Taking the Bitter Pill: Mom Advice

Woo boy, life with a newborn, am I right? Sleep deprivation, millions of dirty diapers, inexplicable stains, bodily fluids *everywhere* (no joke, there is baby poop INSIDE OF MY ALARM CLOCK), and, oh yes, parenting advice.

Sure, some of it comes from medical professionals and it’s their job to look after you. Sometimes, though…oh my.

Sometimes it is a random person at the grocery store. When your kid is screaming and you’ve both been up with colic for three nights and you’ve got maxi pads AND diapers in your cart (which, in my humble opinion, should be treated as the universal sign to back away slowly). And said advice is being given by someone who, by all appearances, hasn’t looked after an infant for multiple decades. Or, even better, doesn’t appear to have kids at all.

And, suddenly, you find that your head is on fire, and you are trying hard to not say what you are thinking in favor of something like, “thank you, I’ll take that into consideration,” but the best you can manage is a silent, stony glare.

Here, I’ll make an agreement with you: I promise I won’t give you advice unless you ask for it.

The problem with miss-timed advice is that even if the content is good, it won’t make you feel good. Because of that, you are likely to reject it out of hand, or feel like it was intended as an indictment of your parenting rather than an attempt to help. We’ve already talked about things you can do to help new parents, so for this post, I’ll focus on how to handle unwanted advice:

* take a deep breath and say thank you – always the best option for avoiding conflict!

* ask the giver to write it down – this is a good choice when the advice comes from someone with whom you interact regularly. “I’m feeling a little overwhelmed right now, can you write it down so I can think about your advice later?”

* say “thanks, but no thanks” – when advice is really frustrating, it’s okay to let the giver know that it is unwelcome in a polite way. I’ve used this on airplanes; “thanks for your advice, but, honestly, right now I need to focus on helping my daughter calm down!”

* provide information – this one must be used with caution, but is helpful when advice is flat-out wrong. “I realize she might sleep better on her stomach, but putting babies to bed on their backs reduces the risk of SIDS.”

* Ask for clarification – this is my favorite when dealing with people like my mother-in-law; I know she means well, and asking, “can you help me understand why you are giving me this tip?” helps me remember that she isn’t trying to tell me I’m a lousy parent!

When all else fails, it’s best to say nothing – you can’t get into an argument if you choose not to interact!

That said, there are times when you really want some advice! Mom Meet Mom can help connect you with moms like you to provide advice and support!

julia high - mom meet mom

How are You Feeling, New Mom?

Fact: For all of the glowing new moms are supposedly doing, new motherhood looks a lot like wearing pajamas as daywear while pulling multiple all nighters with a person who cries all the time and occasionally throws up on you, the floor, and themselves. So kind of like college for us dorm residents who couldn’t afford singles, except without the fun.

Hormones are crashing. The baby is crying. Sleep is not happening. Showers are not happening. You’re going through pads like they’re going out of style. Milk is leaking. Laundry piles are threatening to take over every surface. And for some reason everyone around you is trying to convince you that you are absolutely glowing.

Glowing. Seriously. Something about the aura new moms supposedly have. Gag me.

Post-partum depression is real, and not just baby blues. Getting help isn’t a sign of weakness. Baby blues are real, too, and not just hormonal. Way too many new moms have found themselves picking up after post-birth houseguests while everyone else cuddles the baby and she does the dishes. Way too many find that they’re the ones handling every single overnight feeding without the benefit of a second pair of hands or a little company. Way too many feel guilty because they don’t love their babies like whoa the second they’re out of the gate.

mom meet mom - new mom supportAnd way too many new moms feel like bad moms when they’re JUST MOMS.

Moms, I should say, who could really use experienced moms to swoop in, not to clean or drop off casseroles, though that’s nice, but rather to say “How are you doing, really?” and “Feeling like that is TOTALLY normal.” and “Bonding can take time.” and “You are NOT a bad mom.” Because these are the kind of things that new moms are only going to believe when they come from another mom – not from a magazine or a website or Ellen Degeneres (though I feel like she’d be the most convincing childless advocate for mom wellbeing).

Let me be the first to say it: You are NOT a bad mom.

