Parenting a new infant is something else. It’s really just Something Else. It’s so difficult to explain to non-parents exactly what it’s like to bring home a tiny helpless human whose wellbeing is your sole responsibility. Plus you can’t get over the fact that there’s a tiny person here that is yours. As in your kid, your baby, yours forever and ever.

And when you bring the baby home, you have no idea what to do with it. You have to feed it all the time, and then it sleeps. But it won’t sleep in the bassinet, it won’t sleep in the bouncy thing your cousin Suzy swears by, it won’t sleep in it’s crib, or that doc-a-whatever, or the co-sleeper or ANYWHERE BUT ON YOUR CHEST!! And you think, this can’t be right. There’s just no way that all these people all over the world who have tiny infants just hold them all the time. How do they do things like eat, or bathe, or I don’t know, pee?

Truth be told, our infants as humans are born severely underdeveloped. And I mean that in the nicest way. They are literally born these premature little creatures when compared to other primate babies. This means their brains continue to develop at embryonic rates for a year after birth. Did you hear me people? Embryonic rates. Embryonic.

Why is this so, you may ask. Well it’s pretty simple. When we began to walk upright our pelvises had to change to accommodate this new modality. The pelvis became smaller and therefore the birth canal could no longer accommodate a fully formed head. Enter evolution and babies being born earlier in gestation and that means for a year after birth they’re completely not gestated. (Ok, gestated is ridiculous and I get that, but you catch my drift.)

So think of it this way - the damn thing should still be inside you. In its hot tub, floating around with food and drink on demand, being lulled to sleep by you walking around. Once we think about it - newborns like to be bounced and shushed. Remember what it sounds like in that pregnant belly from hearing it on the doppler? Member when the baby in your belly only “woke up” at night while you were laying still and not moving. TA-DA! The baby just wants back in, and can you blame it? In addition she wants to smell you. Hear your heartbeat and the sound of your voice. He wants your warmth and to know that he hasn’t been left for the wolves.

There are so many products that promise to lull your baby back to sleep for you so you don’t have to do that work. One in particular is extraordinarily expensive and will put the baby back to sleep with rocking, vibrating, and any other number of bells and whistles. I gotta say y’all, no. Just stop it. Now, there are the babies who never stop crying. Like never. And they drive the parents to tears and the edge of beyond. If that baby needs to sleep in a swing so it can stay asleep and let the poor tired mama get some much needed sleep - more power to you. The deal is, the parenting of the waking infant is not only necessary for that baby brain to continue to develop properly but it’s necessary training for the rest of parenting life.

Yes, it’s difficult with the baby up in the middle of the night. You’re exhausted and hopeless and frankly, helpless. But you have to do it. You must persevere. Because while they can develop a product to help rock a baby back to sleep I don’t think they have one yet to talk to your teenager about sex. Or one to prevent their first heartbreak or loss or to keep them from taking stupid risks and drinking at a party. Nighttime parenting is necessary parenting time. It’s necessary that you rock your baby thru the difficult nights. It’s necessary that you get up and change the diapers and attend to their needs for so many reasons.

Parenting is hard - just ask the parents of the teenagers in the High School down the street from you. It’s hard to be the parent. It’s hard to do all the things all the time. But you gotta do it, because they need you. They need you now and later and always. They need you and they’re crying out for you to tell you so. Remember, this first year you are completing the gestation of this tiny human. Remember, the baby is just a tiny helpless mammal. It needs you for literally everything, especially to make it feel safe.

But girl, let me tell you, if you need to get that damn rocker - soother thingy to keep yourself sane, get it. It’s better that than a really sad, tired, and crazy mama.

I Love Myself

I’ve been on a mission lately to plant seeds of authentic, profound self-love in every woman I meet throughout my weekly classes and trainings and most importantly within myself. This seed was planted for me several weeks ago during a Valentine’s Day toddler yoga class (well let's be honest I think about love all the time… haha). All the children were jumping up and down… 1-2-3 MEDITATE! We then sat down in a seated meditation, massaged our third eye and repeated the affirmation, “I LOVE MYSELF! I LOVE MYSELF!!! I LOVE MYSELF!!!!!!!!" How incredibly sweet to witness a room full of toddlers screaming, "I LOVE MYSELF!"

I then asked the women in the room, “What do YOU love about yourself?” One brave soul raised her hand and shared she loves the enthusiasm she brings to life. Amazing! I could feel her enthusiasm throughout the class and was honored to witness her journey of self-love. Then the room became completely silent, well as silent as it can get with toddlers roaming about. I asked myself, “In a class of this size how can only one woman love something about herself?” So I got really curious and decided to call upon someone. And I asked in the most compassionate way, “What do you love about yourself?” Her response was “NOTHING.” That was it. In that first moment she was unable to think of a single thing she loves about herself. She then looked lovingly at her toddler and you could see in her eyes a moment of recognition that she was planting seeds here and needed to be a positive role model for her son. She then went on to say, “I love that I am a great mom.”

"YES, you are an amazing mom!" I wanted to scream. I can feel your compassion and your unconditional love for your child. You are an amazing mom AND you are so much more. You are absolute beauty and abundance and bliss. You radiate beauty and truth and inner sweetness. Oh how I wish you could see within yourself everything I can see within you!!!

After that encounter I decided to get even more curious. I posed this question to multiple students during my classes that week… ”What do YOU love about yourself?” The answers I received were so very honest and so incredibly sad. “I can’t really think of anything I love about myself. I need to think about it some more.” “There are a couple things I like about myself but I can’t really think of anything I love about myself.” “I haven’t really thought about it much.”

Yup that was me even 1-2 years ago. I could rattle off in a heartbeat everything I loved about my children and my friends and my family but if anyone were to ask me what I loved about myself, I would have had absolutely nothing or very little to offer.

Today I can honestly tell you I love myself. I love my open heart. I love my commitment to my personal practice and deepening my connection to spirit. I love my enthusiasm for life and ability to continuously grow in this world. I love my ability to listen to myself and to others. I love that I am planting seeds for my own children of self-love. I love how I am a forever student always asking myself how can I rise up in this world? I even love my body. I love my curiosity and desire to create change. Shall I keep going?!?! Sure this is an ongoing process for me but I can honestly say I LOVE MYSELF!

