1,000+ Followers Giveaway!

As promised, giveaway time is here!!! I’m super excited because I’ve never done a giveaway on this site before and I really wanted to have one as a thank you to you all for supporting my writing efforts on this site, as well as the other sites I write for. If I didn’t get encouragement from readers on Facebook and Twitter and on this blog, I probably would not be so passionate about sharing my parenting failings and dilemmas. But I really love doing it so THANK YOU for allowing me to. THANK YOU for following and THANK YOU for not boo-ing me out of town (although, on occasion, some of you have, but that’s okay!!)

Wanna find out what I’m giving away? Okay, here it is.

First up, we have this beautiful print 8×10 by my mama friend and artist “Miranda Makes”. Check out her beautiful Etsy shop, House of Love. This print is a part of her “transportation series” and I just picked one up over at our local Amuse Toy store in Baltimore to decorate my son’s nursery! It sells on Etsy for $20 but our lucky winner gets one just for being so awesomePRINT

Next up! I Heart My Little A-holes by the witty and hilariously self-depricating, Karen Alpert who writes at Baby Sideburns. I LOVE THIS WOMAN. If you don’t follow her page on facebook do it RIGHT NOW. I’m so excited to give a copy of her book to you!

 I Heart My Little A-holes by Karen Alpert

Last but not least, we have a packet of stick-on labels from Kidecals! These are pretty awesome. I use them for labeling things in my kitchen mostly, but the possibilities endless. They are personalized labels that are dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer safe!  Plus they stick to any surface. You can use them on clothing, backpacks, toys, devices…you name it. cloudchalkboard-2-ld1-150x150

All you have to do to enter is…

  1. “LIKE” The Mediocre Mama on Facebook (make sure you are liking not from a business or community page, but from a personal account, otherwise facebook will not count your “like”. 
  2. “LIKE” and share this giveaway directly from Facebook. 

Good luck!!! Thanks to all who enter and to our wonderful contributors. Please go check out their products! I’ll be picking a winner at 2 pm next Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 . 

Why Being Mediocre is Pretty Awesome

The name of this blog just came to me one day. I was thinking about the kind of work I wanted to write if I was going to continue writing at all, which has always been a question for me. Keep writing or throw in the towel? Get off the internet! Do something different altogether? One day, I might, but for now the words keep coming so I keep jotting them down. But “mediocre” just fit with what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to be perfect. I didn’t want to be mind-blowing. I just wanted to be relatable.

Little known fact. Most of you know I’m a yoga teacher because I talk about it frequently on this blog. But I’m also a certified personal trainer, specializing in women’s training. Personal training was a fulfilling occupation for me when I had time for it (which I haven’t had much of in the past 4 1/2 years of stay at home mom-ing).

But there also came a point when I started to question it, or the struggle for perfection. Rightly or wrongly, my favorite people to work out with were the moms that came and brought their babies or two kids (who relentlessly beat the crap out of each other or their Ipads made sounds the whole time and the workout was actually really, incredibly hard to concentrate on).

While those workouts were no doubt more difficult to get through, I felt I was serving a purpose. Helping these moms who weren’t striving to be perfect, just striving to get in some exercise, feel good about themselves and call it a day, had an immediate impact on both their lives and mine. Sometimes they had to leave early from sessions. Sometimes they sat in my living room and breastfed afterwards while I went upstairs and folded laundry. Sometimes my own baby woke in the middle and I had to wear her or rock her through half the session. But it was worth it to help these mothers have something for themselves. Nothing about it was perfect. But for these parents, it was necessary.

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What was tough for me though was finding the motivation to help a 4 pack become a 6 pack. Or a size two drop to a zero. I never got why it was so important, maybe because truthfully, I don’t believe it is. I think we should strive to be healthy, functional and happy. And sure, it’s true that striving for perfection might make some happy, but I don’t think dedicating our whole lives to our physical bodies is a healthy way to achieve feeling content. We are so much more than just a body.

So it makes sense that I went in a different direction altogether. Teaching yoga is different from personal training in every way. Yoga does not/should not focus on perfection. But it does focus on finding joy and moving into and creating a better, more positive space in your life where you can exist. This is something that resonates with me much more greatly than turning 4 packs into 6 packs. And while yoga isn’t a bad way to get there, it certainly isn’t the focus. It’s about creating a better life, not a better body, and no, creating a better body does not always equal a better life. It does not. It does not. It does not.

