Hello and happy Friday! This week’s Friday Five is about all things motherhood and family. I’ve been working on some motherhood content to share with you – but they’re the types of posts that take a long time to write, that I read 30 times over, and feel my heart race as I hit publish. Even though I’m always nervous to publish such personal content, sharing my journey in motherhood (both the good and challenging aspects) has made me feel more connected to this community than ever.
O N E
I listened to a GOOP Podcast about postpartum anxiety and caring for new mothers and it really hit home for me. It’s so interesting to learn about how other cultures care for postpartum women and how that experience differs from how women in America are treated in the postpartum period (this is a totally generality, obviously, there are a wide array of experiences). The episode can be found here (scroll down to the second one titled “Postpartum Anxiety & The Motherhood Shift”) – I encourage you to listen!
T W O
Writing about motherhood is a therapeutic process for me, but also requires a really extensive amount of vulnerability (speaking of vulnerability, watch this TED talk with Brene Brown). I’ve actually started writing about motherhood and my own childhood as part of my therapy program and it helps tremendously with perspective, healing and moving forward. What I want to say before I start publishing some of this content, is something I alluded to on Instagram stories recently.
I got a comment on my blog a few weeks ago suggesting that I “stick with talking about style and clothes” because “parenting advice isn’t my forte.” I have to admit that this comment really impacted me and I’ve waited a few weeks to really gather my thoughts about why it bothered me so much. It didn’t bother me because I thought it was true – but because I feel like no one should attempt to silence or diminish someone else’s lived experiences of motherhood, or discourage them from sharing those experiences. And to clarify, the comment was left on a post that did not actually dole out parenting advice – it was a post sharing our family bed time routine. I’m not trying to call out one person – over the years, I have gotten similar comments (and my friends in the blogging community get them often, too). This isn’t about one comment – it’s about the underlying message.
Every mother, no matter what her circumstances, has the right to share her experiences, and to suggest she silence herself, is essentially saying that her voice is not worthy of being heard. Is there one right way to mother? Is there one “way of living as a family” that is the only way worthy of sharing publicly in a space like this? Is a mother’s story deserving of being silenced or diminished because her circumstances and experiences are different than your own?
Haven’t women been systematically silenced throughout our history enough? Why perpetuate this instead of recognizing and embracing that every mother’s story is different? You don’t have to agree with or like everything about someone’s motherhood experience or the choices she makes – but please, don’t feel compelled to tell her she should just shut up.
I won’t apologize for or walk on eggshells about sharing my experiences as a mother and I won’t stop writing about motherhood, because it’s in my heart to share with you. We can have different values and opinions and make different choices for ourselves and our families without trying to silence one another, it’s as simple as that.
T H R E E
Since we’re on the topic of motherhood and parenting in this post, I’m going to answer one of the questions that came in through my google form — “is it a big difference going from one child to two?” I feel like I could spend an entire post just on this question – but for me, it was. Going from zero to 1 child was something I found to be really natural – not easy by any means, but I didn’t feel like I struggled a lot. Going from one to two was and is still, at times, challenging. I’m an only child, so I’m not sure if that plays any role in how I feel about raising two children, but that transition wasn’t easy for me. So many factors made transitioning from 1-2 children hard – Lincoln was a very colicky baby, he was dairy intolerant so I had to completely change my diet, I was nursing and pumping around-the-clock, I had crippling PPA, I had to have D&C surgery at 8 weeks postpartum after I hemorrhaged from a second placenta accreta, had to learn to divide my time between two children, felt a lot of guilt, etc. In addition to all of that, Lincoln had some physical delays that resulted in us having to go to specialists and physical therapy. It was, in a word, completely overwhelming to balance all of those things plus working full time and more. After he turned one is where I felt things started to become easier. I stopped pumping, finally sought help for my PPA, Lincoln graduated from PT and was sleeping well. But that entire first year of his life was a hard adjustment for me. If he had been an “easy baby” like Harper, I’m not sure if the experience would have been different or not. Now that I’m on the other end of it – I can tell you that I LOVE being the mama of two sweet children. The amount of joy they bring to our lives is worth every struggle and every bad day.
F O U R
On another parenting topic – we started potty-training Lincoln. He went to the potty at daycare a couple of times but he has some trepidation after he had a little accident. We bought him this race car potty, which aesthetically, I absolutely despise, but I know he will love it, so I happily and lovingly brought it into our home. I’m learning that potty training boys can be a little bit of a different experience, so I welcome your tips and suggestions – bring ‘em on! Just like with Harper, we are of the “slow and steady wins the race” mindset. He keeps telling us he wants “fire trunk and big truck undies” so he’s definitely got motivation!
