Mom of Fame – Michelle


Michelle is a new and fresh mom. Her little guy is just five months old. He may be young, but he has traveled all over the place! They’ve been to Chicago, Toronto and GERMANY. This kid has been all over the place and his mom seems to handle it all with ease.

In the next couple of months they are taking the biggest journey of all and traveling to Germany to live there for a year. To some this may seem impossible, but Michelle is handling it with excitement and grace (and maybe a little nervousness). We cannot wait to hear all about the differences in motherhood from the states to Germany.

We wish her all the best in her upcoming journey to Germany.

Welcome to the mom of fame, Michelle! You deserve it!


What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

My advice was probably more given in a warning. It was “your life will change”. And I think in the beginning I took it as a warning. Then once I had him, everything changes, but I think it changes for the better. I love the changes. So I’m going to take it positively.

I would [give that advice to someone else] but not say it in that tone. Not say, “your life is going to suck” but more your life is going to change for the better.


How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

I think I thought it was going to be worse than it actually is. I thought it was just going to be problem after problem after problem. Because of the “warnings” I was getting. But it’s been turning out to be good. He’s a great baby. We’ve had a good time. I think I thought it was just going to be crappy.


What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?


I am way  more patient than I’ve ever been in my life. I was never patient before. But I have the patience of a Saint now because of him. My husband has none which is kind of funny. We switched.


I think I’m more loving than I used to be. Like, I was loving, but I’ve never been like, “oh my God, I love you, I love you, I love you!” And I do that to him. All day. Every day.


I was always independent before, but that is a strength that has helped now. I don’t call on my mom, I don’t call on my sisters everyday. Like, “oh he did this, I don’t know what to do!” That has definitely helped a lot. It has improved more.


Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

Everyday. I have to pick one!? [Laughs]. I would probably say when we brought him home. I was recovering from a C-section. I don’t really remember all of the hospital time that we had since I was on so much medication. So I feel like I didn’t really bond with him in the hospital. When we got home, I was just like, “we have a baby, now what do we do!?” [My husband] actually really kinda took the lead on that one. I was like, “I don’t know anything about this child; I don’t know what to do; I don’t know what to do for him” and he definitely helped with that. Now I’m better, but in the beginning I didn’t know what I was doing.

I was still on medication for a lot. For a C-section they give you a lot of medication. I was on it for a good week and a half after we got home. I couldn’t do anything for two weeks; I could barely pick him up. My husband just tried everything he could think of to help him. He didn’t sleep very well in the beginning. He hated his bassinet. [My husband] tried everything. And it worked out but [my husband] really took the lead on that. That was really overwhleming. And then when he left I was like, “no, don’t leave me!” But that was probably my most memorable one. I have a lot [laughs].


Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

I feel like I’ve probably lost everything. But I also have a husband who is not really home. So I’ve pretty much lost everything that I had before. I’ve lost independence. The ability to do anything, really.

In saying that, I think I’ve gained everything as well. He’s my world now. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

I would probably want him to learn my independence. From the things that I’ve had to go through; with being married to someone who’s not home all the time, moving to Ohio by myself. Then this new trip to Germany, there will be a lot that he will see. Especially, that you have to be independent to really function. So I would like him to learn that from me. Because that will definitely pave the way for the rest of his life.


How are you feeling about the move to Germany for a year with the baby?

I am very apprehensive. I’m a nervous wreck. I think I have a panic attack every night. [Laughs]. But…I mean there’s not much I can do about it if I want my husband to be home. So it’s kind of a two-for-one. We have to do it to move on with our lives. It’s really just one day at a time. I am so busy thinking about everything that we have to do that I’m not even prepared for the long term effects that it’s going to have on me and my child.

I’m probably not [preparing]. I think I’ve put it in the back of my head and am just trying to get the things that we have to bring first. I’m probably going to be a wreck when I get there. But I think moving to Ohio prepared me, because I was also by myself and away. Going there I’ll have [my husband]. We’ll have people there. When I went to Ohio I had no one. I was really lonely. So I won’t be as lonely.

Mom of Fame – Kristin


Kristin is originally from Michigan, resides in Oregon, and is currently on sabbatical in Los Angeles with her family. This would stress out many, but Kristin is taking control of the situation and even homeschooling her son! We knew that she was going to be perfect for this blog, but we weren’t sure how we would do the actual interview. Thus, she is our first write-in interview!

Kristin has been a mom for eight years to a strong, independent, awesome little boy. She is constantly giving her son new experiences and you can easily tell that it’s making him an awesome human being.

