Coming Soon!

10 Reasons Why Parents and Zookeepers Are Alike

I’m pretty sure being a parent gives us the credentials to be a zoo keeper. Here are 10 reasons why parents and zookeepers are alike.

1. I can clean up poop like it’s my job. 

Baby poop, toddler poop, poop where it shouldn’t be, identifying if something is in fact poop—we can do it all.

2. Taming wild animals—check!

Wrangling animals— another check! Sometimes having a baby with reflux is like wrangling an alligator… the kicks, the twists, the arching.

And then there are toddler tantrums… Need I say more?

3. Physical strength and endurance from chasing and constraining toddlers—got it!

If you don’t believe me, try to put shoes on a toddler.

putting shoes on a toddler

4. Feeding animals who can’t seem to be satisfied—I got that one down as well. 

One word: Toddlers. If I can con two toddlers into eating a bite of broccoli, I’m sure I can feed wild animals.

Speaking of feeding, we can even empathize with the animals. There have been many times I have felt like an actual cow. Breastfeed, pump, get baby situated, clean pump, and repeat… all day and night.

5. Then there are the feeding schedules—another check! 

Baby needs to eat every two to three hours. Toddler needs to eat at 8:00, 12:00, 4:00… and then have snacks at 8:30, 9:00, 9:15, 9:20… You get my point, right?

why parents and zookeepers are alike

6. Taking care of the sick—got it!

Between three kids, I feel like someone is always sick. But, this makes us pretty good at dealing with illness, and we know exactly what our kids need to feel better.

7. Giving medicine—got that down too!

In my house, sometimes bringing out medicine leads to immediate chaos. The “yucky medicine” can lead to tears, pleading, and sometimes even throw up. Nothing a little added chocolate syrup or a quick treat can’t solve. 

8. Getting bit—check!

Does every baby go through a biting stage? Ouch! Whether it’s biting during breastfeeding, a bite while trying to pry something out of a child’s mouth that shouldn’t be there, or biting due to toddlerdom, every parent has probably been bit at a one time or another. 

reasons why parents and zookeepers are alike

9. I have accepted the fact that I will always have something sticky or gross on my clothes—or in my hair.

Snot, poop, milk, spit-up, syrup, a squished fruit snack, food… you name it! Something is always there.

10. And finally, we truly love and care about our little animals!

Seriously, how could we not? 

Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit for all the things we do for our children and families! Do you ever feel like you aren’t enough? Well, the truth is, we are enough! We are everything and MORE to our kids!

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: The Best and Worst Parenting Advice from the Real Experts: Parents or 17 Time-Saving Parenting Tips

reasons why parents and zookeepers are alike

Back to Blog

The Best and Worst Parenting Advice from the Real Experts: Parents

As parents, we receive a lot of advice. With three kids, I’ve heard it all.

Breastfeed. Supplement. Don’t breastfeed. Rock your baby to sleep. Don’t rock your baby to sleep—it’s a sleep association. Potty-train early. Wait to potty train. Offer baby food at 4 months. Wait until at least 6 months to offer baby food. Don’t yell at your child. 

The list could go on.

Some advice is requested, but we get plenty of unwarranted advice too. I am sure the person giving the advice has good intentions, but sometimes this advice leaves me feeling like I am doing everything wrong.

What is the right answer? What is the right way?

I went to the true experts, parents, to find out what is the best advice they have ever received and what is the worst. Here are their answers and links to their awesome blogs.

The best parenting advice I was told was that society, family, and even friends will give you all kinds of advice on how to raise your children but to take it all with a grain of salt and do what I think is best—since mothers know best. I was a young mom and didn’t have a clue so hearing everyone’s advice was so overwhelming.

-Bryana, Web With Dunn

The worst parenting advice I received involved colic—recommendations for a chiropractor/baby massage, dairy free/soy free diet and colic drops—none of which are medically proven to be beneficial. FINALLY, a friend told me to just accept that it’s colic, stop killing myself with dietary changes and just trust that it will pass with time. Wish I had accepted it sooner. 

-Katie, Katie Plus Coffee

The best advice I ever received and now give to new moms is – it’s okay if you don’t enjoy EVERY moment of Motherhood.

-Amanda, Hustle and Mom

Best Advice: When the baby is napping, keep living your normal life. Vacuum, watch TV, talk in a normal voice. Your baby will learn to sleep in a room that is not totally silent AND that allows you to live your normal life! You won’t have to tell your friend you can’t have coffee because the baby is sleeping!

-Stacy, Protecting Your Pennies

The worst is probably anytime some one assumes what worked for their kids who are YEARS apart will work for me with 3 kids in 3 years. A five-year span between two kids makes a huge difference. 

The best was probably when a family friend reminded me to ignore his own wife’s advice and do what was best for my family.

-Erin, Rocking MomLife in the Chaos of Three in 3

The best advice I’ve ever been given is to always trust your gut, no matter what, because as their mother no one on the planet knows your child better than you.

-Sarah, Sweet Miles

Worst: Never listen to parenting books because they’re useless and they take things too far. 


Best: Do what is best for you and baby. What works for one mom won’t work for the other. Parenting is an art not a science.

-Breanna, Mommies To Be

Take lots of videos while your kids are small. In a couple of years, you’ll be amazed because you forgot how small and cute they were.

-Val, Thoughtful Neighbor

The worst was all the breastfeeding comments from people who believed it was just simple and to supplement with cereal or formula if he was always that hungry. They didn’t breastfeed so they didn’t realize the work that it can be! 


The best was trust your gut!

-Kim, This Love Filled Life

The best advice was not to compare yourself or your baby to others. It’s SO easy to fall into that trap of feeling inadequate because so and so is always perfectly made up with immaculate hair and goes to parent baby yoga class or whatever—or worrying because your baby isn’t crawling/talking/eating yet and others are. You are doing a great job and your baby will develop in his/her own time.

