SWIMSUIT TOP: J.Crew | SWIMSUIT BOTTOMS: J.Crew | COVER-UP: La Blanca | SUNGLASSES: Chloe | NECKLACE: Jennifer Zeuner | BEACH BAG: H&M [only $29.99!] | LUKE’S RASHGUARD: Smocked Auction | BRACELET: The Styled Collection | SANDALS: Ash
As I was editing these photos from a day on the beach in Miami, I was thinking about everything that has happened the past year or so. As I was looking at Luke laughing and playing in the sand and seeing his reactions to the water/waves, it just made me think about how quickly the year went by & just how fun it has been!! Honestly, being a MOM is nothing like I had anticipated at ALL. This is going to be a totally random, thrown together post but I just posted on my IG stories to send any questions you all have about my first year as a mother and I’ll answer the top 5 most commonly asked.
While I wait for those to come in, I thought I’d start by sharing a few things I realized on our Miami trip. First of all, Luke has been on over FOURTY flights in his first 11.5 months! Crazy, right?! He’s been to two countries and lots of different states. He’s been to Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, and now Miami.. basically corner to corner! One of the TOP questions I get asked by new moms is “can you post ab traveling w/a baby?! I’m scared to death!”.. [have TWO posts on that HERE & HERE] and when I am asked that I can confidently say “trust me, it’s easier than you think!”. You see, Luke went on his first flight at 6 weeks and I was nervous of course – as was John – but it was relatively easy. He slept during all the flights pretty much! Only woke up to eat or to get a diaper change. As I am typing this, I am ab to cry because it was so fun to snuggle him and watch him sleep on my chest on the plane! All of our flights [until 11mos] carried on just like this. A lot of times we get stopped as we exit the plane by other passengers/attendants telling us how good he was! I remember after the first 2 times of hearing that being like “ohh yaaa!!! Our baby is good on the plane, uh huuuu, go Luke bear, go Luke bear!”.. LOL. 😛 Well, the truth is, I’ve looked around on all of our flights each time and we typically have other babies around Luke’s age w/us and they are also really good [sleep on the flight]. On this trip to Miami, it hit me — flying with a little baby is simple because as long as you’ve got milk, paci, blanket, white noise, diapers, etc. they will feel snuggled and happy. It’s not until they are older, mobile, WIDE AWAKE on the flights that it gets hard! And the flights to and from Miami were the flights where I thought “thank GOODNESS we did all the traveling we did this past year because I am not so sure that will be happening as much!”. So here’s my update: now that he is almost 1 year old he is more awake and super mobile. Luke likes to talk a LOT, he likes to make friends with everyone on the plane, and he likes to be entertained! Both flights were 5am flights so we all had little sleep and John and I expected we could cat nap on the plane while Luke napped but no way, jose! He was ready to play and have a good time and we were SO sleepy! Based on what I am seeing, Luke seems very extraverted, unlike his mama – meaning that he is fueled by other people [where as I am drained!]. Looking back on this past year I am SO SO SO very glad that we incorporated him into OUR LIVES. I am so glad we traveled with him, I am so glad we took him out to dinners and lunches, I am so glad he had done SO much with us! I think it’s part of what has made him so laid back/easy going and friendly! But I will say, now that he is almost one I can see a huge difference – none of that is as easy now- its way more of a challenge. Going to dinner is more of a production now- as is flying with him! I am mainly sharing this because I know so many parents feel like life has to stop when they have a baby – or they are just scared to get out. I get several e-mails/comments weekly from moms scared to fly or that don’t want to leave their house but in all reality it is relatively easy up until they are mobile and super alert. *Disclaimer – I usually have John [or mom] – having a team unit is part of what makes it easier AND I know some babies are just more challenging.*
The next thing I’ve thought about a lot this past week is the first time I took Luke to Target BY MYSELF when he was an infant. Oh-em-gee!!!! I was terrified and it was HARD! As we pulled into the parking lot I looked back and he was sound asleep in his carseat. I parked the car and quietly & very gently put his carseat into a shopping cart and went inside to start picking up groceries and things [I always kept the cover on to protect from germs and bright sunlight/noise.]. I remember it going REALLY well [aka he was snoozing hard] and then he woke up at the end of the trip as I was searching high and low for his detergent! He stared crying and I felt like I was going to cry, too! Ha!! I got so flustered and nervous to be ‘that mom’ that I struggled to even find his bottle of milk! Ha! Even more funny is that now, going to Target is still kind of tough — but there’s an unsaid time limit and there is NO time for lingering or browsing through clothing/shoes! I have this huge respect and admiration for the moms in Target that have a toddler and an infant and they have a cart full – I am like wwwwwww, you go girl!!!!
Another thing I’ve come to realize is that the phrase ‘it takes a village’ is 110% true. Woah… I mean, a villaaaage!! Many of you know John works full time as a physician and I work full time blogging [read: entrepreneur]. John works long hours and I have been fortunate that my mom will come on the weekends that he is gone. My mom and dad have been unbelievably helpful. I run this blog and all social platforms on my own – I don’t have an agent or manager or team of people working for me so I don’t get to shut down at 5pm or have weekends off. [Sidenote, I love my job so I don’t mind this!] When my mom comes its so nice because she will help me with Luke and also help with others things. She lives in a small town so she LOVES going to Target and grabbing groceries for me, and she also likes to cook so it’s amazing to have her here. Additionally, she will take photos for me occasionally. 🙂 It’s usually a feat to get her on board because she claims “it’s scary!” but she does a good job.