We are thrilled that she wanted to be a part of this and appreciate her taking the time to send us her answers and some pictures. She very much deserves the title of ‘mom of fame’. Enjoy!


What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

This isn’t really a piece of advice, per se, but it was the best information someone gave me before I had [my son]. When I was pregnant, a couple of friends who had a baby a few years before told me that parenthood was going to be a million times harder than I expected–and I already expected it to be hard. They were totally nice about it, just realistic. And they were totally right. I’m glad I had a little warning ahead of time. Motherhood ended up being way harder than I even expected knowing that. That’s still what I tell people all the time when they’re pregnant–in a nice way–how hard it is. But I also tell friends how I wasn’t prepared for how amazing the joy of parenthood is either. I never knew I could experience so much joy.

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

Motherhood is way more all consuming than I expected. My mom had 3 kids, worked, and managed to remain sane and happy (although she says in retrospect, she almost lost her sanity eventually…). So I figured I could totally manage it too. I had done a fair amount of babysitting and had tons of younger cousins, so I thought I knew what I was getting myself into. But, until my son went to kindergarten, I feel like I barely had a second to myself for six years. I hadn’t planned to be a stay at home mom when I got pregnant, but due to job and location related circumstances, I ended up staying home with my son for six years instead of going back to work. I did some freelance work on nights and weekends, but not too much. Staying at home with an energetic, strong-willed child who was not a great napper was so hard. Even with mom friends around, spending all day every day taking care of an active small person for six years was exhausting. At the same time, I never felt like time went by too fast like many people do. I appreciate that I was able to spend tons of quality time with my kiddo when he was little. And after a particularly rough year when he was a “threenager,” things got easier.


What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

I’m good at talking honestly about serious issues with my curious child.
I’m a fun mom (my energetic kiddo thinks I’m weak for not being able to play sports with him for as long as he’d like), but I enjoy playing all sorts of sports with him and doing things that I loved doing when I was a kid (like mini golf, bowling, rollerskating, etc.)
I’m pretty darn organized. I’m a control freak, so I like being prepared for every scenario. I always had a fully stocked diaper bag and I still always have snacks, gum, kleenex, spare clothes, jackets, games to entertain my kiddo, etc.

Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

When my kiddo was three, there was one day were I couldn’t handle him not listening to me anymore. He was three, so he was stubborn and was still learning how to be a good listener. I was asking him to stop some sort of negative behavior at home and he just wouldn’t. I called my parents in Michigan in tears and asked them to keep him busy with FaceTime for a few minutes and called my husband to ask him to come home from work. That’s not something I would typically do, but I just needed someone else to take over right then. Luckily it was almost the end of the day and he was able to come home. It’s really difficult not having a family support system in town to help out at times like those.


Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

I used to feel like I lost more of myself when my son was younger and I hardly had time to myself and didn’t go out much, but things got better as he got older. Sure it’d be great to go out wherever I want, whenever I want, but I feel a lot more like myself now that he’s in school. I’ve gained a lot as a mother, though. As I mentioned before, I never knew I could feel so much joy in my life. But having a child has been so incredibly joyful–from hearing him laugh for the first time and hearing him start to speak sentences to watching him try to figure out the world and expressing his imagination. Motherhood has also given me an improved relationship with my work. I used to obsess and stress over my writing so much, and while I still love my work and I’m still technically a perfectionist. I don’t stress out as much because it doesn’t seem like as big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Now with a family, I realized there is more to life than work.

What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

I mostly want my child to learn to be a kind person (which he is already showing he is).


What is it like homeschooling your son? What challenges or positives are you running into?

I’m homeschooling [my son] for a couple months while my husband is on sabbatical in L.A. because it seemed like too short of a time to put him in school here. I definitely would not homeschool for any longer than this because I’m not cut out to be a teacher (Bless all the teachers out there for their patience and hard work!!), but it’s been fun for a short time. We get to focus on exploring things he’s interested in (like math) and things that I think it’d be good to have him learn (like civil rights, women’s suffrage, art). It’s super fun to go on field trips to museums and bookstores! It’s also pretty tiring to try to keep him busy for 12 hours a day again.

Five (free) Ways to Get Out of the House with a Toddler (and save your sanity!)


Entertaining a toddler can be an incredibly stressful ordeal; or, it can be a lot of fun.

I, as a mother, can not sit still. If we have time to kill, and we’ve already spent some time at home, I am all for coming up with something to do outside of the home. A lot of moms are crafty and set up super cool activities at home. I am not that person. I can think of creative things we can do outside the home, though.

