One of the most common issues moms bring up to me is that it’s so hard to find their mom tribe. Whether it’s online or in real life, it’s hard to figure out where we fit in or find that place where we can feel supported and not judged for our choices, fears and struggles.
I don’t know about you, but I’m still riding high on new year’s vibes. I’m so excited for what’s in store this year and am feeling really optimistic about what this year will bring for all of us. One of the ways that I like to welcome the new year and honor myself for what I’ve lived through in the past year is to do a yearly reflection. (I posted a blog about this last January.) This helps me to really think about all the things I actually did do in the last 12 months, and not get discouraged by all the things I didn’t do. And to kick things off for us this year, I made a short video telling you about how I was introduced to this practice and why I think you should try it too.
PLUS, a FREE DOWNLOAD INSIDE!
This is not a post about how to plan a Pinterest-worthy, uniquely-themed first birthday party that will wow your guests and make impressive Instagram photos.
I’m not going to talk about smash cakes, decorations, or party tutus. You can find plenty of that with just a quick Google search.
What I really want to talk about is WHY baby’s first birthday is such a momentous day worth celebrating, and how to celebrate it in ways that honor that WHY.
Being a new mom is an adjustment. OK, that might be an understatement. Sometimes, being a new mom is hard, and scary, and nerve-wracking, exhausting, confusing. Being a new mom can make you question whether you’re even cut out for this. Whether you’re any good at it. Why everything in the book isn’t working. Or, how you surely must be screwing your kid up from the get-go if you don’t do x-y-z right. Let me tell you: Every single mom has felt this way at some point. You’re not alone.
Your priorities are skewed!
Now, honestly, I mean that in the nicest way. Because if you’ve met me before you know that saying something direct and possibly hurtful is not my style. But I feel like if I don’t tell you, then I can’t continue to sit back and watch you be miserable and continue to let you commiserate. Because momma, you are so focused on what isn’t right that you aren’t noticing the positive.
sn’t it crazy just how much we need to do, think about, and plan for when we are expecting a baby? It is an amazing time, but it is also a life-altering, world-changing event. If you are an expectant parent you are probably already inundated with books, research on the best products, and get loads of unsolicited advice. (And if you're not yet, just wait....)
I recently read another blog by a friend, colleague, and brilliant business coach, Jo Muirhead. In it, she talks about reflecting on the past year. As I read it, my most immediate thought was that I had accomplished nothing over the year. I had big goals that went unmet.
And then one of the questions jumped out at me and honestly, brought tears to my eyes: “What were you doing?”
Read more and get a FREE BONUS DOWNLOAD.
In case you are in the dark about this, let me let you in on a little secret: moms are busy people. There are probably all kinds of great gift ideas that might be more romantic or luxurious than the ones I'm about to recommend, but if you really care about making a mom feel truly happier, lighter and supported, I think these are some ideas worth considering.
And before we go any further, let me preface by saying that unless otherwise mentioned, I am in no way affiliated with any company I recommend here. With the exception of my own classes, I'm not getting a commission on any of these products or services. These are just my honest personal suggestions for things that have worked for me and other moms I know.
Now, let's get right to it:
1. Vitamix blender
- These gadgets are pricey, but worth it. There are few things in our homes that have so many uses as a Vitamix does. This blender great for smoothies which, if you’re as busy as I am (and what mom isn’t?), this is a great way to make sure you get your breakfast and/or fruits and veggies into your day. It’s also great for making baby food, blending soups and salsas, grinding coffee, even making your own nut butters. You could probably get rid of several kitchen gadgets and just use this one--I’m all for reducing clutter. Plus, I’ve heard of people that have owned the same Vitamix blender for more than 20 years and it’s still as powerful as it was when they first got it. Talk about a good investment! Prices start at $199 on Vitamix’s website. (And if you’re price shopping, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. For example, I’ve seen them for cheaper at Costco, but they also make them with a slightly less powerful engine just for Costco so that they can offer them at a lower price. This may make no difference to you--just something to be aware of.) https://www.vitamix.com/Shop
2. A good water bottle
- Because I, for one, often forget to drink until I'm already dehydrated. And, I can’t be the only one. Go for a glass or stainless steel one, since plastic ones always have a risk of leaking chemicals and often have multiple parts like straws or leak guards that can be hard to get clean. Not to mention plastic ones are more likely to take on the smells of your dirty dishwater or dish soap (gross). Glass ones are easiest to clean, but they’re also heavier and obviously somewhat fragile. If you want a glass one, this is the brand I love for their modern styling and variety of sizes: http://www.mybkr.com/shop/#/shop If you prefer stainless steel, I like the slim shape, style and simplicity of this one: http://www.target.com/p/s-ip-by-well-bubblegum-pink-stainless-steel-water-bottle-15oz/-/A-50284913
3. Yoga Classes at Herself Moms
