Please Welcome to the Stage...

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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?

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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?!?!

xoxo

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.

Enjoy Every Second

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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

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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!

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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’

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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 TURNS 5! 

LET'S CELEBRATE BY MOMS SUPPORTING MOMS.

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. 

WHAT IS MOMS SUPPORTING MOMS?

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.*

I WANT TO DONATE TO MOMS SUPPORTING MOMS!

* 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?

    NETWORK
    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
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

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

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

BEST-IN-CLASS CUSTOMER SERVICE

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

    NUTS AND BOLTS

  • 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.

Stress

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.

Teach your kids to share, even their… nanny?!?

By: Maggie Broadrick, Owner, Kiddie Up Nannies

Nanny Share

Nanny shares are super popular- especially in Stapleton! You might wonder what exactly is a nanny share? There are two different types of nanny shares: 1) Multiple families sharing the same nanny at the same time. 2) Multiple families utilizing the same nanny at different times. (I.E. family A has the nanny Monday, Wednesday and Friday and family B has the nanny Tuesday and Thursday.) Regardless of the type of nanny share you chose, both are a creative option to ensure quality and affordable care for your little one!

Nanny shares are beneficial for a several of reasons. First, and foremost, a nanny share is economical. Especially if the nanny is caring for two families at the same time, the hourly rate can be divided between families. Although the hourly rate is higher, each family pays their portion of nanny’s salary and the cost can be similar to the cost of daycare. For instance, two families have one child each; they hire a qualified, professional nanny for $20 per hour- each family is responsible to pay $10 per hour.

Social interaction is the second reason nanny shares are advantageous. Children a part of a nanny share have the opportunity to socialize with other children without foregoing quality care. The nanny can accommodate each child’s individual needs, schedules and activities.

Although the advantageous outweigh the disadvantages, it is important to keep a few things in mind when considering a nanny share:

  • Because you are sharing a nanny, you are sharing their time and attention. It’s important to have a nanny whom has experience with multiples and capable of multi-tasking. It’s also important to be aware the nanny has to meet the needs of another family as well, therefore additional responsibilities like errands, or laundry might not possible.
  • Nannies can be cautious of nanny shares. Of course the salary is a huge benefit for a nanny; however, nannies can be weary of nanny shares because it is twice the work. And I’m not just talking about the kids! Essentially nannies are now working for 4 adults, 2 sets of parents! That is a lot of people to make happy!
  • You are dependent on not only a nanny but another family too. A successful nanny share depends a lot on the other family. It’s important both families share similar views, values, morals, parenting styles, and discipline styles. Believe it or not, finding the other family to share with is the most difficult part- finding a nanny is the easy part!
  • If a child is sick, they can’t be around the other children. Make sure you communicate common policies about illnesses.

There is a great deal that goes into a nanny share. It is important to be fully aware of exactly what you are getting into. When looking for another family to share a nanny with, consider these points:

  • Similar ages, hourly rate, and responsibilities. These items are important but definitely should not be the only aspects.
  • Parenting styles. Make sure your parenting styles are in sync and easy for the nanny to abide.
  • Comparable morals and values, such as rules in the home. Making sure the nanny has consistent rules which are easy to follow as opposed of different rules for each child.
  • Location. Where is the nanny share going to take place? Be aware if you offer your home, the nanny won’t be able to clean up everything. You will notice supplies go a little quicker than usual such as paper towels, toilet paper, arts and crafts, dish soap, trash bags, etch. There might even be more wear and tear on your home; toys break, batteries run out, things get a little dirtier!
  • Vacation or sick days. What happens if one of the other families goes on vacation, will you be responsible for paying the nanny their hourly rate even if the other child is gone? What if the other child is sick, do you feel comfortable voicing your concerns? Vacation and sick days are very easy to navigate but it is a must to be on the same page!
  • Activities and schedules. It can be difficult to have two children completely different ages in the same nanny share. It will be hard for the nanny to make sure everyone is getting what they need. For example, child A is 3 months and child B is 4 years old. Child A needs to have more naps and eats more often, this can be challenging for child B who wants more structured activities and play time.

It’s always a great idea to have a contract between the families. You need to include all aspects of the share including liability of each family.

I know what you’re thinking- Yikes this way too much! It’s not I promise! Nanny shares have the possibility of being very successful. You have to be knowledgeable and conscious of what you are signing up for. To learn more about nanny shares, or if you would like to meet other families please visit our website (https://www.kiddieupnannies.com/nanny-shares/) to learn more about how Kiddie Up Nannies can help!

 

Happy 2017

A very happy 2017 to everyone in our wonderful mama ‘hood community. May the coming year be full of health and happiness for you and yours.

With a new year, comes new beginnings, and, sadly, some endings. For the mama 'hood, the new year means we will be closing our Boulder location on January 9th. It is with heavy hearts that we make this announcement. We have loved serving all of our Boulder families and invite all of you to continue to be part of the mama ‘hood community in Denver.

