The Bonus Baby – A Guest Blog

Guest Post

Once upon a time, my husband and I were going to be empty nesters in our mid 40’s. We started our family in our mid-twenties and our first-born daughter was due on the date of my husband’s grad school graduation. We had our second daughter when I was 27 and hoped for a third two years later, but after two pregnancy losses on the heels of the second trimester, we decided that we couldn’t withstand another heartbreak.

Fast forward to 2018 and we have made the parental turn onto Easy Street; that sweet spot in parenting that occurs between early childhood and teenagerhood. With an eight-year-old and 11-year-old girl, car seats and diapers are ancient artifacts; temper tantrums and sleepless nights seem like lightyears ago; and car rides are enjoyable now because The Wiggles and Wheels on the Bus requests have been replaced by requests for Bonjovi and Weezer. Easy Street is all downhill with beautiful scenery and no bumpy roads. I’m not saying that we didn’t thoroughly enjoy the earlier years of parenting, but those precious years were hard and spent in the trenches, elbows deep in dirty diapers and running ragged with no sleep.

Back in May of this year, we were on cruise control, coasting down easy street and enjoying a family camping trip when I started to feel my health decline. My energy took a sudden downward turn, I started to lose my appetite, and I was overcome with nausea. Fears of serious illness crossed my mind until a couple of weeks later when I realized that my symptoms were synonymous with pregnancy. Once it was confirmed, I was in complete denial. I feared for another loss and thought for sure that I would miscarry any day. I didn’t even allow myself to feel excitement, hope or joy. I kept my pregnancy secret for 16 weeks–I didn’t allow it to be real.

Here I am now though, at 32 weeks pregnant, and this is all very real.

Pregnancy this time around is a whole lot different than it was with my first two. First  of all, this one is considered a geriatric pregnancy because I’m over 35, so apparently my delivery from the stork will come with a free subscription to AARP magazine and hopefully a hefty discount on Depends since I’ve done exactly three Kegels this pregnancy. I also haven’t spent my days reading “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” because I feel like I could write the book. I haven’t read “Baby Wise” or “Happiest Baby on the Block” because I know that I might get a screaming colicky baby or a chill Koala baby, and sometimes the knowledge in a book doesn’t have the power to change that. Plus, I should be reading about the uncharted waters of the teen years.

At my last appointment, my OB/GYN asked  me for my birth plan, and all I could think of were two words: Surprise me. Because honestly, after having a 24 hour labor, last minute epidural and an emergency C-Section with my first, followed by a 27 hour labor, early epidural and VBAC birth with my second, the words “birth plan” project an image of a unicorn in my mind. I will write a birth plan, but I will also have zero expectations for everything to go as planned, because when you’re a geriatric pregnant woman riding into your third birth, you know that you just have to stay on the saddle and hold on tight. Maybe my husband can freeze some Ensure cubes to feed me during labor. I’ll add that to my elderly birth plan.

The clock keeps ticking louder as I approach the big day; the day we step into that DeLorean and turn the dial back to newborn. I find myself thinking about the projected timeline of my life and how it has changed so drastically in the past eight months. I think about how I’ll be driving my oldest to college, my middle child to high school and my youngest to elementary school in the same year. I wonder when I’ll be able to go on my next girls’ trip. I think about how this baby is going to have to go with the busy flow of our family, traveling to her sisters’ sporting events and practices daily, never knowing the luxury of a nap schedule. I wonder if time, experience and age will change my parenting style for this bonus baby.

I think parenting as a whole this time around is going to be so different. With my first two, I was obsessed with constantly stimulating them, reading to them, talking to them, worrying about development, not to mention being terrified by every single illness. I was the mom who would call the on-call pediatrician at 4am when a fever spiked. But now I feel like a seasoned pro; I’ve handled influenza, strep, ear infections, pneumonia, tubes, Lice (the worst), stomach flu, croup, you name it.

I know that it gets easier and I know that I will sleep again. I know that the rewards of parenting far outweigh the pains. I know that the magic of holidays will live a little longer in our home now. I know that my heart grows bigger with every child. Every day, I get to see my two girls grow into healthy, smart, brave and kind young ladies, who bring immense joy to our lives, and I have no fear that our little bonus baby will bring the same joys to our family. Who knows, if all goes well, maybe we will go for bonus baby #2. For now, we are just gearing up to go back in time. Great Scott!


