Floral Dress and an Interview on Being a Mommy
I just stumbled upon an interview I did for "The Fresh Mommy" a few months back and realize I never posted it to my own blog. I thought this might be a fun way for you guys to get to know me a bit better so I posted the questions I was asked below. Outfit details are at the end of the inteview so you know where to find them! Thanks friends and I hope you enjoy it!
1. How has being a Mom changed your life, and how has the experience been different than you expected?
Being a mom has changed my life in countless ways but I think the most significant for me is the added level of accountability I feel it has brought me. I have always tried to live my life in with integrity, caring for my own physical, emotional and spiritual needs while prioritize loving the people around me well. Having a daughter has given me a clearer picture of areas I still need to grow in. She watches everything. She sees what I eat, she sees how I take care of myself, she sees how I use my phone, she sees how I handle frustration, she sees if I am warm and affectionate with her Daddy or if I make a frustrated comment to him after we have both had a long and exhausting day. She is learning from all of these interactions. She knows better than anyone how I prioritize my life and unconsciously I am teaching her to do the same. I have tiny little eyes on me all of the time and it is a wonderful thing that is constantly calling me to live at a higher level. She unknowingly is always pushing me to be my best.
In terms of how it’s been different than I expected, I went into motherhood thinking “I’ve got this. I have a master’s degree in counseling. I have studied child psychology. I was a nanny for two years while I pursued my masters. I’m pretty well prepared.” Now I just laugh at those thoughts. While I am thankful for the experience and education I have had, I still could not feel more unprepared many days. No one can prepare you for what sleep deprivation is like, or caring for a newborn when your still in physical pain and recovering from delivery, or how you will feel when breastfeeding is an uphill and painful battle for months. You can’t be prepared for what loosing so much freedom will feel like. No one can tell you the sense of responsibility you will feel for this tiny human or what it will feel like when you truly realize that your new job is 24-7 and there is no off button. No one can tell you how much joy you will feel either. You can’t know how it will feel to exchange giggles or to snuggle your baby in the middle of the night. You can’t imagine the excitement of their first steps or first word and how proud you feel. You just can’t be prepared for the love you will experience and the way that the joy will so far outweigh any sacrifice. Looking back, I wasn’t prepared at all really. But feeling prepared and being equipped are different. There are so many things I never knew I would feel or need or experience. There are so many more things to come that I can’t control and I don’t know how to even begin to prepare for and yet I have found that love has left me equipped to overcome every challenge I have faced. I have found in such a real and tangible way that unconditional love truly never fails.
2. What has been the biggest challenge you've faced as a Mom, and how did you overcome that challenge?
Honestly, I think the biggest challenge I have faced as a Mom is probably my own selfishness and negative thoughts. Being a mom, or at least the kind of mom I hope to be, means constantly learning to lay down my preferences and desires to take care of my family. While it truly is a joy to do, it can still feel really hard somedays. I have moments where all I want is to go to the grocery store without a toddler whining. I don’t always want to take a few deep breaths when I look away for a second and all the nice, neat piles of laundry are now on the floor. Sometimes I don’t want to respond calmly and give my daughter a choice to listen or choose a time out. It feels better to yell. I’d really like to whine and stomp my feet and flail my arms around right back at my tantrum throwing 18 month old. I am telling you, getting past myself some days can be a real challenge. I really never knew how easy it would be to allow myself to feel like a “victim” to motherhood on the hard days. It is all too easy to dwell on thoughts like “this laundry is never ending”, “how many times have I washed this high chair today?”, “I’ve been trapped in a house for 10 days with a sick toddler and I have no support because our family lives hours away”, or “I know my husband appreciates me but he still has NO IDEA how hard my day actually was” and on and on and on.
I daily work on overcoming this challenge in a few ways. For me my faith is a central part of my life so I make sure I get up an hour before my daughter to meditate and pray. This helps me get ahead of my thoughts and start the day from the right mindset. I also try to think of my thoughts a bit like a budget. When I don’t have a budget my money just leaves me and I don’t know where it goes. On a budget, I tell each dollar where it goes and what it will do. I do my best to tell my thoughts what to do and where to go. The crazy thing about humans is that we have the ability to choose what we think about. I allow myself to think about some thoughts, and other thoughts I choose to let go of or change to a more strength focused thought. It’s taken me growing in awareness about what my thoughts are and learning to not just passively accept what I think, but actively engage with those thoughts and choose what I will listen to and what I will reframe or let go of.