-Haley, Mama in Progress

Worst – You can’t breastfeed if you have flat or inverted nipples. I finally tried with my 3rd and used a breast shell that helped fix the problem.
Best – was in the beginning, to nap when the baby naps as often as you can. Or to put stained clothes outside to sun bleach them! Pretty amazing!

-Jenn, One Hoppy Momma

The best advice I got as a new mom was that my baby was a new person. No one else had this little person and no one else was his mom. I was made for him and I had to trust my innate ability to make good decisions. That I would make bad ones too but to forgive myself and learn from them.

-Tricia, Habibi House

Crying is how baby communicates. Baby cries are like adult conversations. As moms we tend to over stress and interpret all cries as adult cries, when in fact we should understand that they are two very different things.

-Carol, Grow with me, Mommy

I agree with others, best is to trust yourself – but I mean really trust yourself…if your gut tells you not to worry, really – don’t! 

‪One of my kids was a late blooming reader and I thought, “It’s OK, he’s just more of a hands-on kid,” but omg people kept making me feel like I just wasn’t doing enough. It was really defeating, and every so often I would torture us both trying to force it. Then one day he found out there are books about Minecraft & Captain Underpants and suddenly he was reading chapter books. I wasted over a year second guessing myself. 

‪When I look back on it now I really wonder if the people beating me over the head with it even had kids. 

-Megan, Happy Healthy Messy

Best Advice – Give up trying to be the perfect parent! When you allow yourself to make mistakes and just do what you can, so much of the pressure is taken off and you can focus on really enjoying your kids!! 

Worst Advice – any time someone mentions the importance of kids reaching milestones on time!! Children develop and grow at different paces and having expectations for when they walk, talk, potty train, etc. puts unnecessary pressure on both parents and children. The large majority of kids will get there…let them be themselves!!

-Talya, The Mother Fix

Worst Advice: “Let him cry. He needs to cry. He’s a boy, it will help him man up.” (I am NOT kidding… and he was only 6 weeks old, and this advice came from our PASTOR at the time).

-Rachelle, Mama Writes Reviews

Worst Advice: anytime a stranger assumes they know what is better for your baby than you do. “I don’t think the comments were malicious in intent, but they stung. The first woman was making me feel bad for something I couldn’t control. Of course I would rather be home, curled in bed, recovering. But I have other children and ANNA had a doctor’s appointment that I couldn’t keep from my bed. And the second woman? I guess she was looking out for Anna, but in doing so she was questioning me and my judgement. I do that all day, I don’t need a stranger confirming my own doubts.”

Best Advice: being reminded that I am blessed, “[The cashier] finished the transaction, handed me my bags, and before I walked away she said, ‘You are so blessed.’ …Buoyed by that kind, simple interaction, I walked to my van with tears in my eyes.”

-Amanda, Living on Grace, Excerpts from: How to Talk to Moms: A Beginner’s Guide

Worst parenting advice: You need to put your baby down. Don’t hold her so much, you’re going to spoil her. You have to let her cry, don’t respond to her so quickly. You’re teaching her that when she cries someone will show up instantly.

-Keyona, Professional Momma

The worst advice I got was that my daughter needed to be potty trained before she was 3. We tried and cried and forced. It was the worst thing ever. A few other people told me to just wait. She’ll be ready when she’s ready. She finally trained at 3 and a half and it was infinitely easier when she was ready. I really wish I hadn’t tried so hard to get her potty trained in 3 days at two years old.

-Niki, Toot’s Mom is Tired

The worst advice was to withhold things to get mine to speak. He’s speech delayed and in therapy, and positive reinforcement has worked way better than refusing him a sippy cup until he says “cup” which just causes frustration.

-Jasmine, Love, Life, Laugh, Motherhood

The best advice I received was to know you are doing your best and that’s good enough for your children. You can’t make everyone happy 24/7, but at the end of the day, only you know the best decisions for your family. 

-Samantha, Journey to SAHM

Worst parenting advice I ever received was – you should just let the child cry out sometime and ignore his / her howling. It makes their lungs stronger and they understand ‘No’. My twins were just 5 months old at that time. Thankfully I ignored the advice and was attentive to the kid’s howls. 

-Charu, KetchupMoms

The worst parenting advice was from a trusted family member after having my firstborn. I was clueless about breastfeeding and my milk supply seemed low at the time.

She herself had only breastfed one of her two children as the first one she bottle-fed and the second she decided to give it a go. Her milk supply was so high she could’ve donated it she had so much.

She made me second guess myself and feel that there was something wrong with my milk supply if it was taking 30- 40 minutes for my daughter to nurse. She told me I was starving my baby and I needed to supplement. I should’ve listened to actual experts instead. My daughter was still gaining weight so she clearly wasn’t starving. What I didn’t know was that not all women have TONS of breastmilk when nursing. There were measures I could’ve taken to increase my milk supply which I learned with my next two children. I never had enormous amounts of milk but I was able to breastfeed my next two babies without having to supplement with no issues or weight loss.

-Tonia, Why Not Mom

The absolute worst advice I EVER got was that you don’t need to worry about brushing your babies teeth until several come in at about a year or later. This advice came from my own mother and I can’t believe that I didn’t think about this more. I did brush my little guy’s teeth but I didn’t heavily stress on consistency. He ended having a ton of cavities! He had to be taken to the hospital and put under anesthesia to have several of his teeth fixed. I was a new mama and I just assumed she was right. Worst. Advice. Ever. He has great teeth now and we’ve had 2 other babes since. We make sure everyone is getting excellent dental hygiene.

-Toni, This Little Nest

The best parenting advice I ever received is that it’s only a problem if it’s a problem for you. Have you been told not to feed your baby to sleep or that you hold them too much? If it is a problem then perhaps reconsider. If it doesn’t bother you or interfere with what you need to do, then it isn’t a problem. Some things might be a problem for you but not for other people, and that’s ok.

-Kathleen, Life By Kathleen

The worst advice I ever received was to start food so my baby would sleep through the night. We started with rice cereal when my son was four months old (with the pediatrician’s blessing too) and it ended up making his sleep worse. We ended up stopping and starting solids again at the 6 month mark, avoiding cereal for a while! 

