Happy Mother’s Day!
Motherhood looks different for everyone and yet somehow unites us all. On this blog, family is the main focus. It maybe delicious meals, parenting tips, self or home improvement inspiration but in the end the goal is to improve life for moms and families of all kinds. As a mother myself I really wanted this Mother’s Day to highlight the perspective of moms. Flowers and cards are all well and good but sometimes what we need most is just to be heard and seen. This post might also provide some helpful insight for future or soon to be moms as well.
I asked several amazing, inspiring, Moms that I know a series of questions to get a look into the Motherhood experience from their point of view. Let me introduce you to these incredible women!
“I’m 30 years old. I like to roller skate, and create stickers/shirts with my cricut, and I love working with my hands, be it mechanics or in the garden.”Ari Bell
“I’m 41 years old. I work as a project manager. I love travel, music, anything outdoors, and working out.”Jennifer Fortner
“I’m Shambre Dastgheib but go by Sham to those who know me. I’m 28 years old and My hobbies consist of photography and hosting a true crime podcast with yours truly Stephanie Fortner.”Sham Dastgheib
“I am 32 years old. I am a yoga teacher, energy worker and homeschooling mama. I love to read, create all the things, travel and be in nature.”Tiffany Ironside
“I’m 36 yours old. I stay home and raise my kids. I also help a couple other working moms by watching their kids during the week. I don’t really have any hobbies at the moment. Just mom.”AnJali Bates
“I’m a 37 year old, stay at home mom. I have two daughters. Charlotte will be four in July and Olivia just turned two last month. I love to read, do puzzles, paint, garden, cook, spend time with my family.”Leah Rue-Shrader
“My name is Rachel, I’m 36, I’m mom, cook/kitchen manager, photographer and outdoor adventurist.”Rachel Doucette
Every family is unique and that plays a huge part in the perspective of these Moms. Let’s get to know these little families.
“My wife and I have a one-year old little boy conceived via IVF (donor sperm).”Jennifer Fortner
“I have 3 kids ages 6 and twin 3 year olds. All biologically mine.”AnJali Bates
“We are a small blended family, My husband (Kyle, he’s 30) and our beautiful daughter (Khloe, she’s 5 now). I’m a bonus mom (stepmom has a stigma in my head). Do dogs count? Because we have 2 of those too.”Ari Bell
“My husband’s name is Jesse and we live on a farm in Silverton with our girls. We have been married for almost eight years and are still hoping to one day go on a honeymoon! My mom and dad live in an adjoining apartment and having them so close has been truly wonderful. My daughters are both incredibly happy, resilient, curious, loving, and intuitive little people. They both love to go outside and feed the animals, smell the flowers, and explore the ever-changing world around them. Jesse has evolved into this compassionate, engaged, playful, and passionate father. He loves our girls fiercely and would do anything for them. He would do anything for me as well. Despite the isolation, the pain, the devastation, and the loss, Covid and his working from home turned out to be the greatest gift. I would go as far to say that it gave me the time and insight that then led me to fall back in love with my husband. We were given the chance to truly see one another and the time to understand what it was that we were seeing.”Leah Rue-Shrader
“I have one son that is almost 16, a step daughter that is 6. Got an Ex husband that visits regularly and a long term, live-in boyfriend.”Rachel Doucette
“I live with my husband of almost two years and I have one biological child being my 8 year old daughter Naya. My husband adopted her in 2019 and he’s the only father she’s ever known. They adore each other he took on the role of being her father figure pretty early on.”Sham Dastgheib
“My husband Chris and I have been together for 12 or so years, and we have two wildlings together. Our son, Aiden, is 10 years old and our daughter, Kyda, is 7 years old. Our little family of 4 is currently living in an RV and traveling the country, with our pup and ferret, of course.”Tiffany Ironside
Now let’s get into the questions everyone wants to know! I asked them
If money were no object, what would your life look like?
