Breastfeeding Week – Part 2: Not My First Rodeo

Breastfeeding is rough the first go around. You don’t know what to expect and you can’t understand how hard it will be. The sleepless nights, the time commitment and the tears. It’s enough to break any mom down in the beginning.

Breastfeeding the second? Knowing how hard it is?! These moms are our heros. These three moms make it seem effortless and we all know it isn’t. To make the choice to breastfeed after knowing the commitment is truly a selfless act.

It’s time to give moms credit when credit is due. We are so excited to introduce these three awesome moms and share their stories. Again, we hope that you can find a little of yourself in each of them.

Mom to Lois, who is 4 and was breastfed for 13 months,
and Sadie who is 2.5 and was breastfed for 22 months.

Do the best you can for as long as breastfeeding makes sense for you and your baby. I breastfed for nine months longer with my second baby than I did with my first but I am equally proud of both experiences.
Lois is our oldest and when she was born everything was new to me—parenthood, being a working mom, breastfeeding, etc. I also had a long commute to work, which meant my days often revolved around breastfeeding and pumping. It was hard and exhausting (especially the last few months when I was early in my second pregnancy) but we were determined—and by month 13, we were equally over it.

With Sadie, I had the knowledge I lacked the first time around and, after moving closer to work, I was much more accessible to her for the 22 months I breastfed her. Each experience was reflective of what works best and what could be managed at the time. You will know what is right for you and/or your baby. You might be over it after a little while…or not for a long while. Either works! Each breastfeeding experience might be vastly different than the last, but be proud of your effort regardless. You can do it!

Mom to two girls aged 7 and 4 year who were breastfed for a combined 38 months (over 3 years!)

Breastfeeding was one of the most challenging parts of motherhood to adapt to but also one of the most rewarding.  Between the cracked nipples, engorgement, clogged ducks, supply issues, my daughter being tongue-tied (yep it’s a real condition) and everything else that goes along with being a new mom, I thought I wasn’t going to make it.  But I looked down at that little face and felt that feeling only a mother can while she is nursing her baby and it gave me the strength to push through.

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Breastfeeding youngest while oldest breastfeeds her baby doll.  Proud momma moment!

Solidarity also helped me push through tough times.  I reached out to friends, nursing groups both online and in-person and we shared stories and learned from each other.  When my first daughter was about three months old, I attended the Big Latch On, which is an event where nursing moms get together and attempt to break the world record for most nursing babies at the same time.  We didn’t break the world record but I felt like we had won.  Knowing at that very moment that there were women all over the world experiencing the same things I was, and standing up for a cause we believe in was very empowering.  One day I will be able to tell my daughters this experience in hopes that it will give them strength as well.

Mom to Stella, who is 5 and was breastfed for 15 months,
and Margot who is 18 months and was breastfed for 15 months.

When I had my first daughter Stella, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I made sure to buy nursing tanks and included a Boppy and pump on my baby registry. In the hour or so after Stella was born, the nurse helped guide me in my first attempt at feeding her; miraculously, she latched on right away. I felt so lucky. Within the next 24 sleepless hours at the hospital though, I cursed my decision. Every latch was like a dagger, and I felt like a human pacifier. How could I make it to my goal of one year of breastfeeding? I remember the first night we were home from the hospital. I was hormonal and exhausted and my body was in agony. I cried and cried to my husband, who did what he could by changing her diapers and cradling her in between feedings while I tried to sleep.

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Breastfeeding on the go the second time around!

It took a couple of weeks, but soon I got the hang of it. My breasts weren’t as sore (unless Stella slept for a few hours and I needed her to eat to get some relief), and breastfeeding became a part of the daily routine. At times it was relaxing and beautiful, and other times it was isolating and a drag.

Much of the isolation came from being embarrassed about breastfeeding in front of others. I remember going to an anniversary party for my in laws when Stella was still very little. I wasn’t comfortable sitting at the table and nursing her in public, even with a cover, so I took her into a bathroom stall and nursed her while standing. I did the same thing at my mom’s birthday party, sitting in a chair in a hotel bathroom and nursing while I missed watching the band perform. Looking back at those moments, I feel pretty silly about them. But I was such a new mom, with so much to learn, and it was so early on in my breastfeeding journeys.

By the time my second daughter Margot came around, it felt like old hat. I knew to expect the tender nipples and the uterine contractions after those early days of feedings. I had a Milk Snob nursing cover, which made it especially easy for me to breastfeed in public and feel comfortable about it. I even nursed Margot during her baptism ceremony, my Milk Snob cover perfumed by the chrism from her forehead.

Even though new and unexpected surprises popped up the second time around (blebs, clogged ducts, a baby who wouldn’t take bottles of pumped milk), I had much more confidence in my ability to push through the early struggles of breastfeeding and make it out to the other side. It’s wild to me that I spent 30 months of my life breastfeeding my girls, wearing nursing tops or dresses with wide neck openings, stuffing nursing pads inside my bras to protect from leaking.