If we want our children to love themselves we have to start by loving ourselves. If we want our relationships to grow and evolve we have to start loving ourselves and allowing ourselves to grow. If we want to create deeper levels of love within our lives we have to start loving ourselves in deeper ways.

So, I challenge you to contemplate, “WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOURSELF?” Journal it. Meditate on it. Comment below. Tell your kids everyday what you love about yourself. Ask them to tell you what they love about themselves and what they love about you. Go ahead, give yourself permission to bathe in unconditional, authentic, profound self-love. Have a self-love fest. It may not come naturally at first but with time and with lots and lots and lots of practice I know you will also fall completely in love with yourself!



Sara is the lead yoga instructor at the mama’hood. She leads several weekly yoga classes in addition to our prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher trainings, our mother daughter yoga and date nights, and our birth story healing circles. To learn more about Sara and her offerings visit www.begraceyoga.com or email Sara at sara@themamahood.com.

The Helicopter Parent

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So, the Winter Olympics just wrapped up, and let me say, holy shitballs, people - those athletes are amazing. They train for their entire lives and sometimes go home champions and sometimes just go home with stories. However, if you want to see some everyday Olympic caliber amazingness, watch a parent change the sheets on a bunk bed, or wrestle a toddler into a pull-up - sorry, Shaun White - I’m just sayin’, I haven’t even had time to train for this shit, but here I am making magic happen.

A fascinating event that some parents tackle with Olympic level focus, training, and voracious dedication is Other Parent Judgment. Listening to some of these Olympians (aka parents), you’ll hear all kinds of technical terms like “Attachment Parent”, “Free-Range Parent”, “Tiger-Parent”, and my personal favorite, “Helicopter Parent” being thrown around. Our everyday Olympians are experts on these terms much as I heard Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski call out a “Triple Toe Loop” or “Double Sow Cow” (or whatever the hell it’s called) like it was nothing. Now Johnny and Tara earned their licks to be critiquing the figure skaters but the question I have for the parent-athletes is: Where does this desire to label come from? Is it ingrained in them much as the desire for a gold is etched into the being of Mikaela Shiffrin? Or does it come from somewhere else? Somewhere less admirable?

Here’s the thing - parenting is hard. It’s really hard and having other parents, or even better grandparents, or even better than that non-parents judging our every move is so not helpful.

I could go on and on about all of the parenting labels that parents put on themselves as well as are bestowed upon us by others whether deserving or not. But I won’t. I will however address the one that I have been guilty of throwing around like an insult until I came to understand it better: The Helicopter Parent.

You know what I’m talking about - the mom who follows little Jimmy all over the playground equipment making sure he’s safe. The dad who won’t let the kids ride anywhere with their grandparents because the carseats haven’t been checked by the fire station. The mama who makes sure you’ve triple washed your hands and then still asks you to use hand sanitizer one more time before holding the baby, even though it’s August and flu season was over months ago. We’ve taken comfort in labeling these parents helicopters - hovering about their little person constantly so as to protect them from every scrape, bruise, unkind word, and unpleasant smell.

However, when we take a step back, we need to realize what we’re actually witnessing is something deeper. It’s not just care and concern for the tiny person these parents are in charge of keeping alive, but it’s quite possibly, and most likely, a perinatal mood disorder called postpartum anxiety.

The mama’s too anxious to just relax and chat at the playground, not because she’s uptight, but because her brain actually won’t let her. Daddy can’t enjoy a day at the pool with the kiddos because his mind won’t stop racing to the terrible “what ifs”. Leaving the baby with a sitter can be the single most stressful moment for these parents not because they’re worried that the baby might not get a nutritious meal or to bed on time but because they're terrified the sitter might strap the baby in the carseat and leave town. They can’t help it. Their mind won’t stop and it’s not their choice, it’s also not their fault.

Parents get to come at this lifelong Olympic event any way they want. So here’s what I suggest: as fellow parents we take a step back. As with everything in life, we have no idea what’s happening in someone else’s world. If you see a daddy hovering over his daughter all around the zoo, it’s not your place to label him. Have compassion, show him kindness, and know this parenting thing is not the same for any of us. I take solace in the fact that when I was suffering from postpartum depression I didn’t have to wear an armband to show I was not doing great. On the other had, it would have been extremely helpful if I had worn one so then people would maybe have had more compassion for me or at least more patience.

Let’s do this for one another - as a parenting community - as a tribe. Respect our fellow little-person-keeper-alivers and save the commentary for Johnny and Tara. Your fellow Olympians may be gold medalist mac-n-cheese makers while you don’t make the podium in that event, but they can’t hold a candle to you in bedtime story telling. We’re all aspiring to be the best at something (read magical bandaid application). We all have dreams, people.

Now, can we talk about Johnny’s hair?

Because I'm a Badass. That's Why.

Allison Schneider

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I’ll be the first to admit it, I don’t play with my kids enough. There’s always something to do. Some meal to make or room to clean, somewhere to be or conversation that has been put off and needs to be had. My answer is often, “Just a minute, baby.” “I need to just finish this one thing.” “I’ll be right there.”

And I don’t think I’m always wrong. I do have meals to make and shit to clean, because ps even though there are rules about only eating at the table - every-damn-thing is sticky! All the time! Why? How did this happen? How are you and your hands and your face and your knees always covered in some disgusting gooey substance? Someone needs to keep us from living like a bunch of frat boys, because you small people are the reason we can’t have nice things!

Then, once in a while there is time and not vacation at a resort time, but good old fashioned time to spend with them just to play. Not at Jump-til-you-barf, not at the movies or an organized activity, just to actually play. And when these moments happen, they are magic.

We had a rare moment - we were away from the world, we had no internet and cell phone access, we had feet of fresh snow, tons of sleds, and two bad-ass mamas to play with these four little kids and boy did we play! We didn’t only play with them, we played along side of them. The daddies took off for the day and the mamas were tubing, sledding, building jumps, hauling kiddos behind the snowmobiles, and laughing our butts off.

We only went inside for hot cocoa and a bite to eat - plus a quick game of Guesstures (which by the way is way more fun with two adults) before heading back out for more. More tumbles into the powder, more doubled over in laughter, more freezing fingers and toes, and more play. And when the kids were too done for more, us mamas got the daddies fresh back from the river to suit up and pull us behind the snowmobile. We wanted our turn to try and make it around the track just once! (Mostly to show the children how it’s done.) And our kids watched from the warmth of the cabin in the picture window. They watched their mamas be bad asses. Have our own fun and teach them by example how life is to be lived.