“I would be traveling with my family and I’d likely hire some type of nutritionist and meal prepper to keep me healthy. I suck at cooking healthy and coming up with satisfying recipes.”Sham Dastgheib
“I would live in the “Practical Magic” house! I try to live, to an extent, like money is no object. I believe all things that we truly desire can be attained, if given enough energy. Money is an energy exchange. To achieve a new goal I shift what I am investing my money and energy in from things that keep me comfortable to things that bring me closer to my goal. Right now I am working on manifesting a little farm homestead. Wildcrafting, witching, and slow life living. So mote it be.”Tiffany Ironside
“I would have 100+ acers, a small self-sufficient farm in one corner and a private animal reserve on the rest of the land. Be able to hike and photograph nature without leaving home and without the trash and annoyance of people around.”Rachel Doucette
“If money were no object, I think that Jesse would quit his job and stay home with me and the girls. He would spend his time helping my parents maintain the farm (it’s 75 acres and a TON of work) and help me kick off my farm-based business. We would send Charlotte to the best doctors in the world with the hopes of constantly giving her more and greater resources to explore her world using her unique set of abilities. I would seek out specialists who could and would help me to navigate this new autoimmune disease and the chronic pain that goes with it. My dad would retire, and we would send my parents somewhere warm and sunny for two months every year. Olivia and Charlotte would both have the finances put aside in order to not just go to any college they choose, but to then be able to go on and live financially secure (assuming they make wise financial decisions… which is a big assume) Also, I would start some sort of organization that provides medical devices to children in need despite the county they live in, the insurance they do or don’t have, or any other of the many reasons why there are so many young children who can’t even get a wheelchair due to rules and bureaucratic bullshit.”Leah Rue-Shrader
“First, we would have primary custody of Khloe, our dream house, and about 5 acres of land to let her run around on. We would have her in the best school district, and she’d be able to do any sport/activity she wanted. I can’t say I’d become a SAHM because I’d go too stir crazy. Basically Kyle and I would take the money to build the best life for Khloe that we could.”Ari Bell
“There would be a lot more vacations and exploring of nature or the world.”AnJali Bates
“I would own a compound where a mass of my friends and family would live (or be welcome to visit for long stays, if they prefer…ha). It would include an Olympic sized pool and hiking options on the grounds.”Jennifer Fortner
What is one thing you wish you had known about motherhood?
“I wish I had known that google can be a dangerous thing. Trusting my own instincts and not paying too much attention to “milestone markers” saved my sanity.”Tiffany Ironside
“Breastfeeding is anything but natural. It was hard work and required lots of research.”Jennifer Fortner
“How much it consumes you so completely. how hard it can be to trust other people with your kid and how fast they grow up.”Rachel Doucette
“I wish I had read the fine print that apparently says, by having children you have automatically become responsible for the household duties….”AnJali Bates
“That you’re going to make mistakes and all that matters is you know when to apologize to your child. They’ll understand you are only human.”Sham Dastgheib
“I wish I had known that while there are so many things that can go wrong, everything can simultaneously be just right. Do I wish I could take away Charlotte’s cerebral palsy and brain damage? Of course. But I’ve learned that wishing for the impossible is just a painful distraction and obstacle to falling in love with what is real. I think that lesson can be applied to many different aspects of my life, and I learned it from my children.”Leah Rue-Shrader
“I know everyone says it’s hard, but until you experience it, you don’t know how hard it can be. But it’s also so rewarding to have a tiny human that looks up to you like a child does.”Ari Bell
What is your favorite trick for getting your kids to eat healthy foods?
“For veggies I just make sure to always include ranch but for fruit making it into a smoothie or making a fun presentation out of it has done the trick. Also I’ve learned to leave the word “healthy” out of the equation. Most kids don’t know the difference.”Sham Dastgheib
“Bribery. Or if a friend/cousin is there we point out that the other child is eating the food to get Khloe to eat.”Ari Bell
“Lol. It’s funny you ask about food, because it is the current struggle. Charlotte has a feeding tube so that’s easy! She eats better than anyone else in the house. Olivia, on the other hand, has been incredibly challenging when it comes to eating real food. Good news is that she LOVES broccoli and smoothies. I don’t have any tricks to share but am always interested to learn from others.”Leah Rue-Shrader
“Luckily, not many tricks are needed right now. Most foods are fun for him right now. I’m sure that will change!”Jennifer Fortner
“Casseroles, if it was all cooked together and looked at least a little like mac and cheese he’d eat it. Also having to eat it to get dessert helped.”Rachel Doucette
“The easiest way for me to get my kids to eat healthy is to have them be involved in the process as much as possible! When we had a garden they would grow some of their own food, we wildcraft together and they choose what ingredients they use day to day when preparing their meals. Also, it doesn’t hurt if the food we are trying has been mentioned in a favorite book we are reading.”Tiffany Ironside
“I have my kids drink the healthy smoothies or pouches to get the more healthy stuff into them.”AnJali Bates
What kids TV show do you wish you could eliminate so no mom has to ever sit through it again?