Breastfeeding is an experience that feels like forever in the trenches, but looking back, was such a brief moment in the girls’ lives and mine. I remember feeling sadness when it was over, but it was also a sense of accomplishment. And relief. And it was worth it.

Breastfeeding Week — Part 1: Our Stories

Breastfeeding Week is August 1st through 7th. In order to celebrate this (because breastfeeding is definitely something worth celebrating) we asked our loyal readers to send us their best breastfeeding stories. And boy did you all deliver! We had so many amazing stories that we decided to break them up into 4 different blogs including:

* Not My First Rodeo – Stories from moms that have breastfed more than one child

* You Have to Find the Humor – Stories from moms who tell their stories in humorous ways (even if it wasn’t funny at the time)

* No Judgement Zone – Stories from moms who made decisions based on what was best for their child(ren) even if it meant they might be judged by others

Breastfeeding looks different for every mom. Some moms are super successful and are able to breastfeed for a long time, some moms do everything they can to breastfeed for a few weeks, and other moms decide that pumping and bottlefeeding works best for them. We have tried to find stories that highlight all of these different kinds of breastfeeding journeys and we hope that you can find at least a piece of yours in one of them.

In order to start this off we thought it was only fair to share our own breastfeeding experiences. Enjoy getting to know us a little better and let us know if your experience  was similar to ours or totally different!

Mom to Ben who is 2.5 years old and was breastfed for 15 months

I never once thought that I wouldn’t breastfeed. In my mind this was a way to save my family money and bond with my baby. I prayed that it would go smoothly, but what I have learned, is nothing is smooth. Everyone’s breastfeeding journey is completely different.

This is what life looked like. Nursing bra and milk coma baby.

When Ben was born I had a pretty hard time. He just wouldn’t latch in the hospital. For the first two weeks of his life I had to finger feed him (think taping a small tube to your finger while pressing down so he would get the milk). I stuck with it and around three weeks little Benny got it. It seemed like that’s the amount of time it really took for my milk to actually come in.

Going back to work and breastfeeding was the hardest. It was a very stressful situation in which I was just pumping enough milk for the next day (it went on like that for another nine months). I should have tried and built up a supply before work, but with breastfeeding him constantly I just didn’t want to take the time to also pump. At work, I am lucky enough to have my own office so all I had to do was close the door when I needed to pump (although – that sound!). That didn’t stop people from walking in. Oh, well. After you have a baby you quickly have to throw modesty out the window.

Breastfeeding literally takes over your life for the time that you decide to do it. When I went back to work it went like this: breastfeed him before I left, pump four times at work, breastfeed two more times at home before he went to bed and do at least 1-2 nightly feedings. It’s not for the weak. It takes a lot of your time and dedication. I am sure glad I did it, but looking back I don’t know how I made it through!

Mom to Ryan who is 9 months old and was breastfed for 9 months

I just finished breastfeeding Ryan a few weeks ago and it was definitely bittersweet. Our breastfeeding journey was full of ups and downs but I am so glad that I went through it. At the beginning Ryan wouldn’t latch. Then when he started to latch (with a nipple shield) it would take him FOREVER to eat. Like, 45 minutes on one boob and I would still have to pump the other boob so that it didn’t explode. Which meant that it was taking me over an hour at each feeding! That just wasn’t working for me so I started to pump and bottle feed. That took a long time too, so I decided to pump a few times a day (and bottle feed) and breastfeed a few times a day.

Patiently waiting for Mom to finish pumping

When we went to the pediatrician for Ryan’s 2 month checkup the doctor asked how breastfeeding was going. I told her what I was doing and she said, “don’t you feel like you’re missing out because you’re not breastfeeding him? There’s nothing better than a baby looking up and smiling at you while they’re nursing!” Was I seriously being shamed by the pediatrician!? First of all, I WAS breastfeeding him (just not for every feeding) and second of all, he was getting fed in a way that was working for US. I was not thrilled and luckily our practice has several doctors and I haven’t had to see that one again (we had other reasons for choosing the doctor we did, but that’s for another post!)

Ryan and I finally hit our breastfeeding stride around 4 months where he would latch perfectly (without a nipple shield) and drink in a timely manner. I would still pump first thing in the morning and the last thing before I went to bed, though. This helped so that his last feeding would be a bottle (which helped him to sleep longer) and I would get some extra milk so that I could have bottles if we were out and about. Along with breastfeeding I also gave him one bottle of formula a day so that I knew he was getting enough calories (he was in the 3rd percentile for weight and we were trying to plump him up a little bit). When Ryan turned 9 months old I unfortunately lost most of my supply so we decided to just use formula for all of his feedings.