Okay, one more thing I’ve noticed and then I will check DMs and answer your questions. But, this is the one thing that I’ve noticed about myself: I’m not as TYPE A as a mother!!! I feel like shouting that off the rooftops! I am very Type A and it’s not something I’m proud of per se. It comes in handy at times but I remember worrying it would make me an uptight, rigid mother. It hit me the other day when a girl sent me an e-mail telling me she was expecting her first child and she wanted to understand how I let Luke eat a messy chocolate popsicle while wearing a Burberry shirt! I honestly laughed out loud because I GET IT! I totally see where she is coming from! I think the same way– like the consequence of a baby eating a messy popsicle in a nice, white shirt! But something about having Luke has changed me. I am so much more lenient about these situations and I don’t care about material things. I would rather Luke enjoy his popsicle w/his little friends and get the Burberry shirt dirty…because I know it’s just a shirt! Okay… AND because the Type A in me has packed stain-removal packets in his diaper bag. 😉
TOP 5 DM QUESTIONS
#1 TOP MOST HAVE PRODUCTS
This post is in the works! Now that we’ve been parents for ONE full year – I think I have a good idea on the items that are total necessities and that are just okay. I will have a post fully dedicated to this in the next 2 weeks!!
#2 BALANCE BETWEEN ROLES AS WIFE, MOM, ENTREPRENUER
I mentioned this above ^ but having your village is the game changer. I’ve written personal posts on here about our journey through residency and how we planned for Luke. John and I are extremely career oriented but started wanting kids our 2nd year of marriage! We looooooveee kids so much and had a strong desire to be parents for years before Luke but we wanted to have stability in many ways before we started having children. We are glad we stuck w/our plan because that has made it easier to balance everything. For example, John is not a resident anymore so he doesn’t have a crazy schedule! Additionally, I have learned how to handle my job more efficiently AND we have our village who helps! When my mom comes for a weekend, she gets in quality time with Luke and will run errands for me and I will work on e-mails, contracts, and get laundry done and the kitchen cleaned. As a blogger one of the toughest things is engagement and being able to interact with readers. Between planning an editorial calendar, traveling, shooting, editing, scouting locations, working with brands, writing posts, linking clothing, constantly browsing/planning for new content, answering thousands of e-mails weekly, running 4+ social platforms, etc. I get SUPER overwhelmed. But the tough part is trying to really engage with followers AND it’s one of my favorite parts. I set aside time each day for answering questions on all platforms and e-mails but I usually can only get back to about half of them. I do have a part-time assistant who does step in and help when I am overwhelmed. When Luke was 3mos old I started having some serious health issues and realized it was because I was doing WAYY too much trying to do it ALL. I wasn’t sleeping much, I was stressing a lot, and it was taking a toll in many ways. That’s when I began looking for a part time assistant to help manage the overload of e-mails I was getting. Also, that is when my mom started coming every other weekend when John was gone so that I’d have some help getting things done. Just having some help is huge. But I’m not going to lie – I am not good with balance at all! I struggle everyday! I think having help and using my time very efficiently has been what has gotten us this far.
*Edited to add – people often ask how I can be put together and be a mom, wife, blogger, etc. The first thing that came into my head was PRIORITIES. My sister always says you make time for what is important! For me, my role as a wife is important, my role is a mom is important, and my career. In most careers, you can’t show up to work looking like a slob, right?! Like roll in to your hospital, school building, corporate office wearing PJs and crazy, unbrushed hair!? Same for me as a blogger! I do a lot of hair and beauty content and I don’t want to present myself in a sloppy way! Additionally, I think looking presentable is a form of etiquette! BUT I have to admit, occasionally I will do 3 sets of photos in one day so I can have a couple of days where I don’t have to fix my hair or get ready. 🙂 Also, I don’t watch much TV, I don’t surf social media, and don’t hate me- but I only cook like once a week!! TV/Social Media/Cooking just aren’t my priorities. The main me-time I get where I can really relax and unwind is on nights when I take a bath – I always watch YouTube videos!
#3 RANDOM/COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Because I try to work efficiently I’m just going to link to the posts that already have a lot of these questions answered!
1.) DIET / FITNESS / WEIGHT LOSS AFTER BABY | Posts HERE & HERE on this topic. As you can see in the imagery above, I am not super skinny or toned and that’s because I have not made fitness as much of a priority. I come from a family who really prioritizes health and wellness so I am ashamed I do not work out more but I seem to lag when I travel!