Mom of Fame – Teri

Teri is another amazing mom with a lot on her plate. She has three little girls-one with special needs, a full time job, a blog, and a husband. That’s more than enough to keep her beyond busy but she somehow found some time to answer our questions for us. All of her answers are thoughtful, raw, and very relatable. She talks about having to put her perfectionist personality aside, raising three independent girls, and making sure her youngest gets everything she needs to strive.

Please help us welcome her into our Mom of Fame, she is such a deserving addition. Also, check out her blog, My Cuteish Life, if you are looking for a fun blog that talks about motherhood, organization, and home decorating.

Please tell us a little about yourself and your family.

Cute-ish is not even a “real” word, but if there was ever a way to describe my life, this would be it! I’ve probably said it 100 times. To me…it is when you’re trying or putting in the effort but the end result is well…so so, okay, better than average maybe but definitely not quite as good as planned! This in a nutshell is my outcome 90% of the time and you know what?!? I’m okay with it! I’ll take it. Who has time for perfection?!? Was character ever built through perfection? Well, yes it probably has been but we’ll go with no to make me feel better.

My name is Teri Morton and I am a thirty something woman who is responsible for keeping three tiny humans and one tall, skinny (and quite handsome I might add) husband alive and fed. I AM NOT A WRITER! LET ME REPEAT…not a writer. I write like I talk which isn’t perfect and isn’t always even logical but I beg you to bare with me! I work full time as a public accountant. Yes, I’m one of those crazy people who actually enjoys numbers and the balance that accounting brings…but I tell myself that I’m not your stereotypical accountant. I do enjoy creating and making things fun or pretty. Some of my favorite things to make cute-ish are my three crazy baby girls…Gracie Faye (8), Addie Gayle (6), and Enslie June (1). I spend my days running between my office, school pickups, doctor appointments (loooooooots of these but that’s a story for a different day), soccer practice, horse-back riding lessons, church and squeezing in outings with my family and friends! I manage to make this all work with the help of coffee (so much coffee some days), my tribe of amazing women and family members, prayers and a wee bit of wine. I do not always make it look easy but the key is I generally make it nonetheless. I hope you all will enjoy some of my ideas on how to handle organization, home decorating, family fun, mommin’ (you’ll soon learn I love new words), and reviews of products and places I love. Please join me in making this life CUTE-ISH!


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?

“Your house can wait. The dishes can wait. One day, the kids will be gone and all you’ll have left are dishes and the house to clean. Let that be your focus then.”

Yes, I certainly have [taken this advice]. I am a perfectionist by nature and it makes me feel crazy and anxious to look around and see a mess…but it makes me even more crazy (and anxious) to try to keep everything spotless with all my littles around. It’s simply not possible to have it all done all the time, so I have given myself permission to accept this.

Yes, I certainly would [give it to someone else]. I can’t exhaust all my energy on spotlessness and I don’t think anyone else should either when little people (and big people) need your attention more.

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

I think I expected it to be calmer and probably easier (ha)! I don’t think I expected quite as much chaos.


What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

I am fiercely independent and strive to instill this in my children while also giving them as much help and support as they actually need. I feel like I have done a “decent” job of creating little independent ladies…except the baby of the family. She still needs some work. 😊

I aim for consistency and feel like I can consider myself consistent with them about 80% of the time. They typically know how I will react to a situation before I actually do react. They know what crosses the line (and not that they don’t ever cross it…because they do) and they know that will bring more serious consequences.

I am not an overly affectionate person by nature. I’m not super touchy feely but I know how important physical touch is…especially to little ones and they get more hugs/kisses and pats in a day than I could ever possibly count. They know they are loved.

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

Our baby has a chromosome abnormality which has resulted in her needing a LOT of therapy and her immune system was really down for about 3 months (immediately following her diagnosis) …meaning she had the flu, RSV, 2 bouts of febrile seizures and a constant ear infection during that time in addition to the therapists’ visits (roughly 3 a week) and regular doctor visits. I’m an accountant and of course these 3 months were smack in the middle of tax season in which I work 55 – 60 hours. It was an extremely overwhelming, stressful time of trying to process her diagnosis, juggle work, appointments and just regular “mommin’” life.


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

I don’t actually feel that I’ve lost anything other than time…time disappears so fast since having children. Maybe it would have with age anyway…but I feel like time is so fleeting and it does feel like I’m always running out of time, whether it be for things I want to do or just things I need to do. (And…before kids I was able to keep things completely organized and looking prettier than I do now.)

