Lessons from Three-Year-Old Girls

Three-year-old girls have it figured out. They can perfectly balance being glitter-covered, spider-hating princesses with being tree-climbing, nose-picking tomboys. The other day my nearly three-year-old daughter, fully dressed in Elsa of Arendelle princess attire, announced loudly and proudly “I have to go poop!” and ran to the bathroom.

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While I am gently helping her work on discretion when it comes to bathroom issues, I love that she embraces her femininity while being oh so real. When do we as women lose this ability? It seems somewhere between three and 30 we start to pigeon-hole ourselves. Can I be feminine and still be assertive? Can I enjoy shoes and clothes and still be practical and grounded? Can I be kind and still be a strong business leader? Can I love my career and still be a great mom?

I have recently been trying to encourage this balance with my daughter. She enjoys being feminine and that’s OK, but when she wants to try on my lipstick I apply it while reminding her that she doesn’t need makeup to be pretty. I encourage her to play with her trucks as well as her dolls, and she’s never discouraged from getting dirty.

While I’m glad we all eventually grow out of the nose-picking thing, I think we can learn from the unapologetic, do-it-all attitude of our younger counterparts. Be who you are. Wear that crown. Climb that mountain. May our little ones keep that fire inside them.

 

The Blue Tub

Something about the blue tub seemed to offer a glimpse of the future. We were planning our wedding and house-hunting. I fell in love with the quirky character of the 1940s cottage. The archways, the brick fireplace, and the original hardwood floors felt so inviting. I could imagine bathing our future babies in the blue metal tub, original to the home. The babies would be boys so blue would be appropriate.

It is hard to believe four years have gone by and now I bathe our baby girls in this blue tub. I don’t know why I had always thought if I had children they would be boys, but I had that feeling often growing up. I’m not a tomboy. I love being a girl and doing girl things. Still, I imagined mothering boys. But it’s true that God knows what is best for us.

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Having girls is amazing. They are kind, sweet, emotional, and head-strong. They make our lives better every day. The blue tub is a piece of our home’s character that I would never want to change. It serves as a reminder that life doesn’t always turn out exactly as we think it will. Sometimes it turns out so much better.

 

The First Day Back is the Hardest

I left a piece of my heart in the daycare center last Thursday. After a blissful 12-week maternity leave it was time to return to budgets, workflows, and managing my fantastic team. Returning to work was good, hard, painful, liberating, exciting, exhausting, and strange all at the same time.

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(Photo by Alyssa Crawford Photography)

I think all moms feel this pain at some point. Eventually we must leave our children, whether it be to return to the office after maternity leave, dropping them off at their first day of kindergarten, or leaving them in a dorm room at a university. We all must endure that feeling of our heart being down in our stomach.

I got through that first day with a lot of support from friends and coworkers, and especially from my aunt who is a working mom with two kids herself. And you know what? The next day was easier. Now, after just completing my third day, I’m feeling a bit more in the swing of things. I will spend a lot of time trying to balance my roles as mother, wife, friend, employee, and supervisor in the coming months. I know it won’t be easy, but, as with a lot of things, it’s the first day that’s the hardest.

In My House: Noodle & Boo

I had never heard of Noodle & Boo when I received some of their products as a baby gift. I was instantly hooked on the delicately fresh scent.

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I have been using the lotion and baby hair and body wash on both my newborn and my toddler. I have also used the products myself a few times and love them. Noodle & Boo also has a line of products for pregnant women. Several of their items come perfectly packaged in adorable boxes like the set I received did.

Noodle & Boo’s web site says the company is “Where nature and science come together in perfect harmony to create world-class products that are both safe and effective for every newborn, child and “mama-to-be.”

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Their packaging is recyclable and products are nontoxic, biodegradable, and developed with sustainable, plant-based ingredients.

I loved receiving Noodle & Boo as a gift and will be ordering more when my supply runs out.