“There’s a dinosaur rancher show on Disney or nick jr that makes me crazy. I don’t know what it is about it. I think it’s the voices of the junior ranchers. It’s like Dora’s voice intensified. A show that we LOVE is Bluey. If you haven’t seen it, you must!”Leah Rue-Shrader
“All of them.”AnJali Bates
“Thankfully, he’s too young for shows right now and doesn’t show much interest. But I can’t wait to hear more about which ones other Moms are going to warn me about. HA!”Jennifer Fortner
“We didn’t do much TV in our house when Brent was small. Mostly animal planet, history channel, and Disney movies. all of which I also enjoyed watching so… I don’t know. The shows he did watch are little Einstein’s, super why, and backyardigans. all of which are educational and not too annoying.”Rachel Doucette
“Omg Caillou that kid is the absolute worst!”Sham Dastgheib
“The Simpsons. It sounds dumb because she’s 5, but let’s return to the shared custody thing. Her other house has some older children (9 & 11) as well as a slew of other adults, so my 5 year old asks to watch adult cartoons like “The Simpsons” etc. The cartoons most adults find annoying, I typically don’t mind…until the songs get stuck in my head.”Ari Bell
“OK. There is one show that I just cant stand… its called “Larva”. The kids stumbled across it on Netflix one day. I figured cartoon slugs couldn’t be that bad, I was wrong. The show doesn’t even have words… and I have no pleasant words for it. If you have managed to not see it, don’t look it up. It kills brain cells.”Tiffany Ironside
What is one thing at restaurants or shops or anything else that could be changed to make taking kids with you easier?
“Khloe is typically very well behaved in restaurants. So maybe an actual little kids menu that looks like an adult one for the kids that are a little bigger (so it has photos of the food) maybe it could have a built in dry erase board with the mazes on it?”Ari Bell
“Though I don’t trust many with my kids probably a child drop off area like Fred Meyers used to have or even free WIFI so your kid could use their tablets.”Sham Dastgheib
“I think having more changing stations in men’s restrooms, and family restrooms in general would be helpful.”Tiffany Ironside
“With good communication and parenting these things aren’t to hard but I hate having candy and toys at check out, as much for me as for my kids. Makes us all want junk just because its there.”Rachel Doucette
“A kid play area, lol.”AnJali Bates
“Well, we haven’t been to one. My son was born two weeks before the total lockdown for the pandemic occurred. I’m sure he is going to be shocked once we do eventually go to a restaurant.”Jennifer Fortner
“We haven’t actually been anywhere for over a year due to Covid. Charlotte is medically fragile and if she got sick it could be devastating. With that said, Livvie hasn’t been to a restaurant since she was still just a worm. It’s hard for me to say what I’d like to see differently though. I realize that every restaurant and shop can’t cater their design and function around wheelchairs and sensory input and output but having some “safe” options for kids with varying abilities and capacities would be incredible. And to have those places appeal to neuro-typical kids too! It seems like a lot of places are either/or, as opposed to being inclusive.”Leah Rue-Shrader
What is the hardest thing about being a mom?