I am not a cheap person, but I know that we can’t do expensive outings all the time. We do have a zoo membership and use that a good amount, and I would for sure recommend getting one of those if you live close. These are some of my ‘free’ activities I do with my son.

‘Charlie’ Walks (or just walks for normal people)

Charlie is our dog. He is home all day when we are at work and school so we like to get him out of the house as soon as we get home. We will do this one every single day without fail. The only time we won’t is if it is down pouring. When I pick up Ben from school one of the first things he will ask me in the car is ‘charlie walk’?

These are just ‘walks’ for those of you without a pet. We will go on adventures during these walks (we have pretended to go fishing, we pretended that our walk was a race track, we look for animals, etc.). Ben and Charlie (and me!) love these. It’s a good way to get a little exercise and explore our surroundings.



I say shopping very loosely. It’s not really shopping. It’s us going to cool stores (Target being one of them, because, Target) and walking (running) around.

When it rains we love to go to Petco. There are cats, dogs, fish and other random animals that we can go and visit. It’s one of our favorites. We also go to strip malls when it’s raining so that Ben can run under the canopies and get some of that two year old energy out.


Play dates

These are the best. The absolute best. Not only does Ben get to play with someone (even if they are babies – or dogs), but mama gets to chill with her friends, too. I love that most of our friends have kids and these kinds of things can happen more regularly.

We have a lot of friends that live close by so it’s easy to send a quick text to see if they are available. Play dates are my favorite.


Outdoor work

I PROMISE that we do not overwork our little two year old boy. BUT it’s fun to get out of the house and do things that need to be done. He loves water and using the hose so we will wash my car (ends up dirtier than it was, but oh well). He helps pick up around the yard, takes things to the curb, get the mail and countless other things. He even has his own mower and ‘helps’ mow the lawn.

Again, this is just outside our house, but we make it an adventure. Our latest outdoor adventures are all about dinosaurs and fishing. It’s pretty darn cute.


Give me ALL the parks

This is a given, right? Everyone does this all the time, I assume. Metro Detroit has some amazing parks and they are FREE! We are close to a school and will walk there at least once or twice a week to play. We also have countless other parks around the area.

I love the walk. Ben loves the playground. It’s a win win.


I know I shouldn’t feel the way I do but, as a working mom, I feel like I have to do something exciting/fun/creative/special with Ben every moment that I can. I enjoy it. It lets out a lot of toddler energy and it allows us to have some really special moments together.

What are some of your ways to get your toddler out of the house?


Mom of Fame – Trisha


Trisha made it look so easy. She has 3 adorable kiddos all with their own personalities. Her youngest daughter was in her lap just wanting to cuddle, her oldest daughter was sitting next to her convinced that she could answer our questions better than mom, and her son was jumping off of the playground into her husband’s arm. When it was time for dad to head home they divided and conquered; 2 of the kiddos went home with him, and one stayed with mom (with the promise of stopping for popsicles on the way home!)

Although it looks easy now, Trisha told us that it was not always that way. She was very honest about her struggles as a first time mom and detailed how it gets easier with each stage they go through (including having siblings to play with).

She is a full-time working mom with a husband who also works a full-time job as well as spends some “free time” as a volunteer firefighter. She has a lot on her plate, but she does it with such ease that you wouldn’t even know. We are so glad that we got to hear her perspective and are very excited to welcome Trisha to our Mom of Fame!


What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

It’s all a phase; the sleeping, the crying, the eating. Everything just gets so much better.

That everything is a phase and everything gets better. Which, at the time, I didn’t believe anybody. I’m like, “no, this is not going to get better at all”. But it’s funny because that is the one piece of advice that I give to all of my friends who are moms for the first time. That everything gets better. It’s all a phase; the sleeping, the crying, the eating. Everything just gets so much better. It’s tough when you’re in it. I remember I would just cry. I would just cry. But, I mean, I made it. I had three.

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

So the first thing I thought of was the unconditional love. I had no idea that I’d be able to love another person as much as I love these kids. Even, I mean, I love my husband. I love him so much but it’s a totally different kind of love. And something that I wasn’t expecting at all.


What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

This one was really really hard.


I think patience. I mean it’s probably not…it’s better than it was [laughs]. I mean, it’s tough, but I definitely think I’ve acquired a lot of patience over the years.

Prioritizing What’s Important

Sometimes I feel like you can get wrapped up in stuff. And you have to stop and be like, “you know what? Nope, I don’t have to go to the grocery store today, I’m gonna spend time with the kids”.