-Ashley, Spit Up and Sit Ups

The best potty training advice I have is to put the paper liner or potty protector under your travel toilet seat when out, otherwise it’s so gross!

-Rachel, The Analytical Mommy

Some of the best advice I ever received was to hold my baby looking forward as soon as I felt comfortable doing it. I started her very young compared to some others. My little loved to look around and interact with others at a very young age. It encouraged her curiosity in a healthy way and others knew that it was ok to come up and interact with her because it was obvious that she was awake and not trying to catch a few zzzzz.

-Emily, So Sunny Day

The worst parenting advice I’ve ever received is that holding your baby will spoil them. Your only job as a parent at that stage is to hold and comfort them! 

-Kristi, Keeping Motherhood Real

The best advice I remember getting was to just follow your instincts and don’t doubt them. You know what is best for your child. I don’t honestly remember who even said that to me, but it has always worked well. 

-Sheila, Midlife Mom Blog

The worst advice I was given was that baby-wearing my baby would make them spoiled and would make it to where no one else could ever hold them unless they were in a carrier. 

-Breanna, Breanna Milburn Lifestyle and Mommy Blog

The best advice I was given: prioritize your own sleep above all things. Whatever gets the most of the family the most sleep in the first year is what you should do.

-L.F. Wade, Fort Birthday

Best Advice: to trust my instincts. And I still think that’ll be the best advice for the rest of my life. 

Worst Advice: to put my kiddo in situations that scare him so he’ll get over it.

-Jessie, Her Arms Are Strong

The best advice I ever received is there is no such thing as loving your baby or child too much and you cannot over hold your baby. Bread spoils but a baby does not. These moments go by quickly. Take advantage of them when you are there.

-Tricia, The Healthy(ish) Home

The best advice I ever received was to follow my instincts and be true to myself as a mother because I know my daughter better than anyone. 

-Amber, Graceful Little Moments

So, what is the right answer? What is the right way?

In summary, the best advice seems to come in the form of support rather than direction. It seems to involve letting it be, trusting our intuition, not falling into the comparison trap, being ourselves, and doing what makes our lives easier as parents—or what helps us get through the day and remain sane! 

Hearing from these parents shows me that in the end, we truly have to take the advice we receive with a grain of salt. It is up to us to decide whether to listen to or use that information. There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all advice as every child and family is unique. Just because we are doing something differently than someone else, it doesn’t make us wrong.

So take the advice in, but know that you don’t have to use it all. Decide what works for your family and go with that. When in doubt, listen to these lovely mamas: go with your gut, cut yourself some slack, and feel confident in yourself as a parent. Do what works.

As I like to say, we don’t always have to listen to what “they say.” Trusting our intuition may just be the right answer.

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren, or follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest!

You may also enjoy: My Mom Life in Pop Song Lyrics or 17 Time-Saving Parenting Tips

Back to Blog

17 Time-Saving Parenting Tips

What is it “they say” about time? Time is money. Time is gold.Yep, it’s gold. It is something I always wish I had, but it’s really hard to find.

Sometimes I feel like nothing gets done. With so many interruptions it’s hard to finish any of the tasks I start.

One day while I was in the middle of doing laundry, my toddler was calling for me, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!” 

I thought to myself before responding, If I hurry, I can finish folding this laundry really quick.  After all, I am almost done.

The next thing I knew, he was coming up the stairs carrying the little training potty. He said, “Look mama, I went poop and pee!” He was so excited. 

On the other hand, I was NOT excited and yelled out, “Please tell me you did NOT spill that!”

There is never a dull moment in my house, and this is why I get nothing done.

Over time, as a mom of three, I have learned some tips and tricks which save me time… and save my sanity. 

Tips and Tricks for Babies:

1. Fels-Naptha Stain Bar 

Not a day goes by where my baby has stain-free clothes. At the end of the day, I end up with at least one pair of stained clothing. Soaking took way too much time, so I needed to find something which worked fast. The Fels-Naptha Stain Bar is quick, easy to use, and inexpensive. I simply wet the clothing, rub it on the stain, let it sit for a minute, and throw it in the wash. That’s it! The stain is gone.

2. Wash bottles in a large bowl.

We use Dr. Brown’s Bottles and there are so many pieces to wash! Washing and rinsing each piece one by one takes so long. This technique is much faster:

Grab a large bowl.

Add some soap and water.

Throw all the parts in.

Scrub each piece with a bottle brush at once. 

Rinse. 

Done.

My five-year-old likes to help with this one which saves me even more time. There is nothing like making chores fun so the kids want to help.

time-saving parenting tips

3. BabyBum Diaper Cream Brush

Never want to touch diaper cream again? It can happen. This BabyBum Diaper Cream Brush is a life-saver. I simply put the ointment on the brush, rub it on baby’s bottom, and clean it with a wipe. 

4. Use stickers to label breast milk with the date.

When pumping and breastfeeding, we bought these simple stickers. If milk was going into the fridge, I would simply write the date and time on a sticker and stick it on the container I pumped into. This made my life easier because when pumping in the early morning or middle of the night, I was usually in a daze. I always forgot which milk came from which pump session. If freezing the milk right away, we used these breastmilk storage bags and simply wrote the date and time on the bag.

5. Zip-up sleepers are key, because who has time for buttons?

With three children to take care of, I simply did not have time to button up baby sleepers. There are so many buttons! In my haste, I could never find which buttons were supposed to snap together. I always ended up with a hole somewhere due to a missed button. Zip-up sleepers are the best, especially in the dark during middle-of-the-night feeds and changes.

6. Use bibs with plastic backing.

My baby is a messy eater. Food gets everywhere. Why she loves to smash her food in her hands and then rub it on her face, I will never know. Bibs with plastic backing ensure the food doesn’t soak through and onto baby’s clothing. One less outfit to wash is always a win.