Like I said, ending breastfeeding was bittersweet. I was very excited to pack up the pump and nursing bras, but I do miss that time to bond with him. Our breastfeeding journey was pretty complicated and we had to try a lot of different things before it really worked, but we figured it out in the end!

Mom of Fame – Lisa


We both met Lisa when we were going to college at Michigan State University. She is a completely genuine person, has a great sense of humor and has fun wherever she goes. We can tell she is using those same traits to her advantage when it comes to motherhood.

We met her at a park near her house where she says they basically “live” during the summer. Her 2 year old daughter and 5 year old son had to walk right by the playground to come sit with us (basically torture.) But they were good sports and even took a few pictures before they went to go play with their dad. It gave us some time to have a great chat with their mom. 

She is a teacher who spends her days taking care of other people’s children (middle-schoolers—scary, right!?) and the rest of her time taking care of her own! We had so much fun interviewing Lisa and found ourselves laughing the whole time. She talked about having her first-born while living away from her family, dealing with medical issues, and how she stays calm amidst the chaos (lots of singing—especially Christmas music)! She is an amazing mom and you can see it on both of her kiddos’ faces. Welcome to the Mom of Fame, Lisa, you definitely 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?

I think the best piece was when I was told, “the days are long but the years are short”. Because when my son was born he was a hard newborn—he was colicky and had allergies, it was hard. We were up 5 or 6 times a night and I would remind myself of that. Like, this time is long right now but it’s not going to be like this forever. They sleep eventually [laughs]. And now he’s going to kindergarten. I’m like, “oh my gosh, how is he going to kindergarten already!?”

It’s okay to understand that there are hard times and not every day is going to be good. But overall, it’s really great to be a parent.

I would [give that advice to other people]. I think it just reminds you to appreciate the time. It’s okay to understand that there are hard times and not every day is going to be good. But overall, it’s really great to be a parent.


How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

When I was pregnant with my son not many of my friends had babies and we lived in a different state at the time so I don’t think I really had an example of friends with young kids to watch. I didn’t really know what to expect. I don’t know that I even had a “this is what it’s going to look like”. We were kind of winging it daily. I read all the pregnancy books, but I never read the “now you have a kid” book. Which was probably a mistake. But I’m really happy with our family and how things are. This is how I wanted it to be. I think everything is actually really good. We have a fun time together.

What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

I’m a pretty calm person. Even when the kids are upset I’m usually pretty calm through it and it helps to calm them down sometimes. Even if I’m kind of flustered I try to remain calm. I read somewhere once to sing to your kids, at times when they’re [upset], especially as babies. I just remember with diaper changes, the kids going nuts on the diaper table and I would just sing. And I read that it was more for you than for them. So sometimes I just sang whatever I wanted! It was a lot of Christmas songs, whatever month it was!

I’m a determined and hard-working person. I think in raising them already I’ve been pretty determined about things. I gave up milk protein because I was really determined to nurse [my oldest]. I feel like that’s a good lesson for my kids; I want them to be determined, hard-working people. I hope that’s a strength.

We have a lot of fun. I feel like we’re always doing stuff. We live [at the park] pretty much. We just always look for fun activities, even if we’re just at home. We do dance parties and “fun wrestling”. I just hope my kids are having a lot of fun because I feel like we are.


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

Ohh, let me think [laughs]. I think overwhelmed is when they’ve been medical issues—beyond the daycare colds that they all get.

When it’s totally out of your control and you’re like, “I don’t know how to fix this”. I think all moms just want to fix things. So that’s overwhelming.

We’ve done the hospital visits, stayed overnight at the hospital, we’ve done specialists. [It’s overwhelming] when it’s totally out of your control and you’re like, “I don’t know how to fix this”. I think all moms just want to fix things. So that’s overwhelming. I feel like we’ve generally been pretty calm through it and then afterwards we were like, “oh my God, that was really scary!”

In the day to day, I feel like going back to work when they were babies was an overwhelming time, too. Because both kids went on sleep strikes then. So just working and functioning and hopefully doing good at your job. I think the medical stuff has always been harder, though.


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

No! [Laughs]. I don’t know. Free time! And sleep. I don’t feel like I’ve actually slept in five years!

[I’ve gained] everything. This is just my life now. The kids are my life. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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

I want them to learn to be kind people and caring and hard-working. I just want them to know that they’re very loved. We moved back to Michigan so that they could be surrounded by family. So there’s a lot of people that love them and see them. I just want them to know that they’re loved and share that love. I want good people. You want the world for your kids, right?


What was the difference in having your first child in North Carolina (and away from family) and your second in Michigan (with family around)?

It was harder [in North Carolina], for sure. [Our first] was colicky and difficult and we didn’t know what the heck we were doing. We never had a break. The first time we left the house without him was months and months in because we didn’t know who to get to babysit him. It was different because there wasn’t a ton of support. People flew down to see him but then they would go back. I remember when people left the first time I was just crying and my husband went to work too and I was like, “oh my God, everybody left me with a baby here. By myself.”