Now we’re back, and while the wind burn has vanished from our cheeks and we’re back to changing sheets and cleaning toilets, and trying to get a meal on the table that everyone will not only eat but no one makes gagging sounds during, the play will stay with all of us. In our muscle fibers, in our laughter, and hopefully the kids will remember their mamas not only as the toilet cleaners and butt wipers but as the bad ass mamas who can whip the kids around a corner while they hold on for dear life and laugh like wild banshees.

Mama life is tough. There are schedules to keep and humans to keep alive. Mamas don't get enough time to be the "fun" ones. We have to be rules and regulations while so many others get to be the fun ones. Grandparents, auties and uncles, babysitters, and often our partner get to have all the fun. So, every once in a while with no guilt say fuck it. Get out in the snow or the sand or the grass and roll around with them. Get dirty, eat junk for lunch, let them have cookies first, and do it with abandon. You’ll thank yourself (and they’ll look at you just a little different - because who knew mama could be so WILD!?!?)


Allison Schneider

This morning I had to drop off my 5th grader’s homework. Because, mom-life. And as I left the school I suddenly felt an overwhelming dread for my friend, Miriam who volunteers in the office. Miriam’s daughter and my younger son have been in school together since ECE. They are buddies, attend one-another’s birthday parties, and like to play together on the playground.

I thought about the button I just had to push to gain access to the school, the fact that I stopped into the office to grab a visitor’s badge even though I’d only be in and out, said good morning to Miriam and our amazing secretary Teresa, and saw the sweet little faces of all the kiddos settling in for the morning. And I thought to myself, What if Miriam had buzzed in a visitor who didn’t stop in the office for their badge, and when Miriam stepped out of the office to ask the visitor to come check in, he turned around with a gun. What if just for being a great mama and community member, sweet Miriam’s girls lost their mom, and a husband lost his wife, and parents and in-laws lost their daughter, and the hospital lost one of their best new nurses.

When our kids first started school I was horribly nervous about the “lock-down” and “lock-out” drills that had become the norm in schools across the country. As a kid we had fire drills, for sure, but this scary new world of drills was foreign to me and I didn’t have many tools to help my kiddos navigate what they were being drilled on. Their early teachers were great about telling a story to the littles about being quiet tiny little mice who have to hide and not make a peep until the teacher said the magic word. As they grew older, of course, they were exposed to more and more reality as well as the reality of what they were hiding from and why they had to be so quiet. Then one day, after a drill, my sweet young boys came home and said they were scared, what if someone came to their school with a gun? What would happen?

My answer was swift and full of confidence because it’s my job as their mama to be the rock for them, to let them know that it’s going to be ok, I’ll always protect them. I told them that they never had to worry, ever. Because I would find out about it right away, the news would get to the parents immediately, and all they needed to do was follow the instructions of their teachers and to know that mama was on her way and I was coming to get them, and there is no one I would let stand between them and me. I told them they didn’t have to be afraid, because their mama would be there and they could know that I was coming.

Truth is, I can’t protect them. I can’t protect them, or Miriam, or Teresa, or Ms. Brown, or Coach Howard, or their friends. I’m helpless against the nonsense and the violence. I have to pray that the drills prepare them from (heaven-forbid) the real thing. I have to leave them in the care of amazing people who have dedicated their lives to preparing the nation’s future, and cross my helpless fingers that it doesn’t happen here. Or at my niece and nephew’s school, or at my friends kids’ schools, or at my coworkers kids’ schools, or any damn school.

I’ll always tell my kids that they don’t have to be scared, because all they need to know is mama is on her way. And heaven knows I will be, but there’s nothing more than my vote that can actually help or protect them, and as far as I can see it, that has done nothing to help.

And while I tell my boys not to be scared, because mama is on her way and nothing can stop me. Truth is, I’m terrified.

Please Welcome to the Stage...


So, we have this turtle. It’s an orange eared African slider or some such something and truth be told I have no idea how or why we have the damn thing.

That’s not totally fair. We have it because I, yes I, in my infinite wisdom decided a turtle was a great pet! It lives in my older son’s room, very low maintenance, and it’s a pet - so we have a pet. Turtle. A pet turtle, which really isn’t a “pet” at all.

Let’s back up.

Before I had kids, I was fiercely independent. I had an idea about the person I was going to be and in most visions it didn’t necessarily include a house, husband, two kids, and a pet. I every-so-often thought about “if” I ever had a kid what kind of mom I’d be. I’d be strict, firm, a hard-ass, but still fun, silly, and a little bit wild. We’d have grand adventures and I’d teach them all about independent films, music, literature, dance, theatre, and football. I’d teach them to have an allegiance to the University of Texas Longhorns, and an appreciation for a perfectly executed Boeuf Bourguignon. We’d live in an apartment in a fabulous city that had arts, culture, and great parks and we’d laugh and argue and navigate life on my terms.

Then, on February 13th, 2007 my first son arrived and I became a pile of mush, but the kind of mush that can turn into Wonder Woman and shoot laser beams from its eyeballs if needed to protect this tiny boy. Willing to make any sacrifice necessary - including travel, my career, and sometimes my own happiness. That tiny little mess of a human taught me about love like I’d never known. I had a vague idea of how tragic love can be, how painful and terrifying. I’d known before his arrival that just because I love something doesn’t mean it’s safe or will stay. And now, with his arrival, I knew even more deeply that neither love nor life is on my terms.

So, we grew him a brother, because a built in playmate is super convenient for a mama. Then we got them a house, and two cars, and playdates, and a zoo membership, and a teeny tiny toilet, and little veggie flavored puffs. I discovered a career that would never have been known to me had I not had them. We made doctor’s appointments, enrolled in preschools, then ECE programs then, sniff Kindergarten, and are now looking at Middle Schools. We travel to exotic places like Woody Creek to see their cousins, and Lubbock, Texas to visit their second cousins, and Phoenix, Arizona to attend Spring Training because as it turns out football is terrible for brains and as luck would have it their daddy is a baseball guy and therefore so are they.