“This is so cloudy for me right now. Having our son right at the start of the pandemic really has impacted my motherhood journey. We didn’t have the family or friends support in the way we had planned right from the start. So everything was 100% more isolating than we thought. A majority of our family and friends have yet to even meet our son outside of pictures or a Zoom/FaceTime call. So, I guess, so far the hardest thing about being a Mom has been starting (and continuing) our journey completely different from what we had thought and planned. It’s a totally bizarre evolution each day. For someone that is a very structured planner, it’s borderline craziness.”Jennifer Fortner
“The hardest thing about being a mom is worrying whether or not you are making the right choices for them, and if the choices you are making will impact the rest of their lives. Am I instilling in my daughter a sense of confidence and self-worth? Am I getting her every possible source of support and care while also balancing that with a “normal” childhood? Do I talk to my girls enough throughout the day, especially on the days when I am most quiet? Am I respecting their emerging identities while simultaneously teaching them what is right and wrong, good and bad, just and unjust? It’s a lot.”Leah Rue-Shrader
“Hindsight. For me getting stuck in the “I could have done that better” and “I wish I had done that differently” is the hardest. Hindsight can keep you so stuck in the past that you miss the magic of the present moment.”Tiffany Ironside
“For me it’s that little voice in my head that’s telling me I’m not doing enough. I have to constantly be reminded that I’m a good mom from my friends and husband. “Sham Dastgheib
“Remembering that it’s ok to take time for myself.”Ari Bell
“Letting my kid go where he may not be treated right.”Rachel Doucette
“Fighting to care for myself in the most basic ways, bathing, eating, sleeping.”AnJali Bates
What is the most rewarding part of being a mom?
“Its hard to say what the most rewarding thing about being a mother is. Its always changing! The experiences we share together, learning and growing together, a whole new outlook on life.”Tiffany Ironside
“When Khloe comes to me, gives me a hug and a kiss and says “you’re my favorite” without being promoted.”Ari Bell
“That smile and laugh he gives. It is pure happiness and joy. It really makes you remember how wonderful things can be.”Jennifer Fortner
“Watching your kids grow and develop their own personalities. Or the kids doing things that you’ve taught them.”AnJali Bates
“Watching Brent succeed. When he accomplishes a goal or learns a new skill or solves a problem on his own, I know he is growing and learning to a successful and good human being.”Rachel Doucette
“There are so many rewards in motherhood, but the best are those that come in the in-between moments. Those quiet smiles, soft touches, open laughs, and expressions of pride and accomplishment. I love to witness the moments when one of my girls realizes that she can do something that she thought she couldn’t. That is amazing.”Leah Rue-Shrader
“Nurturing a kind little human honestly. I love how kind my daughter is to toddlers, kids her age, and how much she thrives in school. She doesn’t like words like weird, stupid, or annoying because she knows they can really hurt someone’s feelings. I trust my child to be a good person and that’s the most rewarding.”
What surprised you most about yourself when you became a mom?
“I can put my kids first. Level of sleep affects my level of patience.”AnJali Bates
“I was NOT the kind of Mom that enjoys sitting still and just snuggling. I much prefer to be moving. I also hate being called “mama” by adults.”Jennifer Fortner
“The thing that surprised me most about becoming a mom was how little control I had over everything. I had all these ideas in my head of how labor would be, when we’d bring her home, how the first few weeks would be, and so on. The moment a woman gets pregnant, all of that control and planning goes out the window. I do not say this in a negative sense, but it was a sobering surprise. My first daughter, Charlotte, taught me let go of some of my need for control and the need to know what was coming next. She gave me a greater sense of resilience and adaptability and continues to teach me things.”Leah Rue-Shrader
“How strong I could be. Together we have faced many challenges and overcome everything thrown at us. He gives me the strength to keep going and to keep making our life the way we want it to be.”Rachel Doucette
“I became a single mom at 19 years old and I had so much living to do but I always prioritized my child first. I didn’t go out much, I worked 3 jobs, went to college, and didn’t start dating until I turned 23. My daughter never met my dates and I made sure not to give anyone my time other than two days a month when my daughter was with her grandparents. My child was always my #1 priority.”Sham Dastgheib
“I was most surprised by the complete perspective change I had. On everything. Everything I thought I knew had to be re-examined. Having children is the biggest teacher. I was also surprised at how easy it was to “be a kid” again. To take the invitation to play, and experience life from their level.”Tiffany Ironside
“That I can be a mom, and I’m ok at it. I wasn’t sure I had a motherly bone in my body.”Ari Bell
What aspects of yourself do you see in your child?