Asking for Help

I am a…I don’t know if it’s Type A personality…but I want to do everything myself. I don’t like to give up control. And it was really hard but I finally had to ask; whether it was my parents to come over and watch the kids, or getting a cleaning lady, or just having help of some kind. And that’s not easy for me to do at all.


Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

Well that’s easy. That is when [my first] was born. You know, you read the books and your friends with kids tell you what’s kind of their experience, but until you’re in it you have no idea. The first 3 months, she cried nonstop. And when [my husband] went back to work, he was home a couple of weeks, it was the worst. I cried all day. I think part of it was that I probably had a little bit of depression after, too, but I didn’t realize it. And it was the winter, she was born in December. So it was dark really early, we couldn’t really get out of the house. That was the hardest thing. And you’re going from total independence to somebody who totally relies on you. I don’t think I was quite as ready as I thought I was. But it was really hard. She cried a lot. There were a lot of tears; from both of us.

Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

That’s easy, being able to go to the bathroom alone [laughs]!

I think it’s hard to balance family and work. It’s hard…like, the guilt feeling, of working all day and coming home and then wanting to go out and see people, or do stuff. Because you feel bad, you’ve been gone all day. It’s gotten better, thankfully, but that was hard to balance everything.

When you’re pregnant with your second you worry. Like, “how am I going to love the second one as much?” And you do! It’s amazing how it works.

[I’ve gained] more love than I thought was possible. Going back to the unconditional love thing. I mean, this [having her daughter cuddle with her while she does the interview] makes me so happy right now. It’s just a love that you never thought possible. I feel like, too, when you have your first kid you love them so much. When you’re pregnant with your second you worry. Like, “how am I going to love the second one as much?” And you do! It’s amazing how it works.


What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

I want them to be good people. I want them to want to help others. We do a lot of talking about being respectful and caring. I just want them to go out in the world and do good things and be good people, and help, and volunteer. We’re going to try to get into some volunteering stuff soon. We used to do a lot with the Humane Society and then we stopped. I want to get back into that and show them that you can do good things.


Tell us a little bit about how you handle situations when your husband gets called away at the fire station. 

The fire station has its challenges. Many times we end up taking two cars places because you never know when he will get a call and it’s tough getting stranded, especially with all the kids. It never fails, though, he always seems to get runs right when it’s bed time [laughs].

It has been an adjustment to our family. We have to be more thoughtful about travel plans and our outings sometimes have become more local because he only gets so much time to be checked out. The kids love it though. Anytime they get to go to the fire station and play on the trucks is a huge highlight of their day.

Our Letter to You, The Moms


Dear Moms,

Today we celebrate you. We celebrate the:

Moms who have one
Moms who have multiples
Moms who’ve lost
Moms that can’t get out of bed
Moms that get up and go to work
Moms that stay at home
Moms that do it alone
Moms far away and near
Moms that want to stay home
Moms that want to go to work
Moms that have children all the way grown
Moms that have a brand new bundle
Moms that are dealing with hardships
Moms that had c-sections
Moms that had natural births
Moms that got the epidural
Moms with a blended family
Moms that have adopted

This list could go on forever. Any and all moms. Thank you for being you.

Today (and everyday) we celebrate your triumphs, we cheer on your goals, we cry your tears, we morn your loss and we relish in your joy.

From the two of us – Happy Mother’s Day ❤


Mom of Fame – Cat


Sitting down with Cat was a breath of fresh air. There was a big difference sitting down with a ‘seasoned’ mom, with older children, compared to brand new moms. It was our first time hearing humor in all the answers. That could be because of Cat’s personality, or it could be because she is out of the ‘baby phase’ and can enjoy motherhood differently than a new mom.

She is a mom that goes by the beat of her own drum (in a very good way). She has personality for days and that definitely rubs off on her daughters.

Although very different, so much of what she said is still the same. Mothers love unconditionally and they would do absolutely anything for the happiness of their children. We appreciate the candidness and openness in which Cat spoke. This is mothers helping mothers in action.

Welcome to the ‘Mom of Fame’, Cat. You deserve it (esp. with those two crazy girls).


What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

I got so much advice over the years. Okay, I’m going to say to enjoy every minute because it goes by too fast. And you hear that all the time. But I feel like you can’t take that totally to heart because not every moment is enjoyable. Right? So I feel like I always got that piece of advice when I was at the store. I was wearing a baby and there was molten diarrhea coming out of their onesie. And there’s always an old lady, “enjoy every minute it goes by too fast!” [laughs].

I would totally give that piece of advice, but I would take away every moment. I would just say enjoy it, it goes by too fast because you can’t enjoy every moment.


