one thing I did right, but it was by accident.

My second son, Preston, started sleeping four hour stretches as early as two weeks old and I felt very optimistic that he was going to be one of those freak babies who sleeps through the night at two months old; and then he was and I felt like I hit the jackpot.

Then came his first cold, which lead to his first ear infection…then another, and another. It was downhill from there and we were back to waking up every two hours. After numerous failed antibiotic treatments, he had his ear tubes surgery when he was about eight months old. I naively thought that would be the magic flip of the switch to get him sleeping through the night because that’s how it went for my first son. I. Was. So. Wrong.

Preston had sleep regressed to the point where waking up was ingrained in him, even without the ear pain. After a couple weeks post op, he still wasn’t sleeping well and it occurred to me that we might have to actually “sleep train” our baby. Then Preston got sick again, and that idea got shelved. He ended up with a double ear infection despite the tubes, but this time the antibiotic treatments actually worked. Once again, I naively hoped that would do the trick and he would start sleeping.

Eeeeehhhh. Wrong again.

We were so desperate for sleep it never seemed like a good time to “sleep train.” We would instead just pop a bottle in his mouth to get him back to sleep as quickly as possible. It didn’t help that our toddler shares a wall with him and we were always afraid he’d wake up.

Then one random night when he was nine months old, I sort of snapped. He woke up at 2:30 a.m. like he always did, and something changed in me. I got up and instead of making a bottle, I went into his room, gave him his paci and Little Unicorn swaddle blanket that he likes to nuzzle his face in and I told him to please shut up shuush and left the room. The screaming intensified when I left and Ryan asked me if he should go make a bottle. My response: “NO! He’s almost nine months old; he does not need food anymore during the night and hasn’t for a while. He needs to shut up and go to sleep! I can’t do this anymore…he’s fine. He needs to figure it out. Humans sleep at night and he will do it too.”

After 15 minutes of crying, it intensified and I decided to go reassure him. I gave him back his paci and swaddler he had thrown, gently rubbed his back and told him it’s time to go night night. I went back to bed and the crying continued.

This time I waited 30 minutes. Reminder, none of this was planned.

30 minutes later, he was still crying. I went in and did my reassuring thing and went back to bed. Still crying.

This time I waited an hour. In my head I thought, “He’s fine. He’s safe in his crib, he doesn’t need to eat every three hours at this age.” 45 minutes later, he was silent. He slept until 6AM.

The very next night, he slept from 7:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Same story the following night every night since barring one or two exceptions. I’m sure I’m jinxing myself by writing about this, but I’m excited and feel like I need to share this for any tired moms out there who are hesitant to “sleep train.”

I just want to say this: It doesn’t need to be a big complicated deal. You probably don’t need to read an entire book about it. You might just need to let him/her cry a little. And yes, it sucks. It’s like nails on a chalkboard and your heart aches and you feel like you need to rescue your little one. But what are you rescuing him/her from? You’re not! You’re enabling their poor sleeping habits (in my opinion). That’s what helped me realize that it’s ok if he cries a little in order for me to start getting some sleep. Sleep deprivation is a real form of torture and my tirednesss was making me a worse mom.

So, I sleep trained my baby by accident. I have no clue if this would work for any of your babies, but I thought it was a story worth sharing.

 

 

*photo credit: Hilary Blair Photography*

 

A message for the non-moms

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As much as I hate admitting it, I’m often consumed with thoughts about how friggin’ hard motherhood is. If you accompany me on one of my rare kid free nights out, I’m likely telling you about how I haven’t felt rested in three years and how much I miss going out to dinner or leaving town with my husband at a moment’s notice and how I’m so sick of wiping asses and can we please have a sick free home for just one stinkin’ month? Or maybe if I could please just go to the bathroom without an audience…

The truth is, I’m in the thick of one of the most challenging stages of life and if I’m not careful, my sheer state of exhaustion will make it difficult for me to do anything other than mourn my life before kids when I’m out with you. But I want to tell you that I do actually have a lot of wonderful moments (like the one in the picture above) I just don’t share them with you as often as I share how much I need a bottle of wine to myself because my kids are turning me into a major cray cray. When I’m with you, I remember how it felt to be rested and free to do whatever I feel like doing (within reason).