“Her sassy personality is all me alongside her needing to get the last word with me during our debates. She’s also a performer always making music videos and creating plays to show us or perform. I did that from 6 years old through highschool.”Sham Dastgheib
“Every child has something ha. Danielle has my attention to detail. Evan has my orneriness. Kaylee is more like her dad, lol.”AnJali Bates
“She picks up my sass and mannerisms.”Ari Bell
“I see so much of myself in both of my daughters, but probably more so in my two year old, Olivia. She is a little wildling. She’s expressive, quick to laugh, loves hard, and feels everything around her. Charlotte is much more subtle in her reactions and her actions. She feels strongly about things, but is more measured in her responses. I see my own emotionally impulsivity in Olivia, and I also see my passion and joy in the little things. In Charlotte I see my patience and loyalty, as well as my dislike of things not going my way. That actually applies to Olivia too. Who doesn’t want things their way!”Leah Rue-Shrader
“Looking at my two kids is really like looking at the two sides of myself, in a lot of ways. My daughter is my mini me, for sure. She is a natural with her witchy ways, creative, stubborn as a mule and sassy to boot. She also shows me my sadness, and range of emotions. My boy is my observer. Logical, science/math minded with a dark sense of humor. He also shows me my overthinking and anxious mind.”Tiffany Ironside
“The older he gets the more like me he gets. He is good with people and can get along with anyone while on the inside or when we are hanging out alone he likes to hate on the human race as a whole. We both like to watch crime shows and podcasts. We watch the same shows and read a lot of the same books now days. He is sweet and respectful and smart but sarcastic and snarky. We both love to hike and spend time outside.”Rachel Doucette
“His stubbornness and anger, unfortunately. He definitely has my temper…poor child…lord help us.”Jennifer Fortner
What is something your children have taught you?
“How to enjoy the moment and how to see things for the simple way they are. With out the stress and worry us adults have all you have left is the beauty joy and fun the world has to offer.”Rachel Doucette
“Patience. But slowly over time.”Ari Bell
“Patience and Optimism. I can be a worrier and very pessimistic but my daughter tells me the bright side of everything. I might say something like “well it’s super cold out today” on our walks and she we’ll say “well mom at least it’s sunny and it’s not rainy.” She’s just a bright light.”Sham Dastgheib
“My children have taught me so much, and the greatest thing would have to be resilience and the strength and ability to adjust and adapt. They have taught me to respond, as opposed to react. They have taught me to plan with room always for the unplanned. They have shown me that my way isn’t necessarily the only way or the only right way. And above all, they have instilled in me a fierce and unwavering sense of hope for all the moments, hours, days, and years ahead of us.”Leah Rue-Shrader
“Patience and perspective. It really changes your view when you realize they have to learn everything.”Jennifer Fortner
“Laugh and play more.”AnJali Bates
“These kids teach me something new everyday. Love. Patience. Seeing the good, even when its hard. How to slow down. How to play. How to lead by example. How to be a better friend, a better person.”Tiffany Ironside
How have you changed since becoming a mom?
“I’ve started to seriously consider having a child of my own.”Ari Bell
“It would be easier to list the ways I haven’t changed! In my experience, becoming a parent changes everything.”Tiffany Ironside
“All I am is MOM. The me before kids has since disappeared.”AnJali Bates
“I became more practical. I have always dreamed big and still do. Now my kid likes to dream big with me. Still want a large parcel of land and a small farm and lots of woods to explore, but now my kid wants his own house on the same land. Spend all our time working our land together and enjoying this earth together.”Rachel Doucette
“I had to become mature fast and I had to let go of being reckless in my 20s. My mistakes would always affect another person and I took note of that. It’s made me a person whose more aware of the actions I take in life.”Sham Dastgheib
“So many things that previously stressed me out (work, chores, etc) absolutely mean nothing in perspective of having my son. I was previously pretty career oriented and, now, I’m just fine where I am. I want to focus instead on being the best parent that I can for my son.”Jennifer Fortner
“I have changed dramatically since becoming a mother. I would have to say that the biggest change reiterates what I have already described. I have a newly developed foundation of resilience and strength from within. The strength that comes from within one’s self dictates the world around them, whereas I used to feel that my circumstances depicted my own strength and sense of self worth and stability.”Leah Rue-Shrader
What parenting/family tasks do you wish you had more help with?