We do live in a great city with abundant culture, beautiful art and history museums, amazing restaurants, and fabulous parks - and we visit them all. We go see, “Sing” instead of “Get Out” or, “A Christmas Carol” instead of “Chicago” but hey, there’s time for that. They like pizza and hamburgers, but also love our neighborhood Moroccan restaurant and can navigate a pair of chopsticks (with those little plastic helper thingies).

Before I was mama, part of my plan was to live in hotel rooms in Paris and Tokyo and Rome. To pick up at a moment’s notice and move where the wind and the job took me. Live wildly, freely, and without knowing the word, “no”. Now, I’m the one saying “no”. No more oreos, no you can’t have a hedgehog (or a sloth), no you can’t play the Xbox, no I won’t sleep in your bed tonight. So, when on a scribbled letter to Santa, a sweet little seven-year-old asked for a turtle for Christmas I said yes. In fact I thought “F&*$ Yes!”

And now we have a turtle. Which, if you touch it you have to wash your hands RIGHT AWAY because, salmonella. And while I wouldn't have life any other way, I do occassionally like to check into a hotel downtown and order room service, all by myself.

What’s Love Got to Do With It?


One of my favorite memories as a child was belting out the lyrics to “What’s Love Got to Do With It” by Tina Turner with my own mama. We were fearless and loud when we sang this song. It didn’t matter who was in the car with us or who might be listening to us on the sidewalk, we sang just to sing and we sang it loud!

“What’s love got to do, got to do with it

What’s love but a second hand emotion

What’s love got to do, got to do with it

Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken”

We were bold and courageous and so in love with each other. I look back on these moments and celebrate our playfulness and authenticity. We were so full of love, connection, and pure bliss.

I remember my dad telling me right before my daughter was born 9 years ago, “Sara you really don’t know what love is until you have a child of your own.” “How could that be,” I thought. At that time I was happily married, I had loving friendships, and thought I was well versed in love. Then Grace was born and my “small heart grew three sizes that day.” My heart was broken open in a way only a mother will ever know and I was flooded with love for this little being.

And then my sweet Porter was born and I had a direct experience of the bounty of love! Not only did I have enough love to love both of my children, but their love for each other was absolutely divine. The more we loved each other, the more love we had to give and receive.

Gurmukh’s brilliance shines through when she talks about the abundance of love.

“Sometimes I hear mothers say, “I love my child so much, I can’t imagine loving more. Where will the love come from for the new child on the way?” That is one of the true blessings of having children; they give you a direct experience of the bounty of the world. The truth is there is a bountifulness in love. It expands exponentially the minute you give to another. The fear that there isn’t enough is just a delusion of scarcity. Not only is there enough love for your new child, there is more love for your partner than you ever imagined, and the love you can create for your children is beyond measure. Love creates love. You don’t have to believe it. It’s a fact. It just is.”

Love is bountiful. Love is beautiful and blissful and pure and soulful. BUT what about the “bruitifulness” of love? What about those moments when love doesn’t lead you down the rosiest path?!? What about those moments when you feel heartbroken, angry, betrayed, hurt, confused etc. etc. etc.? What about those moments when love leads you down the path of most growth and expansion but also the path of most confusion and sadness? What about those moments when you begin to question how you are showing up for love in your life?!?! What about those moments when it takes everything you got just to show up?

One of my most favorite authors, Glennon Doyle says, “Love is not warm and fuzzy or sweet and sticky. Real love is tough as nails. It’s having your heart ripped out, putting it back together, and the next day, offering it back to the same world that just tore it up. It’s running toward pain and grief and brokenness instead of away from it. It’s turning the other cheek ’til you get whiplash. It’s resisting the overwhelming desire to quit, to save yourself for yourself. It’s exhausting and uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s ugly, like using your bare hands to search for gold in piles of crap.”

I am sure you are as well versed in the struggles of love as I am. I am sure you are as well versed as I am in those moments where we feel so small. In those moments where we realize we are just learning to love. In those moments where our heart is shredded to pieces. As the song lyrics from “Say Something” go…

“And I will stumble and fall.

I’m still learning to love.

Just starting to crawl.”

So this February, as the world around you is making dinner reservations, buying flowers, and celebrating their definition of love, I invite you to keep crawling to keep celebrating the beauty and agony of love. To keep showing up for love…both the bliss and the heartache. To choose love over fear in any and every situation. To be a student of love. And as the late Maya Angelou said, “Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”

This February can you commit to choosing love just one more time?!?!



Sara is the lead yoga instructor at the mama’hood. She leads several weekly yoga classes in addition to our prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher trainings, our mother daughter yoga and date nights, and our birth story healing circles. To learn more about Sara and her offerings visit www.begraceyoga.com or email Sara at sara@themamahood.com.

Enjoy Every Second


It’s one of the most heard phrases by new parents. People cooing over your newborn look up at you and with all good intentions, say, “Enjoy every second. It goes so fast.”

First of all, stop saying this people. Stop it. Seriously. Stop.

New parents are stuck with a tiny little alien dictator who not only doesn’t speak English, or Spanish, or French, or Mandarin, but DOESN’T SPEAK and yet demands, very loudly what it wants, when it wants it, and mostly that’s right friggin’ now and it’s nearly impossible to determine what “it” is the little thing wants.

There are so many methods of bouncing and shushing and swishing and twisting and carry it on it’s belly, no with it’s belly pressed just so against your shoulder, no not like that, like this, oh my god never mind I’ll just do it.

What the well-intending wishers of this sage advice are really trying to tell new parents is that the infant stage goes so quickly, especially in the life of a human being. Many of the well-wishers are reminiscent about their time with their own infants. Because, while it was just a moment ago, it was a lifetime, and many of their own children are grown or growing and can feed themselves, and use the bathroom without a parental assist, not to mention some drive or are married or live halfway around the globe and only visit once every other year. What the brilliant advice-givers wouldn’t give to go back and enjoy just a few moments with their tiny cuddled on their breast as they snoozed on the couch.

Understandable for them, but for the sake of the new parents again, just don’t. Find something else to say like, “Hey do you like my slick new Converse?” or “I’m not sure the last time I made my three-year-old bathe” or maybe even “That is one cute damn baby!” Please, in the name of all things holy don’t ask if the baby sleeps thru the night, because not only, NO, but that actually makes you sound like a total idiot because no, new babies don’t sleep thru the night because they have to EAT. So no, Aunt Marsha, baby Lily doesn’t sleep thru the night, that would be very worrisome and bad at this age, you blithering idiot.