[I have gained] everything. It all sounds so cliché…but I can barely remember a time before my girls. They are our focus, what we do, what we care about, what we enjoy and what makes us crazy. I am so much more compassionate, understanding and accepting of the fact that I know so little. Before kids, I thought I had life figured out…haha! I now know that I have nothing figured out and that is great! I will get to keep learning for the rest of my life…learning things for them and with them.

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

I want the girls to know that there is absolutely nothing in this world that they could ever do that would make me love them less. Their best is enough for me…less is not, but if they are trying their best…I will be 100% accepting of that and always have their backs. If they have a problem, we have a problem and they can bring it to me and know they are not alone. The world is full of people and things that will turn on you on a dime…I desperately want them to know that while that is so true…they don’t have to worry about this with me or our God.


Mom of Fame – Alicja

Alicja’s interview came to us at the perfect time; not only were we dedicating a month to interviews with mom bloggers, but we were also hoping to get more interviews with “veteran” moms to give us some much needed guidance.  She has 10 years of motherhood experience under her belt, and you can definitely tell from her answers. She candidly speaks about taking time for yourself (by reminding us that, “happy mommy raises happy children.”), how being a mom is a privilege, and the importance of having a supportive partner (and acknowledging that support by mentioning him in this very interview).

Please help us welcome Alicja into our Mom of Fame! Also, be sure to check out her blog, Just Redefine, it’s now one of our favorites!

Please tell us a little about yourself and your family.

I am a wife and mom of three little bombs of energy (my boys are 9 and 4 years old and princess will be two very soon). Besides that, I am a housewife with two diplomas in the drawer and recently a blogger. I’ve made it a mission of mine to encourage other moms to live the full, successful lives they dream about no matter of the size of chaos around them. I am very happy to connect to all the moms reading momfaming blog!



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’m pretty sure every mom got that advice: when your baby sleeps, you should sleep. I’ve heard various reactions to that. I decided to not treat that literary but understood it as a “when there’s a moment that baby doesn’t need you, it’s your moment for self-care”. There were times when I actually napped but also read books or simply watched TV. Rarely I used that time to catch up on household chores. Thanks to that I was able to take care of my kids with a smile, without the feeling I’m losing my mind. I’m telling this to all my pregnant friends. Happy mommy raises happy children. At this hard, early stage your child will definitely not remember the mess at home, but there’s a chance s/he will remember mama’s smile.

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

When I had my first son, I was sure I knew everything I needed to know. I learned how to take care of the baby from my mom when she had my much younger brother. I was finishing my master’s in psychology, I read so much on the subject, that I was feeling almost overprepared. Plus, I hoped some maternal instinct will kick in and guide me. How silly of me 😉 Even though I knew the technical stuff, how to bathe him and so on, everything else was so surprising. The fact that I could spend my days just watching him, the amount of love and worry that I felt every single day, the magic patience that I showed when he was crying (I still don’t know where it came from and where did it go after my third baby). Everything was different than I imagined.

What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

What a great question. Every mom should answer this to her self!  First of all, I see treating my kids as a priority as my greatest strength. It makes adjusting my whole life to their needs easy and natural. This also affects my next point – as a mom I became good at organizing our family life [so that] way we’re not going crazy. I can handle both: controlling everyday chaos and unplanned last-minute events. I’m also quite proud of the contact I have with my kids, they know they can always talk to me about everything and anything. Not to mention, I am able to persuade them to tell me everything I want to know with my charming, easy going way 😉

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

I call it the dark times. I was depressed sometime after having the third child. I felt it’s not really post-partum depression, I just lost myself. Connect that to what I said earlier about my children being my priority and it’s easy to see how scared and guilty I felt that my state of mind may affect my family. I must admit that I still am figuring out what was going on with me, I’m waiting for the moment I’ll be able to joke about it. I was completely overwhelmed with all the roles I’m supposed to play on top of fighting my own problems at the moment.

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

Becoming a mother is a privilege and a mission. Ask any woman who tries for years to get pregnant. I made a choice to have children. By doing so, I needed to give up a couple of things, but I don’t see it as losing anything. Even when I felt lost, like I mentioned above, it was never about being a mother. The honorable mention goes here to my husband, who is extremely helpful and supportive. He is the originator of my “just redefine” philosophy that I now share on my blog. I’ve definitely changed since I’m a mom. I’ve gained a new identity, a new purpose. From the 10-year perspective, I must say I was an excellent decision.


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

Another excellent question! I hope they will observe and learn how to create a relationship with their spouses based on unconditional love, trust and partnership. I want them to know how loved they are and how important it is for them to invest in their own kids. I’m talking about time, engagement, not only money. If they got that, I am happy. All the rest will fall into places.