“General childcare! Due to the pandemic, my wife and I have to watch our son while still working full time jobs. We tried to have help come into the house but it ended up causing multiple exposures to COVID. Thankfully we never got it but the whole thing was just too risky to keep having the support come. Now we just do the best we can with tag teaming and working odd hours.”Jennifer Fortner
“Brushing my daughters hair! Seriously, can I hire someone for that?”Tiffany Ironside
“I would absolutely love more help with Charlotte’s regular therapies and appointments, as well as all the work that happens in between said appointments. Practice and repetition are critical when it comes to physical and mental development in a child, and that is a massive weight to carry alone. If I don’t practice her sitting independently, it doesn’t happen regularly. If I don’t plan for the time and resources to practice her non-verbal communication, then I am running the risk of delaying her ability to communicate even longer. She is extremely intelligent and motivated and determined to find her own sense of independence and agency, and as her mom it is my job to give her the tools to achieve that. It is an honor AND a huge responsibility.”Leah Rue-Shrader
“A maid! If I could spend less time cleaning I could spend more time outside doing fun things without the guilt of the mess at home.”Rachel Doucette
“I wish that between the two houses we had more consistency. It’s hard when one house has one set of rules and the other has another set of rules.”Ari Bell
“Dishes, keeping the house picked up, sweeping and mopping.”AnJali Bates
“I wish I had more family to help me while I was young. My parents were amazing in every way and helped me raise my daughter while I worked 3 jobs and went to school. However when I wanted a night out I never had a sitter because I didn’t trust many people. This caused my mental health to be at risk and I was in a constant state of depression.”Sham Dastgheib
What are your favorite self-care or “you time” activities?
“Leaving the house alone and getting some quiet time. Or vegging on the couch with a movie of my choosing.”AnJali Bates
“I love listening to true crime podcasts, cleaning, and watching trash tv with a glass of wine.”Sham Dastgheib
“Working out, going for a walk, and taking a long shower.”Jennifer Fortner
“Reading in the bathtub or driving around the animal reserve with just me and my camera.”Rachel Doucette
“My favorite things to do during my “Leah time” are painting, cooking, reading, and spending time with my family. I found a painting club on Facebook and the teacher provides two hour tutorials on how to paint various pieces by different artists. Not only is it relaxing and calming, but I’m also learning a lot and creating some pretty cool pieces. I also love to read and find it a nice break from my world; to exist in someone else’s world. Then there are the times when all I want to do in the in between moments is too close my eyes and reset.”Leah Rue-Shrader
“Taking a bath is my favorite self-care go to. Dress it up with some candles and a body oil, bring a favorite book and I am happy. Total recharge. However, in an RV there is no bathtub. So I have been doing a lot of dancing and singing lately. Painting with watercolors is also a favorite. They are portable, easy to clean and great for working in layers when you only have small chunks of time. And journaling. All the journaling.”Tiffany Ironside
“Running. Going to the gym. Bubble baths. Crafting. Not necessarily in that order.”Ari Bell
What are your favorite things to do with your kids?