In Michigan [with my second] we had a lot more support. People came to the hospital to see her. That was nice. I remember in North Carolina my husband had to leave the hospital while I was in labor to go take our dog to the kennel. When he came back I was in *labor*. He was *late*. He went and I was peaceful, and he came back and I was like, “where were you!?” Here, we took [our first] to grandmas and it was no big deal. It was definitely easier, for sure.

Mom of Fame – Kristin G.

Creating Kristin’s board the night before her interview made us very overwhelmed. She is the mother to a 21 year old boy, a 17 year old girl (heading to college) and *almost* two year old twins. She is also the stepmother to two teenage girls.

Just reading that should make any and everyone overwhelmed.

We walked into the clean and organized house and were met with calm, sweet kids. We are sure this isn’t always the case, but they definitely put on a show for us! After the interview Kristin’s older children were able to join as well. We sat there talking with the family and through it all you could tell that all four kids look up to their mom. The amount of love that they have for her is also overwhelming. It was really a joy to see.

Kristin is superwoman. She is the type of person who takes care of others’ needs before her own and she so desperately deserves the mom of fame title.


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 grandma once said, “enjoy all of the little precious moments because the time goes by fast”.  I can truly tell other mothers that this is a very accurate statement.

I do give this [advice] to new parents. I always say even when times are fast and you’re going, “gosh I can’t wait for these kids to get out of this stage and grow up” remember that they will one day be older and then you will be wishing that they were little again. I find being both the mom of an older set of kids and a younger set of kids that I definitely appreciate the younger stage more than I did as a first-time mom. Because when you’re a new mom you’re frazzled with just being a new mom.


How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

I always knew I wanted to be a mom. It’s challenging, but it’s a good challenge. I think the rewards that you receive from being a mom are just priceless. I was a mother at a young age. I had my first son when I had just turned 20. I guess the expectation was I didn’t want my children to ever grow up questioning whether or not they were loved.


What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?


Being a good communicator and a good listener at all stages

Having compassion

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

Many stages of overwhelmed! Lack of sleep, of course, will be overwhelming. I could go through [all of the] stages just because I’ve been there once before; the first time they get a boo-boo or get hurt, the first time you get a call from the school that your kid fell on the playground and had a broken arm, the broken hearts, the disappointment in doing an audition they didn’t get.

I think there’s different stages of overwhelming but you breathe,  you persevere, you get through, you know it’s not the worst thing ever. When it comes to a mother’s love no matter what the situation, no matter how overwhelming, you will survive and come out stronger.


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

Sanity at times [laugh]. No. I mean, again being a young mom I could say, “gosh I gave up doing things that 20 or 21 year olds did”, but in reality whatever party I missed attending didn’t really have a comparison to what I was doing. I can’t say I have regrets.

[I have gained] everything. I don’t think there’s anything better than having little humans become bigger humans looking at you for advice, for reassurance. I just think that that love you share between a mom and a child is just the best. I have also gained a sense of purpose. I have four precious angels that give me every reason to keep doing all that I do on a daily basis.


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

I’d like them to learn to live their best life. Be kind. Don’t ever settle. Know that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Just know that they were loved and cared for.

What are some of the differences in motherhood from then (with your older children) until now (with your twins)?

Cooler baby items now versus the mid—90s [laughs].

I think in this stage, of them being toddlers, I am more present as far as soaking in everything than the first time around. It goes by so fast that I think there’s some moments that probably have escaped my mind because you’re tired, you’re not really appreciating that specific time. I think you tend to slow down a little bit because I have a better understanding of how quickly time goes by.


Momfamings Must Have Baby and Toddler Products

*Disclosure – The links below are affiliate links, meaning, we will earn commission if you click through and make a purchase. The recommendations are completely our own. 

Today is Amazon Prime Day! In honor of that we at Momfaming decided to come up with some of our must-have products. These range from breastfeeding items to toys, from organizers to wine. We have listed it all.This isn’t everything, but it’s a few of our essentials. Let us know what you can’t live without in the comments!

Erin’s Recommendations – Erin has a nine month old boy.

Fisher Price Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat
I absolutely love this seat! It has a few toys attached to it that Ryan likes to play with so it keeps him happy and contained for a bit while I get stuff done. We also take it when we go to someone else’s house so that we don’t have to hold him the whole time. Once he started eating we have used it to feed him in if we didn’t have access to a high chair, too!02D44E37-2428-4813-9795-72C3D21A6B69

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy
This is our go-to toy when we are out at dinner. It has lights and makes noise so if Ryan is getting fussy it is the perfect toy to distract him!