Truth is, it’s such a short time in the grand scheme of things, but one day can feel like an eternity, and it’s totally fabulous when the baby is first awake in the morning and cooing and life is good, but what are you going to do with it for the next 8 hours and 47 minutes until your partner gets home? There are no showers, no real meals, no way to tell if it’s been 20 minutes or 2 days, and while moments are so amazing, truth is a day with a baby who isn’t feeling well or didn’t nap can make a mama feel like a beached whale waiting for the kind townspeople to come along with buckets to keep her covered in sea water until the tide comes back in.

So, instead, remark on what good parents these rookies are. Point out how the baby is so happy to be snuggled up so happy on mama (or daddy). Tell them an entertaining story about the asshole at work they aren’t missing or maybe learn to do a couple magic tricks and simply entertain them. Should a new parent ask, then advise away. Until then: magic tricks, or just bring tacos, everyone likes tacos.

My Mom Friends Suck

By Allison Schneider, Co-Founder of the mama'hood


I’ll never forget after my first son was born, I was graciously invited by another new mama to come with her to a playgroup for the babies. Great, I thought, what could go wrong, thought I.

The first time I attended the once a month group, it was October and we were supposed to bring our babies with their costume, which was adorable and super fun. There were probably 9 mamas and babies there plus myself and a girlfriend I invited and had known pre-babies. My pre-baby friend, Alexa’s daughter was only 2 months and while she probably wouldn’t “play” at least we’d be out of the house around a group of other grown ups. Sounds perfectly reasonable and fun! I decided to bring a bottle of wine as a hostess gift, and hey maybe we could open it and have a little? I may as well have shown up with a lit cigarette, carrying a toxic waste bag marked “RSV”. The hostess (not the mama who had invited me) acted so shocked I wasn’t sure if she knew that many adult humans consider wine a delicious treat to be enjoyed on occasion. My friend Alexa and I could tell right then we might not fit in with this group exactly.

I quickly located the mama who invited me and made sure I hadn’t just handed a bottle of wine to a recovering alcoholic. She assured me that she and the hostess had known one another for a while and the hostess actually used to love wine, but she’s breastfeeding, so that’s a big “no-no.” Oh boy. I too was breastfeeding and while I didn’t intend to slosh back a jug of Carlo Rossi, I was certain a glass wouldn’t prevent my son from attending MIT. (I mean let’s be honest, anything is possible, but I’m pretty sure my husband and my mixed DNA would take care of smashing that dream.)

Off to an amazing start, Alexa and I tried our hardest to join the “fun”. I put my boy down with the other kiddos on the rug, and struck up conversation with one of the mamas. Before I had finished my name she asked what percentile my son fell into? Ummm, well, ummm, like today? Or when he was born, errrrr? I could tell I really impressed this woman with my idiotic mumbling about maybe the 90th(?) or 50ish for one of them. When I finished rambling with a confident, “but he’s happy and growing, so we’re happy with that!” She was done talking to me.

Not to be discouraged, I went on to work my mommy-friend-making-magic on another mama. Her son was about a month younger than mine and they were sitting happily drooling over toys when the newest line of questioning began. She wanted to know when my son had first rolled over? First sat up independently? Was he eating solids? How about sleep? As I tried to answer these questions I realized she was asking so she could report all the stats on her little one. He was an extremely advanced baby. Slept like an angel in his crib all night, sat up independently at three days old, and had already been admitted to three Ivy League schools, all they had to do now was choose where the family should relocate!

It went on like this until it was time to dress the babies in their costumes and take a picture. Luckily, during the picture Alexa found me and we efficiently planned our exit. With much apologizing on our parts (we were both raised by Southerners and we apologize for everything) we excused ourselves, quickly buckled the babies in, and were out of there. On the drive back to my house, we exchanged war stories. Alexa told me she had no idea a group of women could be so singly focused on competing babies and holy shit is this just what it’s like now? We got back to my house, ordered in Chinese, had the dads stop on their way for a bottle of wine and enjoyed the night relaying the details of the weird alter world where we had spent the afternoon. Now, I don’t like to give up easily, so we decided we’d try again. Maybe it wasn’t as weird as it seemed. Brilliantly, I decided I’d host and I’d make snacks and have some bevvies, with or without booze, and while is was a “playdate” it was actually a mommy date - a time to talk about things other than four month sleep regressions and diaper rashes. So I set it up, invited all the mamas from the Halloween party, plus a few I’d met in other places, (I may have even purchased a brand new button down from Target) and threw myself on the mercy of the moms’ group.

It started out slowly, and appeared it was possibly going to be an epic disaster. A few of the very competitive mamas were there, the worst offender, however, couldn’t stay long, and her sidekick happened to have carpooled. So, there we found ourselves. Cold chardonnay, delicious Costco delicacies, drooling babies, and what was that sound? Laughter? We talked about how little sleep there was, how irritating our husbands were, the old, baby-free friends who we never saw anymore. And actually enjoyed ourselves.

A few months later, we tried to recreate the magic at Alexa’s house, but as with all things baby and new parenting, the good days are just as much a fluke as the bad. I did, however, learn a very valuable lesson: Don’t find sucky mommy friends who make you question bringing the baby to bed with you so you can finally f-ing sleep or lecture you on organic non-gmo baby foods and the effects of the wireless router in your house on baby’s brain development. Find good mama friends who get it. Find mama friends who know it may not be their way but it also isn’t their business. Who are happy to listen and laugh, who will let you cry when you want to pull your own hair out and are happy to watch both littles for you to finally get your hair done. Because while there may be scientists saying the wireless router in my house is bad for my baby’s brain development, there are days when Facebook is ALL I HAVE of the outside world and by God, not going crazy is just as important as the homemade applesauce from the apples you grew in your orchard, Marissa.

New Year. New Intentions. Same Old EMOTIONS!


Welcome to 2018! It is with much relief to most of us to bid farewell to 2017 and welcome a new year and a new opportunities to manifest more happiness and joy in our lives.

