Scroll through Facebook.
Find a catchy title on Scary Mommy.
Read the article.
Laugh as I totally relate.
Skim the comments.
“How dare she feed that baby formula?”
“I would never let a daycare raise my child!”
“Oh, she cloths diapers…that is so gross.”
“What mother feeds her baby food from a jar?”
“Is she really breastfeeding her toddler?!”
“It is not childbirth if you had a c-section.”
Rush of emotions come over me.
Instantly feel like a horrible mother.
Resist the urge to throw my phone.
We need to STOP. Stop this nonsense right NOW. Mom judging is everywhere. In the store, at restaurants, on social media, the workplace, the list goes on. What happened to the golden rule if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it at all?
On my first day back to work after having my second child, while in my very first pumping session ever at work (that is right, I didn’t need to pump at work for Logan, he was mostly formula fed *gasp!*) Emily sent me the cheesy, yet adorable song from High School Musical, “We’re all in this together.” As the video drowned out the sound of my pump, I laughed and laughed and even shed a tear. Emotions were high that day. I never got into High School Musical, but it got me thinking. These kids are onto something. We really are all in this together. Whether you whip out that boob from day one to year two. Or you wash bottles late into the night from formula feeding during the day. Whether you purchase a food processor to make your homemade baby food, with or without organic vegetables. Or you go to the store and pick up the baby jars of food. Whether your child came out of your vagina (yeah, I said vagina). Or you had a c-section, by choice or not. Whether you decide to spend your money on diapers. Or if you’d rather just do it with the cloth. Whether you stay at home and take care of your kiddos. Or you need to place them in someone else’s care so you can pay the bills. Should I keep going?
A couple of years ago Similac shared an amazing video. Before you jump out of your seat, this video was not promoting their formula. In the video you see all different types of moms bringing their kids to the park. They begin to judge each other immediately – you see the breastfeeding vs formula, the cloth vs diaper, the working moms vs. the stay at home moms, and on and on. At the end the end of the video a situation happens and you know what? They all come together as one. Because when the kids go to bed at night and we finally get to take that deep breath – we are all the same inside.
Being a mom is damn hard. Easily the hardest job of my life and no matter how we choose to “mom” – we are all faced with similar struggles. We teach our kids to be kind to one another and then we immediately turn around and make snarky comments because another mom is doing something we didn’t do. It is a bit twisted and backwards if you ask me. Next time you want to judge a mom, put yourself in her shoes. Everyone has battles that we know nothing about. It is time that we put that negative energy towards something else.
So moms – I am are here to say, can’t we all just get along?!
Don’t make me use my mom voice. 😉
Since I found out that I was pregnant, one of the things I’ve been adamant about is building my “tribe” or finding my “village” as it’s sometimes referred to. I have a few good mommy friends local to me, but I was looking for more support. Since then, I have found many mommy groups and boards and from that made some amazing friends.
Just Mommies Due Date Clubs: I don’t even know how I found the justmommies.com site, I must have searched for it on google. It is a community of women who are all due at the same time called Due Date Clubs. These are essentially groups of discussion boards where you can interact with other women around the world going through the same stages of pregnancy. When all of our babies were born, our due date club switched to a Facebook Group and we still all interact on a weekly and monthly basis. From this board, I met two women who I consider to be great friends of mine. They are definitely part of my village! Sharilyn and Megan are the sweetest women, we have a ton in common, and as consultants, they both feed my lularoe habit! But, seriously, I talk to them every week and love that I have them as a support system. Plus our kids are all within days of each others age, and that helps us relate as well. I still have yet to meet these two fabulous ladies in person, but that hasn’t slowed our friendships at all!