Time-saving parenting tips

7. Put extra pacifiers in the crib.

If you have a pacifier-lover, put more than one pacifier in the crib so they can easily find them during naptime and nighttime. Less interrupted infant sleep equals more time, or rest, for us. There is no such thing as too much sleep these days. We use the WubbaNub pacifiers which are super easy to find in the crib.

8. Cradle Cap Brush

We used this cradle cap brush from the beginning and it removed and prevented cradle cap. Simply add shampoo and gently rub this brush all over baby’s head. Then, rinse. It is easy, quick, and effective.

9. Pull the onesie down after diaper blow outs.

When a blowout happens, poop can literally end up everywhere while trying to remove the onesie. I don’t know why it took me so long to figure this tip out. The top of most onesies have little folds. You can simply pull the onesie down and off the feet. Viola! Less mess and no poop in baby’s hair!

Tricks and Tips for Toddlers:

10. Wet Brush

This brush may be the best thing that has ever happened to me. Where have you been all my life? I am not even kidding. My oldest has long hair, and let me tell you, brushing it out after a bath is NOT fun. That is, until I started using this brush. It detangles and there are no more tears. Win!

11. Pulls for light-switches

The amount of times I am in the middle of something and my toddler has to go potty “RIGHT NOW” is unbelievable. I am pretty sure they wait until we are in the middle of something to ask. He is too tiny to reach the light-switch so I always had to stop everything I was doing and run to turn on the light. Now, with this light switch extender, he can turn on the light by himself.

12. Place a coffee filter in the bottom of the toddler potty.

Adding a simple coffee filter in the bottom of a training potty really helps when it comes to poop. Way less residue is left in the potty. Win! This tip is thanks to a blog post by onecrazyhouse.com.

During potty training, we keep a toddler potty in the car in case of emergencies. I learned this tip the hard way. It is especially helpful to have a few coffee filters and diaper disposal bags on hand for the car in case of a toddler poop emergency. There is no harm in doubling or tripling them up either!

13. Hershey syrup can make medicine taste better.

One of my children struggles with taking medicine. Often when medicine is required, there are tears, screams, and sometimes even vomiting. Our pediatrician recommended mixing the yucky-tasting medicine with Hershey’s Chocolate syrup. This trick has worked wonders for us. 

14. Put all stuffed animals in a bean bag chair.

Over the years, we have accumulated a lot of stuffed animals. This is probably the understatement of the year. The amount of time we spent cleaning up and re-organizing stuffed animals was mind-blowing. Now, when our stuffed animals aren’t in use, we simply zip them all up in this Stuffed Animal Storage Bean Bag Chair. It looks so cute in the kids’ rooms, and it doubles as a comfy place to sit.

15. Use mattress pads to protect the bed.

My kids have double and queen beds, so we use two of these waterproof mattress pads under the sheets which cover most of the mattress. I keep an extra in the closet in case it is needed in the middle of the night. This makes changing sheets due to an accident or illness much easier. 

16. Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Lice Prevention Conditioning Spray

We spray this Rosemary Repel Lice Prevention Leave-In Conditioning Spray on our daughter’s long hair before school. So far, no lice. Enough said. 

17. Disposable Placemats

These disposable placemats have been so great when I am short on time. I simply ball them up and toss them after meals. There is way less mess for me to clean.

I hope these hacks will save you as much time as they have saved me! What is your favorite time-saving hack? Share it in the comments. Let’s help each other out.

To learn more about me and my blog check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: My Mom Life in Pop Song Lyrics

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

You can count on me only recommending products which I know and love!

Back to Blog

My Mom Life in Pop Song Lyrics

Much like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, music is a wonderful form of art where lyrics can be interpreted in many ways. Lyrics or poetry can mean something entirely different to two people or even to the same person on different days.

Sometimes music makes me feel better. Sometimes it makes me feel understood. 

On a rare occasion, I was driving alone in the car listening to the radio [instead of the typical nursery rhymes or Disney sound tracks]. On that day, I had a peaceful moment of clarity where I was able to focus on the music— instead of the usual screaming and complaining coming from the backseat. The songs I listened to, although not designed for parenting, seemed to fully apply to my life.

Although these songs are clearly not about “mom life” or parenting, some of the lyrics seemed so fitting in my life when I heard them. Some gave me clarity. Some made me feel understood. Some brightened my day.

It’s funny how easily songs can change my perspective or improve my mood. In fact, if I listen to the right song when I’m feeling down it will usually pull me out of a funk.

“In My Blood” – Shawn Mendes

“Help me, it’s like the walls are caving in
Sometimes I feel like giving up
But I just can’t
It isn’t in my blood

Laying on the bathroom floor, feeling nothing
I’m overwhelmed and insecure, give me something
I could take to ease my mind slowly
Just have a drink and you’ll feel better
Just take her home and you’ll feel better
Keep telling me that it gets better
Does it ever?”

Do you ever have those days as a parent when you feel like “the walls are caving in?” When you feel like giving up? I have moments like this— even days or weeks like this— when I find myself wondering, how will I keep up? How will I keep moving? Maybe the newborn has been up all night for a week. Maybe the toddler has thrown five too many tantrums. Maybe life in general… keeping up with work, being a parent, day-to-day responsibilities just feels like too much. But somehow, I find the strength. I keep moving. I take that next step, and somehow, I pull through. I don’t give up. Maybe it’s in my blood…

Or, there are the times we feel we have failed or made a mistake…

“Let You Down” – NF

“Feels like we’re on the edge right now
I wish that I could say I’m proud
I’m sorry that I let you down
Let you down
All these voices in my head get loud
I wish that I could shut them out
I’m sorry that I let you down
L-l-let you down”

…there are days when I feel like I have let my kids down. The “voices in my head” are loud and quick to tell me how I could be a better mom. But, all these voices are is that negative self-talk creeping in. The truth: we aren’t perfect. We are human. We are parents, and we are good parents. The fact that we even care proves this point.