We will be in contact with everyone who has a membership, outstanding punches, pumps or scales or has made a deposit or payment to a class that runs after January 9th to ensure that you are made whole. If you have any questions in the meantime, do not hesitate to reach out to us at allison@themamahood.com.

Thank for all your support.

Sincerely, Linda, Allison & Amanda

Find-A-Nanny Toolkit

We are beyond thrilled to release Kiddie Up’s Find-A-Nanny Toolkit! After years of research, studying industry trends, talking to professionals, nannies and families, Colorado’s very first, step by step nanny guide is here!

The Find-A-Nanny Toolkit is the one-stop-shop for the do-it-yourself parents out there. No more turning to Google, friends or your neighbors to learn about nannies, this Toolkit has everything you need to know! The downloadable, printable guide supplies you with every tool you need to do the process on your own.

The Find-A-Nanny Toolkit was developed by Maggie Broadrick, owner of Kiddie Up Nannies. Maggie has been working in this industry for over 10 years. Previously Maggie was a nanny then evolved into the agency role after her first child was born. Kiddie Up Nannies places over 200 nannies annually and reaches over 500 families per year through the Find-A-Nanny 101 & Nanny Share Social workshops. Along with Maggie’s knowledge and expertise, help from many others contributed. Such contributors include Colorado’s own nannies and families, employment attorneys, CPAs, pediatricians, lactation consultants, medical first responders, CPR and First Aide teachers, background check specialists and more! Trust us when we say, this is the all-in-one resource every parent has to have.

Purchase yours today! To take advantage of the mama’hood discount, enter coupon code MAMA at checkout.

2 Simple Self Care Tips for Moms-to-Be and New Moms

2 Simple Self Care Tips for Moms-to-Be and New Moms

1. Experiment with essential oils as a self care tool

Essential oils are powerful. They have the ability to be used medicinally in more ways than we can imagine. I use essential oils everyday for different things from uplifting my mood to healing sunburns quickly.

However, the most value I've found from essential oil is in the self care aspect. There's something so grounding about diffusing a cedarwood, Douglas fir, and vetiver blend after a long day of work. The smells actually change my mood and support my well being, more than I would have ever been able to suspect before experiencing it.

That's why I believe essential oils can be so incredibly helpful for moms-to-be and new moms. The process of being pregnant, birthing a baby, and raising a new child can be a beautiful time of overflowing love and joy, but it can also be a time of great upheaval. Simple things like diffusing an oil that grounds you can be the difference between an awful day and awful moment.

There are safety concerns around using essential oils during pregnancy so I generally recommend women who are pregnant refrain from ingesting oils at any time and stick to these 10, which are completely safe for pregnant and nursing moms.

  • Ylang ylang
  • Bergamot
  • Lemon
  • Geranium
  • Black pepper
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • German chamomile
  • Frankincense
  • Wild Orange

2. Experiment with Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

EFT is a simple, yet powerful tool that I use in my practice all the time. It's a blend between acupressure, cognitive behavioral therapy, and exposure therapy.

It can be used to overcome the normal concerns, fears, or insecurities that may arise during pregnancy and during child birth. By creating changes in thoughts and beliefs women can change their experience. The normal shift of hormones during pregnancy often brings a great fluctuation of emotions, and often issues that have been unresolved may come to the surface. this is true in both pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period.

EFT is well recognized for its ability to facilitate the release of negative emotions. Many of the physical symptoms associated with pregnancy can also be mitigated or relieved. And once there is greater comfort and east EFT can be utilized to strengthen your positive thoughts and visualizations of idea birth allowing you to move forward with greater confidence.

EFT utilizes the same system – the meridian system – that acupuncturists use during their therapeutic sessions. Rather than stimulating these points with needles, EFT creates the stimulations through a gentle tapping or ones own fingers while repeating short statements about a particular memory, belief, experience or physical symptom. Past experiences, even past trauma can be cleared away with this method. As the energy meridian system is activated through the tapping, the body memory associated with the incident or belief is transformed.

I’ve found that EFT is most useful in times of great emotional turmoil which are bound to come up during pregnancy during the birth process, and the postpartum period. It’s a wonderful tool to have in your toolbox for all phases of life and motherhood.

If you’re interested in learning more about essentials oils pertaining to pregnancy and children, and how to practice EFT, come to my workshop. The importance of Self Care Before and After Pregnancy at the mama ‘hood on October 21st from 1-2pm. Register by calling the mama ‘hood at (303) 643-5662.

To schedule a complimentary private 20 minute session email me at Ciara@clarawisner.com or follow this link.

Clara Wisner

Ciara Wisner is a Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner and Lifestyle Coach of rEvolutionary Lifestyle. She attended the Nutritional Therapy Institute in Denver, CO from 2012-2015. Ciara Wisner is also a Certified Primal Expert, an Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner, and a Level 1 Voice Dialogue Vacillator.

Ciara specializes in helping women ditch toxic habits and release the self-sabotaging beliefs that keep them from creating the health and happiness they desire with her unique coaching approach that addresses mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health.