So I thought about this all today on my run. My first wildly mediocre run since having my baby 8 weeks ago. I started off jogging and immediately felt the need to stop because my pelvic floor is just… gone. But I kept going, jogged down a main road with traffic whizzing by and tried not to worry about my huge nursing breasts sloshing from side to side. I stopped to walk over a very uphill bridge and then picked up again jogging for 6 or 7 minutes before finishing up with a brisk walk that felt good and cleansing and I had to stop myself from dancing to the Van Morrison Pandora station playing on my phone. It was so not perfect. In truth, it was probably pretty ugly. But it felt good. I didn’t feel the need to push myself to uncomfortable extremes. My postpartum body is already doing amazing things, keeping my beautiful child nourished and healthy.

This seemingly simple experience that started my day only confirmed what I already knew. That being mediocre is pretty awesome, too. That not needing or wanting perfection goes a long way and opens you up to so many more meaningful and amazing forms of happiness. Strive for greatness, yes, but don’t lose yourself in the meantime. Being you is totally amazing enough.

A day in the life of my “baby moon”

I’m currently on my so-called “Baby Moon.” While this term can mean a trip you take BEFORE baby comes (dammit, I really should’ve squeezed in that one), it can also describe the period of time after baby is born in which you swoon over your brand new infant child all day, every day until you have to (at some point, ugh) start assimilating back into the real world. It could take weeks or months until you feel ready and I’m sure it varies from one postpartum mama to the next. But personally, I decided to take my second postpartum stint as slow as humanly possible, soak in the “babymooning” and just be easy with myself.

This is important primarily for two reasons. 1) I have no idea what else to do and really can’t handle much more than the swoon fests (in between nursings and burpings and diaper blowouts and being generally ill-rested) and 2) I really do like my new baby a whole, whole lot. Most of these days look the same and they are kind of starting to blend together. And while I am certainly loving up this new person as much as I possibly can, I can’t help but think the term “baby moon” doesn’t always seem to fit with the intensity of the nonstopness that is taking care of a newborn baby human.

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Here is what my baby-moon looks like on any given day.

Continue reading @ Mommyish…

Sorry about my absence…

but THIS happened.

My son, Tener Day, was born on the evening of June 10, 2014 at home in a birthing pool full of love (and some other stuff).

Birth story coming soon! Time is not of the essence right now, as my breasts are currently in VERY high demand and I want to do the experience justice.

For now, here’s a few pics of the little milk-slurper.

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Thanks to all who have given their support to our family during this time. All the love and meals sent our way have made the transition much easier than we (I) imagined!

A family I never knew I wanted

Five years ago, I came fumbling into the world of parenting. It wasn’t intentional and I thought about the possibility of not becoming one. In the end, my child altered my life for the better. If it hadn’t happened by accident, I never would’ve made the conscious choice to have kids.

Having children is restricting in so many ways. Early mornings take a lot of adjustment and I think the lack of sleep is still one of the most mind-numbingly hard things about it all.

But it’s more than that. It’s that feeling that you are no longer steering the ship of your own life because someone else is. And half the time you don’t know where you’re going or even if you’re going. You’re just along for the ride.

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Continue reading at Mamalode…

How DO YOU overcome postpartum struggles? Um…

I’m currently trying to respond to emails and tweets in response to my last HuffPost piece asking me “how I overcame” my postpartum struggles. This is so hard to answer because it’s such a loaded question. It’s really more like a book than a tweet or even a blog post. But I’m pacing around the upstairs of my house wondering what to write back. I don’t want to leave these women hanging. I don’t get emailed for expert advice all that often, after all. 

But I find myself wondering, did I? Overcome it, that is? The way I see it, postpartum changed me completely. It wasn’t exactly a phase that I one day awoke from. It was a momentous shift in my life and one that I could never turn back from. It was growing up, saying painful goodbyes, learning to look forward instead of back. Does that answer the question? Probably not. 

It was accepting that there was hard, and really hard, and excruciating things in front of me that I couldn’t run away from. That there were things that a shot of tequila and a couple of margs couldn’t fix. That there was an entire life dependent on me because I created it and that that was okay. That I could handle it. That it wasn’t beyond me. It was embracing things I was born with but had to uncover and letting them unfold within me. It was knowing that I was the mother, no longer the child and that I was capable and strong. That it was okay if I was misunderstood, that I had bigger fish to fry. That my life was divided in two, that my heart now lived in two places. 

I don’t know if these things are the right answer. I think you all might want something a bit more black and white or easily attainable, as I did. But there isn’t one answer. There is no cut and dry. It took me years to feel happy, good, centered, like I wasn’t failing all the time. But there are some things I couldn’t have done without.