F I V E
Did you miss my “7 things that make me a better mom” post from last week? Below are more links to some of my favorite motherhood content from my blog:
My experience with postpartum anxiety
My D&C surgery for placenta accreta (first and second)
Lincoln pregnancy announcement
Harper’s birth story part 1 and 2
If there are any other motherhood topics you’d like me to cover, please send me your ideas via my google form.
“Every mother, no matter what her circumstances, has the right to share her experiences, and to suggest she silence herself, is essentially saying that her voice is not worthy of being heard.”
What a beautiful sentiment! As a mother of young toddlers, it’s refreshing to hear others talk about taboo motherhood subjects. So many of us only share the good stories. We need to share the bad and the ugly too. Thank you for your courage to share!
It’s too bad that you received that comment regarding your motherhood posts – those posts are my absolute favorite! I appreciate your candidness about going from 1 to 2 children. I have 2 also and the transition was (and still is) much harder than I expected. Im hopeful that my experience is like yours and that things normalize a bit after my youngest turns 1. Thank you for the post!
I think you seem like a wonderful and loving mother and you are obviously doing a fantastic job of balancing two jobs and parenthood. I’m sure you already know this, but anyone who would take the time to write such a hurtful comment is probably hurting in some way themselves. Perhaps you should share the children’s book Have You Filled a Bucket Today? I read it to my kids all the time and I know some adults who could benefit from it as well!
If you don’t already follow them, check out @catandnat on instagram (they are on Facebook too). They have a really positive vibe when it comes to motherhood and agree that every single mom is just trying to do their best so why don’t we support all moms, no matter what their choices.
I 100% commend you for making it through that first year and to me you sound like a superstar. The adjustment to 2 kids for me was also so difficult, but I live in Canada therefore had a year off of work, didn’t breastfeed, my second baby was the easier of my two and didn’t have any intolerance’s….basically to say I had none of the challenges you did other than PPD, and you deserve a parenting medal. You definitely have the right to share your experiences and I love reading about them. It makes it feel so normal that the struggles I experienced, although different than yours in a lot of ways are normal as a new parent to 2 children.
Hi! I LOVE that you are sharing your motherhood experience. Reading other mothers’ journeys always help me with mine! My pediatrician suggested not even trying to potty train our son until he was closer to 3 when I inquired at his 2 year well check. He started showing interest and choosing when he would go around 2.5 and then when I was on maternity leave I did one naked day with a timer and going to the potty every 20 to 30 minutes and one underwear day with him and that’s all it took. I’ve had some co workers who had luck with this method as well. Good luck and thanks for sharing your life with us!
Rachel @ Better LIVIN says
I’m about to be a first time mom and one of the things I’m dreading most is dealing with all the judgement!!! I’ve watched for years how other mothers talk about and judge each other and I find it insane. You’re right to not let anyone try to silence you, I don’t know why some people think they have a right to tell someone what to write or post on THEIR space! Your blog is YOUR blog and you can write about whatever you want.
Anyway, I am loving these motherhood posts. I intend to go back to work while my baby is still young so I love reading about how other working moms manage.
We just potty trained our second boy a few weeks ago (we have 2 boys, so I only know boy potty training:). We set out his little potty in the living room, spreading a big towel underneath it. We encouraged him to sit and watch TV while drinking watered down juice. Juice is a treat, so he was pretty happy to sit there and get liquids in. After about a week of having the potty in the living shudder (aesthetically ::shudder::) we moved the potty into the bathroom – once he got the hang of the sensation of needing to go, and being able to let us know/walk down the hallway without an accident. We offered little treats for pees for the first week (like a vanilla covered raisin) and then he sort of forgot about the treats as peeing became more routine. We talked a lot about BIG treats for going #2, like a cookie, since that’s definitely a bigger adjustment. He still wears a diaper at night and probably will for some time, so he is still going #2 occasionally w/ the diaper, but he’s also gotten used to the potty for that as well. We spent a lot of time having him sit and try, and reading this book to him over and over https://www.target.com/p/i-use-the-potty-big-kid-power-hardcover-maria-van-lieshout/-/A-50602237?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=PLA_Entertainment+Shopping&adgroup=SC_Entertainment&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=c&location=9033321&gclid=Cj0KCQjwy9LVBRDOARIsAGqoVnvQrJyjpOjRyUIh5dvcvImvvhsM8So2P0k2YPyNQAP6goPr1s0HGoMaArSPEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds. We all have it memorized by now, and it makes him laugh and relax. Good luck!!
Thank you for your post! We have kids with similar ages (and my daughter is named Harper!) and i agree from one to two is hard!
