Woke Mama: Libby

I was recently featured on the site Woke Mamas!! So honored to be part of such a great group of like minded mamas!.

Woke Mamas

Want to know WTF a Woke Mama is? Each week, we’re introducing awesome women who are making the world a kinder place, one happy baby at a time.

Name: Libby

Baby: Madison, 23 months

What does being a woke mama mean to you?

Ignoring all the bullshit that is thrown in our face about what parenting should look like and just listening to ourselves and our babies.. and ANSWERING.


What made you choose gentle parenting? And what is your favourite aspect of it?

I don’t think I chose gentle parenting, it just happened naturally. I had a co-sleeper and knew I wanted to mother through breastfeeding, but I didn’t exactly know what that looked like (well I thought I did anyway, but wow. I was so naïve.)

When I went back to work, the overnights were when my baby and I reconnected. She nursed all night long…

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I Did a Thing. 

I did something.

I did something big (to me).

I am still on the journey of minimalism and this is a big step for me.

I threw away my beloved teddy bear from my childhood.

I did that.

It was hard. But not as hard as I was expecting. I thought I would cry.  I didn’t.  I thought I was going to be sad.  I’m not.

The fact is, as I sit here writing this, I don’t feel much at all about the act of throwing this little stuffed bear away.

I slept with that little bear for way longer than most children probably sleep with a stuffed animal but I am thankful for the nights I was able to hold it tight.

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I have been paring down and purging for about four months and as the items have left my possession it has felt liberating and freeing. This one was a little heavier. This was the first sentimental item that has left me.  But it was with purpose as I know this will only help in my journey to better understand the purpose of physical items and the emotion attached to those items.

The memories of that little bear have not left me. His little worn nose and suede paws will always be felt if I think of my childhood.  The actual little bear was tucked away in a desk drawer surving no purpose but to take up space. The tangible item, the clutter, is no more but the memory stays.

Don’t be afraid of that.  I have discovered that just because something has left a space in your home doesn’t mean it leaves an empty space in your heart.

Just wait. 

My daughter asks for me every morning. 

Without fail she wakes up and says “Mommy?” 

That desire grows along with her calling out to me and I listen in the other room as my husband wakes her for daycare. 

My instinct is to go to her.  She needs me, I must go. 

“But just wait,” I tell myself. 

As she begins to wake I hear her and her father begin to talk. I sneak a peak on the monitor. I move the camera from her bed to him holding her, rocking back and forth, her head on his shoulder, her arms wrapped around him.  I listen a little closer and I hear him hum to her. 

She slowly begins to wake and giggle as he tickles her gently. 

As she wakes she becomes happier and more sweet giggles fill the monitor speakers as I well up with tears. 

This is their time and I am watching their bond grow before my eyes. I almost feel guilt as I spy on this special moment between them but I don’t care. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world and I’m so incredibly grateful to witness such beauty, such love. 

Home

There is something about my coffee cup that makes the coffee taste just right.  Perhaps it’s the shape, or the material. Or that it was brewed in my coffee pot with just the right amount of coffee.  Or maybe it’s the view of my daughter playing on the deck as I sip peacefully. 


We’ve been on vacation to see the eastern shore. It was filled with adventures and traveling to see things like the Washington Monument, the ocean and sea life at a National Aquarium. 

My mission in life as a mother, I’ve decided, is to show my baby girl as much as I can.  So every chance we get we try and show her something new and exciting.  

I want her to know that the world is bigger than our backyard, our neighborhood, our state, and even our country. That she can do anything and go anywhere she desires if she puts her mind to it. 

But this weekend we spent time at home. I also want her to know that having a place to call home is what peace can be. We snuggled on the couch and relaxed. 

My daughter played on our deck and my coffee tasted just right.  

It’s good to be home.

I Feel Cute Today

 

“Buy this diet mix so you can lose weight.”

“Buy this shirt so you can look cool.” 

More often than not we are berated by advertisers telling us we’re not good enough until we buy “X”.

What if we just sat back and turned off the noise.  What if we looked at ourselves in the mirror and said, “I feel cute today!”

What if we were satisfied and felt good in the skin we were in and the clothes we wore.