- (This recommendation only works for Sacramento-area moms, but if you’re not local, jump down to number 4.) I can’t say enough good things about Herself Moms, and not just because it happens to be where I hold several of my classes and workshops. They have a variety of yoga classes all tailored specifically for the prenatal or postpartum mom. So, whether the goal is to have a healthy pregnancy, get ready for labor, or reconnect with and rejuvenate the postpartum body, Herself Moms has got you covered. And many classes invite you to bring your littles along! You can purchase a 4-, 8-, or 12-class pass starting at $50. http://herselfmoms.com/
4. Online Yoga Programs
- This can be a great affordable gift idea that offers mom some self-care at her convenience. There are a variety of program options out there. Two reputable ones that I like are Cody and YogaGlo. Both sites attract some of the biggest names in the yoga world, like Seane Corne, Noah Maze, Jason Crandell, and Kathryn Budig (all with YogaGlo), and Kino MacGregor, Meghan Currie, Ana Forrest, Briohny Smith, and Sri Dharma Mittra (on Cody). YogaGlo is a membership site, with fees of $18 a month for unlimited access (and if you’re local to the Santa Monica area, you can go to a class in person). Cody functions a little bit differently, in that you actually buy a themed bundle of classes featuring a specific instructor for a flat price, and you get lifetime access to any purchased (and some free) courses, as well as access to their online community to post your workouts and connect with other yogis. They also have an app for phones and tablets. Bundle prices typically start at $19.99. Check them out at https://www.yogaglo.com/ and
Not sure about the benefits of yoga? Check out this detailed article https://www.jenreviews.com/yoga/
5. Gift Membership to an Online Food Delivery service
- This would be such a life saver for any mom. Groceries delivered with all the prep work done? Sign me up! Blue Apron, HelloFresh or Thrive Market are some good options. With both Blue Apron and HelloFresh, you shop based on the meals you want to make each week and they provide you with recipe cards and all the prepped ingredients. To do a gift membership with Blue Apron, you select the number of weeks you want the service to run (available in 1-week, 2-week, and 4-week options), the number of meals you want to provide, and the size of the family and it is priced accordingly. With HelloFresh, you can send a gift card good toward one box of food--the amount depends on whether you select the “Classic”, “Veggie” or “Family” plan. Thrive Market is a bit different in that it is basically a health food store that happens to be online. They carry mostly pantry items, household items, vitamins and supplements, and bath & body items, all with an organic and natural bent at a discounted price. (Think affordable Whole Foods delivered to your door.) So, if you know a health-conscious mom who likes versatility, this might be the way to go. But to have access to their good prices, you need a membership. You can gift someone a 1-year membership for $59.95, and for every membership purchased, they donate one to a low-income family, teacher or veteran. Love that! You can compare options for each online store here: https://www.blueapron.com/gifts , https://www.hellofresh.com/tasty/gift-landing/ , https://thrivemarket.com/thrive-market-1-year-membership
6. Printable Life Planner
- You can find tons of printable planners on Etsy, but my favorite one is by Secret OWL Society. This designer really thought of everything. And, I love that you can print out as many pages as you need and create your own binder. Preschooler scribbled all over your December agenda? Need to rework your schedule? No problem, just reprint. This particular planner is especially great for the self-employed mom, with the pages for goal and habit tracking, and blog and social media planning, but really this planner could work for anyone. Check it out here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/465356577/ultimate-life-binder-planner-budget-blog?ref=shop_home_feat_1
7. Crock Pot
- “Set it and forget it” dinners. Enough said. You can find one for as low as $12.99, but for a family, I’d opt for one that holds at least 4-6 quarts. http://www.crock-pot.com/top-sellers/
8. Bath Bombs
- For the mom that really needs a break, but just can’t seem to get it, why not encourage a spa day at home? This is a great option for a gift-giver on a budget. For a total sensory experience, I love the bath bombs at LUSH: http://www.lushusa.com/bath/bath-bombs/
9. Makeup to make her look great in a hurry
- This might vary from mom to mom, but I find that the stuff that makes me look awake, healthy and energized are my go-to’s. For me, that’s BB cream and blush. And for when I have a little extra time or need a touch more polish, mascara and lipstick (it’s actually pretty amazing how much just those two can make your eyes look brighter and more perked up). Garnier’s BB Cream makes color selection easy and the coverage is pretty good. It’s also affordable. And, NARS powder blush in orgasm looks good on just about anyone. It’s pricey, but worth it and lasts a long time ($30 on Sephora.com). Mascara and lipstick might boil down to personal preference, but you can’t go wrong with a classic red lip in my opinion. When in doubt, opt for a Sephora gift card. http://www.sephora.com/giftcards?icid2=gifts_giftcard_link
10. Buy her and a friend pedicures
- You can swap out “pedicures” for any other self-care activity you want...a yoga class, a wine and painting night, a desserts-only date. Whatever suits the mom in mind. The real goal here is to kill two birds with one stone by providing her with some much needed self-care and some social time all in one. Because she really, really needs both.