Mom of Fame – Genny

Our favorite part about our Mom of Fame Interviews is sharing experiences of all different kinds of moms. This is why when we “met” Genny we were excited to share her unique experiences. She is originally from Columbia, has two teenage children and one toddler, and has gone through a difficult divorce. Her perspective of motherhood has been redefined by each of these things.

Please help us welcome another amazing mom into our Mom of Fame and check out her blog at the link below! Thanks for participating, Genny!


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

My name is Genny Gall. I am a Latina girl born in Colombia and living in CA. Dear wife of an adorable husband and father who unconditionally supports his family. I am a mother of three, a beautiful little girl who loves to explore the world, a boy who loves sports and an oldest daughter who follows my steps in art. I have a passion for style, creativity and a deep love for photography which all led me to create my blog in 2016: What’s up dearie. [It is a] blog related to Reviews, Photography, Beauty, Art, DIY and a little about life with style.

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 mom always told me that the sooner I release my mind, and accept that things will not be the same, I can take things as they are with less anguish and things will flow. And it’s the same thought that I might deliver as advice to anyone. An example I have: I wanted to breastfeed a lot and for an extended period, but this was not my case, and that does not banish me from having achieved it or make me look like I am not a good mother. Not all of us have the same capacity.

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

I imagined motherhood as many women do, that it might seem rosy, and with children who seem to be little angels all the time. It is easy to create an idealized image of motherhood. But each woman lives motherhood in a different, distinctive and unique way. For me, real motherhood is full of good and bad moments; of hugs and laughter but also of diapers and screams of explosive children, even teens. I always just put all my efforts and take things slowly and calmly. Like the old proverb says, “let it be”, while being flexible and strict at the same time.


What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

Being a mother is an adventure. It is a journey to the incredible and a mix of emotions that even words can’t describe. It’s learning something new every day, so I am delighted in being stronger, patient and competitive.

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

I felt quite overwhelmed when I separated from my ex-husband. It was a difficult time in which I did not know if I had made the best choice in my life or for my children because I was living a chaotic life then. The help of my parents was crucial, and this does not mean that I did not take care of my obligations as a mother, but the support of them helped me understand and overcome that stage. [I realized that] no matter how old you are, the parents will always be there. This state is one that I prefer not to recall because it’s [in the] past, and I do not like to live in the past. Now I have a new life, a husband that supports me and loves me no matter what. And the best of all, my husband and I don’t like drama at all.

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

To live as a mother to me is to give everything, it has sacrifices without a doubt, but it earns more than it loses. I think I have not lost anything; on the contrary, it has made me a better person, more patient, affectionate, responsible and kind.

The only thing I could say, as a mother, is you have [to be able to] go to the bathroom with child supervision, because it is impossible to go to the bathroom alone.

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

Responsibility and respect.


Mom of Fame – Jessica

Being a mom is a hard job. Being a mom of three under three is a really hard job. Being a mom of three under three with one being a foster child (and all that that entails) is taking it to an entirely new level. Jessica seems to handle it all with ease, though.

We met Jessica and her three wonderful kiddos at a park near their house. We imagine getting all three kids out of the house isn’t an easy task, but they somehow managed to do it and even show up early. While we chatted, her smiley five month old contently sat on her lap and her other two happily played on the playground with dad.

Jessica was very easy to talk to and we had a lot of fun hearing her answers. She talked about being happily surprised by how much she likes being a mom, the funny advice her mom gave her about kids, and all about her experience with the foster care system. She is an amazing person and mom and definitely deserves to be in our Mom of Fame. Welcome, Jessica!

Note from Momfaming – We did take some great photos of Jessica’s sweet foster daughter, but because of certain rules through the foster care system we cannot share them. Please know that she was a part of the interview and as cute as can be.


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 was given a lot of advice. I mean, everyone gives you all kinds of advice and I found most of it not very helpful. At all. But my mom always said, “you can have kids and dogs, or you can have nice things”. That’s kind of been my mantra since [having kids]. It’s kind of like, “don’t sweat the small stuff”. Like we were outside, I had mulched everything and I had the blower and [my oldest] was working really hard to figure out how to turn on the blower. He figured it out and just blew all the mulch everywhere. But that’s not as important as he was so excited to get that. I can always re-mulch. Whenever something [like that] happens, “we can have kids and dogs or we can have nice things”.