Mom Meet Mom is here for you, new moms, so you can meet moms who know what’s what! And for all you experienced moms, have you asked a new mom how she’s really doing lately? This is your chance to let a new mom know that it’s all – I mean all of it – par for the course when you’re mothering a newborn.

christa terry - mom meet mom

A Different Kind of Pregnancy Checklist

Yesterday I was looking at a photo – the only photo – of my bare pregnant belly taken when I was about 7 months pregnant with Jack. I was laying on the beach and randomly captured my bump with my phone. Now looking back, I am so mad I didn’t take more photos of my belly. At the time I was so lost in pregnancy that I forgot to stop and capture these once-in-a-lifetime (per kid) miracles. This got me thinking of other things I wish I did differently during my maternity days. In fact, I found myself promising that I would do things a little bit different next time, so I started making a list.

And with “next time” being now – yes, this is how I’m announcing it :) – I figure why not give other expecting moms out there a look at my pregnancy checklist to help us all make the best of the remaining months…

1. Appreciate Every Moment of Pregnancy

This sounds pretty cheesy I know, especially for those of us who have experienced the not-so-pleasant side effects of pregnancy (cue in constipation, morning sickness, exhaustion, etc.). But pushing those minor drawbacks aside, there are so many amazing physical milestones throughout pregnancy. I will never forget when someone told me to “appreciate pregnancy. It’s your only chance to assist God in creating a miracle.” Wow, I thought to myself. That is so right on it’s scary. Pregnancy comes and goes so fast. Cherish and be proud of how strong and beautiful your body is during this time.

2. Alcohol Abstinence Is Far from the End of the World

Alright, I have been known to throw back a few beers. Let’s just say hiding pregnancy from my friends is almost impossible because the slightest hint that I don’t have a drink in front of me at a social gathering is a dead giveaway. But I steer clear of alcohol when pregnant. The truth is pregnancy goes by so fast and how wonderful it is to be able to give our bodies a chance to fully detox? Moreover, it’s actually pretty cool to try and stay entertained without alcohol. It sort of brings you back to being a kid. Forget about missing alcohol, and you really won’t miss it.

3. Take Pictures of Your Belly

pregnancy checklist - mom meet momI can’t stress this enough. This doesn’t mean you have to share them on Facebook, just store them away in an album or hope chest. Even if you feel disgusting in your strangely changing body, trust me, you will want to remember what you looked like pregnant. If you’re like me with my first pregnancy, little miss Mother Nature made me forget so much that when I saw a picture of me walking into the hospital, I was in shock that my body was able to carry such a large belly. You will cherish these photos some day, and I can promise you, your child will be so grateful that you saved them.

4. Take on a Full-Term Project or Hobby

When you become pregnant, so much changes instantly. Your hormones take over, you’re not your funnest self when you go out with your friends or husband, and let’s face it, there are times you feel somewhat alone. Consider the next few months an opportunity to create something or make something of yourself that never existed before this time. For some moms, this could mean making a quilt for the first time, for others, writing a children’s book, or maybe you have always wanted to learn the guitar.  You’ll have plenty of time to make some serious headway, if not complete a project or become a pro at a new hobby. You’ll be so proud of yourself, I promise.

5. Meet Other Moms and Expectant Moms Near You

No one ever told me how much I would need mom friends. Looking back I wish I got a head-start on this because it isn’t something that just happens overnight. Take this time to find other expectant moms or even new moms in the area. Sign up for Mom Meet Mom and setup a profile. You can start building your mom friendships online so that when the baby comes, you’ll be ready!

Win It: A Custom Name Pendant Necklace from Prolifique Jewelry

I, like many moms, are big on personalization. I’m also big on my littles! I like pretty much anything that helps me acknowledge how special they are to me. One thing that has helped me do just that is a simple gold pendant stamped with my daughter’s name – incidentally, a gift from one of my best mom friends. When I went back to work after two years of spending every day with my little girl, I wore that necklace nearly every day. I didn’t have photos on my desk at work or keep anything personal around since it wasn’t that kind of office, so my pendant was one way I kept my daughter with me, close to my heart, when we couldn’t be together.