Facebook Groups: Nearing the end of my pregnancy, I also joined a few Facebook groups dedicated to nursing moms. They were a huge help, especially with Mike being gone a good chunk of the first part of Madeline’s life. As a first time mom, breastfeeding was completely new to me, so to be able to just jump on at any time of the day or night, ask a question, and get a friendly response was a huge piece of mind. Many of the ladies in these groups feel like an extended part of my tribe, even if I haven’t met them. Towards the end of our nursing journey, I met a woman (again thanks to Lularoe) who I just adore. Holly (and her husband Partick) are amazing, and at the time I met them, had just started their journey to become lactation consultants and doulas. They are so much more than their business, they truly live and breath what they do- and they care! I can’t say enough good things about That Doula Couple. As a part of that, they each run a support group, one for moms and one for dads. This is a huge resource to be able to utilize! After Madeline was born, and still now, I suffered from some Postpartum Anxiety, but these groups and the people who run them have truly been a way for me to ease out of that anxious state and know that I’m not alone. I think that’s all a new mom can ask for, is a little support.
Meet up Groups: There are also local meet up groups in my area. I joined two but never actually found the time to go to a meet up! Being a working mom, it’s hard to find time to get to playdates as they tend to be during the day. But, they are a wonderful way to make friends, socialize your children, or just get out of your house!
**This post contains a product review, while we were given the product, our opinions are all our own.**
Have you ever heard the horror story of a child who was running with a toothbrush and then suddenly they trip and it punctures a hole in their mouth? Sounds absolutely terrifying and terrible, right? That is exactly what can, and has happened, when you use the typical hard plastic toothbrushes designed for young kids. That horrifying incident happened to a family when their 2 year old slipped while brushing his teeth causing his toothbrush to puncture the roof of his mouth coming within centimeters of entering his brain. Can you imagine that happening to your child? As parents, the last thing you want is to see your child in any sort of pain or danger. This is why the family of that 2 year old boy decided it was time to take action to prevent something like that happening to another child. That is how the Baby Banana Brush was born!
You may have seen the Baby Banana Brush when creating your registry, in the baby store or other families using it. It was rated a best product for babies and we are here to tell why! If you are thinking, do I really need this? Guess what – YOU DO! We LOVE these toothbrushes for our kiddos. Even if your child doesn’t have teeth yet, baby banana has toothbrush products designed for teething infants up to fussy toddlers. We are so thankful to be able to try out these products for our kiddos!
I know you are probably saying to yourself, my infant does not need a toothbrush! But the truth is that it is never too early to introduce good dental hygiene habits from the start! Baby Banana Brush designed this flexible infant brush in a fun banana shape! It has a soft texture and is made of the highest quality silicone. The unique design of the wide banana peel handles allows infants to easily grasp the brush to learn how to use the brush in their mouth. You can even use the handles to hold a binky strap! The added bonus? It doubles as a teether! It can sooth sore gums for a cranky teething baby. You can even throw it in the freezer! This brush is intended for children under 1 year of age which was ideal for our littlest family member, Finn. He is 5 months old and in the early stage of cutting teeth. He loved it! The brush was easy for him to hold – he didn’t want to put it down! 🙂
Toddler Training Toothbrush
When your baby turns to a toddler it is crucial you really get into the habit of teeth brushing, especially since they are now eating mostly solid foods. The toddler training toothbrush was designed with safety in mind. To prevent mouth injuries, it is flexible and bendable and is made with medical grade silicone. The small bristles also massage teeth and gums. This brush is designed for children over 12 months of age, perfect for Madeline who at 1 year of age has 11 teeth! This toddler version of the classic banana brush was the just the right upgrade for her. We put a pea size of the Kid’s Spry tooth gel and let her chew on it, making sure she’s hitting all of her teeth. She loves it and we think we have her fooled into thinking it is just another toy! 🙂
Elefriend Toddler Toothbrush
The elefriend toddler toothbrush is a flexible toddler toothbrush also designed to be safer than typical plastic toothbrushes to prevent mouth injuries. The adorable toothbrush is an elephant whose spout is a bendable neck with ADA recommended nylon bristles with enough resistance to effectively remove plaque. This brush was designed for children 2 to 4 years old. This was the perfect toothbrush for Logan, who just turned two last month! He loves animals so the elephant design was right up his alley. He is also not a sit still toddler so we have peace of mind knowing it was designed with his safety in mind. 🙂
Spry Tooth Gel
When your kids reach the age of one they can begin brushing their teeth with tooth gel. In addition to their fun and safe toothbrushes, Baby Banana also has tooth gel. The Spry Tooth gel is safe to swallow, fluoride-free and comes in a variety of great tasting flavors! They have banana berry, strawberry banana, bubble gum and more! And the best part? It is made with all natural ingredients. The gels contain the xylitol which is a proven cavity fighter and provides tooth-strengthening calcium to protect and strengthen developing teeth. Madeline got to try the strawberry banana and Logan had the bubble gum – they loved it! 🙂
We cannot say enough wonderful things about the Baby Banana Brush company and their products. They are fun, effective and safe for children and it is great that they have created a products for teeth brushing for all ages.