When I’m talking to you about my life, I feel this weird sense of responsibility to share how insanely challenging it can be – like I don’t want you to feel duped once you pop a kid out and become entrenched in motherhood. I share how parenthood can push you to the brink of insanity, but what I neglect to share is that through all the insanity and frustration is the most perfect little face staring back at you. I grew these tiny humans in my body and they are the perfect blend of me and the love of my life. Does it get better than that? My heart is bursting with a sort of unconditional love you’ve never felt before. And to be clear, this love is there regardless of DNA; this crazy love comes with raising a child.

Every single time I look at my boys; whether it’s watching them laugh, cry, fall, accomplish something they’re proud of, learn something new, taste chocolate ice cream for the first time, throw up all over me or my car, have an assplosion diaper, tell me they love me, throw a massive tantrum, cry for seemingly no reason, give me hugs and kisses, fall blissfully asleep as soon as I take them in my arms (this list could go on forever, but you get the idea) – literally every single moment I have with these boys, whether beautiful or ugly, my heart is consumed with unconditional love and doting eyes and it feels amazing. There is just no other love in this world than the love parents have for their children. This love is like a drug and if it were taken away from me, I’d have serious withdrawals and a massive hole in my heart.

So, no matter how much I bitch about needing a break or how many times I tell you I’m jealous of your freedom, know that if I had the choice to go back and have my babies again, I’d do it over and over and over without hesitation. This crazy love I have for my babies has made me a better person; I’m wiser, more patient and have a bigger capacity to love. Yes, parenting little humans is really hard sometimes, but the rewards FAR outweigh the struggles.

Sincerely,

A mom of two boys under 3

10 Tips to Avoid the “Baby Blues”

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In my eighth week of being a mom to two boys, I’ve been reflecting on how much smoother this postpartum period has gone in comparison to my first.

I was truly traumatized after giving birth to Porter (you can read more on my first birth experience if you’re curious). My OB literally thinks I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. During the immediate months after I gave birth, I would wake up in complete hysterics. I had sudden flashbacks of lying on that table, unable to communicate while they were cutting into me. I didn’t want to be touched and would subconsciously and sometimes consciously push Ryan away when he tried to hug me (his love language happens to be physical touch, so that was just great). It was pretty bad. I would obviously be a horrible candidate to fight in a war.

On the other side of the spectrum, this planned C-section was a complete breeze. Aside from having major abdominal surgery, I felt good physically AND mentally. But I don’t think that’s the only reason I’m doing better this time. During the past 2.5 years as a mom, I’ve learned a few things about myself. I now know what I need to do to keep myself out of crazy town…for the most part haha ;).postpartum-depression

But really, my mommy meltdowns have been much fewer this go around and I’m able to objectively identify what I need in order to regain my sanity. This is what works FOR ME. This is not a solution for everyone, but I do think it might be helpful to anyone suffering from a little case of the baby blues. Not to confuse this with PPD. If you think you have PPD, get off my blog and call your doctor.

1. Don’t slack on your hygiene

Take a shower Every. Single. Day. Seriously ladies, don’t skip taking a shower just because you’re a mom. You’ll feel better if you just give yourself a quick wash. I’m not saying you need to wash your hair/shave your legs every single time, but at least rinse yourself and do a quick soapy wipe down. With that being said, don’t go too long between hair washes and leg shaves. It will boost your mood to have clean hair (even if you let air dry) and smooth legs. Put on some yummy smelling lotion afterwards.

2. Put on your make-up and WEAR LIPSTICK

Again, I’m only talking about what works for me put on some lipstickhere. There’s actually some science behind the psychological benefits of wearing lipstick. I’m like Speedy Gonzoles doing my make-up these days and I’m usually interrupted midway through, but I always make the effort to do it and I always feel better afterwards.

3. Get dressed

Even if you want to wear leggings. Don’t wear your spit-up leggings if you can; try to keep a clean pair on hand even if that means you need to buy a few more. And pair it with a cute top/shoes/jewelry.