2017 was a year full of transition, difficult conversations, decisions, and a wide array of intense emotions for me personally. Through all of this, I’ve decided I need to embrace more truth and transparency in ALL areas of my life. So, over the holidays when my aunt innocently asked me what my new years resolutions are, I took this as a divine moment to share authentically from my heart. I started off with sharing that I no longer set resolutions as I’m intending to step more into the flow with the universe rather than control any particular outcome… blank stare from my aunt but a look of curiosity, so I continued. I went on to explain that this year I’m focusing more on emotions I intend to manifest more of in my life rather than fixating on outcomes. Because does it really matter if you have what you think you want if you don’t have the underlying feeling associated with it? I was on a roll at that point so I just kept talking and the more I shared the more engaged and fascinated she became with my perspective on emotions and their importance in our lives. Hmmm... maybe authentic communication does manifest deeper and more authentic connections within our lives.

So whats the deal with emotions anyways? Why are they so important in our lives…besides the obvious reasons of course?

Now stay with me as I dive into this…does it really matter if you achieve any particular outcome if you don’t manifest the underlying feeling you are craving or needing more of in your life? For example, if you achieve that promotion but still are feeling inadequate in your job and life is the promotion really adding more lasting happiness and joy or is it just a temporary band aide for a deeper wound? Or what if you make new friendships and relationships but still carry a sense of abandonment with you in your life. Will these new friendships really manifest a deeper level of happiness and joy in your life? My guess is probably not. Old patterns will most likely manifest and continue to attract more abandonment in your life. Big sigh!

So, rather than trying to control any particular outcome in your life, try to simply pay attention to how you feel. Sounds easy enough right?!? Your feelings are like a mirror reflecting back to you how aligned you are with your higher self in any given moment. Okay, that’s much deeper but stay with me. For our friend who is carrying the vibration of abandonment, rather than attracting more abandonment in your life, think about how you want to feel. Hmmm…perhaps more secure with yourself. Perhaps more connected in all of your relationships. Perhaps you want deeper levels of love in your life. So notice when you feel this way. Notice when you feel secure with yourself. Observe when you feel connected in a relationship. Notice when you feel a deep sense of love and take note. Journal it. Bring more awareness to these moments as they are tiny but profound messages from your higher self.

Lets use me as an example! For a long time I’ve carried with me a desire to “fit in.” Growing up I felt different from others. I didn’t like football although everyone around me obsessed over it. I’ve always had deep, soulful questions like what is my purpose in life and why am I here, although I never really had an avenue to explore these questions. I wanted to “fit in” but in order to do so decided I needed to try and be someone who I’m not. Sound familiar? The story I told myself was I needed to hide a part of who I was in order to be accepted and loved. I needed to please others to receive the love I was deeply craving.

Fast forward 39 years and I’m now recognizing how these seeds that were planted so long ago are not serving me in my life. Rather than masking a part of my being, I feel happier when I express just for the sake of expression. I feel joy when I take an intuitive course and tap into the healing capacities within me. I feel alive when I practice yoga and meditate. These feelings are like invisible teachers within my life guiding me on my path and helping me manifest more love and joy within my life. I’m beginning to notice when I feel happy and empowered and when I step into a place of fear or self doubt or any lower vibration.

The moral of the story here is to just notice how you feel. Notice what you are doing when you feel happy and alive and take note. Notice what you are doing when you feel sad and lethargic and take note. No need to judge yourself, just notice. Now do more of what invokes feelings of love and joy within your life.

As Yogi Bhajan said: “Make a list of things that make you happy.
Make a list of things you do everyday.
Compare the lists.
Adjust accordingly.”

To more lasting love, joy, authentic connection, and happiness within your life!

Namaste! Sara

Sara is the lead yoga instructor at the mama’hood. She leads several weekly yoga classes in addition to our prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher trainings, our mother daughter yoga and date nights, and our birth story healing circles.
To learn more about Sara and her offerings visit www.begraceyoga.com or email Sara at sara@themamahood.com

Leave the baby at the neighbors’


By Allison Schneider, the mama 'hood Co-Founder

There is a myth running rampant in our culture - it is slowly and sometimes lovingly, sometimes vehemently - being broken down, but running none the less, that claims becoming a mother is the most rewarding, satisfying, joyful thing a woman can accomplish. The brigade setting out to dismantle this myth comes in several forms, but for the most part humorous social media posts are leading the way. The viral video of the mama hiding in the pantry to eat candy whilst little fingers can be seen wiggling beneath the door. The hilarious parental twitter accounts and deliciously ridiculous toddlers whose parents can make light of this whole parenting thing. And, let me be the first to say, Hallelujah. Praise the good (insert deity here) that we are no longer expecting mothers with perfectly kept homes, a cold drink and warm lamb chops on the table every night. Parenting has become a bit more real and so many can find the absolute humor in it.

Then there are the mamas who say, yeah, if only. If only I could get to the point where I was hiding in the pantry to sneak Twizzlers instead of trying to decide if I should actually put the baby in the crib, walk out the front door and just keep going. This is not just the thought of mamas suffering from Postpartum Depression or another perinatal mood disorder. This is the thought of so many new mamas and daddies who can’t believe how hard and overwhelming this is. When a new mama has these thoughts they are almost always followed by thoughts of guilt for feeling this way or fear that they aren’t a good parent, not cut out for this. Not two weeks ago, I had a mama in Postpartum Group who has a four month old, tell the mama with the three week old, “Please, don’t feel bad, as recently as two days ago I thought maybe I’ll go knock on the door and see if the neighbors want a baby.” First of all, feeling like this does not make you a “bad” mom and not feeling like this does not make you a “good” mom. In fact, there’s no such thing as a good or a bad mom. There, I said it. There’s no such thing. Women have babies every day. Several times a day all over this country and the world. Some feel great and are so overwhelmed with joy, and others wonder when the overwhelming sense of joy they were anticipating will kick in.

We as a culture are getting better about acknowledging not all new parents feel joy and uncontrollable love for their new baby. We are not, however, getting very much better about addressing it. We were never intended to do this parenting thing is isolation, from a couch armed with only a mobile phone and non-stop internet access, and no community. When a new parent is feeling overwhelmed, guilty, ashamed, and like they are a “bad” parent, it’s our duty to say, like the mama in Postpartum Group did, “It’s ok, I felt like that too.” I still feel like that sometimes and there were times I thought we had made the biggest mistake of our lives. Like we shouldn’t have had a baby. Our job as members of this larger parenting community is not to tell any parent how they should feel about this new tiny human in their lives. Our job is to acknowledge all of the joyful and scary feelings of the newest members of our community and do our best to let them know they aren’t alone. They aren’t strange or sick or disgraceful - they are new parents and navigating the choppy seas of new parenthood are difficult even for the most experienced sailors.