This is what I’m trying to work on.  There are many different things that can help with this and one thing that I have found helpful is downsizing my wardrobe.

About a month ago I got rid of every single piece of clothing that I didn’t feel freakin awesome in.

I got rid of things that I was keeping for that one time in some faraway, nonexistent possibility that I’d need a sequence mini skirt (let’s get real here).  I got rid of the things that I wore just the other day that I just didn’t feel right in, or that bugged the hell out of me.  I got rid of the things that, in my head, looked hot as hell, but when I put them on took on a whole new look (and not in a good way).  The only things in my closet right now are things that fit me exactly right, feel amazing, and work with pretty much everything else in my closet.

By doing this I was able to take ALL my clothes and put them into my closet.  That’s right!  No winter wardrobe stored away for that dreaded day when I have to unpack everything and pack away my summer clothes.  It’s all out ready to wear whenever the weather decides it’s going to be 80 degrees in the middle of January (true story this happened last winter).

So this morning I got dressed in about 5 minutes flat.  And you know what?

I feel cute today! 

I have my red work slacks on with a simple white tank top and a turquoise cardigan.  I accessorized with my staple long brown pendent necklace and my brown leather block heals.

I didn’t have to dig for an outfit.  It was just right there.  I’ve discovered that my “uniform” if you will, is a classic tank top with a cardigan over it with a pare of slacks.  I now wear this same outfit every day with just switching up the colors.  Every once in a while I will pick from one of my 5 or so blouses and ditch the cardigan, and rarely I’ll choose from about 3 dresses, but for the most part this is it.

I feel confident and professional and I can dress this up or down depending on the day.  All my tank tops are solid colors (white, black, tan, blue), thick, and fit well with thick straps so, if I’d like, I can take off my cardigan and still be professional in the office (no spaghetti straps people!).  If I have meetings I can easily throw a blazer over it to be more formal and my 3 blazers (also solid colors, black, tan, and navy blue) all match any combination.  I also keep my classic black one on my door of my office for impromptu meetings.

With an almost 2 year old, substantially reducing the time it takes to get myself ready has helped me tremendously in the mornings.  It has freed up time for me to feed her breakfast, get her dressed and ready for daycare and still have time to make myself some coffee!

Tips of how to get to a capsule wardrobe:

  1. Take everything out of your closet
  2. Immediately put back absolute favorites that fit you perfectly right now.
  3. Make sections of different pieces and pick a couple of your favorites to keep – sweaters, jeans, slacks.  Even if you have 10 pairs of jeans that fit you perfectly, do you really need 10 pairs of jeans??  I’ll help – NO.
  4. Immediately get rid of anything damaged.
  5. Donate the rest!

One thing that I do have tucked away are maternity clothes.  We aren’t thinking about having more children at the moment, but I know that time will come.  So I have a capsule wardrobe waiting for that day.  It’s very small and can fit into one drawer.  But speaking from experience, I know it can get me through nine months and a couple after (because that mom pouch doesn’t go away overnight contrary to popular belief) with ease.  I have one pair of jeans, and two pair of slacks for work.  Plus few (maybe 5?) shirts and 2 or 3 dresses.

Also tucked away are my skiing/ snowshoeing wardrobe.  I have one of each thing I need for the outer layer and two sets of my base layer and a few good ski socks thanks to Santa one year.

Another separate capsule wardrobe I have is my workout clothes.  I have a few pairs of shorts and tanks for running and a couple pants and capris for yoga.  I could probably do fine with less of each item, but it’s an ongoing process.

At the end of the day, we feel best when we feel confident and less stressed.  Being dressed well and not being stressed out about the act of getting dressed accomplishes both.

If we have less to worry about at the beginning of our day – our kickoff, our jump start to productivity and mindfulness – we’d all be better off and on our way to a more peaceful life.

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Just Us

My husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary and we will celebrate 12 years together this fall.

As I do with all our anniversaries, I was thinking about what I most enjoy about our lives, and what I’m most thankful for.  After twelve years together there’s an endless amount of things I’m thankful for but the one thing that kept coming to mind was, perhaps, quite boring, but it just kept making me smile.