Our kids love their products and we know yours will too! To view and purchase more of their fun and amazing products, visit their website! Thank you so much, Baby Banana Brush!!!
Saving money and couponing in this day in age is definitely at least half digital! There are so many apps out there to increase your savings. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing our favorites!
One app that we both love is Ibotta. This is a rebate app that works at multiple stores. The rebates rotate, but essentially, you make an account with your Facebook and it will automatically puts you on a “team” of your friends.
Then, you shop the listed stores and buy the items there are rebates for. When you get home, you verify the rebates by scanning the barcode and uploading an image of your receipt. It is that simple.
Within a few hours you are credited the amount of the rebate! It accumulates in a bank and when you hit $20 you can cash out either via a gift card or directly into a PayPal account.
Every month there are team bonuses where you’ll get extra savings for redeeming a certain number of rebates and money value within your team. Additionally, some brands have bonuses where you can earn an extra $1 or $2 for completing them!
What we love about Ibotta is that it is not just grocery stores, there is also rebates for retail stores too. For example, the craft store Joann’s (and you know we love our craft stores!) occasionally pops up as a rebate!
Since this is money already spent, you can use this money as a savings plan. Emily was putting all her savings into Madeline’s college fund, but they recently decided they want to take a family trip to Disney. She saves up to buy Disney gift cards from Target where she also saves an additional 5% with her red card! Sherrie and Matt put their savings towards paying down their student loan debt. Every little bit helps!
Want to get started? Join our teams! Either use this link or this one to create your own account and start saving! FYM Emily has saved $434.10 with this app alone in the last two years and Sherrie has saved $107.10 over the last 6 months! What are you waiting for?!
As you may know essential oils are all the rage right now. But don’t worry, we’re not here to make you join a group or buy oils from us, as we know it’s pushy consultants that can give compamies like this a bad rap. Luckily, we’ve been really fortunate to meet some phenomenal consultants from many companies including DoTerra and Young Living who have gently introduced us to the wonderful world of essential oils.
As moms, we’re always looking for ways to keep our families healthy. For Sherrie, it started as a replacement to candles who wanted something more natural in the air and safer for her very tall toddler. For Emily, she was looking for a way to introduce a more natural healing method- Madeline was constantly getting sick and she was tired of giving her Motrin or Tylenol.
That’s when we discovered essential oils, whether they’re diffused, in a roller ball, or in a cleaning solution- they have changed our lives dramatically!
What exactly is an essential oil? Well, it’s the extract from a plant. These oils are all therapeutic grade and each oil and plant has its own properties and different uses. Call us cooky- but this stuff really works!
So how do you get started? We recommend trying out oils from all different brands before committing to a company, each has different standards so you will get to know what fits best for your budget and which companies you like. We have found for our family that we love Eden’s Garden. These oils are a great quality without carrying a huge price tag. They have single oils, plus some amazing blends and even a line specifically made and diluted for kids!
So which oils do you get? There are SO MANY choices that it can be easily overwhelming- here’s what we recommend starting with.