When my son was born, I naturally had to have one made with his name so I could keep both of my littles close to my heart. Luckily, after a little digging, I found the shop where my friend bought the first pendant and so could have another made in the same font.

custom name jewelry giveaway - mom meet mom 2Prolifique Jewelry features custom, personalized jewelry hand stamped in sterling silver, 14k gold, and gold fill. Rhonda, the owner, customizes each piece by hand. There are name pendants like mine, initial pendants, pendants featuring names and birthdays, and personalized pendants in a whole bunch of styles.

custom name jewelry giveaway - mom meet momBecause I love my pendants so much, I reached out to Rhonda hoping she’d want to sponsor a giveaway and I’m excited to tell you that she said YES! This week’s Mom Meet Mom giveaway winner will be able to choose between either a sterling silver or gold fill single name pendant necklace with her choice of 16, 18, or 20 inch chain.

Here’s how to enter:

  • You MUST have a completed Mom Meet Mom profile that includes a photo. If you haven’t signed up already, it’s totally free and takes just a minute or two. Remember, your profile has to include a photo to be eligible to win.

And that’s it! No hashtags. No coming back here and commenting. No need to share on Twitter (though we’d sure appreciate you putting in a good word for us). Just a profile with a pic.

The best part? Once you’ve created your profile, you’ll be automatically entered in every single one of the weekly giveaways we’re running from now until the end of July. Heck, you’ll probably be automatically entered in all of the giveaways we have planned from here until eternity. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

We’ll announce and contact the winning mom on Friday, June 28, and she’ll have 24 hours to tell us where Sarah should send her custom name pendant! If we don’t hear from her in that 24 hours, we’ll choose another lucky mama.

In the meantime, once you have a completed Mom Meet Mom profile with a pic all set, why not browse Rhonda’s shop? I think my new faves are the washer-style pendants featuring names and birthdays. Even if you don’t wear a lot of jewelry – and with a grabby eight month old, I feel you – this shop features great go-to gifts for the new moms in your life.

And remember to check back every Monday in June and July for a new giveaway!

Featured Mom: Meggin, a New Mom

This week’s Featured Mom is Meggin Kelly, first-time mama to a sweet little girl baby. She’s also a working mom who found herself conflicted about going back to the office after the standard American six week maternity leave. Like many moms, she’s exploring her options – the ones open to her now and the ones she can create for herself. What’s so inspiring about Meggin is that she’s not letting her (all too common) situation get her down. Instead, she knows the sky’s the limit!

Lots of people have known from a very young age what they wanted to be when they grew up. I was not one of them.

  • When I was 4, I wanted to be a ballerina.
  • When I was 14, I wanted to be a doctor.
  • When I was 22, I wanted to be a horse trainer.
  • When I was 27, I wanted to be a photographer.

The jobs I’ve had follow the same meandering path. Kind folks might call my resume “diverse”, but I’m comfortable calling a spade a spade and admitting that it’s actually a giant, zig-zaggy mess. Vet tech, lab tech, teacher, horseback riding instructor; all contributing to my arsenal of weird skills. I’m not kidding–I can intubate a monkey. Try explaining that skill at your next job interview and take pictures of the facial expressions you receive from across the table.

In a nutshell, I’ve mostly been winging the trajectory of the ol’ career path since college.

The most recent addition to my resume is motherhood, which is by far the awesomest, most challenging (did I mention awesome?) job I’ve ever had. I’m pretty new at it, but I already want to spend  as much time as I can with my daughter, who is just over 3 months old and has firmly cemented herself as my favorite thing ever.

meggin kelly - mom meet mom

My current 9-5 requires me to work in an office, and I knew from the moment the pregnancy test came back positive that I was going to have a hard time going back to work.

I was lucky enough to have an uncomplicated pregnancy and a healthy, happy baby. I was allowed 6 weeks of maternity leave, which sounded like eons to me before I gave birth. (If I were thinking in vacation terms I’d say that 6 weeks would make for the most epic vacation ever.) As usual, perspective is everything and hindsight is 20/20.  Maternity leave, even though it happens away from the workplace is no damn vacation and 6 weeks goes by in a blink.

As expected, 6 weeks screamed by and before I knew it, it was back-to-work day. I stood in my closet and cried over leaving my daughter; boobs leaking all over my t-shirt and cursing at myself and all of my clothes because not a damned thing fit. It was a bona fide hot mess.

I got through that Monday at the office in one piece, but suffice it to say that I hated leaving Caroline then, I still hate leaving her now and I don’t expect that will ever change; though now I can get out of the house without the tears or the leaky boobs. Milestones, people.

What’s crazy to me is that some women don’t get maternity leave AT ALL. I’m fortunate enough to have a job that allows me to take maternity leave.  It breaks my heart to think about those women who can’t. Heck, all moms know how gnarly those first few weeks postpartum are. I was still changing my own diapers 2 weeks postpartum, for pete’s sake.