How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

How is it different? Hmm…I don’t know! These are really hard questions! I think it is a lot more instinctual. Does that make sense? More primal. Like you become a mom and all of the sudden you’re just worried about everything. And you make different decisions than you think you would. You’re way more protective than you ever thought you would be. You love more than you ever thought you could.

And there are so many elastic waistbands [laughs]. I promised I wouldn’t be the mom wearing the yoga pants all day. But, yeah, I’m wearing an elastic waistband right now!


What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

[Tries to ask husband]

My looks are number one. [Laughs] No, I’m just joking!

Sense of Humor

That would be one of my strengths. I feel like that’s the superglue that holds us together, is laughter.


I can be very creative. We’re always doing fun art projects. I let the girls play with power tools. And if they want to create something I totally give them everything they need to do that.

Emotional Transparency

I let the girls see every emotion that I go through. And we talk about our emotions all the time. I know a lot of moms that want to put on a strong face to their kids, and I just let it all hang out. So I guess that’s a strength.


Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

Every stage has had overwhelming moments, both good and bad.

Oh my God, every day! Every day of my life is overwhelming [Laughs]. There are so many overwhelming moments. Like you bring home a human baby without an owner’s manual and that alone is overwhelming. Then suddenly the baby becomes a toddler and you have to keep her from eating dog food and falling down the stairs. Then that toddler becomes a three year old who is basically a rabid wild animal. Then all of a sudden you’re kissing your five year old goodbye as they walk into kindergarten for their first day and you’re overwhelmed with the task of letting go. In the blink of an eye, you’re sitting at conferences and the teacher tells you that your eight year old is the one who includes the lonely child in their play or invites them to their lunch table and the way that makes your heart feel is overwhelming. Every stage has had overwhelming moments, both good and bad.

I think the most overwhelming time for me was when I had a toddler that was potty training and an infant that I was still nursing and going out to places. Because, without fail, I would have a cart full of groceries and I would be checking out. Then my toddler would be like, “I have to go it’s an emergency!” And then the baby would start screaming because she was hungry. Then the old lady would be like, “enjoy every minute…” [Laughs]. That was overwhelming. I remember always just being drenched in sweat. Like I said, every stage has overwhelming moments, but that was definitely a phase that I can remember being very overwhelming. Everyday.


Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

My sense of style. Seriously [laughs]. I think I lost of lot of bad qualities, maybe. Another thing I’ve lost? Probably just freedom. Being able to walk out of the house and not think about where my kids are, what time I have to get them.

I think [I’ve gained] the real experience of unconditional love. My kids could do anything and I would still love them. Like, they could do really bad things and I would still love them. I think I’ve gained that. I’ve probably gained more of a respect for my intuition. Listening to my instincts.

What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

Oh god. These are heavy.

Kindness because that is one thing we’re working on. If we’re in Kroger and somebody is not checking out our groceries very fast we are not the kind of people who stomp our feet and ask them if we can go faster. I teach them, if they don’t have a bagger, you go to the end of the cart and you bag our groceries. And you treat people like people, no matter what they’re doing.

I try to teach them that it’s perfectly okay to not fit in to every group. It’s okay to have a small circle. I don’t want them to lose themselves on a journey to gain friends or popularity. With my oldest heading to middle school next year, I think it might be one of the most important lessons for her. I know the water is going to get choppy but I want her to be comfortable standing alone if she needs to.


What do you think makes you different from other moms?

Everything. I will never fit in [laughs]. No, but in a good way. I feel like I’m that puzzle piece. Like you try to put it in and it’s just a little bit off. Always. And you’re like “it kinda fits, but it’s just a little bit different”. So I feel like I just kinda go to the beat of my own drum. And that’s just kinda the adult I’ve become. The mom I’ve become.

I am the mom that shows up with sawdust on my pants, a bun with paint in my hair and I’m like, “whatever, this is me”.

I think, especially as I become more seasoned as a mom, I’ve become more like “whatever”. People are going to think what they think. Especially living [where we live] being surrounded by maybe more materialism than I would like. I am the mom that shows up with sawdust on my pants, a bun with paint in my hair and I’m like, “whatever, this is me”. And I think that’s good for the kids to see. But I think that’s how I’m different. Maybe, I’m just totally fine being totally weird.

For example, at conferences one year, I was presented with a final writing piece that my third grader wrote. The entire story was centered around me bringing my remote-controlled fart machine on a girls’ wine weekend!! I can’t remember the title, but it was probably something like “Mom’s Weekend with Farts and Wine!”. I guess things like that make me different as a mom but I’m glad that my kids see me being confident and having fun just being who I am.