“Meant to Be” – Bebe Rexha

“Baby, lay on back and relax, kick your pretty feet up on my dash
No need to go​ nowhere fast, let’s enjoy right here where we at

Who knows where this road is supposed to lead
We got nothing but time
As long as you’re right here next to me, everything’s gonna be alright

If it’s meant to be, it’ll be, it’ll be
Baby, just let it be”

There are also the times when I worry or become anxious. What don’t we worry about as moms? Is my child eating enough? When it comes to illness, will my child be okay? Will my child ever sleep through the night? When they are picked on or left out, will my child be okay? These lyrics are a great reminder during these moments. Sometimes, rather than focusing on the worry, we simply need to “let it be.” Typically, everything I worry over ends up being alright in the end, and I have caused myself unnecessary stress for no reason.

Then, we have the moments we try to take our kids out in public…

“Hold My Hand” – Hootie and the Blowfish

“I oh no, no, no, no, no
(Hold my hand)
Want you to hold my hand
(Hold my hand)”

Who has taken their toddler to the grocery store? I’ll ask mine to hold my hand, and when they don’t—because they usually won’t—I’m gonna love them “the best that I can…”

OR

“The Middle” – Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey

“Oh baby, why don’t you just meet me in the middle?
I’m losing my mind just a little
So why don’t you just meet me in the middle?
In the middle”

When it comes to toddlers, aren’t they usually “all or nothing?” I swear, it can make me feel like I am losing my mind sometimes. Can we seriously just meet in the middle here? Can we make a compromise?

And in the end, sometimes a compromise is just what we need to stay sane. “No, I will not read you five more books tonight, but I will read you two.” Or, “Here you can choose between these two options… these two outfits… these two spoons.”

Compromise and choices have gone far in saving my sanity. 

“Dusk Till Dawn” – Zayn Malik

“But you’ll never be alone
I’ll be with you from dusk till dawn
I’ll be with you from dusk till dawn
Baby, I’m right here
I’ll hold you when things go wrong
I’ll be with you from dusk till dawn
I’ll be with you from dusk till dawn
Baby, I’m right here”

There will be late nights. I will never forget those nights when my children were babies and it was just us, rocking in the quiet. We will be there for them in times like this, and we will continue to be there for them as they grow. We will be there for them when “things go wrong.” We will hold them and kiss their tears.

“With or Without You”– U2

“And you give yourself away
And you give yourself away
And you give
And you give
And you give yourself away”

In fact, we may give too much. How easy is it as parents to put our kids before ourselves, to put our children before our marriage or relationship, to put ourselves last? There are times we can give so much of ourselves as parents that it is hard to find anything left to give. This song reminds me to make sure I am also giving to myself so that I can stay strong and handle the moments when I feel like giving up. For me, finding me-time can help prevent these “moments.” Additionally, by leaving time for myself, I can more fully be there for my kids.

“Good Old Days” – Macklemore

“I wish somebody would have told me babe
That someday, these will be the good old days
All the love you won’t forget
And all these reckless nights you won’t regret
‘Cause someday soon, your whole life’s gonna change
You’ll miss the magic of the good old days

Never thought we’d get old, maybe we’re still young
Maybe we always look back and think it was better than it was
Maybe these are the moments
Maybe I’ve been missing what it’s about
Been scared of the future, thinking about the past
While missing out on now
We’ve come so far, I guess I’m proud
And I ain’t worried about the wrinkles around my smile
I’ve got some scars, I’ve been around
I’ve felt some pain, I’ve seen some things, but I’m here now
Those good old days

You don’t know, what you’ve got
Till it goes, till it’s gone”


I feel so much emotion when I hear these words. We are going to “get old,” and so will our kids. I bet we will look back and see more magic than stress. Maybe I am “missing what it’s about”—focusing on the past, worrying about the future, missing out on the now—just as the song says. It is so easy to get lost in the past or be so focused on the future that we miss what is happening right before us. 

There is something about realizing that these days are the “good old days.” In the moment, it might seem like a mess. It may seem mundane or never-ending. 

But you know what they say, “The days are long but the years are short.” 

Sometimes it’s hard to hear this when I’m having “a moment,” but it is the truth. I know I will miss these days. I don’t want to look back and believe I didn’t realize what I had when I had it, or to feel like I missed out on moments. So, for now I will continue to try to be as present as I can be.

“Have It All” – Jason Mraz

“May you have auspiciousness and causes of success
May you have the confidence to always do your best
May you take no effort in your being generous
Sharing what you can, nothing more nothing less
May you know the meaning of the word happiness
May you always lead from the beating in your chest
May you be treated like an esteemed guest
May you get to rest, may you catch your breath

And may the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows
And may the road less paved be the road that you follow

Well here’s to the hearts that you’re gonna break
Here’s to the lives that you’re gonna change
Here’s to the infinite possible ways to love you
I want you to have it
Here’s to the good times we’re gonna have
You don’t need money, you got a free pass
Here’s to the fact that I’ll be sad without you
I want you to have it all

Oh! I want you to have it all
I want you to have it
I want you to have it all

May you be as fascinating as a slap bracelet
May you keep the chaos and the clutter off your desk
May you have unquestionable health and less stress
Having no possessions though immeasurable wealth
May you get a gold star on your next test
May your educated guesses always be correct
And may you win prizes shining like diamonds
May you really own it each moment to the next”

…And this song, don’t we want so much for our kids? It’s hard to even put it into words. Just the fact that we want all these things for them and that we would do almost anything to help our kids achieve them, doesn’t this mean everything? Doesn’t this make us great parents? This hope, these aspirations, this drive to give and teach them everything. This is love.