“Anything in nature keeps all of us pretty happy. Foraging and fishing, nature journaling. I love to play video games with the kiddos too, mainly because they like awesome games like Spyro and Mario Kart. But morning snuggles and our dance parties, those are my favorite.”Tiffany Ironside
“I love to take the girls outside. We live on a farm with an orchard, a pond, a creek, animals, flowers, and more. I love to see the world through their eyes and to watch them explore and digest all the smells and sights and sounds. If either of my girls are in a bad mood or having a hard time, we go outside and it’s almost as though it breathes life into them. They open up and absorb everything around them. It’s actually quite beautiful. Except when it’s raining and cold. That is hard for them, especially Olivia. We always figure it out though.”Leah Rue-Shrader
“I like to get out and walk on nature trails.”AnJali Bates
“Last summer, due to Covid and me not working, I got to spend the whole summer at the river, swimming, hiking, and hanging out with my kids. Despite the stress and worry of the time it was one of the best summers ever. Getting to know who my kids are as little people and hanging out outside.”Rachel Doucette
“Go on walks, read together, and take her out to have new experiences. She’s an outdoors child who loves quality time.”Sham Dastgheib
“I love baking/cooking with Khloe. Playing in the park, and snuggles.”Ari Bell
“Go on hikes, visit playgrounds, and play in the water (any water will do: rain puddles, pools, water hose).”Jennifer Fortner
How do you maintain balance in your busy life?
“Being a Stay at Home Mother has made balancing being there for my daughter, my husband, and taking care of the house. I think I worked so much at a young age that working for a company automatically put me in a depressive unproductive state.”Sham Dastgheib
“I can’t claim to have a lot of balance but what I do have comes from leaning on my village. I absolutely could not be marginally sane or functional in this current environment without those in my life that have offered a helping hand. My spouse, friends, and family have been tremendous help – even in this less than normal world of the pandemic. There would be zero balance in my life without them.”Jennifer Fortner
“Balance? What is balance?”Ari Bell
“Not well. lol. I sacrifice sleep more often than I should to be able to work, hang out with my kids, read my books, or go on adventures.”Rachel Doucette
“The only way I am able to maintain balance is with the help and support of my family and my husband. They give me the time and space to pursue the things that fulfill me and define me outside of the “mother” and “wife” roles. I am grateful for every moment I have in which I remember who and what I am at my core. And who and what I am is ever changing and is composed of my children, family, passions, experiences, and so much more. Remembering that I’m person and checking in with her every day is what keeps me balanced.”Leah Rue-Shrader
“Trying to maintain balance for me, is to go with the flow. I keep a general rhythm for our days/weeks/months but I leave a lot of room for spontaneity. What works one day, likely wont work the next, so I try to trust that everything has a season and happens in its own time.”Tiffany Ironside
“Ha, I don’t know what balance is yet.”AnJali Bates
What is one piece of advice you would want to give to all new moms?
“If I were to give one piece of advice to new moms it would be to accept help from the people who love you and to ask for help when you need it. Whether it be from your partner, family, friends, doctors, neighbors, anyone. Don’t be afraid to ask for and receive help and care. And when it gets hard to imagine doing so, just think about how good it feels to help the people you love. Give others the gift of being able to help and care for you.”Leah Rue-Shrader
“Cut yourself some slack, get mommy friends, and always put your child’s mental and physical health first.”Sham Dastgheib
“You Are Enough. Exactly as you are, You Are Enough.”Tiffany Ironside
“You know your kids best and do what you feel is right for your family. But also keep an open mind to the ideas and suggestions out there in case one may work for you.”AnJali Bates
“Stockpile food! While you are pregnant, start making a stockpile of food to eat for the first month of your little one’s life. I personally did homemade burritos, a variety of soups, and mini meatloaves. These were frozen and easily defrosted or cooked for a quick meal. These saved us so many times. When you are tired, the last thing you want to do is make food and ordering out is not only expensive but can make you feel crummy (health wise). You can even enlist friends into the mix. Ask them for their favorite recipes, invite them over to help cook or prep them.”Jennifer Fortner
“That it’s ok to break down at night and let your emotions out after a rough day.”Ari Bell
“There is no such thing as a perfect mom. Not every kid needs the same kind of mom. Do the best you can for your kids, and yourself, and that makes you the best mom.”Rachel Doucette
On this Mother’s Day, let’s remember the many types of mothering; stepmothers, adoptive mothers, birthmothers, mothers who have lost their children, mothers of fur babies, mothers of projects, plans, movements and creative ideas, aunties and mentors and advisors, mothers of fluid and changing gender, and of course, that mother who sustains and nurtures us all, our Mother Earth. Take a moment today to meditate on the strength and love of the mothers in your life, yourself included if fitting. We are powerful, we are love.