Lemon– lemon is a staple in both our houses! It’s amazing for cleaning- works like a charm! But it’s also good to diffuse and create a nice crisp, clean scent in your house.
Lavender– lavender is another staple. Known for calming- this is great to add to a hot shower, diffuse before sleep and is the base of many roller ball and spray blends!
Thieves (or the Fighting Five)- this is a blend of many oils. It’s well known for its immune boosting properties. Diluted with fractionated coconut oil- Emily has been rolling this on Madeline for two months and she hasn’t been sick since!
What else will you need? A few things to help you along the way.
Diffuser- Be sure to invest in a good diffuser. This is an easy way to get started with oils. Trust us, you’ll soon find you use it daily. FYM Emily loves this one! We recommend just cleaning them once a month by diffusing a blend of 2/3 water and 1/3 white vinegar.
Roller Bottles– another quick find from Amazon– you’ll soon realize you’re creating blends and rolling them topically. We keep two rollers on Madeline’s changing table and another 2 in her diaper bag! I also carry four rollers in my purse at all times- the headache blend saves Emily at least three times a week!
Fractionated Coconut Oil- If you’re going to get in to blending for rollers or sprays, you’re going to need to dilute your oil. We’ve found coconut oil to be a great way to do this! Fairly inexpensive and doesn’t bother anyone with sensitive skin!
Ready to get started? We will be sharing some of our favorite blends in the coming weeks. In the meantime- follow along with our It’s Essential Pinterest board! We would love to see how you are using oils in your lives!
With Earth Day this past weekend, we thought we’d feature a new company that we love: Clynk! Bringing back cans and bottles is awesome, not just because it’s good for the environment but because it gives you your money back (and we’re all about saving money!). That being said, we HATE doing it. When are moms supposed to find time either without your kids (sorry, but if we have free time we’ll be at target, in leggings, sipping Starbucks) or with them in tow (forget about it!) to stand there and enter all those cans and bottles into the machines?! You can imagine, that’s not likely to happen when they are little.
Then we discovered CLYNK! The way this program works is you sign up, either online on your computer or mobile phone or at your local Clynk Kiosk. They will mail a card for your keys and wallet as well your unique barcode stickers that are linked to your account. Go to your local Hannaford and get special green bags (you’ll receive a coupon for a free box when you sign up!).
While you’re home you fill up the green bags with your bottles. Once it’s full (or you reach the max line if it’s glass) you tie it up and put your account barcode sticker on each bag. At your local store, there will be a CLYNK kiosk where you simply just drop off your bags!
The refund is automatically placed on to your account which you can review online. Once you reach an amount you want, you can cash out at your kiosk!
We love that we can recycle in such an easy way! When you have kids a lot of the things you did before fall by the wayside. But happily, thanks to Clynk– recycling and saving money doesn’t have to!
I don’t even want to believe it, but today Logan turns TWO! Wow! I know I said this last year but where does time go?! How is it even possible that two years went by? It seems like just yesterday we were at the hospital getting ready for his arrival. I want to cry and laugh all at the same time right now.
To our precious Logie Bear,
Today you turn two years old. In just two short years you have grown up so much. You are smart, funny and just a true joy to be around. Your dimples get me every single time. And those curls! THE CURLS! Who doesn’t love those curls?! You are just so beautiful. But your beauty is not just in the way you look on the outside. You’re even more beautiful on the inside. You already show you have so much compassion and kindness in your heart. From the way you smile and say hi to the people in our neighborhood to the ways you try to console your brother when he cries. It’s absolutely adorable to watch you…be you.
We are so proud of the son, brother, grandson, nephew and friend you are. There is nothing your Daddy or I wouldn’t do to show you how much we love you. There are no words that can even come close to it either. Today, we celebrate you and if we could give the world, moon and stars to prove how amazing you are, we would.
Never, ever let anyone dull your sparkle! Shine on, bugsby.
