My Advice To New Moms

PRINT_MG_6479-3I will preface this blog by saying I am not an expert in raising a child. I have 6-year old twins, but this by no means makes me an authority. I read one or two books on caring for a baby before the birth of mine, and that was it.

I was asked by a soon-to-be mom for my motherhood advice. I proffered what was on my mind. She loved it. So, I thought I’d share it on my blog for others who may appreciate it, as well.

  • Don’t go it alone. We’ve all heard “it takes a village” to raise a child. Truer words were never spoken. Don’t try to do everything yourself. If others offer to help you, let them. You will need breaks, and you will need extra hands. Find a mom group in your community for advice and support, for play dates, and, most importantly, for Mom’s Night Out!
  • Trust your instincts. You will be amazed at things you will “just know” because you are their mom even when they cannot tell you what is bothering them. You will learn to read their cries and their moods. However, call the pediatrician and nurses as much as you need to. You will need their guidance.
  • The baby phase goes fast. Try to enjoy it, but it is okay if you sort of hate it sometimes, too. There will be days when you are over all of it. That is fine, and that is normal. (See point #1 about Mom’s Night Out.)
  • Feed your baby however you need to. Advice on breast feeding changes constantly. Do what you can and do what feels right to you and your baby. Each situation and baby is unique. If breast feeding doesn’t work out for you, your baby will be fine! I pumped milk for seven months for my twins and guess what? Once they started crawling, they were sick all the time, and they pretty much stayed sick until two months ago. I am sure I gave them good nutrients, but do not put a lot of pressure on yourself to make it work.
  • Your life will be messy and disorganized. This includes your schedule, your house and don’t get me started on Mommy Brain. It’s real. Just know that one day you won’t have bottles spread all over your kitchen counter, or diapers filling up your trash. You will get back to a new normal, which will still be a bit chaotic and messy, but not as much as the baby phase.
  • You will be a GREAT mom. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “I am a horrible mother,” either from other women or inside my own head. No, we are not horrible. In fact, we are fantastic. Do not feed yourself negative talk ever. You will have your own strengths as a mother. They may not be the same as your mom’s nor will they be exactly like those of other moms around you. But your child will think you are THE best mom ever. And at the end of the day, that is all that matters.

IMG_8618Have fun, be yourself, don’t compare, and by all means, sleep as much as possible!

My best,

Bethany

(Photos of Nathan & Vivien as infants by Dahlia & Daisies Designs.)

What I Learned at the YWCA Luncheon

I had the immense pleasure of attending the YWCA 2016 Seattle luncheon yesterday where I sat with many talented, smart business women, including our table captain J.C. Johnson and Dr. Constance Rice, along with WA state senator Bob Hasegawa of the 11th District. I must admit I knew very little about the YWCA before attending; however, their goal of eliminating racism and empowering women stirred me.

IMG_0180As a mom of twins, I know personally many tasks associated with parenting fall to the mom, and I have enjoyed this important role since their entry into the world over five years ago. But as I listened to Natalia Arredondo speak to us as a former program participant who came to the YWCA as a broken woman with a baby, no job and mounting legal troubles, my heart was heavy with the burdens moms carry of raising their children, attaining and keeping well-paying jobs and building a quality life for their families. It is difficult beyond words, and I am so grateful the YWCA is there to lift up women who need people to believe in them while they may not believe in themselves.

As I listened to the keynote speaker, University of Washington’s president Ana Mari Cauce, share with us about a study of mothers and daughters she conducted at the outset of her career, it made me think of my relationship with my daughter. Would she and I would have the same fights that Dr. Cauce said are most common between mothers and daughters: staying out too late, hanging out with questionable friends, and cleaning her room? Probably! However, by working through those issues with careful, thoughtful conversations, we will survive!

Dr. Cauce also spoke about racism, which we often think of in obvious terms, but she spoke of an unconscious bias that is in each of us for which we must own up to. She said, “We are the problem, but we are also the solution.” Amen to that, sister.

Two high points I took away from yesterday are: (1) Higher education empowers a woman’s financial freedom – only 3% of women with a bachelor’s degree live in poverty compared to women without a high school diploma of which 40% live in poverty. Stay in school, ladies! (2) My role as a mother is the most important job I will ever do. My career progression may stall as I spend time with them in these formative years, but this is a short season.  I am equipping my children to make positive contributions to our society and our world.

Thank you, YWCA, for fueling my gas tank. The job of “mom” is the hardest one in existence, and we need these little pick-me-ups to keep us going!—Bethany

 

Overrated: Acting Your Age

Many of you know my age, but if you were meeting me for the first time, would you accurately guess it?  Time after time I’m told I look younger than my calendar years.  God bless you!  Other than taking great care of your body and your skin, one of the keys to looking younger than your years is to avoid dressing your age.  Allow me to explain.

I am often asked about age-appropriateness when it comes to clothing, makeup and hairstyle.  I believe you can look chic and current at any age.  There is no reason why someone must dress ‘old’ regardless of their age.  One should never give up on style. ‘Old’ dressing paints a graphic picture in my head of mu-mu dresses and orthopedic shoes. Not on my watch, sister!

Here’s how not to look old:  add a touch of youth to every outfit.  I whole-heartedly believe certain styles are best worn by certain age groups.  However, if you add a youthful color to your ensemble or wear an accessory that harks back to your younger years, you will most assuredly throw the hounds off your tracks.  No one will ever guess your age.  Don’t go overboard.  Notice I said to add ‘a touch of youth.’  A mom in her daughter’s outfit will always look like a mom in her daughter’s outfit.  Learn to use a light touch when adding youth to your look.

 

For your viewing pleasure, I am modeling my favorite spring / summer handbag.  It is a simple cotton bag that could be carried by a young woman at least half my age.  But I immediately fell in love with it when I saw it.  I wasn’t sure how I’d make it work, but I was willing to give it a try.  My trick when I carry it is to balance the look by toning down the rest of my outfit and making sure everything else is age-appropriate.  A little bit goes a long way.