11. A Happy With Baby workshop
- Shameless plug here, but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t really think that it’ll be a sanity saver for any new mom. I’ve got my “Relationship Survival for Baby’s First Year” workshop coming up for January, as well as a Calm Moms Group Therapy series. And, my Finding Calm workshop in February. Why not kick off 2017 right? Get details here: http://happywithbaby.com/classes-events/
12. Offer Your Time
- When in doubt, time is something almost anyone can give. And it costs you nothing. You can even make cute little coupons, if you want an actual thing to hand to her. Offer to babysit so she can have a date night with her partner or girlfriends. Offer to hold the baby so she can take a nap. Offer to feed the kids dinner so she can finish her own holiday shopping. Whatever it takes. Show her she is supported.
Well, what do you think? Do any ideas stand out to you for a mom you know (or maybe for yourself)? What ideas would YOU add to the list? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.
What is it like to feel like you don't belong? Or, to feel like everyone else makes friends so much easier than you do?
I talk to my clients all the time about how important it is to have a community--a tribe--a circle of other mom friends to support you, laugh with you, lift you up, or let you fall apart in their company. Moms who “get it” and don’t judge you for your struggles or imperfections.
Earlier this month, Catherine O'Brien was interviewed by Katayune Kaeni, Psy.D. for the "Mom & Mind Podcast". In the interview, Catherine talks about how she found her true passion in her work, how she supports both moms and dads during the transition into parenthood, and her special affinity fora all moms regardless of the differences in experience or technique.
Let's face it: We moms are all guilty of....well, feeling guilty. At least a little bit, at least once in a while. We all do it and we all know it's futile. It's time to let ourselves off the hook a little.
In her latest feature on PsychCentral.com, Catherine O'Brien says, “Not every mom is going to be good at everything, But there are so many things that [moms] provide on a regular basis that only we can do so well.”
Lori Ann Code is so amazing. She founded Mama Bootcamp, a facility in Sacramento, CA that provides support and training for women to reach their wellness and bucket list goals. She's also the author of "[find your mojo] 52 Weeks to Transformation, Inspiration and Fitness". I had the pleasure of chatting with her to discuss the need for accountability and community for women, the importance of movement for the body and the brain, and so much more. Check it out.
This was such a fun opportunity! In this interview, I chat with Elly Taylor, an incredible relationship counselor, researcher and author of the book, Becoming Us, which I recommend to clients all the time. Such an honor to have a conversation with her and to hear some of her wisdom. Check out our interview (transcript included).
A woman gives birth surrounded by fellow women wiping her brow, getting her water, fanning her face. After, she rests tucked into bed. Daily work all fades from the new mama’s mind because it’s covered.
May is maternal mental health awareness month and Wednesday May 4th is World Maternal Mental Health Day. As many as 1 in 5 women will experience a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder (PMAD) during pregnancy and up to 1 year postpartum.
After having a baby, moms and their partners need to have support. I had the opportunity to speak on the local television station here in Sacramento, California Fox40 News about the importance of self-care for every mom.
IN HONOR OF MATERNAL MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH THIS MAY, WE WILL BE FEATURING GUEST BLOGGERS, EACH OF WHOM BRING THEIR OWN UNIQUE EXPERTISE AND PERSPECTIVE TO THE DISCUSSION. IT IS MY HOPE TO HELP EDUCATE AND NORMALIZE THE EXPERIENCES OF ALL MOMS.
BY STACI LEE SCHNELL, M.S., C.S., LMFT