Baby Briefcase – Baby Paperwork Organizer
I am still a teacher at heart so I love anything that helps me stay organized. This is the perfect place to keep all of the important documents like your baby’s birth certificate, vaccination records, and information from the pediatrician. My husband can even find what he needs in this!02F3791E-E456-43EA-BB53-0B6F1D28EEDC

Infantino Sash Wrap and Tie Baby Carrier
This was another must-have when going to friends’ houses or out to dinner. Before Ryan was big enough to sit with us to eat, I used to wear him in this at the table. It was super easy to use and very comfortable to sit in (for me and him!)

Medela Easy Expression Hands Free Pumping Bra
If you’re pumping at all during the day you need this bra! It lets you pump both sides at once while having your hands free to do whatever you need to do (entertain the baby, feed the baby, or read the latest blog at!)

Lisa’s Recommendations – Lisa has a two year old boy.

KidCo – GoPod Portable Baby Activity Station
I used this all the time when Ben was a baby. It was an easy way for us to get outside. We took it to parks, vacations, even in the backyard. This was a great invention for moms that want to be outside and not have the babies lay on the ground. 100% recommend!

img_2143Portable Cot
We just used this on our last vacation and are SO happy with it. This is a perfect alternative to the pack and play or a regular bed. It’s comfortable and does not take up a ton of space. Highly recommend to anyone looking for an easy/low maintenance option to take on vacation or anywhere!

Breastfeeding Cover and Wipes
Two of the most used items for me when breastfeeding were my cover (because I breastfed in public a lot) and cleaning wipes (because I didn’t want to clean my stuff in the office kitchen).23621272_10111713841793964_3550636281623568107_n

Yes. I am that mother. We have counted on my old iPad more times than I can count. We have used it on long road trips and when we’ve needed ten more minutes in a restaurant. I am not ashamed!

Any sort of outdoor toy
I didn’t realize the importance of outdoor toys until I had a toddler. Staying indoors all day is not doable. We need an outlet. We’ve used everything from paint chalk, swings, outdoor climber, etc. Stock up! You will need it!

Both of our Recommendations!

Baby Merlin’s Magic SleepSuit
This thing is a LIFE-SAVER! We both used it once our boys were too old to be swaddled but still had the startle reflex. It helps them feel cozy and prevents them from waking themselves up so that they’ll (hopefully) sleep longer and make you feel more like a human in the morning!img_2142

Swing and/or MamaRoo (something with movement)
These are so necessary for a newborn. It gives you a place to put the baby down if you have to run to the bathroom and it also helps to soothe the baby with movement and noise. We both used these for as long as our babies would fit in them!

Amazon Prime
We’re honestly not sure how people live without this! You can buy anything you need for yourself or your babe and it comes to your door in 2 days! It is especially helpful in the 8 weeks after having the baby when you’re not supposed to take them out but you need to shop for essentials (think diapers, wipes, and breast pads!)A7967F3E-C544-477C-A78A-F3178CA85657

Another must-have for both of us! It can be used right when the baby is born and for so many different things. Lisa had Ben nap in it on the couch next to her and also used it to help for photos. Erin used it as a nursing pillow and to prop Ryan up next to her while she was pumping. No matter what you plan to use it for, you definitely should get it!10358571_10106240091443544_7646287524274810269_n

Give us ALL the WINE! Rose is a favorite of both of ours, it’s perfect for the summer!

One More Minute

As I sit in the rocking chair and rock my son to sleep (I know, I know he should be falling asleep on his own by now) I try cherish every moment. Even once he is asleep I like to take one more minute to enjoy the snuggles and listen to his breathing because I know I won’t always have the chance to do this. It got me thinking…what else do I wish I had just one more minute of?


Being pregnant with my son…he came 11 days early and I wasn’t quite ready!

Holland sunsets…they’re beautiful and mean so much more now (look up “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Kingsley)

Playing with my niece and nephew…before I was a new mom and had more energy

Date nights with my husband…that don’t involve worrying about the baby 

Wine tasting in Sonoma on our honeymoon…and trying more than Pinot Grigio!

Learning to parallel park with my dad…in the streets of Birmingham using real cars!

Baking with my mom…when I was little and it seemed like magic

Bowling with my grandpa…and the sound his thumb used to make coming out of the ball

Dancing at my wedding…with all of my friends and family

Havanese snuggles…our first babies

College…I’d like more than 1 more minute there!

Wine nights with my friends…while not breastfeeding or having to get up the next day with a baby



Some of these things will be impossible to get one more minute of. Others, I’ll be lucky enough to experience again and I know that I will savor every minute of them. 

What do you want one more minute of?


Mom of Fame – Jen


Beautiful chaos. That’s what we walked into when we went to interview our newest mom of fame, Jen. They had all just gotten home from a day at the pool and Jen was being pulled in about three different directions. Her oldest wanted dinner, her youngest wanted attention and her dog just desperately wanted to get out and play.