The quiet times.

The times when we are just alone, sitting together, our legs touching, not a word needing to be said.

No buffer needed to make us feel comfortable.  No awkward silence, but just… silence.  Just the two of us at the end of the day after the baby has gone to sleep and we can just sit and hang out together.

Neither one of us feels like we need to say anything to fill the silence.  Neither one of us has a desire to be anywhere else but where we are right there in that moment.

There is not anyone else in the world that I would feel so comfortable with.  These are the moments that I cherish.

The peacefulness of being next to you.

Just us.

Just being.

It’s the most simple thing in the world.  But it’s my favorite.  As I feel your leg against mine as I glance at you and you glance at me and smile, I know that we will enjoy growing old together.

We are thriving in our lives as parents of a toddler.  The energy that comes with that brings us to life, and watching how amazing he is as a father makes my heart burst with joy.  But I know we will also enjoy the stillness after all the dust settles and the hustle and bustle of having our children is over.

This stillness is the glue that makes up the beginning, the middle, and the end of our lives together.  It’s what makes us, US.  This is what forever looks like, and the view is pretty great from where I’m sitting… next to you.

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Dedicated to my husband.  My person.  “LU”

 

Two Things That Can Change Your World

I’ve seen so many articles recently about how motherhood can be hard and parenting can be hard when you’re in the new stages of it (heck, even mine).  It’s such a wonderful, refreshing thing to see parents coming together and acknowledging that fact.  And while, yes, this is tough, it is also doable and we are surviving.  So many of the posts lately are very real, obviously, but they are also a little… well, sad.  Because they have this fog of, “Holy shit I’m drowning” attitude, my own post included.  And let’s be honest, we are sometimes!  But let me shed some light on how we can come out the other side stronger and even happier then when we started.

Acceptance

When we have an expectation that parenthood is going to look a particular way and then it gets flipped on its head and all hell breaks loose the most valuable thing we can do for ourselves is to accept things the way they are.

Ditch the idea of parenting that you had in your head before your tiny human entered this world, and look around at what actually is, and then… accept it.

Accept the dirty dishes, accept the sleepless nights, accept your exhaustion, accept that you haven’t showered in a couple of days.  When they get older and are still not sleeping through the night, accept that too, and the terrible, wonderful, twos.

There is nothing wrong.

It just is.

This may not be the picture we had in our heads before we became parents but this is the actual work of art hanging on our wall.

Sit back for a moment and take it all in.  The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, and remember it.  Breath in deep and remember the scent.  Look down at your baby and take in every detail of their face – every wrinkle, every crevasse of their skin as it touches yours, and forget the world for a minute.

Be Present

“Time goes too fast.”

It’s something we’re all told at one point or another before we have kids, and we shrug it off.  Until we become parents and it really, really does.

We are hit with the realization when we, all of the sudden, look up and 6 months or a year has gone by.  And when you look back it’s all a blur.

As parents we tend to go into auto pilot.  After a while we get into our daily routine, put our heads down and GO.

Wake up… Eat Breakfast… Drop off baby… Go to work… Pick up Baby.. Eat dinner.. Tubby.. Book.. Sleep.

Day in and day out we do the same thing.  We find our groove and we move like a well oiled machine.

But then we look up..  the summer is almost over.  Another year has passed.  Another winter.  And so on.

What I challenge you to do is to stop for a moment.

Turn the TVs, phones, and Ipads off.

Throw the nighttime routine out the window and shake things up every once in a while to go to the park after work and bring a picnic.

Take off work early and grab your kiddo and do the same.

Take a weekend to do absolutely nothing but watch your baby play outside or go for a walk in a field and see what they discover.

Instead of taking a picture to remember, put your phone down and just look them in the eyes and remember the color and their lashes and how freakin LONG they are.

Just ever so often, stop.  Just stop, and be present.

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It’s All Relative

Parenting can be in a word… HARD sometimes.

The past three or so days was just that… HARD.

I ran yesterday, and I thought, “This is hard!”  But then I remembered that I was a mother of a teething, breastfeeding-like-a-newborn, toddler and realized, “Wow!  This run is a piece of cake!” I immediately ran faster.