I try not to give too much advice. So much advice that I was given would have made me a neurotic mother; it would not have worked for me. So I guess the advice I’ve been giving lately is, “everything has it’s seasons”. That kind of makes some of the hard times easier to get through; like those middle of the night things. But also makes those good times just a reminder that it all keeps going. Just enjoy what you can and get frustrated when you’re frustrated.


How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I do. I’m not really a touchy-feely person, or emotional person or anything like that. So I thought it would be fun, but I didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I do. Like, they make up those silly games that you watched other parents play and thought, “well that’s just ridiculous”. But they’re so fun when they’re your kid or someone you know. I just enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would.


What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

This is the hardest question [laughs].

I think my strengths would be:

1. Creativity and games. I teach, too, so I try to do everything with a little learning to it. Coming up with games that they enjoy to help them learn.

2. I think I’m pretty good at managing chaos. With three under 3 we have a lot of chaos and just trying to get out the door is, “does everybody have what they need?” and not forget anything for a week of daycare. So managing the chaos and doing all of that while they’re running around or screaming.

3. Being flexible and adapatable. Like the other day we were on a walk and it started pouring rain. But that’s fine. Then there was a bird’s nest that had fallen out of the tree so we then stopped in the pouring rain and looked at the bird’s nest. So just letting them be kids. If we got new shoes and we saw a puddle and we stomp in it, that’s okay too. You can have nice things or you can have kids and dogs [laughs].


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

There’s always lots of times, there’s lots of little moments. But there’s one that [sticks out] right when we had gotten home from the hospital [with my youngest]. So he was less than a week old and I had had a C-section so I wasn’t moving great and our oldest started throwing up. It ended up being pretty much a nothing episode, but in my mind it was so overwhelming. Like how I couldn’t pick him up to comfort him. Then I was so aware of the fact that that little stomach bug that would be nothing for all of us could be fatal to the baby. Again, it ended up being nothing but in that moment I didn’t know. What if all the kids got it? What if we got it, how would we manage everything? As I’m covered in puke and not able to move because I just had surgery? That was just overwhelming to figure out what we would have done.


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

Just alone time. I’m very introverted so I like my alone time and it’s pretty much gone. Those showers now are a beautiful thing. For now, because no one can quite open the door. But you follow that up with what you gain. There will be plenty of alone time in the future. So I sneak some here and there when I can.

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

I think you always get the standard answer of you want them to be good and kind people. That’s always the most important thing. But you also want them to be confident in figuring out who they are. Confident to pursue what makes them happy and just being comfortable with themselves. My husband always says that he thinks they should also get my stubbornness, just not all of my stubbornness [laughs]. Just to grow up and be content, happy, kind people.


Tell us about your decision to foster. What has been the hardest part? What about the most rewarding part?

So I always thought that was maybe something I wanted to do. But I didn’t know, since I’m such an introvert and I like my alone time, I didn’t know if I would love parenting enough to want to do that. So once we had our first I knew it was definitely something I wanted to do. It just seemed like a piece of good that we could bring into the world. You know, everybody’s gotta find what they can do to better it and that was something we would be good at and something we could do.

Then we wondered when was going to be a good time. Like, would it ever feel like “now is the right time”. Life is never going to slow down is what we thought. Then it took us just a little bit longer to get pregnant then it did the first time so we said, “why not right now?” Life’s not going to get slower, it’s not going to get easier. It was always going to be hard, so we just went for it. We went for the training and we said we wanted to stay in the range of our age of children, so we said anything 0-4. Just about a month and a half after our training ended they called and said they had a 6 month old little girl. It ended up being a pretty easy placement.

After that it’s been challenging. A lot of it is really hard. It doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. There’s so many players in the game. There’s mom’s lawyer, dad’s lawyer, baby’s lawyer, case worker, the court system. With so many players in the game it’s so much work to get all these boxes checked. I just find, personally, as she stays with us longer and longer, since she’s been with us for over a year, it gets harder and harder to do these things. Like, nobody comes to my house to check how I’m parenting my other two children. I know it’s all part of the system and it’s all what we signed up for, but she’s part of our family now. I think the longer they stay with you the harder it gets. You can talk to 100 different people who have fostered 100 different children and every single experience is different. So you can’t be prepared. You gotta be prepared for heartache, you gotta be prepared for heartbreak. Some are easy stories that end up with an adoption quickly or a reunification quickly, but some aren’t.

She is [the most rewarding part], and watching her grow. She was so delayed when we first got her and just watching her catch up just with stability and love and nourishment. Now she’s just part of us.