Throughout all of the chaos Jen didn’t seem the least bit frazzled. She took it all in with ease and got everyone what they needed (even if it was cereal for dinner ❤ ). Jen is a super woman by the very definition. She has had a long and hard road to the completed family she has now. She has gone through loss and the difficult road of fostering to adopt.

Beyond everything that she has gone through she is always making time for her family and her friends. She is the type of person that would put down everything to help someone in need. She is so deserving of the 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?

If you love your kids and you show them that love and you do the best you can for them, you’re doing a good job.

The best piece of advice I was given was probably that everything can’t and won’t always be perfect so just try to just enjoy it all in the moment and with all of the imperfections. I think that you get caught up in wanting everything to be a certain way and unfortunately that’s usually just setting yourself up for disaster, for disappointment.

The advice I try to give to other people is that you always are going to feel like you’re not doing something right, or that you’re failing. But even the most experienced mom is learning (and failing) every day. And we’re all just doing the best we can so don’t be hard on yourself. If you love your kids and you show them that love and you do the best you can for them, you’re doing a good job.

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

I guess I always had a vision of a very, I don’t know, “Cleaver-Family” style of motherhood. Just with everything going “just so” and being a very organized mom. You know you didn’t deal with challenges about fertility and pregnancy and things like that to even get to the motherhood step. I think that the challenges that I faced make me appreciate being a mom even more, though. All through the frustrating moments and the times when you feel like you’re going a little bit crazy, you do appreciate it. Especially when you have had a hard road to get there you do appreciate what you’ve got.

One thing is that I felt like I was going to be sad about was watching them grow up. I was like, “oh I’m going to be so sad when they’re not a baby anymore”. But I’m not. It’s so cool to see your kids turn into this person. I think every stage has been cool, but just when they start to get older, they can have real conversations and they start to really look to you for advice. It’s a really, really awesome thing.


What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

I am also trying to teach them about body positivity and acceptance. I feel like it’s important to love yourself.


I would say the best thing that I’m doing is teaching them to be kind and good people. Really making sure to take the time to talk to them about qualities that are important to me and that I wish I could see more of in other people.

I love them like crazy and I would do anything for them. I know that’s probably pretty standard for most moms. Currently I am trying (and struggling) to find a balance between being a woman, and a mother and a career-woman and doing everything else but matter what stage I’ve been in they’re always my first priority.

I am also trying to teach them about body positivity and acceptance. I feel like it’s important to love yourself.

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

Today? This week? Or ever!? [Laughs].

The first time was just the early days of nursing through the night and not getting enough sleep. I think sleep deprivation was always hard for me with both of my kids- I didn’t deal with it well. When [our youngest] was home with us for her first few months of being here she was not sleeping well through the night yet and would wake up every single night. I kind of just got to the point where I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to do it anymore. Luckily, with that, [my husband] was good about getting up and taking some of the night shifts- he was definitely better at that than I was.

One time at the mall I had [my oldest] in the stroller and she was having a tantrum and we had had bathroom incidents. I went to go buy something and I could not find my wallet. So I was running around like a maniac certain that I had lost it there. And it was in the top of the stroller under our coats. I found it after I had reported it to the mall people and I was like, “oh I never used to be like this.” Definitely felt like I had lost it!

I would say there are many time when I’m overwhelmed or frustrated. Sometimes mornings, for us, are particularly hard when we’re trying to get ready to go. Everybody has to go somewhere different and I have to get everybody ready and out the door. Also, now trying to get to work myself at a time that’s not too late.

Also, emotionally, some of the times when we were going through foster care and adoption. Trying to balance being a good mom to [my oldest] and being a good mom to [my youngest] and knowing that our future (with her) was uncertain.


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

Yes! I think that I didn’t realize how unselfish you had to become – about your time and your ability to get yourself ready. I would have never thought that I was a selfish person, but I was definitely selfish with my time; and selfish with my wants. Not even physical things that I wanted, but just things that I love to do, like traveling. I didn’t realize how important those things were to me and how much it would have to change when I became a mom. Now that our kids are getting older we are able to do some more of that. But still, with everything, you have to come second.

Also, when I decided to be a stay-at-home mom, I always had it in my mind that that was everything I wanted in life. Then I realized that, for me, it was important to have the accomplishments and accolades coming from something else. I wasn’t getting that when I wasn’t working and that was hard for me.

[I have gained] an understanding of love like I never imagined. And an appreciation for my parents; for my mom especially. I think that you could never appreciate how much your mom sacrificed for you, and loves you, until you have your own kids and you see what that feels like. I think a lot of times we think that moms are annoying or overwhelming or overbearing, but when you become a mom you realize that there is nobody that you could ever love more than your kids.

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

Love and compassion and humility. How to be kind and how to love all different types of people. That above all, I want them to be to be good people. But you still have to do things to make yourself happy too. You only have one life to live and you have to do the best you can to find the balance between those two things.