So now what? We’ve been at this routine for 7 weeks now and I still wish I could spend more time with her. She’s speedily approaching 4 months old and is, of course, more and more like a tiny person every day. It kills me to think about missing any of that.

I’m beginning to think that my dream job right now, for this time in my life is to be a SAHM. I think I’d be pretty darn good at it and it would be awesome for Caroline, not to mention the money we’d save in childcare costs.

You might be wondering, “Isn’t that a huge step backwards for the feminist movement to WANT that? Marissa Mayer can have it all, and so can you.”

In short, no. I have the choice to want to be a SAHM, and that’s pretty kick-ass if you ask me. No one expects, forces or requires me to be one.  Marissa Mayer went back to work 2 weeks postpartum (bet she wore a mom diaper) and I say yay for her because that was her choice, too.

Unfortunately, the SAHM mom idea must remain in the pipe dream category for now because it is 100% not in the financial cards. I hope sincerely that I can get there one day. Until then, I’ll plug through at my 9-5 and cherish the time I spend at home with our little family. In a recent advantageous development I was granted permission to work from home until the end of the summer, so I’ll be able to try the WFHM role for a few weeks.

I’m not sure I’ll ever know what I want to be when I grow up. Maybe I’ll moonlight as a Dolly Parton impersonator or become a professional kazoo artist, or maybe that SAHM dream will become a reality. Who knows what will strike my fancy next. Whatever it is, I’m looking forward to enjoying as many baby snuggles as I can get while I figure it out.

Do you have a story to share that would make you a great Featured Mom? Email with a brief summary of what makes your story special for a chance to be featured at Mom Meet Mom.

Miscarriage and Millions of the Loneliest Mothers in the World

On December 20 of 2010, I went in for a routine ultrasound with a perinatal specialist. I had a history of premature birth. And I was carrying a twin pregnancy that began with triplets. The appointment turned out not to be at all routine, however, when the tech left the room after only a short minute of scanning.

“I’m sorry,” said the perinatalogist, who returned in the tech’s place, “but your babies have passed.”

That was more than two years ago, but typing out her simple, direct words still makes my stomach churn. I’m not ashamed to say that in the days and weeks following that appointment I let myself burn up in the flames of sadness, fanning the embers whenever I felt some part of myself peeking out from within my misery.

I felt like the loneliest mama in the entire word.

But I wasn’t. As much as I tried to isolate myself, my loss was an invitation into a sisterhood of mothers I never knew existed. Messages and calls and cards poured in from friends and colleagues and relatives and even acquaintances who had stories of babies lost, always too soon. After a few weeks of pregnancy or at term. What they felt – or didn’t feel. And of the after-effects, physical and emotional, and the haunting thoughts that may just stick with you for life.

Now I’m one of the ones who calls or sends a message when someone in my circle finds themselves on the receiving end of those same simple, direct words. I am part of the welcoming committee for a club that none of us wants to be in. And beyond that, I am letting people know that loss happens – at a rate so staggering that even though you may not realize it, someone or many someones you know have probably been there.

Of course, maybe it’s not just a someone. Maybe it’s you. And if that’s the case – if you found your way here because you’re hiding away and overdoing it on the wine or ice cream while you google miscarriage stories, I have something to tell you:

You’re not alone.

I promise. You’re not. As much as it feels like a miscarriage or pregnancy loss or a stillbirth is a singular event that thrusts you into the role of the loneliest woman in the world, there are millions of moms out there who have gone through or are going through so many of the same experiences and emotions. I know that’s no balm in the short term, but as time passes, the knowledge that there are women out there who will understand not only where you’re coming from, but also how you were changed by your loss is a comfort.

You may not want to talk today or in a week or a month or a year, but someday you might. You might even find that you need to. When that day comes, the sisterhood will be here.

miscarriage - mom meet mom

Five Must Have Summer Looks for Casual Playdates and Mom Fun

Getting prepped to take the little ones out for playdates or to meet up with some local mom friends can be overwhelming. As women, we care about what other women think of our wardrobe and as moms, we want everyone to know that we still have a keen eye for fashion.

When you find yourself scheduling more playdates and mom-centric get togethers on Mom Meet Mom, here are a few looks that scream “I’ve still got it”. 