Let’s face it moms- we don’t get a lot of downtime. But, it is so important, and you’ll hear it everywhere, to find something that’s yours. I am always thinking about Madeline, doing activities, crafts, etc. with or for Madeline, so the idea of something that I do for me seems odd. But that’s exactly why you need something that can either be mindless and let you take a break, and give you something else to focus on. That’s when I really started to think I needed a hobby and crochet is it!
There’s something very satisfying to me to be able to make something and see it come together. But, by now, I think y’all know I just love to craft! I had at one point, taught myself to knit and the results were less than satisfactory. So the idea of teaching myself to crochet seemed very daunting.
How did I do it you might ask?
Ravelry: This is a great site for getting started finding projects. Between Ravelry and Pinterest I was able to see things I may like to make and find a pattern for them. This got me to a good starting place where I at least knew how much yarn, what type of yarn and what size crochet hook I would need- then it was time to shop.
YouTube: Doesn’t that seem like it’s the answer to everything? No seriously though. Videos are a great way to learn a skill. What I found is that patterns are unbelievably hard to read. It’s almost like crochet is a different language! So that being said, I needed to learn how to actually achieve the different stitches within a given pattern. Hence- YouTube. There are so many people who have made videos on how to do specific stitches. Every time I encounter one that I don’t know how to do (and Mommy Brain is real, so let’s be honest, even some I know but haven’t done in a while) I find a video for it on YouTube. Once I watch it once, do the stitch along with the video a few times I’m good to go! I then keep it handy to reference as I put down and pick up the project.
Facebook Groups: What I have learned about crocheting (and also knitting) is that it’s like a cult! No seriously, a mom cult. There are so many people who seem to live and breathe crochet. Naturally, that means, you can find a lot of groups on social media! I am in a few crochet groups and what I’ve found is it is a great place to show what you’ve recently made and get some feedback, but also a great way to learn about trends and new ideas for projects!
Meet Ups: There are also lots of great resources or local “stitch and bitch” clubs! Personally, I love that my hobby can also be a way to make new friends and get out of my house and routine. That break time with other adults is really important for my own sanity! I started a lunchtime craft day at work. Now every Tuesday and Thursday at our lunch hours. We sit together and work on the projects we have currently underway, whether that’s inside or outside, and just talk about non work related things. There are lots of local yarn shops and craft stores that also host these events as well. I’m looking forward to attending them!
I’m also really proud of the things I’ve been able to create! I love being able to make handmade gifts for my friends and family, useful items for my house or for Madeline, and so much more! Here are a few quick things I’ve made recently!
Are you a crochet-er? (I think they refer to themselves as hookers, that seems off color, haha 🙂 ) What hobbies do you pursue that are just for you?
After you leave the hospital almost every mom will save their baby’s first outfit, blanket, hat, bracelets, etc. We sure did! Instead of just throwing those keepsakes in a box or inside a baby book, you can put them in a shadowbox to be out on display. We both spotted this project on Pinterest and just couldn’t resist recreating this for Logan and Madeline (and now Finn)!
First things first, you need to gather all of the things you saved from the hospital. This may include hats, blankets, going home outfits, bracelets, foot prints, birth announcements, name banners from the bassinet at the hospital, etc. Here’s what it looked like when Emily got all of Madeline’s things together:
What You Need:
Shadowbox (we suggest 8×10 or larger)
Scrapbook paper (for background, embellishments, etc.)
For the background Emily made the hard choice and decided to use Madeline’s blanket. Let me tell you, cutting that blanket almost killed her, she was in tears! But in the end, it turned out really well! For Logan and Finn’s background Sherrie went with a piece of scrapbook paper.
After you have your background, it’s just a matter of arranging and rearranging until you find a layout that you love.
Emily really wanted to get Madeline’s going home outfit in, but it didn’t fit so instead she used a hat that was given to Madeline. There’s a few women who knit and crochet hats for all the new babies born at Bellevue Women’s Hospital where Madeline was delivered and she showed up back from her bath in this cute purple hat! Emily had made a name banner for Madeline’s bassinet at the hospital (Thanks Pinterest!) the whole thing wouldn’t fit, but a piece of the gold bunting was reused to hold Madeline’s birth information.