Ok, but how? Be the one to say it first. Say to a new mama in your life, “Hey I was right there, where you are now, not twenty four hours ago, or two months ago, or 10 years ago.” It doesn’t matter how far removed you are from the time, let the new parents know they aren’t alone. And if you never experienced those feelings, keep it to yourself. Just be a good person, shut up, and listen with your heart instead of your head.

So, when your friend has a new baby at home, drop by with food for lunch - hopefully one of her favorites, as well as dinner to heat up, and then don’t ask her how it’s going, because it’s exhausting and amazing, and perfect and overwhelming, and lovely and terrifying. Tell her to go hop in the shower and while she’s in there get her lunch out, put it on a plate on a placemat at the table. Crack her a bottle of kombucha or Chardonnay or an IPA, and set her a place. And then when she emerges she has food, and drink and someone to hold the baby while she eats. Because we were never meant to do this alone. Historically we have lived in tribes and groups so when one mama needed a rest another could hold the baby.

And mamas, when your friend comes over to hold the baby, let them. The baby will be just fine - in fact better for the fact that her mama is feeling a bit better, refreshed and nourished. Then, in a day or two when you are feeling mostly lonesome for adult company, find your friend, or her friend who you’ve never met but who just had a baby, or a La Leche League group, or a postpartum group, so you can have company and feel like you can say to someone that while you’re glad you didn’t you may have felt like leaving the baby at the neighbors’.

What a Nanny Wants

By: Maggie Broadrick, Owner, Kiddie Up Nannies

As summer is amongst us, the increase of the nanny population in Denver and surrounding areas is at its highest. This means supply is low and demand is high! What can you do to ensure your nanny’s happiness? After all, a happy nanny is a happy family.

To understand exactly what nannies want, we polled Kiddie Up’s very own nannies! We had over 200 responses and we are excited to share!

As a nanny, where do you go to find a permanent job, summer job or occasional sitting position? (Nannies were allowed to vote for more than one category.)

  • 77% said why Kiddie Up Nannies of course!
  • 54% said by word of mouth; former employers, friends, neighbors, other nannies, etc.
  • 31% said online sources such as care.com, sittercity.com, urbansitter.com
  • 17% said other places, such as other agencies, Stapleton Sitters, or other social media groups.

When looking for a new position, what are you looking for? The top 5 requests in order are:

#1. Welcoming, kind and personable family

#2. Fostering a healthy employer/employee relationship

#3. Clear, precise and direct communication

#4. Hourly rate

#5. Benefits such as paid time off, holiday pay, health insurance, etc.

Other requests include:

  • Commitment length
  • Start date
  • Families’ plan on withholding taxes or not

Things that are not as important to the nannies were:

  • Location
  • Number of children
  • Age of children

Are you comfortable doing light housework (IE child's laundry, sweeping, vacuuming, cleaning up after meals, cleaning up after the days' activities, stocking supplies, meal preparation, etc.)?

  • 52% said yes, happy to help in any way.
  • 25% said they are open to a few chores.
  • 23% said they are willing to provide childcare only.

In general, have you felt appreciated by the families you work for?

  • 45% said yes
  • 42% said sometimes
  • 13% said never

If the family does not need you (IE they go on vacation or do not need childcare), do you request to be compensated for that time?

  • 62% said yes, absolutely, not negotiable.
  • 38% said they are willing to be negotiable.

What describes why you are a nanny best?

  • 62% said have a passion for being a positive role model and making an impact on a little one's life.
  • 21% said because I love children.
  • 17% said because they are a natural caretaker.
  • 0% said because of the money.

As an agency owner and a parent myself, some of these answers surprised me. Maybe they surprise you too. Five years ago, these answers would have been very different. With Denver’s rapid growth, there are just not enough nannies, daycare openings and school spots. Therefore, it’s vital for families who plan on employing a nanny, to consider, what can I do to meet my nanny’s needs.

In Motherhood and in Business, you are not Alone.

Thank you, Molly for this great reminder!

What I’ve learned as a mother, I’ve also learned as an entrepreneur. I designed my clothing line for nursing moms while I was breastfeeding my own son, so the business was inspired by my children, as well as a desire to help fellow moms. Challenges I face as a mom, are not unlike challenges I face in entrepreneurship – fear of the unknown, learning as I go, and asking for help, to name a few. The ability to trust my “mother’s intuition” also comes in handy when making difficult decisions for my business. Opportunities for growth and awareness are plenty. Working outside my comfort zone is a common daily occurrence. Which brings me to an important question – why is it so hard for us to ask for help? Instead of being wary, we should do it more often, and even embrace it. Because in motherhood, and in life, reaching out is where the magic happens. The Mamahood has carried my clothing line in their store since the start of my business 5 years ago. I connected immediately with their business model of being more than a boutique, but also a community and resource center for moms - a place for women to learn, connect, and grow through all stages of motherhood. Last year, Gabrielle from The Mamahood reached out to me about a collaboration. Could we use the Molly Ades Zippered Tank design and create an exclusive tank just for The Mamahood - I loved it. What better way to share our passion for helping moms, while also helping our small businesses. Working together feels much more powerful and fulfilling than working separately. And, running your own business can get lonely at times. Like entrepreneurship, it’s easy to get lost in motherhood – because there is always someone else who needs something. It is our very nature to want to care for others, so when our child, a parent, or a friend is in need, we feel compelled to rush to their side. Empathy and a willingness to help are good qualities, as long as they do not leave us empty. We need to find ways to fill ourselves back up, despite being pulled in multiple directions. It doesn’t matter if you stay at home full time, work outside the home full time, work part-time, run your own company, or enjoy a hobby/passion from time to time. All that matters is that you participate in a daily practice that is meaningful to your soul. In addition to being a mom and giving yourself fully to your children, you also maintain something that is yours – something else you can grow and cultivate, and that comes from within.

Guest post by Molly Ades - www.mollyades.com

the mama 'hood turns 5! Help us celebrate with moms supporting moms - access for all



the mama ‘hood is celebrating its 5th birthday this year!

Our mission/reason-for-being is to help families find joy (not shame) in their parenting journey.  All families.  We do this through expert instruction, community, and helping them find the things they need.