1. J. Crew Pleated Maxi Skirt

Especially for the moms who aren’t quite ready to throw on a fitted maxi, this flowing pleated maxi screams, “I am a laid back pretty awesome momma”. Pair it with an ultra casual button down (heck, pull one from your husband’s closet), flip flops, and some hip shades and you’re in business.

mom meet mom fashion 52. H&M Sleeveless Chiffon Blouse

Stop by H&M and snag one of their chic flowy blouses like this chiffon one. Pair it with shorts and some cute wedges or flats. The cut is very forgiving for moms who don’t want to draw attention to their post-baby belly.

mom meet mom fashion 53. Talbots Weekend Skirt & Polo

The preppy look never gets old ladies, so don’t think twice about rocking it. Pair with some cute flats, flip flops, and a pair of aviator sunglasses.

mom meet mom fashion 54. Nautica Striped Tank Dress

This is especially appropriate for those outdoor playdates, where you want to be comfortable but don’t want to look like you just rolled out of bed.

mom meet mom fashion 55. Victoria’s Secret Relaxed Linen Pant and Sweater

A lot of people forget that Victoria’s is more than just bras and panties. They have some amazingly sexy outfits that will make any mom stand out in a crowd. This linen look is a laid back essential. The airy material can pass for daywear or as a beach cover up.

mom meet mom fashion 5Stay tuned for more summer fashion picks for moms. And keep in mind, if the price is wrong, just use this list as inspiration on your next trip to Marshalls or T.J.Maxx!

Win It: A Red Patriots Boppy Cover!

Boston mom Sarah Joyce had been sewing clothing for over 16 years, but it was only with the birth of her daughter that she discovered how much she loved designing and creating clothing and accessories for babies and kids. Now she runs Sarah Joyce Designs, an online store that features a regularly updated stock of one-of-a-kind handmade dresses, onesies, burp cloths, Boppy covers, blankies, and more!

boppy cover giveawaySince Sarah is right here in our inaugural city, we’re really excited to tell you that Sarah Joyce Designs is sponsoring this week’s giveaway. And if you’re a New England native, you’re going to love it.

She’s going to send one lucky Mom Meet Mom member a custom New England Patriots Boppy cover backed with a super soft Gray Minky. A 20″ gray zipper makes taking the cover off for regular washing easy – which you know is important if you’ve ever tried to wrestle a Boppy cover on and off.

new england patriots boppy cover giveaway

Here’s how to enter:

  • You MUST have a completed Mom Meet Mom profile that includes a photo. If you haven’t signed up already, it’s totally free and takes just a minute or two. Remember, your profile has to include a photo to be eligible to win.

And that’s it! No hashtags. No coming back here and commenting. No need to share on Twitter (though we’d sure appreciate you putting in a good word for us). Just a profile with a pic.

The best part? Once you’ve created your profile, you’ll be automatically entered in every single one of the weekly giveaways we’re running from now until the end of July. Heck, you’ll probably be automatically entered in all of the giveaways we have planned from here until eternity. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

We’ll announce and contact the winning mom on Friday, June 21, and she’ll have 24 hours to tell us where Sarah should send her New England Patriots Boppy cover! If we don’t hear from her in that 24 hours, we’ll choose another lucky mama.

Now Sarah Joyce Designs doesn’t just specialize in sports themed baby accessories. When I was browsing her shop, I fell in love with her Marvel Comics bibs, the sweet pillowcase dresses (especially the owl print with pink ribbons), and adorable wipes case covers in patterns like polka dots and chevron. So while you’re waiting to find out if you’re the winner of this week’s Mom Meet Mom giveaway, why not connect with Sarah on Facebook and check out what’s new in her shop?

And remember to check back every Monday in June and July for a new giveaway!

Featured Mom: Boston Blogger Masshole Mommy

While the thought of going through divorce makes many mothers feel sick to their stomachs, this weeks Featured Mom tells her story in a way that makes you realize it doesn’t always have to be so bad. Massachusetts resident and well-known Boston area mommy blogger, Masshole Mommy, walks us through her life as a divorced and remarried momma, retelling her joys, challenges, lessons and priorities.

1. Let’s start with the name “Masshole Mommy”. As a MA resident myself, I have to say I’m strangely proud of your choice. Give our readers the 411 on the name and how you chose it.