3. What is your daily beauty routine? What are your go to make up/skin products?
Right now I am mostly using Tammy Fender’s holistic skincare products and I am absolutely loving them. I also use a few Sunday Riley products here and there and always use my Rodan and Fields Redefine eye cream. In terms of make up, I love to play and find new products all the time, but the two products that I always have on me are Benefit “They’re Real” mascara and my C.O. Bigelow spearmint lipgloss. YSL is always my go-to lipstick for special occasions.
4. What items do you always have to have with you in your purse/bag?
Burts Bees chapstick is definitely number one. I have a serious addiction to chapstick and I never leave home without it. I usually have a handful of fun lip-glosses and an extra mascara as well. I always keep my ray-bans on me along with my phone and wallet. These days my bag is mostly filled with a few Plum organics pouches, a string cheese, a snack trap with some raisins, a tiny baby doll and a few diapers with wipes. Oh, and Paci! Paci (the pacifier) is a MUST have. We are working on saying good-bye to paci, and by working on it I really mean that I am thinking about getting rid of it but haven’t had the heart to pull the trigger yet.
5. What are your favorite clothing brands, and what are some must have pieces in your wardrobe?
I mix a lot of high end and low end fashion together. I have found that you can make inexpensive pieces look really nice when they are paired with higher end accessories. For more trendy pieces that I may not hold on to for as long I do a lot of shopping at target, H&M or TJ Maxx. I think my favorite places to shop for higher end brands are probably Intermix, Revolve and Nordstrom. My must have pieces would probably be a good pair of denim (I love Hudson jeans and Rag and Bone), a nice leather jacket and a stylish pair of sneakers to run after a toddler in!
6. What are your favorite activities to do with your kids?
We love to go to the aquarium. We got a year long pass and go almost every week. Ayla get’s so excited to visit the fishy’s and see “her” octopus. We also love to go to a weekly music class at our local library and have play dates with my friend’s kids. I think maybe our favorite activity to do together is to snuggle up with a big pile of books and spend the morning reading.
7. What musical artists are you listening to right now? Do you have any current song obsessions?
Right now I have been listening to the Josh Garrels pandora station (when the Disney station is not on!). I haven’t found many new artists lately because I just haven’t had the time to look. My husband is great at finding new music and he is usually the one that introduces me to great artists but that has definitely happened less since having a baby!
8. What are your food preferences? Organic? Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan, etc... What are your daily go to snacks
I try to buy mostly organic where I can. Trader Joes has become my go-to grocery store because its far more affordable! Right now my favorite every day snack as has been cherry grape tomatoes with tiny mozzarella balls and basil. I could seriously eat a whole bowl! I usually keep some fruit and nuts on hand as well.
10. How often do you workout/exercise? What are your favorite ways to stay in shape?
Right now I really haven’t been working out. Unfortunately, it’s the one are of my life I am neglecting a bit at the moment. I did try a few months ago to get a gym membership but my daughter just cried the whole time and they would have to come get me after 10 minutes. I also found that 10 minutes was just long enough for her to catch someone’s cold so we eventually just stopped going. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up though! We live in a great little town and are about a mile away from a beautiful park with a huge pond. When its warm out I will often jog down to the park so we can visit the duckies and then jog home. It’s a great way to get out of the house for a change of scenery and to get a quick workout in.
11. What advice can you give to Moms that are struggling to find a balance between motherhood, and staying stylish and inspired in their own lives?
Know that you’re not alone and don’t compare yourself to the moms around you. I think its helpful to look at your life and see what you’re in control of and what you’re not. I find that people, myself included, struggle so much because we spend too much time worrying and trying to fix things we can’t control or we set unattainable goals for ourselves. There are only 24 hours in a day so do the best with what you have when you have it and give yourself grace for the rest. Sometimes that may mean you prioritize reading to your child all morning while staying in your PJ’s and sometimes that may mean closing the door and letting them play by themselves while you take a few minutes for yourself to do your hair and makeup. I also think we mama’s need to rely on each other a lot more. I just don’t think we were meant to raise babies alone. My friends have strengths that I desperately need and I have strengths they need. Like, no joke, one of my best friends came over the other day and just couldn’t handle how disorganized my food pantry was. She spent an hour organizing my whole food pantry while I watched my daughter and her son playing together (because apparently I can run a blog but I somehow just can’t organizing my food pantry!) We all need friends that we can let into the mess in our lives so they can help us organize some of the chaos, whether it’s a food pantry, our marriages, struggles with our kids or just getting our own thoughts and anxieties under control. Reach out and don’t try and be super mom on your own. If you can manage having every single aspect of your life look perfect then there is a good chance your working so hard at having it all together that you end up not even being able to enjoy the life your in. Life is better when we let people into our mess and humbly receive their strengths while lending them ours.