Here are a few things that helped me that you can actually put your finger on.Image

 

  • Yoga. Not as much the physical practice but the learning to breathe, to let go, to be present (even in the rough moments because they are the ones that help us grow). 
  • A supportive spouse. Sometimes I felt I was teaching my husband how to support me and at the same time learning how to support him. If your partner has no paternity leave (ugh) this is really hard because time together to figure out how to give each other breaks is crucial. It took years and my husband switching jobs to be closer to home and a lot of practice to figure this one out. 
  • Realizing that every stage passes quickly and tomorrow the next stress will seem bigger, more important and likely it will be. Now that I have a four year old with more emotional struggles and awareness I find myself thinking, “oh things were so simple when I could pop her in the car and let her fall asleep.” I know they weren’t really so simple but the grass is always greener, eh? 
  • Babywearing for bonding, yes, but also moments of peace. 
  • Accepting and embracing my new normal. 
  • Learning to say no, a lot. “No, I can’t go to dinner. No, you can’t hold the baby. No, we aren’t coming for a visit.” This is a lot harder for some of us than others. The most assertive mothers I know are by far the more content ones. I’m a work in progress. 
  • Believing in yourself. Knowing that you aren’t screwing it all up, though every mother feels this way at some point. But it’s that insecurity that should really tell you how good of a mother you are because caring is the most important thing you can do. 
  • Finding friends, acquaintances, blogs, books, anyone who understands what you’re going through because feeling alone is the worst part. The truth is you are so not alone. Every day mothers struggle. Every day mothers don’t know how to ask for help. Be brave and start the conversation. 

Now I’ll ask you all the same questions. What were your postpartum struggles? And, who/what helped you? How did you move forward and what can you tell other mothers about this sacred time? I’d love to hear from you! There is so much more to be said and written… 

What Postpartum Moms Really Need

When I became a parent at the ripe old age of 24, I was glad to kiss a difficult pregnancy goodbye and embrace the joys of new motherhood. But while the joys were many, so were the challenges. I thought I had been adequately prepared to reach a whole new level of sleeplessness, to feed someone from my own body more than I fed myself, to answer every beck and call and do it effortlessly.

Now the word “prepared” seems laughable to use in the context of becoming a parent — literally, becoming a whole new version of yourself, shedding your old skin and giving birth to the mother in you from the moment you give birth to your child. There is no way to prepare for motherhood and I wish I’d known that. But I also wish I’d known how to ask for help.

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Continue reading at HuffPost… 

7 Reasons Pregnant Women Make Terrible Party Guests

I’ll be the first one to admit that I am the worst kind of pregnant woman there is. For starters, I get sick to the point of wishing I was dead and find myself spewing complaints about the entire magical process at every opportunity. At the same time, I’m completely awestruck by pregnancy and birth and can’t seem to stop talking about placentas and colostrum and the awesomeness that is the female body. My husband is a lucky man, I know.

Thankfully for everyone else, I also become an anti-social sloth who would prefer to binge-watch medical dramas for the better part of a year to offset the acute anxiety of baby-making than all of the above. While some women may glow and ooze prenatal perkiness, I sweat. I wretch. I complain and meticulously count down the days until my belly returns to being a flabby sack of flesh. And then, I forget to buy groceries or make dinner and I’m all “Teehee, oops! Honey, can you pick something up?”

 

Continue reading at HuffPost… 

20 Reasons I’m Not a Cool Mom

Before I was a mom, I was convinced I’d be a cool one. I suppose I had big aspirations to not sweat the small stuff, wear cute outfits and be fun pretty much all of the time. But what I didn’t realize was that some of the small stuff is actually bigger than I thought when it comes to molding tiny humans. And some of the seemingly fun stuff is not all that fun. At this point in my parental journey, I don’t even know what it means to be a “cool mom,” and I’d certainly never attempt to try and be one. It seems far too… problematic. Though my priorities as a parent are constantly evolving as our family does, being laid-back or “cool” will likely never be near the top of my list.

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Here are 20 reasons (to name a few) why I’m so not a cool mom:

1. I don’t do different dinners for picky eaters. You are eating what we are having or nothing at all. Really big breakfasts are always an option.

Continue reading at HuffPost… 

How can I get my kids to eat their veggies?

If your kids willingly eat their veggies, kudos to you. But let’s get real; Most of us aren’t raising a posse of natural born broccoli-biters like the Gwyneth Paltrows of the world. For most families, maybe there are a few “safe” vegetables. You know, the ones you can serve without having them fly at your head, but the rest is really a toss-up.

Even if we make an honest effort to have a variety of healthy food on the table most nights, kids aren’t always the easiest bunch to please. And it doesn’t help that when they decide they actually do like something one week, it could be totally out of the question the next. It’s incredibly frustrating, but it happens to the best of us.

If you’re in major freakout mode about the nutrition your child isn’t getting, stay calm. All is not lost. Instead of slamming your head against the kitchen table night after night, try some of these surefire ways to get them to eat their veggies, no questions asked (except maybe “can I have seconds?”).

Continue reading at Scary Mommy…