4. Do your laundry 

Even if you don’t have time to put it away. During this newborn phase, you’ll often find piles of clean clothes throughout my house.But isn’t that better than piles of dirty ones?

5. Get out of the house

I cannot stress this enough! Sometimes I cringe at the idea of loading up all the baby crap, coordinating feedings/diaper changes/snacks/ etc. in order to leave, but I ALWAYS feel better when I get out of the house. It’s so very important.

6. Make plans

After I had my first, I sort of became a hermit for a while. I was having a hard time and my solution to isolate myself wasn’t helping. Sometimes you might hesitate to make plans because you aren’t sure how your day will go. Will the baby be fussy? Will you be extra tired from a bad night sleep? Will your toddler be testy? Who cares? All of those things will still be your reality whether you sit at home and feel depressed, or get out and see your friends. I’ve found that Porter’s behavior actually improves when we go out and have play dates.

7. Stay hydrated

There’s research suggesting that dehydration actually affects your mood. So get yourself a CamelBak, Hydroflask or whatever and stay hydrated.

8. Drink coffee (if you’re used to drinking coffee)

This is a no brainer, folks. Caffeine is your friend. I often have an afternoon cup to get me through to bedtime. Hopefully that habit will end once Preston starts sleeping through the night.

9. Take time to yourself

This one is the most important, but hardest one to do. I still struggle with mom guilt when I tell Ryan I need to leave the house BY MYSELF. What is it with motherhood that makes you feel guilty when you do things for yourself? But it’s sooooo important. It will make you a better mom and wife.

10. Drink wine (duh)56405.jpg

You all knew this was coming. If you’re not a wine drinker, you should be. It’s a mood booster for me after a day of twonager melt downs and newborn crying. Obviously if you don’t drink, just disregard this one.

 

Photo credits:

Family photo — Hilary Blair Photography

Postpartum woman — http://borgenproject.org/postpartum-depression-abroad/

 

 

Dressing for Pregnancy and Beyond

DSC_8948When I was pregnant with my first, I had this weird ambition to not buy any “maternity” clothing. Most of what I saw in the stores were expensive, not THAT cute and I didn’t like the idea of filling my closet with clothes that had an expiration date. I spent the latter half of my pregnancy in maxi skirts and stretchy tank tops (summer pregnancy obvi).

This time around, I went about things a little differently. I recently gave birth to my second sweet boy on March 9, so I spent the majority of my larger days of pregnancy in coldish weather. On an average day, you would most likely catch me wearing maternity leggings/flowy tops, but I’m still a girl and sometimes want to feel pretty — so when I googled “cute maternity dresses” and stumbled upon PinkBlush Maternity, I felt like I hit the jackpot. They have maternity clothing, yes, but the dresses look cute even when you’re not pregnant. They also have cute options for nursing mamas.

Cute/affordable/online (because who wants to shop with a two year old) = music to my ears. I’ve been asked by so many people where I bought my cute maternity maxi dresses, so I decided to share with you all.

IMG_1266.jpgFast forward to the joys of dressing postpartum…

I am not one of those genetically blessed individuals that can have a baby and three weeks later, appear as though I did not in fact have a baby. Pregnancy takes a toll on my body and dressing during this time period is always awkward for me. I’m nursing around the clock and my body still has evidence of growing a human. Not to say I’m ashamed of any of that, but I’m a little self-conscious.

PinkBlush to the rescue once again! I seriously love them and I’m not just saying that because they sent me the coral nursing maxi dress for free (pictured above), full disclosure. I really did discover PinkBlush completely on my own and purchased every other dress featured in this post. Turns out they have a ton of nursing conducive dresses/tops. With the rate my son has been eating, I have a feeling I’ll be continuing my PinkBlush obsession throughout the summer.

Below are some pics of all the cute dresses I’ve worn so far. The coral one was a lifesaver for a toddler free night out with the hubby – I wanted to look date-night worthy, but I knew I would likely be nursing in public and needed easy access.

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If you are feeling the love for PinkBlush, follow me on instagram @houseofmitchells for an upcoming $75 giveaway so you can get some cute stuff for yourself! xo

Photo Credit (maternity pics in navy blue dress): Hilary Blair Photography

*This is not a sponsored post