For Logan and Finn’s shadowbox Sherrie made a name banner using scrapbook paper, stickers and small clothes pins. She added their hats and their hospital bracelets, as well as the stamped footprints the hospital did when they were born. I used more stickers to write out their date of both and weight/height stats.
Once all your pieces are in and you add your embellishments/stickers and whatever you wan, simply close the shadowbox up ensuring that everything is nice and secure! Here’s the finished products from ours!
They make great additions to the nurseries and are keepsakes the kids will have when they get older!
If there’s one thing that we love it’s saving money! With three kids between the two of us we certainly know how expensive life can be. We started couponing a few years ago and while we’ve certainly scaled back in some areas, we are still hunting the best deals!
Over the next few weeks we will be sharing some of our favorite apps to help you save! In the meantime, we wanted to share our top ten tips for Extreme Couponing: Mom Style.
#10: Consolidate Stores
As a mom, time is precious. Before kids we’d make multiple runs a week to as many as five stores. That’s just not realistic anymore. Forget the fact that we don’t have that kind of time, imagine getting your kids in and out of their car seats that many times, no thank you!
#9: Start a Stockpile
We can’t even explain how important this is. I can’t imagine what I would do if we ran out of diapers, paper towels, or toilet paper! Luckily, we don’t have to find out!! When they’re free (or really cheap) stock up on the items you use frequently. While storing these things may be annoying it is worth it in the long run for convenience and cost savings.
#8: Forget Brand Loyalty
With the exception of very few items, we don’t necessarily always buy the same brand. Being open and flexible allows you to save the most money. A salsa in one brand may be free, while another could be $4! We’ll take free please!
#7: Set Your Max Prices
How do you know you’re getting a good deal? You won’t unless you set some thresholds, there are certain things we just refuse to pay for, like shampoo. But there are other items we are willing to spend money on, but not a lot. For example, Emily prefers not to pay for coffee, but she’ll pay up to $1.49/lb.
#6: Meal Plan
Meal planning may not seem like it relates to couponing but it sure does! It’s not enough to look at the sales for the week, if you can create meals with what you have in your stockpile/freezer and then replace those items with the sales from that week- you’re always going to find that you save money. It also doesn’t hurt to meal plan so that you’re not left scrambling and then end up ordering takeout!
#5: Shop the Sales
This shouldn’t need to be said, but shop the sales when they happen. If there’s a great deal on a ham before a holiday, but you’re not going to be home, get it anyway and freeze it. You can always use it and you may not see that sale again.
#4: Clip Coupons
Gone are the days where coupons only came in the Sunday paper. While you may still want to buy one (or 4) newspapers there are so many other places to get coupons. Try printing some from coupons.com, Red Plum, Smart Source, or even many manufacturers websites. We use a coupon database and check for coupons for every item before shopping!
#3: Rewards Programs
It pays to be a member! You know we love programs like Pampers Rewards, but did you know there are other rewards programs? One of our favorites is Kellogg’s family rewards. You just link your grocery store card and you accumulate points for buying their brands. You can cash those points in for coupons!
#2: Use Your Store Loyalty Card
Your store loyalty card is super important! For many stores, like Price Chopper or Shoprite, not only do you get sale pricing with your card, but many have e-coupons that you can add and stack with your paper coupons. That’s an easy extra savings! And places like Target have debit cards linked to your checking account (Red Card) that doesn’t hurt your credit AND saves you an extra 5%!
#1: Stack It Up!
We always say, don’t just use one coupon! Know your stores coupon policy and use as many coupons as you can- that may mean a paper coupon, an ecoupon, a sale and a rebate through one of many available couponing apps. Check out our favorites in the next few weeks as we highlight them!
Couponing does really does pay off- we’ve saved thousands each year and are able to do so many more things for our families! You can put it towards your savings, family vacations, date nights, whatever you want! How do you save your family money?