Tell us about fostering and fostering to adopt. Talk to us about the process and the emotions that went into it. 

[My husband] and I knew that we wanted to have more kids but we weren’t able to have more biological children. I wasn’t able to stay pregnant. So after talking about it for quite a while I convinced him that we should look into foster care since private adoption was so expensive that we knew we’d never be able to afford that. So we thought, “what better way to help a child and potentially grow our family?”

So I guess the main thing when going into it was that everyone said to us, “you need to understand that the goal of foster care is reunification, it’s not adoption. It’s to reunify kids with their family.” So I heard that and I said that I could process that and I could deal with that. When in my heart the whole time I was like, “oh, no. We’re going to grow our family this way”. It didn’t even occur to me that there was the potential that my baby could go back.

So that started a 2 year journey of up and down heartache. Her birth mom was trying to work on a plan and we would go to every court hearing and hear what was going on with her. While we were trying to be encouraging to her and encourage the goal of foster care we were also selfishly attached and unsure how we would deal with her going back to her family. We were very fortunate and were in a situation where, although her journey was long—2 years was a very long foster care journey—we were fortunate that we were placed with one child right when became licensed, and then we only had one child the whole time and we were able to adopt her. So that was a very ideal situation for us as far as the foster care system goes.

But if you are going into foster care with the primary purpose of growing your family, you have to know that it can be heartbreaking for you.

I think as far as offering advice to other people that are considering it I would say to really have it on your heart to know that the goal is reunification. And if you feel like your family is complete but you are open to the idea of growing your family, then foster care might be for you. But if you are going into foster care with the primary purpose of growing your family, you have to know that it can be heartbreaking for you.

But obviously we feel like [our adopted daughter] is one of our two biggest blessings in life. We teach both of our kids everyday that adoption is just another way to grow your family and that children all come to their parents through different ways. We tell her that [our oldest] grew in my belly and she grew in my heart. She knows she was adopted and we talk about adoption a lot. And she’s awesome.


Mom of Fame – Nichole


We were so excited when Nichole reached out to us via Instagram that she wished she could be interviewed, but she was too far away. We love how moms are responding to what we are doing and want to be involved. The only way we can grow and learn is from people speaking their stories.

We told her that she could be one of our write-ins! Nichole is mom to THREE little ones. The amount of patience it takes to care for one? Times that by three. Nichole seems to handle it with ease, though. We went to Michigan State University at the same time and even worked together at the child development lab on campus. She was kind, so kind, to all the children that she taught. There were a couple of student teachers that came in and out of there and Nichole was, by far, the most liked.

I believe that she was so well liked because of how caring she was to the children. She never focused on one, but spread her kindness to everyone. I can only imagine that she is doing that in even greater amounts to her own children.

Nichole, welcome to the mom of fame, 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?

I had an incredibly quirky OB with my first born.  He had the worst bedside manner but we only had two doctors to choose from in our small town and I was told he was the best. Anyway, on our discharge paperwork he wrote, “By three weeks postpartum, leave the baby with a trusted family member and get dinner with your husband.”  Truthfully, I haven’t followed any motherhood advice but that piece I have taken with me over and over.  It wasn’t just about getting out of the house; it was about making your marriage a priority.  It’s so hard because you have this enormous responsibility in making sure these little humans grow up into decent people but if you devote yourself entirely, they begin to take you hostage.  When a friend is having troubles in their relationship, the first thing I ask them is, “When was the last time you had a night away without the kids?” Almost every time they say it has been years or never since the kids were born.

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

When I was choosing bridesmaids, my mom questioned some of my choices. She said, “Give it a few years and you probably wont even be friends.”  I remember that I was offended and thought, “Come on mom, we’ve been friends for years, why would it change in the next couple years.”  Then we got married.  Then I got pregnant.  And things changed.  But this isn’t just a sob story, because the thing is that other friendships really strengthened.  And I gained so many new ones; a Mom Tribe that is super strong!

What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

Confidence to fail and succeed, independence, and space to grow:  We bought our home on nine acres.  They are constantly encouraged to explore and test themselves physically.  I don’t have to hover.  They can be themselves.


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

I think that moms have a tendency to downplay the overwhelmed feelings they may have.  Like my friend’s baby was born with a condition that is going to require major surgery this summer… but she responds with “Well I should be thankful, it could be so much worse.”  We have the right to feel whatever we feel, however often we feel it.

