What I wish I had known about motherhood: Real mom wisdom

What I wish I had known about motherhood: Real mom wisdom

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the nearly five years I’ve been a mother, it’s this: Fellow mothers are the best source of no-BS, tell-it-to-you-straight mom wisdom you’ll ever hope to encounter. The trouble is we don’t always ask the right questions (or even know what they are), and you probably don’t have other sources telling you the straight-up truth about TMIs like post-birth constipation and just how world-rocking having a baby is. Nearly everyone has at least one “what I wish I had known” detail—so I’m sharing those tidbits of been there, done that know-how from a whole tribe of mom bloggers.

Below, you’ll read about everything: the good (the overwhelming love of your bubs!), the bad (mastitis—need I say more?) and the ugly (postpartum depression and anxiety are real—and all too common). So before you have a “what I wish I had known” about motherhood moment, read on. I can pretty much guarantee you’ll learn something from this mom wisdom—I know I did!

What I wish I had known about motherhood, from breastfeeding to postpartum depression: Mom wisdom from 20 mommy bloggers. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

9 things I wish I knew about weaning

Just a few weeks ago, I weaned Kiwi. Although I had a goal to wean her by her second birthday, I thought it’d never happen: She asked for milk all day, every day. Yet bit by bit, we decreased the amount she breastfed. Finally, there came a day when she didn’t nurse at all. And then there was another no-milk day. And just like that, weaning was complete.

Pretty much. (More on that below!)

It’s no secret around here that I’ve both struggled with breastfeeding and loved it. I nursed Peeper until she was 15 months old, and Kiwi until she was almost 2. But even though we’d semi-accidentally become an extended breastfeeding family, I was ready to wean.

Yes, I was ready to wean, but I wish someone had clued me in to some details about weaning I’d never heard—or read—about.

9 things I wish I'd known about weaning, 'cause stopping breastfeeding is a big deal. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

A little-known trick to pump more milk

A dear friend of mine (whom I’ll not name so I don’t embarrass her) recently texted me. She was at work on a short break and was pumping milk for her baby at home. Not only that—she was catching up on emails, sending me pics of her munchkin and blow drying her hair (which she’d left in a wet bun until now). I couldn’t believe all her multitasking while pumping at work. Wow, she is a supermom! I thought.

As her need to do so much during such a short time shows, pumping at work is not easy. Plus, many moms feel a lot of pressure to make enough milk for their babies while they are at work. So it’s no surprise that nearly every pumping mom I know has, at some point, wanted to pump more milk.

The $2 trick to pump more milk and increase your supply for breastfeeding! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

What breastfeeding should feel like

When Peeper was born, I visited lactation specialists several times a week to try to get breastfeeding to work for us. She was my first baby, so I didn’t really know what breastfeeding should feel like—but I was pretty sure it shouldn’t feel stabby/excrutiating/make-me-cry painful.

When I asked one of the lactation nurses what breastfeeding should feel like, she gently pulled on my thumb. “Like that,” she said. I was bewildered; when Peeper latched, breastfeeding was definitely not that gentle.

Fast forward past many lactation appointments, a belated tongue tie correction, the use of a nipple shield and a lot of persistence, and breastfeeding finally did feel good—I finally got to the point where breastfeeding didn’t hurt.

But that’s not the only part of how breastfeeding actually feels. In short, it can hit a whole bunch of emotions, too. So if you’re wondering what you’re in for when you breastfeed your baby, read on.

What breastfeeding should feel like: Nursing moms may feel these emotional and physical parts of feeding her baby. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Sometimes motherhood is awesome

If you’ve read this blog often enough, you’ve seen my posts about how hard motherhood can be—like the time one kid trailed poop after her all over the house, or the long length of time breastfeeding was insanely hard, or the roughly 12 months I didn’t sleep more than 3 hours in a row. But sometimes motherhood is awesome.

Take, for instance, the other day. Peeper and I made cookies for absolutely no reason other than the fact that sugar and chocolate chips are delicious. When they were done, the heavenly smell of perfectly browned cookies filled the house.

Shockingly, Kiwi was still asleep—couldn’t she smell the chocolate chip cookies?—so Peeper and I got some more one-on-one time.

I decided to teach her a vital life lesson.

Teaching my kids how to bake and sharing the ritual of cookies and milk—2 ways motherhood is AWESOME! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Dunking cookies and bonding

Some life lessons are hard to teach—like that friends aren’t always nice to you, or that there are people in the world who value girls less than boys. This was not one of them.

I poured two cups of milk. I placed two chocolate chip cookies on plates. I sat Peeper down at the table.

And I taught her how to dunk a cookie in milk.

Peeper had never dunked a cookie, but the practice combines two of her favorite things—dessert and milk.

She and I ate our milk-softened cookies, still warm from the oven, and giggled. It felt as if we were sharing a beautiful secret. The feeling of doing something special just for us filled the room like the scent of baking chocolate.

Cookies and milk and motherhood

Kiwi woke up a few minutes later. I still try to limit her sugar as much as I can, so before I got her from the crib I cleaned up the evidence of cookies and milk.

When Kiwi and I rejoined Peeper in the living room, Peeper looked up at me and smiled. She had a smear of chocolate on one cheek. As I smiled back at her I thought, Motherhood is awesome.

How public assistance saved my family

With House and Senate Republicans are trying to push through a repeal and replace bill to cut the Affordable Care Act, and with so much shaming going on around people who need any help from the government, I feel compelled to share my own story. You see, before Obamacare went into effect, I was denied insurance at a new job because I had a preexisting condition—I was pregnant. Public assistance saved my family.

Government assistance was the reason why we are not still saddled with thousands of dollars of medical bills. It helped me feed myself and my infant. A series of safety nets caught me and my family. Even with the help of the government, we relied on family members and strangers to stay fed, healthy and warm.

By sharing my story, I knowingly open up my own personal experience to judgment. But I do so because it’s easy to shame a stranger, but a lot harder to assume the worst about someone you know.

How public assistance and health insurance helped us before Obamacare went into effect. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Kiwi is 18 months: 10 memories of my big little toddler

Kiwi is 18 months old—a whopping year and a half. She runs, she throws a ball, she does her darnedest to jump, she understands so much. I can hardly believe how big my littlest has become: a big little toddler.

My big little toddler - Ten Thousand Hour MamaAt 18 months, my toddler loves to go on hikes. Ten Thousand Hour MamaEat dirt? Sure! But good luck trying to get this toddler to eat real food. Ten Thousand Hour MamaThis 18 month old toddler says, "Let's go outside, Mom!" Ten Thousand Hour Mama

I recently read a few past milestone pasts about Peeper. The posts reminded me of some things I’d forgotten (that she used to call oatmeal “wee-mo,” for example). I also realized that I’ve slacked lately on keeping Kiwi’s milestone posts up to date.

This month, as Kiwi turns 18 months, I captured ten things about my big little toddler that make her uniquely her.

At 18 months, I'm capturing memories of my big little toddler. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more