“Better Place” – Rachel Platten

“I’ll tell the world, I’ll sing a song
It’s a better place since you came along
Since you came along
Your touch is sunlight through the trees
Your kisses are the ocean breeze
Everything’s alright when you’re with me

And I hold my favorite thing
I hold the love that you bring
But it feels like I’ve opened my eyes again
And the colors are golden and bright again
There’s a song in my heart, I feel like I belong
It’s a better place since you came along
It’s a better place since you came along”

Children can bring us frustrations, worries, and fears, but they can also bring us so much joy. Even in our faults, they still love us to their core. There have been nights when I have felt I yelled too much at bedtime—like the night my son had me chasing him in circles until I was out of breath. On these nights, I feel like I failed them. I feel like I wasn’t calm enough or caring enough. But in the morning, they still open their eyes and look at us like we are their favorite person in the whole world.

And there is not a day that I don’t look at them in wonder. I’m just waiting to see what they will add to this world one day.

But, the bottom line comes from:

“I’ll Be There For You” – Bon Jovi

“I’ll be there for you, these five words I swear to you
When you breathe, I want to be the air for you
I’ll be there for you
I’d live and I’d die for you
I’d steal the sun from the sky for you
Words can’t say what love can do
I’ll be there for you”

No matter the frustrations, the lack of compromise, their inability to meet us in the middle, the amount we have given of ourselves, or the hard, long days and nights. No matter how many times we feel like the “walls are caving in” or the number of times we feel like giving up, we won’t. Because we will be there for them… always. After all, they are our everything. 

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: Managing Self-Talk As a Parent: Ask Yourself This Question or Moms Have Tantrums Too!

Back to Blog

Managing Self-Talk As a Parent: Ask Yourself This Question

They say, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” 

I disagree. Sometimes words can hurt even more than physical pain.

Let’s say for a second someone threw a rock at me. This is not outside of the realm of possibility with a toddler around. Yep, that would hurt. Or more realistically, let’s say my toddler smacks me… maybe on accident [or to be honest] maybe on purpose. Yes, that also hurts, but the pain goes away.

Now words, on the other hand, can hurt for quite a long time. There are words that were said to me many years ago… even some from childhood… that I STILL carry around. Even today it hurts when they come to mind.

And what about the words we say to ourselves?

Let’s go back to the situation where the toddler smacks us or throws a rock. What hurts worse? The rock hitting us? Or the words we might tell ourselves afterwards? 

Clearly I am a bad mom. My child just smacked me. Or, What did I do wrong? What did I do which caused my child’s behavior?

Except, was it really something we did wrong? Or did it happen simply because they are a toddler?

And then there are the times when we feel like we make a mistake. What do we tell ourselves then? 

I can’t do anything right. I am a bad mom. Or, Do I even deserve these kids?

Well one thing I know for sure, is that nothing will make us into a “bad parent” faster than believing we are one.

Thoughts like these make us feel horrible. They make us feel defeated. They make us feel like we can’t do anything right. When we are feeling so down on ourselves, how can we possibly parent well? These “words” I believe are worse than stones.

For a long time, I questioned myself as a parent. I felt constant pressure and guilt and it was coming from my own self. Other people would tell me that I was doing a great job, but I simply didn’t believe it. I am still a work in progress. I still question myself, but I try to remember that being perfect is just an impossible standard.

What’s helped me the most is asking myself this question:

What would you tell your child if they came to you and admitted they made a mistake? 

Would you tell them they are a horrible person? Would you tell them they are a horrible child? Would you tell them that they can’t do anything right? 

No!! I bet you wouldn’t! So why do we tell ourselves these EXACT things? 

In the end, we have to be mindful of our self-talk if we want to be healthy, happy parents. When I find negative thinking creeping in, I remind myself of these questions. I try to stop that negative thinking and use the words I would say to my child, or to a friend who has come to me sharing they have made a mistake. I try to be easier on myself.

So, next time you hear yourself saying, I am a bad mom or I can’t do anything right, STOP! Change the thought into a more positive, realistic thought, like:

I am not a bad mom. I am just having a bad day. 

I made a mistake, and it’s okay. I am only human.

This does not make me a bad mom. Next time, I will just try _____. 

It is impossible to be perfect.

You may even try listing out some of the “mom wins” you have had recently.

And last, never forget: We teach even in how learn from our mistakes.

I think positive self-talk can make the biggest difference when it comes to happiness. Give these ideas a try next time you are feeling down. I’m sure you will see some positive results.

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: Why I’m Not Making a True New Year’s Resolution This Year

Back to Blog

Why I’m Not Making a True New Year’s Resolution This Year

They say we should make a new year’s resolution.

You know what I need to work on more than anything else this year?

Giving myself some grace… cutting myself some slack. Because the truth is, I know I’m my own worst critic.

I could focus on all the things I need to change… yelling less, being more present, more patient, more organized, less cluttered.

And let me tell you, these are all great things to work on, but sometimes focusing on these thoughts only makes me feel like I’m failing. I mean I’m human. I am going to make mistakes.

I’m going to yell.

Things will slip my mind.

I’ll forget my child’s backpack or forget to send in sunglasses for “sun glass day” at school.

I will be late.

I will lose my temper.

I will break down over something I look back on and find completely silly.

I will say the wrong thing.

But you know what else I will do? I will love my kids so fiercely. I will kiss them. I will hug them over and over. I will squeeze them—too hard even. I will tell them what a great job they did. I will be their biggest fan. I will fix their boo-boos. I will dry their tears. I’ll tuck them in, and read “just one more book.” 

It seems I can focus on the things I need to change, or I can focus on being okay with who I already am. 

So rather than making a true New Year’s resolution this year, I will focus on just being okay with myself when I make a mistake. I will focus on realizing that mistakes don’t make me a bad mom—even on my worst days. I will try to focus more on the things I do right than on the things I do wrong. 

And you know what? I bet if I can be okay with myself mistakes and all—if I can give myself some grace—then I will be happier. And if I’m happy… if I am truly content… I bet all the resolutions I would have made will improve as a result.

Learn more about me and my blog at: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: 3 Steps to Raise a Resilient Child Who Bounces Back

Why I'm Not Making a New Year's Resolution This Year
Photo Credit: Lindsey Martin Photography

Back to Blog

3 Steps to Raise a Resilient Child Who Bounces Back

I am thrilled to be featured in a podcast from Dinner Table MBA. The podcast focuses on how to raise a resilient child who can bounce back.