2.) NURSING | Gettings tons of nursing questions and I’m such a private person – I never nursed in public if that tells you anything! I share so much publicly that a huge part of my life is kept private just because John and I want that for our family. I will say, I put way too much pressure and stress on myself with breastfeeding and I wish I wouldn’t have! I nursed for a few months but I was not as fortunate with production so I was hard on myself for it.I pumped and nursed and supplemented and boy it was tough! I’ll leave you with this – FED IS BEST. Don’t compare yourself and don’t get caught up in what everyone on social media says. DO WHATS BEST FOR YOUR AND YOUR FAMILY. [This post has a lot of personal things in it I’ve share though.]
3.) Where do I shop for Luke? I’ve done posts on it a few times and I also ALWAYS link his clothing in each post if he is in it! Click HERE to see some posts. I buy a majority of his clothing at Zara, HERE, HERE, HERE & HERE
5.) SCHEDULES: If you read the first few paragraphs you probably already know we are not rigid, scheduled parents. We never have been and we travel a TON so we are always on different time zones. We have not had any sleep issues ever and we have not had problems jumping time zones. Luke is a pretty easy going baby and if you make the room dark enough and turn on a noise maker [when he is obviously tired] he goes to sleep! I think sometimes as moms we read too many books and too many blogs and start overthinking and overanalyzing and it all backfires!
Tons of the questions I am getting are about mom shaming, dealing with everyone else’s opinions, being critiqued, etc. I’ll be blunt – YES – this does hurt and this is a CHALLENGE! Mom guilt is a REAL thing and mom guilt + mom shaming is awful! As a blogger, I am mom shamed often. Luckily, many of my fellow mommy friends are successful bloggers.. they run amazing blogs and they are INCREDIBLE moms. I strive to be more like them! The end of my pregnancy is when the mom-shaming began. For me it is mostly strangers online w/fake accounts critiquing me with no background on the real situation. I mentioned this to a blogger/mom friend and she said “just get ready! This is only the beginning!”. I laughed and said “what?!” and she said “Emily! This is the norm! I get it all the time!”.. Keep in mind this particular blogger has two children and she and her husband are amazing parents!! I was like “dang what is there to pick on you about?!” and she named a ton of really silly things! From that day on, I began researching and listening to books on self improvement and they all had the same underlying advice: DONT WORRY ABOUT WHAT ANYONE ELSE THINKS! It took a few weeks but once I got to the point where I didn’t let the opinions of strangers affect me, I was embarrassed that I ever cared! It’s such a waste of time. If you have a good doctor, a good spouse and an educated village – consult them and worry about their opinions only. Let other opinions roll off of your back!
#5 DID YOU GIVE UP LIFE WITH BABY?
*I know all babies/children are different and everyone has difference circumstances.*
A lot of the questions being asked are stemmed from this question. Answer: no. And you don’t have to give up your life either. Okay, not going to lie.. I have 6 nieces and nephews – all healthy, super smart, athletic, well-mannered, etc. I watched my sister in law & brother / sister & brother in law parent for the past 11 years and I’ve seen it ALL. Both my sis and bro and their spouse have been more laid back and cool yet still raised their children to make straight A’s, say yes ma’am, no ma’am, help others, work hard at their sports, etc. [Keep in mind, I also saw how my nephew Harry was a wild boy and my nephew Bo was wild too as a little boy! We’d go out to eat and Harry would be jumping in the fountains outside of the restaurant and be soaking wet! LOL, I also saw how my sister handled it calm & cool!] After watching this for the past decade, John and I have been able to learn a lot. But one thing I tried not to do while pregnant was read too many of those books everyone says you HAVE to read. Books about sleeping, books about eating, etc. The one book I downloaded was Bringing Up Bebe and I listened to the first 30 minutes while driving to Dallas. That first 3o minutes or maybe an hour? was enough for me. I would HIGHLY recommend that book! She discusses how American women can be a little neurotic while pregnant and as new mothers. She talks about how in Paris (I believe) the women have super well behaved children that go out to dinner and she started getting curious as to why it wasn’t the same in America. I didn’t read it all so I can’t share much else but she made ONE statement that stuck with me… she said in America we stop our lives for our kids. We shut down – we stay home. We are scared to do anything so we mold our lives around the kids. Whereas in Europe the parents mold the baby’s lives to their lives. Essentially, they bring a baby into the world and incorporate the baby into their lives. I’m not going to say either way is ‘wrong’ but I am just saying that you don’t have to shut down and stay home once you have a child! Looking at it from both points of view… BOTH would be hard. Personally, I would hate if I had to stay in my house all the time – ya know? But I also know that getting out with a baby means a lot of preparing and IT IS stressful to load your stroller and carseat onto the plane! LOL. It is hard to pack for you and your baby. Again, everyone has different circumstances and every baby is different. I tell John I just know if we have a second child it will probably be opposite of Luke and we will not be leaving the house much!! LOL. Jk, I mean – everyone parent knows their baby best and knows what the best thing is for their baby! I just want to give any of you extraverts or travel lovers hope – you can keep going! Just be ready to have a diaper bag full of goods and a good carseat!
That wraps it up! I had a lot of fun reading your questions and answering them. My main goal was kind of to share my experience but also let you all know that having children is FUN and it’s not as bad or as hard as society makes it sound. Sure you don’t sleep as much or whatever but oh-my-word – a precious child in your arms will change your heart and life SO much!