So here is one instance:  I have taught first grade for eight years and this year my son began first grade.  I found it almost impossible to take off my teacher hat.  I’d spend the day trying different intervention strategies with my kiddos, introducing new concepts and skills.  Then I’d come home, a bit exhausted, and I’d think “Oh my gosh, [my son] doesn’t know how to do this yet!”  I’d listen to him read and mentally I’d be calculating his accuracy and reading level.  I think as teachers, we are told over and over by politicians and administration that a child’s academic performance is a result of how effective we are at teaching. So I internalized it to be that his academic performance would reflect how good I was at mothering. This year we had a small miscommunication that I blew out of proportion.  I decided right then and there to ask for help, to hire a tutor afterschool so that I could leave work at work, while taking back my evenings of just being mom.


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

I lose and find myself at least every year.  Everytime I stop making myself a priority.  A coworker asked me shortly after having Easton, “What do YOU like to do for fun? You know, not with the family?”  And everything I answered, I realized I hadn’t done in years.  I’m actually in the process of finding myself again, lol.  A long, nauseating, and emotionally exhausting pregnancy has kind of made me go into a year of hibernation.  Time for mama bear to get out of the cave.

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

How to wash dishes and do the laundry.  Mama could use some help!

What was harder? Going from one to two children or two to three? 

No question, one to two.  I think the age gaps play a huge role in it though.  When [my youngest] was born, his siblings were getting ready to turn 4 and 7.  They are so independent and helpful!


Tips for Traveling with a Toddler

*Disclosure – The links below are affiliate links, meaning, we will earn commission if you click through and make a purchase. 


A couple of months ago my husband and I were at a brewery and I did something I’m trying my hardest not to do. I MOM shamed. I didn’t mean to and I didn’t even realize I was doing it until later. 

This Mom and Dad were trying to enjoy a late lunch and beer with their kid, but the said kid had different plans. He was running around tables and was very hard to control. The parents gave him a toy and the kid went under the table to play with it. He was laying on the ground of a brewery. I said to myself ‘wow – I can’t believe that Mom is allowing that’. I didn’t place that blame on the Dad or even them together. I blamed the Mom.

Cue the other nights dinner at a bar/grill on the water (Dockside!). Our child was running around tables and, according to the drunk men next to us, Ben was being ‘fathered’ (being given a talkin’ to by my husband). We weren’t embarrassed, but we were frustrated. We gave Ben a toy and he proceeded to go under the table to play with it. I was the mom that I shamed just months ago. Ironic, right?

This leads me into what I’ve learned about traveling with a FULL BLOWN TODDLER (2.5 years old). 

My family. So thankful to have spent this time with them.

What we did: we took a road trip (four hours) to stay eight nights in northern Michigan. It was myself, my husband, our 2.5 year old and our dog.

1. The best plans are no plans.

I went into this trip not planning a single thing and I am so grateful for that. If I had, we would be going out of our minds because we wouldn’t make any of them.

Boat Sleeping makes the BEST naps

You cannot predict when a toddler decides to throw down. By having no plans it allowed us to just go with the flow and decide on the spot what Ben seemed to be up for.

We made sure there was continuity in our everyday. Each morning we would go to the Muffin Tin and get a muffin, walk to the park and walk to the lighthouse. This way he knew what each morning brought. Our afternoons (after nap) were the times where we did something different.

2. Pack your patience and when those run out, tag in your partner.

This has been working really well for us. Ben is at an age of utter defiance and total independence. He pushes every button. When one parent has reached their limit the other one steps in.

All we needed to do is look at each other and we knew. It was our turn.

3. Pack a crazy amount of stuff to do wherever you are staying.

Fishing was his FAVORITE

Ben needed consistency in his everyday. We brought his favorite toys and every morning he got to play with them just like at home. It made vacation feel a little bit more normal for him.

Ben is huge into Super Wings and all things transportation. We were lucky enough to get him a bunch of those little guys before the trip and Water Wows.

4. Throw away all self-consciousness.

This moment made me cry ❤

I have a VERY hard time with my body. I’m a pretty confident person, but I absolutely hate wearing a bathing suit.

We’ve been to the beach almost every single day and I surprisingly had no issues when I got there. The water was beautiful and my son wanted me in with him. I threw my issues out the window. I thought, ‘who cares?’ Of course, no one did.

Other Quick Tips:

  • Eat outside at restaurants whenever possible.
  • Enjoy small/simple moments.
  • Turn off your phone.
  • SO much sunscreen! We LOVED Coppertone Babies/Toddlers 50 SPF. Adam and I got AWFUL swimmers itch and Ben didn’t because of this. Can’t recommend enough!
  • Buy stock in the Melissa and Doug Water Wow! Ben LOVED this and it kept him entertained for a solid hour at a time.
  • Be close to an urgent care or hospital. You never know when you may need it (we did!)
  • Bring tissues cause you will tear up (in a good way). I can’t even count how many times I did. It was so wonderful.

When it comes down to it, traveling with a toddler can be very tough. You need to take that for what it is and lower your expectations of them and yourself. They’re only little once, right? Make it count. I know we made the last eight days count for us.

Your MF’er (Momfamer),