Urban Dictionary defines a masshole as “For residents of Massachusetts, it is an achieved title for driving faster, being wreckless, cutting other drivers off often, and having no patience for other drivers on the road”.

The first time I heard the term masshole was well into my adulthood and I’ve loved that term ever since.  It describes driving through Massachusetts perfectly and once I had decided to start a blog, I knew immediately that I wanted masshole to be part of the name.  Masshole Mommy was the first blog name that I thought of, so I did a search and I was shocked when the name hadn’t been taken already – so I scooped it up.

2. What is it like being a divorced momma and co-raising your two biological children (boys) with your ex?

I divorced from my ex-husband when my little guy was less than a year old, so times were definitely tough at first. My ex first left us when the baby was only 3 months old, so there I was as a single mom to a new baby and a three year old. I found my groove pretty quickly and after I got over the initial shock of the situation, I managed to start to form a plan of attack for raising the kids – with my ex-husband’s help. Right from the beginning, he’s been a big part of their lives and he’s very involved in their school work and activities. I know lots of other moms that aren’t as lucky. We are both re-married and my kids have two great step-parents in their lives and we all manage to get along and all get to spend time with the boys.

3. You re-married not too long ago. Tell us about your new husband and your relationship.

I met Chris shortly after my ex-husband left. I wasn’t looking for anything serious that soon after my marriage ended, but it was pretty clear to me after a short time that he was a great catch and I knew that he was going to be great husband and more importantly, great step-father material. We got married on 10/10/10 in Vegas (by Elvis) and we have a fantastic relationship. He balances me out perfectly and I can’t imagine my life without him.

4. When you re-married you gained a third son in the deal. Paint us a picture of your family life today.

My step-son is 16 and lives with us full time. I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories about teenagers, but I have to say, it’s not bad – at all.  Before I met my husband, he was active duty in the US Air Force (he’s currently in the reserves) and they moved around a few times, so between that and the fact that he was an only child, my step-son is a little more mature than the average child, so I think that’s part of why he’s so easy to raise. He fit right in to the family and he’s a big help with things like watching the little kids and helping around the house.

5. What is it like raising a family in Massachusetts?

I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I tell people this all the time. Sure, I complain when it snows and when it’s so humid in the summer that my hair rivals Diana Ross’, but geographically, it’s an awesome place to live. We get to experience all four seasons, which I love. A few hours to the north are the mountains, a few hours south is New York City and Boston is seriously one of the greatest cities in the country. We’ve got the beach, the mountains and awesome sports teams all within arms reach. It’s an amazing place to raise my children and I am totally in love with living here.

6. All moms have a superpower. What’s yours?

The ability to find anything in my house. You name it, if the kids (or my husband) can’t find it, I’ll know where they left it.

7. Tell us a bit about being a work-from-home mom. 

I left my job outside of the home when I was 7 months pregnant with my second son. I wanted to be a stay at home mom and I figured that a new baby and a toddler would be too much for my mother, who watched my oldest son while I worked. As you read, my ex-husband left us when the baby was only three months old, and I had no job, so I scrambled to find something that would work for me. This was almost six years ago, and that’s when people still used MySpace (how’s that for a blast from the past??) and I ended up connecting with someone that I had worked with at my previous job. She sent me a direct message asking about how I was doing, so I told her. As it turns out, she had also left our previous employer and was working for a home owners insurance claims company. She worked in the office, but told me that she thought they were looking for some people to do the job from home and told me she’d get back to me. I thought that it sounded too good to be true and didn’t hold my breath, but she ended up messaging me back the next day and asked me to fax my resume into the office and sure enough, the manager called me and I had an interview set up for the following week. When it was time for the interview, I was hired on the spot and was scheduled to go in for training the week after. I’ve been working for the company ever since (about 5 and a half years now). I have gone between part time and full time, but right now I am working part time and it is an honest to goodness work from home job. My hours are flexible, which I love especially now that summer vacation is coming up, and frankly, it’s an easy job.