My Toughest Decisions About Motherhood (So Far)


I’m not very good at making decisions. I just don’t like doing it. Motherhood is all about making decisions, though. What color should the nursery be? Which stroller should I buy? Which pediatrician should we go to? What food should we give him first?

I assume as my son gets older the decisions will get harder to make, but so far these have been my toughest decisions about motherhood:

Should we even have kids?

I grew up loving kids. I played with dolls from as early as I can remember, I babysat starting in middle school and I even became a teacher (which trust me, you have to love kids to do!). If you would have asked me when I was younger if I wanted kids it wouldn’t even have been a decision to make; I obviously did! Then I started teaching…

I gave my students all that I had throughout the day and I couldn’t imagine coming home and having any more to give to my own child.

Teaching is not an easy job. I gave my students all that I had throughout the day and I couldn’t imagine coming home and having any more to give to my own child. I would always tell the other teachers who had their own children how amazing they were for being able to do both. I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to be one of those people, though. Then, after several years of teaching, I became a director of a preschool. It was the perfect balance of teaching, managing and office work and it really reminded me of how much I loved kids.

My husband and I discussed it a lot while I was teaching and he said that he would be okay if I decided that I just couldn’t be a mom and a teacher. Then once I became the director we talked again and decided to try to get pregnant. We got pregnant almost immediately and I was so excited right from the beginning. Unfortunately that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. It was an extremely tough thing to go through but it just proved to me, even more, that I was meant to be a mom. Right when we could start trying again we did. I was very nervous throughout the pregnancy, because I didn’t want the diasppointment again, but once I saw my son I knew that we had made the right decision. I couldn’t imagine my life not being a mom.

What should we name the baby?

This should not have been as big of a decision as it was for us. I knew we were in trouble, though, right before we got our first dog and my husband said “it’s really important to me that I get to name him”. Umm…what? So for months we discussed names and we finally agreed on Dexter (from the show Dexter). When we got our second dog it was easier because we decided to just stick with serial killer names and went with Norman (as in Bates).

Once I was pregnant and we started talking about names we realized that we couldn’t continue the serial killer names with our child (well, we could, but people might start to talk). So we started discussing other options. We started with boy names and we easily came up with two that we both loved. When it came to girl names, though, we had a much harder time. Every name he said I would hate, and vice versa. There seemed to be no compromising, so we decided to table the discussions until we knew if we were having a boy or a girl.

Luckily, we found out we were having a boy so our decision became much easier. My husband said that he loved both names equally so he would leave it up to me to decide. Both of the names were very different so we thought we should wait until the baby was born to decide which name to go with. The second I saw him I knew he was a Ryan and I have been happy with that decision ever since!


Should I stay home or go back to work?

This is a tough one that I think plagues all mothers. On the one hand I grew up with a stay-at-home mom and I loved it. She was able to participate in every school event (she was even the PTO president!) and I knew I wanted that with my child too. On the other hand, I had worked very hard to go through college, an internship, and back to school for another endorsement on my teaching certificate. I had worked many tough jobs to get enough experience to get into a good school and worked my way up to Director there. I loved (most parts of) my job which made it an even harder decision to make.

I also know that everything happens for a reason and now that my son was diagnosed with Down syndrome I am so relieved that I get to stay home with him.

Ultimately, I decided that my job was just not flexible enough to do while also being a mom (I give so much credit to the moms who can juggle both, I just didn’t feel like I could). It was a very hard decision to make and I definitely miss going to work, but I also know that I am very lucky that I could even make that choice. I also know that everything happens for a reason and now that my son was diagnosed with Down syndrome I am so relieved that I get to stay home with him. Eventually I want to go back to work (part-time at least) but for now, I am very happy to be a stay-at-home mom.

Should I get an epidural?

Just kidding! That was by far the easiest (and best) decision I’ve ever made! Yes, please!

Should we have another baby?

I feel like right when you get married the first question people ask you is, “when are you going to have kids”. Then once you have one you think they’ll get off your back for a while. Instead, the question always comes… “when are you going to have another?”. Umm…can I please just enjoy this one for a while (not to mention, let my body heal for a few minutes)?

But we aren’t getting any younger so this is definitely a decision we have to make sooner rather than later. We had discussed it a lot before we even had our son and we were definitely on the fence about how many kids to have. The fact that he has Down syndrome now has to be entered into our decision making as well (I love him with all of my heart and soul and wouldn’t change him for the world, but we can’t be ignorant to the fact that our chances of having another child with DS goes up to 1 in 100 which is definitely something to think about). I think we change our mind weekly about having another and it will be something we have to continue to think about before we make a final decision. Stay tuned!