Check out the link for a really powerful message about motherhood, it really helped me when faced with challenges.
I remember that baby announcement, seems like a lifetime ago! As a mom of two the same ages as yours, I always appreciate your insight and experience with motherhood.
I feel like since you are directly calling me out, I will respond (against my better judgment). Especially because it seemed that conversation had come to an end, because you said you were done responding, I guess you weren’t?
I was not diminishing you as a mother, in fact I said your children seem happy and healthy. My frustration from your bedtime post was because I felt that as someone who seems to receive quite a bit of help with day-to-day tasks, you seem unappreciative. As a longtime reader of your blog, every now and then I wince at those posts. Having worked with women in crisis, I tend to get overly sensitive about these types of things, and I am completely aware of that about myself. The fact that you are interpreting my critique as silencing women, just lets me know that you still don’t understand where I was coming from.
…Which is fine, I suppose. I will probably still read your blog and click on your Nordstrom links.
In your posts to me, you told me that I don’t run a household and don’t understand what most working parents face which simply isn’t true. The comment that I don’t run a household in and of itself is so incredibly hurtful to say to another mother that I’m not quite sure what to do with it. I go to work, I take care of my kids, I prepare meals, I grocery shop, I clean our home, I do endless loads of laundry, I tuck them in, brush their teeth, help them with school projects…I’m not sure how much else I need to add to that list to justify that I “run a household.” I have friends with nannies that don’t work outside the home and have cleaning ladies- I would never tell them they don’t run a household because they work their asses off, even if they have some help.
I understand you work with women in crisis and that shapes your viewpoint -thanks for the important work you do. As you know, I grew up in a house where both physical and emotional abuse was rampant and had my own crisis as an adult when I waited too long to seek help for my postpartum anxiety which got totally out of control (not to mention my second postpartum hemorrhage episode which gave me some PTSD). What constitutes a crisis is different for everyone. Again, just because someone has it worse, it doesn’t diminish the value of someone else’s experiences. I’m not saying my life is hard – I feel very lucky I have the life that I do. But it doesn’t come easily and I struggle with many things, just like many women and mothers do. I have challenges, even if I have some help in life. Even if I’m lucky enough to afford that help. It doesn’t magically absolve me from struggling.
I’m not sure how much more appreciation I could show for the help we have. I’m transparent about it, constantly say how thankful I am for my in laws on Instagram, Instagram live, Facebook, my blog etc. I’m many times moved to tears when I write about the amazing gift they give us by helping us by providing some of our dinners.
I want my blog to be a place where I can share what’s really on my mind and heart and I welcome differing opinions but I can’t be silent when someone (anyone) comes to my space and suggests I don’t cover a certain topic or suggests I’m not greatful or that I “don’t understand” what most parents go through. No person can understand what all families go through because we all have different circumstances. I try to view everything through the lens that we’re all doing our best and I try to give others the benefit of the doubt as often as I can.
I hope you can come to understand how some of your responses came across and how you’d feel if someone said those things to you.
Wishing you and your family a nice weekend.
Loved this one!! I’m about to listen to the podcast and I’m expecting my second this summer and already and dealing with some anxiety around what it will be like with two. Glad to know I’m not alone! Thank you for sharing!!!
I love this post! I think it’s so important for mothers to be heard and be encouraged to tell their stories. Being a mother is amazing and such a gift but it is also incredibly difficult. I feel like Motherhood is sometimes idealized which gives new mom’s the impression that they should never struggle or face challenges as a parent.
I also wanted to comment that you seem so happy and I have been enjoying your content even more than usual lately!!
I really appreciate your willingness to share your experiences. As a new working mom, it is great to have you share what has worked for you & your family. Thank you!
My 2 boys are older but looking WAY back in time, I used the Cherrio trick my mom used for my 3 brothers, aiming practice at the Cherrio! Super fun! For them! I also just used to take them with me when I went , I’d get super excited and say LET’S GO PEE and I’d sit and he’d sit. Even if he didn’t go, I guess maybe it took the fear away? Like, see everyone pees! LOL TMI
I didn’t use any sort of candy rewards myself, I didn’t want them ‘pushing’ a drop out just to get a jelly bean, not great for the bladder. Plus, I’d probably eat too many myself!!! not great for the waistline, lol.
Good Luck! And don’t worry , I always told myself there are no 10 year olds that aren’t potty trained, they’ll learn eventually. That little bladder just needs to get strong enough in it’s own time. Mom’s always compare when was your child trained?…..and the fact is, they ALL will be! Am I right?!? I just found all these milestones so cool!! Enjoy your child’s journey!
Okay- that Cheerio trick is an excellent idea, thank you! Love all of your tips and advice 💗