Having a highly critical education in nutrition, Ciara blends this scientific knowledge of biology and physiology, with her deep and personal understanding of the emotional components of dietary and lifestyle change. By blending the clinical with the energetic, Ciara creates customized nutrition and lifestyle programs tat facilitate true mind-body transformation for her clients.

To learn more visit to her website at www.ciarawisner.com.

Rattlesnake Slide; The extreme importance of self-care.

Rattlesnake Slide; The extreme importance of self-care.

A few weeks ago I was hiking with my husband and kids in the hopes of going climbing at a small area not far from our house. Neither my husband nor I had been there before and it was a hot dry day to be out with a four and six-year-old and have high expectations. Knowing that they didn’t have much left in them and we had obviously passed the trailhead to the climbing area, I went on a quick off trail mission to locate the crag in order to scope it for our next attempt. The next thing I knew I was on a loose scree slope and hearing a rattlesnake’s rattle. My adrenaline surged when I glanced at my snake friend, clearly a youth, and simultaneously slipped and started sliding down the scree. Knowing that the young ones like to unload their entire venom arsenal I was terrified to see the snake sliding along above me and insanely grateful when I managed to run my way out of it without with just an abrasion on my arm and not a bite.  Whew! I made it.

Rattlesnake

 

What if I hadn’t? How long would I have felt ok enough to walk? How bad would it have hurt? Would I have been able to keep my mental state together enough to take care of myself and get out of there? My husband was close enough that he may have heard me had I screamed, but it was pretty windy and he may not have. It was hot and he most likely wouldn’t have wanted to leave the kids to go look for me and maybe would have waited quite a while to investigate since he knows that I love my alone time in the wilderness. If I had been bitten, what was intended to be a joyful day on the trail and the rock could have turned into a nightmare life threatening event. The reason that I bring this up today is not in the least to suggest you not go hiking, or to not go hiking alone, or to live in fear, but to reinforce the extreme importance of self-care. If we walk through our days in the best physical, mental, emotional states that we can, we are armed to handle the major incidents if and when they do come up. Here are five small things you can do on a daily basis to keep you living better so that when the road gets rocky you have 4-wheel drive:

Meditate. Just do it. You may not think you are doing it right. You will be thinking a lot of the time. Just do it 5 minutes a day at least for 30 days until it becomes a habit, and then do it more. Pay attention to your breath. Focus inward a bit every day. Express gratitude in your own head for your own life and if you need guidance, look to Susan Piver, she’s amazing.

Move in Nature. Exercise is great. Running, walking, skiing, climbing, dancing, yoga… I don’t care what you do, if you can do it outside in nature I believe it is much better for you. When I see people running on a treadmill watching stress and fear inducing television programing I think to myself, “what in the world are they getting out of that?”. If and when possible, get your exercise out in the open where you can think bigger and breath fresh air (hopefully unless you are in the Central Valley).

Change Something about the way you Eat. I used to hate fad diets and discount them at all costs. Lately I have done a few (Whole30 and the Plan) and I found great pleasure in learning some new recipes, observing the way my body responds to different foods, and just THINKING more about what and how I eat. My kids ask about whether something has too much sugar, and what’s good for them and why because my husband and I have been much more intentional about our eating. We all fall into patterns and habits with our diet. Change it up now and then, you might just learn something.

Sleep well. If you don’t sleep well, I know this is a hard pill to swallow. RIGHT just sleep well, it’s THAT easy! I get that sometimes it is not that easy, but what are you ACTIVELY doing to change it if you are not sleeping well. Have you tried consistently going to bed earlier? Have you logged how much sleep you REALLY need? Have you looked at the room and the bed you sleep in to see if it’s ideal for sleeping (dark, quiet, cool, comfy)? If your schedule doesn’t allow you to sleep enough, what can you cut out? This is YEARS off your life and if you are not sleeping well, so maybe late night TV should be cut. The right homeopathic remedy can help you sleep better if you have tried the items above. If you need a drug to sleep, something is not right.

Express Gratitude. Every night around the dinner table we exchange three things that we are grateful for. It’s amazing the things my kids come up with (but the constant is “Daddy coming home from work”). When you express gratitude you decrease your stress hormones and you are happier. Writing thank you notes and doing little things for friends and family can make YOU much happier. In this world of constant online communication and stimulation, take time to look people in the eye and thank them. Meditate on it. Gratitude blossoms love.

As I was sliding down the hill thinking I might be bit by a rattlesnake at any moment, these practices didn’t pop up and provide me with a coat of armor.  However, with a few years of meditating under my belt and self-care being something I do as well as talk to people about ALL THE TIME in my line of work, I know that in their own way, they really would have protected me if the bite had happened. I weather things much better and I walk through life MUCH happier because I practice these things every day. I know that implementing these practices might not be easy for you, and if I can be of some help, please feel free to REACH OUT! If you are doing all these things, I would assume you would not have read this far. Or maybe you skimmed down to here to find out that I DIDN’T GET BIT BY A RATTLESNAKE. Carry on with your lovely life and thanks for reading!

P.S. I’d now like to add JOIN A MASTERMIND to these pearls of wisdom. If you’re interested check THIS out.