Resilience is not something we are simply born with. It is something that is learned. On the podcast, I talk about three ways we can help build resilience in our children. I will summarize these three ideas here. 

You can listen to the full podcast, including commentary from Dinner Table MBA, at any of these links: 

For Apple Users

General Podcast Link

Link to Dinner Table MBA’s Full Blog Post 

Positive Thinking

First, we can open up our children’s minds to positive thinking and we can provide opportunities for them to practice. 

When we feel like we are failing at something it is so easy to give up, to be sad, or to believe that we can’t do it. Instead, we can encourage our children to be positive, to let the situation motivate us to choose a different route, and to keep trying.

Through Failure We Grow

We must realize that our children will fail in their lifetimes— plenty of times— even if we try so hard to protect them. When this happens, we can remind them that failure is not all bad. Through failure, we learn. Together with our children, we can talk through a failure and try to find what they may have gained from the situation. There is always something to gain, even if it is simply learning what to do differently the next time.

It is always okay for them to feel sad or to feel emotion when they fail. It is important to process that emotion with them, to allow them to feel it, but then, we can learn.

Coping Skills

Lastly, we want to teach our kids the skills to cope. Tough experiences in life, like loss or grief—a friend moving away, or a death, for example—can also teach resilience when we find ways to cope and move forward. In order to cope or find peace in a difficult situation, we must have coping skills. 

Here are some examples of coping skills we can teach:

  • Using their words to describe feelings
  • Using art to describe their feelings: They can draw a picture which describes how they feel. For older children, you can draw a big circle. Your child can make a pie chart by color-coding their current emotions inside. You can then talk about the emotions they include.
  • Talking to someone they trust when they feel bad
  • Deep breathing—they can close their eyes and focus on their breaths
  • Counting to ten, even backwards if they are a bit older
  • Squeezing a stress ball 
  • Turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts, so instead of saying to themselves, “I will never get through this” they can practice saying, “I will feel better. It will just take time.” 
  • Participating in something they enjoy 

Even adults are still learning about resilience. Sometimes as parents, we can feel we are making mistakes. We can see our mistakes as failures. We can see failure as something bad. Building resilience can be a life-long process, so it’s never to early to start.

Remember, coping does not mean pushing something aside and ignoring it. It means dealing with our feelings in healthy ways and then finding peace or a way to move forward.

Dinner Table MBA is a wonderful resource for parents and children. They inspire parents to have meaningful conversations with their children about important life lessons around the dinner table. These lessons can impact the future of our children in a positive way. Be sure to check them out on their blog, or over on Instagram and Facebook.

To learn more about me and my blog check out: About Lauren

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy: Sometimes Strength Requires a Break or What Does It Mean to Be a Parent

Back to Blog

Times I Am Thankful for My Toddler

when I am thankful for my toddlers

In this season, we are reminded to think of all the things we are thankful for. Even though parenting can be a tough job, I know there are so many reasons to be thankful each and every day. Today, I am going to share with you the times when I am thankful for my toddlers… believe it or not, there are times!

Here goes! I am thankful for my toddler when:

We are literally walking out of the house and he reminds me he doesn’t have shoes on. Yes, this has happened… more than once.

When I’ve had a day when I’ve lost it yet again and she says, “Mommy I know you’re frustrated. I know you’re sad. I will be good for the rest of my life for you.” Clearly, this is not a true statement, but I’ll take the sweetness all day.

When I can’t find my phone and he reminds me it’s on my ear.

When she reminds me to brush my teeth [let’s be honest with three kids to care for, I forget a lot]… by telling me my breath stinks.

When I just get comfy on the couch—maybe even have the baby asleep on my chest—and I realize I forgot to grab my phone or the remote.

When I can’t find something. Their sharp eyes—they can find anything. For the purposes of this article, we will forget the fact that they were probably the one who lost the item… or hid it… in the first place.

When I am pretending to “eat my son up” and he reminds me, “I’m not your breakfast!” Then, I realize, Ohh, I truly haven’t eaten yet today!

Okay, there are some sweet things I’m thankful for too:

The look of wonder on a toddler’s face when they see something they love—even as simple as a paper airplane. It makes my heart smile.

When they say something which both surprises you and makes you laugh. Like my daughter, when she said, “Mommy, can we go to the water exhibit?” She was referring to the water park at the local theme park. Where did you learn that word?

When they snuggle you tight even though they aren’t a baby anymore.

The way they see magic—even in the simple things, like a tent made of blankets.

When they say “I love you Mommy,” and it happens to be the time you really need it. I swear, there is nothing better than hearing these words come out of nowhere.

My toddlers surprise me every day. I’m surprised just how far they can push me—straight to my wit’s end—but I am also so surprised by how strongly they can love and how much love they can give. In the end, “thankful” doesn’t even begin to describe how lucky I am to have them.

 

You may also enjoy: You Know You’re the Parent of a Toddler When… or Top 10 Products for Toddlers on the Go

To learn more about me and my blog check out: About Lauren

Back to Blog

Fed Is Best

As if we don’t already have enough to worry about while raising our children, we also have to deal with mom-shaming. I know you have heard the term and I am sure there has been a time when all of us have felt it—through words or eyes.

Formula feeding, breastfeeding in public, breastfeeding longer than the average parent, feeding packaged baby food… the list could go on and on. It is so hard to parent in a world which is so focused on what is “right” or what is “better.”

It is easy to judge when another parent is parenting differently than we are, but the truth: Just because something is different doesn’t mean it’s wrong.

Years ago, I about drove myself insane trying to breastfeed my first baby. Why? Because I felt like I had to. They say “breastfed is best.” I even heard, “Formula— just the name of it sounds awful.” “They” made me feel like I would be failing if I couldn’t make it work.