I received no compensation for writing this post, I simply enjoy sharing products I love.

Happy Fourth of July Weekend

The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love the togetherness with family and friends without the pressure of buying gifts, complicated meal preparation, and travel plans ruined by blizzards.

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I will admit fireworks paired with dry weather make me a bit nervous. I grew up on a ranch where grass fires and spooked cattle could be the result of firework play. I love that so many small communities put on public firework displays often with the local fire department helping. Fun and safe? Sign me up. Now if I can keep my pyro husband away from the fireworks stands…

This year I am cherishing the holiday even more because it marks my last few days before returning to work after maternity leave. I plan to soak up every single moment with my girls (in their matching outfits because I can) and husband. Happy Fourth of July!

In My House: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day

Lately I have been ordering most of our household cleaning products from Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day and I get so excited when the box of brightly labeled products arrives.

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My favorite products are the all-purpose cleaner spray and the dishwasher packs. I have tried probably a dozen dishwasher soaps and nothing works like these!

Nowhere in my small town sells Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day and even the nearest Target only has a limited selection, but Mrs. Meyer’s online offers free shipping on any order of more than $30.

The first time you order, you receive this handy scratch-n-sniff guide so you can order fragrances you love. The site also offers automatic shipments, which I have yet to take advantage of because I love trying different scents every time I order.

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The scents are not perfumey and are true to what they are supposed to be. After I had cleaned my kitchen counters with the lilac all-purpose spray, my mother-in-law asked if I had real lilacs in the house. My favorite scents (right now) are the radish, geranium, and lemon verbena.

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Aside from being effective and featuring lovely scents, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day uses mostly plant-derived products, and steers clears of harsh chemicals. Still, it works!

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I received no compensation for writing this post, I simply enjoy sharing products I love.

Wins and Losses in the Motherhood Game

As I prepare to return to work after maternity leave, I have been struggling to find balance and, sadly, seem to be focusing on my shortcomings as a mother, wife, friend, and worker. Then, in a moment of zen, I realized we must all have our highs and lows in motherhood. (Cue little light bulb above my head.)

Hey Mama, if you are perfect and never feel guilt, stress, or self-criticism, you just pipe down over there and stay in the corner, OK? For the rest of us, I decided to be really real and share some of my motherhood losses, but I’m also going to share some of my wins. I’d love to hear some of yours, too.

Please feel welcome to comment below or on social media. After all, we are all on the same team in this game called Motherhood, aren’t we?

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(Photo by Alyssa Crawford Photography)

Chalk that one up to a loss…

My daughter is nearly three and just recently gave up her baby bottle 100 percent. Granted it was only occasionally at night for the past year and a half, but this has been painful and so challenging! We tried everything, but would eventually cave due to sheer exhaustion from hours of crying.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner…

However, she rocked it out at potty training, moving to her toddler bed, and forming complete sentences at an early age. She is sociable, kind, and says please and thank-you.

A swing…

My daughters’ dresser and closet are fairly well-organized.

And a miss…

I just noticed my two-month-old’s fingernails are absolutely disgusting. It looks like she has been gardening.

Fail…

Accidentally let an Alanis Morisette song get to the naughty words before turning it off while driving with my near-three-year-old.

Nice recovery…

Quickly changed it to Peaches by Presidents of the United States of America to which said near-three-year-old can now sing in almost it’s entirety.

Wah, wah, wah…

I feel guilty for working too much and returning to work after maternity leave is breaking my heart.

Ding, ding, ding…

I like the example having a career sets for my girls and it makes me more intentional with my days off. Saturdays are all about our time together.

Bummer, dude…

I will continue to make mistakes and be hard on myself because I want to be the best mom I can be. That’s all we really want as moms, isn’t it?

But isn’t life grand?

No matter what I love my daughters so much and I hope they remember always feeling that love in their lives. That’s one thing we can and should always do: Love our children. So let’s rock that part!