8. A lot of change has happened in your life. Have any of your priorities shifted?

As my kids have gotten older, I’ve gotten really involved in their schools and being active in their education is extremely important to me. Before I had the opportunity to help out in their classrooms, I had no idea how much of their own time and money that the teachers put in to our kids. It’s mind blowing to be honest. I feel so lucky that I am able to participate in my kids education in any way. It depends on the teacher, but some of them have had me come in just to make copies. Others have let me interact with the students, which is so much fun. I love working with the kids and listening to their thoughts. Right now, I get to volunteer in my oldest son’s third grade class three times a week and two of those times are spent with the kids. The other time that I go in, I make copies, stuff folders and other misc tasks around the classroom that need to be done. I go into my little man’s kindergarten class once a week and I work directly with the kids. They are so much fun – and smart, too!

9. What’s your favorite part of being a mom?

It’s hard to narrow it down to one thing, but I’d have to say that just watching them learn new things and grow is my favorite thing. I love that look on their faces when they figure something out for themselves and it makes me proud that I am lucky enough to be able to guide them towards being smart, independent adults.

10. Alright, so as a mom to three sons, you MUST be running all over the place. How do you find time for you? What do with this time?

All three of the boys are in school full time and since I only work part time, I have plenty of time during the day. I manage to squeeze in 5 or 6 zumba classes a week and I’m in krav maga (martial arts) training, so I try to get to class at least 2 or 3 times a week. Lucky for me, my husband is very supportive of me, and never minds when I take night classes, so I get in plenty of time for me. But when I’m not working out, I’m hauling my oldest son to his karate class twice a week, drum lessons or boy scouts and my little guy has T-ball three times a week (2 games and one practice). We’re definitely busy around here, but we manage to fit it all in.

11. Do you have any close mom friends?

I do. I was part of my local MOMS Club for three years while my oldest son was younger and I met some great moms in my town. I left the club when he went off to kindergarten, but stayed close to a couple of moms. I’ve also met some great moms at my Zumba class and through blogging.

12. If you could share one tip of advice with a new mom, what would it be?

Enjoy every minute. I know it sounds cliche, but it really does go by way too fast. My oldest is going to be nine this August and I swear that it feels like it was just a couple of weeks ago that I was bringing him home from the hospital.

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Why Moms Like You Deserve ‘Me Time’

Moms do it all. Check off to-dos around the house. Bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. They cook, they clean, they work, and when they play, they play hard. What they – by which I mean WE – don’t do, is take personal days.

Most of us don’t, anyway. There are a lot of mixed messages surrounding “me time” for moms. On one hand, we have marketers telling us to indulge. To let Calgon take us away. Break out the Dove for a momentary indulgence. Go shopping! On the other, as mothers we’re supposed to be micro-managing every aspect of our households because the prevalent message is that no one can do it all as well as we can.

But of course, the truth is that no one can actually do it all. Trying gets you a one-way ticket to crazytown. Anyone who tells you that they don’t let a thing slide is lying. And anyone who tells you that “me time” shouldn’t be on your list of mom to-dos is trying to sabotage you or something, because not taking time for yourself also gets you that ticket to crazytown.

Still feeling guilty about taking “me time”? I know. Me, too. But here are five very good reasons to go ahead and indulge in some activity, any activity, that doesn’t involve cleaning your house, working, or taking care of your kids.

1. It’s a chance to explore your own thoughts. Or the thoughts of others if your “me time” is cocktail hour with your best mom friends. How often do you get to enjoy real actual quiet time? How often do you get to say @#$% without worrying about those little pitchers with those big ears? We all recharge differently, but we all need to recharge.

2. Being a mom can mean losing your own self in the needs of your children. “Me time” is your chance to regain some of the sense of self that tends to erode as you focus on caring for others. Who are you now? Are you the same person you were a year ago? Before you had kids? Now is the chance to find out.

3. “Me time” gives you perspective. It’s like stepping back from the daily grind so you can once again see the bigger picture. Is it weird that taking a break from your kids will remind you why you love them so much? Sure, but it’s true! Try it!

4. If you’re a super driven mom, your “me time” may take the form of goal setting and the pursuit of said goals. That’s awesome! Ask yourself what you want to accomplish and how much time to yourself you need to make that happen. Working toward a goal that’s yours and yours alone can give you an outlet for your creativity and intellect that isn’t always found in the laundry pile or a day job.

5. Finally, you’re a human being (even if you’re a supermom) and human beings need time to relax and decompress and enjoy a few hours where no one is tugging at the hem of your dress and whining because graham crackers are suddenly too crunchy. You spend so much time taking care of other people and working your butt off to get things done. Don’t you think you deserve a break? Hint: You do. So take one already!

christa terry - mom meet mom