I wish I had known supplementing with formula was—not just okay—but necessary for my first baby. In the first several days of her life, I didn’t even realize that she was screaming because she was starving. It broke my heart when the lactation consultant helped me figure this out. When I couldn’t produce enough milk, I felt like something was wrong with me. So, I pushed through. I supplemented. I pumped. I lost sleep. I did everything I could to breastfeed.

Fast forward to my third and last baby. If you have read Elizabeth’s Birth Story, then you know we struggled at first… a lot. We were in and out of the hospital several times. When Elizabeth had Jaundice, I had to give her bottles of formula because I couldn’t pump enough. Nursing took her away from her “light” too long.

When I was hospitalized for post-clampsia, I couldn’t nurse her either. I had to pump and send milk home. It wasn’t enough, so she had to be formula fed. I remember being so worried over my milk supply going down, when I should have been worrying about healing.

My nurse was my saving grace. She told me, “You need to get rest and take care of yourself.” On the second night in the hospital, she said, “I’m not waking you. The only thing that should wake you is your boobs. Then, you can pump.” By the way, there is a special place in my heart for nurses. They have helped me through so much. It’s like they know what you need exactly when you need it—physically, but even emotionally. They are angels.

Then again when Elizabeth was hospitalized for RSV, she needed bottles of formula to keep her well-fed.

In addition to all of this, we found she had a milk and soy intolerance. She was choking on the breastmilk so bad, even while sleeping. It was scary. We saw a feeding specialist who told us she simply couldn’t handle the thinness of the breastmilk.

She ended up on Elecare formula at 6 weeks old. We even needed to thicken it for her. You know what? It worked. She was now healthy. She was happy. She was growing. But, when I had to stop breastfeeding, I felt so emotional. It was my last baby and I enjoyed the closeness of it. Weaning always makes me so hormonal. On top of this, I found myself worrying over what “they” would say… worrying if I wasn’t doing a good enough job.

This makes me sad. It makes me sad that we would feel bad for feeding our children, no matter the way it is done. It makes me sad that at first, I felt the need to explain myself each time I answered that my daughter was formula fed. Why? Because I was doing something wrong? Absolutely NOT. It makes me feel sad that we would question ourselves when we are making sure our babies are healthy, happy, and safe. It makes me sad that moms are shamed for doing what they feel is best for their children and families. Because the truth is: FED is best. LOVE is best. Parents know best. If we are feeding our babies, giving them what they need and showing them love then that is what matters.

Elizabeth has been fed formula almost her entire life. I feed her packaged baby food. I do these things because they work for us. And she is the happiest, healthiest little girl. This is what matters.

I’m telling you this today because I truly mean it:
If you are breastfeeding…
If you’re formula feeding…
If you are supplementing…
If you’re breast-feeding longer or shorter than average…
If you feed your kids packaged baby food…
If you feed them homemade food…

YOU ARE A GREAT PARENT!

In the end, if you are loving and caring for your kids, then you are the BEST kind of parent.

So let’s support each other. Let’s build each other up, no matter what. We need to encourage each other because let’s face it, this parenting gig is not easy. We are all doing our best, and our best IS good enough.

Tell me in the comments, have you ever been mom shamed? What happened and how did it make you feel?

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy: Sometimes Strength Requires a Break

To learn more about me and my blog, check out: About Lauren

 

Photo credit: Lindsey Martin Photography

Back to Blog

Sometimes Strength Requires a Break

“They” have a lot to say about moms being strong:

“A Real Mom:
Emotional, yet the rock.
Tired, but keeps going.
Worried, but full of hope.
Impatient, yet patient.
Overwhelmed, but never quits.
Amazing, even though doubted.
Wonderful, even in the chaos.
Life changer, every single day.”
-Rachel Martin

“Here’s to strong women.
May we know them
May we be them.
May we raise them.”
-Unknown

“Even when a Mother’s soul is tired, she finds strength for her family.”
-Life Quote Journal

“Being a mother means being strong, even though you know you’re weak. Giving them love, even when you want to be comforted. Most of all placing their needs before your wants.” – The Mom Life Uncensored

“Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws.”
-Barbara Kingsolver

“A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary.”
-Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Sometimes what “they say” makes me feel like I have to be strong ALL the time or that I have to be perfect… and when I’m not it makes me feel bad, or like I’m not enough. I feel like I need to push through the pain, the tiredness, the emotion.

This week has been hard. All three of my children are sick. I am also sick and I have vertigo. The vertigo has caused horrible dizziness and nausea to the point where I could hardly move. It was so severe I realized I couldn’t take care of my children. I needed to ask for help. And I did. And you know what? I found myself feeling BAD about it. I found myself feeling like I was failing.

But, here is the truth: We don’t have to be strong all the time. We don’t have to be perfect. We teach even in the moments when we lack strength. We show our children that even we have moments of weakness. Even we get tired. Even we get sick. Even we make mistakes. We teach that these moments are to be expected and that it is okay. We teach in the way we handle these moments, in the ways we take care of ourselves.

The truth: It’s okay to ask for help. Sometimes you have to listen to your body. As parents, it is typical for us to try to push through mentally or physically exhausting times. Even though we want to push through, it is so important to listen to our bodies and take some time for ourselves.

The truth: It’s okay to “take five.” In fact, taking time to care for ourselves only makes us better and stronger in the end. Just like you must first put on your oxygen mask before you can help someone else, you have to take care of yourself to be effective.

I have to remind myself, “mind over matter” as I’m running through the day completing each task, all the while forgetting to take care of myself.

So, if you have the opportunity to take time for yourself, always do it. Ask for help. Take turns with your spouse or partner, or a friend so that you are able to have a little me-time… even if it is simply a short trip to Target. And, never feel bad when you need a break, when you are struggling.

Well, that’s my rant for the day. Be healthy! And you know what? If we are even half—a quarter even—of what the above quotes state, then we are nothing short of amazing!

 

To learn more about me and my blog check out: About Lauren

You may also enjoy: How Becoming a Mom of Three Has Changed Me

Back to Blog