Help us celebrate our 5th birthday by helping expand the circle of families we can reach through moms supporting moms Scholarship Fund. 


We invite everyone who has benefitted from classes, groups or consults at the mama 'hood to contribute to our moms supporting moms Scholarship Fund.  The Scholarship Fund guarantees access for all.

We are thrilled and inspired every day that we have the honor of helping families such as yours find joy in this process and support through community.  And, we know that there are many more families who are not able to come to the mama ‘hood because they can not afford our services.  Between now and our 10th birthday,  we are committed to serving those families. Please help us do that.

Please support our Scholarship Fund by donating below.*


* the mama 'hood is not a 501c3 - unfortunately, donations are not tax deductible. However, you can be certain that your donation will have massive impact on a family's life.

A Mompreneur's Business 101

the mama 'hood's Co-Founder & CEO shares a few tips on starting your own business for those mamas who are ready to go it on their own!

YOUR USP (unique selling proposition)
What are YOU uniquely good at?

  • Better than others?
  • What aspect of the business taps into your strengths?

    Talk to EVERYONE who will listen to you about your idea/your business. (not always overtly) and go to of events of all sorts.

  • You never know when an important link will be made, a gem of info or a lead

  • Be open to SERENDIPITY

  • Promote all the time!

Time is one of your greatest assets

  • Good things don’t happen when we are under pressure.

  • Family must come first, otherwise, your heart won’t be in it.

  • Keep another other job while you are building your business to minimize financial pressure

  • Time gives you objectivity, clarity and truth – do you REALLY want to do this?

  • Allows you to course correct as you learn

  • It takes time for your name to get out there.

  • The average person needs to see something new 7x before trying something new

You MUST love what you do – this is hard work.

  • Speak using the language of enthusiasm. It is infectious.


BE HONORABLE: ALWAYS do what you say you are going to do

  • Your reputation is everything

  • Say you are sorry if you do mess something up


  • Write a Business Plan

  • Market Analysis

  • Competitive Landscape / SWOT  

  • Profit & Loss Statement

  • Statement of Cash Flows

  • Balance Sheet

  • B Corp Assessment is a useful tool to help you take a progressive 360° approach http://www.bcorporation.net

  • If you don’t know accounting, hire a bookkeeper to ensure you always know how healthy your business is. Then take a business accounting class.

Why You Need to Take a Break from Your Day and Meditate

When your toddler is fighting his nap again, do you ever shake your head in wonder? What wouldn’t you give for someone to put you down for a three-hour nap? It’s one of the ironies of motherhood; we spend so much time trying to get our little ones to sleep and, as a result, we ourselves are often totally spent and exhausted.

While the physical demands of motherhood are extensive, what many moms find surprising is the breadth of the mental and spiritual demands. Children are all encompassing. They come into our lives, and not only do we give them our bodies, but they also take up room in our once sharp minds and our now bursting hearts.

Even though we complain and sometimes fall apart, the truth is that in between the less-than-glamorous hours of motherhood, we are keenly aware that raising these children is an honor and joy we’d never want to miss.

But if there’s one admission every mother must eventually make, it’s we cannot do it all. We come to the end of ourselves faster than we think we will. If we intend to extend our abilities and energy, we cannot pour ourselves into our jobs, relationships and children without also drawing strength and peace from another source.

So what’s a mother to do when she feels like her limitations are standing in the way of a fuller enjoyment of her life? While there are many solutions or partial solutions, one that you can incorporate today wherever you are and with little to no financial investment is meditation.

Meditation addresses some of the most common issues busy moms, and women in general, face.


While motherhood is a fulfilling way to spend your day, it can also be stressful at times. Meditation is a well-documented way to reduce stress. The very act of sitting down and taking a few deep breaths is calming. As you bring your focus inward, your internal world becomes balanced so the demands of your external world don’t feel quite so daunting.

Impulse Control

When we hear the words “impulse control,” we probably think of our children more often than we think of ourselves. But think about it. How often do you snap at your kids? Or how often do you grab that candy bar for breakfast? When we’re feeling our most depleted, our ability to control these impulses (or even cultivate the desire to do so) is diminished.

Meditation trains our minds to control the flow of our thoughts, which allows us to control our response to those less-than-helpful impulses.

Grounded in the Present

How many times have you been told to enjoy every moment of raising your children? If we’re honest, there are times this well-intentioned mantra grates on our last nerve. Motherhood is hard, and the day-to-day is filled with a lot of moments we’d rather not remember.

This is one of the best reasons to meditate. If we can ground ourselves in the present, a clarity will come that allows us to appreciate this moment in time, to find the contentment that beats beneath the messiness of our days.

Improved Health

There is no doubt that a powerful connection exists between our minds and our bodies. Over and over again, studies have confirmed that those with healthy minds and spirits are better able to maintain good physical health. Meditation brings a holistic view to health by linking our mental health with our physical health.

Good Example

Sometimes we forget that our children are always watching us. When you halt your busy day and choose to make space for meditation, you show your kids that health and wellness is a priority. Not only do you increase the probability that they too will place value on health and wellness, but you also teach them that even though you are their mother, you have basic needs and deserve an opportunity to meet them.

Perhaps you once meditated regularly and have lost your practice. Or maybe you’ve never meditated a day in your life. No matter your level of experience, meditation is available to you. One of the easiest ways to start is to download apps of short, guided meditations to your phone. Some of the most popular and best-rated apps are:

  • Headspace
  • Calm
  • Buddhify
  • The Mindfulness App
  • Smiling Mind

Each of these apps is available for both Android and iOS devices. Most of them offer a wide array of guided meditations, with subjects ranging from anxiety to issues at work to sleep problems. Because meditation is so intensely personal, you may want to install a privacy service on your phone. This will ensure you can work through each of your own personal troubles or situations without worrying that someone else (like your kids!) has access to your private sessions.

At the end of the day, the only person who can bring calm and perspective to your life is you. But the wonderful consequence of this choice is that everyone, especially your children, benefit from it. If you think you can’t find a minute to meditate, remember there will always be a million excuses not to take care of yourself. None of them compare to the two most important reasons to make space for meditation and self-care: Your kids are counting on you, and you are worth it.

About the Author: Caroline is a writer with a soft spot for anything that makes women’s lives easier. She meditates every single day, even when her mind is reeling with new ideas she can’t wait to share with the world.