Mom of Fame – Amanda


Amanda is every mom during the first year of motherhood. She is listening to others’ advice while also doing what works best for her and her family. She is enjoying being back at work while also missing her little man. She is sleep deprived, stressed, and trying to navigate this new life while also enjoying the journey so much more than she even thought she would.

Walking into her house you would never know she is a first time mom. The house is perfectly clean, she has her son’s food laid out for the week to send to daycare, and she is just relaxing on the couch cuddling and playing with her 7 month old. She warns us that he might not be in the mood for pictures because he can be a “handful” but he proved her wrong the entire time. He gave us smiles, gave mom snuggles, and even joined in and “talked” to us for a while.

Even though Amanda is still figuring out this whole motherhood thing, there is one thing for sure; she couldn’t love that little boy any more. She is showing him what love is every day and you can hear it in her answers and see it in these pictures. Her answers were so well said and we think that every mom will be able to relate to them all! Welcome to the Mom of Fame, Amanda, you couldn’t deserve it more!


What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

You’re going to get too much advice. My boss told me that. I don’t think that you could ever anticipate how much solicited and unsolicited advice you’re going to get. And it’s really hard not to compare yourself to other moms or compare your baby to other babies when all you’re hearing is other people’s experiences. And I know people are trying to help but I think the unsolicited advice is actually unhelpful.

I tried to not share advice with other people. Friends that are pregnant I just tell them you’re going to be great; it’s going to be great. Not getting sleep isn’t that bad (which is a blatant lie). But I try not to give too much advice unless someone asks. Clearly I don’t have it all figured out. So I actually think that was a really good piece of advice because the worst thing you can do is compare yourself and compare your baby.



How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

The amount of joy that you feel even when you first bring them home is just something you could never anticipate.

It’s much harder than I thought and it’s also much better than I thought. If that makes sense. I don’t think you can anticipate…you think being pregnant is hard, and then you have the baby, and you go, “okay, this is much harder”. But I think you cannot prepare yourself for the amount of worry, what it’s like to get so little sleep, how much you might question yourself, even if you think you’re prepared. I mean you’ve done all the classes and you’ve read all the books. There still was, for me, a lot of questioning, “am I doing the right thing?”, “should I be doing something different?”.

But on the flip side, you also can’t imagine how much you’re going to love them. And how much happiness is going to be brought into your life. Honestly your extended family and your friends are so happy for you. The amount of joy that you feel even when you first bring them home is just something you could never anticipate.



What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

Really Organized

I’m really organized. Just [with] all his food. We’ve got to plan for his food. What we’re going to introduce at this time. Every 3 days we have a schedule. That stuff I’m good at. There’s not been anything where we’ve had to run out to the store at any point because we didn’t have something. Or it wasn’t washed and ready when we brought him home. That was something I had control over and that I could do. And even as we still go through, 7 months in, that gives me a semblance of control when I feel like I don’t usually have any. So, for me, that’s been the easiest thing. I think it makes my life easier and my husband’s life easier, when everything, at least for him, is prepared and ready to go. Everything else is in a complete state of disarray, but for him things are pretty organized and ready.


I try to be patient. I don’t know how well I’m doing at that.


I love him a lot. I think that’s a strength.


Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

A lot. When he had RSV and we were going to the doctor. I think we were at the pediatrician 3 times that week and then they said if he gets worse you need to take him to the ER. It was in the height of flu season so we really debated, “is he worse?”, “is he not worse?”. We had been to the pediatrician in the morning and we ended up at the pediatric urgent care that night. They told us, “you know it’s really your decision whether you think you should hospitalize him or not”.

When they said it’s your decision it really hit me. You can go to as many doctors as you want, you can get all the advice you can get, you can seek every professional you want to talk to, but it’s really your responsibility. It’s 100% your choice on what you’re going to do next, to make the best decision for your child. And that, especially in a medical related scenario, just felt like so much pressure. And we really just didn’t know what to do.

Now he’s stronger, we’re stronger as parents and have more confidence in how to handle these situations.

It was 10 o’clock at night. He was struggling to breathe. We were measuring retractions, counting breaths. We ended up deciding, sort of talked it through with the doctor, that one of us would stay up with him all night just to make sure that his breathing wasn’t getting worse. That was a time that was just so difficult and challenging. I think that we were just at a loss. And since then, honestly, we have a lot more confidence. He’s gotten sick a lot. He goes to daycare; he’s been going for 2 months and he’s been sick four times. It’s easier to take it in stride. But having that first one get to RSV was awful at the time. Now he’s stronger, we’re stronger as parents and have more confidence in how to handle these situations.


Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

Pretty much all my freedom (laughs). The ability to go to Target, quickly. I think even when you go do things by yourself, whether it’s just errands or a night out, you talk about your kids pretty much the whole time. It’s hard to kind of regain your semblance of self. Even if you do, you feel a little guilty. Okay, am I focusing on myself too much? What’s the baby doing?

Even with daycare, I feel like I don’t even run errands on the way home. Even though I know he can stay until 6, I’m constantly like “okay I want to pick him up as soon as I can”; “I feel bad that he’s there”; “okay I’ll go do this myself another time”. So I think the loss of freedom is very difficult. But obviously you gain so much more. I think maybe that’s a balance that I’m still hoping to find.

I think, too, he is the first grand baby on both sides. The amount of love that the extended family has for him has been an incredible experience. My dad kept saying, “you don’t very often get to add to your family”. And when that happens it is just so special. It’s not special just for you. To see your friends and family experience that with you has been really so special and something that I didn’t necessarily anticipate.


What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

I think mostly my job is to teach him to be kind. I think kindness breeds happiness.

I think mostly my job is to teach him to be kind. Because I think that will lead to so many other good things. I think kindness breeds happiness. I think it breeds all of the things you want your kids to be good at; resolving conflict, thoughtful to other people, empathetic. I think it’s hard because to have kindness you need to be patient and I think as a parent you’re stretched in a lot of different directions and it’s hard to sometimes slow down and think about things from their perspective.

You feel like you’re thinking about them all the time but sometimes you’re so rushed and hurried with going through those motions it’s hard to really focus on what they might need outside of “is his food packed?”, “are his clothes ready?”. Maybe they just need your attention. Maybe they need a little more time. My husband and I talk about that a lot. How can we impart that upon him? And I don’t think we have that figured out. But it’s what we want to focus on.


How has the transition to being a working mom been?

I think being a working mom you question your choices a lot. Could I be doing something differently? Where should I be? It’s very hard, I think, when you become a mom to still be a good wife, and a good daughter and a good sister, and a good employee, and a good friend. Everything that’s important to you in your life before you want to continue it, and you have much, much, much less time to do so. And I think you have to set some boundaries when you’re a working mom. And if you didn’t have them before that’s very hard to do because you’re changing people’s expectations. And changing your own. If you’re a pleaser and you don’t want to disappoint people, that’s hard. I think some jobs will take as much as you will let them take. That’s okay, but it’s your job, as a mom, to prioritize; understand when I have to focus on work or when I have to focus on my son.

I felt very very guilty on my first day back because I was so happy to be back. I felt very very bad about that. And a lot of people asked me, “are you okay? You’re not crying”, and I’m like, “no, i’m not crying”. But someone gave me a really good tip to start daycare and do drop offs several times before you go back to work. We had done an hour; it didn’t go well. We did 2 hours; it went better. We did a half day; it went better. So when I dropped him off I had a comfort that both him and I were in a good place. That I think helps. Also, I was ready to be, sort of, back in the world of adult conversation.

I think if I could have my choice I would love to work part time and stay home with him more. I feel like I’m missing things which I’m sure probably is a common feeling among working moms. I think those feelings of “I missed it” are really hard to deal with. But I think we also shouldn’t feel guilty if you want to go to work. And maybe that makes you a better mom. To go to work for some of the time and really focus on your kid when you’re home, and that’s okay. I think all these feelings of guilt is sort of what makes motherhood even harder than it needs to be. Which is why it’s so cool that you guys are doing what you’re doing. I think when we can eliminate that and tell other people, “yeah, you know what, I was happy to go back to work; I had a good first day back”. And I shouldn’t feel shameful for saying that, and I wouldn’t want someone else to either. I always think of it this way when I’m feeling bad or guilty; if someone else said this to me I would tell them, “why would you feel bad about that? That’s totally a normal thing.” But when it’s yourself, you’re your own worst critic. So it’s easy to be hard on yourself and say “oh gosh, I’m not being a good mom because I was happy to go back to work after 5 months of being off”. I can’t be that hard on myself. And I wouldn’t be that hard on somebody else.

So, I don’t know, it’s tough. There’s a lot of days I think, “am I doing the right thing?” And a lot of days that I’m very happy to go to work. And a lot of days I really don’t want to go to work and I want to stay home. So I think that’s kind of a constant push and pull.