You see, when times get tough in our parenting lives, everything becomes relative.  And me running, out of breath, with a slight stomach ache because I drank too much water right before I started running, became extremely easy when I thought about the night before.

My “hard” run was also my saving grace.  It was my healthy outlet for all the frustration that came with my baby not wanting to sleep AT ALL while her canine teeth were popping through (at least that’s what I think was happening, because who the hell really knows anyway).  It gave me the ability to have a poker face and not show her how frustrated I really was in that moment when I was sitting in her crib with her after she nursed for an hour and STILL didn’t want me to leave, screaming at the very thought of it.

You know what else was my saving grace?

My husband.

In times like these, not only do you get to see what you are made of, but you also get to see what your relationship with your partner is made of.

This is when it gets REAL people.

It’s not always rainbows and butterflies but when it turns into to storms and goblins is when you get to see your true self and the true self of your spouse.

He did not flinch.  He stayed calm when I was stressed beyond my ability to function, almost shaking from the exhaustion and frustration.  He took over and tried to soothe her, giving me the break I desperately needed.  He didn’t get frustrated, himself, when she refused him and screamed even louder for me.  He was my rock as my wave of emotion broke against him.  After the storm had passed he touched me.  Even though he knew I was touched out and after I had told him I needed space, he knew that what I actually needed was that hand on my shoulder and that kiss on my cheek as I laid there, all my muscles completely tense from the experience.  He knew that my body would immediately relax with that touch and that truly genuine, truly empathetic whisper,

“I’m sorry, Babe.  I love you.”

Last night, we got our baby back.

The teething, screaming from pain, baby was no more.

She was her happy, little adorable, SO talkative, self as we had dinner and did our bedtime routine.  She went to sleep peacefully as we nursed and snuggled for an appropriate amount of time, and life was good.

My husband and I sighed a breath of relief knowing it was over… for now.

I looked at him with a sense of pride, confident in our ability to weather the next storm.

That next storm will come without fail, but I know that when it does,

We got this!

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To Do

The weekend is coming up, so I’m thinking about my To Do list.

Paint the fence.

Cut down trees.

Laundry.

Dishes.

Declutter desk.

Sell something else.

Bring stuff to donation.

Since the weekend is coming up, I’m also thinking about my wish list.

Go to friend’s camp?

Watch Maddy play in the field.

Go on a hike?

Cook a nice meal for the family.

Go to the pool?

Cuddle with baby and husband.

Have quiet time with family.

Have a lazy day with family.

I wonder what would happen if I switched the two.

You know what?

I think I just did.

Happy weekend, everyone!

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What it’s all about

We went to a wedding this past weekend.  My husband is the sweetest guy and often, at events like this, likes for us to escape to have a moment to ourselves.

The wedding was at a beautiful venue right on the water. We walked down to the water and took in the peacefulness of the crisp air and the calm reflection of the moon on the lake.

He said, “This is nice.”

“Very,” I replied looking at him taking it in (he’s pretty hot).

“What if we did this?”

“Did what?” I asked.

“Had a place on the water?”

He started reminiscing on our visits to our friend’s camp on the water.  The atmosphere, the feeling of family all around, and having fun. He wants that for our daughter’s childhood.

My newfound minimalist self stepped in. I protested and talked about all the work that would go into this dream camp of his. How we wouldn’t be able to enjoy our little girl. How we’d just be maintaining the camp and have our house be vacant when we visited every weekend as he envisioned.

As I have been able to think about this more and more over the past few days I now realize I have made a rookie mistake in this minimalist journey.

This is what it’s all about!

This has always been OUR dream, not just HIS dream.  We’ve always talked about a camp on the water. We’ve always envisioned our children running around filthy and wet from playing and swimming with skinned up knees from just being kids in the big wide open outdoors.

Minimizing our every day lives is done with purpose.  It’s done so that we can make room for these dreams to come true!  Maybe, once we have minimal things to worry about at home, we’ll finally have the money and the time to put towards something like this.  Something that has always been “some day” can become “today.”

So here’s to a new outlook and realizing that while this is about saying, “No” to the excess, it is also about saying, “Yes!” to our new life.

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